Quantico MCB Ponds & Lakes
There are six fishing lakes on Quantico MCB, ranging in size from one to 477 acres. A base permit is required in addition to the proper state fishing license. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the U.S. Marine Corps cooperatively manage these lakes. Although an active military base owned by the Department of Defense, anglers properly licensed to fish Commonwealth waters need only a base permit (available for $5.00 from the Commanding General, NREA Branch-B046, 3250 Katlin Ave., Quantico, VA 22134-5001 or 703-784-5810) to fish Lunga and other MCBQ waters.
Lunga, the largest and most popular water body on base, was originally stocked in 1957 and 1958 with largemouth bass and bluegill. The USFWS stocked striped bass from 1977 1982, but this practice was discontinued due to shifts in management philosophy. Habitat for adult striped bass (cool water temperatures with adequate oxygen) is marginal in Lunga. A 1996 management plan for MCBQ identified the following important sportfish in the reservoir: largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish, warmouth, chain pickerel, channel catfish, brown bullhead and white perch. Additionally, walleye were stocked by VDGIF in a cooperative effort with MCBQ to establish a self-sustaining fishery. A walleye-spawning reef was constructed in 1992-1993, and walleye were stocked in 1990-1992 and 1996-2000.
The entire fishery, with emphasis on walleye, was sampled annually from 1992-1994 utilizing a variety of gears (day and night electrofishing, trap nets and gill nets), and a technical management report was compiled. These samples categorized Lunga as a healthy warmwater fishery (largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish and black crappie) with ample forage (gizzard shad) and potentially problematic populations of white perch and brown bullheads the latter two species tend to overpopulate and stunt in small reservoirs. Walleye catch rate was low, and no natural reproduction was evident.
Additional sampling was conducted annually from 1996 2000, except 1998. These samples were also taken by day and night electrofishing, gill netting and trap netting. Walleye were targeted, but data were gathered on other important fish species. Despite the stocking of over 274,000 walleye since 1990, only two individuals were captured during this five-year sampling period - one 23 fish taken from a gill net in 1996 and one 20 fish taken by electrofishing in 2000. It is unclear why catch rate was so low, but based on walleye evaluations in other Virginia reservoirs, it's possible to speculate. Population levels in many study lakes were not as high as perceived and stocking rates were increased in attempts to build stronger populations. It was also discovered that some of these small populations were composed of relatively few age groups even when fish had been stocked many years. These stocking failures were likely the result of environmental factors (abiotic such as weather events or biotic such as plankton availability) and/or predation of stocked fingerings. The VDGIF Walleye Committee recommended that walleye stockings at Lunga be discontinued.
Largemouth bass population evaluations were possible based on several of the electrofishing trips. These data (from 1997, 1999 and 2000), although collected years apart and during both day and night, suggest that the bass population was (and is) stable and of moderate quality (compared with other District waters). The number of stock-sized bass (those 8 and over) collected per hour of electrofishing ranged from 28 to 31. The variability of these data was extremely low and suggests that sampling was not biased. Furthermore, the number of large fish (those preferred or 15 and over) was greater during the latter two trips, which were made during spring, than in 1997 - when sampling was done in summer after dark. Indices used to describe population structure were nearly all unchanged from 1999 to 2000. Typically, in summer (even at night), many larger bass are in deep water where they are invulnerable to electrofishing. Thus, either the population structure improved in recent years (which is possible), or the 1999 and 2000 samples were more accurate (more likely). The number of preferred bass collected per hour of electrofishing was 10 in 1999 and 7 in 2000. These catch rates were close, given the nature of fisheries data and were not significantly different. Additionally, they ranked very closely with other reservoirs in Stafford County (e.g., Smith, Abel and Curtis) and were in the lower half of District waters. It is likely that these reservoirs (and the fisheries within them) are very similar based on geology and watershed productivity.
Electrofishing catch rates of bluegill changed greatly between 1999 and 2000, and it is unknown if this was due to sampling variability or changes in the population. However, the trends were somewhat indicative of a population shift perhaps a strong year class in 1999. Total catch rate increased from 18 to 107/hr, while the catch rate of quality (>6) fish rose (more moderately) from 5 to 10/hr. Overall population structure moved downward due to the number of fish below quality size. This bluegill population (with low catch of quality fish both years) was typical of a population in a larger, gizzard shad dominated reservoir.
Lunga is known to have excellent populations of channel catfish and chain pickerel the latter of which are somewhat hard to find in District waters. Black crappie and white perch were also abundant, and anglers are encouraged to harvest white perch to prevent overpopulation. They are easily caught on a variety of baits and are active earlier in the season than many other species.
Management plans for Lunga include future sampling by VDGIF and MCBQ personnel. Another status report should be available in late 2008 or 2009.