ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — “The trout is still with me, as are my memories. The future is somewhere between these two forces…” –Daniel J. Rice, Writer

It was the stuff memories are made of; trout opening day in Virginia. Thousands of anglers would converge on trout streams and lakes in the Blue Ridge in a celebration of all things piscatorial. It was a rite of spring.

It has been years since Virginia has had a closed season on trout. State fisheries agents manage trout for year-round catch and harvest. But, the longing for that “opening day” excitement has never gone away.

That is why the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) holds Virginia Trout Heritage Day on the first Saturday of every April. Select streams get a heavy stocking of rainbow, brook, and brown trout, depending on the location the Friday before. The streams are then closed to fishing until 9:00 a.m. the following day. This year Heritage Trout Day is on April 2.

Thousands of people are expected to take part and will line the streams hours before fishing is allowed, staking claims to what they hope will be the best spots.

It is not complicated fishing. All one needs to find success is a basic rod and reel combo, hooks, weights, light line, and bait like worms or prepared trout dough baits (Power Bait is always a favorite). Hooks are baited and sent into the water, and anglers hope to retrieve them with a trout on the other end.

This is a perfect event to introduce children to fishing. The techniques are easy to execute, and stocker trout are usually cooperative. The odds of a child catching a fish, and getting hooked on fishing, are generally high.

Which waterways in our region are designated, Trout Heritage Waters?

Here is a list:

  • Roanoke County – Tinker Creek
  • Amherst County – Pedlar River
  • Bedford County – Liberty Lake
  • Botetourt County – Jennings Creek
  • Wythe County – Cripple Creek
  • Carroll County – Crooked Creek

All state fishing regulations apply to fishing on Virginia Trout Heritage Day.