Ni Reservoir is easy to overlook as a result of its proximity to Fredericksburg. In fact, I discovered it on the way back from Lake Anna. We saw the sign, turned in and liked what we saw.
Ni Reservoir is run by the county. When you pull in, you will need to pay a fee to fish. There is a very confusing sign posted there that explains it all, but the bottom line was that it cost me 3 bucks to drop the BassCanoe in the lake. I'm not sure that was the correct amount, but that's what the guy asked for. You can rent boats and electric motors here if you do not have your own. The boat launch is only about 50 yards from the gate, so you can be on the water within minutes of arrival. The launch is sandy and gentle - presenting no problem for the BassCanoe.
Ni only allows electric motors since it is the water supply for Fredericksburg and the surrounding area. To a small boat guy, this means that the big boats will not be there throwing up huge wakes that threaten to overturn the BassCanoe - perfect!
A quick glance at the map to the right reveals the obvious - Ni is long and narrow with plenty of inlets that you can poke your nose in and fish around. The one on the eastern portion of the map has some homes surrounding the inlet, but they are set way back from the water where they are out of your direct view, making for a little bit of a remote feeling.
As we worked the inlets, we noticed that the farther up into the inlet we drifted the shallower it got. This is good info for the spring when the bass are on the beds, but bad for the middle of summer. [Note, please release any bass caught off a bed to ensure the next generation is launched]. I worked poppers and some terrestrial patterns while the Basswife used her standard Gulp flavored worms and spinners. We picked up a decent number of small bass and plenty of bluegills.
This is a lake that requires study. There are no "jump out and smack you in the nose" obvious places to fish. In fact, the edge of the lake is barren with the trees set back about 10 feet from the water. While this characteristic was amplified by the drought last summer, even at full load, there is no compelling structure close to the edge that would be a traditional holding spot for fish.
You will have to use your fishfinder to locate that hidden sweet spot; something that takes many trips and study. On this short visit between 10:00 and 3:00, we were more interested in covering ground than running a hash pattern on a section to find the humps and bumps. So, we settled for small, shore based action and left the big guys for another day.
Remember to refer to my rating explanations - these are based on what I look for - so RED for Physical Fitness translates to easy physically - you do not need to be in shape to fish this section. I prefer terrain that is tough to get into and out of.
Bottom line: Nice, nice lake. While there are places you can go and fish for free, like Curtis which is a short drive away, Ni presents a challenge. Since it is so long, you have to wonder if folks really penetrate all the way up to the distant end to fish. Certainly the homeowners do, but I bet the pressure drops off the farther from the launch you motor. After all, you are not going at a blazing speed with a trolling motor. The next time I come down here, I'll head north and just roll for a mile before I start.
Getting there: Simple. Take Route 3 west from I95 and turn left onto Rt 627 South. The entrance to the lake will be on your right as you drive south. The lake closes at either 30 minutes before sunset or 2000 hrs and does not open until 0600.
None of the reference books I have discuss Ni at all. It's worth a look.