Fish to Your Heart’s Content in the Heart of Appalachia

6:46AM February 25, 2018
Written by Pam Vance

Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority (HOA) has launched a new marketing initiative called Fish to Your Heart’s Content, designed to attract a new tourism demographic to the region.

“Local residents have known for decades that the Heart of Appalachia region offers some of the best fishing opportunities in the state,” said Erin Riedhammer, HOA Executive Director. “We decided it was time to share that fact with the rest of the world.”

The Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) reports that over 800,000 people choose Virginia as their fishing destination each year, which produces an economic impact of $1.3 million to the state.

According to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), a third of all Virginians enjoy and actively participate in fresh water fishing, with a significant number of those expressing their desire for increased public access to state waters for fishing, swimming and beach use.

Five state record catches have been established in the Heart of Appalachia region, creating a rich, concentrated fishing environment for avid anglers.


The HOA fishing brochure showcases some of the premier fishing locations in the Coalfield Region including trout streams, rivers and lakes that boast an impressive variety of fish, numerous special regulation streams and convenient public access.

Download a copy of the HOA Fishing Brochure

In addition, the Clinch River, the most bio-diverse river in the Northern Hemisphere, flows entirely through the Heart of Appalachia from Tazewell, Russell, and Scott counties to the Tennessee border. The Clinch is becoming famous for its unique variety of sport fish, over 40 mussel species — 26 of which are endangered — and great kayak, paddleboard and tubing outfitters.

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation reports that 77 percent of people who fish also participate in other outdoor activities. HOA’s mission is to bring visitors to the region for whatever activity they enjoy doing and then showcase the numerous other outdoor adventures, fun attractions, historic sites and scenic beauty so that travelers spend more time and money while here.

elevate relax

The organization has developed the “Heart Rate” campaign to highlight the many ways a visitor can “ELEVATE Your Heart Rate” and “Relax Your Heart Rate” in the Heart of Appalachia region through our exciting outdoor adventure and relaxing scenic beauty.

Tourism is an essential component to the Coalfield Region’s economy, generating over $167 million each year in visitor spending, according to Virginia Tourism Corporation.

“The mountains that once provided an economy based on coal production are now enabling us to create a new profile as a world-class destination for outdoor adventure,” said Dr. Stan Botts, HOA Board of Directors Chairman.

Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority was created in 1993 by the Virginia General Assembly to develop, expand and promote the tourism assets in the Coalfield Region including Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, Wise counties and the City of Norton.

HOA markets the numerous attributes of Virginia’s westernmost mountains to increase visitor spending and business development for the maximum economic impact.

For more information regarding the Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority, or to request a Fish to Your Heart’s Content brochure, call (276) 762-0011 or email

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