We had a decently warm day in late Fall, so the Basswife and I went out for one last bass hunting expedition in the canoe. We did not want to drive too far, so we decided to go up and see Lake Accotink. I discovered it while browsing the Fairfax County website for other information. It’s confusing to actually get here, so pay attention to the directions I provide if you decide to go.
The first challenge you encounter when you arrive at the 55 acre lake is how to put your boat in the water. While it has a marina, I did not see any facilities to launch a trailered boat or a canoe. The concession stand was closed this late in the season, so there was no one there to ask or pay the $2.00 launch fee. I’m sure they have a formally designated spot to do this, but on this day we just drove onto the beach and unloaded as there were no signs that prohibited the access.
Once in the water, we motored over to the western shore to gain protection from the wind that had picked up and made it increasingly difficult to keep the canoe in a stable position for fishing. We saw a couple guys on the western shore fishing from the bank. They all had 5 gallon buckets that implied that there was decent fishing near the shore and that they were meathunters. Since meathunters usually know where to go, we were encouraged that the lake would produce for us. We motored up lake from them and began to fish the shoreline. I did not pick up any beeps on the fish finder in the 10 to 15 ft depth we floated through. We continued to float our way north and eventually entered the mouth of the creek that feeds the lake. This is the same creek that flows down from the Accotink Creek delayed harvest trout area.
The creek’s about 30 or 40 feet wide and reasonably deep. It remained at 5 to 10 feet until I got into the narrow section where the creek opens up into the lake. It’s wide enough to fish comfortably towards the banks from either the front or back of the canoe. While in the creek, we picked up our only fish of the day, a small bass.
After fishing up the creek, we motored over to the small island that sits in the northern part of the lake and fished around it. It began to get pretty shallow up against the northern bank, so we skirted around the east side of the island and fished our way down the far side of the lake. Again, there were a few people on the shore fishing with bobbers. I certainly hope they were having better luck than we were, because that one fish was the only thing we caught.
Bottom line: All things considered, this is probably a decent place to fish. We’ll have to come back here when the season opens again in 2009 and the fish start moving from wherever they hide when the water turns cold. We were using powerbait grubs and gulp flavored worms to no effect. The one fish was caught on a Panther Martin spinner.
I have the sense that the pressure on this lake is not overwhelming. The fact that you cannot put a real bass boat on this lake implies that it is left to the canoeist and the kayakers. While there are certainly enthusiastic fishermen who use these types of water craft, there is a less technology typically deployed from those boats and that may make them less productive.
There is a large playground here as well as hiking trails that might keep the non-fishers in your family busy while you explore the lake.
Getting There: From I95, take exit 169 towards Franconia and merge onto Old Keene Mill Road. Turn right on Hanover Ave and follow that to Highland Street. Make a left onto Highland and then get onto the Accotink Park Road (slight right). Turn left onto the Service Road which turns into Accotink Park Road (but it is different than the other Accotink Park Road) at the base of the dam. Follow this to the marina and park.
Google Local Coordinates: 38.793848,-77.215347
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented on the Fairfax County Park website.
Date fished: 11/1/2008
Looking back at the Marina area
Looking south to the dam
Creek entry – looking upstream
Looking back to the lake from the creek
Looking up the lake from the Marina
The island from the mouth of the creek
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore