Five ideal fishing opportunities
Story by Titus Mohler
People can find rest and recreation (R&R) in a variety of ways in the Heart of Virginia, but for some folks, R&R reaches its peak when they are on the water, a pier or a bank with a fishing rod in hand.
Anglers will not want for opportunities to fish in the area, and what follows are some notable options they can enjoy.
BRIERY CREEK LAKE
Briery Creek Lake is an 845-acre lake that is owned by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and is within the Briery Creek Wildlife Management Area in Prince Edward County, according to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) website. The dam was completed in 1986 and the lake was open to fishing in 1989.
“It’s a scenic lake with great accessibility, opportunities to catch trophy-size largemouth, bluegill, redear sunfish and quality black crappie fishing,” DWR Fisheries Biologist Hunter Hatcher said.
The DWR website noted Briery Creek is located 7 miles south of Farmville. It can be accessed off of Routes 790 and 701. Take Route 15 south to Route 790. There is a 790 Ramp located at 609 Briery Lake Road in Farmville, and a 701 Ramp located 1203 Landing Road in Farmville.
Fishing from the shore and pier is also available.
“The best time of the year to fish out there on Briery, as with most of the lakes in the area, has got to be in the early spring,” Hatcher said. “After that, of course, your fall period would be the second best. Summer is a great option as well, but your catch rates, especially for trophy-size fish, are going to be much better in the spring months.”
Fishing from a boat is available from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset at Briery Creek Lake, the DWR website stated. Fishing from the shore is possible 24 hours per day.
For more information on Briery Creek Lake, visit dwr.virginia.gov/ waterbody/briery-creek-lake/.
SANDY RIVER RESERVOIR
Sandy River Reservoir is a 740-acre water supply impoundment located slightly east of the Town of Farmville in Prince Edward County, according to the DWR website. The reservoir is one of the newest lakes in Virginia, with construction completed in 1994 and fishing opened in 1996. The reservoir was built and is owned by the county of Prince Edward with fisheries management responsibilities belonging to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Hatcher said Sandy River Reservoir is a well-rounded fishery.
“Anglers can expect to catch good numbers and quality size for largemouth (bass), black crappie and channel catfish,” he said.
The lake and facilities can be reached from U.S. 460 east of Farmville, the DWR website stated. Take Route 640, Monroe Church Road, south for 0.8 miles and turn left on Route 792, the reservoir access road.
DWR officials noted Sandy River Reservoir has a double-lane concrete boat ramp with a courtesy pier and a 150-foot fishing pier. Facilities are available to use 24 hours per day.
For more information on Sandy River Reservoir, visit dwr.virginia.gov/waterbody/sandy-river-reservoir/.
BEAR CREEK LAKE
Bear Creek Lake is found within Bear Creek Lake State Park, which is located at 22 Bear Creek Lake Road in Cumberland.
The park’s Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) website states Bear Creek is a 40-acre lake with a boat launch, fishing pier, boat rentals and a swimming beach.
“Bear Creek Lake is one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in this area for small impoundments,” Bear Creek Lake State Park Manager Joey Dayton said. “We have several citation bass that have been caught out of there every year, so it’s got a healthy largemouth population.”
He stated that ideal places to fish on the lake include where trees have fallen into the water.
In addition to the boat ramp and fishing pier, Dayton said a lot of the trails that go around the park will give visitors access to the lake as well.
The park is open 8 a.m. to dusk.
For more information about Bear Creek Lake, visit dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/bear-creek-lake.
TWIN LAKES (PRINCE EDWARD LAKE & GOODWIN LAKE)
As the name indicates, anglers who go to Twin Lakes State Park will find two lakes they can fish in — the 36-acre Prince Edward Lake and 15-acre Goodwin Lake.
“Of the two, Prince Edward Lake is the better of the two fisheries,” DWR Fisheries Biologist Dan Michaelson said. “It’s got a little better habitat, a little more depth, and it’s a bigger reservoir as well. But both of them have good brim fisheries, some sunfish and a few crappie. The bass fisheries are average for both of them, a little better at Prince Edward Lake.”
He said there is potential for people to catch five- to six-pound bass at Prince Edward Lake.
The park’s DCR website stated boat rentals are available, and the park, which is open from dawn to dusk, is located at 788 Twin Lakes Road in Green Bay.
“Goodwin especially has really good bank fishing access and good brim fisheries right there behind the lodge, so if people are camping, that’s probably the one that would be the easiest for kids and (people) to fish at, and that’s what it’s really designed for, especially,” Michaelson said.
Twin Lakes State Park Manager Veronica Flick said each lake has its own boat ramp. On Goodwin, there is a handicap-accessible pier, and on Prince Edward, there is a small pier on either side of the boat ramp.
Prince Edward features more boat fishing, while Goodwin features a great deal of shore fishing, Flick said.
For more information about the Twin Lakes, visit dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/twin-lakes.
This 119-acre lake can be found within Holliday Lake State Park, which is located at 2759 State Park Road in Appomattox.
“It’s a really scenic lake with good access and facilities, and then there’s decent fisheries for largemouth bass, sunfish, black crappie and yellow perch,” Hatcher said.
Holliday Lake State Park Office Manager Sarah Lankford stated the lake has one boat launch and multiple places along the shoreline where people can fish. While there are no piers, there is a dock.
“There are some trails as well around the lake that are very scenic,” Hatcher said.
The park’s DCR website noted boat rentals are available, and the park and the beach are open from dawn to dusk daily.
For more information on Holliday Lake, visit dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/holliday-lake.
Two other possibilities that require a bit more travel — less than one hour — but are worth mentioning include John H. Kerr Reservoir, located in Clarksville and having more than 55,000 acres of fresh water, and Lake Chesdin, a 3,100-acre water supply reservoir on the Chesterfield-Dinwiddie County line.