After reading about the top 10 bass lakes in Northern Virginia, the Basswife and I decided to give Motts Run a shot - it's only a bit down the road from Abel Lake bordering the Rappahannock- and quicker to get to as a result of being closer to I95.
It's easy to get to - clear directions. But, we were in for a shock when we arrived. The VDGIF website does not mention it, but the county charges a day use fee to fish on the lake - $5 a head plus $3 to launch the canoe... a fee to launch a canoe from the shore??? Unheard of. Well, we were already there, so we forked over the 13 bucks and hit the water. It's a nice looking lake - long and skinny with pretty clear water.
The first thing we noticed is that there is no real structure. There is vegetation growing next to the shore, but no falldowns or other fish attractors. In fact, the VDIGF website states that the lake was scraped clean of structure when it was formed - so it's slick as a greased skillet - nothing there except whatever hidden underwater brush piles/beaver dens that were created after the lake was filled.
This is a DEEP lake! You can sit 10 feet from the shore and be in 40 feet of water - something else that makes this lake a real challenge to fish. The PiranhaMAX 30 rarely picked up any fish swimming around - leading me to believe that they hole up in the weeds along the side of the lake - that's where the food must be.
So, we adopted the technique of working down the shoreline - we would skip a section and then back into the weedbed to fish up and down the shore from the canoe. Picked up one nice bass and got some good hits - but this lake is nothing to brag about.
Another point the website made was that this lake gets light fishing pressure - not hardly! There must have been 20 other boats on the lake when we were there Saturday morning from about 10 AM - 3 PM. The concession stand rents boats outfitted with an electric motor - and they were a hot rental commodity!
As we worked the shore, we would have to skip around other boats all the time - run up the lake 100 yards or so to give the other guys some space, pull around the bend only to encounter another boat. As you can see from the map above, we covered pretty much the entire lake - as did all the other boats.
We caught our fish on YUM flavored, green 3.5 inch crawfish. Got hits on Junebug and Red worms as well. The VDGIF site indicates that this is a tough lake to fish - the combination of steep shore drops and no structure make that a very accurate statement.
In addition to the fishermen, there are kayakers and canoeists. Some of these folks drove me crazy as well - they would paddle down the shoreline - within 5 feet of the weeds - stirring up all the fish and then come up to you to chat and wonder if you were having any luck. Geez. This is what my day use fee bought?
Bottom line: Plenty of places that are less pressure and free. I will not be back.
Getting There: Website has good directions: "In Fredericksburg, from I-95 Exit 130-B west, continue on Route 3 (Plank Road) approximately 0.5 mile; turn right on Route 639 (Bragg Road) and go about one mile to River Road. Turn left on Route 618 (River Road), go about 2.5 miles along the river past a canoe outfitter and up a steep hill. Watch for the entrance to the concession on the left just past the crest of the hill."