Chickahominy Lake and River Resource Page

Information gathered from Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries

Chickahominy Lake

This is a 1230-acre water supply reservoir located along the New Kent-Charles City county line. The low-head dam of this reservoir (known locally as Walkers Dam) was completed in 1943 and incorporates twin Denil fish ladders to allow for the passage of anadromous fish such as blueback herring and striped bass. Surveys in 1989, 1990 and 1992 indicted that river herring were passing through the ladder in tremendous numbers and spawning both within and upstream of the reservoir. There is a manually operated boat lock at the dam, which allows boat traffic to move between the reservoir and river.

This cypress-laden lake provides spectacular scenery, and is great for bird watching. In addition, it just happens to be one of the best all round fisheries in Virginia. The cypress trees, water lilies and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) provide excellent habitats for aquatic organisms and are undoubtedly one of the reasons for the consistently good fishing at this lake over the years.

Chickahominy River

With broad expanses of open marshes, cypress trees dotting much of its shoreline, and a diversity of fish species choose from, the Chickahominy River provides the angler with tidal river fishing at its finest.

This river has supported a nationally recognized largemouth bass fishery for many decades. Although in recent years bass fishing was off somewhat, the largemouth population in the tidal Chickahominy has improved.

Blue catfish are the most abundant catfish occurring in the tidal Chickahominy, and can be caught throughout the year in the Chick and its tributaries. Although the Chickahominy doesn’t yield as many citation-size blue catfish as the tidal James, each year the Chick ranks as one of Virginia’s top blue catfish waters and typically provides anglers with abundant catches.

The river herring run continues to draw a number of anglers to the tidal Chickahominy at Walkers Dam each spring. During the peak of the run, armed with bare gold hooks or small spoons, anglers can land an abundance of these unique fish. Anglers are reminded that all river herring caught above Walker’s Dam must be released.

Striped bass occur throughout the tidal Chickahominy, and are available to anglers during both the spring and fall seasons.

In the tidal Chickahominy River, regulations setting season and creel limits for American shad, Hickory shad, river herring, and striped bass are set by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC). For information regarding these regulations contact VMRC in Newport News at 1-800-541-4646 or on the web at: http://www.mrc.state.va.us/swrecfishingrules.htm

The tidal Chickahominy River can be accessed at the following public landings: Chickahominy Riverfront Park (formerly Powhatan Resort) 757-258-5020; the Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area ramp on Morris Creek; and Brickyard Landing west of Toano, off Route 610. Private (fee) ramps include: Rock-a-Hock Campground 804-966-2759; Riverside Camp 804-966-5536; Colonial Harbor 804-966-5523; and River’s Rest 804-829-2753. Walker’s Dam, accessed through Rock-a-Hock Campground, is located off U.S. Route 60 on Route 649, west of Lanexa

Fishing

The largemouth bass fishing at this lake has been consistently good over many years. The results of the 2003 survey show that the largemouth bass population is in good shape overall. Structural indices were in line with that expected for a balanced fishery. Physical examination of the fish showed them to be in good condition and this was supported by an index of relative weight. The largest fish caught in our sample was 21 inches in length and weighed almost 5 lbs. The data compares favorably with the results of the previous survey conducted in 2000. The main difference being a slight reduction in the proportion of larger fish (greater than 12 inches in length) and an increase in the number of younger fish (less than 8 inches in length).

Bluegill were very abundant, especially those under 6 inches in length. Having said that, the catch rate (number of fish caught per sampling hour) for larger fish (6 to 8 inches in length) was relatively good and considerably higher than that recorded during the 2000 survey. Our sampling indicates that the redear sunfish population is also developing well.

Our survey indicates that the black crappie population is in decent shape, with the largest fish in our sample topping out at 14 inches. The overall population structure was similar to that recorded in the 2000 survey, but the condition of the fish was better.

Angling enthusiasts will enjoy the fact that this is a diverse fishery. Chain pickerel, bowfin, gar and carp are present in sufficient numbers and size to provide alternative quarry.

For some time now, the reservoir also has provided a popular catch-and-release fishery for anadromous (sea run) striped bass that have passed through the fish ladder at Walker’s Dam (see the Regulations section for more information).

Maps

Outline

Outline

Maps can also be purchased from:

GMCO Maps

Additional Information

Woods and Water Magazine Article on Fishing in Chick Lake