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Due to exceptionally dry conditions, the Department of Wildlife Resources has implemented a complete ban on any open burning (e.g., campfires, grills) on all DWR properties west of Interstate 95, effective immediately and lasting until further notice.

Buggs Island Lake (Kerr Reservoir)

Buggs Island Lake is about 48,900 acres at full pool and provides excellent fisheries for a number of different species. Surveys on largemouth bass indicate high rates of reproduction and growth. Largemouth bass in the 2–4 pound range are typical, however, trophy bass greater than eight pounds are rare. The best fishing is on the upper end of the lake and the lower end creek arms. Structure is important, and water levels affect how much structure is available. When water levels rise into the willow and sweet gum trees in spring, anglers should be sure to fish the backs of coves and the points. Habitat in the reservoir has been supplemented by placing artificial habitats in several locations and by planting water willow beds. Channel catfish have traditionally been the most sought after catfish at Buggs Island; however, flathead and blue catfish have become popular as well.

The striped bass population is in fair condition and should be similar to the last couple of years. During spring, striped bass may be found in the upper end of the lake and in the river above the lake as fish travel upstream to spawn. During summer, habitat (combination of temperature and dissolved oxygen) forces striped bass to be found in the lower end of the lake (the dam to about Buoy 9 and in the mouth of Nutbush Creek). Fishing during the fall and winter is typically best from Goat Island to the Clarksville Bridge, although fish may be found throughout the lake. Striped bass caught during the summer suffer high mortality rates when released (approximately 75 percent). Therefore, we removed the size limit restriction during the summer months (June – September) and ask that anglers halt striper fishing when they catch their legal limit of four striped bass per day rather than continue to catch fish and cull smaller individuals. During the cooler months (October-May), striped bass are less stressed and do not suffer high catch-and-release mortality.

Buggs Island Lake is also one of Virginia’s best places to catch crappie. Fishing for crappie is typically best from February through April (pre-spawn and spawn); however, many anglers enjoy high catch rates year-round. Buffalo, Grassy, Bluestone, and Butcher Creeks are very productive for crappie. White bass used to be a real favorite at Buggs Island Lake. However, white bass populations are down in many Virginia reservoirs. White perch have recently become established in the lake and may have contributed to the decline of white bass. White perch are quickly becoming popular with anglers because they are abundant and can reach weights of nearly two pounds.

Maps & Directions

A portion of Buggs Island Lake is located in North Carolina, but Virginia fishing licenses are legal lake-wide. Disabled anglers are encouraged to visit the North Bend Park pier, which is designed especially for their needs. The end of the pier is located over 17 feet of water. Fish attractors, constructed of discarded Christmas trees, have been installed around the pier to enhance the fisheries habitat. Buggs Island Lake is located on the border of North Carolina, mainly in Mecklenburg County, and has numerous campgrounds, boat ramps, and recreation areas around it.


           Kerr/Buggs Island Lake Habitat Reef Coordinates


Year Deployed Creek Latitude



2020 Nutbush 36.465994°N



2020 Nutbush 36.464200°N



2020 Nutbush 36.463767°N



2020 North Bend 36.594553°N



2022 North Bend 36.589540°N



2020 Little Nutbush 36.504483°N



2020 Little Nutbush 36.499633°N



2020 Little Nutbush 36.496667°N



2020 Little Nutbush 36.494083°N



2020 Little Nutbush 36.492900°N



2020 Keats Branch 36.575164°N



2020 Keats Branch 36.566033°N



2020 Keats Branch 36.554908°N



2020 Keats Branch 36.552006°N



2022 Keats Branch 36.554850°N



2022 Keats Branch 36.565350°N



2022 Eastland 36.603210°N



2022 Eastland 36.602380°N



2022 Eastland 36.597650°N



2022 Eastland 36.609990°N



2022 Eastland 36.610460°N



2022 Eastland 36.609440°N



2022 Eastland 36.600590°N



2022 Eastland 36.601820°N



2022 Eastland 36.607510°N



2022 Eastland 36.607590°N



2022 Eastland 36.601890°N



2022 Eastland 36.604880°N



2022 Eastland 36.597490°N



2022 Eastland 36.597700°N



2022 Eastland 36.596880°N



2022 Eastland 36.599460°N



2022 Eastland 36.596120°N


Biologist Reports


Black Bass (Largemouth & Smallmouth)

  • 5 per day in aggregate
  • Only 2 of 5 bass less than 14 inches can be kept

Striped Bass

(Buggs Island Lake including Staunton River up to Leesville Dam and Dan River up to Union Street Dam)

October 1 to May 31

  • 2 per day
  • No Striped Bass less than 20 inches or greater than 26 inches may be kept

June 1 to September 30

  • 4 per day
  • No length limit


  • 25 per day
  • 9 inch minimum


  • No daily limit
  • No length limit


  • 20 per day
  • Only 1 Blue Catfish longer than 32 inches

White Bass

  • 10 per day
  • 14 inch minimum

Kite Tubing Ban

“Kite Tubes” are prohibited on John H. Kerr (Buggs Island) Lake and Philpott Lake. The manufacturer, Sportsstuff, Inc., has issued a nationwide recall of the Wego Kite Tube.


Kite Tubing Ban

“Kite Tubes” are prohibited on John H. Kerr (Buggs Island) Lake and Philpott Lake. The manufacturer, Sportsstuff, Inc., has issued a nationwide recall of the Wego Kite Tube.

More Information

For facilities information, call 804-738-6143.

For information on lake levels, contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at 434-738-6371.