Fishing

Newport News features some of the best fishing in Coastal Virginia, with miles of Saltwater coast and acres of Freshwater lakes and reservoirs. Can't decide where to cast your line? Browse through the Official Coastal Virginia Fishing Guide for some helpful hints, we have something to offer every angler!

Whether Freshwater or Saltwater, our seven public boat ramps and three modern marinas make getting out on the water in Newport News a breeze.

Need somewhere to get some shuteye between fishing outings? From our 188 campsites and our Leeward Municipal Marina - which offers overnight slips for boats - to our award-winning hotels, you'll find accommodations that suit your needs.

 

Bait, Tackle and Fishing License

Retail shops throughout the city offer services which will allow you to obtain a Virginia Freshwater fishing license or Virginia Saltwater fishing license, as well as any bait or tackle you may need to complete your angling experience in Newport News. Please see the chart below for a list of establishments where these services are offered.

Please note: Shoreline fishing at Lee Hall and Hardwood's Mill reservoirs requires a Parks Division Shoreline Fishing Permit (can be purchased at the Newport News Campsite Office) in addition to a Virginia Freshwater fishing license.

Please note: Licenses may also be purchased online by clicking on the highlighted text above.

Location Purchase Freshwater License Purchase Saltwater License Parks Division Shoreline Fishing Permit Tackle & Bait Available
Wilcox Bait & Tackle, 9501 Jefferson Ave, Newport News VA, 23605 (757) 595-5537 Yes Yes No Yes
Dick's Sporting Goods, 12300 Jefferson Avenue, Suite 700, Newport News VA, 23602 (757) 249-2140 Yes Yes No Yes
WAL-MART #1773, 12401 Jefferson Ave, Newport News VA, 23602 (757) 874-4434 Yes Yes No Yes
K-MART 3122, 401 Oriana Road, Newport News VA, 23608 (757)874-4242 Yes Yes No Yes
Newport News Campsite Office No No Yes Yes

 

Saltwater Fishing

If you are a saltwater angler, you're sure to enjoy the easily accessible Chesapeake Bay where a wide variety of fish peak at varying times throughout the year. Please note: a Virginia Saltwater fishing license is required.

The chart below details common species of fish found in the Chesapeake Bay, the reported season in which they are typically popular and recommended tackle and technique for each type of fish.

Popular Species of Saltwater Fish Typical Season (Peak Season) Tackle & Technique Recommendation
Bluefish January - January(April - December) Trolling spoons and surgical tubes, casting jigs, spoonsand plugs.
Croaker March - November(June - September) Medium Heavy Spinning or Casting Combo with a two-hook bottom rig. Use No. 1 long shank hooks with small chunks of squid or shrimp.
Flounder March - November (April - October) Strip of squid on a 3-way rig or a 2 to 3 ounce bucktail jig adorned with a scented soft plastic jig tail. Cast and retrieve slowly or bounce along the bottom.
Gray Trout April - November (May - October) Jigging or casting bucktails and lead heads with plastics, or bottom-bouncing with cut bait or crab.
Red Drum May - November (June - October) Bigger fish taken on fish-finder rigs with fresh mullet, spot, menhaden or peeler crab. Puppy drum (smaller fish) taken on finger mullet, cut bait, and jigs teamed with plastics.
Spot May - November (June - October) Bottom-bouncing with a piece of blood worm.
Striped Bass (Rockfish) January - January (September - January) Cast swim shad, plugs, or bucktails to the pilings, jetties, piers and sea walls. When angling from a vessel, anchor up current of the Monitor Merrimac Bridge Tunnel and fish chunks ofbunkeron a fish finder rig in the pilings and under the lights.
Tautog January - January (March - June & October - December) Bottom-bouncing with crab, clams or whelk. Fiddler crabs are especially good.

 

Freshwater Fishing

Newport News offers freshwater anglers three public reservoirs and two lakes chocked full of fish. Harwood's Mill and Lee Hall Reservoirs, provide a wide variety of fish in a perfect setting for anglers visiting the city as well as Lake Maury at The Mariners' Museum Park and Lake Biggins at Huntington Park. All of the Freshwater fishing locations offer access by either boat or shore; several even have rental boats and motors. Be sure to check in at the onsite facilities for the availability of equipment, along with what permits or fees might be required.

Please note: Shoreline fishing at Lee Hall and Hardwood's Mill reservoirs requires a Parks Division Shoreline Fishing Permit (can be purchased at the Newport News Campsite Office) in addition to a Virginia Freshwater fishing license.

The chart below details common species of fish found in Newport News' lakes and reservoirs, the reported season in which they are typically popular and the recommended tackle and technique for each type of fish.

Popular Species of Freshwater Fish Typical Season (Peak Season) Location Tackle & Technique Recommendation
Largemouth Bass January -January(March - June) Reservoirs & Lake Maury Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms, or the classic Nightcrawler worm on a small hook.
Urban Trout Program (Could be Brown, Brook or Rainbow Trout) January -January (October - May) Lake Biggins A piece of corn or a salmon egg fished under a bobber or on the bottom.
Bluegill January - January(May - September) Lee Hall and Harwood's Mill Reservoirs Nightcrawler worm on a small hook or your favorite fishing lure.
Yellow Perch January - January(May - October) Lee Hall and Harwood's Mill Reservoirs Nightcrawler worm on a small hook or your favorite fishing lure.
White Perch January - January(May - October) Lake Maury Nightcrawler worm on a small hook or your favorite fishing lure.

 

Boat Ramps and Launching Areas

Please see the chart below for boat ramp specifications, such as location and type of water. Please note that fishermen may launch privately owned boats into the city's reservoirs by purchasing a daily or annual Launch Permit. No gas motors are permitted in the reservoirs, and a valid Virginia Freshwater fishing license is required. Please call 757.888.3333 for more information.

Jon boats for fishing are also available for rental year round at the Newport News Park Campsite Office, and on weekends and holidays during the summer months at Lee Hall Fishing Area and the Harwood's Mill concession office.

Location Type of Water Launch Fee ($) Hours Location
Denbigh Park Salt No - Free Dawn - 10:00 p.m. At the end of Denbigh Boulevard, provides access to the Warwick River.
Leeward Municipal Marina Salt No Launch Ramp 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7499 River Road at the base of the James River Bridge. By boat "set your course" (37 degrees 1' N, 76 degrees 27' W).
Peterson's Yacht Basin Salt No - Free 24 hours 16th Street and Oak Avenue, provides access to the Hampton Harbor
Huntington Park Salt No - Free 24 hours Near the entrance to the James River Bridge on Mercury Boulevard provides access to the James River.
Lee Hall Fishing Area Fresh Yes Dawn to Dusk Newport News Park / Lee Hall Reservoir
Campsite Launch Fresh Yes Dawn to Dusk Newport News Park / Lee Hall Reservoir
Discovery Center at Newport News Park Launch Fresh Yes Dawn to Dusk Newport News Park / Lee Hall Reservoir
Jefferson Avenue Launch Fresh Yes Dawn to Dusk Newport News Park / Lee Hall Reservoir
Harwood's Mill Launch Fresh Yes Dawn to Dusk Newport News Park / Harwood's Mill Reservoir

For more information, contact the Newport News Visitor Center at 757-886-7777. The Visitor Center is located off I-64 at exit 250B and is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. We're just a call away and can be reached by phone at 757.886.7777 or toll-free at 888.493.7386. We look forward to seeing you soon in Newport News, Virginia!