Following the suggestion of a reader, I decided to stop off at the Thompson Wildlife Management Area on my way back from fishing Lake Frederick. He had some good things to say about the density of trout in the lake during the trout season . After doing a little research, I discovered that the lake was actually almost totally drained before some pipes clogged and caused it to refill. Based on this, the wildlife people decided to include the lake in the stocking program this year. I wonder how many of the bass and other fish that are native to the lake were able to survive the low water conditions? I did see some bluegill swimming around but no bass when I was there.
After finding my way to the parking lot, the first thing I discovered was that the lake is another hundred yards up the road. Thankfully, there is no gate blocking access and we could drive up to unload the canoe. If you are handicapped, you are allowed to park next to the lake. After dumping the canoe and the Basswife, I drove back down, parked the car and jogged back up the gentle slope to the lake. This lake reminds me of some of the smaller lakes at Quantico. Buffalo Pond and the Range Six Pond come immediately to mind with the key difference being that this lake is significantly larger at almost 10 acres. As I looked around the shoreline, I was surprised to see many groups of people fishing from the numerous beaten-down access points directly off of a path that goes around the lake. I was not optimistic that there would be much in the way of trout left here at this point in the season, but maybe the pressure was an argument against that perspective.
We popped the canoe into the lake and were the only boat on the water. Since it was clear that most people fish this lake from the shore given the high number of access points. I motored out to the small island at the west end and looked for deeper water that would be inaccessible to someone confined to the shore. In addition I believed the trout would be holding in the colder, deeper water this late in the season. Unfortunately, my fishfinder is still broken so I don’t have any absolute metrics on how deep the lake is. However, the end of the lake near the island is deep judging from the amount of time it took for my lures to bump to the bottom. Since I was in the canoe, I was using spin gear and relying on spinners, plastic worms, and crank baits. Basically, it was schizophrenic fishing in that I was going for anything — a bass, a bluegill, or even a trout — anything that would take a lure.
We fished the lake for about an hour and a half with no luck. We did see trout still swimming around just under the surface of the water. At this point late in the day, there was a small hatch going on and these trout must have been in the water long enough to become acclimated to natural food as small rings dotted the surface of the lake for a good 30 minutes. I totally regretted not having my fly rod with me because that clearly would have been the weapon of choice on this day.
While we did not actually catch a fish, we did see many fish, mostly bluegills, following our spinners back to the boat. There was one nice sized trout that tortured me with a similar “follow and look” drill; turning away at the last minute.
Date Fished: 05/30/2009
Bottom Line: This is a nice lake. The end of May is not the right time to fish here for trout. Again, I’m not sure what the bass population is given the water issue I mentioned above. This would be a great place to visit a day or two after stocking. I imagine it would be just like going to Locust Shade Park where the stocked trout have a habit of circling the lake fairly close to the shore. I’ll fish here again if I happen to be in the neighborhood but will not make a special trip to this location.
Getting There: From I66, take exit 18 north towards Markham. Follow it for just under 4 miles. You will pass a kiosk area that marks one end of the WMA – do not pay any attention to that. Continue north and you will see the left turn into the lake … maybe another mile past the kiosk.
Google Local Coordinates: 38.956397,-77.9916
Easy access from the shoreline – these beaten down points surround the lake
The clump of trees at the middle left is the island.
Looking back to the launch point. You can see some of the late season crowd
Looking west to the end of the lake from the launch point
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore