Thrasher Lake

Thrasher Lake is a 36-acre impoundment located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Amherst County. This is one of three public reservoirs owned by the County and offers a scenic view of the mountains while providing opportunities for fishing and family outings in a quiet setting. The various facilities include picnic tables, restroom, 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 motor are welcome but outboard motor use is prohibited. The reservoir was impounded in 1977 and contains largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and black crappie.

Maps & Directions

To access this reservoir, turn northeast on Rt. 610 from Rt. 60 (approximately 9 miles west of Amherst), then turn left on Rt. 617, and the lake access road will be the first road on the left.
Map

Fishing Opportunities

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass sampling conducted in 2003-2004 revealed the bass population was becoming unbalanced with high numbers of small bass. Electrofishing catch rates for small bass more than doubled with decreases in the number of bass over 12 inches. Since the bass were over populated and their growth was poor, few bass were exceeding 12 inches. This indicated a reduction in the population was needed to reestablish a more balanced population. Overcrowded bass populations lack adequate food sources to grow properly and most adult bass will remain 10-12 inches in size if the unbalanced population is not corrected.

A reduction in the bass population was initiated in 2004 to restore a more balanced fishery. Reducing bass numbers could be accomplished by a regulation change or by thinning the bass population with electrofishing gear. The population was reduced with electrofishing gear in 2004 to maintain the similar regulations as nearby Stonehouse Lake, keep regulations less confusing to anglers, and achieve results quicker than with a regulation change. The bass population has responded with better growth and a more balanced population and the production of additional larger fish.

Largemouth bass collected during electrofishing surveys. The top row is the inch group and the bottom row is the number of fish collected per hour of electrofishing in each size group.
Size (Inches) 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
2010 18 15 13 11 4 0 0 1 2 5 1 0 1 0
2009 20 20 40 15 6 4 1 2 1 2 1 0 0 0
2005 18 24 60 37 16 3 0 2 1 1 0 2 1 1
2003 112 54 40 12 2 4 2 0 2 0 4 2 0 0

Crappie

There are currently limited numbers of black crappie available to anglers. Poor reproduction in recent years is the primary cause for the low abundance but the previous overabundance of largemouth bass may have also been contributing to reduced survival of young crappie. The highlight to the crappie fishery is most of the fish are good size, averaging 10 inches.

Crappie collected during electrofishing surveys. The top row is the inch group and the bottom row is the number of fish collected per hour of electrofishing in each size group.
Size (Inches) 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
2009 0 0 0 2 9 11 0 0
2008 0 6 13 12 20 1 0 0
2005 4 6 0 0 3 0 0 0
2004 0 0 8 2 0 3 2 1

Sunfish

Thrasher Lake currently has the best sunfish fishing of the three Amherst County lakes for quality size sunfish. The sunfish population is primarily bluegill with only a few redear sunfish available. The bluegill population has benefited from the over abundant bass population. Heavy predation on small sunfish by bass reduced overall sunfish numbers and improved food availability and growth. As a result, there is abundant sunfish from 6-10 inches.

Sunfish collected during electrofishing surveys. The top row is the inch group and the bottom row is the number of fish collected per hour of electrofishing in each size group.
Size (Inches) 4 57 6 7 8 9 10
2008 71 69 36 38 27 23 6
2004 94 57 103 51 21 0 2
2003 30 54 30 26 22 4 0

Catfish

Channel catfish were stocked in 1978-1999 but no catfish have been collected for many years. The channel catfish stocking program at Thrasher Lake was discontinued since stocked catfish contributed very little to the fishery.

Biologist Reports

Regulations

Largemouth bass: 5 fish creel limit, 12-15 inch protected slot limit, all bass caught between 12 and 15 inches must be immediately released

Crappie: 25 fish creel limit, 9 inch minimum size limit

Sunfish: 50 fish creel limit, no size limit

Facilities

To access this reservoir, turn northeast on Rt. 610 from Rt. 60 (approximately 9 miles west of Amherst), then turn left on Rt. 617, and the lake access road will be the first road on the left. Permits for night fishing are available through Amherst County at 434-946-9371.

The various facilities include picnic tables with shelters, grills, restroom, and play area. This lake has a good boat ramp for boat anglers and ample mowed area along the dam for bank fishing but additional bank fishing beyond the dam is limited.

More Information

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

Night Fishing Permit
Amherst County Recreation and Parks Department
434-946-9371