Lake Anna was formed in 1972 when the North Anna River was dammed to form a cooling reservoir for the North Anna Nuclear Power Reactor operated by Virginia Power. The lake is actually comprised of two separate sections: a 9,600 acre impoundment that provides the water for the power plant's cooling requirements (much as the water in a radiator is used to cool a car engine), and a 3,400 acre impoundment that is used to disperse the warmer water that results from the reactor cooling process. The smaller impoundment, known as the "hot side" by the locals, is accessible only to property owners. The larger lake is a public facility open to all.
After the lake was formed in 1972, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) stocked it with more than 350,000 baby bass. Several years later, this initial stocking was augmented with 80,000 Florida-strain bass. The ongoing lake management program provided by VDGIF and the abundant population of baitfish such as threadfin shad, gizzard shad, and blueback herring, has resulted in Lake Anna becoming the premier bass lake in all of Virginia. In fact, Anna consistently produces more citation bass (8 lb or 22 ") each year than any other body of water in the state. During 2001, 50 citation bass were recorded by Lake Anna anglers. Also in 2001, Anna ranked 3rd in the state for citation crappie with 18. Because of the influence of the warm water coming from the "hot side", particularly on the lower end of the lake, nearly half of these citation fish were caught in the months of December, January, February, and March - a time when most other lakes are in near hibernation. The months of April, May and June can provide non-stop, heart pounding action. As a result of its much deserved reputation, Anna has become a "must" stop for most serious fisherman throughout the region, and is a favorite on the local
Lake Anna has also become one of the top landlocked Striped Bass lakes in the area. The stripers cannot naturally reproduce in the impoundment so VDGIF stocks approximately 200,000 fingerlings each year. This past year provided a bumper crop for striper fisherman. 4-fish limits were not uncommon, with quality fish in the 8-12 lb range a common occurrence at our scales.
While largemouth bass and stripers are the two main draws to Anna, it also has significant populations of many other species. Anna is well-known in the area as a mecca for crappie fisherman, with many of them taking strategic positions at bridge pilings and brush piles. Other panfish such as bluegill are abundant and there are also good populations of yellow perch, white perch. Fisherman fishing for bass or stripers in the Contrary Creek area will occasionally be startled to have their offering engulfed by a hard-hitting chain pickerel. The name "Lake Anna" will bring a smile to many knowing catfish fanciers. One of the better kept secrets on the Lake is the good population of walleye. Anglers fishing deeper structure for striped bass are surprised when the fish pulling on their line turns out to be a walleye instead of the expected striper
Lake Anna also provides hours of enjoyment for recreational boaters, skiers, and others during the summer months. It's 250 miles of shoreline provides scenic views of natural woods, beautiful lake homes, and an abundance of wildlife. Its many coves provide an opportunity for a "lake lunch" or a relaxing swim.