Skip to Main Content

Rivanna Reservoir

Situated on the outskirts of the City of Charlottesville lies one of the best small fishing lakes in Virginia, the 450-acre Rivanna Reservoir. It’s owned and operated by the City of Charlottesville as one of several water supply lakes for the City and Albemarle County. Rivanna Reservoir has a history of providing excellent fishing for anglers. Although situated in an urban setting, the reservoir offers miles of undisturbed, forested shoreline and a number of secluded coves. The lake contains largemouth bass, bluegill, both black and white crappie, redear sunfish, and channel catfish.

One drawback to this lake is the limited angler access. The boat ramp is not well designed and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources is working to improve this situation. There is limited parking. The upside to this situation is that it limits use of the lake. If you want relative solitude, a peaceful experience, and a scenic backdrop to your fishing experience, this is a great place to go. Gas motors are prohibited, but electric motors may be used.

Maps & Directions

The boat ramp is located on Route 659 off of Route 631 (Rio Road) on the north side of Charlottesville.

From I-64 West or East to Route 29 North. Travel Route 29 approximately two miles and take a left onto Rio Road (Rt. 631). Go approximately 0.5 miles and take a right onto Woodburn Road (Rt. 659). Follow Woodburn Road (Rt. 659) for a couple of miles bearing left to the lake access.



best bet






best bet

Biologist Reports


  • Largemouth Bass – harvest limit of 5 per day.
  • Sunfish – harvest limit of 50 sunfish (combined) per day.
  • Crappie – harvest limit of 25 crappie per day.
  • Catfish – harvest limit of 20 per day.
  • Gasoline-powered outboards are not permitted on Rivanna Reservoir.
  • Electric motors are permitted.
  • The lake is open from sunrise to sunset.

Facilities, Amenities, and Nearby Attractions

Nearby Attractions


  • Fee
  • Parking
  • Handicap-Accessible
  • Food Concession
  • Picnic Tables
  • Grills
  • Restrooms


  • Hiking Trails
  • Bike Trails
  • Viewing Blinds
  • Observation Platforms
  • Fishing Pier/Platform
  • Boat Ramps
  • Motorboat Access
  • Horsepower Limit
  • Electric Motor Only
  • Paddle Access
  • Camping
  • Primitive Camping Only

Other than the boat ramp and limited parking, there are no facilities at Rivanna Reservoir.


More Information

For more information, call the Charlottesville Recreation Department at (434) 970-3268.