Fishing

Fishing in Reston

Fishing in Reston

Reston's four lakes are available for fishing. Many species of fish may be caught including largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, bluegill, sunfish and others. Here are a few simple reminders to help make your fishing experience pleasant:

• Public docks for fishing include the Lake Anne Village Center dock, the dock on Lake Newport dam, and the dock by the Lake Thoreau pool at Sunrise Valley Drive. There are no public docks on Lake Audubon; however, there is a rocky fishing point that was built down the path from the Lake Audubon boat ramp parking lot.
• Anglers 16 years and older must have a Virginia fishing license.
• Residents may fish from RA-owned property, which includes the dams on each lake.
• Much of the shoreline around each lake is private. Please respect the "No Trespassing" and "Private Property" areas indicated by signs.
• Anglers are requested to catch and release the Triploid Grass Carp. We stock these fish in our lakes to help with aquatic plant management. They are sterile and do not reproduce.
• Anglers are encouraged to remove all common koi (goldfish) that are caught in the lake. Koi negatively impact the ecosystems of our lake.
• Please contact RA if any snakeheads are caught in our lakes. Snakeheads are an invasive non-native species in Virginia’s waterbodies; however, we have yet to identify snakeheads in our lakes.
• Please help keep Reston’s lakes and watersheds clean by not littering. Our lakes and streams eventually connect with the Potomac River, Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
• Reston Association lakes are storm water facilities, therefore, daily consumption of fish from the lakes is not recommended. Following recommendations by the Virginia Department of Health, people should consume two meals per month or less of fish caught in these lakes.

Management Goal

Each of the four lakes has an established fish population that has reached the carrying capacity for the water body. Our goal is to improve the largemouth bass population and populations of other desirable species in the lake. Improvements are to be made in the growth rates, sizes, numbers and reproductive potential of each species.

Fishing Guidelines

Based on the 2019 Department of Game & Inland Fisheries fish survey and RA’s aquatic consultants, the following fishing guidelines have been established for RA’s lakes:

Lakes Audubon, Anne and Thoreau
a. All fish over 12" must be immediately released
b. Bass: Anglers may keep up to 5 bass less than 12" per day. All bass 12” or larger must be released.
c. Black Crappie may be harvested at a limit of 5 fish per day.

Lake Newport
Catch and release all fish

2019 Fish Population Survey

In May of 2019, Reston Association worked with Virginia’s Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (DGIF) to conduct a Fish Population Survey of Lakes Audubon, Thoreau and Anne. They utilized a boat that temporarily stuns fish so they can be netted, identified, weighed and measured and returned to the lake. Because this survey was conducted as a community service, an official report was not provided. However, they did provide the following guidance:

All three lakes sampled were predator heavy. Lake Audubon and Lake Thoreau were rated as excellent fisheries given their location and size. Lake Anne was less productive than Thoreau and Audubon.

Lake Audubon
Audubon was the best: best predator/prey ratio, best bass indices and best bluegill/redear indices (for size structure and abundance). The fish DGIF caught on Lake Audubon consisted of 214 bass per hour (very high), 155 bluegill per hour, and 68 redear.  These numbers are inverted. There should be many more prey items than predators. DGIF saw 9 bass over 15" (those considered "preferred" - a national metric). There was a bass bottleneck between 9 to 12", meaning bass that size were too plentiful. All Black Crappie should be harvested. They only contribute to this bottleneck. The Redear Sunfish population in the lake is among the best (if not the best) the DGIF fisheries biologist had ever seen. They caught redear up to 12" and citations well over one pound in Lake Audubon during the survey. This is a benefit of predator heavy (as is having high angler catch rates albeit mostly smaller bass). DGIF also saw small numbers of Green Sunfish, Yellow Bullhead and American Eel in Lake Audubon.

Lake Thoreau
Similar to Audubon, but not quite as good. Still good bluegill and redear, but not fantastic. The fish DGIF caught on Lake Thoreau consisted of 158 largemouth bass per hour, 70 bluegill per hour and redear 43 per hour (both less, but commensurate with reduction in bass). Only 4 bass over 15" were caught during the survey at Lake Thoreau. It was DGIF’s opinion that Lake Thoreau is a good fishery to be sure, but the bass bottleneck was more pronounced, when compared with Lake Audubon, with lower indices in size structure.

Anne
Lake Anne was less productive and had different results than Lake Audubon and Lake Thoreau. The fish DGIF caught on Lake Anne consisted of: a bass catch rate of 124/hour with both sunfish combined for only 68/hour. Only one bass over 15" was caught during the survey on Lake Anne. One common carp was caught during the survey. Also many koi were caught, which DGIF removed from the lake.

For a video on the fish survey, click here.

Fish in Reston’s Lakes

Below are a number of popular fish that can be found in Reston’s lakes and were referenced in the DGIF fish survey.

Largemouth Bass
Black Crappie
Redear Sunfish
Blue Gill

This information as well as additional fish can be found on the DGIF website.

2007 Fish Population Study

Download Report (PDF) 167K

In October of 2007, a two-day fish population survey was conducted on four Reston Association lakes by Aquatic Environment Consultants, Inc. The lakes included in the survey were Lake Newport, Lake Anne, Lake Thoreau and Lake Audubon. The purpose of the survey was to collect data on the fish population of each lake, identify any problems and formulate a fisheries management plan for each lake. Data that related to water quality and the fish population was collected.

Nature Resources