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Abel Reservoir in Virginia

Trip Overview

Abel Reservoir is in Stafford County, Virginia, just west of historic Fredericksburg, and about 50 miles south of Washington, D.C./50 miles north of Richmond, Va.

Launching: there is a parking lot with a dirt launch area. You can pull right up to the water, so there's no hauling of your kayak (or canoe).

The reservoir is used primarily by fishermen (and the fishing for bass and catfish is pretty good) using boats with electric motors -- luckily for us, no gas engines are allowed.

For the kayaker, there is a good two mile paddle from the launch site to the dam. If you are out for exercise, you can get a good workout on smooth water.

If you are a kayak-fisherman, there are inlets and weedy areas that are pleasant and productive -- I sometimes take a short fly rod and try my luck on lazy Sunday mornings. If you are a casual paddler, the reservoir is a paradise: beaver houses, tree-shadowed coves, wildlife (beavers, turtles, fish, deer, birds, I even saw an eagle), rock ledges that remind one of Maine, and just a lot of smooth water that soothes the modern-day-all-too-harrassed soul.

The site is well used by fishermen, but under-utilized by kayakers, probably because of its isolation. And, I suppose, I really ought to keep this secret place to myself and the few others who use it. But I like seeing other kayaks on the water: we're a pretty quiet breed who are able to act in harmony with the nature around us. So try it out -- you'll fall in love with the place.


Gravel and dirt parking lot. Primitive launching site. No facilities other than a couple of trash cans. (So take care of nature's call before you get there.)




From Fredericksburg, VA go west on Route 17. Turn right onto Route 616. Turn right on Route 651. Look for the dirt road on the left that leads to the parking lot/lauch area. If you cross the bridge over the reservoir, you've just missed the launch area -- turn around and go back: it's just past the bridge.


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  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip