Lake Brittle - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip
Day Trip Report
June 15, 2007
New Baltimore, VA
A calm and serene location near Washington D.C. is hard to find; this lake provides a good escape. You will rarely find yourself alone on this small, 17-acre lake, but during the week the anglers are few and boaters fewer. Motors are restricted to electric only, which is good for the kayaker. With an averaging depth ranging from two to four feet, this is an excellent lake for learning how to paddle.
I carted my Heritage Redfish 12' Angler to the launch ramp and dock. The dock was low enough to be useful in launching the kayak. It was quite nice to be able launch without having to wade through the algae that floated in this area.
The sky was overcast and weather cool for this time of year. It was good to not have to worry about sunburn for once!
The tree-lined coves belie a remoteness that is exposed with a close inspection; houses line the entire shoreline back behind the trees. Because the VDGIF owns the lake, they also have provided a fifty-foot buffer of angler-accessible shoreline. The sight of houses on this lake is somewhat disheartening considering the years I fished this lake as a boy.
The lake is shaped like an hourglass, with the smallest part of the lake near the dammed end. This is the mainly treeless area. A fishing pier near the concessions and dock block one side of the dammed area from boaters. Plenty of deep water is still accessible on the northern end of the dam. I chose to stay in shallower water, skirting the concession area and heading for the narrow channel.
Rounding the northwestern end of the hourglass, near the channel, I drifted into a cove. A large beaver looked me over, then scurried into his den. As I turned out of the cove, a large splash near my stern startled me. The water seemed to boil on the port side as another beaver headed for an underwater den.
A large turtle watched the action from a nearby stump. As I slipped by him, he dropped into the water and out of sight. A heron tried to hide under the brush near the shore, but his distinct profile betrayed him.
I then sliced across the widest end of the lake to gather some speed and practice strong strokes. A heron on the other shore stood watch while Canadian geese swam in a small cove. Bluegill were jumping nearly out of the water to snatch flies. I regretted that I had not brought my fishing pole along!
I turned and let the kayak gently drift back across the lake, through the narrow channel and along the north shore. Accessing this area has been my dream, generally inaccessible from the shore due to overhanging trees, brush, and snags, yet this is the area where the largemouth bass and channel catfish mostly reside. Another heron and turtle would greet me along this stretch of downfallen trees and low-hanging branches. I ended my north end circuit near the dam where the cattails form a small marshy area lining the shore.
From here I cut across the deep end of the lake back to a cove near the concession area. I broke into a strong paddle to cover the distance quickly. Tracking near the cove, I then turned eastward to return to the dock.
This lake will remain my favorite kayaking haunt, largely because almost all of my angling success and outdoor memories live here. The addition of the kayak to my angling equipment will doubtlessly add a new dimension to this lake's importance to my life.
Anglers will find plenty of shoreline access along with a fishing pier. The boat ramp and finger pier provide anglers with year-round private boat access. The lake's concession stand offers boat and electric motor rental along with bait and snack sales from March 15th through October 15th.
Owned by the VDGIF, this is a publicly accessible lake, with no fees for launching boats or fishing the lake. A Virginia fishing license is required to fish this lake.
Located in Fauquier County off Rt. 29 near New Baltimore. Take Rt. 600 east from Rt. 29 and then turn right (south) on Rt. 793. Follow Rt. 793 to the lake.
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