Roanoke River – Salem – Delayed Harvest


Stream Category: Delayed Harvest

From October 1 through May 31, fishing on the following waters is permitted under the following regulations only:

1 Only artificial lures may be used.

2 No trout may be in possession (catch and release only) while fishing these waters.

3 No bait may be in possession while fishing these waters.

4 Trout license required October 1-June 15.

Note: During the period of June 1 through September 30 restrictions 1. through 3. above will not apply and these waters are like any other designated stocked trout.


Type of Stream: Freestone River

Stocked Trout: Rainbow and Brook

Wild Trout: Rainbow, Brook, and Brown ( Although there are holdovers from previous DGIF stockings, wild trout, especially brown trout, can be seen throughout the entire Roanoke River.)

Other Species of Note: Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Sunfish, and Carp



  • Dry Flies: Adams, Midges, Caddis, and Terrestrials
  • Nymphs: Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear, Prince Nymphs, Zebras, Caddis Pupae, Grub Worms, Squirmy Wormies, and Mop Flies
  • Streamers: Kreelax, Leeches, Sculpins, Wooley Buggers, and Minnow Patterns
  • Rod: 9-10’ 5-7 weight (depending on what species of fish you are targeting) Also Switch and Spey rods can be used on most sections.
  • Waders: Chest or Convertible Chest ( During late Spring, Summer, and early fall you can wet wade in shorts and river sandals. During late Fall, Winter, and early Spring waders will be needed)
  • Net: Big fish can be caught throughout the Roanoke River, it is highly recommended to bring a trout catch and release net wherever you are on the Roanoke. Additionally when fishing for Carp a larger fish net is recommended.
  • Additional Gear: Wading Staff

Casting: Overhead, Side, Tuck, and Roll.



Located in the City of Salem, from Colorado Street Bridge to the Salem Rotary Park, adjacent to the Roanoke River Greenway; this section is a prime example of why more delayed harvest streams are needed throughout the state of Virginia. The fishing in this area will run from extremely easy to extremely hard, depending on how much pressure the fish have seen over the course of a few days. Pay attention to the deep pools in this area, large amounts of trout seem to group together in the larger pools. Also take note to fish the long runs, smaller trout tend to love these sections and the bigger trout tend to stay at the bottom of the runs at the head of the pools.


The fish in this section grow extremely large and should be treated with respect, having such fish in this area need to be protected at all cost. If you see someone bait fishing in the delayed harvest section please talk to them and explain that it is against the law for them to be bait fishing in this section during regulated months.

When it comes to flies, this is one of the few areas that stocked trout rise regularly for dry flies, take the time to observe what flies are hatching around you. As far as nymphs; use pheasant tails, hares ear, princes, and zebras along with mop flies and squirmy wormies. Always start off with a mop fly or a squirmy in this area, if no fish are hitting these flies switch to small midges and progress upward to pheasant tails, hares ear, and princes. Finally use streamers to grab the attention of those monster brook trout that love the deep pools in this section, if the brookies are not liking a kreelax, switch to dark sculpin or woolly bugger pattern.


Remember when fishing this section to fish next to your feet first and progress outward- large trout love the banks of this area and they are spooked easily if you cast above them. Cover each section that you fish thoroughly using a grid like pattern.


Additional Notes:

Parking lots are available, along with roadside parking. Remember this is a delayed harvest section and the no bait regulations still apply during the regulated months even if you are not fishing for trout. Be extra careful when casting, this sections is adjacent to the Roanoke River Greenway and is heavily trafficked by bikers and by people walking.




One thought on “Roanoke River – Salem – Delayed Harvest

  1. Thank you for providing all this info.
    I’m a truck driver in McDonough GA, I make deliveries to Salem Virginia three times a week when the weather permits I fish the Roanoke River during my DOT break.
    Thanks to you I caught my new personal best rainbow of 28 1/4″. From the delayed harvest section last Sunday.


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