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Fishing Claytor Lake

AKA: Claytor Reservoir

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By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Claytor Lake, VA

Popular Fish Species Claytor Lake, VA

Claytor Lake Popular Fish - Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass Fishing

Claytor Lake offers very good fishing opportunities for catching largemouth bass. They are the most popular bass in the lake. Lately the fishing here for bass has been improving. Some big bass roam Claytor Lake, thanks to excellent fisheries management by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, as well as the availability of extensive cover for both baitfish and bass. When the bite is good, bass typically move shallow and are quite aggressive. If you find them shallow and they are not tempted to bite, slow down and use smaller, lighter baits. Fishing for largemouth bass is good virtually any time they are shallow - in spring, mornings in summer, and during warm Fall afternoons. Use shallow crankbaits around rip rap. Around grass use worms, jigs, topwater and spinnerbaits. In deeper water, big worms, jigs and spoons are three good weapons. In winter, spend your time fishing Claytor Lake on deeper structure where the bass spend much of their time. Alabama, smallmouth and spotted bass also reside here in good numbers.

Claytor Lake Popular Fish - Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Smallmouth bass are also a favorite of some locals at Claytor Lake, as they are plentiful and put up a great battle. Fishing for smallmouth bass is good anytime they are shallow - in spring, during high water, mornings in summer and during warmer fall afternoons. Use shallow crankbaits around rip rap, and around grass use worms, jigs, topwater and spinnerbaits. In winter, spend your time on deeper structure with small worms, jigs and spoons. Largemouth, Alabama and spotted bass also reside here in good numbers.

Claytor Lake Popular Fish - Striped Bass

Striped Bass Fishing

Because of the potential of growing to a very large size, striped bass are a favorite of many locals and fishing guides at Claytor Lake. They are plentiful, run in schools and can grow to bragging size. In Spring and Fall work the upper end of the lake where water is flowing into the lake. Look for deeper water in the river channel, as a holding place for stripers. In Summer and Winter, stripers hang out in deeper water during the day and feed close to the bottom, 50 feet or deeper. Morning often draws the stripers to the much shallower water, look for them around the 20-foot range as they feed on shallow-running schools of bait. The lake is filled with plenty of baitfish and sunfish to to keep the fishery thriving. Being successful at fishing for stripers is a matter of locating schools of bait, and the wolf packs of stripers which are likely to be nearby. Fish finders, and forward facing sonar, are a big help in locating these roaming schools. Live bait is very effective here, and stripers can be caught year round.

Claytor Lake Fishing Video

Fish species to fish for...

Guide to fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, black crappie, walleye, bluegill, white bass, yellow bass, yellow perch, striped bass and hybrid striped bass at Claytor Lake in Virginia.

In a beautiful setting, this mountain reservoir called Claytor Lake offers up camping, boating and fishing away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This is a 4,500-acre lake in the southwest part of the state, at Radford, VA.

Claytor Lake, nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, is a favorite destination for fishing enthusiasts seeking a serene and rewarding angling experience. The lake is renowned for its abundant fish populations, making it a haven for anglers of all skill levels.

One of the popular fish species in Claytor Lake is the smallmouth bass. Anglers flock to the lake for the chance to catch these hard-fighting fish that inhabit its clear and cool waters. Smallmouth bass can be found near rocky structures, submerged ledges, and drop-offs. They readily bite on a variety of lures, including crankbaits, soft plastics, and topwater baits. Spring and fall are prime seasons for smallmouth bass fishing at Claytor Lake when the fish are more active and actively feeding.

In addition to smallmouth bass, Claytor Lake is home to other popular fish species such as largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish. Largemouth bass can be found in the lake's shallow areas and around submerged vegetation, while crappie can be targeted near brush piles and submerged structures. Catfish, including channel catfish and flathead catfish, provide an exciting angling experience for those seeking larger catches.

Claytor Lake offers a combination of scenic beauty, abundant fish species, and recreational activities, making it a desirable destination for anglers, boaters, and campers alike. Whether casting for smallmouth bass, enjoying a leisurely boat ride, or spending a night under the stars, Claytor Lake provides a memorable fishing and outdoor experience in the heart of Virginia's picturesque landscape.

Anglers can explore over 60 miles of shoreline in search of bass, crappie, walleye, catfish, stripers, hybrid striped bass, perch, bluegill, white bass and sunfish. Some VA fishing guides offer guided bass, striper and crappie trips on Claytor Lake. Several boat launch ramps, some for a small fee and some for free, are scattered around the lake. Boat docks, trees and fish habitat are the primary cover for fish and baitfish. Kayaks, canoes and all types of fishing boats provide access to this river fishery.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Virginia

Primary fish species residing in Claytor Lake

Click images for fishing tips and details about each species.

Largemouth bass Smallmouth bass Spotted bass Channel catfish Flathead catfish Black crappie Walleye Bluegill White Bass Yellow Bass Yellow Perch Striped bass Hybrid Striped Bass

Claytor Lake Amenities

Marina: YES
Boat Rental: YES
Boat Launch Ramp: YES
Campgrounds: YES
RV Hookups: YES
Lodging: YES
Convenience Store: YES
Bait & Tackle: YES
Restaurant: YES

Today's Weather & Forecast

Boating is a popular activity on Claytor Lake, with its expansive surface area and calm waters providing ample opportunities for watercraft enthusiasts. Anglers can take advantage of their boats to explore different areas of the lake and find the best fishing spots. Whether it's cruising along the peaceful shoreline or anchoring in productive fishing areas, boating enhances the fishing experience on Claytor Lake.

Fishing Boat Rentals

Claytor Lake Water Sports
Rentals: Fishing boats, pontoon boats, kayaks and canoes
540 731-8683

Mountain 2 Island at the Rock House Marina
Rentals: Kayaks and pontoon boats
540 980-1488

Public Boat Launch Ramps & Landings

Claytor Lake State Park Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the northeast section of the lake, north side, off Ben H Bolen Drive, this is a four-lane, concrete ramp with docks and lots of paved parking.

Dublin VDWR Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the northeast section of the lake, north side, off Bear Drive, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with docks and paved parking.

Harry DeHaven Park Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, east side, off Beach Drive, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with docks and paved parking.


Rockhouse Marina
3776 Rock House Rd
Pulaski, VA 24301
540 980-1488

Fishing Guides On Claytor Lake

Claytor Lake Fishing Guide Service - largemouth and smallmouth bass

If you offer fishing guide services on this lake, please contact us for a free listing, to be posted here.

Fishing License

Click here for a Virginia Fishing License.

Camping is available at Claytor Lake State Park, offering a beautiful setting for anglers to extend their fishing trips. The park provides campsites and amenities such as picnic areas, hiking trails, and boat ramps. Camping near Claytor Lake allows anglers to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area, waking up to the sound of birds and the prospect of a day filled with fishing adventures.

Campgrounds & RV Parks Nearby

Claytor Lake State Park Campground - 540 643-2500

Cedar Cove Campground - 540 674-8180

Covey's Family Campground - 540 674-5201

McGuire Family Campground - 540 674-5561

Fort Chiswell RV Park - 276 637-6868

Izaak Walton League Campground - 540 382-7063

Claytor Lake VA Map - Fishing & Camping Areas

Contact Information

Claytor Lake
Claytor Lake State Park
6620 Ben H. Bolen Dr
Dublin, VA 24084
540 643-2500


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