What Makes Lake Anna a Great Second Home?

Local Realtors Share Why You Should Consider Purchasing a Second Home at Lake Anna

By Arielle Patterson

With year-round activities, picturesque views and proximity to several major cities, Lake Anna has become a popular location for a second home. Owning a second home may seem daunting to some. There are options for buyers to turn their second home into an investment property by renting it out most of the time or keeping it as their private getaway.

I spoke with local realtors about why you should consider purchasing a second home at Lake Anna.

Kristie Cooke, Lake Anna Realty

Here at Lake Anna, there is truly “something for everyone.”  I think that’s what I appreciate most about our area.  Lake Anna offers all that you’re likely expect from a visit to the lake—fishing, boating, swimming, water sports, beautiful sunsets, etc., yet so much more. Gather your friends, your family, your co-workers, your partner or finally take some time out alone to explore and enjoy the unexpected that the Lake Anna area offers. Local food, horseback riding, hiking, nearby Charlottesville or Richmond and all that either has to offer, a short drive away to the historically rich Fredericksburg, a fishing pond for children and for those with disabilities, the breweries, the wineries and even gold mining!

I believe people are drawn to Lake Anna for the sense of community, that feeling like you are not just welcome but that you belong. All of a sudden, regardless of whether you are here full time, weekends or only seasonally, you are a part of the Lake Anna community. 

When you begin your search for a home, you’ll find the opportunities and options are abundant as well. There, again, is “something for everyone.” Whether you are looking for a blank canvas to build your own home or choosing from the various sizes and shapes of homes already built, come on home to Lake Anna.

Kathy Gardner, Dockside Realty

Why buy a second home at Lake Anna?  Maybe to get away from traffic—we don’t have any.  Maybe you crave being on the water and want an alternative to going to the beach.  Maybe to give your kids some good clean fun. Maybe to buy your retirement home early and let vacation rental income help offset costs.

There might never be a better time to buy a second home at Lake Anna. Interest rates are at an all-time low and most mortgage lenders are charging the same low rate for second homes as they are for primary residences. In most cases, it’s a buyer’s market here, but the strong increase in sales over the past several years and the current supply and demand indicates that it may switch to a seller’s market soon.

Currently, there are still lake homes to fit every budget—from small fishing cabins to luxurious homes on spectacular waterfront lots, fixer uppers to custom builds and everything in between. 

It wasn’t that long ago that we didn’t have any restaurants, breweries or even a grocery store here at Lake Anna. That has changed. There is no shortage of things to do, rain or shine, and now we have the promise of a golf course to enhance our lake lifestyle even more.

The word is out about Lake Anna! Don’t miss out on realizing your dream. Do yourself a favor and work with a qualified local realtor.

Angel Hough, Long & Foster

Having been born and raised in the Lake Anna area, I can think of several reasons why owning property at Lake Anna is a good investment. First is due to the location. We are centrally located just a short distance from several major cities like Charlottesville, Richmond, Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Fredericksburg.

The second reason is due to the income possibilities. Property management in this area has become extremely popular over the past decade. People interested in looking for a nice place to host a wedding or have a reunion are drawn to Lake Anna because of its natural beauty. Once they decide to visit, they’ll need to find a place to stay for the weekend or all week. As you can tell, if you are the owner of a rental property, you are looking to make some good money during peak season.

The final reason a second home in Lake Anna is a good investment is that the area is just beautiful! I can’t think of a better place that I would like to spend my time looking over the lake, a backdrop of greenery against a blue sky with a glimpse of the mountains in the background. Lake Anna gives you a place to escape the city, get away from the noise and just relax and enjoy the scenery. With many local restaurants, you won’t need to worry about cooking or having to travel far for a good meal. With many activities and events in the area, there is always something to do.

Libby Sandridge, Dockside Realty

Many people think that owning a second home is a luxury that most can only dream about. However, at Lake Anna, we have properties that can fit most any budget. Second homes can provide you with added income and personal wealth. The rental market at Lake Anna is stable, so why not let your investment pay you back.

You can set aside the dates for personal use of your home and rent out the rest. Even if you only rent it out part time, it can help pay down the mortgage, if not all of it. You can deduct your mortgage interest, property taxes and more, so please check with a CPA.

Second homes also provide the ability to vacation on demand. What’s not to love about grabbing a bag, the kids and dog, and heading out on a moment’s notice to destress from the hectic urban hustle and bustle.

Begin your search with a knowledgeable Lake Anna agent.

As you can see, there are many reasons why you should purchase a home at Lake Anna. The area is not only picturesque but also affordable. With the help of a friendly and professional Lake Anna realtor, you’re sure to find your dream home. There are a number of sought-after areas to purchase a home or build one in the area, and Lake Anna’s trusted real estate experts can help you find a locale that’s best for you, your family and your budget.

Imagine starting your mornings watching the sunrise over the lake. Spend your days on water or Lake Anna’s shores, in town or exploring one of the neighboring areas. Then, wind down your day with a boat ride beneath the watercolor sunset.

While owning a second home may seem like a lot of work, it can also be one of the most worthwhile purchases you make, the investment of a lifetime and the chance for an unforgettable getaway at Lake Anna.

Historic Attractions near Lake Anna

Here are some historic attractions near Lake Anna to visit.

Image from National Park Service/Buddy Secor

Discover Local History near Lake Anna

There’s a lot to see and do in the counties surrounding Lake Anna. From Lake Anna State Park and nearby amusement parks to outdoor activities, local restaurants and more, the Lake Anna area has something the whole family can enjoy. Another type of attraction the area is rich in is historic attractions. Discover the area’s history when you visit these attractions near Lake Anna.

Click here to read more about attractions near Lake Anna.

Historic Attractions near Lake Anna

Several online resources have downloadable maps with historic Civil War sites listed, allowing you to visit them at your leisure.

In Louisa County, historic sites are designated with a historical marker. These can be found throughout the county and explain a bit about the site you are viewing.

Click here to read about more things to do in Louisa County.

Here are some historic attractions near Lake Anna to visit.

African American Heritage Trail

Spotsylvania is home to the African American Heritage Trail. Learn about the little-told history of the county’s enslaved men and women from the 1700s. This driving tour covers 75 miles through Spotsylvania’s countryside.

Download a brochure or use the interactive map to discover the sites you’ll see within the 407 square miles that are on the tour. As you drive, step out of your car to get a closer look at the historic sites, including the Little Mine Road Baptist Church, The Marshall Center and more.

Goodwin Gold Mine

Lake Anna State Park was once known as “Gold Hill.” Gold was first discovered on the land in 1829 leading to decades of gold mining.

Today, guests can visit Lake Anna State Park and take part in Stampmill Sam’s Gold Adventure. All ages will love becoming old-time prospectors and following in the footsteps of “Stampmill Sam.” On a guided tour, you’ll visit Goodwin Gold Mine and learn how gold was mined during the 1800s. You’ll also get a chance to pan for gold yourself.

Click here to read more about Lake Anna State Park.


Less than an hour outside of Lake Anna is James Madison’s historic home, Montpelier. The beautiful estate, that was home to the fourth President of the United States, boasts not only the historic home but also beautifully landscaped grounds and gardens.

Take a guided tour of the home to learn more about President Madison and his wife Dolly. There are over eight miles of public walking trails that take you around the property’s gardens. Montpelier also has galleries and exhibits with exciting themes and artifact collections.

National Military Park

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania were some of America’s battlegrounds during the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. National Military Park boasts four major Civil War battlefields, historic buildings and more in the counties.

Take a guided tour with a park historian to learn more about the battles fought here and their significance. Self-guided driving tours are also available for one of the battlefields. Visit the death site of General Stonewall Jackson and the historic plantation home, Chatham.

Click here to read about more things to do in Fredericksburg.

Spotsylvania Courthouse Historic District

Spotsylvania County is known as “the crossroads of the Civil War,” with the Spotsylvania Courthouse being the site of one of the bloodies fights of the war. The Battle of the Spotsylvania Court House marked the start to the fall of the Confederacy. Today, the Spotsylvania Courthouse District is designated as a Virginia Historic Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Walk along the brick sidewalks lined with trees. Take some time to learn about the historic significance of the Spotsylvania Courthouse, Spotsylvania County Museum, Spotsylvania Jail 1855 and more, all located within this historic district.

Click here to read about more things to do in Spotsylvania.

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!” 

Retiring at Lake Anna

Spend Your Golden Years on Lake Anna

When you reach a certain age or point in your career, you begin to think about retirement. The ideal retirement lifestyle involves endless days of relaxation in peaceful surroundings. Many retirees decide to relocate to a new locale that better suits their retirement interests and budget. If you’re thinking about retiring to a new place, consider beautiful Lake Anna.

In 2018, AARP ranked Virginia as one of the fifth “Best States to Retire.” The state was praised for its array of leisure of activities, access to natural settings, historical attractions and more. All of this can be found near Lake Anna. There are three main factors that come into play when deciding where to retire: cost of living, climate and activities.

Cost of Living near Lake Anna

Virginia is known as a “retirement-friendly state.” Social Security income is not subject to Virginia’s income tax, and sales tax rates range from 5.3% to 6%, depending on the county.

With the money you save, you can decide which Lake Anna community is right for you. Those who decide to move to Lake Anna when they retire have their choice of a number of settings. Would you like to spend your days by the water or in a more secluded, wooded area? Homes in Lake Anna range from cozy cottages and family homes to waterfront abodes.

Spotsylvania, Louisa and Orange all border Lake Anna and are fantastic places to retire to. The three counties range from rural to suburban with a majority of residents owning their own homes. The median home value is slightly above the national average, between $212,900–$265,000, but is lower than neighboring counties and larger cities. Property taxes on homes in the Lake Anna area are well below the state and national average.

Retiring to Lake Anna also offers the opportunity to start completely fresh and build your own dream home.

Lake Anna Climate

The average climate near Lake Anna is similar to the rest of the mid-Atlantic. Snow isn’t uncommon near Lake Anna, as it usually snows about once or twice per month during winter. The weather begins to warm up as early as April, when temperatures can reach about 71°F. Temperatures increase throughout the spring and summer months and reach an average high of 90°F in July. Fall ushers in changing leaves and balmy weather, with an average temperature of 70°F.

Activities near Lake Anna

With over 200 miles of shoreline and even more to do on land, your life doesn’t have to stop just because you’re retiring.

Lake Anna beach

Anglers can spend their days fishing for Lake Anna’s local catch, including striped bass, catfish, perch, crappie and more. Once you master your line, enter one of the local or regional fishing competitions that take place in Lake Anna year-round.

There’s so much more to do on the water. Go boating, jet skiing, tubing, wakeboarding and more on the lake to maintain an active lifestyle. Canoeing and kayaking are more relaxing activities that get you closer to nature. Your family will love visiting you in Lake Anna and spending their days on the lake or exploring the area’s natural surroundings.

Off the water, Lake Anna is home to Lake Anna State Park. This is the perfect backdrop for a day of hiking through wooded forests and spotting the wildlife. There are also a number of historical sites, golf courses and more nearby.

The counties around Lake Anna offer a lot of charm, but you may start to yearn for some of the amenities of a larger city. If you decide to retire at Lake Anna, you won’t be too far from a number of cities, including Charlottesville, Culpeper, Fredericksburg and Richmond. There you will find premier shopping, dining and entertainment.

Slow things down and spend your golden years in a scenic, waterside community surrounding Lake Anna.

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!

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.


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.


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.


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

Welcome to Lake Anna

Welcome to Lake Anna—the third largest lake in the state of Virginia and your ideal vacation spot!

Located in Central Virginia and surrounded by the counties of Louisa, Spotsylvania and Orange, Lake Anna has not only grown into a popular place to vacation, but the area is also becoming a highly coveted residential destination. This region offers a wide variety of activities, entertainment and historical significance, making it a spectacular second home and an unforgettable place to get away. And let’s not forget its close proximity to three of Virginia’s major cities—Fredericksburg, Charlottesville and Richmond—making the area a short day trip from discovering endless opportunities.

Things to Do in Lake Anna

While staying in Lake Anna, be sure to explore the 250 miles of shoreline and 13,000 acres of gorgeous water. You can easily spend an entire day on the lake soaking up the sun and having fun, whether you are boating, fishing, hiking one of the many beautiful trails offered at the Lake Anna State Park or simply relaxing on the lake’s sandbar. Take a break from the sun to discover all the unique shops and restaurants throughout the area. Stop in at a locally-owned eatery for a delicious meal provided with true hospitality. There are numerous retail shops and small markets around the lake where you are sure to find that special item you’ve been searching for.

Historical Attractions near Lake Anna

For those seeking a more leisurely route, Lake Anna and its surrounding areas offer a wide variety of relaxing activities in a laidback atmosphere. With historic battlefields, war landmarks, monuments and unique attractions, Lake Anna and its surroundings are a treasure for history buffs as well. Learn about the area’s significant role in the Civil War, and discover our nation’s history that took place on this very ground you are standing on.

Events near Lake Anna

With special events and activities happening all year long around Lake Anna, you will want to return again and again. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been coming to the area for years or if this is your very first visit—you will find there is something special about lake living.

Every year, Lake Anna continues to be discovered by the masses and has grown to become a popular town for visitors. Nonetheless, Lake Anna offers a welcoming vacation destination, and we are so glad you have come to share the lake with us. So, sit back, relax and get ready to unwind as you spend this memorable time at Lake Anna.