Lake Anna is a 9,600-acre impoundment located in Louisa, Orange, and Spotsylvania counties, owned by the Dominion Power Company. The impoundment was completed in 1972 and serves as cooling water for the North Anna Nuclear Power Station. Initial stockings began in 1972, with introductions of largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and channel catfish. Subsequent stockings of channel catfish, largemouth bass (northern and southern strains), redear, striped bass, and walleye were made to improve and diversify the fishery. Blueback herring and threadfin shad were successfully introduced in the 1980’s to provide additional forage for pelagic (open-water) predators. Annual stockings of striped bass and walleye continue in order to maintain these fisheries (other species are self sustaining).
Prior to 1985, largemouth bass were managed with a 12-inch size limit (five per day). That minimum was changed to a 12 to 15 inch protected slot in 1985 in an effort to help restructure the largemouth bass population. In recent years, as the popularity of catch-and-release bass fishing became prevalent, creel data indicated over 99% of bass caught at Anna were released. Thus, the need for any type of restrictive harvest restriction is moot, and the slot was dropped on July 1, 2006. Striped bass are currently managed under a 20-inch minimum size limit and a creel limit of four per day.
Lake Anna is a reasonable drive from both Northern Virginia and the Richmond area. Outdoorsmen can access Lake Anna at many private marinas, several campgrounds, and at Lake Anna State Park. Reservoir accessibility creates heavy use by both anglers and boaters, especially during summer months. A 2000 creel survey indicated that fishing pressure was around 24 hours/acre. The most popular species fished for included largemouth bass (69%), striped bass (15%), and crappie (12%). Crappie (70%) were harvested at the highest rate, followed by striped bass (29%) and largemouth bass (1%). A creel survey was conducted in 2005, but data have not been analyzed yet.
Hydrilla vertricillata, an exotic aquatic weed, became established into Lake Anna during the late 1980’s. Abundance increased from 96 acres in 1990 to 832 acres in 1994. Triploid (sterile) grass carp were stocked into Virginia Power’s Waste Heat Treatment Facility in 1994 to control Hydrilla, and Hydrilla abundance is now quite low in both impoundments (some escapement to the main lake side occurred). Grass carp are still alive from that stocking, but their numbers are declining. Most grass carp remaining are now over three feet long.
Maps & Directions
Lake Anna is located midway between Fredericksburg and Richmond but to the West. The lake borders three counties of Louisa, Orange and Spotsylvania.
Maps: Check your local bait & tackle shop for commercial maps.
Largemouth bass, striped bass, and crappie are the main species of interest at Lake Anna. Opportunities also exist for anglers to catch bluegill, channel catfish, walleye, white perch, and yellow perch. This fishery is very diverse and offers something for every angler’s taste.
Lake Anna is a top bass fishing destination for anglers residing in central and northern Virginia. This reservoir frequently is host to local and regional fishing tournaments, and for good reason; Anna consistently ranks in the top three statewide for numbers of citation largemouth bass. Intensive fishing pressure is the norm at Anna, but this reservoir maintains very high catch rates and good numbers of fish in the 4-6-pound range.
Routine population sampling conducted by fisheries biologists provides the Department with information pertaining to the status of the fishery. Comparisons can be made between electrofishing samples conducted during different years, which allows biologists to assess changes to the fishery. One index used by biologists is the CPE-P or catch per effort of preferred fish. The CPE-P for largemouth bass is the number of fish 15 inches or larger that are collected per hour of electrofishing pedal time. Lake Anna, with a CPE-P of 28, ranked sixth in the District (out of 19 reservoirs surveyed) in 2009. This CPE-P was a near record. These data suggest that bass size structure recently shifted upwards, and overall catch rate of bass was also above average in 2009 indicating that the reservoir is full of bass of all sizes. Anglers should experience consistent, good bass fishing for years to come.
Heavy fishing pressure and boater use combined with abundant forage may make it difficult to consistently catch fish at Lake Anna. Patience is the key, and anglers willing to try different techniques and lures to match the prevailing conditions should find success. Largemouth bass typically are found in transition areas between different habitats, particularly around heavy cover and off points. Anglers should concentrate their efforts in these areas, fishing with a variety of lures such as plastic worms, jigs, spinner baits, or crankbaits. Anglers looking to get away from the crowds, especially the heavy boat traffic may consider fishing during winter and summer nights.
The striped bass population is maintained by annual stocking. Stripers grow well in Lake Anna, at least for the first few years, and quickly attain the legal size of 20 inches in about 30 months. However, growth of older fish slows due to the lack of good striped bass habitat (cool, well oxygenated water) during summer and early fall months. However, an excellent fishery has developed within the capacity of available habitat. A major winter fishery has developed when stripers can be observed feeding near the surface. These fish can be caught with lures (e.g., sassy shads, redfins, bucktails) or live bait (gizzard shad or blueback herring, with the nod going to the latter if you can catch them). The outlook for striped bass is bright, as netting in winter 2008 indicated population density was above average with ample adult fish, and exceptional year classes recently established were nearing harvestable size.
The size structure and growth of crappie in Lake Anna is good. Populations of crappie tend to be cyclical in nature – kind of a boom/bust situation. Netting data from winter 2008 suggested that crappie abundance was average, while size structure was at a record level. This means there should be more slabs in the creel during 2009. Anglers interested in pursuing this tasty fish should have no problem catching a mess of them at Anna. Sometime around mid March to early April, crappie move into shallows (5-6 feet or less) to spawn. Recent angler creel survey data shows that crappie numbers have been good in the Christopher Run area of the North Anna arm. They have also been observed in recent years in late April and early May in coves and creeks along main lake channels in very shallow water along water willow beds. Anglers should concentrate their efforts around structure such as fish attractors, brush piles, boat docks, or bridge pilings. Crappie can be successfully caught by a variety of methods ranging from small jigs, spinners, or flies fished with ultralight spinning gear, or anglers may desire more traditional tactics such as fishing small minnows with a cane pole and bobber. Remember that crappies are a schooling fish, and once a fish is caught, it is likely that several more will be caught within close proximity.
A fair bluegill population is available at Lake Anna; however, it would not be a recommended lake for this species. Bluegill populations are usually suppressed in large reservoirs with complex fish communities such as Lake Anna. Fair numbers of bluegill are found in the 5-6 inch range, which provides anglers some opportunity to fish for this delightful panfish. Bream fishing does not have to be complicated. Anglers may use live bait such as worms or crickets with hopes of enticing a strike. Some anglers prefer to use ultralight spinning gear or fly fishing gear to present small lures or flies. Pound for pound, there’s not a fish that fights any harder than a scrappy bluegill. Bream are easy to catch which makes them ideal for introducing young children to the sport of fishing. Best of all, if you’re at the lake and nothing else seems to be biting, you can normally count on catching a few bluegills.
Channel catfish were first introduced into Lake Anna in 1972, and since that time a naturally reproducing population has developed. Netting data from 2008 suggest that the catfish populations in Lake Anna are now at greater levels than previously documented. Most catfish range from 14-20 inches and average 2-4 pounds. Many anglers pursue channel catfish during summer months when fishing success decreases for other species. Catfish anglers usually bottom fish using a slip-sinker-rig offering live bait (shiners, nightcrawlers), cut bait (herring, shrimp), or dough baits. Chicken livers are also an excellent choice here. A potential state record (and possible world record) channel catfish was caught and released by biologists in a gill net in December 2002 during a routine survey near Dike III. This monster was released and should still be swimming the depths of the old quarry near the dam. Anna also has a large population of white catfish as well as two species of bullheads. Blue catfish have been documented in Lake Anna, but current abundance is very low. The source of this population is unknown, but it is possible they migrated downstream from Lake Orange where they were stocked during the mid 1980s.
Walleye stockings were discontinued in Lake Anna after 2007 due to changes in management philosophy and the apparent poor survival and growth of stocked fish. Consequently, a directed fishery was never established. Anglers could still catch remnants from the last few stockings through at least 2012.
White perch are caught in good numbers during late fall and winter. Angler creel survey data collected by Department biologists has shown that November is the best month to catch white perch at Lake Anna. Night crawlers and bloodworms are effective baits for this small member of the striped bass family.
- 5 per day in the aggregate
- No length limits
Bluegill / Sunfish
- 50 per day in the aggregate
- No length limits
- 4 per day
- No Fish Less Than 20 Inches
- 20 per day
- No length limits
- 25 per day
- No length
- 5 per day
- No Length Limits
- No Creel Limits
- No Length Limits
The boat ramp located off of Rt. 522 has been closed since the Department lost its lease. Efforts are currently underway to establish another free public access to the lake. There is a handicapped-accessible catwalk for anglers at Dike #3 on Route 622. From Route 601, turn right onto Route 701 and watch for Route 622 on the right. From Route 208, take Route 652 to Route 701.
A number of private marinas, campgrounds, and the Lake Anna State Park offer boat-launching facilities. The following list may not be all-inclusive and inclusion on this page does not provide any endorsement of any sort by the Department.
Anna Point Marina
13721 Anna Point Lane
Mineral, VA 23667
Duke Creek Marina
3831 Breaknock Road
Spotsylvania, VA 22553
High Point Marina
4634 Courthouse Road
Mineral, VA 23117
6320 Belmont Road
Mineral, VA 23117
Lake Anna Beach Marina
349 Pleasant Landing Road
Bumpass, VA 23024
Lake Anna Family Campground
2983 New Bridge Road
Mineral, VA 23112
Lake Anna Marina
Lake Anna State Park
Spotsylvania, VA 22553
Rocky Branch Marina & Campground
Spotsylvania, VA 22553
Sturgeon Creek Marina
4303 Boggs Drive
2013 Lake Anna Fishing Forecast
Anglers at Lake Anna should find an improving largemouth bass fishery in 2013 based on evaluations of two decades of sampling data. Spring electrofishing catch rate was at a record high in 2012 (93 fish/hour) with good numbers of fish over 15″ and average numbers of fish over 20″. Spawning success has been very stable. Some of the best fishing should be found along edges of water willow beds in the area of the State Park – especially around Rose Valley, Ware Creek and Plentiful Creek. Fish biomass (in addition to bass catch rate) is much higher up lake, so it’s a good idea to stay above the splits.
Striped bass catch rate was also at a record high in 2012 (based on winter net samples). This excellent fishery for small to medium-sized stripers should continue to produce limits in 2013. Maintained by stocking, the strongest year class documented (2006) is now averaging over 24″ providing above-average size potential despite slow growth in this thermally enriched reservoir. Additionally, excellent stocking success was experienced in 2010 and 2012. Stripers will be moving around the lake following forage as temperatures change. Don’t overlook early season action in extreme upstream shallows in areas such as Henry’s Point (Pamunkey arm) and Route 719 Bridge (North Anna arm).
Black crappie numbers in 2012 were down continuing a trend somewhat opposite of the largemouth bass trend. However, anglers should find more fish in 2013 than last year, and the average size should be exceptional. More 15″ and over crappie were surveyed during winter 2012 than any time over the past 16 years (with one exception). Look for crappie to be transitioning from bridge pilings and docks during April to water willow edges and natural wood. Once again, upper lake locations should work best: Christopher Run vicinity on the North Anna arm, and Terry’s Run vicinity on the Paumunkey arm.
Additional information about Lake Anna and the surrounding area can be obtained from the following sources:
Dominion Virginia Power
One James River Plaza
701 E. Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3932
Louisa County Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 955
Louisa, VA 23093
Orange County Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 146
Orange, VA 22960
Spotsylvania County Department of Tourism
4704 Southpoint Parkway
Fredericksburg, VA 22407
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
1320 Belman Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22401