Buggs Island Lake is about 48,900 acres at full pool and has one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in the country. Surveys on largemouth bass indicate high rates of reproduction and growth. Largemouth bass in the 2-4 pound range are typical, however, trophy bass greater than eight pounds are rare. The best fishing is on the upper end of the lake and the lower end creek arms. Structure is important, and water levels affect how much structure is available. When water levels rise into the willow and sweet gum trees in spring, anglers should be sure to fish the backs of coves and the points.
Channel catfish have traditionally been the most sought after catfish at Buggs Island; however, flathead and blue catfish have become popular as well.
The striped bass population is in fair condition and should be similar to the last couple of years. During spring, striped bass may be found in the upper end of the lake and in the river above the lake as fish travel upstream to spawn. During summer, habitat (combination of temperature and dissolved oxygen) forces striped bass to be found in the lower end of the lake (the dam to about Buoy 9 and in the mouth of Nutbush Creek). Fishing during the fall and winter is typically best from Goat Island to the Clarksville Bridge, although fish may be found throughout the lake. Striped bass caught during the summer suffer high mortality rates when released (approximately 75 percent). Therefore, we ask that anglers fishing during the summer retain their legal-size fish (20 inches or over) until they are done fishing for the day, or reach their limit (four/day) rather than continue to catch fish and cull smaller individuals. During the cooler months (October-May), striped bass are less stressed and do not suffer high catch-and-release mortality.
Buggs Island Lake is also one of Virginia's best places to catch crappie. Fishing for crappie is typically best from February through April (pre-spawn and spawn); however, many anglers enjoy high catch rates year-round. Buffalo, Grassy, Bluestone, and Butcher Creeks are very productive for crappie.
White bass used to be a real favorite at Buggs Island Lake. However, white bass populations are down in many Virginia reservoirs.
White perch have recently become established in the lake and may have contributed to the decline of white bass. White perch are quickly becoming popular with anglers because they are abundant and can reach weights of nearly two pounds.