The Best Bass Fishing Spots in Northern Virginia: An Expert's Guide

If you're looking for the best bass fishing in Northern Virginia, it's hard to beat the Potomac River. This 400-mile-long river creates the border between Virginia and Maryland, and provides plenty of marinas and access points throughout the DC metropolitan area. It can be a difficult beast to master, but if you do, it can be extremely productive. Focusing on shallow, grassy areas with moving baits is a great way to learn it. If brackish water and rising tides don't scare you away from bass fishing, you can also try Aquia Creek.

This 30-mile-long tributary of the Potomac River runs from Fauquier to Stafford County, and is a great option if you're farther south of NOVA. If you want to avoid the tidal nature of the Potomac River, you can opt for the Occoquan Reservoir. This 2,100-acre reservoir borders Fairfax and Prince William Counties, right on the I-95 corridor, and is easy to access. It is classified as an “exceptional bass fishery” by the VDGIF, with a diverse number of small and large bass, including some over 4 or 5 pounds - considered trophy size for the area.

The only real drawback of Occoquan is that ships are limited to engines of less than 10 horsepower. If you have a boat with something larger, you'll be using a trolling motor all day long. But it's also a good place to use a hunting boat or similar because of this limitation. So if you're uncomfortable on the Potomac River due to waves, tides and big ships, Occoquan might be for you. If driving for a few hours is good for you, Lake Anna is the best large lake near Northern Virginia.

This 20 square mile lake with a length of 17 miles offers high-quality largemouth bass. Lake Anna has two sides - one private side with a nuclear power plant that keeps the water warm all year round - often referred to as the “hot side” - and one public side. If you prefer canoe or kayak fishing in Northern Virginia, take an approximately 45-minute drive to the Shenandoah River. This 55-mile main tributary of the Potomac River has two branches that run 100 miles each. While it can be long, in most sections it is extremely shallow. A number of factors can bias data when assessing bass fishing opportunities in Virginia (for example, sampling efficiency).

The following is a summary of these data, with lakes classified by CPUE for black largemouth bass larger than 15 inches and 20 inches and small largemouth bass larger than 14 inches and 17 inches. The lakes are divided into the four management regions of the state. The lakes ranked at the top of the table will offer excellent opportunities for anglers to fish for quality largemouth bass. You may notice that some of the large lakes are rated lower than you would expect. Smaller lakes or ponds typically have higher sampling efficiency and will therefore get a higher rating based on this assessment. This is a guide for anglers to use and not necessarily a complete description of Virginia bass fishing, but it will be a good starting point.

If you have specific questions about a particular body of water or its regulations, do not hesitate to contact the local DWR regional office or visit their website. The Big One lands at Northern Virginia's Fountainhead Regional Park fishing spots. The Little Bull Run stream empties into this 23-acre lake and carries with it black bass and blue galls. The main fish available in the Occoquan Reservoir are largemouth bass, blue gall and crab; however, there are also opportunities to fish for channel catfish, flat-headed catfish, northern pike and white perch. The Locust Shade Park in Quantico offers free fishing clinics for young people during the summer - perfect for any child to catch their first fish! These population samples are generally collected using daytime electric fishing equipment on boats intended for bass. Gabriella Hoffman, athlete, fisherman and writer for Sporting Classics Daily explains why she likes fishing at Locust Shade Park and Lake Ridge Marina in Prince William: Fishing is one of the best ways to spend a relaxing afternoon near Fairfax. Most of these waters are sampled every year or every few years to assess current parameters of the largemouth bass or largemouth bass population such as age and growth spawning success and size distribution. Aquatic biologists at the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) dedicate significant efforts and resources to managing improving and protecting largemouth bass populations in Virginia's public reservoirs lakes and fishing ponds. Lake Braddock and Royal are more aimed at bank anglers so earn a spot on this list because they are two of the places where you can fish bass off the coast of Northern Virginia.

Some professional BASS tournaments have even been caught here unlike any other fishery you'll find on this list. Burke Lake Park one of Fairfax County's most popular parks offers excellent opportunities for anglers looking for largemouth bass.