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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 2013 3,100 Chesterfield 47 68
Gardy’s Millpond 3 2012 75 Northumberland 41 55
Prince 4 2011 777 Suffolk 34 63
Chickahominy Lake 5 2013 1,230 New Kent 31 37
Burnt Mills 6 2011 610 Isle of Wight 25 42
Waller Mill 7 2012 360 York 24 33
Trashmore 8 2010 52 Virginia Beach 23 65
Sandy Bottom Pond 9 2011 12 City of Hampton 23 53
Lake Maury 10 2010 165 Newport News 22 71
Meade 11 2013 512 Suffolk 22 34
Lee Hall 12 2013 230 Newport News 21 33
Harwood’s Mill 13 2011 265 York 20 68
Diascund 14 2013 1,110 James City 20 29
Beaverdam Swamp 15 2013 635 Gloucester 19 34
Smith 16 2012 222 Virginia Beach 17 38
Chandler’s Millpond 17 2013 75 Westmoreland 14 18
Cohoon 18 2012 510 Suffolk 13 58
Speight’s Run 19 2011 197 Suffolk 10 26
Airfield 20 2012 62 Sussex 10 24
Woodstock Pond 21 2011 7.5 York 11 10
Harrison Lake 22 2012 82 Charles City 8 23
Southern (Lone Star Lks) 23 2013 25 Suffolk 8 23
Lakeview 24 2010 42 Colonial Heights 8 20
Swift Creek 25 2013 156 Chesterfield 7 12
Finger (Lone Star Lakes) 26 2007 22 Suffolk 6 60
Little Creek 27 2012 947 James City 4 17
Emporia 28 2012 210 Emporia 2 11
Back Bay 29 2012 22,000 Virginia Beach 2 6
Oak Grove 30 2013 70 Chesapeake 0 0

Region II (South-central)

Reservoir Rank Year Size (ac) County CPUE-P RSD-P
Briery Creek 1 2013 845 Prince Edward 70 30
Lake Burton 2 2013 76 Pittsylvania 56 68
Smith Mountain 3 2013 20,600 Bedford, Franklin 36 39
Conner 4 2013 110 Halifax 30 29
Fairystone 5 2008 168 Patrick 25 32
Sandy River 6 2013 740 Prince Edward 24 27
Horsepen 7 2013 19 Buckingham 24 21
Bear Creek 8 2008 42 Cumberland 23 39
Kerr (Buggs Island) 9 2013 48,900 Mecklenburg 22 43
Carvins Cove 10 2012 630 Roanoke 22 16
Brunswick 11 2008 150 Brunswick 21 30
Stonehouse 12 2011 41 Amherst 21 15
Philpott 13 2011 2,880 Henry, Patrick 20 30
Leesville 14 2010 3,400 Pitts., Bedford 17 33
Gordon 15 2008 157 Mecklenburg 16 32
Nottoway 16 2011 188 Nottoway 16 10
Martinsville 17 2010 175 Henry 15 12
Nelson 18 2013 40 Henry 13 7
Mill Creek 19 2010 189 Amherst 11 10
Thrasher 20 2011 36 Amherst 7 4
Prince Edward 21 2009 27 Prince Edward 3 7
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
North Fk Pound 2 2013 154 Wise 31 43
Lake Witten 3 2013 52 Tazewell 26 54
Rural Retreat 4 2013 90 Wythe 25 23
South Holston 5 2013 7,580 Washington 21 46
Lovill’s Creek 6 2013 55 Carroll 17 19
Flannagan 7 2013 1,143 Dickenson 16 33
Claytor 8 2013 4,363 Pulaski 13 41
Bark Camp 9 2013 48 Scott 9 12
Hidden Valley 10 2013 62 Washington 5 15

Region IV (North-central)

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
Burke 4 2010 218 Fairfax 36 50
Frederick 5 2012 117 Frederick 33 25
Ni 6 2013 411 Spotsylvania 31 49
Silver 7 2012 25 Prince William 29 18
Beaverdam Creek 8 2008 350 Loudoun 28 47
Fluvanna-Ruritan 9 2012 50 Fluvanna 28 37
Anna 10 2013 9,600 Spotsylvania 28 33
Laura 11 2006 44 Shenandoah 25 14
Robertson 12 2013 26 Rockbridge 25 8
Rivanna River 13 2013 450 Albemarle 24 31
Powhatan (upper) 14 2013 34 Powhatan 23 39
Fairfax 15 2008 28 Fairfax 22 31
Powhatan (lower) 16 2013 37 Powhatan 21 48
Toiter Creek 17 2006 66 Albemarle 16 44
Brittle 18 2010 77 Fauquier 16 28
Mountain Run 19 2010 75 Culpeper 15 7
Abel 20 2009 185 Stafford 14 20
Walnut Creek 21 2011 45 Albemarle 14 18
Arrowhead 22 2013 34 Page 14 5
Ruffin’s Mill 23 2013 130 Spotsylvania 13 41
Motts 24 2013 160 Spotsylvania 13 14
Breckinridge 25 2006 47 Stafford 12 9
Hunting Run 26 2013 420 Spotsylvania 11 16
Lunga 27 2005 477 Stafford 11 13
Shenandoah 28 2013 36 Rockingham 11 12
Moomaw 29 2013 2,530 Bath 10 19
Gordonsville 30 2013 75 Louisa 9 11
Orange 31 2011 124 Orange 8 10
Albemarle 32 2012 35 Albemarle 8 7
Beaver Creek 33 2011 104 Albemarle 7 4
Chris Green 34 2011 62 Albemarle 6 7
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