Day Trip: Spotsylvania

Find Your Historic, Adventure and Relaxation Spots in Spotsylvania​

As you explore Spotsylvania, you can expect to find a diverse mix of rich history, outdoor recreation and one-of-a-kind activities surrounded by beautiful rural landscapes. Conveniently located directly off Interstate 95, Spotsylvania has become one of Virginia’s fastest growing communities and is home to multiple historic landmarks and Civil War battlefields. With all Spotsylvania has to offer, it won’t take long for everyone to notice—and feel—something that is simply unique.

Historical Attractions in Spotsylvania

Spotsylvania, also known as the “Crossroads of the Civil War,” is rich in historical resources. Several major battles were fought here including one of the top five most significant battles in the war—the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, fought from May 8–21 as part of General Ulysses S. Grant’s Overload Campaign. Being one of the bloodiest battles in the war, it caused more than 100,000 combined casualties.

The battle included nearly 20 hours of brutal hand-to-hand combat over a section of the Confederate defenses, which eventually became known as the “Bloody Angle.” Today, this infamous site, along with other portions of the battlefield, are preserved as a part of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Battlefields’ National Military Park, a unit of the National Park Service commemorating four major battles of the American Civil War.

Witness scenic attractions, such as the Historic Courthouse and the Old Jail, or take a guided tour led by park historians through 25 different battle sites where historic battles were fought during armed conflicts that shaped the development of the United States. Stop by the Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Center where General Robert E. Lee had his greatest victory throughout his entire career.

Spotsylvania history

Traverse the African American Heritage Trail, a trail dedicated to educating the public, inspiring local pride and promoting appreciation for the county’s African American contributions. The driving tour is 75 miles throughout 407 square miles of Spotsylvania’s lush countryside. Or, at Spotsylvania’s many historical museums and attractions, you will find special displays of artifacts and photographs.

Outdoor Attractions and Activities in Spotsylvania

Besides the rich history, there are plenty of family-friendly activities around the area that will bring an afternoon of fun and laughter. Visit the Wilderness Presidential Resort, the local Civil War themed mini-golf course. Live like monkeys for an afternoon as you make your way from treetop to treetop while zip lining, swinging or walking across a Rickety Bridge at the county’s only zip line obstacle course.

For more outdoor fun, Wilderness Presidential Resort boasts over 600 acres for you and your family to camp, park your RV or stay in a cabin while you explore the area’s forests and waterways. Your quest for nature continues as you head to the award-winning Patriot Park or the popular Loriella Park where there are open sports fields, a swimming pool and Frisbee golf. Or become one with nature at the area’s natural attractions such as the Ni River Reservoir or the Hunting Run Reservoir. These two areas offer fishing, boat rentals, picnic shelters and endless fun outdoor activities.

Don’t miss the Spotsylvania Courthouse Historic District. Pick up the walking tour map at the Civil War Trails marker, or download the tour to your iPhone. Follow the map and pictures for the historic district using the pictures and the GIS map. Go to GIS.Spotsylvania.VA.us/Tour_Courthouse

The popular Civil War Trails Map, Lee vs. Grant, is available at the Spotsylvania Visitor Center. The National Park Service Spotsylvania Battlefield is open year-round, and in the summer, there is a NPS historian available to enthrall you with the Civil War History of Spotsylvania.

An attraction not to be missed is Dominion Raceway & Entertainment, located in Thornburg. This multipurpose motorsports and entertainment facility has four distinct racetracks in one location. Exciting races, amazing concerts and family-friendly events can all be found here.

Spotsylvania Food Truck Rodeo

Beer, Wine and Spirit Tasting in Spotsylvania

Looking for an adult only diversion? The Grapes and Grains Trail is the perfect daytime activity for some fun and relaxation. Located in Spotsylvania, Stafford and Fredericksburg, the trail includes five wineries, five breweries and a distillery. Stop by one at a time or spread your visits out throughout a couple of days. The $15 ticket (plus tax) expires after one year and comes with a collectable stemless tasting glass, a VIP tour of each facility and discounts at the gift shops of all of the trail’s stops. All are conveniently located right off of Interstate 95, making this the perfect opportunity to escape the highway and treat yourself to a delicious, locally produced glass of wine or craft beer!

Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg has teamed up with four area wineries to bring you a unique winery experience and a day to remember! Tours run on select Sundays from April to November. The five-and-a-half-hour guided tour travels to each winery allowing you to relax and enjoy your day—no driving needed! Tasting fees are included at each of the four wineries along with a light snack box of winery-appropriate fare. As you’re en route to the next winery, learn a little bit of history as you pass through historic Spotsylvania County.

Fall in Spotsylvania

If you’re here after the summer months, then you’re in luck! The annual Route 208 Sale Trail event lasts two days and is held every fall. The trail follows Route 208 from Four Mile Fork to the Spotsylvania County line at beautiful Lake Anna. The event will feature multifamily yard sales, business sidewalk sales, antiques and much more!

Rainy Day Activities in Spotsylvania

If it’s raining outside, don’t fret! The county is home to numerous indoor activities that offer entertainment for all ages. Spend an afternoon at one of the county’s cinemas—with some movies available in 3-D—the arcade or local bowling alley for some good quality time with the family. Discover more indoor fun at one of the several museums throughout the county that dive even further into Spotsylvania County’s place in history.

Shopping in Spotsylvania

If you are hoping for a day of shopping while in town, then Spotsylvania Towne Centre is definitely a must. Not only does this massive shopping destination offer more than 160 shops and eateries, but it also hosts special events throughout the year. If you’re in need of a new fashion wardrobe that you won’t see anyone else wearing, Towne Centre’s charming and one-of-a-kind boutiques have the solution for you. Shopping for the young ones or even need to redo your kitchen? Spotsylvania Towne Centre has got you covered. With all the name-brand stores, specialty shops and dining offered at this convenient shopping destination, the only problem you’ll have is making it to all your favorite stores before closing time.

Spotsylvania farmer's market

Dining in Spotsylvania

After you get some shopping in, satisfy your hunger at one of the many restaurants available in the county. Spotsylvania has over 100 choices, ranging from fast food to fine dining, where you can enjoy a delicious meal. Splurge at one of the ethnic specialties or try something new at one of the locals’ favorites. You will certainly find a place everyone can agree on!

Whether you are here for just the day, a couple nights or simply passing through, there is always a reason to stop in Spotsylvania. Visit VisitSpotsy.com and take a closer look at what makes Spotsylvania unique. With its mix of landmarks, attractions, history and beautiful rural landscapes, you will quickly discover why, as the locals say, “Spotsylvania is a great place to live, work, play and shop!” 

Shopping near Lake Anna

Lake-living style and unique stores make Lake Anna an exceptional shopping destination

From the eclectic shops to the one-of-a-kind stores, shopping in Lake Anna is quite the adventure. Spend a few hours, a full day or even an entire week exploring the many specialty shops here.

Find that perfect souvenir you’ve been looking for, gather an abundance of fishing and tackle supplies or simply spend the day perusing at your leisure.

There’s one thing for certain when it comes to shopping in Lake Anna and the surrounding areas: you’ll always find a great deal, and you definitely won’t leave without a new treasure.

Lake Anna shopping consists of lake-living-style gifts, souvenirs and accessories. If you’re looking to make larger purchases, be sure to visit some of the grandest shopping areas the state has to offer, which are in close proximity to Lake Anna. Nearby Fredericksburg offers Central Park, the largest outdoor shopping mall on the East Coast, approximately 30 minutes from Lake Anna. With more than 200 retailers, you’re sure to find whatever you’re searching for. The area also features Spotsylvania Towne Centre, and just a few miles south, discover Cosner’s Corner in Fredericksburg, an outdoor shopping center featuring everything from health and beauty stores to fashion and furniture.

If you’re planning to head farther north to Woodbridge, you’ll find Potomac Mills, the largest outlet mall in Virginia. The mall continues to be one of the largest tourist attractions in the state and is always advancing to meet the demands of its shoppers. 

Just a short drive south of Lake Anna will lead you to Short Pump Town Center, near Richmond. This high-end mall offers a wide variety of name-brand retailers, dining and more.

As Lake Anna continues to flourish, new shops pop up, and with amenities located just a short drive away, this location is becoming a visitor’s haven.  For a complete list of local shopping and attractions, please visit LakeAnna.guide.

Day Trip: Richmond

Images and editorial supplied by Visit Richmond

For more than 400 years, the Richmond Region has been at the center of it all. Richmond is a historical and cultural treasure, a world-renowned culinary destination, a craft beer mecca and an outdoor paradise. In fact, TripAdvisor featured Richmond as one of “7 Rising US Cities That Should Be On Your 2019 Travel Bucket List!”

Outdoor Activities in Richmond

As the only urban setting with Class III and IV rapids, Richmond offers James River rafting trips ranging from wild to mild. Come float along the river, keeping an eye peeled for native deer, blue herons, ospreys and bald eagles. Explore our rich history while riding your bike along the Virginia Capital Trail. Get your adrenaline rush with whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing trips—all against the backdrop of Richmond’s city skyline. If thrill rides are more your style, an exhilarating day at Kings Dominion is a must.

Museums in Richmond

The Richmond Region has museums for lovers of art, architecture, history and culture. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a world-class museum that houses a remarkable permanent collection of 33,000 works of art from almost every major world culture. The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University displays the art of our time. The Valentine tells the unique story of Richmond through the eyes of its citizens. Literary giant Edgar Allan Poe’s spirit lives on through extensive artifacts and archives, and the ever-popular Unhappy Hours at the Poe Museum. Explore The Civil War through Union, Confederate and African-American perspectives at the newly expanded American Civil War Museum. The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia serves as a resource on the many facets of black history through exhibitions, discussions and celebrations.

Richmond Attractions

Explore the region’s antebellum architecture. See where Patrick Henry proclaimed, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Visit the scenic Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, which USA Today named one of the Best Public Gardens in the U.S. Stroll the picturesque grounds of Maymont, a historic estate with glorious gardens, a nature center, children’s farm and a Victorian mansion that gets all gussied up for the holidays. The VMFA Sculpture Garden features Dale Chihuly’s “Red Reeds” and offers the perfect green space for kids, dogs and even yoga.

Jefferson Park

Entertainment in Richmond

The music scene in Richmond is hot, and the region hosts local and national musical acts year-round. Whether you enjoy intimate acoustic performances, laid back outdoor concerts or rockin’ shows in sold-out theaters, we’ve got something to fit your taste.

Restaurants in Richmond

Savor the flavors of more than 900 area restaurants, from down-home southern barbecue and uptown haute cuisine to savory pies and mom-and-pop eateries cherished by locals. Take a thirst-quenching trip along the Richmond Beer Trail, featuring 30+ craft breweries. Shop ‘til you drop at unique boutiques and vintage gems, as well as multiple malls featuring top fashion and home décor retailers. Admire more than 100 vibrant murals that brighten up the region’s walls.

With lively neighborhoods and a vibrant restaurant scene, Richmond is perfect for a quick break or an extended getaway.

Day Trip: Orange County

Images provided by Orange County Tourism and Visitors Bureau

Rich in History, Natural Beauty and Adventure

Established in 1734, Orange County was named in honor of William IV, Prince of Orange of the Netherlands. Nestled in the foothills, with sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Orange County offers fascinating historical sites and museums, picturesque vineyards, festivities and events throughout the year, cozy bed and breakfasts, award-winning inns and hotels, quaint shops, and culinary experiences ranging from down-home cooking to fine dining.

Orange County History and Heritage

Montpelier is the lifelong home of James Madison, fourth President of the United States, Father of the Constitution, and architect of the Bill of Rights; and his wife, Dolley, America’s first “First Lady.” Boasting spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the historic home and grounds on 2,650 acres are open to visitors year-round. House tours are complemented by the nationally-acclaimed exhibition “The Mere Distinction of Colour,” walking tours, galleries, the Museum Shop, the Madison family and slave cemeteries, an archaeology lab and active archaeological dig sites, beautifully landscaped formal gardens, and award-winning food at the David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center’s Exchange Cafe. Montpelier’s eight-plus miles of walking trails wind through wildflower meadows, horse pastures and old-growth forests, affording visitors unparalleled views and intimate encounters with native plants and wildlife.  

Montpelier

Historic Attractions in Orange County

Orange County’s Civil War sites include Wilderness Battlefield. Fought in May of 1864 with heavy casualties, the Battle of the Wilderness was the start of General Grant’s Overland Campaign and a turning point of the war. Fort Germanna Visitor Center complex which includes a museum, Genealogy Library, the Hitt Archaeology Center and the Germanna Memorial Garden, tells America’s story of liberty through the frontier experience of their settlers and descendants using archaeological, historical and genealogical research and interpretation. Additional historic sites and museums include the Barboursville Ruins, Ellwood Manor in Locust Grove, Gilmore Cabin just South of Orange, The James Madison Museum of Orange County Heritage, The Exchange Hotel and Civil War Medical Museum in Gordonsville, the Historic Orange Train Station and the Montpelier Train Depot.

Wine and Brew in Orange County

As many wine enthusiasts know, Orange County is a premier East Coast wine tour destination and is home to six unique wineries, including the world-famous Barboursville Vineyards, Chateau Merrillanne Vineyard, Hammerstone Cellars, Honah Lee Vineyard, Horton Vineyards and Reynard Florence Vineyard. Come enjoy our friendly tasting rooms and meet our passionate wine makers. If you are looking to sample our locally crafted beer scene, check out Willow Spring Brewery located in the heart of the historic district in the Town of Orange. Our locally crafted brewery scene is growing rapidly in Orange County, stay tuned for new additions coming in 2019.

Outdoor Adventure in Orange County

The area offers many outdoor adventures for all ages. Discover miles of hiking trails at James Madison’s Montpelier, Market at Grelen and Fort Germanna.  Appreciate the rural vistas and foothills by horseback, pick a pale full of locally grown fruits and vegetables of the season on our many farms, snag you’re your biggest catch at Lake Orange, kayak down the Rapidan River, play the longest hole in the US at Meadows Farms Golf Course, explore the largest corn maze this side of the Mississippi at Liberty Mills Farm, and jump out of a perfectly good airplane at Skydive Orange!

Liberty Mills maze

Orange County Annual Events

Don’t miss out on the many annual events happening throughout the year that celebrate our community and its many traditions, including: The Orange Uncorked Wine Festival, Somerset Steam and Gas Pasture Party, Constitution Day, Liberty Ride, Fall Fiber Festival, The Famous Fried Chicken Festival, Bull Riding Rodeos, Chili and Brew Festival, and this year’s 85th Anniversary of the Montpelier Steeplechase Races, just to name a few. There is plenty to keep the whole family “unplugged” on your next getaway to Orange County, Virginia.

Come explore our historic sites and museums, outdoor recreation, quaint main street shops, art galleries and storybook views in Orange County, Virginia, where hospitality and heritage live.

Day Trip: Madison County

Images and editorial from Madison County

With thousands of beautiful acres of land, scenic hiking trails, unique shops, restaurants, exquisite lodging options, several wineries, an amazing brewery and debuting in the spring a Winery/Brewery/Cidery and rich history, Madison County is truly a special place to—as the locals say— “ride, hike, taste, stay and shop.”

History of Madison County

The county is named after the Madison family that owned a large territory of land along the Rapidan River. One of the descendants from this family is none other than James Madison, one of our nation’s earliest presidents, whose estate, known as Montpelier, still resides in the neighboring Orange County. 

Along with President Madison, several other historical figures have spent time in Madison County, such as the Paleo-Indians, General Stonewall Jackson and the royal governor Alexander Spotswood. But that’s not all the history that occurred in the county. President Herbert Hoover once purchased land in the mountain area of Madison where he built his summer camp.

The reason so many significant people have made their mark in Madison is because of its convenient location. Trails and roads are placed throughout the Piedmont area of the county leading up to the famous Blue Ridge Mountains, which led 18th and 19th century travelers to the Shenandoah Valley. At the time, this area was known as the breadbasket of the Confederacy during the Civil War and was used as a back door for Confederate raids.

Historic Attractions in Madison County

Because so much history has taken place in Madison, there are plenty of destinations throughout the area that share, preserve and portray all that has occurred over the decades. Both walking and driving tours are offered in Madison, giving a special insight on the town and its place in history while strolling down Main Street or driving through the scenic Route 231. You will also find several historical buildings, many of which are found in Downtown, that you can journey through during a self-guided tour. Or take an afternoon to discover all there is to know about the history behind the Madison County Court House building.

Located just a few miles from Madison County is The Graves Mill Historical Park, which offers a unique glimpse into the past, commemorating the significance and history of the Village of Graves Mill. The park is home to a stone memorial and bronze plaque honoring the 40 Virginian men who served during the War Between the States. You will also find a replica of the county’s 1900s post office building and some of the earliest history of Graves Mill and its nearby areas.

Outdoor Attractions and Activities in Madison County

While in Madison County, there are plenty of outdoor activities to participate in while witnessing the breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains and foothills. From trout fishing and hunting to horseback riding and bird watching, you can always find something to do in the midst of beautiful scenery.

Explore a few of the 33,000 acres of the Shenandoah National Park in Madison, where you’ll find popular hiking trails, such as Old Rag and the gorgeous White Oak Canyon Falls. Or explore the Blue Ridge Mountains by foot or car and you will quickly become accustomed to the gorgeous culture and atmosphere of Madison County. For an up close and personal look at the Blue Ridge Mountains, take a guided hiking adventure with a local expert who knows all the ins and outs of these breathtaking mountains.

Fishing is a popular activity in Madison County due to its close proximity to multiple rivers and ponds. But that’s not the only outdoor activity that draws people to Madison. Take part in local traditions such as apple picking in the fall with over 27 different varieties of apples, or take a moonlight hayride.

Wine Tasting in Madison County

A great way to experience the outdoors is by “tasting” it too. There are now five wineries located in Madison County that produce quality wines known both nationally and internationally. Madison is host to the one of the oldest and greatest, Prince Michel (with an exciting addition to the winery being announced soon); DuCard, the first solar-powered winery in Virginia; Early Mountain Vineyards, voted the #1 Tasting Room in America by USA Today; Revalation Vineyards, offering a panoramic view of the Hebron Valley; and Blue Quartz Winery opening in the spring. Each winery offers exclusive tours of their facilities and will certainly be a delightful experience all the way down to the last sip.

Dining in Madison County

For more delicious beverages and eats, stop by one of the local restaurants in the area for a fine-dining experience or have a casual lunch at a local hang out spot offering tasty, fresh food that will satisfy everyone’s taste buds!

Shopping in Madison County

After some delicious eats, be sure to browse the local shops where you will find handcrafted early American furniture and accessories for both indoor and outdoor living, yard and garden supplies, local goods, footwear, fashionable apparel and much more. Many new shops have opened on Main Street including She-She on Main and The Market on Main.

Madison County Accommodations

If you are exhausted after a day of shopping, outdoor activities or simply exploring the county, there are plenty of ways to stay overnight in Madison. Whether you make yourself at home in a cozy cabin, treat yourself at a bed and breakfast or even step outside of your comfort zone in a Yurt for the night, you won’t be disappointed with your stay in Madison County.

Madison County Events

The County is known for many festivals, such as the Festival of Music, Apple Harvest Festival and the annual Taste of the Mountains Festival. Taste of the Mountains will be celebrating its 27th year on August 31, 2019. Many events happen at Hoover Ridge, including the annual Hops Festival, movie nights and Wine and Wool Festival. Our wineries and brewery offer great events every weekend.

Come celebrate 50 Years of Virginia is for Lovers in Madison County! Check out our website MadisonVa.com or come see us at the Madison County Visitor Center, 110 N Main St., Madison.

Day Trip: Louisa County

Images and editorial from Louisa County Parks, Recreation and Tourism

Small Town – Big Charm

Located in the heart of Central Virginia, less than an hour from Richmond, Charlottesville and Fredericksburg, Louisa County is a four-season region touted in both rural beauty and historical charm. It is home to one of Virginia’s largest freshwater inland lakes and is filled with country roads, rivers and streams, farm lands and rolling hills. It remains a growing community of businesses and entrepreneurs providing a diverse selection of endless opportunities for those seeking to experience the rural life in a variety of unique ways.

Discover Louisa County

Here in Louisa County, we recognize that both visitors and residents alike enjoy being a part of the experiences that are created here, which is why we believe in creating experiences that Build Community, Change Lives and Make Memories that we know will last beyond your stay with us. You have the opportunity to create endless memories that will last a lifetime; come be a part of the “Louisa Experience” by enjoying all that there is to offer, and what is yet to be discovered when you immerse yourself in the lifestyle and culture of Louisa.

Outdoor Attractions in Louisa County

Begin your journey with us on the serene waters of Lake Anna – a more popular vacation destination where you will find yourself simply relaxing, or out on the water fishing, swimming, kayaking, water skiing, tubing or canoeing. Just a short drive from Lake Anna, you can witness scenic attractions such as the Historic Courthouse and the Old Jail located on downtown Louisa, ride or walk the equestrian trails on the original battlefield of the Battle of Trevilian Station, or take a self-guided tour through a variety of different historical locations throughout the county. Did you know 150 years ago, the Battle of Trevilians Station in Louisa was the largest all-cavalry battle during the Civil War? In 2014, the town re-created this dramatic battle by bringing back hundreds of cavalry horses, mounted re-enactors, Infantry (foot soldiers), sutlers and townspeople, all whom were represented during this exciting, interactive weekend. Adults and children enjoyed living history talks, tours, entertainment and demonstrations, along with period dancing and games.

So Much to Do in Louisa County

In addition to our rich heritage, there are plenty of family-friendly activities and special events, local attractions, dining venues, our new cidery and award-winning wineries that are sure to offer you hours of entertainment.

Louisa County Events

Summer Events

Summertime kicks off our outdoor entertainment with a variety of summer concert events hosted at Lake Anna, and our annual “It’s Finally Friday” series designed for family and friends. The summer fun continues with Louisa’s annual, Heritage Day event where visitors are transported back in time to experience Louisa’s culturally diverse past, present and future through living history demonstrations. Be sure to visit us the second Saturday in June for Louisa County Chamber’s annual Street Festival where there will be more than 100 vendors, live music, carriage rides, fantastic food, kids activities and so much more! The last weekend in July, Louisa hosts a two-day event that has remained a county favorite for many years – The Louisa County Agriculture Fair. You will be sure to enjoy this old-fashioned event with many farm animals, antique farm equipment, games, food and entertainment!

Louisa County Heritage Day

Fall Events

As the weather cools down, our annual Fall Harvest Festival in October is the place to experience the best of Louisa as Louisa County Parks, Recreation and Tourism partners with the Mineral Farmers Market to host over 80 local vendors at Walton Park for a day of shopping, music and fun for youth. If you have the courage, join us the last two weeks in October for a walk or run through our “Haunted Trail” at the Betty Queen Center, or bring the kids to the new, “Happy Haunted” Trail that provides a variety of fun and exciting non-scary Halloween themed stations that your children are sure to love.

The fall months continue with Lake Anna’s annual, Grapes & Grains Festival and Louisa County Chamber of Commerce’s Corks, Forks & Memories Festival – both on the first Saturday in October. You will experience award winning wineries along with a variety of ciders, craft beers, local artisans, food vendors, demonstrations, book signings, live music and children’s activities. Louisa also offers a variety of charitable events in the fall months such an annual BBQ Competition and Car Show, a Chili Cook-off, a cycling event, a motorcycle benefit ride and much more!

Winter Events

We wrap up the family-friendly year with some wonderful, hometown events like our annual Louisa Christmas Tree Lighting, Breakfast with Santa, Ugly Christmas Sweater walk/run and the Louisa Christmas Festival and Parade in December.  

Outdoor Activities in Louisa County

Events and festival are not all there is to experience in Louisa County; for those with a taste for the outdoors, just a short distance from Lake Anna, you will discover the beauty of Louisa’s rolling hills and countryside that offers a wide variety of recreational activities such as: hiking, cycling, swimming, putt-putt, tennis, golf and even horseback riding. We also have playgrounds for your little ones at a variety of locations throughout the county. Our parks aren’t just for the little ones though, we also have a dog park on New Bridge Road that is open to the public for our four-legged friends.

Swimming, anyone? A public pool is available at the Betty J. Queen complex, open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The pool’s reasonable prices and daily entertainment for youth make it a great place to spend summer days when you can’t get on the lake. You will also find a nine-hole disc golf course located at the Betty Queen Center which is free and open to all ages.

Louisa County water activities

Louisa County’s Arts and Entertainment

Encounter Louisa’s culture of fine arts and theater when you experience the eloquence and quality of a Broadway performance in the setting of a rural community at the Louisa Arts Center – the epicenter of performance, visual, musical and cultural arts in Louisa. If you are seeking a performing arts venue, a place to enjoy artwork in a gallery setting, or participate in a painting class over a glass of wine with friends…this is the place for you!

Stay in Louisa County

Wind down after an exhilarating and full day of adventure by simply relaxing in one of our beautifully restored historical bed & breakfasts – Prospect Hill Plantation Inn, The Boxley Place, The Whistle Stop or the Ginger Hill Bed & Breakfast. You can stay at a breathtaking waterfront vacation rental at Lake Anna, or campout at one of our fun, family-friendly campsites – Small Country Campground or Christopher Run Campground – where you can take in the quiet and serene atmosphere of Louisa County at its finest.

Whether it’s a performance at the Louisa Arts Center, an outdoor adventure on the lake, exploring our rich heritage, enjoying our list of signature events, a place to enjoy a great meal at a local eatery, or a visit to one of our wineries and cidery – you can find out where to go and what to do at VisitLouisa.com and on our Facebook page, Visit Louisa Events Page. Both sites provide an ongoing, year-round events calendar. Each event offers a unique opportunity to connect with our small town charms that compel visitors to return to Louisa year after year.

When you visit Louisa County you will discover the authentic and creative experiences that come from a Small Town with Big Charm! This season, unplug, reconnect and discover Louisa County!

Planning a Wedding in Lake Anna

With the growing cost of big city weddings, the natural beauty of Lake Anna can provide a more economical choice. 

By Rebekah Conley

When a newly engaged couple begins considering possible wedding locations, there’s an allure to the idea of a destination wedding. Most people think exotic locales and Caribbean vistas, but this often excludes close family and friends who can’t afford an expensive excursion. If you want the excitement of a destination wedding without the expense or inconvenience, why not think a little closer to home? With its convenient proximity to Northern Virginia and Washington D.C., Lake Anna is becoming a destination wedding hot spot for NoVA couples.

Lake Anna is a beautiful locale. The shimmering water reflects on the verdant landscape, lush with trees and wildlife. This serene and peaceful setting is the perfect backdrop for the most memorable day of your life. With the growing cost of big city weddings, the natural beauty of Lake Anna can provide a more economical choice.

Venues near Lake Anna

If you are not a frequent visitor to Lake Anna’s shores, you may be at a loss as to where to begin the wedding venue search. Lake Anna is the perfect backdrop for any wedding ceremony or reception, and because the lake is a popular summer getaway, there are tons of rentals available throughout the year. Rental homes in Lake Anna come in a variety of sizes, from small cottages to large estates. Big yards leading to beautiful docks can serve as both the ceremony location then transition into a perfect reception spot. State of the art kitchens can be used by catering staff to feed your guests. If you plan your wedding after the peak season, most rentals are available at a discounted rate.

A rental home wedding also has the advantage of extra accommodations for your guests. Invite your nearest and dearest the week before the wedding, and make it a holiday! And since you’re lakeside, why not have a playful reception? Bring out your swimsuits and dive in for an afternoon of swimming and tubing. Your guests will never forget the experience!

If you’re looking for a larger venue, Lake Anna State Park has two beautiful locations that offer a scenic locale. The beach is a popular location for summer swimmers, but can be rented out for private events for a small cost. They also have a lovely picnic area overlooking the cove. Contact Lake Anna State Park, to learn more. VirginiaStateParks.gov/LakeAnna

Looking for a romantic locale? Lake Anna is located right in the middle of Virginia’s wine country. Imagine rolling hills dotted with beautiful vines as you and the love of your life say “I do.” Many of these locations include indoor banquet halls. There’s also the bonus of delicious Virginia wines for all your guests.

Food, Photography, Flowers and More

Lake Anna and the surrounding towns offer a small-town charm that delights guests year after year. There are a variety of cute bakeries and unique restaurants that can provide lovely desserts and delicious reception fare. Another possibility is to outsource your wedding. Lake Anna’s proximity to large cities like Fredericksburg and Richmond mean that your big city wedding vendors can provide their services with ease to your lakeside location.

Let your wedding be a true escape for you and your guests. Come to Lake Anna for a destination wedding with all the comforts of home.

Day Trip: Fredericksburg

Images and editorial supplied by City of Fredericksburg

Take the Scenic Route

There’s something to see around every corner in the Fredericksburg region. From the Wilderness Battlefield just off U.S. 3 in Spotsylvania County, to St. George’s which towers over Princess Anne Street in downtown Fredericksburg, to the lush wilderness of Widewater State Park in Stafford County, just a quick jaunt off U.S. 1.

A vantage point for every view: The history buff. The bookworm. The adventure seeker. The foodie. Take a quick tour and see for yourself:

Fredericksburg History

The region is the cradle that American history sprang from. Revolutionary history is alive here, at the Mary Washington House, home to the mother of George Washington; Washington’s own homeplace Ferry Farm; his friend’s business, the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop; and his sister’s home Historic Kenmore, which features breathtaking plaster ceilings.

From John Smith’s first exploration up the Rappahannock River in 1608 to artist Gari Melchers’ purchase of a peaceful country retreat in Falmouth in 1916, the Fredericksburg region has been a rewarding landing place for centuries of seekers. That tradition continues, and a new generation of offerings make this just the place to find yourself, whatever you seek.

Fredericksburg Civil War history

Historic Attractions in Fredericksburg

The Fredericksburg Spotsylvania National Military Park is an expansive system of civil war sites, from Chatham Manor to the Fredericksburg Battlefield and the Wilderness and Chancellorsville battlefields.

See the wide expanse of local history at the Fredericksburg Area Museum or the Spotsylvania County Museum and take in the stunning vistas that inspired impressionist Gari Melchers at his home and studio, now a museum, Belmont. A look into a collection of rare aircraft at the Shannon Air Museum; follow the journey of African Americans in Spotsylvania County at John J. Wright Educational & Cultural Center Museum or visit the Rappahannock Railroad Museum to learn railroad history and take a quick ride on the little yellow train.

History has never been so alive as it is at Ferry Farm, where dedicated craftsmen are working to build a replica of the house where George Washington came of age. Across the Rappahannock River in Downtown Fredericksburg, the newly refurnished Kenmore mansion dazzles in the 18th-century grandeur in which Washington’s sister, Betty, and her husband, Fielding Lewis, furnished it, before the Revolutionary War turned their world upside down. The Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center tells the region’s story in a brand-new collection of exhibits in the oldest continuously used public building in the U.S.

Outdoor Attractions in Fredericksburg

Outdoor enthusiasts have a vibrant river ecosystem to explore. Take a river trip by canoe, kayak, tube or stand up paddleboard from the Virginia Outdoor Center. There are more bodies of water to explore at Mott’s Run Reservoir. River Rock Outfitter in downtown Fredericksburg makes adventuring easier than ever, offering supplies and tours of the region’s outdoor destinations. Hikers also have plenty to explore at the region’s parks and the many trails, including the recently opened Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail.

Outfitters on the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers and Lake Anna can get you up on a stand-up paddleboard, cruising the rapids in a kayak or connecting with nature on a multi-day trip on the water. Explorers are welcome at Lake Anna State Park, Motts Run Reservoir, Government Island and a long list of other places.

downtown Fredericksburg

Other Attractions in Fredericksburg

Clutching the wheel as you navigate one of the 12 turns in the two-mile road course at Spotsylvania County’s Dominion Raceway, you won’t want for adrenaline. Adventure is not in short supply here. The Fredericksburg Skydiving Center at Shannon Airport can help you with the ultimate bucket-list item. 

Arts and Entertainment in Fredericksburg

Artists thrive here. That becomes evident on any visit to Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont in the historic village of Falmouth. Downtown’s Ponshop celebrates modern forms like skateboard art, graffiti and tattoo art, while Artful Dimensions celebrates everything three-dimensional. You could fill multiple days wandering through the many other galleries and studios that artists have established in Downtown Fredericksburg. Riverside Center for the Performing Arts continues to up its game in bringing nationally recognized talent to an expanding repertoire that includes both the classics of musical theater and more modern dramatic favorites.

Shopping in Fredericksburg

Downtown Fredericksburg offers a vibrant shopping district. Find artworks from a variety of local creators of Liberty Town Arts Workshop, three floors of used books at the charming Riverby Books, handmade wooden goods at Fraser Wood Elements and designer women’s clothes at Monkees. Looking for something with a little more timeworn? Deep Creek Vintage is a haven for antique collectors.

Caroline Street Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg Restaurants

Every meal is an opportunity to explore the artistry of a Fredericksburg-area chef.

From Adventure Brewing to Zibibbo 73 Trattoria, cuisine in the region reflects its diverse history and culture. You can eat and drink like a local, whether that’s at the region’s many wineries and breweries. Ty out our newest brewery, Barley Naked Brewing Company or our world-renown A. Smith Bowman Distillery. Dine at award-winning restaurants, including Foode, La Petite Auberge, Amy’s Café, Orleans Bistro & Grill, Capital Ale House, The Confident Rabbit and Mason Dixon Café among many others. There’s something for every taste.  

There’s so much see in between: galleries, performances, events, vistas. We’re making history every day in the Fredericksburg region.

Four Seasons in Lake Anna

Lake Anna is Lively Year-Round

If you’re planning a visit to beautiful Lake Anna, you may think that the only time is during the warm-weather months. Lake equals water. Water equals swimming, boating and other water ventures usually available when the weather is toasty. However, Lake Anna is a perfect getaway no matter what time of year. Each season paints the lake with vibrant colors, providing a picturesque vacation. The surrounding region is filled with charming towns, bursting with quaint shops and restaurants as well as fun, family-friendly events and festivals. Here’s a look at what each season can bring to your family vacation.

Things to Do Year-Round in Lake Anna

Spring in Lake Anna

Spring is when Lake Anna starts to come alive. Beautiful flower buds appear, painting the landscape with color. Start your visit at Lake Anna State Park. As you walk the trails, you’ll witness firsthand life sprouting forth—green leaves reappearing and blossoms everywhere. The park boasts 11 trails totaling over 15 miles giving you plenty of opportunities to take in this serene landscape.

Don’t want to walk? Visit a local stable and see the scenery atop a trail horse. Lake Anna State Park offers 12 miles of bridle trails to gallop and explore. Travel to Gordonsville and ride one of the same trails that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison used centuries ago.

Although it’s not quite warm enough for a dip, take a kayak or canoe out on the water. Spring is the official start of paddling season. With over 13,000 surface acres of fresh water, Lake Anna is a paddlers paradise. Visit Lake Anna’s many coves and see the wildlife reawaken from their winter slumber. Or use the cool spring breezes to slide across the waters in a sailboat. Spring is also when the fishing starts gearing up. Avoid the summer crowds, and be one of the first anglers on the water. For competitive anglers, there are fishing tournaments almost every weekend in Lake Anna.

Get a head start on your summer wardrobe at a local shop. Explore the quaint gift shops, antiques stores and local farmers markets in the area. Spotsylvania Towne Centre is a lively shopping destination featuring your favorite retail stores, restaurants and entertainment.

Take your family to experience a small-town festival. Get into the spirit of Easter in Louisa County with the Easter Eggstravaganza. Or learn about the city’s rich history, complete with 19th-century craftsmen, like blacksmiths and weavers, at Louisa’s Heritage Day in April. Spotsylvania hosts its annual Food Truck Rodeo competition in April as well. The Court House Village is filled with food trucks, as well as other food vendors, offering a wide selection of culinary pleasures.

Experience Virginia’s wine country at the Montpelier Wine Festival the first weekend in May. Sip and swirl on Virginia-made wines and ciders while you tour the grounds of James Madison’s Montpelier in Orange. There’s something for the whole family, including arts and crafts, live music, food vendors, lawn games and a Most Marvelous Hat contest.

Summer in Lake Anna

It’s getting hot outside. Time to dive into the many water excursions available at Lake Anna. There’s so much to do—waterskiing, tubing, wakeboarding, parasailing and more! This is Lake Anna’s peak season for a reason. Pack a picnic and head to the shore for swimming and beach volleyball. You’ll almost forget that you’re in central Virginia while you lounge and play on these white sand beaches. Fishing is at its height; the lake is bustling with life and energy—your family won’t want to leave the water.

However, if you can tear the family away, the nearby counties offer tons of fun excursions. There are amusement parks, racetracks, community pools, tons of restaurants and historic sites. A little something for every taste. When it gets hot outside, experience the indoor attractions. Take a trip to the Louisa Arts Center for a day of cultural enrichment. Or learn how Lake Anna was formed and why at the North Anna Nuclear Information Center.

Summer is prime time for gold hunting. Lake Anna State Park pays homage to the area’s history with Stampmill Sam’s Gold Adventure—a gold-themed event held during summer. The program includes a trip to Goodwin Gold Mine, where the area’s first gold was discovered, a lesson in the methods used to mine gold and a chance to do some gold panning yourself at Pigeon Run.

Cool off from the hot summer sun with a visit to a local brewery or cidery. Take a tour of the tasting room, then enjoy one of the seasonal craft beverages outside on the outdoor patio. Summertime pairs well with a party vibe, so it’s not uncommon to find live entertainment and food trucks on site during this peak season.

Summer months also mean town fairs, farmers markets and Fourth of July fireworks—all in the adorable towns surrounding the lake. As the sun sets, the fun isn’t over. There are live musical events on the lake and in nearby towns happening all summer long. Be sure to save the date for one of the region’s biggest events, the Mineral Bluegrass Festival, featuring loads of fun, food and the best in Appalachian music.

Fall in Lake Anna

The weather is cooling down, so fall is the time to get outdoors before the winter chill sets in. Why not plan a family camping trip? Without the scorching sun, your family will love hiking the trails surrounding Lake Anna. The trees become vibrant with color—the reds, yellows and oranges of a lovely fall landscape. Be sure to plan your visit around one of the local fall festivals in Louisa, Spotsylvania and Orange counties. Get the best of fall at Louisa County’s Fall Harvest Festival. The whole family will love the crafts, hayrides, live music and, of course, picking a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch. The Lake Anna Grapes & Grains Festival is a can’t-miss event featuring craft beer, local wine and great food—all right on the lake.

There is so much rich history to experience in the regions around Lake Anna. Some of the most important battles of the Civil War happened just a short distance away. Fall is a great time to tour these important, historic locations, and learn about our nation’s history. Hike through Civil War battlefields like the Spotsylvania Battlefield—one of the most pristine in the entire state. Walk the same land where Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant fought. Historic homes in the region are also open to tour.

According to the Professional Golfers’ Association, fall is the best time of year to play golf. If you’re visiting Lake Anna, hit the links at one of the many golf courses in the region. Practice your swing on the Bermuda grass driving range. The peaceful rolling hills provide the perfect setting to lose your cares on the fairway. Just 30 minutes from the Lake in Locust Grove, golfers can experience the longest hole in the United States. Fore!

Fall is also the best time to experience Virginia’s wine country. The grape harvest begins in late summer and continues into the early fall. Some vineyards offer the opportunity to pick your own grapes. Yet, it’s the wine that’s the real draw. Take a tour of these amazing locations at the height of their beauty, with luscious grape bunches coloring the laden vineyards. Blaze your own tasting trail through wine country.

Winter in Lake Anna

Life slows down around Lake Anna in the winter. Yet, that may present a certain appeal to some. If you’re looking for a weekend of pure relaxation, a winter getaway may be exactly what you need. Book a rental home or visit one of the local bed and breakfasts for beautiful environments at a fraction of the cost.

Pork connoisseurs won’t want to miss Porkapalooza in February. The sleepy town of Gordonsville hosts “the greatest pork fest on earth,” as visitors from all across central Virginia come out for mouth-watering, all-you-can-eat barbecue.

Don’t let the cold weather scare you off the lake. Local anglers know that Lake Anna is still a prime for fishing, so don’t pack up the fishing equipment quite yet. The North Anna Power Station keeps the lake several degrees warmer than normal lakes. That warm water makes Lake Anna a refuge for both baitfish and gamefish, especially striped bass and largemouth bass. Brace the winter chill and enter the Lake Anna Winter Series fishing tournaments from November–January.

Take some time to pamper yourself with a trip to a nearby spa. Treat yourself to a massage, fascial or even a yoga session. Or mix up your hairstyle before the new year. Many spas also offer salon services, including hair, manicure and pedicure. The laid-back atmosphere of Lake Anna calls upon you to invest in some self-care.

Christmas is celebrated with zeal in the quaint counties. See a small-town parade or get cocoa and crafts at the local Christmas fair. The Louisa Christmas Festival and Parade are holiday traditions that have been going on since 1742. Board a trolley or hitch a hay ride through a forest of lights at the Festival of Lights in Bumpass. Explore downtown Orange as it transforms into an old-fashioned village at the start of December. The streets are filled with holiday music, seasonal vendors and, of course, Santa.

Without the crowds, you can get right in to the best restaurants without waiting. Lake Anna and the nearby cities and towns offer some unforgettable cuisine. If you are a gourmand, you may want to plan your visit around Louisa County’s Restaurant Week, happening in February. This is a great opportunity to visit the county’s diverse restaurants at a discounted price.

If you can’t decide which season is right for you, you may just have to visit Lake Anna several times a year! Each season holds a special delight you won’t want to miss.

Be sure to visit LakeAnnaGuide.com for more great attractions plus the most up-to-date Calendar of Events.

Fishing on Lake Anna

By Chris Craft

From March through the Winter, Lake Anna Offers Fishing for Every Season

Lake Anna is a 13,000-acre impoundment located in the counties of Louisa, Spotsylvania and Orange. Out of the 13,000 acres, only 9,600 are open to public use. The remaining 3,400 acres is used as cooling lagoons for the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant.

Where to Fish on Lake Anna

Most anglers refer to the different sides as the “hot side” and the “cold side.” Although there are fishing opportunities on the hot side, you must have access to one of the private ramps located on that side. The cold side, however, has several public ramps that can be used 365 days per year. I personally use the ramp located at Anna Point Marina.

Spotting the Species: Fish found in Lake Anna

There are several different species of fish that anglers can pursue on Lake Anna, with the top three being Largemouth Bass, Crappie and Striper. I guide for Largemouth Bass and Crappie mostly, but I do throw in some striper fishing when the timing is right.

Largemouth Bass

The Largemouth Bass gets the most attention; many anglers visit Lake Anna in March and April looking for that bass of a lifetime. Lake Anna does not have a minimum size requirement to keep a bass; most anglers practice catch and release, as they are a popular tournament fish. If you do keep some, please remember that the creel limit is five per day, per angler. A trophy fish by Virginia guidelines is a fish that weighs 8 pounds and or measures 22 inches in length. The lake record was caught on March 20, 1985, and my personal best weighing in at 9 pounds, 1 ounce was caught on March 13, 2012. So, it can be said that the best time to catch a true giant largemouth from Lake Anna is during March.

There are many ways to catch bass as they move from their winter hideouts. In early March when the water first starts to warm up, they will slowly start making a move to shallower water. Keep in mind that deep water nearby is a must. They will still be very lethargic, and you will almost have to hit them in the nose with your bait to entice a strike. My best overall bait this time of year is a suspending jerkbait. This bait fish imitator comes in a variety of sizes and colors. I try to keep in mind what they may be feeding on and match the color and size to that—it may be Threadfin Shad, Blueback Herring or even Crappie—and I have colors for all three of those to match the situation.

As we move toward the end of the month and the water warms even more, the bass will become more aggressive. You can now fish your suspending jerkbaits much faster and even move on to other baits such as spinnerbaits, squarebill crankbaits and soft jerkbaits.

As the full moon in April approaches, the bass start feeding heavy in preparation for the upcoming spawn. They will take a variety of baits and be very aggressive doing so. Being very aggressive does not make it easy by any means; you still have to be stealthy and accurate with your presentations.

Now that they have moved onto the beds, they will be less likely to feed. The spawn usually lasts for about a month, and after it is over, the females will move out and recover for a few days. The males stay behind to guard the bed and eventually the fry. After about 3–5 days of recovery, the females will start to feed back up. This is a great time to put your top water lures to work. Large walking baits (Zara Spook, Paycheck Baits Repo Man and Damiki Rambler), poppers and buzzbaits are all great choices for this task, as they will all draw explosive and violent strikes.

Now we are moving into summer patterns. The fish will start to pull out of the shallows and move out with the increasing boat traffic and warmer water temperatures. Deeper brush piles, rock piles, boat docks and bridge pilings will all hold numbers of fish in the summertime. (Baits of choice include deep diving crankbaits, large Texas rigged worms, shaky head worms and jig and pig combos.) I have caught fish as deep as 35 feet, but most will stay in the 15’–25′ range.

They will stay in these areas all summer long until the water temperature starts to drop back off in the fall—usually by mid-October they are shallow again, as this is the beginning of the fall feeding frenzy. Look for shad and blueback herring in the backs of creeks actively chasing bait balls all day long. Small crankbaits, spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, hard jerkbaits and soft jerkbaits are all great bait fish imitators and will catch fish for you.

As the winter months close in, those anglers brave enough to outlast the elements can be rewarded with giant bass and heavy bags to bring onto the scales. Vertical jigging is one of the best ways to catch them at this time of year. Learning your electronic devices is a must for this type of fishing.

Crappie

The Black Crappie, also known as specks, freckles and silver perch, comes in a close second to the Largemouth Bass for Lake Anna anglers. These tasty panfish are hearty fighters and plentiful throughout Lake Anna—though up lake has better fishing than down lake. There are many trophy-sized crappies in Lake Anna, but they are the exception and not the rule. For a crappie to be considered a trophy in Virginia, they must be either 2 pounds or 15 inches. We weigh in several every year at Fish Tales­, fishing and boating headquarters located in Mineral, for our customers. Though there is no minimum size on crappie in Lake Anna, there is a 25 fish per day, per angler creel limit. Personally, I try not to keep any fish less than 10 inches.

Crappie fishing

Once March rolls around, the crappie start making their move toward the shallows; usually they are the first fish to spawn in the spring. They will start staging around spawning areas waiting on water temperatures to get right (60–66 degrees). Although I have seen them spawn in temperatures as low as 56 degrees.

The males are the first ones to pull up and start the spawning ritual; several males will pull into one area and do their dance to attract females. Their spawn is much different than a bass; it is not just one male and one female. As the spawn draws closer, the males will turn a dark black and purple hue; we call this “full tuxedo.” Sometimes they will be almost pitch black.

Crappies are very aggressive throughout the spawn and will take a variety of artificial baits and colors as well as minnows. Many anglers use small minnows rigged under a slip bobber to catch them; I, on the other hand, prefer to employee 2-inch curly tail grubs rigged on a one-sixteenth ounce jig head. If you find that you are catching numbers of smaller males, all you need to do is back off a little deeper for the females; the girls are not far behind.

They spawn in many types of cover, such as willow grass, beaver huts, lay down trees, rocks and boat docks. I have even caught them spawning on sea walls and in water from just a foot to about six feet deep down. The spawn will usually last about six weeks, with the first three weeks being the best. The large mature fish will spawn first, followed by the smaller, immature fish.

After the spawn is over in mid-May, they will start retreating back to deeper water for the summer months; I usually leave them alone for this period of time. You have to catch and go through lots of small fish, just to catch a few keepers.

During summer, they’re in deep boat docks, deep bridge pilings, deep rock piles and some will just suspend over deep water. Did you notice the common denominator for the summertime? Deep! The most popular place to catch them during the summer is around the many bridge pilings throughout the lake. They can be anywhere from 10 feet all the way down to 30 feet; a small minnow on a one-sixteenth or one-eighth-ounce jighead will produce the best results.

The most important part of crappie fishing is the rod, reel and line. To thoroughly enjoy crappie fishing, a lite or ultra lite rod is a must. These fish are very hard fighters for pan fish; if you have too large of a rod, it is really no fun at all. A 6-pound test line is really about as heavy as you will want to use; I use a 4-pound test line about 90 percent of the time. The best part about crappie fishing is that these are great angling fish for kids—once you find them, the action can last for hours in just one spot!

As summer ends and fall begins, they will start to follow bait balls into the creeks, and they will set up an ambush around the many boat docks. A little more skill is involved in fall crappie fishing; they will set up as far as they can under boat docks, and skipping or shooting your grub is a must. If the water level in the lake is down about a foot, it makes it much easier to get your bait to the fish. Small minnows will also work; just keep in mind that most of the fish are under the docks so you will have to be very patient and wait for them to come out to you.

Fall is now over and wintertime is setting in; the water temperature is now in the low forties; and the fish have pulled out of the shallows. Some fish will relocate to deep brush piles and back to the bridge pilings, but most will just suspend over deep water and follow the bait balls around. However, I do fish for them at this time of year.

Striper

The striper fishing on Lake Anna has gotten better over the past several years and many more anglers are pursuing them. Though we do not see many trophy-class fish caught, we do see many in the 10-pound plus range, but most are an average of five to seven pounds. For a landlocked, fresh water striper to be considered a trophy in Virginia, they have to be at least 20 pounds or 37 inches. In order to keep a striper on Lake Anna, the minimum length has to be 20 inches, and the creel limit is four per day, per angler.

There are several ways to catch them, such as trolling, live bait, vertical jigging and casting artificial lures to them. Out of all these different ways, my favorite way is to cast to them, with vertical jigging coming in second. If you plan on using live bait, plan on getting out of bed very early and trying your luck at attracting bait to a light hung under a bridge and throwing a net on them. Store-bought bait will work on occasion, but native bait—Gizzard Shad or Blue Back Herring—is by far the best.

In March you can find me chasing striper up in the two river arms of the lake. They are usually feeding heavy on small black crappie at this time of year, so my bait of choice is a suspending jerkbait that I have painted especially for me in a color we call “tuxedo purple.” The only place you can buy one is at Fish Tales.

As April rolls around, I have turned my attention to bass and crappie, but you can still catch striper. If you can locate the schools of fish up lake in shallow water, try casting a broken back redfin to them, and be sure to fish the bait all the way back to the boat. I have had several heart-stopping strikes only a couple of feet from the boat.

Summertime striper fishing can be really great at first light; the fish will be aggressively chasing bait in the mid-lake area until the sun gets high enough to penetrate the water. Once the sun is up and the feed is over, you can still catch them by using your electronics to locate the deep schools, vertical jigging blade bait, such as a Damiki Vault, or using a jigging spoon.

Another popular way to catch summertime striper is by trolling artificial lures. Deep diving redfins with a bucktail trailer seem to be the most popular; although a deep diving crankbait designed for bass fishing works well, too.

As we head into fall, the striper will begin to follow the bait movement up lake where you can use birds to give away the location of the schools. Once you have located the fish, be sure not to run your outboard into the school—this will shut them down. Instead, start casting a minimum of 100 yards from them while you move into position with your trolling motor. A 4-inch paddle tail swimbait rigged on a one-fourth-ounce jig head is my all-time favorite lure; the color depends on the mood of the fish. A sensitive rod is a must for this; most of the strikes will be very subtle and a too heavy of a rod will hide these strikes from you.

You can chase striper like this all the way through the winter as well. Once the water temperatures drop below 40 degrees, the bite will be very slow; that is, if they are feeding at all.

Wiper

Another species to stretch your fishing line is the “wiper”, this fish is a hybrid between a Striped Bass and a White Bass. These hearty fish were stocked in Lake Anna four years ago, and are now being caught on a regular basis. They are strong and plentiful, but like the Striper they must be 20 inches long to keep. The daily creel limit is four per person per day, this is combined with the Striper. You cannot have four wiper and four striper in your possession. They can be caught on a variety of baits from top water to jigging spoons to swim baits. Look for them schooling just as you would striper.

Wiper fishing

Images from Chris Craft