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

If you're an angler looking for the best bass fishing in Northern Virginia, the Potomac River is the place to be. 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, Aquia Creek is another option.

This tributary of the Potomac River runs from Fauquier to Stafford County and is approximately 30 miles long. So, if you're farther south of NOVA, this may be a better option than driving north to the Potomac. If you want to avoid the tidal nature of the Potomac River, Occoquan Reservoir is a great choice. This 2,100-acre reservoir borders Fairfax and Prince William Counties, right on the I-95 corridor. It's easy to access and has abundant black largemouth bass.

The VDGIF classifies it as an “exceptional bass fishery”, with a diverse number of small and large bass, with a good amount of more than 4 or 5 pounds - considered the size of a trophy for the area. The only real drawback is that ships are limited to engines of less than 10 horsepower. Lake Anna is another great option if you don't mind driving for a few hours. This 20 square mile lake with a length of 17 miles is thin with many different stream arms where you can find great fishing success. There's also a nuclear power plant on Anna's private side, often referred to as the “hot side” because it keeps the water warm all year round. If you prefer canoe or kayak fishing in Northern Virginia, head to Shenandoah River for one of the best small-mouth fisheries in the world.

This main tributary of the Potomac River runs 55 miles with two branches that run 100 miles. While it can be long, in most sections it is extremely shallow. Lake Banister in Halifax is another great spot for big (over 400 acres) bass fishing in Virginia. While it's only half as densely populated as Burton Lake, you have endless options for where to launch your line. The easternmost and northeastern parts of Virginia surround the bay, making that region one of the best places to fish in Northern Virginia - especially for striped bass. Lake Braddock and Royal are two other places where you can fish bass off the coast of Northern Virginia. Major Virginia lakes with good bass populations include Carvins Cove Reservoir, Lake Claytor, Lake Connor, Diascund Creek Reservoir, Flannagan Reservoir, Kerr Reservoir, Lake Anna, Lake Chesdin, Lake Gaston, Lake Moomaw, Leesville Reservoir, Occoquan Reservoir, Philpott Lake, Lake Smith Mountain, Lake South Holston, Swift Creek Reservoir and Western Branch Reservoir. Approximately 20% of this lake's bass population is over 20 inches long so make sure you're prepared to take photos to back up your fish stories. Fishing Fun - a course for children on basic fishing techniques - is also offered on Saturday mornings at 9am. If you live in or around Northern Virginia, there are plenty of great spots for largemouth bass fishing.

The more you know about seasonal bass migration, the more likely you are to search for the right area the next time you visit Virginia's bass fishing lakes.