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A kayaker slips into a secluded cove and ducks under the rock overhang. On the main body of the lake, a fishing boat carrying a family passes by, the kids squealing with delight as they pull fish after fish out of the lake. Overhead, a bald eagle watches the scene unfolding below. It's another day on Sandy River Reservoir, and the water is fine.
Tucked away in the gentle hills of the Piedmont in Central Virginia, Sandy River Reservoir is a recent impoundment. Created in 1994, the lake is owned by Prince Edward County, and the fishery is managed by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF). Sandy River Reservoir is fed by several small creeks and rivers including the Sandy River, Little Sandy Creek, and Marrowbone Creek.
Sandy River Reservoir is an excellent warm-water fishery, but it is not as well known as it should be. For now, that makes anglers very lucky because the lake is under fished, and there are plenty to catch. The reservoir was opened for fishing in 1996, and it is stocked by the VDGIF. The large mouth bass fishing is great, and Sandy River Reservoir is earning a reputation as one of the best bass lakes in the southside. The channel catfish fishery is also very good, with catfish exceeding 14 pounds.
It is the quantity of fish, however, rather than the quality, that makes Sandy River Reservoir a great family fishing lake. In fact, in 2003 the VDGIF did an electrofish sampling with a 180.7 fish per hour catch rate. (The state average is around 100 fish per hour.) In addition to the bass and catfish, the lake is full of black crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish and chain pickerel. Most of the brush and timber was cleared before the lake was impounded, but two stands of trees were left in the Upper Sandy River and Upper Marrowbone arms of the lake for fish habitat. Anglers looking for trophy-sized fish should start there.
Public access to the lake is from a double lane concrete boat ramp or from the 150-foot fishing pier. Prince Edward County prohibits swimming and jet-skis and only allows boats with less than 10hp motors. The quiet coves, rocky shore and hidden sand beaches make Sandy River Reservoir an ideal place to explore by canoe or kayak. The lake is surrounded by birds and wildlife, including deer, diving ducks and grebes. There is also a 300-acre nature area. Prince Edward County allows duck hunting in season and in selected areas.
There are no stores or restaurants on Sandy River Reservoir, but the lake is just 10 miles east of Farmville. Established in 1798, Farmville is a charming town with a rich history. It is also the home of Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College. Visitors to Sandy River Reservoir can spend the night and get any provisions they might need in Farmville.
The prolific fishing, quiet water and undeveloped shoreline are sure to make Sandy River Reservoir a favorite with serious anglers, kayakers and families alike. Add in the amenities of nearby Farmville, and Sandy River Reservoir has something to please everyone.
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