Fishing in Northern VA: A Comprehensive Guide

Fishing in Northern Virginia is a great way to spend quality time with family and friends, and there are plenty of opportunities to catch bass, perch, crappie, rockfish, speckled trout, redfish, and more. But before you head out on the water, it's important to understand the regulations and safety guidelines for fishing in the area. The Virginia Department of Health has issued fish consumption alerts for certain waters in the state, so anglers should make sure to check these before deciding what fish to eat. The department also works with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) to reintroduce white bass into certain lakes, but these fish cannot be fished and must be released if caught.

When it comes to bass fishing in Northern Virginia, anglers should be aware that there are no size or fillet limits for spotted bass. The black largemouth bass population is less than 10%, but it still contributes to the fishery. The Potomac River is a popular spot for bass fishing, especially during the fall and winter months. Algonkian Regional Park is another great spot for bass and carp fishing on the Potomac River.

Channel catfish can also be found in Chesdin, with fish weighing an average of 4-6 pounds. Anglers should also be aware that it is illegal to remove Alabama bass from the Diascund Reservoir and they can only be kept alive if actively fished in a tournament. When it comes to fishing techniques, many anglers prefer to use live eels for larger rockfish. Umbrella platforms and tandem platforms have also been successful. Some have had luck with 2-3 ounce buckets or headboards with large fins or plastic in the shape of a paddle tail.

Others have had success chasing birds and throwing them at fish with light tackle. The water temperature must drop for fishing to be really good, so anglers should keep an eye on the temperature when planning their trips. Fishing has been improving inside rivers since temperatures have been dropping. Speckled trout and redfish activity is still good, especially at the southern end of the bay. The inlets of the Elizabeth River, James and the lower part of the bay have been producing solid fish. Many anglers use mire-o-decoys, suspended baits and lightweight tackle templates with paddletail swimming baits.

Some say that saltwater baits work for reds in shallow water. Time is running out to attack sea bass as the season closes in December. There haven't been many reports from the Outer Banks, but wave temperatures range from 58-63 degrees and some red fish, red mullets, blue fish and sharks are caught. Fishing is a fantastic and affordable activity for family fun, and Northern Virginia's lakes, rivers and streams offer a variety of fishing experiences for all ages. Anglers should make sure to check local regulations before heading out on the water and always practice safe fishing techniques.