Martinsville Reservoir is a 175-acre impoundment located just north of the city of Martinsville, Virginia. The impoundment is owned and controlled by the city for water supply while the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries manage the fishery. The most popular sportfish species are largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, catfish and yellow perch. Recent fish surveys showed that the fishery in Martinsville Reservoir was in good condition.
Anglers that have the time and battery power to get the upper end of the reservoir will be rewarded with more opportunities to catch quality fish. Since the water in this reservoir is usually very clear, most fish will be easily spooked. Anglers may want to use light line and keep as much distance between their boat and the structure they are fishing as possible.
The city of Martinsville maintains a park at Martinsville Reservoir, which contains picnic facilities and a boat ramp. Use of the park and reservoir are restricted to the hours of sunrise to sunset. A boat permit is required to launch boats. Make sure to check about boat and motor restrictions for the lake before heading out. The permit is $3 per day or $15 per calendar year.
Maps & Directions
The largemouth bass population has improved with the implementation of a 14-inch minimum size limit in 2002. Martinsville Reservoir had a limited number of adult size bass and was dominated by one and two year old fish, which was an indication of over harvest. The bass population is currently more balanced and the number of bass over 14 inches has more than doubled with the new size limit. Growth for these fish continues to be good but may be slowing down with the additional larger bass in the population. Most of the larger bass were historically congregated in the upper reaches of the reservoir where access was more difficult but are now more evenly distributed. The dominant structure for bass is the abundant fallen trees scattered along the shoreline but anglers may need to target deeper water beyond these trees when water temperatures rise in the summer months.
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The Crappie population is comprised primarily of black crappie but there are a few white crappie in the upper reaches of the reservoir. This reservoir typically produces good crappie fishing for a small reservoir but this fishery does fluctuates due to varying reproductive success. Most crappie are less than 10 inches due to heavy angler harvest. The highest densities of crappie are found in the headwaters around fallen trees and beaver lodges but deep water areas near the main channel are also seasonally productive.
Bluegill are the most abundant species of sunfish in Martinsville Reservoir. Redbreast and redear sunfish are also present but do not constitute a significant portion of the sunfish population. The sunfish population is dominated by small bluegill with a few of the largest fish reaching 8 inches.
This lake contains channel catfish and white catfish. There is a fair catfish fishery at Martinsville Reservoir which is maintained by a stocking program since channel catfish do not reproduce at this reservoir. Most channel catfish range in size from 14 to 20 inches while white catfish average only 7 inches.
Yellow perch are abundant but most are very small (less than 6 inches) which is typical of a yellow perch population in a small reservoir. However, most recent sampling has produced perch up to 10 inches with fair numbers in the 7-8 inch range. Yellow perch can be found throughout the reservoir at a variety of structures and depths.
All species are managed under statewide regulations except largemouth bass, which are regulated under a 14-inch minimum size limit.
Any person desiring to place a boat upon the Reservoir, either for regular or temporary use, shall pay a fee and secure a permit from the Lake Warden.
Permit Types, Terms and Fees
All permits shall be valid only during the calendar year of issuance and fees shall not be prorated.
- A – In-and-Out Permit – Annual: A permit may be issued to a boat to be placed on the Reservoir on a daily or “in-and-out” basis upon the payment of $15.00 per year.
- D – In-and-Out Permit – Daily: A permit may be issued to a boat to be placed on the Reservoir on a daily or “in-and-out” basis upon the payment of $3.00 per day.
Prohibited Types of Boats.
Permits will be issued only to boats of a substantial type and structure. This shall expressly exclude hydroplanes and other racing craft, metal boats without adequate air chambers, rafts and any other floating devices determined by the Lake Warden to be unsafe. No gasoline or other petroleum powered boats may be used at the lake.
Hours of Operation:
Fishing and boating activities shall be restricted to the period each day from sunrise until sunset.
The various facilities include picnic tables with shelters, grills, and a restroom. This lake has a good boat ramp for boat anglers and has limited bank fishing access.
Permits can be acquired from the reservoir office or by calling the lake attendant at 276-252-7766. Boaters are restricted to electric motor use only. The reservoir can be accessed by taking Rt. 108 from Rt. 174 out of Collinsville or Martinsville.
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Regional Office
1132 Thomas Jefferson Road
Forest, VA 24551