Mill Creek Reservoir

Mill Creek Reservoir is a 189-acre impoundment located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Amherst County. This is the largest of the three public reservoirs owned by the County and provides opportunities for fishing and family outings. The various facilities include picnic tables and grills, restrooms, play area, boat ramp, and associated parking. The lake is open year round but nighttime activities are prohibited except for fishing. Anglers are required to obtain a permit from the county to fish at night. Boats propelled by oar or electric motors are welcome but outboard motor use is prohibited.

Impounded in 1985, Mill Creek Lake provides a picturesque setting for visitors with mountain views and wooded shoreline. Largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, black crappie, channel catfish and yellow perch are all species that can be caught with bass and crappie the most sought after species by anglers. There is ample mowed bank fishing areas but this reservoir experiences high fishing pressure.

Maps & Directions

Mill Creek Reservoir can be accessed by taking route 60 to Lowesville Road (Rt. 718), turn right onto route 610, and bear left at the first intersection.
Map

Fishing Opportunities

Largemouth Bass

A new largemouth bass minimum size limit of 14-inches was introduced in 2001 to improve the bass fishing. This regulation change was instituted due to excessive harvest of bass resulting in a population dominated by young fish (ages 1 and 2). The size structure for bass improved with the new size limit after implementation. This lake currently is maintaining a good largemouth bass fishery with good numbers of bass up to 15 inches with a few larger fish up to 23 inches available.

Largemouth bass collected during Mill Creek Lake electrofishing surveys. The top row is the inch group and the additional rows are the number of fish collected per hour of sampling for each size group.
Size (Inches) 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
2010 21 18 20 9 5 5 0 1 3 0 1 0 0 2
2009 12 21 16 3 2 3 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
2005 18 15 6 20 5 2 1 3 2 1 5 1 0 2
2000 11 4 9 1 3 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0

Crappie

Crappie are one of the most susceptible species to cyclic population trends and routinely have good and bad years when it comes to spawning success. The crappie population at Mill Creek Lake is no exception. This pattern is typical in small lakes and is expected to continue. The unfortunate side to good and bad reproductive years is that anglers can expect to have good crappie fishing some years and bad in other years. Size limits and creel restrictions used by managers to control fish populations cannot make up for years with poor reproduction. With this in mind, anglers may not know what to expect from year to year until they try their favorite crappie holes each spring.

Current crappie numbers are good but this population has experienced high harvest rates and many crappie were removed by the time they reached 8-inches in length. To improve the size structure and reduce the impacts of variable reproduction, a 9-inch minimum size limit was initiated in 2013.

The outlook for crappie fishing in 2010 – 2012 is very good due to a strong year class produced in 2007. Most crappie at this reservoir usually do not exceed 10 inches.

Crappie collected during Mill Creek Lake electrofishing surveys. The top row is the inch group and the additional rows are the number of fish collected per hour of sampling for each size group.
Size (Inches) 6 7 8 9 10 11
2009 3 82 36 9 1 2
2008 5 4 27 1 4 0
2005 2 6 4 24 24 3
2003 1 4 26 57 7 0

Sunfish

The sunfish population is comprised of primarily bluegill but redear sunfish are also present. The high reproductive capability of sunfish has offset angler harvest affects on population size but the heavy fishing pressure has reduced the number of large sunfish. However, bluegill still produce good fishing opportunities with fish up to 8 inches for those panfish enthusiasts.

Sunfish collected during Mill Creek Lake electrofishing surveys. The top row is the inch group and the additional rows are the number of fish collected per hour of sampling for each size group.
Size (Inches) 4 5 6 7 8
2008 296 124 112 60 20
2003 82 88 120 94 12
2000 107 63 46 31 29

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish are stocked at Mill Creek Lake and are collected in small numbers each year during electrofishing surveys. The catfish population is providing a limited catfish fishery for anglers and is regulated with a 15 inch minimum size and 5 fish creel limit to prevent overharvest. Most available catfish range in size from 18-28 inches.

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch have been recently introduced by anglers and were first collected in VDGIF samples in 2008. This species is fairly abundant but are generally very small in size. It is still unknown how much yellow perch will contribute to the fishery.

Biologist Reports

Regulations

Largemouth Bass

 

  • 5 fish per day
  • 14-inch minimum size limit

 

Catfish

 

  • 5 fish per day
  • 15 inch minimum size limit

 

Crappie

 

  • 25 fish per day
  • 9 inch minimum size limit

 

Sunfish

 

  • 50 fish per day
  • No size limit

 

Facilities

The various facilities include picnic tables and grills, restrooms, play area, boat ramp, and associated parking. There is also ample mowed bank fishing areas available.

Permits for night fishing are available through Amherst County at 434-946-9371.

More Information

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Regional Office
1132 Thomas Jefferson Road
Forest, VA 24551
434-525-7522

Night Fishing Permit Can be obtained by contacting:
Amherst County Recreation and Parks Department
Phone: 434-946-9371