Gardy’s Millpond is a 75-acre impoundment located in a tranquil setting along the Westmoreland and Northumberland county line in northeast Virginia. A new dam was built there soon after Hurricane Bob caused severe damage to the structural integrity of the impoundment in 1985. The pond was subsequently stocked with fish and re-opened to public fishing in 1990.
The pond is relatively shallow with an average depth of about 4 feet. The upstream portion of the impoundment is swampy in nature and the shoreline is largely forested. If you’re looking to get away from it all and find a quiet spot to fish, this is it. The shallow nature of the pond allows for extensive cover of lily pads along the shoreline. Many species that inhabit Gardy’s Millpond will use the cover of the lily pads for protection and for an ambush point to find food. The lily pads to the right of the boat ramp are good spots for redear sunfish and bluegills.
A portion of Route 617 cuts across the top of the dam for Gardy’s Millpond. The boat ramp area is located just off of Route 617 after you cross the over the dam.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) will require an Access Permit for visitors to department-owned Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and public fishing lakes, who are age 17 and older, unless they possess a valid Virginia hunting, freshwater fishing, or trapping license, or a current Virginia boat registration. Learn more about the Access Permit.
Maps & Directions
The pond is located on route 617 off route 202, about 3 miles northwest of Callao.
Department fisheries biologists sampled Gardy’s Millpond on May 6, 2008. The sample revealed a high diversity with 13 fish species collected. The survey was not as exciting as past years, but the majority of action came from the largemouth bass, bluegills and redear sunfish. These species will primarily provide most of the action for anglers that fish Gardy’s Millpond.
The largemouth bass population appears to be reasonably balanced when looking at the overall size structure of collected bass. The one large area of concern is the severe change in catch rate from the 2007 to 2008 surveys. The 2007 catch rate of 176.5 bass/hr was incredible and might have been the result of perfect timing when the bass are starting to pair up for the spawn. The 2008 survey showed a completely different picture with a catch rate of 71/hr. The bass ranged in size from 4.5 to 20.5 inches in length. There were 36 bass that were of quality-size (12 inches or greater). A high proportion of the bass were in the 11 – 16 inch range. Anglers can expect the bass to feed primarily upon the sunfish that are present. Some of the larger bass in the system might be tempted to try their luck at chasing down the gizzard shad that are present.
The survey collected a total of 219 bluegills over the course of 2 sample runs. The expanded catch rate of 328.5 bluegills/hr is slightly higher than the 2007 survey (304/hr). The bluegills ranged in size from 1 to 8.5 inches. A large percentage of the bluegills were less than 6 inches in length. It appears that the 2007 bluegill year class was very successful. There was an abundance of bluegills in the 1 to 2 inch range. Although these fish will not excite anglers, their presence is appreciated by fisheries biologists. These smaller bluegills will provide the essential forage base needed by the 8 to 12 inch bass. It appears that the successful spawn of 2007 has helped to stabilize the recruitment into the bluegill population.
The redear sunfish population appears to be in decent condition. A total of 41 redear sunfish (61.5/hr) were collected with a high proportion of the sample consisting of fish in the 7 to 10 inch range. The 2008 catch rate is down from the 2007 survey (73/hr). This may be a reflection of the variability of sampling from year to year or the result of increased angler harvest. The majority of the redear sunfish were found along the shoreline of the northern creek arm.
The electrofishing survey revealed a decreased abundance of black crappies with only 18 collected. This total is well below the 2007 survey that collected 38 crappies. The schooling nature of black crappies makes for a hit or miss situation when it comes to encountering them during your typical shoreline electrofishing. The 2008 size distribution ranged from 4.5 to 11.5 inches with the majority in the 6 to 8 inch range. Five of the 18 crappies were over ten inches in length.
The sample revealed a decreased catch rate of chain pickerel with 17 collected (17/hr). This catch rate falls below the 2007 survey (21.8/hr). The 2008 size distribution consisted of small fish ranging in size from 2 to 17 inches. Anglers are reminded that chain pickerel are part of the aquatic ecosystem and serve a purpose in the food web. Anglers should not kill chain pickerel just because they don’t like them. Some anglers actually prefer to catch chain pickerel over largemouth bass. Five of the chain pickerel collected were actually YOY (Young of Year) from the 2008 spawn. They measured an average of 2 inches in length at the time of sampling.
The sample collected a variety of other species in limited abundance. Those species were: brown bullhead (9), yellow perch (9), American eel (13), gizzard shad (2), creek chubsuckers (15), common carp (1), golden shiner (1) and warmouth (4). These species may provide some excitement for anglers from time to time.
- No outboard engines allowed, electric motors only.
- The pond is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
- Statewide regulations apply for all fish species
All other regulations are as stated in the Virginia Freshwater Fishing Regulations Digest.
Facilities include a boat ramp and courtesy pier.
DGIF fisheries biologists conducted an electrofishing survey of Gardy’s Millpond on May 6, 2008. This sample was used to determine the status of the fishery as it continues to bounce back from the draw down of 2005/2006. The survey consisted of three sample runs along the shoreline. The first two runs were a complete community sample and took one hour of electrofishing time. The third run collected only largemouth bass, black crappies and chain pickerel. The catch rates of these species are adjusted to reflect the increased effort. The survey collected only 71 largemouth bass over the hour of sampling effort. This catch rate showed a major decline from the unbelievable 2007 survey that yielded 227 bass for a catch rate of 176/hr. In comparison to past years, the 2008 catch rate is still below the 2006 survey (129.4 bass/hr). Gardy’s Millpond is a shallow water body and there are not that many places for the fish to hide. One can only hope that the majority of the bass were in a post-spawn pattern and holding on the outside edges of cover.
The 2008 survey revealed an increase in the catch rate of bluegills. A decent number of 6 to 8 inch bluegills were collected. The increased abundance of young bluegills in the 1 – 3 inch range will assist the bass in providing a forage base for the average sized bass. The survey revealed a decline in the black crappie catch rate when compared to the 2007 survey. The majority of the black crappies were in the 6 to 8 inch range with a few 10 to 11 inch crappies. The redear sunfish population is still producing some quality fish in the 8 – 10 inch range. The catch rate of chain pickerel (17/hr) was less than the 2007 survey (21.8/hr).
Past News and Reports of Interest
Gardy’s Millpond was drawn down during the late summer of 2005 for repairs to the dam. The drawdown of roughly 4.5 to 5 feet converted the 75-acre pond to about 25 to 30 acres in size. The repairs were completed by the end of January 2006 and the pond reached full pool by the beginning of February 2006. Department fisheries biologists conducted an electrofishing survey of Gardy’s Millpond on April 18, 2006 to evaluate the present fishery. A complete shoreline sample consisting of 3 sample runs was used to get a snap shot photo of what the fishery looks like. Based on this initial survey, the drawdown appeared to have influenced the population dynamics of the bluegill fishery. With any extended drawdown period, the small bluegills are susceptible to heavy predation by largemouth bass. The protective cover of the shoreline that small bluegills use for safety, as been left high and dry. This allows adult largemouth bass and other predators an easier chance to prey upon bluegills less than 4 inches in size. A total of 182 bluegills were collected during the two of the sample runs (40 minutes). This collection yielded a catch rate of 273 bluegills/hr. This catch rate is much lower than the previous sample (2002 = 759 bluegills/hr). Very few bluegills less than 3 inches in size were collected. The majority of the bluegills were in the 5 to 6 inch range with decent numbers of bluegills in the 6 to 8 inch range.
The sample revealed good news about the largemouth bass fishery. A total of 151 largemouth bass were collected. The 2006 catch rate was 129 bass per hour. This catch rate showed a major improvement from the 2002 sample (66 bass per hour). Various year classes were observed in the bass sample. The sample revealed strong recruitment from the 2004 and 2003-year classes with a good number of bass in the 8 to 12 inch range. The sample collected 33 bass that were greater than 15-inches in length. Of those larger bass, there were 8 bass that measured over 20 inches in length. The largest bass measured 22.7 inches and weighed 6.86 pounds. Some nice photos of a few of the larger bass can be seen in photo gallery section.
The electrofishing sample produced a total of 11 species. The additional species consisted of redear sunfish, black crappies, brown bullhead, American eels, creek chubsuckers, yellow perch, chain pickerel, golden shiners and warmouth. These species offer some diversity to the fishery. The redear sunfish offer the most potential action with a good number of 7 to 9 inch redear sunfish collected.
For more information regarding Gardy’s Millpond, please contact:
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
3801 John Tyler Hwy.
Charles City, VA 23030
Phone: (804) 829-6580, Ext. 129