Staunton River Guided trips

Angler's Lane

Smallmouth bass
spring - summer - fall

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Sometimes the most rewarding experiences are the ones not everyone is talking about.  Take a day to experience the Staunton River with us and discover what we mean about this beautiful, unique and varied fishery.

The Staunton River represents the section of the Roanoke River from Leesville Lake to Clarksville, at the mouth of Kerr Reservoir (aka Buggs Island Lake).   The Roanoke originates near Christiansburg in Montgomery County; below its journey as the Staunton, the river eventually flows into Albemarle Sound near Edenton NC, which opens into further south Pamlico Sound near Cape Hatteras.

Our fishing experience on the Staunton began in 1969.  Angler's Lane owner Doug Lane first fished it as a boy in the Altavista area, and started fishing it frequently in 1989 soon after Appalachian Power agreed to strobe releases from Leesville dam instead of the once-a-day releases which caused much erosion and prevented healthy spawning of black bass.   The steady releases allowed the smallmouth bass to flourish.  Doug grew up a long block uphill of the river and would venture down to wet a hook, only to be disappointed as the surge began around noon ending the productive fishing immediately.  (Anyone fishing the Smith River these days can relate.)  Over these 40+ years he has learned about the river with local fishermen, most of whom have been extremely tight-lipped about it, until he got to know them better.  As time has progressed he has taken on some of the same characteristics as these fishing curmudgeons.

Our trips on the Staunton primarily target smallmouth bass from April through mid-October.  During the spring we also focus on striped bass which migrate upriver from Kerr Reservoir.    Largemouth and Kentucky (spotted bass) abound in some years, including 2012. While we consistently aim for black bass (smallmouth, largemouth and Kentucky), we enjoy the variety which this river offers.  Walleye flourish in the Staunton, as do catfish and carp--two hard fighting fish which do not get the respect they deserve.   Bream and red-ear sunfish are usually present in strong numbers, and occasionally we land the Roanoke bass (ambloplites cavifrons) peculiar to this river basin.  The most elusive is the long-nosed gar, which is easier to hook than it is to land. 

Access on the Staunton is relatively limited.  With only four Va State managed public landings from the dam to Brookneal, public landings are fewer than on the James, Shenandoah or New Rivers. The parks in Altavista and Long Island offer some decent options for short floats.  Leesville Dam to Altavista  stretches 12 miles, while Long Island and Brookneal runs at least 11.5 mi; plan on a long day if you intend to float these latter stretches.

We have guided many clients on the Staunton each year since opening Angler's Lane in 1998, own property on it and have been blessed with amicable landowner relationships along the river since 1992.  We fish this river often and can guide you pretty much anywhere along the 48 miles from Leesville Dam to Brookneal (and Clarkton below Brookneal).  While we are typically on the water 8 - 9 hours, we can shorten or lengthen the float to meet client preferences. Not every float needs to be long in distance, and a variety of short floats helps during summer months when thunderstorms roll in.  One float starts and finishes on our property, and can take 4 to 9 hours to work properly.  Knowing which stretches to float and when is a major part of the challenge, as feeder creeks can change water color if one is not paying attention to flows.  The good Lord keeps the river interesting each trip, usually in a good way as we tangle into surprise species or big fish each year. 

One frequently-asked question:  Where did the river get its name?  According to Herman Ginther, author of Captain Staunton's River
1968,  "The name Staunton is said to originate from Captain Henry Staunton, a soldier of the Revolutionary War, who earlier was in command of a company of soldiers organized to patrol the river valley from the mountains to the mouth of the Dan to protect earlier white settlers from incursions of the Indians."  The second possibility mentioned by Ginther and Dianne Popek in her Tracks along the Staunton 1984, is that Sir William Gooch, Gov of Virginia from 1727 to 1749 changed the name of this section from Roanoke to Staunton naming it after is wife, Lady Rebecca Staunton Gooch.  Neither the smallmouth nor waterfowl seem to care from whence the river's name originated. 

Frequently our treasured rivers encounter environmental threats, and the Staunton is no exception.  As of early 2013 the uranium mining lobby is rallying its troops to lift a ban on uranium mining in Pittsylvania County in the Roanoke Staunton River watershed.  At this time we are opposed to lifting this ban on uranium mining due to the potential threat to water quality on the Staunton.  The ban has existed since 1982, and we would need much more information to change our minds that mining the uranium in these deposits will present a significant danger to our water supply and our fishery.

As for our trps on the Staunton, Doug floats from a 15' Maravia Willowaw II raft outfitted with generous, comfortable bass boat seats for float fishing (see photo on right).  Each spring we hear sales pitches from driftboat reps, but seldom see or hear them in the mid to late summer as the water drops to bottom-scraping levels.  Many clients prefer fly fishing while others will spin fish; we are prepared for both.  All trips are catch and release.

If you want to float fish the Staunton with an experienced guide and get the most out of a days fishing on this Virginia Scenic River, give us a call or book a trip now pending availability.

On this river often you don't know for sure what's on the other end of the line until you see the fish! 

↑ ...Early "clients" in 1991 - the rowdy type ...↑ ;

 Fishing the Staunton, 1969, with bamboo
Rate - Smallmouth Bass Float Staunton River

Full Day Float Trip (1 or 2 person) - $450
Full Day 2-person Float Trip for Smallmouth    Book a trip now pending availability
Trips include necessary equipment; bring appropriate rod if you own one.  Streamside lunch for full-day included.  Beverages included (water, iced tea and other non-alcoholic canned drinks as requested). Lost flies not included.  Lost lures not included (spin fishing).
 
 
 

 

        Book a trip now pending availability  

 
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Angler's Lane Fly Fishing Stores
 Graves Mill Center at Route 221, P O Box 1265, Forest (Lynchburg), Virginia 24551-5265
434-385-0200 Fax: 434-385-0400   Email: Contact Form