IT IS NO SECRET that the Fredericksburg-area section of the Interstate 95 corridor is becoming increasingly congested. Yet, many thousands of acres not far off that asphalt jungle are available for Virginia's hunters to get into the woods and on a number of wonderful small lakes for fishing.
Much of this non-privately held land in the region is managed by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Department of Defense.
The VDGIF has the C.F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area, which sits primarily in southern Fauquier County, with the balance in Culpeper County. The area is 4,539 acres, with more than 1,000 acres open and often planted with dove fields and vegetation beneficial to wildlife. Deer, turkey, waterfowl and small game are hunted.
The management area abuts several miles of the Rappahannock River, enabling access for some fine smallmouth bass and sunfish fishing. A three-acre pond holds largemouth bass, bluegill and redear sunfish, and channel catfish.
A bonus at C.F. Phelps is a shooting range, open from Sept. 1 to March 31, except for Mondays.
Phelps is near Sumerduck and is accessible by State Route 651, either south from U.S. 29 through Remington, or from U.S. 17, one mile north of Goldvein Post Office. Parking lots are along the perimeter on State Route 651 and 632 in Fauquier and on 674 in Culpeper.
A parking area and ramp for small boats and canoes are on the Culpeper side of the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford. For more, see dgif.vir ginia.gov/wmas.
Fort A.P Hill and Marine Corps Base Quantico, south and north of Fredericksburg, respectively, offer approximately 100,000 acres of outdoor recreation opportunity. Both installations can accommodate hundreds of hunters on days when many of the installations' training areas may be opened for hunting deer, turkey, small game, ducks and more.
A.P. Hill offers hunting during archery, muzzleloader and shotgun seasons, including some archery-only areas and an area with special stands reserved for hunters with disabilities. Quantico doesn't offer an early muzzleloader season, but does have archery and general firearms seasons.
Both installations have a reputation for quality, safe hunting operations, but also have requirements, some stringent, for obtaining a permit and checking in and accessing hunting areas.
Quantico and A.P. Hill also have fishing opportunities. There are six fishing lakes at Quantico, ranging from one to 477 acres. Fort A.P. Hill has numerous small lakes and a popular winter trout stocking program on two ponds. See aphill.army.mil/sites/mwr/huntinginfo.asp or contact the A.P. Hill Game Check Station at 804/633-8244 for details. Call the Quantico Check Station at 703/784-5383 or 5810.
Motts Run Reservoir is another wonderful resource. This 160-acre reservoir off River Road in Spotsylvania County is part of an 860-acre natural area.
Besides fishing for bass, catfish, pike and panfish, it's wonderful for canoeing and hiking. Only electric motors are allowed on boats, and boats and canoes are available to rent. Fishing is possible from the shoreline along many parts of the reservoir.
There is a small fee for fishing and boat launching. Call 540/786-8989 for more details.
Just southwest of Fredericksburg, Lake Orange is a 124-acre VDGIF-owned public fishing lake. It was created in 1964 and stocked with a wide variety of fish.
Today, people catch largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, black crappie, carp, channel catfish and walleye.
Lake Orange has a nice boat ramp, a bait/tackle and food concession, fishing pier, parking lot, picnic facilities and plenty of shoreline access. Limited winter waterfowl hunts are also conducted. For more, call Anglers' Landing at 540/672-3997.
Other good local lakes include Spotsylvania's Ni and Hunting Run reservoirs.
Of course, the Rappahannock River offers miles of beautiful scenery and wonderful fishing. A few good access points include Fredericksburg City Dock on Sophia Street, the Little Falls treatment plant off eastbound State Route 3 in Stafford County and Hopyard Landing in King George County.
For a detailed rundown of statewide fishing opportunities, check out dgif.vir ginia.gov/fishing.
Ken Perrotte can be reached at The Free Lance-Star, 616 Amelia Street, Fredericksburg, Va. 22401, by fax at 373-8455 or email at