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Waller Mill Reservoir

Waller Mill is a 360-acre reservoir owned by the City of Williamsburg. The reservoir is located within the boundaries of Waller Mill Park. A navigable tunnel connects the upper and lower portions of the reservoir. The reservoir shoreline topography is covered by numerous points and coves. The heavily wooded shoreline with the numerous creek arms provides for a very pleasing environment in which to fish, hike, bike, bird watch or just pleasure boat. This trolling motor only resource feels larger than 360-acres due to all of the coves and creek arms. The reservoir has decent fishing opportunities for striped bass, largemouth bass, white perch, black crappie, and various sunfish species.

Maps & Directions

Waller Mill Park is located off of Route 645 (Airport Road) between U.S. Route 60 in Williamsburg and exit 234 off I-64. From Route 60, take Airport Road to the east. The park will be on the right after you cross over the upper half of the reservoir. If traveling by way of I-64, take exit 234 to Rochambeau Road. Rochambeau Road will double back to Airport Road. Take Airport Road to the park entrance. The boat ramp and concession stand will at the end of the park entrance road
Map

Fishing Opportunities

Striped Bass

Waller Mill Reservoir is probably best known for its striped bass fishing. Anglers have caught some striped bass in the 20 to 30 pound range over the years. Recent DGIF gill net surveys have shown a decent abundance of striped bass in the 8 to 12 pound range. The catch rate of larger bass (13 – 20 pound range) in the fall surveys has declined over the last few years. Most anglers decide to use gizzard shad for bait and find that cast netting for shad is the best way to catch them. The size distribution of the gizzard shad has historically been broken up into two groups. There is an abundance of shad in the 5 to 8 inch range and in the 13 to 16 inch range. Most anglers would probably prefer to get their hands on some of the 7 to 8 inch shad and use them to catch a striped bass. The reservoir is stocked with 9,000 striped bass fingerlings every May at a stocking rate of 25 fish/acre.

Largemouth Bass

Waller Mill Reservoir provides anglers a great opportunity to catch bass in the 2 to 4-pound range, with a chance of catching a few bass larger than 4 pounds.  The 2019 electrofishing survey collected a total of 228 bass. This catch rate of 114 bass/hr showed a large increase when compared to the 2017 survey (CPUE = 77.5 bass/hr). The bass length frequency distribution was 3 – 20 inches with a couple of strong year classes observed within the abundance of fish in the 11 – 16-inch range. The catch rate of preferred-sized bass (≥ 15 inches) was 16.5 fish/hr, which was similar to the 2017 survey (CPUE-P = 17 fish/hr. This catch rate of larger bass has shown a recent decline from past surveys. From all indications, the bass population appears to be bass heavy with a high proportion of the population in the 11 to 16-inch range. Very few anglers harvest bass for dinner. Waller Mill Reservoir is a prime place for anglers to conduct some selective harvest of these abundant bass. A total of 33 bass measured greater than 15 inches in length. The largest bass collected during the 2019 survey measured 20.31 inches and weighed 5.07 pounds. Past surveys have revealed a limited abundance of bass greater than 5 pounds and the 2019 survey was on par with a similar assessment of limited trophy bass abundance. Anglers that fish Waller Mill Reservoir in search of largemouth bass should be reminded that the reservoir has very steep-sided shorelines with a great deal of cover. Good numbers of bass like to hang tight to the overhanging shoreline brush primarily during the spawning season. If the bass are not hanging tight to the cover, they may be staging in open water in an attempt to attack schools of gizzard shad.

White Perch

The white perch population is very abundant in Waller Mill Reservoir. Anglers that are targeting the bass with light tackle jigs and spinners will probably keep pretty busy with the white perch. White perch tend to form very tight schools. When you catch a couple white perch, there should be a large school nearby. The 2019 electrofishing survey collected 77 white perch for a CPUE of 38.5 fish/hr. This catch rate showed a decline from the 2017 survey (CPUE = 55.5 fish/hr. The vast majority of (N = 60) of the collected white perch were found tucked near a downed tree. Past surveys have shown a bimodal distribution of white perch with a peak of 6.5 to 7.5-inch fish along with a more impressive collection of 9 to 10.5-inch fish. The 2019 collection showed the bulk of the perch in the 9 to 11-inch range. Anglers are encouraged to eat some white perch as they are one of the better tasting freshwater fish in Virginia. 

Black Crappie

The black crappie population in Waller Mill Reservoir appears to be in decent shape. Experienced anglers have passed along positive reports of finding large schools of black crappie that are very eager to attack small crappie jigs and small soft plastic baits. Recent DGIF surveys have shown an increase in the density of black crappie. The size distribution of collected fish revealed the presence of various year classes. The 2019 electrofishing survey showed a high percentage of the collected crappie to be in the 9 to 11-inch range with a limited number greater than 12 inches. The largest black crappie measured in with a citation-sized length of 15.43 inches and a weight of 1.98 pounds. 

Bluegill

Waller Mill Reservoir provides some limited angling for bluegill. The bluegill population primarily consists of fish less than 7 inches in length. The 2019 electrofishing survey yielded a total of 277 bluegill (CPUE = 167 fish/hr). This catch rate showed a favorable increase from the 2017 survey (CPUE = 50 fish/hr). Bluegill and other sunfish species were only targeted for collection during 5 of the 6 survey runs. Very few bluegill less than 3 inches in length were collected. The abundance of black crappie, white perch, and largemouth bass in the system has most likely had a detrimental impact on the recruitment of young bluegill over the last few years.

Additional Species

Waller Mill Reservoir offers a variety of species for anglers to target. Species not already covered include redear sunfish, common carp, yellow perch, and white catfish. The majority of the redear sunfish are in the 6 to 8-inch range. The majority of the common carp measure in the 20 to 28-inch range. The yellow perch population has yielded a few larger fish to anglers, but most of the collected fish were in the 5 – 9-inch range. The fishery has some large (for the species) white catfish, with fish in the 4 to 4.5-pound range collected in past surveys. A few of the stocked saugeyes are still patrolling the water within Waller Mill Reservoir. These fish from the supplemental stocking in 2013 could surprise anglers every once in a while. All of the saugeye should be larger than the 18” minimum size limit.   

Biologist Reports

Regulations

  1. Gasoline powered, outboard motors are prohibited on the reservoir.
  2. Electric trolling motors can be used.
  3. Statewide regulations apply to all fish species.
  4. Waller Mill Park hours vary with the season.
  5. All park rules and regulations should be followed by fishermen.

News

DGIF staff conducted an electrofishing survey of Waller Mill Reservoir on April 15, 2019. Six standardized survey sites were sampled to get an assessment of the fish community that is present. A total of 2 hours of effort were used for predator species assessment. Full community collection was taken during the first 5 survey runs. A total of 11 fish species were collected during the survey. The six most abundant species were largemouth bass, bluegill, gizzard shad, redear sunfish, white perch, and black crappie. The other species collected in limited abundance were redbreast sunfish, brown bullhead, common carp, American eel, and yellow perch.

Department fisheries biologists conducted gill net sampling of the reservoir during late November of 2017. This survey was used to attain valuable data on the striped bass population as well as the reservoir’s forage base. Chesapeake Bay strain striped bass are stocked into Waller Mill Reservoir every spring. The stocked fingerlings have to adapt to their new surroundings and avoid the hungry mouths of the numerous predators that are present. The gill net survey was successful in collecting 10 fish species. The five most abundant species were gizzard shad, white perch, largemouth bass, black crappie, and striped bass. The other species collected in limited abundance were saugeye, redear sunfish, brown bullhead, white catfish, and common carp. Collected striped bass appeared to be in decent shape even though there was a decline in the abundance of larger fish greater than 12 pounds. 

More Information

For information regarding Waller Mill Reservoir and Waller Mill Park, please call the park at (757) 259-3778.

For additional information on the fishery:
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
3801 John Tyler Memorial Hwy.
Charles City, VA 23030

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