The Fourth of July rolled around and I realized, in horror, that I had not gone fishing yet this season with the Basswife. Either the weather had been bad — too hot or too cold — or she had been busy on all the other weekends so far this year. I don’t know about you guys, but the first time you take your better half out to a lake, she had better catch a fish! Last fall, I heard that Silver Lake out by Haymarket had been given to the county and that they had authorized fishing from the bank. I took a long bet and hoped that they had opened the small lake to boating by the July 4 weekend. Thankfully, I was correct.
As I rolled up on the main recreation area, I saw a guy pulling a Jon boat out of the water. I saw the small sign for “boat launch parking” and, beyond that, a beaten down grass trail leading from the sign to the lake’s edge. I bumped the truck over to the edge, jumped out and had a quick chat with him. He told me that the lake had been opened for boats only two days earlier. Amazing! What a great stroke of luck to be one of the first guys to throw a canoe onto this water! He pointed me at the wooden pier directly across the lake and commented that there was a deep area off that shore and he caught some good crappie there. Armed with that intelligence, we loaded up the canoe and pushed into the water.
Instead of moving directly to the pier, I wanted to check out the broader lake. With that, we began a slow drift to the south focused on the far shoreline. I saw a small island to the south west and began to orient the canoe on that feature. The water along the southern shore ran about 4 feet deep; tailing off to nothing the closer you got to the bank. I did notice a few deep drop-offs from 4 feet to 11 feet as we paddled over to the south shore. Around the island itself, the depth ranged from 6 to 8 feet and that’s where we started to pick up fish. I got a good hit on a Panther Martin spinner and when I switched to a black leech, I pulled in a nice bass. The water was a little bit murky so I stuck to darker colored lures.
The island was great, but the Basswife was not getting anything. Even though she had her canoe umbrella with her, I could tell she was starting to get hot as she dangled her feet into the water over the canoe’s edge. I had to put her on fish quick. Hopeful that the intelligence given was good, I moved the boat up to the deeper area near the pier. The lake runs about 20 feet deep there and I started to see fish on the fish finder. Within 15 minutes, I was home free — she pulled in two massive sunfish. The Basswife is not particular about what kind of fish she catches, she just wants to catch something. We continued to fish up the eastern bank to the corner and I decided that the heat was becoming oppressive. I did not want to push it, so I headed back to the beach. All in all, a successful quick trip that took the skunk off in a brand-new lake.
Bottom Line: This is a small lake along the lines of the large farm pond. The entire recreational area is only 230 acres and the lake did not seem very large. I could not find an exact measurement on the Prince William County Park Authority website. But, it’s big enough to hold some nice bass, is easy to get to, is close to the metropolitan area and they don’t charge a fee to use it. What more could you ask for? I look forward to coming back here again in the future.
Getting There: From I-66, take exit 40 towards Haymarket. Turn left to go south on US 15. Turn right on Rt 55 (James Madison Hwy). Turn right on Antioch Road where there is a sign pointing to the Silver Lake Recreational Area. Turn right on Silver Lake Road and follow the road to the main area.
Google Local Coordinates: 38.84312, -77.66637
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in on the Prince William County parks website
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Date Fished: 7/4/2010
Park complex and fishing dock
Boat launch area – no trailer boats!
Looking north at the bottom of the lake
Looking south from the top of the lake
Basswife works the small island at the southern end of the lake
Eastern shore near a wood pier is the deepest part of the lake
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore