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Lake Prince

Lake Prince is one of the older Norfolk lakes. It was impounded in 1925. The lake is quite large (946 acres), deep (30 feet) and very dendritic, i.e. it has numerous long, narrow coves extending out from the main body of the lake. Two major swamps (Ennis and Carbell) feed Lake Prince. The upper portions of these swamps are dense cypress forests.

Striped bass have been stocked annually in Lake Prince since 1970. Approximately 25 fish per acre (19,425 striped bass per year) are stocked. Pelagic stocking is now being used to evaluate the potential for increased survival of stocked fish. The lake’s striper population ranks second to Western Branch in District 2. The best striper fishing is in late fall, winter, and early spring. Population samples indicate the striper population has stabilized after a decline during the late 1980s. Studies indicate the aeration system installed in the lake in the early 1990s may be improving striped bass survival by increasing suitable habitat during the summer months. A few citations for stripers are issued each year for Prince. Prince has good largemouth bass, bluegill, and redear sunfish populations.

Fishing is best for largemouth bass in spring and fall, for redear sunfish in spring, and for bluegills in summer. However, all of these fishes can be caught year-round. There are also black crappies in the lake, with spring and fall being the best times for these fish. Some big chain pickerel are caught during the cooler months. Lake Prince produces about 50 trophy bass and 150 trophy sunfish each year. The banner year for bass was 1996 (84 certificates, formerly citations) and for sunfish was 1994 (314 certificates). While the number of reported certificates has declined in recent years, Lake Prince still offers excellent fishing.

A boat ramp is located off U.S. 460 at Providence Church on Route 604 (Lake Prince Road) in Suffolk. Norfolk boat permits are required. Bank fishing is restricted to a small area around the boat ramp, and gas motors (up to 9.9 horsepower) are allowed. The City of Norfolk has amended their codes to allow boats with outboard motors larger than 9.9 horse power to access the lake if the outboard is disabled (prop removed, fuel removed). The boat ramp and lake are open from sunrise to sunset.

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