Little Creek Reservoir
Little Creek Reservoir was constructed in 1981 and is owned by the City of Newport News. The watershed is relatively small, and pumping water from Chickahominy Reservoir primarily regulates the reservoir. On occasion, water is also pumped in from Diascund Reservoir. Water from Little Creek is then pumped to the terminal reservoirs of the Newport News water supply system.
This is a relatively deep, clear lake with little structure. Fishing success is usually best along points and drop-offs. Anglers will find a depth sounder extremely helpful. The majority of fishing action usually takes place on the deep side in depths of 15 to 20 feet. Anglers can find some shallow water action during the early spring period while fish are closer to the banks during the spawning season.
Largemouth bass, striped bass, black crappie, chain pickerel, yellow perch, bluegill and redear sunfish are the major species of interest in this reservoir. A few walleye continue to be caught from the 2000 stocking. DGIF fisheries staff managed to place Little Creek Reservoir back on the walleye stocking list. The fine hatchery staff at the Front Royal Hatchery produced 18,000 walleye fingerlings for Little Creek Reservoir. These walleye were stocked in the pelagic regions of the reservoir in 18 different areas.
Maps & Directions
From U.S. 60 at Toano (James City County), take Route 610 (Old Forge Road) to Lakeview Drive, turn left and take the second park entrance on the right. Map
Little Creek Reservoir has a variety of fish species that anglers can target. The electrofishing survey of 2008 revealed the presence of 13 fish species. Information on the popular targeted species will be covered.
The collection of largemouth bass through electrofishing has been difficult over the years at Little Creek Reservoir. The clear water, steep banks and limited shoreline cover all combine to make it complicated to estimate the status of the bass population. The basic electrofishing boat is good for sampling the shoreline areas of most reservoirs with water depths in the 2 to 6 foot range. Electrofishing efforts along shoreline areas that are deeper than 6 feet tend to spook more fish than effectively shock. The 2006 electrofishing survey was able to collect only 39 largemouth bass from the 6 sites that were sampled. The 2008 electrofishing survey managed to show off some of the Little Creek’s bass that were hiding the last time we sampled. A total of 101 bass were collected to yield an improved catch rate 50.5 bass/hr. The bass ranged in size from 2 to 21.7 inches with a high percentage of bass in the 12 to 18 inch range. The largest bass weighed in at 6 pounds. The sample collected 22 preferred-sized bass that were greater than 15 inches in size. Anglers are reminded that a lot of the bass action will be found in water that is 10 to 15 feet deep. The bass will take advantage of the cooler water that is present in the deeper areas of the reservoirs. The latest summer pattern passed along by Walter Elliot (James City County Parks & Recreation) is that largemouth bass are hanging below the schools of striped bass during the summer. The largemouth bass are most likely taking advantage of the striped bass and their ability to find the schools of blueback herring and gizzard shad.
VDGIF stocks Little Creek Reservoir annually with striped bass fingerlings. Little Creek Reservoir has been producing some very large striped bass over the last few years. Anglers reported 8 trophy citation-sized stripers in 2005 and they were able to match that total again in 2006. Only 3 striped bass citations were reported in 2007. The majority of the striped bass action comes from dedicated anglers that are willing to catch their own bait. These anglers use cast nets to catch their desired bait of blueback herring and gizzard shad. The striped bass anglers that frequently fish the reservoir will slow troll live herring at the proper depth to catch their fair share of stripers.
Gill net sampling was conducted during the fall of 2006 to evaluate the striped bass population. Experimental gill nets were used in an attempt to catch striped bass as well as a forage fish. Unfortunately the sampling was only able to produce a total of 13 striped bass. The largest striper went around 22 pounds in weight. Certain striped bass anglers are able to catch a couple dozen striped bass over the course of a few days on Little Creek Reservoir. The experimental gill nets have been used for the last time. Full panel gill nets will be used in the future to help with the evaluation of the striped bass population.
Little Creek Reservoir has produced some very large black crappies in the 2 to 2.75 pound range over the last few years. Anglers were able to catch 9 citation-sized crappies in 2006. A total of 5 citations were caught during 2007. The electrofishing surveys from both 2006 and 2008 yielded 29 black crappies each year for a catch rate of 14.5/hr. The majority of the 2008 sample consisting of 8 to 12 inch crappies. The largest one measured 12.5 inches. Black crappies tend to school in waters that are too deep to effectively sample with an electrofishing boat. An electrofishing survey will collect some black crappies that are within reach of the shoreline. The gill net sampling of 2006 was more productive with a total of 90 crappies collected. The majority of these fish were in the 8 to 10 inch range. The largest crappie measured 16.5 inches and weighed 2.5 pounds. Anglers are encouraged to try their luck on the outside edges of the beaver huts when the reservoir is at full pool. Crappies are similar to a lot of the other fish species that tend to hold in the 15 foot range when the reservoir is down a few feet and the water temperatures are on the hot side.
The bluegill population is dominated by fish less than 6 inches in length. The 2008 electrofishing survey collected 405 bluegills during two sample runs dedicated to complete community sampling. This catch rate of 606 bluegills/hr is extremely high. All of the bluegills were less than 7 inches in length. The 2006 trap net survey collected a whopping total of 3,076 bluegills over the course of two nights. The majority of these fish were in the 2 to 5 inch range with a few fish in the 6 to 7 inch range. The redear population appears to be doing better than the bluegill population. The 2008 electrofishing survey collected 148 redear sunfish for a catch rate of 222/hr. Although there were many redear sunfish in the 3 to 6 inch range, the sampling did show a fair number of fish in the 6 to 8 inch range. Anglers have had success with numerous citation-sized redear sunfish over the last few years. A total of 24 citation-sized sunfish (11 inches or 1 pound) were reported in 2007.
The chain pickerel population appears to be in great shape and quite abundant. Various year classes were easily seen on the length frequency histogram. There has been good recruitment over the last couple of years. The electrofishing survey collected 118 chain pickerel with the majority of them in the 10 to 16 inch range. The largest chain pickerel measured 23 inches. The catch rate of 59 pickerel/hr is higher than any other water sampled in Region 1, District 1. Three citation-sized pickerel were reported by anglers in 2007. Bass anglers that are having a difficult time trying to entice the bass to bite will most likely catch their fair share of the chain pickerel. Chain pickerel serve their role as an important part of the fishery. They help to forage upon the numerous small sunfish that are present in the reservoir. Anglers are reminded to take care of the pickerel when releasing them. Little Creek Reservoir has the potential to be one of the best pickerel waters in the state if these fish are given the chance to survive and mature over the next few years. The 2008 survey found the majority of the chain pickerel in only a few inches of water during the full pool conditions on May 1st. These fish held tight to the bank under whatever cover (sticks, grass, etc.) that they could find to create an ambush point for feeding. The chain pickerel have been reported to have switch to a summer pattern where they can be found by anglers in the 10 to 15 foot depth range. It appears that the pickerel are taking advantage of some cooler water that is found at that depth.
The November 2006 gill net sampling collected 19 channel catfish with bottom set nets. The channel catfish population does not appear to be that abundant, but the fish we collected were in great shape. The majority of these catfish measured in the 18 to 25 inch range. Anglers might want to give the catfish a try, as they might be surprised in what they find. The 2008 electrofishing survey did not produce any catfish as the catfish were most likely holding in deep water off of the shore.
Based on the reports of anglers, Little Creek Reservoir has a decent yellow perch population. Anglers have reported a total of 493 citation-sized yellow perch over the last 13 years. A total of 24 yellow perch citations were reported in 2007. This catch rate is very impressive and places it in a tie for 4th place with the Chickahominy River. Western Branch Reservoir came in third with 25 citations. Pamunkey River had 32 citations for second place. The mighty Lake Moomaw won first place again with 81 citations reported. Yellow perch are difficult to collect with shoreline electrofishing surveys. The 2008 survey collected only 5 yellow perch. These fish ranged in size from 8 to 10.5 inches. Fishing reports from 2008 have had decent numbers of yellow perch caught by anglers so far this year.
Walleye have been restocked into Little Creek Reservoir. The beginning of May saw that hatchery truck once again return to Little Creek Reservoir with load of walleye fingerlings. A total of 18,000 walleye were stocked in a pelagic fashion by boat. The fish were stocked at 18 different areas around the reservoir to allow the fish a better chance at dispersing. There is still a remnant population that has survived from the stockings that ended in 2000. Anglers have had some success in catching 4 citation walleyes during the 2005 to 2006 seasons. One walleye citation was reported during 2007. Several large walleye in the 4 to 7 pound range have been caught by anglers so far this year. If you happen to catch a walleye, consider yourself very lucky or a very good walleye angler.
There is a 12-inch minimum size limit on largemouth bass, which has been in effect since the reservoir was opened to fishing in 1988.
The reservoir is open to fishing sunrise to sunset and park personnel determine these hours.
Gasoline-powered motors are not allowed, but electric trolling motors can be used.
No bank fishing is allowed except from the fishing pier.
All other regulations are as stated in the Virginia Freshwater Fishing Regulations booklet.
The facilities at Little Creek include a boat ramp, 140-foot fishing pier, picnic tables and grills. In addition, a second peninsula covering about 20 acres has recently been opened with a nature trail, play area, and more picnic tables and grills. Boats, canoes, paddleboats, electric motors and batteries can be rented from the concessionaire.
Department fisheries biologists conducted an electrofishing survey of Little Creek Reservoir on May 1, 2008. The survey showed a great improvement from the 2006 survey. The catch rates of several species showed an obvious increase from the last sample. The electrofishing survey was conducted along 6 shoreline areas around the reservoir. These twenty-minute runs were combined to allow for a quick inspection of the current fishery. A total of 101 largemouth bass were collected. The catch rate of 50.5 bass per hour showed a major improvement from the 2006 catch rate (39 bass, 19.5 bass/hr). A total of 405 bluegills were collected during two of the sample runs. The catch rate of 606 bluegills per hour showed the continued presence of an abundant bluegill population. One of the largest surprises of the survey came in the way of the chain pickerel. A total of 118 chain pickerel made it into our boat for length and weight measurements. The chain pickerel catch rate of 59/hr is the highest rate we have seen in many years of electrofishing. The 2008 catch rate is well above the 2006 survey (48 chain pickerel, 24/hr). The chain pickerel will provide a lot of the angling action when the bass are not cooperating. The 2008 survey also showed an increase in the catch rate of redear sunfish (222/hr) when compared to the 2006 survey (186/hr).
The 2007 fishing year was very productive for anglers. A total of 66 citations were reported for Little Creek Reservoir. The break down of citations yielded: 24 yellow perch, 24 sunfish, 5 largemouth bass, 5 black crappies, 3 striped bass, 3 chain pickerel, 1 blue catfish and 1 walleye.
The 2008 fishing year has seen its fair share of trophy fish already with a high number of striped bass caught by anglers using blueback herring for bait. The major highlight so far has been the catch of the new lake record striped bass by Willie Weber of New Kent County. Mr. Weber’s trophy went an incredible 41 inches in length and weighed 31 pounds and 10 ounces. Mr. Weber has also had the magic touch when it comes to finding the walleyes. The largemouth bass action has been good with some quality bass in the 4 to 5 pound range caught on a consistent basis. Anglers that are able to find the schools of yellow perch and black crappie have been pulling in some nice fish as well.
Walleye fingerlings were stocked into Little Creek Reservoir during early May of 2008. This marks the return of walleye stocking to the reservoir. The 18,000 walleye fingerlings will hopefully be able to survive long enough to provide future angling opportunities. The larger walleye in the 4 to 7 pound range that have been caught by anglers recently are most likely holdover fish from the last walleye stocking of 2000. The possibility exists for some limited natural reproduction if mature walleye are able to find suitable spawning habitat. The lack of any major tributary streams limits the overall success of natural reproduction.
Little Creek Reservoir was roughly 3 feet below full pool level at the end of July. Some well needed rain storms are needed to assist the lake level. Boat anglers are reminded to be cautious when traveling around the reservoir as sunken islands and sand bars are now being exposed in several areas.
Past News & Reports that might be of some interest:
Department fisheries biologists conducted extensive sampling of Little Creek Reservoir during 2006. Trap netting and electrofishing surveys were conducted during the spring of 2006 along with gill netting in the fall. The trap net surveys were used in an attempt to evaluate the black crappie and redear sunfish populations. The electrofishing survey was used to assess the overall fishery for comparison to past sample years. Fall gill netting was conducted to assess the strength of the striped bass fishery and the overall forage base of the reservoir. A summary of our sampling results is included in the fishing opportunities section. The full 2007 report is posted under the biologist reports section.
The Little Creek Reservoir fish citation total for 2006 was not as impressive as 2005 with only 48 citations reported. The yellow perch took top honors once again with 16 citations. Other citations consisted of 11 sunfish, 9 black crappies, 8 striped bass, 2 largemouth bass, 1 rock bass and 1 walleye. The last two years have been very productive for trophy striped bass with 8 citations reported each year. Anglers have been catching some very nice black crappies in the 2 to 2.75 pound range.
Anglers enjoyed fishing Little Creek Reservoir during 2005 as a total of 96 citation-sized fish were reported. The highest number of citations came from the catch of 44 trophy yellow perch. Little Creek Reservoir came in second place behind Lake Moomaw for the top yellow perch water in the state. Little Creek Reservoir also produced citations in the form of 29 sunfish, 8 striped bass, 5 black crappies, 4 largemouth bass, 3 chain pickerel and 3 walleye. It was a good sign that 3 walleye citations were caught. These fish are most likely holdovers from the 2000 walleye stocking.
For information please contact:
Little Creek Reservoir Park
180 Lakeview Drive
Toano, VA 23168
or visit the website.
For further information please contact:
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
3801 John Tyler Hwy.
Charles City, VA 23030
Phone: (804) 829-6580, Ext. 129