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
Chesdin 1 2016 3,100 Chesterfield 47 65
Western Branch 2 2016 1,579 Suffolk 46 78
Prince 3 2016 777 Suffolk 36 62
Gardy’s Millpond 4 2016 75 Northumberland 35 54
Meade 5 2016 512 Suffolk 34 68
Lakeview 6 2016 42 Colonial Heights 34 41
Sandy Bottom Pond 7 2016 12 City of Hampton 33 70
Cohoon 8 2015 510 Suffolk 33 43
Wilcox Lake 9 2016 22 City of Petersburg 29 59
Diascund 10 2016 1,110 James City 29 48
Southern (Lone Star Lks) 11 2016 25 Suffolk 28 55
Chickahominy Lake 12 2016 1,230 New Kent 27 43
Burnt Mills 13 2015 610 Isle of Wight 24 37
Beaverdam Swamp 14 2016 635 Gloucester 24 32
Oak Grove 15 2016 70 Chesapeake 21 52
Lee Hall Reservoir 16 2015 230 Newport News 20 46
Big Bethel Reservoir 17 2014 207 City of Hampton 19 64
Woodstock Pond 18 2014 7.5 York 18 21
Smith 19 2012 222 Virginia Beach 17 38
Waller Mill 20 2015 360 York 17 24
Butler Tract (Lone Star Lks) 21 2015 42 Suffolk 16 33
Swift Creek Reservoir 22 2016 1,700 Chesterfield 16 30
Stumpy Lake 23 2015 278 Virginia Beach 12 100
Harwood’s Mill 24 2016 265 York 12 44
Northwest River Park 25 2016 7 City of Chesapeake 10 50
Little Creek 26 2016 947 James City 10 36
Speight’s Run 27 2011 197 Suffolk 10 26
Trashmore 28 2014 52 Virginia Beach 9 38
Swift Creek Lake 29 2015 156 Chesterfield 8 17
Echo Lake 30 2016 12 Henrico 6 14
Back Bay 31 2016 22,000 Virginia Beach 5 27
Airfield 32 2014 62 Sussex 3 18
Finger (Lone Star Lakes) 33 2015 22 Suffolk 3 14
Emporia 34 2015 210 Emporia 1 12
Harrison Lake 35 2015 82 Charles City 1 12

Region II (South-central)

Reservoir Rank Year Size (ac) County CPUE-P RSD-P
Burton 1 2016 76 Pittsylvania 88 77
Briery Creek 2 2016 845 Prince Edward 51 41
Conner 3 2016 110 Halifax 46 40
Fairystone 4 2015 168 Patrick 45 48
Horsepen 5 2016 19 Buckingham 37 39
Sandy River 6 2016 740 Prince Edward 30 54
Smith Mountain 7 2016 20,600 Bedford, Franklin 28 47
Carvins Cove 8 2016 630 Roanoke 28 35
Leesville 9 2015 3,400 Pitts., Bedford 24 45
Bear Creek 10 2015 42 Cumberland 24 21
Gordon 11 2016 157 Mecklenburg 23 39
Nottoway (Lee Lake) 12 2015 188 Nottoway 22 19
Kerr (Buggs Island) 13 2016 48,900 Mecklenburg 20 38
Stonehouse 14 2015 41 Amherst 18 14
Mill Creek 15 2016 189 Amherst 18 11
Philpott 16 2016 2,880 Henry, Patrick 14 24
Modest Creek 17 2015 29 Lunenburg 14 22
Nottoway Falls 18 2015 60 Lunenburg 11 36
Victoria Reservoir 19 2016 15 Lunenburg 11 17
Amelia 20 2016 100 Amelia 11 15
Nelson 21 2016 40 Nelson 11 6
Brunswick 22 2016 150 Brunswick 10 20
Prince Edward (TLSP) 23 2016 27 Prince Edward 10 7
Thrasher 24 2015 36 Amherst 9 10
Great Creek 25 2015 212 Brunswick 8 14
Holliday 26 2015 145 Buckingham 8 7
Slate River Watershed 27 2015 38 Buckingham 4 18
Goodwin (TLSP) 28 2016 13 Prince Edward 4 4
Bannister 29 2015 400 Halifax 3 6
Martinsville 30 2016 175 Henry 1 2

Region III (Southwest)

Reservoir Rank Year Size (ac) County CPUE-P RSD-P
Rural Retreat 1 2016 90 Wythe 37 45
Gatewood 2 2013 162 Pulaski 36 29
North Fork Pound 3 2016 154 Wise 25 37
South Holston 4 2016 7,580 Washington 19 63
Lovill’s Creek 5 2013 55 Carroll 17 19
Lake Witten 6 2016 52 Tazewell 12 27
Claytor 7 2014 4,363 Pulaski 10 46
Hungry Mother 8 2016 108 Smyth 10 20
Flannagan 9 2016 1,143 Dickenson 8 25
Hidden Valley 10 2015 62 Washington 8 15
Keokee 11 2016 92 Lee 3 4
Bark Camp 12 2016 48 Scott 1 1

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 2016 50 Fluvanna 42 51
Frederick 6 2016 117 Frederick 39 24
Powhatan (lower) 7 2015 37 Powhatan 31 62
Ni 8 2013 411 Spotsylvania 31 49
Silver 9 2012 25 Prince William 29 18
Rivanna River 10 2016 450 Albemarle 27 31
Robertson 11 2016 26 Rockbridge 25 9
Fairfax 12 2008 28 Fairfax 22 31
Powhatan (upper) 13 2015 34 Powhatan 21 46
Anna 14 2016 9,600 Spotsylvania 20 54
Shenandoah 15 2016 36 Rockingham 20 12
Laura 16 2014 44 Shenandoah 20 9
Gordonsville 17 2016 75 Louisa 18 20
Toiter Creek 18 2014 66 Albemarle 17 37
Brittle 19 2016 77 Fauquier 17 24
Arrowhead 20 2016 34 Page 16 13
Ragged Mountain 21 2016 170 Albemarle 14 26
Walnut Creek 22 2014 45 Albemarle 14 16
Ruffin’s Mill 23 2013 130 Spotsylvania 13 41
Breckinridge 24 2006 47 Stafford 12 9
Lunga 25 2005 477 Stafford 11 13
Orange 26 2015 124 Orange 11 9
Motts 27 2016 160 Spotsylvania 10 34
Abel 28 2014 185 Stafford 10 14
Beaverdam Creek 29 2016 350 Loudoun 9 75
Mountain Run 30 2016 75 Culpeper 9 17
Chris Green 31 2014 62 Albemarle 7 13
Moomaw 32 2016 2,530 Bath 6 31
Beaver Creek 33 2014 104 Albemarle 6 4
Hunting Run 34 2016 420 Spotsylvania 5 45
Smith 35 2007 250 Stafford 5 7
Lower Sherando 36 2011 26 Augusta 5 5
Rocky Pen 37 2016 520 Stafford 4 13
Albemarle 38 2015 35 Albemarle 3 3
Accotink 39 2009 90 Fairfax 2 10
Curtis 40 2016 91 Stafford 2 9
Northeast Creek 41 2016 187 Louisa 1 5
Northeast Creek 42 2016 187 Louisa 1 5