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Stonehouse Lake - Fishing Opportunities

Largemouth Bass

Stonehouse Lake has consistently maintained one of the best bass fisheries for a small impoundment in the region. The bass population supports good numbers and sizes that is unusual for a lake of this size. The previous 12-15 inch slot limit was successful at maintaining this great fishery by protecting bass that made it to the slot limit and allowing a few bass to grow large enough to qualify for the Virginia Angler Recognition Program (minimum of 22 inches or 8 lbs.). However; as this lakes notoriety as a big bass producer and angler pressure increased, the number of citation size bass plummeted. In an effort to reduce the harvest of these exceptional fish and allow this trophy fishery to continue into the future, regulations were changed in 2013 to a 14-22 inch protective slot limit.

Largemouth bass collected during electrofishing surveys. The top row is the inch group and the bottom row is the number of fish collected per hour of electrofishing in each size group.
Size (Inches)121314151617181920212223
20111216127322512100
20081763440636011
20054101140432300
2003688206440644

Crappie

The Crappie population has remained fairly stable for several years and this lake generally has more consistent crappie fishing than most small area lakes. However, crappie are one of the most susceptible species to cyclic population trends. Crappie routinely have good and bad years when it comes to spawning success which causes fluctuations in the crappie population. This pattern is typical in small lakes and is expected to continue but less dramatic at Stonehouse Lake than most other small regional lakes.

Current crappie numbers are good but this population does get a considerable amount of pressure and harvest. Most Crappie are harvested between 8-9 inches. A 9-inch minimum size limit was initiated in 2013 to moderately improve the size of fish harvested and reduce the impacts of variable reproduction.

Crappie collected during electrofishing surveys. The top row is the inch group and the bottom row is the number of fish collected per hour of electrofishing in each size group.
Size (Inches)67891011
20115721256
20081747272393
200519922611
2003481625130

Sunfish

The sunfish population is dominated by bluegill. The bluegill population has maintained good numbers of quality-size fish. Redear sunfish are present but in low numbers so their contribution to the sunfish population is limited. However, the few redear sunfish that are available average larger sizes than the bluegill offering the largest sunfish options for this lake.

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Sunfish collected during electrofishing surveys. The top row is the inch group and the bottom row is the number of fish collected per hour of electrofishing in each size group.
Size (Inches)45678910
201117376737658667
2008257143869934215
200510844104801240
200393573015330