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Best Fishing in Northern Virginia

May 5th, 2024

By Sofia Alonso

2 min read

Northern Virginia offers a diverse array of fishing spots that cater to anglers of all types, from those seeking a peaceful afternoon by a serene lake to those in pursuit of a more adventurous fishing experience on flowing rivers. The region's waterways are home to a variety of fish species, including bass, catfish, trout, and panfish, providing year-round fishing opportunities.

As Northern Virginia residents and locals, the team at AV Architects + Builders loves sharing their favorite spots to enjoy all that the region has to offer. 


Fishing in Northern Virginia

Here are some popular fishing spots in Northern Virginia:


1. Occoquan Reservoir

Nestled between Fairfax and Prince William Counties, the Occoquan Reservoir is a prime location for fishing in Northern Virginia. This 2,100-acre body of water is known for its abundant populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish. The reservoir's quiet waters and scenic surroundings make it a favorite among local anglers. Public boat launches and fishing piers, such as those at Fountainhead Regional Park, provide easy access for both shore and boat fishing.


2. Potomac River

The Potomac River, particularly the stretches near Great Falls and Algonkian Regional Park, offers diverse fishing opportunities. Anglers can target smallmouth bass in the river's faster currents, while largemouth bass and catfish are more prevalent in the slower, tidal sections. The Potomac is also known for its seasonal runs of shad and striped bass (rockfish), which attract many fishermen in the spring. Access points along the river allow for both shore fishing and boat launching.

Tony Alonso Fishing in Potomac River_AV Architects and BuildersTony Alonso Fishing in the Potomac River at Riverbend Park


3. Burke Lake

Located in Fairfax County, Burke Lake is a 218-acre lake well-stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and channel catfish. The lake is part of Burke Lake Park, which offers numerous amenities, including boat rentals, a fishing pier, and picnic areas, making it an ideal spot for a family fishing outing. The park also participates in the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources' trout stocking program, providing excellent trout fishing opportunities in the colder months.


4. Lake Anna

Though slightly outside the immediate Northern Virginia area, Lake Anna is a popular destination for anglers willing to travel a bit further. This 13,000-acre lake is known for its trophy-sized largemouth bass and is also home to striped bass, crappie, catfish, and various sunfish species. Lake Anna offers both public and private access points, marinas, and professional guide services to enhance your fishing experience.


5. Shenandoah River

The Shenandoah River, with its North and South Forks, provides excellent fishing for smallmouth bass, sunfish, and catfish. The river's clear waters and beautiful valley setting make it a picturesque spot for a day of fishing. Public access points along the river, such as those near Front Royal and Shenandoah River State Park, offer easy entry for wading, canoeing, or kayaking in pursuit of the river's abundant fish.


6. Huntley Meadows Park

For those interested in a more relaxed fishing environment, Huntley Meadows Park in Fairfax County offers a unique setting. While not as large or as populated with game fish as other locations, the park's wetlands and waterways provide opportunities to catch sunfish and catfish. It's a great place for beginners or those looking to introduce children to the joys of fishing, with the added bonus of wildlife viewing in one of Northern Virginia's most significant wetland areas.


7. Lake Fairfax

Lake Fairfax in Reston is another family-friendly fishing location, stocked with trout by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources during the spring and fall. In addition to trout, anglers can catch largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish. The park surrounding the lake offers picnic areas, campgrounds, and other recreational amenities, making it a perfect spot for a weekend getaway.

These fishing spots in Northern Virginia showcase the region's rich aquatic life and provide anglers with a variety of fishing experiences. Whether you're a seasoned fisherman in search of a trophy catch or a family looking to spend some quality time outdoors, Northern Virginia's waterways offer something for everyone.


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