The Jackson River joins the Cowpasture River near the Town of Irongate to form the James River. Approximately 40 miles upstream the Jackson River is impounded by Gathright Dam to form Lake Moomaw. This dam and the cold water tailwater fishery it created has stirred up quite a controversy over the years. To make a long story short, some landowners here have successfully defended their claims to not only owning the land under the river, but also the fish that swim in the river. As a result, float fishermen may float through these areas, but they may not fish. This is not the case for every landowner along the tailwater though. The Jackson Tailwater is approximately 19 miles long from the dam to the City of Covington. The upper section (about five miles) from the dam to Johnson Springs is best avoided by the float fisherman. The Jackson Tailwater supports a naturally reproducing population of rainbow and brown trout. It has not been stocked since the landowners won their historic court battle, however the fishery has flourished. Rainbows are the predominant species, but browns are plentiful also, especially farther downstream. Fallfish, the largest native minnow species in Virginia, are caught often too, some of them approaching 20 inches. The Jackson River Tailwater is a beautiful river, with excellent fishing. It is a great destination for trout addicts.
Jackson River weather
Jackson River Flow Rate at Gathright Dam