Chickahominy Lake and Chickahominy River Overview
Located in the tidewater region of Virginia and separated by Walker's Dam,
Chickahominy Lake and Chickahominy River are both home to fine fishing for
many species, such as striped bass, crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish, chain
pickeral, bowfin, yellow perch, and catfish. The largemouth bass population
declined significantly due to serious drought from 2000-2002 (particularly in the
river); however strong 2004-2005 year classes and the 2005 restocking of over
100,000 largemouth bass fingerlings by Concerned Bass Anglers of Virginia (see
our Conservation page) have the population on the upswing. According to VDGIF,
angler catch rates for largemouth bass doubled between 2002 and 2005.
Electrofishing catch rates in 2006 hit an all-time high. The lower river is
unquestionably sensitive to drought. Fish the upper river and tributaries during dry
Walker's Dam features fish ladders that accommodate the migration of
anadromous fish, such as striped bass and herring. A manual lock allows boats
to pass between the river and lake.
The abundance of visible fishy-looking (and in many cases fish-holding) cover can
be overwhelming: docks, cypress trees, and surface vegetation (lillies) are
prevalent. Add submerged vegetation and there is no shortage of fishing options.
Excellent launch facilities and camping facilities are available on the lake and on
the river. Many bass tournaments are held at locations, such as Ed Allen's
Campground, Riverside Camp, Eagles Landing, and Rockahock Campground.
September 20, 2012: Capt. Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service (804-
746-2475) out of Ed Allen’s Boats and Bait reported that Chickahominy Lake mid-
day main lake water temperatures were in the low to mid 70’s on Wednesday.
The lake level was about six inches above the top of the dam. The water was
brown but relatively clear in the lower lake. The water was noticeably more clear
in the channels up the creeks. Most major and minor creeks were filled with
hydrilla except in the channels, and hydrilla beds extended out from the shoreline
of most areas of the main lake. Many hydrilla beds had fairly distinct weedwalls
along their outer edges. Some of the hydrilla mats were starting to break up.
Small to medium crappie were widely scattered on shallow to mid-depth flats and
on the channel edges in the main lake. Mid-depth wood cover occasionally held
some nice crappie. Crappie were hitting live minnows, Wright Bait Co. and
Southern Pro curlytail jigs and tubes, small swimbaits, and Kalin crappie scrubs.
Small to medium bluegill were scattered along weedwalls and around shorelines
in the main lake and up some of the major creeks. Most larger bluegill had
moved off shorelines and were on shallow or mid-depth flats or along deeper
weedwalls. Bluegill were hitting live worms and crickets, flies, small Wright Bait
Co. and Southern Pro curlytail jigs and tubes, small swimbaits, Kalin crappie
scrubs, and small spoons. Bass and bowfin were scattered along the shorelines
and mid-depths in the main lake. Bass were most active at sunrise and sunset
and were hitting live minnows, frogs and toads, creature baits, soft plastic stick
baits, crank baits, and plastic worms.
Fishing with Capt. Conway, Tom Porter had 76 bluegill, 5 crappie, 4 shiners, and
1 bass. Capt. Bill Buck and Hollis Pruitt had 57 bluegill, 16 crappie, 1 yellow
perch, 1 channel cat, 1 blue cat, and 2 bass.
June 28, 2011: Eddie Griggs of Virginia Elite Outdoors Guide Service provided
the following Bass Fishing Report for the Chickahominy River. Visit Eddie at www.
Virginia Outdoors - A Resource for Virginia Anglers and Hunters
Virginia Outdoors - Chickahominy Lake and River
Fishing Chickahominy Lake and Chickahominy River
Chickahominy Lake and Chickahominy River Fishing Guides
A number of 4+ lb fish from a strong 1998 year class are available. As with fishing
the tidal James, in general, downsize your bait selections - 4" plastics, 1/4 oz.
compact spinnerbaits, and small jigs work best. Plastic lures in dark colors like
black, tequila sunrise, and red shad are good choices. Fishing remains good
throughout the summer. A buzzbait worked near cover will produce in low light
conditions during the summer months. Much of the best fishing is in the feeder
creeks, such as Diascund and Morris. Don't be afraid to approach cover closely
and pitch lures back in the weeds or drop lures vertically by cypress knees. Long
casts or pitches to cover are not necessary. When fishing in the river, it is
essential to understand the tide and its effect on the bass. During the outgoing
tide, fish the outer edges of weed lines, creeks, and docks. During the incoming
tide, probe the cover more deeply. The most natural presentation is made by
moving the lure with the tide.
Crappie, Pickeral, Bowfin, and Yellow Perch: Lumping these species together may
be overly simplistic, but all may be targeted using live minnows around woody
shoreline cover, docks, cypress trees, and vegetation. Small crankbaits and
spinnerbaits used used by bass anglers can also produce some nice chain
pickeral and (black) crappie. The pickeral fishing is best in February and March.
Bowfin up to 10 lbs may provide a hard fight for a pleasantly-surprised bass
angler. Head into the creeks to specifically target crappie.
Striped Bass: Striped bass in both the lake and the river fall under the sea run VA
striped bass regulations. At times, schools of stripers are visible feeding in
relatively shallow water. Target these stripers with flashy, fast-moving lures, such
as lipless crankbaits. Trolling deep-diving crankbaits and vertical jigging is
effective, particularly in the river channel below Walker's Dam.
Herring: The spring river herring (blueback and alewife) run is a unique and
treasured event in the tidewater area. The run draws many anglers to the river
below Walker's Dam from early March through May. At times, the fishing is so easy
that bare gold hooks and small spoons will load the boat.
Catfish: Stocked in the James River in the 1970s, blue catfish soon migrated into
the Chick. Channel catfish up to 5 lbs are good eating and readily caught by
angers using nightcrawlers or cut bait. However, the big blue cats are the most
sought-after catfish species. Blue catfish up to 70 lbs have come from the river.
Freshly cut gizzard shad is the most common bait. Heavy tackle is a must. See
the Lower James River page for a list of fishing guides specializing in giant blue
Chickahominy Fishing Report
|Copyright © 2009 Virginia Outdoors, LLC
Other Useful Info and Links
Chickahominy Lake Campgrounds, Marinas and Boat Ramps:
Ed Allen's Campground: (804) 966-2582
Eagles Landing: (804) 966-9094
Chickahominy River Campgrounds, Marinas and Boat Ramps:
Rockahock Campground: (804) 966-2759
Riverside Camp: (804) 966-5536
There is also a free public boat ramp located on Morris Creek - within the
Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Follow Route 5 eight miles east
of Charles City Courthouse to Route 623 N.