2014 Walleye Fishing Forecast
- South West Virginia
- South Central Virginia
- Northern Virginia
- Eastern Virginia
- More Information
South West Virginia
Upper New River
Walleye fishing on the Upper New River from Fries Dam downstream to Allisonia should be good in 2014. Catch rates of walleye from sampling in 2013 were good, which should translate into good catch rates this year. Anglers catch most walleye in the Upper New River from February to April, but walleye are also caught throughout the year. Crankbaits, jigs, and live minnows work well for catching walleye during the late winter and spring season. Ivanhoe, Foster Falls, and Allisonia are all good areas to fish. During spring 2013 walleye sampling, 60% of the walleye collected were between 14 and 19 inches and 40% were between 19 and 28 inches. While anglers will have to return 19 to 28 inch walleye under the spring season size limit (explained below) they should catch plenty of walleye under 19 inches.
When you fish for walleye on the Upper New River, follow these size and creel limits:
- From Buck Dam downstream to Claytor Lake Dam: From February 1 through May 31: All walleye 19 to 28 inches caught must be released unharmed. Anglers may keep 2 walleye per day less than 19 inches or over 28 inches. From June 1 through January 31: A 20-inch minimum length limit with a five per day creel limit is in effect.
This regulation allows anglers to harvest a few smaller male walleyes (typically less than 19 inches) or a trophy female walleye (typically greater than 28 inches) while protecting the best spawning-size walleyes during the spring months. In 2012 and 2013, no walleye were stocked in the New River to assess whether this population is naturally reproducing. In 2013 sampling, we only collected one naturally reproduced walleye in the Upper New River. Sampling in spring 2014 will assess whether any walleye naturally reproduced in 2013. Since it appears that walleye are not successfully reproducing, walleye will be stocked again in 2014.
- From Fries Dam downstream to Buck Dam: A 20-inch minimum length limit for walleye, with a 5 per day creel limit is in effect year-round. This regulation is designed to protect the walleye population stocked in Byllesby Reservoir that runs upstream to Fries Dam.
Biologists tagged walleyes in the Upper New River from 2008 to 2012 as part of a statewide walleye research project. A cash reward of 20 dollars will still be offered for the return of these tags with catch information. Anglers can remove the tag by cutting through the monofilament attachment with scissors or a knife. The fish can then be released or harvested (the length limits listed above apply). Return the tag and catch information to the address printed on the tag. Catch information includes: date, time and general location of catch, "Was the fish harvested or released?", "Were you fishing for walleyes?", and "Did you catch other walleyes on this fishing trip?"
South Holston Reservoir
South Holston should provide excellent walleye fishing in 2014. Biologists collected 100 walleye in sampling efforts in 2013. Of these, 48% were 18 inches or larger, and 26% of the walleye collected were 20 inches or larger. Anglers can expect good catches during the spring river run on the South Fork Holston River. Anglers congregate near the community of Alvarado from February through April to catch walleyes on the spring spawning "run". During May and June anglers find walleyes feeding along the shorelines of the lake. The post spawn top water bite in the lower lake will yield the best walleye fishing Virginia has to offer. When walleyes move deeper during the summer months, successful anglers troll crawler harnesses on lead core line or use jigging spoons to reach the depths. Fall and winter fishing call for jigging spoons or jigs and live minnows. Walleye growth is outstanding, so anglers should find plenty of fish larger than the minimum size of 18 inches. Anglers who have discovered techniques that work, and have the willpower to endure the heat of summer and the cold of winter, are catching walleyes year-round.
The overall abundance of walleyes in Flannagan is good. There are some nice walleyes to be caught and walleye fishing is producing limits for anglers willing to target them. Walleye continue to be stocked every year, and they exhibit tremendous growth. Biologists collected 157 walleye in sampling efforts during 2013, and 47% of the walleye collected were 18 inches or larger with 14%, 20 inches or larger. Anglers can expect good catches during the spring river run in the Cranesnest River, and post spawn walleye are great for night top water action. Summer trolling for walleye in the main lake is productive and continues to grow in popularity. There is an 18-inch minimum size limit in effect for Flannagan Reservoir.
Hungry Mother Lake
This 108-acre lake provides anglers with a great opportunity to catch walleyes in a small lake setting. Located in Hungry Mother State Park, the lake is also a great destination for families. The walleye population is stable or slightly increasing. There are good numbers of fish up to 20 inches, and just enough bigger ones to cause anglers to lose some sleep this summer. Walleyes up to 28 inches in length have been landed in recent years. April, May and June are the three best months, and night fishing is generally more productive. Most anglers use artificial lures, but live shad, minnows and night crawlers are also very effective.
The Clinch River will provide some good walleye fishing in 2014. Walleye are native to the Clinch River, and are available in low densities throughout most of the river. Walleye fishing is improving as the walleye population continues to be enhanced through stocking. Walleye collected in the 2012 samples ranged from 17 to 21 inches. Late winter and early spring time is the best time to target walleye. Anglers should focus their efforts at the times and locations that concentrate walleyes. Walleyes often congregate in pools just below significant ledges and shoals during daylight hours, and then move into shallow water at dusk. Another good location is where a creek enters the river.
South Central Virginia
The 2014 fishing season for walleye at Leesville Reservoir will be challenging but similar to previous years. This fishery supports a fair number of larger fish but the overall numbers of walleye are very low compared to other Virginia walleye lakes. Limited walleye available for stocking in recent years has resulted in a modest stocking rate for Leesville Reservoir. As a consequence, the walleye population at Leesville is much lower than desired.
The bulk of the walleye population is in the 18 to 21 inch size range with an occasional fish in the 5 to 6 pound range. Walleye at Leesville have good growth rates and typically reach 18 inches between their second and third year. Approximately 35% of the walleye over 18 inches in length are at least 20 inches and about 5% of the population is over 22 inches.
The most productive walleye fishing is typically between Leesville Dam and mile marker 6. Night fishing in May and June with floating or shallow running plugs cast to the shoreline should not be overlooked. Walleye often frequent water less than 2 feet deep during these dark spring and early summer hours. During daylight hours, fish the shoreline contour targeting depths of 5 to 15 feet. Walleye are very light sensitive and prefer dark or shaded habitat. As a consequence, these fish will frequent shallower depths if the water is shaded or stained but will remain deeper during the day if the water is clear. Rock cliffs and steeper shorelines should be the most productive with some coves also holding additional walleye. As water temperatures increase in late spring and throughout the summer, walleye move deeper seeking cooler water and become most active during nighttime hours.
Leesville can be a challenge to fish due to extreme daily water fluctuations but anglers who spend time learning productive walleye angling techniques for Leesville and concentrate on areas and habitat that hold walleye may encounter a number of these elusive fish. Leesville Reservoir experiences very light fishing pressure and can provide solitude for anglers looking to avoid crowds and boating traffic.
Walleye fishing at Philpott Reservoir should be very good again in 2014 with one of the better walleye populations in Virginia. This fishery has been stable and consistent for the past six years and the 2013 gill net sampling catch rates were the second highest recorded for Philpott Reservoir. Most legal size walleye are between 18 to 20 inches. This fishery does not contain many large fish due to heavy angling pressure but does support good numbers. Walleye reach 18 inches at about 3 years of age and most male walleye grow very slowly after reaching this size. Female walleye typically grow well for another few years with some achieving larger sizes.
Anglers who spend time learning angling techniques that are productive for walleye, find areas that are productive, and fish in the late May through September period should have successful fishing trips. Top water night fishing is very popular and productive in May and June during the alewife spawn. By late June, walleye start moving into deeper water and are caught on nightcrawler harnesses and plugs trolled in deeper water. As water temperatures increase throughout the summer, walleye continue to move deeper seeking cooler water. Anglers must fish deeper throughout the summer or fish at night to capitalize on this fishery. Catching a few walleye per outing should be considered good and catching a limit of five walleye, a very good trip. Approximately 28% of the legal size walleye are at least 20 inches and about 5% of the population is over 22 inches. Occasionally walleye are caught in the 6 to 8 pound range.
Biologists periodically tagged walleyes in Philpott Reservoir between 2002-2011 as part of a statewide study. A cash reward of 20 dollars is offered for the return of the tag and catch information for walleye tagged since 2009. Anglers can remove the tag by cutting through the monofilament attachment with scissors or a knife. The fish can then be released or harvested (minimum length limits apply). Return the tag and catch information to the address printed on the tag. Catch information includes: date, time and general location of catch, "Was the fish harvested or released?", "Were you fishing for walleyes?", and "Did you catch other walleyes on this fishing trip?" There are a few walleye still remaining that were tagged prior to 2009. These fish have abdominal orange tags and the reward for these tags varies from $5 to $50. Walleye tagged in 2009 and 2010 will have tags located near the dorsal (top) fin. Return the same information mentioned above with all tags collected.
Lake Brittle continues to be one of the best places in the northern Virginia piedmont to catch a walleye. Angler's targeting walleye report good success at this small impoundment with most fish caught in the 2 to 3 pound range and the occasional fish up to 5 pounds. Fisheries sampling continues to document good survival of stocked walleye fingerlings and a strong population of walleye up to age-5 reside in Lake Brittle. Recent data from the ongoing tagging study has shown that angler catch and harvest rates for walleye are higher than previously thought and as a result an 18 inch minimum size limit was put into effect during 2009. Angler success seems to be the highest during the late spring and early summer.
Biologists will continue tagging walleyes again in 2014 at Lake Brittle as part of an ongoing tagging study to evaluate stocking densities in small impoundments. A cash reward of 20 dollars is offered for the return of the tag and catch information. Anglers can remove the tag by cutting through the monofilament attachment with a knife or scissors. The fish can then be released or harvested. Return the tag and catch information to the address printed on the tag. Catch information includes: date, general location of catch, "Was the fish harvested or released?", "Were you fishing for walleyes?", and "Did you catch any other walleyes on this fishing trip?"
Burke Lake is located in Fairfax County a stone's throw from Washington D.C. Anglers in pursuit of walleye can expect to find most fish in the 2 to 3 pound range, with some fish as large as 7 pounds. An 18 inch minimum size limit is in place at Burke.
Burke Lake is also included in a tagging study that began in 2014 to evaluate stocking densities in small impoundments. A cash reward of 20 dollars is offered for the return of the tag and catch information. Anglers can remove the tag by cutting through the monofilament attachment with a knife or scissors. The fish can then be released or harvested. Return the tag and catch information to the address printed on the tag. Catch information includes: date, general location of catch, "Was the fish harvested or released?", "Were you fishing for walleyes?", and "Did you catch any other walleyes on this fishing trip?"
Anglers hoping to catch a decent walleye while fishing for multiple species should look no further than Lake Orange. Walleye have been stocked into this northern piedmont impoundment for years, and current management includes annual stockings of walleye fingerlings. Generally, survival of stocked fingerlings is good and the current age structure is comprised of fish up to age-15, with most of the population less than age-8. Walleye growth at Orange is fast to age-4, averaging 20 inches and 3 pounds, but growth slows beyond age-4 with fish seldom reaching 26 inches. Anglers occasionally catch walleye in the 6 to 8 pound range. Most walleyes are caught during the late spring and early summer by anglers fishing Lake Orange for bass, although a few anglers do specifically fish for walleyes at this location. Anglers should also be aware that an 18 inch minimum size limit was placed on all walleyes caught at Lake Orange during 2009.
Lake Orange is included in the walleye tagging study to evaluate stocking densities in small impoundments that begins in 2014. A cash reward of 20 dollars is offered for the return of the tag and catch information. Anglers can remove the tag by cutting through the monofilament attachment with a knife or scissors. The fish can then be released or harvested. Return the tag and catch information to the address printed on the tag. Catch information includes: date, general location of catch, "Was the fish harvested or released?", "Were you fishing for walleyes?", and "Did you catch any other walleyes on this fishing trip?"
Little Creek Reservoir
Little Creek Reservoir is a 947-acre water supply impoundment for the City of Newport News located within James City County. The reservoir provides a great opportunity for anglers to try their luck at catching walleyes. The recent stocking efforts have shown positive steps at strengthening the walleye population. Little Creek Reservoir typically receives 94,700 walleye fingerlings each May. The walleye fingerlings are stocked in a pelagic manner in 32 areas to allow for greater dispersal. DGIF hatcheries were extremely successful in producing walleye fingerlings in 2013. The surplus of walleye fingerlings allowed for Little Creek Reservoir to receive 122,400 walleye fingerlings on May 13, 2013.
The 2013 fishing season saw some of the best action for walleyes at Little Creek Reservoir. Several of the die-hard walleye anglers that used to fish Lake Whitehurst back in the day have taken their fishing knowledge and skills to Little Creek Reservoir. Their recent results have been rather successful after spending enough time on the water to figure out a few successful patterns that work on this deep, clear reservoir. The majority of reported walleyes have been in 2 to 4 pound range. Anglers were able to catch and report 3 citation-sized walleyes from Little Creek Reservoir in 2013. Some of the best walleye action has come from anglers that slow troll their baits in the 15 to 20 foot depth range within the western half of the reservoir. Additional success has been found from anglers using deep diving crank baits originally intended for largemouth bass. One of the keys to fishing on Little Creek Reservoir is to concentrate on the deeper edges in and around the numerous points that line the shoreline. Little Creek Reservoir is a trolling motor use only reservoir. Some of the Little Creek regulars come equipped with three to four batteries and two to three trolling motors to race to some of their favorite areas quite some distance from the boat ramp.
The 2013 spring electrofishing survey provided a high level of excitement with the collection of 41 walleyes for a catch rate of 33.5 walleyes/hr. The catch rate reflected the large concentration of walleyes that congregate along the southern shoreline of the reservoir in their classic pre-spawn pattern. There are no large tributaries that flow into Little Creek Reservoir so the walleyes will target various rock shelves in their attempt to spawn. The collected walleyes ranged from 16 to 24 inches with the average length at 20 inches. The average weight was 2.6 lbs with the largest walleye weighed at 5 pounds. The fall electrofishing survey was not as successful as the spring survey as the walleye population tends to scatter into different areas. Collected fall walleyes were in the 2 to 4 pound range. DGIF biologists have tagged all walleyes collected over the last couple of years as part of the state wide tagging study. Some of the tagged walleyes have been caught and reported. Anglers that catch a white-colored, reward tag can receive a $20 reward after the tag is returned with some catch information.
The surplus production of walleye fingerlings in 2013 benefitted several Region 1 impoundments. Lake Chesdin received over 57,000 walleye fingerlings on May 20, 2013. Lake Chesdin also benefitted from the stocking of 109,440 saugeye fingerlings on May 14, 2013. The saugeye fingerlings are a cross between a walleye and sauger. The saugeye fingerlings were stocked into 36 pelagic locations within the eastern half of the lake. The eventual goal of these stocked walleyes and saugeyes will be to produce decent populations for anglers to enjoy. The abundant gizzard shad population within Lake Chesdin will provide a substantial forage base for the walleyes and saugeyes once they reach a size they can fully utilize this great source of protein. The 2014 stocking allocation for Lake Chesdin will hopefully yield another round of saugeyes.
Waller Mill and Harwoods Mill Reservoirs
The 2013 stocking season allowed for the stocking of walleye fingerlings into Waller Mill Reservoir and Harwoods Mill Reservoir in York County. Waller Mill Reservoir is 360 acres in size and supports a healthy gizzard population. Harwoods Mill Reservoir is 265 acres in size and provides some deeper water in the lower reservoir basin that might congregate stocked walleyes. DGIF biologists will be sampling these waters in 2014 to see if these waters show any positive signs of blossoming walleye fisheries. Anglers are reminded that the regulations for walleyes and saugeyes on these waters fall under an 18" minimum size limit with a bag limit of 5 fish/day. It will most likely take a few years to reach the magic mark of 18 inches, but hopefully it will be well worth it.
For more information, contact the following offices:
|Leesville and Philpott Reservoirs||Forest Office: (434) 525-7522|
|Lakes Orange, Burke, and Brittle||Fredericksburg Office: (540) 889-4169|
|Upper New River and Clinch River,
South Holston Reservoir,
Hungry Mother Lake
|Marion Office: (276) 783-4860|
|Little Creek Reservoir and Chesdin||Charles City Office: (804) 829-6580|