ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Inflation may be taking a bite out of your vacation plans, but it does not mean you can’t get fish to bite when you do take some time off.

Many people are opting to stay close to home on vacation to avoid spending a lot of money on gasoline. There are many places in our region to experience the outdoors while taking time off. We have options that include hiking, biking, paddle sports, swimming, and fishing.

When it comes to fishing, one question we get from viewers is: “Where can I fish if I don’t have access to a boat?”

The good news is that there are a lot of places nearby to take advantage of shore angling opportunities. There is also a wide variety of species that can be targeted from shore like bass, panfish, catfish, walleye, and even striped bass.

Some places in our region that offer miles of shoreline access or piers are Carvins Cove, Claytor Lake, Smith Mountain Lake, and New River Trail State Park.

Taking the family fishing can be a low-cost way of incorporating some outdoors experiences into your downtime, as well as a great way to fill the cooler for a fish fry. In that case, targeting channel cats or panfish is the way to go. Both are available locally in great numbers, and both species are easy to catch.

“If you want to go after large fish (channel catfish) you want to throw baits that hit the bottom,” said Sportsman’s Warehouse Fishing Manager George Shaw. “If you want to get panfish, just find them in schools around trees or around rock structures.”

Good baits for channel cats are chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or prepared dough baits fished right on the bottom. Panfish like bluegills and sunfish are usually higher in the water column and around weeds, brush, docks, or other structures. Target them with worms, mealworms, crickets, or prepared baits like Powerbait.

The gear needed is minimal and does not cost a lot. A basic medium action rod and reel, bobbers, hooks, and weights are all you’ll need to put fish on the stringer.