Briery Creek Lake - Fishing Opportunities
Briery Creek Lake is one of the most important largemouth bass fisheries in the state and biologists certainly treat it as such. Not only are annual electrofishing samples conducted, but creel surveys have also been used to gather information as well (angler effort, catch, harvest and attitudes and opinions on the fishery). Spring creel surveys (March thru May) are an effective method for following trends in fishing, particularly for trophy bass (greater than 22 inches). The creel data have given biologists the best information in evaluating this fishery and the trophy slot limits.
Overall, angler catch rates (number caught per hour of fishing) have remained remarkably consistent since 1999 (about 4 fish per 10 hours of fishing). This is a very good catch rate, particularly for the spring. What has varied is the catch rate of trophy bass which has declined due to Largemouth Bass Virus impacts and overcrowding of smaller bass. Recent catch rates for trophy bass has declined and efforts are underway to restore and improve this important aspect of the fishery.
The big bass are most vulnerable when they are shallow. For one, anglers can see them. But perhaps just as important, there is a lot less water to cover when they are hanging in 3-5 feet as opposed to 12-18 feet. Finally, the warmer water has them feeding a little more aggressively. When the water temps are less than 60, the big largemouth at Briery are mainly caught on big minnows or jigs. The creel data shows a similar trend to the citation data but is much more reliable.
The sooner the lake gets to 60 degrees, the sooner the fishing gets good. But it has to stay fairly constant. Anglers planning trips to Briery to target citation bass would be well served to shoot for the last week of March through April, but if it gets warm early, shoot for early April. Anglers are welcome to call the Farmville office or Worshams grocery for more information.
New bass regulations have already been initiated to address the reduction in trophy fish, we are collecting more 15-20 inch fish than ever before but still need to reduce some fish in the lower end of the slot limit. It will be exciting to follow these fish and see if we can continue to recruit new trophies each year. But for now, Briery is still one of the best waters in the state to chase 10 pound bass. But for those anglers who are not lucky enough to get a lunker, they should have a blast with 2-4 pound fish.