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Fishing In Virginia

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All about fishing in the Old Dominion State

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

  • Carvins Cove Reservoir, VA
  • Claytor Lake, VA
  • Diascund Creek Reservoir, VA
  • Flannagan Reservoir, VA
  • Kerr Reservoir, VA
  • Lake Anna, VA
  • Lake Chesdin, VA
  • Lake Drummond, VA
  • Lake Gaston, VA
  • Lake Moomaw, VA
  • Leesville Reservoir, VA
  • Occoquan Reservoir, VA
  • Philpott Lake, VA
  • Smith Mountain Lake, VA
  • South Holston Lake, VA
  • Western Branch Reservoir, VA

Virginia offers a rich and diverse fishing experience, with a wide variety of fish species to target across its warm water fisheries, cold water fisheries, ponds, lakes, and rivers. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about the best fishing lakes in the state, plus the species found in each lake. Whether you prefer casting a line in tranquil ponds or exploring vast lakes and rivers, Virginia has something to offer every angler.

In Virginia's warm water fisheries, anglers can target popular species such as largemouth bass, striped bass, catfish, crappie, and sunfish. Lakes such as Smith Mountain Lake, Lake Anna, and Lake Gaston are known for their excellent bass fishing, offering opportunities to reel in trophy-sized largemouth bass. Anglers can also enjoy the thrill of battling striped bass or targeting catfish and crappie using various techniques. Warm water fisheries provide year-round fishing opportunities and are particularly active during the warmer months.

For those seeking cold water fisheries, Virginia's rivers and streams provide fantastic trout fishing opportunities. The state is well-known for its pristine mountain streams and stocked trout waters, where anglers can catch rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. The iconic Blue Ridge Mountains are home to scenic trout streams like the Rapidan River, South River, and Jackson River, where anglers can test their fly fishing skills and immerse themselves in nature's beauty.

Virginia's ponds offer a more intimate fishing experience, with many smaller bodies of water scattered throughout the state. These ponds are often stocked with a variety of fish species, including bass, bluegill, and catfish. Ponds provide a peaceful setting for anglers to relax, hone their fishing skills, and introduce beginners to the joys of fishing.

The state's lakes and reservoirs, such as Lake Moomaw, Claytor Lake, and Lake Moomaw, offer a combination of warm water and cold water fisheries. These larger bodies of water provide diverse fishing opportunities, with species like bass, trout, crappie, and catfish available to anglers. Whether fishing from the shore, a boat, or a kayak, these lakes provide ample space for anglers to explore and discover their favorite fishing spots.

Virginia's rivers, including the James River, Rappahannock River, and New River, offer incredible fishing opportunities. These dynamic waterways are home to a variety of fish species, including bass, trout, catfish, and muskellunge. Anglers can enjoy both bank fishing and boating on these rivers, casting their lines into deep pools, riffles, and eddies to entice the fish.

Whether you prefer warm water fisheries, cold water fisheries, ponds, lakes, or rivers, Virginia's diverse fishing opportunities cater to all preferences and skill levels. With its variety of fish species and picturesque settings, Virginia remains a favorite destination for anglers looking to experience the thrill of fishing in a beautiful and diverse natural environment.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Virginia

The state of Virginia offers a variety of fishing in lakes, ponds, streams and rivers for a vide variety if fish. Fish for big bass, monster stripers, plenty of fat crappies, huge walleyes, catfish and many kinds of perch and sunfish. Here, you can fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, white catfish, black crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, bluegill, rock bass, white bass, white perch, yellow perch, stripers, chain pickerel, muskie, northern pike and sauger in local lakes, rivers, ponds and/or streams.

Major Virginia Lakes & Species

Virginia major lakes and fish chart

Lake & Fish Chart

This chart shows the major angling destinations, cross referencing these waters with the major species to be found in each of the lakes or impoundments.

For a detailed list of primary fish species in VA, plus state fish records, see the list below.

Fishing lake sizes and locations in the state.

Carvins Cove Reservoir is a 630-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, at Roanoke.

Claytor Lake is a 4,500-acre lake in the southwest part of VA, at Radford.

Diascund Creek Reservoir is an 1,100-acre lake in the southeast part of the state, at Lanexa.

Flannagan Reservoir is a 1,143-acre lake in western VA, at Clinchco.

Kerr Reservoir aka Buggs Island Lake is a 49,000-acre lake on the southern border of the state, at Clarksville.

Lake Anna is a 9,600-acre lake in the northeast part of the state, at Bumpass.

Lake Chesdin is a 3,100-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, at Petersburg.

Lake Drummond is a 3,100-acre lake in the southeast part of the state, 10 miles southeast of Suffolk.

Lake Gaston is a 20,000-acre lake on the southern border of the state, at Gasburg.

Lake Moomaw is a 2,500-acre lake in the northwestern part of the state, at Perkins Point.

Leesville Reservoir is a 3,400-acre lake in the south-central part of the state, at Pittsville.

Occoquan Reservoir is a 2,100-acre reservoir in northeast Virginia, running northwest from Occoquan.

Philpott Lake is a 2,900-acre lake in the south-central part of the state, at Bassett.

Smith Mountain Lake is a 20,000-acre lake in the south-central part of the state, at Penhook.

South Holston Lake is a 10,000-acre lake on the southern border of the state, at Abingdon.

Swift Creek Reservoir is a 1,700-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, at Hallsboro.

Western Branch Reservoir is a 1,300-acre lake in the southeast part of the state, at Suffolk.

Fish Species & State Records in Virginia


Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 16 lbs 4 oz

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 8 lbs 1 oz

Spotted Bass

Spotted bass

World record: 9 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 6 lbs 10 oz


Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

World record: 58 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 32 lbs 0 oz

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish

World record: 123 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 68 lbs 12 oz

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish

World record: 143 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 143 lbs 0 oz

White Catfish

White catfish

World record: 22 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 6 oz


Black Crappie

Black crappie

World record: 6 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 4 lbs 14 oz

White Crappie

White crappie

World record: 5 lbs 3 oz

State Record: Open




World record: 25 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 22 lbs 8 oz



World record: 17 lbs 7 oz

State Record: 5 lbs 8 oz



World record: 15 lbs 6 oz

State Record: Available*


Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout

World record: 42 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 14 lbs 7 oz

Brook Trout

Brook trout

World record: 14 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 5 lbs 15 oz

Brown Trout

Brown trout

World record: 40 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 18 lbs 11 oz

Lake Trout

Lake trout

World record: 72 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 5 lbs 6 oz




World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

State Record: 4 lbs 8 oz

Rock Bass

Rock bass

World record: 3.0 lbs

State Record: 2 lbs 2 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

State Record: 6 lbs 13 oz

White Perch

White perch

World record: 4.6 lbs

State Record: 3 lbs 2 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 3 lbs 0 oz

Striped bass

Striped Bass


Inland world record: 64 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 53 lbs 7 oz

Hybrid Striped Bass

Hybrid Striped Bass

World record: 27 lbs 5 oz

State Record: 15 lbs 13 oz

Other species



World record: 21 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 17 lbs 8 oz

Chain Pickerel

Chain pickerel

World record: 9 lbs 6 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 12 oz


Muskie (Muskellunge)

World record: 69 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 45 lbs 8 oz**
**Includes tiger muskie

Northern Pike

Northern pike

World record: 55 lbs 1 oz

State Record: 31 lbs 4 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Virginia lakes offer great camping and fishing.

State of VA Fishing Information

Apply for a Virginia fishing license here and find a great deal of fishing information at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.

Virginia Fishing Guides. We are looking for information on local guides who offer services within Virginia. You can find a listing of VA fishing guides here. If you are a fishing guide in Virginia or know of a good resource, please send us information for consideration.

Be certain to visit the section dedicated to fishing activities for kids in VA. It includes fish photos and tips for where and how to take a kid fishing in Virginia.

All About Fishing wishes you the very best with your fishing endeavors in the great state of Virginia.

Bass fishing book

Fish for big bass

Excellent largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and spotted bass fishing opportunities are abundant.


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