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Chickahominy Lake

Chickahominy Lake is a 1230-acre water supply reservoir located along the New Kent-Charles City county line. This impoundment of the Chickahominy River was completed in 1943 with the construction of a low-head dam known locally as Walkers Dam. A fish ladder constructed into the dam allows for the passage of anadromous fish such as blueback herring and striped bass. The City of Newport News draws water from Chickahominy Lake and has been responsible for the recent repairs and renovations to Walkers Dam. A new, manually operated boat lock at the dam is operational to allow boat traffic to move between the lake and river. The new fish ladder was constructed near the northern end of the dam to replace the old one that was located on the southern side. 

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 habitat for aquatic organisms and are undoubtedly one of the reasons for the consistently good fishing at this lake over the years.

Walkers Dam used to be one of the more popular places to catch blueback herring during their spring spawning run. Anglers are not permitted to fish from Walkers Dam any longer. The moratorium on blueback herring and alewives also prevents anglers from harvesting these species. Anglers will have to turn their attention to the variety of game fish species that inhabit Chickahominy Lake and the Chickahominy River.

Maps & Directions

Access to the lake is available via two private marinas/landings where boats and other equipment can also be rented. These are located on route 60 between Providence Forge and Lanexa. Map

Ed Allen’s Boats and Bait can be reached off of state route 649 (Rockahock Road).

Eagles Landing is located 3.5 miles to the east of Providence Forge and can be reached by taking route 60 to route 650.

Contact information for both businesses can be found under the More Information sidebar.

Fishing Opportunities

The largemouth bass fishing has always been good, but has recently been great. Anglers must be willing to adapt to the abundant aquatic vegetation that sprouts up each summer in the lake. Many of the shallow creeks and coves will see dense growth of hydrilla. The results of the 2019 electrofishing survey show that the largemouth bass population is still in good shape overall. A total of 121 largemouth bass were collected in 2019 for a catch rate of 91 bass/hr. The sample showed a good proportion of bass in the 2 to 4-pound range. The presence of numerous year classes and good recruitment will continue to maintain the bass fishery. Physical examination of the fish showed them to be in good condition and this was supported by an index of relative weight. The catch rate of preferred bass (≥ 15 inches in total length) showed a slight increase from the 2018 survey. One bass tournament angler gained everyone’s attention when he caught a female bass that weighed 12.96 pounds during an early season tournament held out of Ed Allen’s. This trophy bass is one of the F-1 bass that was originally stocked into the Chickahominy River. 

Chickahominy Lake has been well known for good bowfin and chain pickerel action. Anglers are still catching their share of bowfin and chain pickerel. The 2019 electrofishing survey revealed a decent abundance of bowfins along with a fair concentration of chain pickerel. The 2019 electrofishing survey collected a total of 77 bowfins for a catch rate of 58 bowfins/hr. This catch rate showed a decline when compared to the record rate of 71 bowfin/hr found in 2017 in which 213 bowfins were boated. Many of the bowfin were in the 3 to 6-pound range.  Anglers looking for bass may be pleasantly surprised by the strong fighting bowfin on the end of their line. Most of the chain pickerel action occurs earlier in the season during the February to March time frame when the water is just starting to warm up. Chain pickerel will relate to the deeper channels of the various creeks when the water warms up during mid to late spring. 

The 2018 trap net survey revealed the black crappie population to be in decent shape with the typical size distribution of healthy fish in the 10 to 13 inch range. The majority of the crappie were collected from the western half of the reservoir in the northern creek arms that warmed up the fastest in early March. Johnson and Lacey Creeks still had cold water and the decline in catch rates from these creeks were detected. The schools of crappie had yet to migrate into the upper reaches of the creeks. Electrofishing and trap net surveys have shown improvements in the size structure of the bluegill population. Collected bluegill have routinely been found in the 7 to 9 inch range. The bluegill population is an interesting component to the fishery as die-hard anglers will fly fish for these larger bluegill during the late spring months when the fish are tight to the banks.

Anglers have been able to catch increasing numbers of large blue catfish in the 30 to 40 pound range. The larger gizzard shad in the 10 to 14 inch range will provide ideal forage for these trophy blue catfish. The presence of an increasing population of blue catfish is not great in this already predator heavy system. Anglers are encouraged to harvest some of the smaller catfish for dinner. 

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

Biologist Reports

Regulations

Striped Bass

  • Regulations for anadromous (sea run) striped bass in the lake are the same as for striped bass in tidal waters.
  • For information on Striped Bass regulations contact the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) at 1-800-541-4646.

Herring

  • Walker’s Dam represents the fall line on the Chickahominy River. In accordance with the ASMFC moratorium, all river herring must be released unharmed if caught above or below the dam.

General Regulations

See the fishing regulations section on the web at: Fishing Regulations

  • Gasoline-powered motors are allowed (no size restriction).
  • Walkers Dam: Only rod and reel and hand lines permitted within 500 yards below dam. It is illegal to snag fish at Walkers Dam.

Facilities

See marina contacts under More Information.

News

Fisheries staff conducted a trap net survey during early March 2018 to continue monitoring the black crappie population. A spring electrofishing survey of Chickahominy Lake was conducted on April 11, 2019 and conditions were decent for the survey. Conditions during the 2018 survey were not nearly has conducive for a representative sample of the fishery. The 2018 electrofishing survey encountered extremely high water after all of the rain that hit the region during May 2018. Chickahominy Lake has an abundance of anoxic organic material that is mixed in with the lake’s substrate. During times of extremely high water, this layer of anoxic material can become easily mixed into the water column. When this happens, the dissolved oxygen level can quickly decline to the point that the majority of the fish biomass will leave the area to find suitable dissolved oxygen in another location. The dissolved oxygen level in Lacey Creek was extremely low during the survey and the catch rate of fish was extremely poor. The survey areas that were sampled in the main river channel had the higher catch rates of fish along with more desirable dissolved oxygen levels. The shallow areas in the back water coves of many of the creeks had the lowest DO levels. Anglers should not spend an excessive amount of time trying to find fish tucked in the shallows during the high water events as the majority of fish would have vacated the area if the dissolved oxygen level crashed. Johnson Creek had the highest dissolved oxygen of all of the sample sites and plenty of fish were collected and observed along the eastern side of the creek.  

The submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) becomes particularly abundant in the summer, becoming an inconvenience in localized areas. Certain creek arms become clogged with hydrilla and other aquatic vegetation. Boaters should be cautious when trying to maneuver through these areas.

DGIF hatcheries had a surplus of black crappie fingerlings during the spring of 2018. A supplemental stocking of roughly 25,000 black crappie fingerlings were stocked in a pelagic manner in the eastern half of the lake. 

More Information

For more information about Chickahominy Lake contact:

Ed Allen’s Boats and Bait
1965 Allen Road
Lanexa, VA 23089
Phone (804) 966-5368 or Ed Allen’s Campground (804) 966-2582
www.edallensboats.com

Eagles Landing
2142 Landing Road
Providence Forge, VA 23140
Phone (804) 966-9094
Email: eagleslandinginc@aol.com

For additional information on the fishery:

Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
3801 John Tyler Hwy.
Charles City, VA 23030

Phone: (804) 829-6580, Ext. 126