Where to Fish: Bowlers Mill Lake (aka: Lake Gordonsville)

By Frank Meade, Wintergreen Sporting Club


I wanted to highlight this fishing opportunity for those kayak (or canoe) fishermen who either enjoy fishing frogs or would like to try it. I have not historically fished frogs, but had a fantastic time on this lake recently “honing a new craft.”

Spro Frog

Spro Frog

This lake is clean and dark in the middle, but the entire shore line is covered with lily pads from 10’ to 50’ out into the water. I fished Spro-brand frogs and had success with multiple colors; however, I would suggest trying a white Spro Frog “‘popper” which has a red mouth. Definitely buy weedless frogs and try to get lures with a white belly. I would trim the “legs” by about a third (cut off an inch of rubber band).

I have fished this lake twice recently and drew several dozen strikes in the pads–but what is exciting is that some are not strikes but explosions. Large mouth bass come up out of the pads to crush the frog. Huge adrenaline rush. Hook-up percentage with frogs is 50/50 at best, but you learn to leave the frog in the strike zone, twitch it some, and the fish will come back looking for the “injured” frog. Very exciting.

It helps to have a stiffer rod and heavier line, as you want to cast the frog into the thickest pads, make a big splash, and work it back through the pads with twitches and hops. If you hook up, you want to reel hard and force that fish up on top of the pads and literally drag it across the pads (easier said than done with a 3 lb + bass).

Special Note: You must have a special permit here. Cost is $5.50 for entire year. Call the Louisa County Water Authority at 540-967-1122. Permits are said to also be available from Carterfields Sporting Supplies in Charlottesville.


Distance from Wintergreen: 58 miles

Water Type: Lake (75 acres, very scenic, easy kayak or canoe launch, max depth 20’)

Fish Species: Largemouth Bass, Crappie

Recommended Lures/Flies: June-August: Frogs, fished across lily pads

Kayak/Canoe Suitable

Website: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/waterbodies/display.asp?id=59&section=fishing

Directions: 151N to 250E to 64E to 15N (then left on Bowlers Mill Rd, to end).

Amenities: Picnic Tables, but this lake is for fishing.