Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lake Nelson - May 2009

Today I drove east over the Blue Ridge Mountains into the piedmont of Virginia to visit Lake Nelson, a 24-acre lake just northeast of Amherst. After a light frost in the morning, the temperature quickly rose to top out around 70 degrees today with crystal clear skies. A perfect afternoon for a drive through the mountains and a lake paddle.

Lake Nelson is a public fishing lake in Nelson County, Virginia. It has a concrete boat ramp plus dock, plenty of parking, and a couple of porta-johns. There were several people bank fishing from the parking area when I arrive, and one couple in a small fishing boat on the lake. People who approach me at these lakes always ask if I'm going fishing with my kayak, and they give me a strange look when I tell them I'm just there to paddle.


Being only 24 acres, the lake is rather small. But it does offer two arms in which to explore, as well as two feeder creeks.


The west side of the lake is undeveloped and quiet, while the east side sports a fair number of homes plus a campground.


Recent rains have resulted in swollen creeks across the area, so the feeder streams in these fishing lakes are more accessible than usual. I brought my 14' Heritage with me today, and it's just small enough to nose into and explore these creeks. I usually follow them upstream as far as possible, until they shallow out, I hit a rapid, or it becomes clear that I'll have to back out too far - I try not to go much farther past the point where I can no longer turn around.


On more than one occasion, I've appreciated the saw blade on my Swiss Army Knife, as I've used it to saw away small overhanging branches along these creeks.


I can certainly see the wisdom of having a smaller boat in these creeks, say around 9', rather than my 14-footer.

In all, I spent about 75 minutes on the lake this afternoon. Lake Nelson is a pleasant location for an afternoon paddle, especially for local paddlers.

View this location in Google Maps by clicking here.

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