Virginia Reservoirs Ranked for Largemouth Bass Fishing

Sport Fish Restoration LogoDGIF 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).

flannagan-reservoir-lmbRelative 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 2015 3,100 Chesterfield 48 70
Cohoon 3 2015 510 Suffolk 33 43
Diascund 4 2014 1,110 James City 29 38
Gardy’s Millpond 5 2014 75 Northumberland 27 55
Swift Creek Reservoir 6 2015 156 Chesterfield 24 42
Burnt Mills 7 2015 610 Isle of Wight 24 37
Chickahominy Lake 8 2015 1,230 New Kent 23 40
Lake Maury 9 2010 165 Newport News 22 71
Sandy Bottom Pond 10 2014 12 City of Hampton 22 69
Meade 11 2013 512 Suffolk 22 34
Lee Hall Reservoir 12 2015 230 Newport News 20 46
Big Bethel Reservoir 13 2014 207 City of Hampton 19 64
Lakeview 14 2015 42 Colonial Heights 18 39
Woodstock Pond 15 2014 7.5 York 18 21
Smith 16 2012 222 Virginia Beach 17 38
Prince 17 2014 777 Suffolk 17 35
Waller Mill 18 2015 360 York 17 24
Butler Tract (Lone Star Lks) 19 2015 42 Suffolk 16 33
Beaverdam Swamp 20 2015 635 Gloucester 15 27
Oak Grove 21 2015 70 Chesapeake 13 62
Stumpy Lake 22 2015 278 Virginia Beach 12 100
Harwood’s Mill 23 2014 265 York 12 80
Speight’s Run 24 2011 197 Suffolk 10 26
Northwest River Park 25 2015 7 City of Chesapeake 9 67
Trashmore 26 2014 52 Virginia Beach 9 38
Southern (Lone Star Lks) 27 2013 25 Suffolk 8 23
Swift Creek Lake 28 2015 156 Chesterfield 8 17
Back Bay 29 2014 22,000 Virginia Beach 4 17
Airfield 30 2014 62 Sussex 3 18
Finger (Lone Star Lakes) 31 2015 22 Suffolk 3 14
Little Creek 32 2014 947 James City 1 17
Emporia 33 2015 210 Emporia 1 12
Harrison Lake 34 2015 82 Charles City 1 12

Region II (South-central)

Reservoir Rank Year Size (ac) County CPUE-P RSD-P
Lake Burton 1 2015 76 Pittsylvania 75 76
Briery Creek 2 2015 845 Prince Edward 72 57
Smith Mountain 3 2015 20,600 Bedford, Franklin 46 50
Fairystone 4 2015 168 Patrick 45 48
Kerr (Buggs Island) 5 2015 48,900 Mecklenburg 36 49
Gordon 6 2014 157 Mecklenburg 31 48
Conner 7 2013 110 Halifax 30 29
Sandy River 8 2015 740 Prince Edward 28 43
Carvins Cove 9 2015 630 Roanoke 27 46
Leesville 10 2015 3,400 Pitts., Bedford 24 45
Bear Creek 11 2015 42 Cumberland 24 21
Nottoway 12 2015 188 Nottoway 22 19
Brunswick 13 2014 150 Brunswick 20 31
Philpott 14 2015 2,880 Henry, Patrick 19 27
Stonehouse 15 2015 41 Amherst 18 14
Mill Creek 16 2015 189 Amherst 18 10
Horsepen 17 2015 19 Buckingham 16 51
Modest Creek 18 2015 29 Lunenburg 14 22
Nottoway Falls 19 2015 60 Lunenburg 11 36
Thrasher 20 2015 36 Amherst 9 10
Great Creek 21 2015 212 Brunswick 8 14
Holliday 22 2015 145 Buckingham 8 7
Amelia 23 2015 100 Amelia 8 6
Nelson 24 2015 40 Nelson 5 5
Slate River Watershed 25 2015 38 Buckingham 4 18
Prince Edward 26 2009 27 Prince Edward 3 7
Bannister 27 2015 400 Halifax 3 6
Martinsville 28 2015 175 Henry 3 3

Region III (Southwest)

Reservoir Rank Year Size (ac) County CPUE-P RSD-P
Gatewood 1 2013 162 Pulaski 36 29
South Holston 2 2015 7,580 Washington 20 55
North Fork Pound 3 2015 154 Wise 20 43
Lake Witten 4 2015 52 Tazewell 18 33
Rural Retreat 5 2013 90 Wythe 17 28
Lovill’s Creek 6 2013 55 Carroll 17 19
Flannagan 7 2015 1,143 Dickenson 16 32
Claytor 8 2014 4,363 Pulaski 10 46
Hidden Valley 9 2015 62 Washington 8 15
Hungry Mother 10 2015 108 Smyth 7 9
Bark Camp 11 2015 48 Scott 5 7

Region IV (North-central/Northwestern)

Reservoir Rank Year Size (ac) County CPUE-P RSD-P
Occoquan 1 2015 2,100 Fairfax 60 43
Pelham 2 2015 255 Culpeper 50 63
Germantown 3 2012 109 Fauquier 50 23
Burke 4 2015 218 Fairfax 44 77
Fluvanna-Ruritan 5 2015 50 Fluvanna 35 41
Frederick 6 2014 117 Frederick 32 20
Powhatan (lower) 7 2015 37 Powhatan 31 62
Ni 8 2013 411 Spotsylvania 31 49
Silver 9 2012 25 Prince William 29 18
Anna 10 2015 9,600 Spotsylvania 28 42
Beaverdam Creek 11 2015 350 Loudoun 27 51
Shenandoah 12 2015 36 Rockingham 25 24
Robertson 13 2013 26 Rockbridge 25 8
Rivanna River 14 2013 450 Albemarle 24 31
Fairfax 15 2008 28 Fairfax 22 31
Powhatan (upper) 16 2015 34 Powhatan 21 46
Brittle 17 2015 77 Fauquier 20 21
Laura 18 2014 44 Shenandoah 20 9
Toiter Creek 19 2014 66 Albemarle 17 37
Moomaw 20 2015 2,530 Bath 15 34
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
Orange 27 2015 124 Orange 11 9
Abel 28 2014 185 Stafford 10 14
Hunting Run 29 2015 420 Spotsylvania 9 19
Gordonsville 30 2013 75 Louisa 9 11
Chris Green 31 2014 62 Albemarle 7 13
Motts 32 2015 160 Spotsylvania 7 12
Beaver Creek 33 2014 104 Albemarle 6 4
Curtis 34 2012 91 Stafford 5 16
Smith 35 2007 250 Stafford 5 7
Lower Sherando 36 2011 26 Augusta 5 5
Northeast Creek 37 2013 187 Louisa 3 8
Albemarle 38 2015 35 Albemarle 3 3
Accotink 39 2009 90 Fairfax 2 10