Chesdin Reservoir

Lake Chesdin is a 3,100-acre water supply reservoir on the Chesterfield-Dinwiddie County line administered by the Appomattox River Water Authority. Lake Chesdin is a very productive lake that offers excellent largemouth bass fishing, good crappie fishing (both black and white) in spring and fall, and a great channel catfish fishery. Recent walleye and striped bass stockings will eventually provide anglers with additional fishing opportunities. The abundant forage base, primarily in the form of gizzard shad, will hopefully aid in creating quality walleye and striped bass populations. Past striped bass stocking have shown positive results with experienced anglers catching striped bass up to 25 pounds.

The public boat ramp and handicap-accessible fishing pier are open 24 hours a day. There are three private marinas with boat ramps, rental boats, bait, tackle, camping, and picnicking.

Maps & Directions

From Richmond, take I-95 South to the Temple Ave exit in Colonial Heights, then turn left at light onto Temple Ave Westbound, turn left onto U.S. 1/301 South, follow approximately 1 mile turn right onto Dupuy Ave follow Dupuy Ave to light at Rt. 36. Turn right onto Rt. 36 West/River Road and follow through Matoaca to the private boat ramp on the North shore at Seven Springs Marina.
For South shore access and public boat landing:
Follow the above directions to Rt. 36, then turn left on Rt. 600 in Matoaca (Pickett Ave turning into Ferndale Road), turn right onto Rt.601 (River Road), turn onto Rt. 776 for the public boat landings or continue on Rt. 601 and follow signs to the private ramps at Whippernock (Rt. 623) Map and Cozy Cove Marinas on the south shore of the reservoir. Routes 601 and 623 can also be reached via U.S. Route 460, West of Petersburg.

Fishing Opportunities

Largemouth Bass

Historically, Lake Chesdin has been considered an excellent bass fishing lake. According to some anglers the bass fishing has gotten tougher recently. This may be due to a combination of things. First and foremost, on average, the weather has not been conducive to good fishing in recent years. We’ve had much higher than average rainfall which has caused water levels and water clarity to fluctuate regularly. Fishing for bass is generally better when conditions are somewhat stable for a period of days. Second, our sampling does indicate that the numbers of quality and preferred size bass in the lake has fallen since 1999. However, the electrofishing catch rates observed in 1999 were, by far, the highest ever seen. So, a drop-off in fishing success was expected. Electrofishing catch rates in 2005 still indicated that the population was, at least, moderately abundant. The size structure of the bass population was excellent again in 2005. Bass were common throughout their size range, and ten fish longer than 20 inches were collected. In addition, bass were very plump and healthy looking. Because the population remains solid and more than 99% of bass anglers are releasing their fish anyway, the Board of the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries approved removal of the 12-15-inch slot limit effective July 1, 2006. Department biologists will continue to monitor this population closely for any changes.

Crappie

Lake Chesdin has been known in the past for its crappie fishery. But, the average size of crappie appeared to have been declining in recent years. Sampling results were, however, better during fall, 2004 than fall, 2005. Even though sampling effort was lower in 2005, substantially more crappie were collected than in 2004. A total of 401crappie were collected in gill nets in 2005, and 19 of those exceeded 10 inches in length. Two were 13 inches long. Based on age data collected during 2004, growth rates were good through age 3, but were relatively anemic thereafter. Virtually no growth was observed after age 6, and 8 to 11-year-old crappie were only averaging approximately 8.5 inches in length. The most likely cause is the very abundant white perch population that has developed in Chesdin during the last 10 years. These fish are undoubtedly competing with crappie for food. Even so, the situation for crappie appeared to have improved some in 2005. Hopefully, this trend will continue.

Bluegill

Bluegill were again very abundant in Lake Chesdin in 2005. Unfortunately, their average size remains relatively small; we did not collect any over 7 inches. Given the abundance of potentially competitive species such as gizzard shad, pumpkinseed sunfish, white perch, and others in this lake, very little improvement in growth and size is expected in the future.

Walleye

Due to production constraints in recent years, walleye were only stocked in Chesdin when surplus fish were available. However, walleye survival has been good enough to produce numerous fish in the 4-7-pound range in gill net samples. As a result, the Department has decided to elevate Chesdin to a higher priority water for walleye stocking beginning in 2005. Anglers should see an increase in walleye abundance in the coming years. Six walleye up to seven pounds were collected in the gill nets in 2005.

Striped Bass

Lake Chesdin has never been known for its striped bass fishery, although an occasional large fish is caught (as evidenced by the capture of a 25-pound fish in one of our gill nets in 2005). This species is stocked annually. Gill netting has never produced a decent sample of stripers in any year since stocking began. Though they are elusive, they do support a small fishery in the lake. In the spring, some migrate up the Appomattox River on a spawning run and provide some unique angling opportunities upstream as far as the Farmville area.

Channel Catfish

Gill net sampling in both 2004 and 2005 revealed that Lake Chesdin has an awesome population of channel catfish. They were very abundant and excellent eating-size fish from 2-4 pounds were common. Numerous fish in the 4-6-pound range were also collected. These fish were typically very fat and healthy looking. Anglers are encouraged to take advantage of this under-utilized resource.

White Perch

White perch is another under-utilized species. They have become more abundant in Lake Chesdin during the last ten years, probably at the expense of the bluegill and crappie populations. In fact, they were the most abundant fish in the gill nets during fall, 2004, and third most abundant in fall, 2005. White perch are common everywhere in the lake, and they are easy to catch on worms or grass-shrimp. If you want to try catching them on artificial bait, use something small like a 1/16-oz lead-head twister-tail or tube jig because they have small mouths. A few of the perch in gill net samples exceeded 10 inches. If you’ve never eaten white perch, try it, it’s delicious!

Biologist Reports

Regulations

Largemouth Bass

  • No length limits
  • 5 per day in the aggregate

Bluegill / Sunfish

  • No length limits
  • 50 per day in the aggregate

Striped Bass

  • 4 per day
  • No Fish Less Than 20 Inches

Channel Catfish

  • No length limits
  • 20 per day

Crappie

  • No length limits
  • 25 per day

Walleye

  • No Length Limits
  • 5 per day

White Perch

  • No Creel Limits
  • No Length Limits

Facilities

Lake Chesdin has a public boat ramp and fishing pier located just upstream of the dam (see the map and directions section). There is a large parking lot, porta-johns, and a very nice launching pier with a boat ramp on either side of it.

There are also three fee ramps around the lake that have a variety of facilities including concessions, rental boats, picnic tables, etc.

Cozy Cove Marina
713 Sutherland Road
Church Road, VA, 23833
Phone: (804)-265-9000.

Whippernock Marina & Campground
2700 Sutherland Road
Sutherland, VA, 23885
Phone: (804)-265-5252.

Seven Springs Marina & Store
8631 River Road
Petersburg, VA
Phone: (804)-590-3671.

News

The fish lift in Brasfield Dam (a.k.a. Lake Chesdin Dam) may be operational for the first time during spring, 2006 if anadromous fish are found in the River immediately downstream. It is hoped that a good spring fishery for American shad and/or river herring may develop in the upper river if spawning runs improve over time.

More Information

Additional information may be requested from:

Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries
Ashland Fisheries Biologist
4010 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23230
Phone: (804) 305-8940