Hoping to relax by the water and spend your time fishing, but don’t want the hassle of bringing your boat? Try pier fishing. All you need is a rod and some bait and you’re ready to go. We’ve put together a list of some of the best piers Chesapeake has to offer, so get ready, gather your gear, and take a gander at these great options.
Great Bridge Lock Park
Generations of Virginians have spent their mornings and afternoons fishing and crabbing at Great Bridge Lock Park in search of fish and crab. With one side of the bridge brackish and the other freshwater, catfish and eels are sure bets, but you will also likely find lots of crabs, including blue crabs. In colder months, trout and perch are often what’s reeled in. Although boat launches are available for those with vessels, the majority of fishing is done by people inspired to settle in and take in the gorgeous views.
Elizabeth River Park
With changes in water temperature, fish move in and out of this region seasonally, but those on the hunt can scan the waters of the Elizabeth River for striped bass, tautog, pigfish, sand perch, and, of course, crab. By the pier, along with munchies and slushies, The Snack Shack sells chicken necks, sinkers, and basic fishing tackle for those who would rather get their gear and bait on-site. Another one of the many perks of casting at Elizabeth River Park is that all anglers hunting for sea creatures on the pier have their fishing and crabbing licenses covered by the city.
Oak Grove Lake Park
Walk the 1.5-mile loop around the lake before choosing one of the many terrific spots to stop and fish at Oak Grove Lake Park. In the lake, you’ll find small bluegills, and it’s always well-stocked with largemouth bass and catfish. No boats are allowed here, so the waters will not be disturbed by any wakes. Spend your time on the pier angling for hours or simply watching for turtles and cranes who are doing their own fishing. There are also picnic tables available for those looking to grab lunch after their time by the water, and a nearby playground for energetic youngsters. Plan ahead, as licenses are required to fish here, but they are not available at the park.
Dismal Swamp Canal Trail
Those with freshwater fishing licenses can relax at one of the many spots on the bank or piers along the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail. The 8.3-mile trail is marked every 1/4-mile and provides a 16-mile bike loop or a leisurely 2-mile nature walk. Fishing along the canal’s publicly accessible shores is allowed. Here fishers can search for channel catfish, pirate perch, chain pickerel, golden shiner, and more.
Northwest River Park
Located on the banks of the Northwest River in Southeastern Chesapeake, this 763-acre park is the perfect spot for year-round fishing. Avid fishermen and beginners alike love the 6-acre Lake Lesa as it is stocked with trout and catfish.
No matter where you decide to cast your line, the fish and views are waiting.