Rockcliffe Farm Retreat & Lodge
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Fishing on the James River

Do you like successful fishing trips? Who doesn’t? We do and that’s why this is our favorite place to fish.

The fish here are abundant, the types of river terrain vary, the water clarity excellent much of the year, and access is good. Pro fishermen will find plenty of excitement and first-timers have gotten hooked here. There’s nothing nicer than a summer day on the James River. Just ask our guests!

Common local fish are:
• Small- and largemouth bass
• Catfish
• Shad
• Huge “wild” carp (Englishmen, are your listening?)
• Gar
• Pickerel
• Perch, and various sunfish

River access is via our beautiful forest road, ending at our spacious, inviting camping/picnic area. You easily wade out into the river, which can be walked across except when the level is up. The bottom is rocky (bring appropriate footwear—no flip flops!), with abundant structure, logs, and vegetation for hiding your prey.

Fish all day, fish all night!

Rockcliffe farm is one of the best small mouth bass fishing areas in virginia!


Guided Fishing Trips
Orvis-certified fishing guide LE Rhodes ( is available for a great day of fishing you won't soon forget. Lunch, snacks, and equipment included in price.

Many varied rock formations create shallow (a few inches), quick runs with hideout eddies, and deep (27 feet), slow holes, providing both streamlike fishing with flies or spinners, or deeper structured lake-like fishing for the flatheads (35+ pounds) and that hide-out record smallmouth.

Guests may snorkel to find the hideouts in the clear, warm, summer waters, or take a timeout at "Jacuzzi Falls" (a Class I rapids just upstream from us) after a tough day of landing innumerable smallmouths.

Winter fishing... For the very hearty, dedicated, patient fisherman! As the temperature drops, so generally do the fish. Into slow deep holes and channels. It’s still possible to catch big cats and senior bass. Things pick up in March and April. Book early.


You can also fish from canoe (we have 8), putting in at our place or upstream and floating down. We offer 4 possibilities:

1. Put in at our place and just put down anchor in the middle of the river.

2. Put in upstream,above the big bend in the James River that Walker's Ford Road juts out into. Paddling to our place takes 1.5 hours, or take your time and take 4 hours... we have!

3. Put in at our place and float down to Bent Creek, 3-5 hours. Great fishing, but water turns brown below the papermill. Don’t know why, but the fish are still abundant.

4. Put in at Joshua Falls in Lynchburg and spend the day floating and picnicking down to us (5-8+ hours). Our absolute favorite way to spend a summer day.

We have 8 canoes available with lifejackets and paddles. Rental is $40(+ tax)/day/canoe. Lodge guests inquire for special rate. Deposits required by credit card against lost or damaged equipment. Release form required.

Our section of the river is near Pettyjohn Island, and is described in the James River Guide, by Bruce Ingram.

If you decide you'd like some lake fishing too, Holliday Lake State Park is 25 minutes away, with its crappie, bluegill, pickerel, walleyed pike, small and largemouth bass, and a couple of varieties of catfish.

Please note: a valid VA fishing license is required to fish at Rockcliffe Farm Retreat. A fishing license can be purchased and printed by visiting the VA Department of Game and Inland Fishery's website, or by visiting several retail locations located anywhere in the State of Virginia, such as Wal-Mart, Dick's Sporting Goods, etc.

For even more fun, check out Nearby Attractions.

View a slideshow of the lodge and fishing activies.

Even little ones are fun to catch!

The small mouth bass at Rockcliffe Farm like to get big!

Wild Carp fishing is exceptional here!

Another monster small mouth caught right here at Rockcliffe Farm!

Anglers of all experience levels will love fishing here!

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Rockcliffe Farm Retreat is a certified tree farm and member of the forest stewardship program.