Whether you are an angler or a paddler, Scott County, Virginia has the waters to suit your sport.
Both the Clinch https://dwr.virginia.gov/waterbody/clinch-river/and Holston https://virginia.hometownlocator.com/maps/feature-map,ftc,1,fid,1487063,n,north%20fork%20holston%20river.cfm Rivers are full of smallmouth, spotted, rock and largemouth bass, sauger, sunfish, musky, crappie, and freshwater drum. The Clinch River is one of the most bio-diverse rivers in the world, falling second behind the Amazon River. The north fork of the Holston is a trophy smallmouth bass fishery.
Between April 15 and May 31, the Clinch River offers a rare fishing opportunity—sucker shooting. During this time, anglers climb high into Sycamore trees lining the river banks and shoot the red horse suckers spawning in the shallow waters along the shore. Vermont is the only other place in the U.S. where sucker shooting is allowed.
Stocked regularly, Bark Camp Lake https://dwr.virginia.gov/waterbody/bark-camp-lake/in the Jefferson National Forest is a 61-acre lake managed by the U.S. Forest Service. It is the oldest Department-owned lake in Southwest Virginia. When construction of the lake was completed in the mid-1950s, a beautiful lake completely surrounded by forested land was born. Clear water and fairly dense stands of aquatic vegetation offer anglers and other “fish watchers” a unique scenario. This area is perfect for canoeing and kayaking and also has a 3.5-mile lake loop trail that offers spectacular fall scenery.
A variety of fish species are available for anglers, including largemouth bass, black crappie, several sunfish species, channel catfish and trout. Most of the fish populations are self-sustaining, meaning they reproduce in the lake and maintain fishable populations without the need for stocking. Catchable-sized trout are stocked seasonally to provide a bit of angling diversity. Grass carp are also stocked as needed to control aquatic vegetation.
Additional trout fishing opportunities exist throughout the county on stocked trout streams such as Big Stony Creek (Mountain Fork). This is a special regulation trout water and is strictly catch-and-release. It includes the portion of Big Stony Creek (Mountain Fork) and its tributaries within the Jefferson National Forest from the outlet of High Knob Lake downstream to the confluence of Chimney Rock Fork and Big Stony Creek. Fishing licenses are available at the Front Porch Store & Deli in Ft. Blackmore and the Black Diamond Market in Dungannon. You can also grab a great lunch at either store.
Big Cherry Reservoir https://www.visitwisecounty.com/list/big-cherry-reservoir/rests amid a magnificent mountain basin, with elevations varying from 3000 feet downstream of Big Cherry Dam to 4223 at its head of High Knob. This 2200-acre park features a 250-acre lake.
Fishermen can catch a variety of fishing including bass, trout and Muskie. Big Cherry Reservoir is accessible by four-wheel drive only. This lake is perfect for canoeing and kayaking, and don’t be surprised to see a bear swimming in the lake.
Located in the High Knob Recreation Area, High Knob Lake https://www.virginia.org/listings/OutdoorsAndSports/HighKnobLakeTrail/, is a four-acre lake about seven miles from downtown Norton. A minimum 14-inch length limit for brook trout is in place, and anglers can possess only two brook trout greater than 14 inches per day. Along with a Virginia Fishing License, a National Forest Permit is also required to fish in the lake.
Located in Lee County, Lake Keokee https://dwr.virginia.gov/waterbody/lake-keokee/is a 92-acre lake perfect for fishing, non-gasoline motor boats and hiking.
Both the Clinch and Holston Rivers are suitable for kayaking, canoeing and tubing, and flow through picturesque countryside full of stunning bluffs, rolling farmland and deep swimming holes.
Guided raft tours, kayak and tube rentals are available on the Clinch from SomeThing Squatchy, 1750 Clinch River Hwy., Duffield, 276-202-6974. Open daily beginning at 9 a.m., SomeThing Squatchy also has river campsites and RV hook-ups.
Located on U.S. Hwy. 58, Clinch River Life offers tube rentals and shuttle services. Hours vary, but open Saturday and Sunday. Call 276-690-9199 for information.
Tent and RV camping is also available along the Clinch River at Camp Clinch, 7237 Anglers Way Rd., Duffield. Cabins, plus tent and RV camping and primitive Yurts are available at Natural Tunnel State Park. Appalachian Mountain Cabins is another great place from which to access the Clinch and areas around High Knob.
Accommodations close to the Holston River include the Estillville Bed & Breakfast and Roberts Mill Suites in Gate City and Boones Pointe Cabins. All offer easy access to dining, shopping and entertainment.
Familiar fast food chains are available throughout the county. It’s highly recommended to dine at one of our iconic eateries like the Hob Nob, Teddy’s, Campus Drive-in, ChuBeez or Front Porch Store & Deli. As the winner of the “Virginia Culinary Challenge,” The Family Bakery in downtown Gate City is a must for cupcakes, an excellent Chai Tea Latte and other specialty drinks.
For information, please call 276-386-6521 or 423-863-1667.