Is it possible to love a lake to death?
Hunting Run has come close to that ever since it opened several weeks ago. I checked it out on Oct 14, and was one of over 70 other boats that did the same thing according to the guy selling the access tickets. When questioned, he said that nobody had come off the lake with any great success stories. In fact, it seemed like the guys fishing from the shore were doing better than the boats!
As I rigged up the canoe for launch at 12:30, I chatted with a couple of boats who were pulling out They did not have any success stories. Caught a few bluegill and a small bass. Given the posts on some of the boards right after the lake opened, I would bet that Hunting Run has seen 100 boats every weekend day.
It's a 450 acre lake. That's big. The lake opened on Sept 29, so that's 5 weekend days between opening and when I hit it on the 14th. Add the guys who went out after work and you have a tremendous spike in pressure. All of those boats would target the same "good" looking spots. We adopted the opposite strategy and targeted any spot. No matter how you cut it, it amounts to a huge shock for that many guys to be on a body of water over such a short timeframe.
I believe the fish are under cover as a result of all the above and you will only catch them if you are very skillful or very lucky - neither of which applies to me.
The lake itself looks like it will be very nice! Right now, it's about 15 feet or so below the targeted level. This is great for recons - you can travel around the lake and see all the subsurface structure sticking up out of the water, high and dry. At the deepest points we found over near the dam, the water depth exceeded 50 feet. In the backs of the coves, it was typically 6 feet or so with a lot of the shoreline next to some pretty deep areas of 20 - 30 feet.
A great advantage to understanding Hunting Run is that the map does not show a lake. Instead, it reveals the underlying structure of the terrain and you can easily see where the drop offs and channels will be. The red line, as usual, is the exact path I followed on my trip - so you can see the rough outline of the lake.
You have to pay to play here. If you are not a resident of Spotsylvania County, it will cost 7 bucks to get in and another 3 to launch your boat. I was told the lake will close on Nov 18.
Bottom Line: Not worth it this year unless you want to see where the structure is or go late during the week after several days of limited use. This place is getting pounded right now. Go back next year when this is just another lake.
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.
Getting There: Go west on Route 3 from I95 in Fredericksburg. Turn right (north) on Ely's Ford Road. If you cross the lake, you have gone too far. For now, the entrance has not been formally built. Right before you get to the lake, you will see a small sign for the park and what looks like a construction entrance. This is the turn to the right to go to the boat launch.
Be sure your truck has good traction. I watched a number of trucks spin wheels in the loose gravel of the temporary boat launch and struggle to get their boats back out of the water. Everyone eventually made it.
Folks were fishing from the shore for about 100 yards in this general area and there are two porta-potties that were pretty clean.