Copyright 2021 James Marsh
Fly Fishing the Upper Jackson River
The Jackson River is a large stream in comparison to
most of the small, mountain and spring creek streams in
the state of Virginia. It's almost a hundred-feet wide in
one area. The stream flows into Lake Moomaw. It's water
consist of some large pools with moderate flows, with
long runs and some short sections of riffles. The river
doesn't fall at a steep decline but it provides enough
drop in elevation to keep the water flowing good in most
areas. It is probably the state of Virginia's most popular
trout stream.

There's a three mile long stretch of special regulation
water located between two put and take sections of
water. The stream is heavily stocked and has some very
large holdover brown trout. Brown trout also move out of
Lake Moomaw during the fall to spawn in the river.
Larger brown trout can be caught at that time. During the
Winter and early Spring, large rainbow trout move out of
the lake to spawn in the river, providing some early
season action.

Angie is standing on the bridge to the Warwich House, a
mansion that has stood from the pre-civil war era. It is
now Hidden Valley Bed and Breakfast. Anywhere
downstream from the bridge is a good water to fish. The
Jackson River in this area consist mostly of pools
connected by runs and riffles.
Jackson River
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Type of Stream

Rainbow trout (Stocked with holdovers)
Brown trout (Stocked with holdovers)
Brook trout (Lake/Stocked with holdovers)

Medium to Large

West Central Virginia

Nearest Towns

Year - round


Special Regulations
Yes, one three mile long section

Non-Resident License
State of Virginia

National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout
Trout can be caught year-round.
Some large rainbows can be caught during
late winter that move upstream from Lake
Springtime is considered the best time for fly
fishing the Jackson River because of the large
aquatic insect hatches.
Fly Fishing Guide to Jackson River
Fly fishing the Jackson River requires a variety of
methods and techniques depending on the season. The
three mile long special regulation area is located above
the swinging bridge which is just upstream of Muddy
Run, a tributary stream that is also worth fishing. It can
only be reached by foot. An old maintenance road
provides the access from the Hidden Valley area. It is a
fairly level hike. The area can also be reached from the
Poor Farm Road.

The special regulation section is three miles long, but
there's a two mile long section both above and below it
that is heavily stocked with trout. A lot of bait fisherman
frequent these area shortly after the stream is stocked.
A week or two after the stocking, the large crowds of bait
anglers disappear. Fishing can be good in the
non-special regulation areas after the crowds have left.

You can hike along the river both up and downstream
from the Hidden Valley area. A very good trail follows the
river. The farther you walk, the better the fishing usually
is. The area downstream of Hidden Valley just above
Lake Moomaw has some public access areas. The late
winter and early spring is a good time to fish the area. It
is possible to catch rainbow, brown and brook trout in
that area of the stream. The area is marked by cables
crossing the river. It extends from the lake upstream for
about a half mile.

The stocked trout can be caught on a variety of flies.
Generic and attractor flies work most of the time. The
larger, holdover trout are much more selective. It is
much better to match the hatch, or more importantly,
match what is about to hatch with specific imitations. The
stream has a huge population of aquatic insects due to
the numerous spring inlets that provide water with a high
pH value.

The larger brown trout can also be caught during the
spawning run using streamers. "High stickin" the deep
runs with nymphs also works well in this stream. The
larger brown trout in the pools usually hold tight to cover
such as undercut banks, logs, and rocks.
Jackson River Hatches and Trout Flies:
Our information on aquatic insects is based on
our stream samples of larvae and nymphs, not
guess work. We base fly suggestions on
imitating the most plentiful and most available
insects and other foods at the particular time
you are fishing. Unlike the generic fly shop trout
flies, we have specific imitations of all the
insects in the Jackson River and in all stages of
life that are applicable to fishing. If you want to
fish better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a call.  
We not only will help you with selections, you
will learn why, after trying Perfect Flies, 92% of
the thousands of our customers will use nothing

The Jackson River gets a lot of its water from
small spring creeks and spring inlets into the
upper headwaters of the river. It has a high pH
and a huge population of aquatic insects.

Starting at the first of the year in January, the
first aquatic insects to hatch are the Little
Winter Stoneflies. They usually hatch through
the first of March. In March and April you can
expect to find some Brown Stoneflies hatching.

Blue-winged Olives, consisting of several
species, hatch from February through June and
then again in September through the first week
or two of November.

Blue Quills are among the first mayflies to
hatch. They normally start about the first of
March and last through the month of April
depending on the weather. Almost the same
time, hatches of Quill Gordons will start
occurring near the rifles. They usually are
through hatching by the end of April.
Hendricksons start hatching about the middle of
May and last for about three or four weeks.
They are one of the better hatches. There are
a few Eastern Green Drakes that hatch from
near the end of May through the middle of June.

American March Browns will hatch from the
middle of April until the middle of May. You will
find them mostly in the fast sections of water.
Slate Drakes start hatching in April and last until
June. They reappear in September and last
through October. Sulphur mayflies and Eastern
Pale Evening Duns both start hatching about
the middle of May. The Pale Evening Duns last
for about three weeks but the smaller Sulphurs
last on into the middle of July. They are one of
the better hatches that take place.
Hatches, continued:
Scuds and Sowbugs are a part of the
trout's diet in the Jackson River. Don't
overlook having imitations of them.
Craneflies can also be plentiful.

Little Yellow Stoneflies, or Yellow Sallies,
start hatching about the middle of April
and last through the month of June. The
large Giant Black Stoneflies hatch from
about the first of June through mid July.

Don't forget to have plenty of streamers
ranging from imitations of sculpin, baitfish
and crawfish. The river has plenty of
smallmouth bass and large brown trout.

Starting in July, imitations of terrestrial
insects become important. Ants, beetles
and grass hopper fly patterns produce
until early October.

Don't forget about the mighty midge. This
river is full of them and they hatch
year-round. They can become very
important in cold water when nothing else
is hatching.

We always recommend our "Perfect Fly"
imitations. They are the best, most
flies you can purchase and use anywhere
trout exist. Give them a try and you will be
you did. If you prefer, we also have many
popular generic and attractor fly patterns
and they are sold at a very low price.

There are lots of Cinnamon Caddis and
Spotted Sedges species in the Jackson
River. These caddisflies hatch from about
the first of May into the middle of July.
Different species of them hatch again in
September. Large Great Brown Autumn
Sedges hatch in late September and
October. Green Sedges hatch in late May
and June. The river has a huge
population of the Green Rock Worm
The water can become marginal during
the hot summer but it is usually fishable.
Fall is the best time to hook a large brown
Jackson River Virginia
James Marsh fishing Jackson River
Jackson River Virginia
Jackson River Virginia
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Fishing Report Updated 01/17/2021
Jackson River Fishing Report - 01/17/2021
There are some good hatches taking place. Stream levels are at a normal level.

Stream Conditions:

7 Day Weather Forecast:
(click the box below to get more detailed weather information)

Recommended Trout Flies:
Rate: 132 cfs
Level: 3.79 ft
Afternoon Water Temperature: 40 degrees
Clarity: clear
USGS Real-Time Stream Flow Data Near Bacova VA
Brown Sculpin and White Belly Sculpin, white belly sculpin, and articulated sculpin, size
Black Matuka and Olive Matuka Sculpin, size 4/6
Blue-winged Olives, size 16/18, nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners
Midges: Blood (Red), sizes  22, larva, pupa and adults
Midges: Light Green, size 20/22, larva, pupa and adults
Midges: Cream, size 22 larva, pupa and adults
Aquatic Worms, size 12, pink, red, and others.
Winter Stoneflies, size 16/18, nymphs and adults
Strategies, Techniques and Tips:
Blue winged olives are hatching.
The Brown Sculpin,  White Belly sculpin and Articulated streamers are great flies to use.
The Black Matuka and Olive Matuka sculpin flies are also good at this time of the
Winter stoneflies are hatching.
Aquatic worms are working.
Midges will always work. We recommend fishing a larva on the bottom and a pupa about
12 inches up the tippet. Fish the adult imitations only when you observe them on the
surface or trout feeding on the surface.
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

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