Lake Frederick - Fishing Opportunities
The largemouth bass population is excellent with many fish in the 2-4 pound range available to anglers. Lake Frederick has historically produced the best quality largemouth bass fishery in the Shenandoah Valley. Anglers have wrestled largemouths up to 10 pounds from the lake in recent years. Some of these trophy bass have also been released back to fight another day. Reproduction appears to be very stable, and good numbers of bass 12-18" representing the bulk of the fishery.** Compared to bass from more southern latitudes, largemouth in Lake Frederick exhibit slow growth rates. It takes around 6 growing seasons for a bass to reach 14" in Lake Frederick. The primary forage for largemouth bass are numerous small bluegill and black crappie. The fact that Frederick produces bass up to 10 lbs is proof that a pelagic forage species need not be present to grow large fish. The clear water of Lake Frederick often makes it difficult to catch bass. Bass often become suspended in the submerged standing timber that surrounds much of the shoreline. Anglers need to fish different depths until they locate fish. Night fishing during the summer months can also be productive. Some of the largest bass are caught during the pre-spawn in the months of March and April.
The quality largemouth bass population is beneficial to the sunfish population. By preying upon small sunfish and keeping their numbers low, bass help to produce "hand-sized" bluegill and redear sunfish. If you are looking to catch a "citation" sized sunfish then head to Lake Frederick. It is the only lake in the region that produces good numbers of large sunfish. Anglers have been successful using live bait such as crickets and red worms to catch these "whopper" panfish.
We have not done any specific sampling targeting crappie in recent years, but the population appears to be healthy. Crappie numbers are stable and fish of harvestable size (8-10") are available to anglers. Anglers should focus on the breast of the dam and around the fishing pier in the spring when water temperatures reach the mid 50's. Live minnows and small jigs should be the best baits.
Channel catfish are stocked annually be the Department. Some bruisers up to 30lbs have been taken from Lake Frederick in recent years. Catfish anglers should use cut bait, nightcrawlers, or commercial catfish baits to entice these "whisker fish".