Panfish Fishing In Virginia
Guide to fishing for sunfish in VA lakes and ponds.
Virginia offers fantastic opportunities for panfish fishing, with sunfish and perch species being popular targets among anglers, particularly for youth fishing adventures. These panfish provide an exciting and accessible fishing experience for young anglers, making it a great way to introduce kids to the joys of fishing.
Sunfish, including bluegill and redear sunfish, are abundant in Virginia's waters and are known for their willingness to bite and scrappy fights. Bluegill, in particular, can be found in ponds, lakes, and slow-moving rivers throughout the state. These colorful fish can be caught using simple fishing techniques such as bobber fishing with worms or small baitfish. Sunfish are ideal targets for youth fishing as they are plentiful, easy to catch, and provide a great sense of accomplishment for young anglers.
Perch species, such as yellow perch and white perch, also offer exciting fishing opportunities for kids in Virginia. Yellow perch can be found in freshwater lakes and rivers, while white perch can be found in brackish waters along the coast. Both species are known for their tasty fillets and can provide a fun and rewarding fishing experience. Young anglers can catch perch using live bait such as worms or small minnows, as well as artificial lures like small jigs or spinners.
Virginia's youth fishing events and programs are designed to encourage and support young anglers in their fishing pursuits. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries organizes various youth fishing events across the state, providing opportunities for kids to learn about fishing techniques, regulations, and conservation practices. These events often include fishing clinics, hands-on instruction, and friendly competitions, creating a fun and educational environment for young anglers.
Popular locations for youth panfish fishing in Virginia include community fishing ponds, small lakes, and designated fishing areas in city parks. These areas are often stocked with panfish and provide a safe and controlled environment for young anglers to practice their fishing skills. Some locations may offer amenities such as fishing piers, picnic areas, and restroom facilities, making them ideal for family outings and youth fishing adventures.
Panfish fishing in Virginia not only provides an exciting angling experience but also helps cultivate a love for the outdoors and conservation among young anglers. It offers an opportunity for kids to connect with nature, learn about fish species and their habitats, and develop important skills such as patience, perseverance, and respect for the environment. With an abundance of sunfish and perch species available, Virginia's panfish fishing is the perfect gateway to a lifelong fishing journey for young anglers.
Throughout the state of Virginia you can find waters with populations of sunfish, including bluegill, rock bass, white bass, white perch and yellow perch.
Panfish & Perch Lakes
Almost everywhere you drop a small, baited hook you can expect to see small sunfish coming for dinner. Ponds, rivers, parks, small lakes as well as major lakes like Carvins Cove Reservoir, Claytor Lake, Diascund Creek Reservoir, Kerr Reservoir, Lake Anna, Lake Chesdin, Lake Drummond, Lake Gaston, Lake Moomaw, Leesville Reservoir, Occoquan Reservoir, Philpott Lake, Smith Mountain Lake, South Holston Lake and Western Branch Reservoir have populations of one or more panfish.
Top Producing Panfish Lures & Bait
Check out the top producing lures and bait for bluegill, redear sunfish, rock bass and warmouth, as well as other smaller sunfish. Click here for the best lures for white bass, yellow bass, white perch and yellow perch.
In-state panfish, sunfish and perch
World record: 4 lbs 12 oz
State Record: 4 lbs 8 oz
World record: 3.0 lbs
State Record: 2 lbs 2 oz
World record: 6.8 lbs
State Record: 6 lbs 13 oz
World record: 4.6 lbs
State Record: 3 lbs 2 oz
World record: 4 lbs 3 oz
State Record: 3 lbs 0 oz
Click the images and links above for species details.
Virginia State Record Sunfish
The state record bluegill was caught from a private pond.
The state record redear sunfish came out of a private pond.
The state record rockbass was caught in Laurel Bed Lake.
The state record white bass came from Lake Orange.
The state record white perch was caught out of a private pond.
The state record yellow perch was caught from Flannagan Reservoir.
One or more species of sunfish populate virtually all warm water streams, ponds and lakes throughout Virginia, and around the world for that matter. They can survive in waters that provide their natural food source of minnows, insects, crustaceans and worms. Their competitive nature amongst themselves, for food, makes them relatively easy to catch.
Panfish are prolific spawners and repopulate the waters as fast as they are harvested. A common problem with panfish fishing is that the waters are under-fished causing panfish to overpopulate. As a result they tend to stay small in size due to lack of food source.
The term "panfish" comprises many species, each called by a variety of names. The bluegill tops the list and is the most common.
Bluegill Fishing Basics Video
The core principles shown in this video will work for most sunfish, perch and other panfish.
Sunfish information in other states.
Learn the lifecycle of a panfish
There is a host of panfish anglers can pursue. Visit the panfish fishing page for details on many of these sunfish you might encounter in Virginia fishing waters.