Clifton Forge Reservoir - Fishing Opportunities


Catchable size rainbow trout are stocked eight times annually: twice inthe fall, once in winter, and five times in the spring. Bank fishing for trout at Clifton Forge Reservoir usually entails the use of live bait (worms), or artifical bait such as salmon eggs, corn, or commercially made stink bait.


Oddly enough, bluegill were not found in this lake prior to 2000. Bluegill are the most commonly found sunfish across Virginia, providing a food source for predators and an active sport fish for kids. Instead, the redbreast sunfish, typically a river dweller, is found instead. Redbreast sunfish are not found in large numbers or in great size. The other sunfish family member found in Clifton Forge Reservoir is the black crappie. Introduced by fishermen, black crappie are stunted in the lake. Because of a limited food supply and their ability to reproduce themselves out of house and home, black crappie in this lake are slow growing and small (6-10 inches long). Panfish can be best located near beaver lodges, fallen trees, and brush piles.

Channel Catfish

Adult channel catfish were stocked by the Forest Service in 1997 to provide additional angling opportunities at Clifton Forge Reservoir. Additional stockings of channel catfish have taken place in 2002 and 2003. Channel catfish up to 20 inches have been sampled by DGIF biologists. Channel catfish can be taken in a manner similar to fishing for trout in the lake. Live bait, especially, nightcrawlers, are very effective in hooking up with a large catfish.