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Virginia Reservoirs Ranked for Largemouth Bass Fishing

DGIF aquatic biologists spend considerable effort and resources to manage, enhance, and protect largemouth bass populations in Virginia's public fishing reservoirs, lakes, and ponds. Most of these waters are sampled each year, or every few years, to assess current largemouth bass population parameters such as age and growth, spawning success, and size distribution. These population samples are generally collected using daytime, boat electrofishing gear targeting largemouth bass and are conducted in a manner that allows several comparisons to be made concerning fish populations. Since many Virginia anglers target largemouth bass, and fish larger than 15 inches are considered "preferred" nationwide; the following summary contains information about bass over 15 inches (preferred size).

Relative stock density of preferred fish (RSD-P below) is the proportion of bass in a population over eight inches (stock size or recruits) that are also at least 15 inches. Thus, this index describes the size structure of the population and the bigger the number, the higher the percentage of big bass (>15 inches) in the population. Catch-per-unit-effort of preferred fish (CPUE-P below) is a measure of how many bass over 15 inches are collected by biologists during a set unit of effort (in this case, 1-hour of electrofishing). Thus, the higher the number, the more abundant big bass were during the sample.

Several factors can bias these data (e.g., weather conditions, fish behavior), but samples were conducted with efforts to minimize these biases. The following is a summary of these data with lakes ranked by CPUE-P and divided into the four management regions of the state. Those lakes ranked at the top of the table will provide excellent opportunities for anglers to catch quality largemouth bass. You might notice that some of the large reservoirs are ranked lower than you might expect. Smaller reservoirs normally have higher sampling efficiency and will thus rank higher based on this evaluation. This is a guide for anglers to use and not necessarily the entire picture of Virginia bass fisheries but it will provide a good place to start. We hope you find this useful.

Region I (Southeast - Tidewater)

Reservoir Rank Year Size (ac) County CPUE-P RSD-P
Western Branch 1 2012 1,579 Suffolk 68 84
Chesdin 2 2014 3,100 Chesterfield 59 70
Diascund 3 2014 1,110 James City 29 38
Gardy’s Millpond 4 2014 75 Northumberland 27 55
Burnt Mills 5 2011 610 Isle of Wight 25 42
Waller Mill 6 2012 360 York 24 33
Chickahominy Lake 7 2014 1,230 New Kent 23 35
Lake Maury 8 2010 165 Newport News 22 71
Sandy Bottom Pond 9 2014 12 City of Hampton 22 69
Meade 10 2013 512 Suffolk 22 34
Lee Hall 11 2013 230 Newport News 21 33
Chandler’s Millpond 12 2014 75 Westmoreland 20 19
Big Bethel Reservoir 13 2014 207 City of Hampton 19 64
Woodstock Pond 14 2014 7.5 York 18 21
Smith 15 2012 222 Virginia Beach 17 38
Prince 16 2014 777 Suffolk 17 35
Beaverdam Swamp 17 2014 635 Gloucester 14 35
Oak Grove 18 2014 70 Chesapeake 13 62
Cohoon 19 2012 510 Suffolk 13 58
Harwood’s Mill 20 2014 265 York 12 80
Speight’s Run 21 2011 197 Suffolk 10 26
Trashmore 22 2014 52 Virginia Beach 9 38
Harrison Lake 23 2012 82 Charles City 8 23
Southern (Lone Star Lks) 24 2013 25 Suffolk 8 23
Lakeview 25 2010 42 Colonial Heights 8 20
Swift Creek 26 2013 156 Chesterfield 7 12
Finger (Lone Star Lakes) 27 2007 22 Suffolk 6 60
Back Bay 28 2014 22,000 Virginia Beach 4 17
Northwest River Park 29 2014 7 City of Chesapeake 4 15
Airfield 30 2014 62 Sussex 3 18
Emporia 31 2012 210 Emporia 2 11
Little Creek 32 2014 947 James City 1 17

Region II (South-central)

Reservoir Rank Year Size (ac) County CPUE-P RSD-P
Lake Burton 1 2014 76 Pittsylvania 91 76
Briery Creek 2 2014 845 Prince Edward 63 36
Sandy River 3 2014 740 Prince Edward 35 35
Gordon 4 2014 157 Mecklenburg 31 48
Carvins Cove 5 2014 630 Roanoke 30 29
Conner 6 2013 110 Halifax 30 29
Smith Mountain 7 2014 20,600 Bedford, Franklin 29 47
Fairystone 8 2008 168 Patrick 25 32
Horsepen 9 2013 19 Buckingham 24 21
Kerr (Buggs Island) 10 2014 48,900 Mecklenburg 23 40
Bear Creek 11 2008 42 Cumberland 23 39
Brunswick 12 2014 150 Brunswick 20 31
Stonehouse 13 2014 41 Amherst 19 17
Leesville 14 2010 3,400 Pitts., Bedford 17 33
Philpott 15 2014 2,880 Henry, Patrick 17 20
Nottoway 16 2011 188 Nottoway 16 10
Nelson 17 2014 40 Henry 9 6
Thrasher 18 2011 36 Amherst 7 4
Mill Creek 19 2014 189 Amherst 5 3
Prince Edward 20 2009 27 Prince Edward 3 7
Martinsville 21 2014 175 Henry 3 2
Amelia 22 2011 100 Amelia 2 2
Holliday 23 2008 145 Buckingham 1 2
Slate River Watershed 24 2008 38 Buckingham 0 0

Region III (Southwest)

Reservoir Rank Year Size (ac) County CPUE-P RSD-P
Gatewood 1 2013 162 Pulaski 36 29
Lake Witten 2 2013 52 Tazewell 26 54
Rural Retreat 3 2013 90 Wythe 25 23
North Fk Pound 4 2014 154 Wise 23 34
South Holston 5 2014 7,580 Washington 21 51
Flannagan 6 2014 1,143 Dickenson 19 35
Lovill’s Creek 7 2013 55 Carroll 17 19
Claytor 8 2014 4,363 Pulaski 9 35
Hungry Mother 9 2014 108 Smyth 6 10
Bark Camp 10 2014 48 Scott 6 9
Hidden Valley 11 2014 62 Washington 4 10

Region IV (North-central/Northwestern)

Reservoir Rank Year Size (ac) County CPUE-P RSD-P
Pelham 1 2010 255 Culpeper 83 73
Germantown 2 2012 109 Fauquier 50 23
Occoquan 3 2012 2,100 Fairfax 49 53
Anna 4 2014 9,600 Spotsylvania 39 44
Burke 5 2010 218 Fairfax 36 50
Frederick 6 2014 117 Frederick 32 20
Ni 7 2013 411 Spotsylvania 31 49
Fluvanna-Ruritan 8 2014 50 Fluvanna 31 43
Silver 9 2012 25 Prince William 29 18
Beaverdam Creek 10 2008 350 Loudoun 28 47
Robertson 11 2013 26 Rockbridge 25 8
Rivanna River 12 2013 450 Albemarle 24 31
Powhatan (upper) 13 2013 34 Powhatan 23 39
Fairfax 14 2008 28 Fairfax 22 31
Motts 15 2014 160 Spotsylvania 22 27
Powhatan (lower) 16 2013 37 Powhatan 21 48
Hunting Run 17 2014 420 Spotsylvania 21 33
Laura 18 2014 44 Shenandoah 20 9
Toiter Creek 19 2014 66 Albemarle 17 37
Brittle 20 2010 77 Fauquier 16 28
Mountain Run 21 2010 75 Culpeper 15 7
Walnut Creek 22 2014 45 Albemarle 14 16
Arrowhead 23 2013 34 Page 14 5
Ruffin’s Mill 24 2013 130 Spotsylvania 13 41
Breckinridge 25 2006 47 Stafford 12 9
Lunga 26 2005 477 Stafford 11 13
Shenandoah 27 2013 36 Rockingham 11 12
Abel 28 2014 185 Stafford 10 14
Moomaw 29 2014 2,530 Bath 9 24
Gordonsville 30 2013 75 Louisa 9 11
Orange 31 2011 124 Orange 8 10
Albemarle 32 2012 35 Albemarle 8 7
Chris Green 33 2014 62 Albemarle 7 13
Beaver Creek 34 2014 104 Albemarle 6 4
Curtis 35 2012 91 Stafford 5 16
Smith 36 2007 250 Stafford 5 7
Lower Sherando 37 2011 26 Augusta 5 5
Northeast Creek 38 2013 187 Louisa 3 8
Accotink 39 2009 90 Fairfax 2 10