Swan Lake

Swan Lake is located in Byrd Park, which is owned and operated by The City of Richmond. Byrd Park is located on Boulevard Avenue in downtown Richmond. This beautiful 13-acre lake is one of the main attractions at this park. Although no boats are allowed, the entire shoreline is accessible to anglers. There are picnic and handicap facilities available year-round. The Park contains two other nearby lakes, Fountain (Boat) Lake and Shields Lake. Channel catfish are stocked annually, and the lake also contains reproducing populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, yellow perch, and brown bullheads.

Maps & Directions

Swan Lake is located in Byrd Park, which is owned and operated by The City of Richmond. Byrd Park is located on Boulevard Avenue in downtown Richmond.

Fishing Opportunities

Swan Lake is a beautiful 13-acre lake located in Byrd Park (the City of Richmond’s largest park) in the heart of Richmond. Swan Lake is the middle lake in the Park’s series of three. The entire shoreline of the lake is accessible to anglers.

Historically, this lake has had relatively poor fish populations. The largemouth bass population was typically low, bream were virtually non-existent, and the yellow perch and bullhead catfish populations were dominated by small fish. Several steps were taken to address these issues. The weed problem was brought under control and hybrid bream, adult bass, and 12-inch channel catfish were stocked. This helped increase bass abundance and reduce the overabundance of the bullhead and yellow perch populations.

In 2004, seven species of fish were collected using electrofishing: largemouth bass, bluegill, brown bullhead, blue catfish, channel catfish, black crappie, and yellow perch. Adult bass were not abundant, but reproduction was excellent as evidenced by the collection of approximately 90 young-of-the-year (fish spawned in spring, 2004). Only one adult bass was collected. Given the lack of suitable forage fish for adult bass in this lake, it is unlikely that stocking would help maintain an adequate population.

Most of the other fish populations were relatively low and dominated by small fish. Bluegill continued to be scarce in Swan Lake, only 6 were collected along the entire shoreline and around the island, despite efforts to establish a population via stocking of both pure bluegill and hybrid bluegill. There were a few brown bullheads in the 12-14 inch range that would be considered “eating size”. In addition, there was evidence of good bullhead reproduction. This is a species often looked down upon by anglers, but the larger ones can provide a decent fight and they’re very good table fare.

The surprise of the sampling event was the collection of a 30-pound blue catfish. This fish must have been put in the lake by an angler who caught it from the nearby James River, although it was probably much smaller when it was released. After being weighed and measured, this fish was released back into the lake. Some lucky angler is in for the surprise of his life when he/she hooks into this fish.

A number of channel catfish were collected, but based on their sizes, it is obvious that they were from a previous year’s stocking. They were all fat and in great condition. We witnessed a young boy battle one of these nice channel catfish for about 10 minutes before he finally landed it. Curiously, we did not collect any channel catfish from the stocking that was done just 3 months prior to the sample. It could be that most of them had already been caught by anglers. An angler survey was conducted on this lake during spring, 2005 to evaluate the amount of fishing pressure and fish harvest on this lake. The results should be available soon.

Biologist Reports


Channel catfish averaging 1/2 pound each are stocked annually.

Four catfish (any size) can be harvested per day per angler.

Regulations for all other species are as follows:

Largemouth bass – 18 inch minimum, 1 per day

Bream (bluegill) – no minimum size, 50 fish per person per day

Crappie – no minimum size, 25 per day.


There are picnic and handicap facilities available year-round.

More Information

For fisheries information, please contact:

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
(804) 367-1000

For additional information about Swan Lake and Byrd Park, please contact:

Department of Parks, Recreation & Community Facilities
900 E. Broad Street, Room 407
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 646-5733