March Park of the Month: Kiptopeke State Park
Family Fishing (and Crabbing) Fun!
Crabbing with lines, pots, and nets is permitted from Kiptopeke's fishing pier
campground with full hook ups, a interesting yurt (part tent/part cabin) that is available for rent, rental RV's, and brand-new six-bedroom lodges that are great for group fishing trips and family reunions.The park's trails total about 4 miles winding through coastal forests with beautiful Chesapeake Bay overlooks.In the summer season, visitors can rent kayaks or go on ranger guided kayak forays to the concrete ships that form a breakwater that protects the park's swimming beach.
Kayak fishing and guided kayak fishing programs are very popular at Kiptopeke
However, fishing in the Chesapeake Bay around the concrete ships and fishing and crabbingfromthe park's 24 hour lighted pier lies at the heart of the park.The former ferry landing for the Norfolk to Kiptopeke to Cape Charles ferry run up until the 1960s, the fishing pier is licensed so it is great for families and beginners that don't want to commit to buying licenses just yet. Visitors just pay a small fee to use the fishing pier and register by phone for a free Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC).The park also has a boat launch area and boat trailer parking area.
This aerial view shows the fishing pier, boat launch and ample parking area
The VMRC designed to better manage the state fisheries and species populations. If you already have a license, you still need to pay the fishing pier fee,but you don't need a Fisher Identification Number.
The Chris' Bait & Tackle. Their website has great info on charter boats, tides, fishing seasons, and more.You can also buy a license there, too.
Kiptopeke's pier is a great place for kids to learn the basics of fishing!
Be sure to pay attention to park signage and hand outs that explain this year's catch and size limits.The fishing pier also has a great cleaning station so you can take prepare your filets right there on the pier.The cleaning station dumps the fish waste into the Chesapeake Bay attracting more fish to the area around the pier which makes for great fishing! Virginia State Parks encourages catch and release of those fish that you don't plan on eating by the campfire.
Large flounder can be caught from the pier at Kiptopeke State Park
Night fishing and full moon fishing can sometimes be more successful than fishing in the heat of the day. The pier at Kiptopeke is open 24 hours! The lights draw fish in at night!
To make your camping or cabin reservation, please call 1-800-933-PARK.For a schedule of upcoming ranger guided programs, including kayak fishing and pier fishing, please click here.
Directions to Kiptopeke State Park can be found here.