The Mattaponi WMA is nestled in the northwest corner of the Upper Coastal Plain, located 1.3 miles west northwest of the town of Bowling Green. The property is a contiguous tract of flat to gently rolling land, with a few somewhat steep slopes and is considered atypical of the surrounding topography. The WMA is very diverse in natural communities. The diversity of habitats and topography found on this WMA make it an excellent location to pursue wildlife-related and angling activities. Rules for the Mattaponi differ from the General Rules for WMA’s, so please be certain to review the WMA Rules on this page.
The Mattaponi WMA conserves important upper coastal plain wildlife habitat and provides quality wildlife-related recreation in central Virginia. The landscape ranges from mature upland hardwood and mixed forests to managed loblolly pine stands to wetlands and rivers. The property contains and borders nearly 6.5 miles of the Mattaponi and the South Rivers.
Extensive pine plantations, hardwood ridges, wetlands, and river bottoms provide abundant habitat for all of the forest game species found in central Virginia. Deer, turkey, and squirrel hunting can be very productive. In recent years, black bears also have become more common on the area, and occasional sightings have been reported. Clear cuts, thinned pine stands, and log decks offer ideal habitat for rabbits and quail. Old oxbows of the Mattaponi River provide opportunities for wood ducks during the early fall, and woodcock are common within many wetland areas along the river and its tributaries.
The abundance of wetlands on the area creates a very good location for waterfowl hunting. The Mattaponi River also bisects part of the property providing great opportunity for hunting. Permanent blinds are not allowed on the property so plan to utilize natural cover or portable blinds for concealment. The Mattaponi WMA is open for waterfowl hunting on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays during all state waterfowl seasons except that it will remain open for the entire October early duck segment.
The Mattaponi River supports a good fishery throughout much of its length, including the section of river that runs through the wildlife management area. Sunfish species such as bluegill and redbreast sunfish are common. The angler’s best bet is to target largemouth bass with the expectation that most bass will be less than 12 inches. Additionally, the spring run of white and yellow perch can make for exciting ultra light fishing. Other species of note include chain pickerel, bowfin, and brown bullheads.
The WMA also offers numerous small impoundments opportunities for anglers. There are no boat launch facilities at the impoundments and shoreline access is limited. Anglers willing to journey to the ponds can expect to catch decent largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, chain pickerel and the occasional the bowfin.
Wildlife enthusiasts will find ample viewing opportunities on the Mattaponi WMA. The more than 5 miles of scenic Mattaponi riverfront and another 1.5 miles of riverfront along the South River provide limited opportunities for canoeing. Wetland habitats provide opportunities for viewing many shorebirds, wading birds, as well as numerous amphibians.
Mattaponi WMA is located on Paige Road, State Route 605, in Caroline County. The WMA is located approximately 40 miles north-northeast of Richmond and 20 miles south-southeast of Fredericksburg. From Bowling Green head north on State Route 2 for 0.3 miles. Turn left on Paige Road which is State Route 605 for 1.5 miles. The property begins at the railroad tracks on the right and the Mattaponi River on the left.
Images by: Meghan Marchetti - DGIF