The Basswife and I continue to work through the list of available lakes close to the Northern Virginia area. Germantown, a 109 acre lake, was up and we visited it on a hot July Saturday.
There were several red flags associated with this lake that I failed to appreciate prior to going out there:
- There is a $6 fee to get in if you are not a county resident
- There is a concession stand that rents boats
While the fee was bad, my experience with these small lakes is that if they rent boats, they will fill up. This translates to either more pressure on the lake as those who do not have a canoe or small boat can join the action, or a lake full of folks yelling and screaming as they have fun chasing each other and trying to get into trouble. Germantown has both problems.
There were 6 other boats fishing the during the 3 hour window we were on the lake and more coming as we left. While the County website advertises that there are plenty of big fish here, I bet they are pretty much cleaned out with the constant flogging of the water by many, many fisherman. Interestingly enough, there was a sign posted that encouraged the fisherman to keep anything under 14 inches – they are trying to give more space to the big guys – so, maybe it will improve as time goes on.
We have not had much rain this summer and the lake showed it as you can see from the picture. It is way, way down. This means that the water has dropped away from what minimal structure there was associated with the shoreline and you are left to guess where the channels are. Looking at the map to the right, you can see the original topography of the lake as the map was made before the lake was filled in. The red line, our track, pretty much outlines the lake.
We worked our way to the north first and were able to pull a nice 13 incher out of the upper end. But that was it as other fishermen piled on. And these guys did not have any ethics associated with space. One boat pulled up about 20 yards away from us as we were working the inside of a cove – geez. Once we navigated away from that guy, we were working the birm at the north and another boat motors up and starts working right next to us. Clearly, these must have been folks who rented their craft as any boat owner would have an appreciation of the ethics associated with space and direction of movement.
With that, we bailed out of the north end and motored over to the south end. It was disappointingly shallow – a condition that has probably been worsened as a result of the drought. We worked that end of the lake for about 45 minutes, caught a bunch of bluegills on my grasshopper pattern, and then called it a day.
The pressure here is massive. It’s not a real scenic spot and reminded me of Lake Brittle (another loser in my mind even if the VDGIF claims that this is a great fishing lake). With the $6 fee to get in, I do not think I will return. There a plenty of places you can fish for free; although it does seem that Fairfax and Prince William counties are starting to pick up on ramp fees.
On the plus side, it is easy to find this lake. Caution! The boat ramp is really, really steep. Be sure your truck has the guts to be able to pull up at what appears to be a 45 degree angle (or worse).
Getting There: ” From Warrenton, exit Route 29 onto Route 643 (Meetze Road), go seven miles south to Route 602 and turn right.”
Concession area and boat rental
The lake is very low (as of July ’07)
Looking North from the middle of the lake near the boat ramp
Looking South from the middle of the lake near the boat ramp.
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore