The Nottoway River is a scenic river located in south central and southeastern Virginia. The river's length is approximately 130 miles.  It begins in Prince Edward and Lunenburg counties and flows southeasterly, forming a boundary for Nottoway-Lunenburg, Brunswick-Dinwiddie, and Greensville-Sussex counties, then meanders across Sussex and Southampton counties to its confluence with the Blackwater River at the North Carolina line, forming the Chowan River.

It has a diverse fishery, ranging from bass (both large and smallmouth) and catfish to shad and herring. Panfishes include bluegill, redbreast and redear sunfish, Roanoke bass, yellow perch, and black crappie. The Nottoway produces some trophy fish, primarily redear sunfish; this population appears to be expanding. Bowfin and gar are common in the lower section.  Fishing for shad and herring can be excellent in March, April, and May, as they run up from the Chowan. Dip-netting for shad and herring is popular in the river. The Roanoke bass (more commonly known to locals as "rock bass" or redeye") is a species of special concern in Virginia. Only a few rivers have them, but the Nottoway has quite a few and they run fairly large in size. They are generally found upriver in the summer and down river in the winter. A few smallmouth bass are found throughout the river, with more fish found upstream. The Southampton County portion has most of the big redear sunfish. A few large walleye are caught in the river each year as well.

Above the Route 619 bridge on the Greensville-Sussex County line, the river is generally shallow, clear and fast flowing. There are numerous small rapids that prevent the use of outboard motors and large boats, but canoeists will find some nice float trips. Below Route 619, the river slows, deepens, and darkens as numerous swamps in the Coastal Plain join it. This part of the river, particularly in Southampton County, is large enough for bass boats during normal flows.

The Nottoway can be a great river to wade and fish in the summer and fall. You might want to avoid wading in the spring, because spring flows are typically a little strong, and the river can get muddy after a good rain. In the summer and fall though, the river is typically low and clear. Head for one of the bridge crossing accesses along Rt. 40, or better yet, head up to the Rt. 619 ramp and jump in!

Public boat ramps are located at Carey's Bridge, Peter's Bridge, Hercules Landing, and Route 258 near Riverdale. Water levels fluctuate naturally according to seasons, so anglers should scout the river and plan ahead. Canoes can be launched at several bridge crossings. Bank fishing access is limited to a few bridge crossings, state boat ramps, and canoe access areas. No permits are necessary. You can wade much of the river upstream of Courtland in summer when the river is low.

Our bait recommendations

Here's the baits that our Pros love for this lake.