It’s spring – time to break out those rods and reels. If you live in or close to Central Virginia, there are many excellent options for a fishing hole. Below are some good choices.
Lake Orange. A 124-acre lake owned and managed by the state game department with excellent fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, catfish and bluegills, and it’s also the best spot in Central Virginia to catch a walleye. The crappie fishing so far in 2014 has been phenomenal. To access Lake Orange, take Route 20 heading north out of Orange. Take a right on Route 629 and then a left on Route 739 to the lake entrance.
Rivanna Reservoir. Within a mile of the Charlottesville city limits is the Rivanna Reservoir, which also serves as one of the main water supply sources for the city and Albemarle County. The 450-acre reservoir offers top fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, channel cats and bluegills. There are also some smallmouth in the lake and an occasional walleye. The reservoir is on Route 659 off Route 631 (Rio Road).
Chris Greene Lake. Another nearby gem of a lake is Chris Greene. This 62-acre impoundment is managed by the Albemarle parks and rec folks and is stocked with bass, crappie, bluegills and channel cats. There is a handicapped-accessible pier on the lake and a nice boat ramp. Chris Greene can be accessed on Route 606, about a mile from the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport.
Beaver Creek Reservoir. The water supply for Crozet is located at the foot of the Blue Ridge. Not only is the scenery great, so is the fishing for bass, crappie, bluegills and catfish. Take Route 680 from the junction of Route 240-U.S. 250 west of Charlottesville.
Lake Albemarle. One of the area’s smallest lakes, the 35-acre impoundment holds some quality bass in addition to bluegills, crappie and channel cats. From Charlottesville, take Garth Road west to Route 614, to a left on Route 675.
Totier Creek Reservoir. Near Scottsville, this reservoir is home to some huge largemouth bass. The 66-acre lake also offers opportunities for chain pickerel, bluegill, redear sunfish and channel catfish. The reservoir is on Route 726.
Walnut Creek Lake. Another Albemarle County-managed impoundment with very good fishing for bass, catfish, bluegills and redear sunfish. The state game department has created good fish habitat at Walnut Creek with several fish attractors along with the natural cover provided by beaver huts and blow-downs, all of which increase the odds of catching a nice stringer of fish. From Charlottesville, take U.S. 29 south to a left on Route 708. Proceed about 3 miles, turn right on Route 631 and go about a half-mile to the entrance on the left.
Mint Springs Park. Two other lakes worth mentioning are those at Mint Springs in Crozet. In the spring, both lakes are stocked with trout as part of Kids Fishing Day. Many trout hold over and bite well into the summer. There is also good angling for largemouth bass and bluegills. The park is on Route 788.
Moormans River. Several streams in the area also provide good fishing opportunities – most notably the north and south forks of the Moormans. These are trout streams located beyond White Hall that extend up into Shenandoah National Park. Parts of the Moormans are stocked in spring and fall, while the upper reaches of the North Fork Moormans have strong populations of native brook trout. From Charlottesville, take Garth Road to Route 614 and proceed west.
Rockfish River. Another stream to consider. It can be accessed at several points from U.S. 29 south and along Route 602. The Rockfish is an excellent smallmouth stream and also holds bluegills, perch and fallfish.
James River. The James, Virginia’s longest river, is one of the top smallmouth rivers in the state. The closest access points are at Scottsville and Howardsville. The James is also home to some huge flathead catfish and has a large bream population.
Rivanna River. Flowing just north of Charlottesville, this river is a little more difficult to access, but provides great fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass, as well as perch and bluegills. Some decent wading access is available just below the dam off U.S. 29 north and at Darden Towe Park.