- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 3, 2009

As they have in past years, biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries again sampled Northern Virginia lakes and reservoirs. And again there were no real surprises among the top impoundments. Newcomers who want to try some of the lakes will be happy to discover how productive they were. The latest electroshock study tells the story.

The sampling with the powerful probes was conducted during day hours; the boat targeted largemouth bass, primarily those of 15 inches or more since those are the kind of bass most anglers prefer. Without overusing technical terms like RSD-P, which means “relative stock density of preferred fish,” I’ll go ahead and list the 10 bodies of water that delivered the best numbers - hence your best chance of hooking a good-sized largemouth bass.

In first place again was the 2,100-acre Occoquan Reservoir in Fairfax County. It had the highest CPE-P (catch per effort of preferred fish) and the highest relative stock density. In other words, check it out. This lake is very good.

Second place again was the 218-acre Burke Lake in Fairfax County. Burke had fine numbers of quality largemouths.

Third spot is now held by the 75-acre Mountain Run Reservoir in Culpeper County with good numbers of preferred bass sizes. Mountain Run is followed by the 160-acre Motts Run Reservoir in Spotsylvania County, which also showed steady numbers of bass.

Beaver Dam Reservoir’s 350 acres in Loudoun County ranked fifth, indicating a high relative stock density of preferred fish.

In sixth place is Lake Anna, the 9,600-acre nuclear power station reservoir in Spotsylvania County. Anna, too, showed a fairly high presence of 15-inch-and-over bass, followed by Pelham Reservoir in Culpeper County, Germantown Lake in Fauquier County, Lake Fairfax in Fairfax County and Lake Brittle in Fauquier County.

Virginia fisheries biologist John Odenkirk said the best district lakes for big bass per hour were consistent producers year after year, such as Burke and Occoquan.

Free fishing in Virginia - If you would like to give fishing in Virginia a try, you can do so without the usually required licenses starting Friday and continuing through Sunday. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the two state agencies that regulate saltwater and freshwater fishing in the commonwealth, want everyone to enjoy the special free fishing days. (For freshwater trout in designated stocked waters, however, you will need a permit.)

After the free days have passed, remember that Virginia license costs aren’t all that high. The state’s tidal water fishing license costs $12.50 a year for state residents, while the annual freshwater fishing and trout licenses are merely $18 each for residents. There are also tidal and freshwater short term licenses that are ideal for visitors.

Youth fishing derby - On Saturday, starting at 8 a.m., the New Horizon Bass Anglers will have a youth fishing derby at Lake Fairfax Park in Reston. A fishing seminar will be held at noon, and everyone will be treated to lunch. The event is designed for children 15 years old and under. The format is “catch, photograph and release.” All participants will receive a bag filled with fishing tackle items, and there will be prizes for the those who catch the most fish. Preregistration is encouraged. Go to www.nhbayouthfoundation.org/derbysignup.html. For more information, contact Charlie Taylor at [email protected]

• Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. Mueller’s Inside Outside blog can be found at www.washingtontimes.com/sports.

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