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Virginia Panfish Fishing

All about fishing for sunfish in VA lakes and ponds.

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Throughout the state of Virginia you can find waters with populations of sunfish, including bluegill, rock bass, white bass, white perch and yellow perch.

One or more species of sunfish populate virtually all warm water streams, ponds and lakes throughout Virginia, and around the world for that matter. They can survive in waters that provide their natural food source of minnows, insects, crustaceans and worms. Their competitive nature amongst themselves, for food, makes them relatively easy to catch.

Panfish Fishing Lakes In Virginia

Almost everywhere you drop a small, baited hook you can expect to see small sunfish coming for dinner. Ponds, rivers, parks, small lakes as well as major lakes like Claytor Lake, Diascund Creek Reservoir, Kerr Reservoir, Lake Anna, Lake Chesdin, Lake Drummond, Lake Gaston, Lake Moomaw, Leesville Reservoir, Occoquan Reservoir, Philpott Lake, Smith Mountain Lake, South Holston Lake and Western Branch Reservoir have populations of one or more panfish.

Bluegill sunfish are abundant in VA.

The state record sunfish was caught from a private pond. Laurel Bed Lake yielded the VA state record rock bass. The Virginia state record white bass was caught from Lake Orange, and the VA state record yellow perch was taken out of Lake Moomaw. Lake Prince produced the VA state record white perch.

Panfish are prolific spawners and repopulate the waters as fast as they are harvested. A common problem with panfish fishing is that the waters are under-fished causing panfish to overpopulate. As a result they tend to stay small in size due to lack of food source.

The list of panfish is comprised of many fishes each called by a variety of names. The bluegill tops the list and is the most common.

Fishing for panfish in Virginia



World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

VA State Record: 4 lbs 12 oz*
*For all sunfish in VA

Rock Bass

Rock bass

World record: 3.0 lbs

VA State Record: 2 lbs 2 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

VA State Record: 6 lbs 13 oz

White Perch

White perch

World record: 4.6 lbs

VA State Record: 3 lbs 2 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

VA State Record: 3 lbs 0 oz

By clicking on the images and links above, you will be taken to a page offering more information about the selected species.

Panfish fishing information for other states.


Learn the lifecycle of a panfish

There is a host of panfish anglers can pursue. Visit the panfish fishing page for details on many of these sunfish you might encounter in Virginia fishing waters. The panfish fishing videos offer a first hand look a anglers catching panfish.

Contribute VA Sunfish Fishing Knowledge

If you have information, articles or photos relating to panfish fishing in Virginia, which you would like to see published here, please submit them for consideration.

Best panfish fishing lakes in Virginia!