One of my children’s all-time favorite places to play in Fredericksburg is Mott’s Run Reservoir, located at 6600 River Road. Mott’s Run is open seasonally from April until October from 7 am until 7 pm, and closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. My two little ones love the children’s recreation area, which is equipped with a large sandbox, pretend campfire cooking area, canoes with paddles and wooden teepee structures. Of course the reservoir itself is a huge recreation area, and this year I thought it was time that they learn to fish. I grew up fishing nearly every weekend on the Chesapeake Bay with my family, much to my chagrin at the time. Being captive on my father’s boat on sweltering summer days were not fun times for me, but surprisingly it is a legacy that I long to pass on to my children.
The first step in the journey was to shop for fishing rods! My three-year old son was thrilled to find so many options for little tykes at Gander Mountain. He selected a Lightning McQueen rod for himself and his cousin and a Barbie rod for his sister. I am really pleased with the quality of the Fisher rods, which compactly fit into a little backpack that came with the purchase. Gander Mountain also now sells bait, so I picked up some juicy fat worms along with a few bobbers and rod stands to spear into the soft dirt.
I invited my brother and his family to join Maggie, Brendan and me on our fishing adventure. On a misty Saturday my gang of eight descended upon the quiet, unsuspecting fishing crowd at Mott’s Run Reservoir. With children ranging in ages from 12 months to five, it was a bit of a challenge to keep everyone focused on the task at hand (and out of the water, which is used as drinking water in parts of Spotsylvania County!). My brother baited my daughter’s hook, I cast it off of one of the piers and then I trotted off after my son who was making me nervous by chasing his cousin around the water’s edge. My focus, admittedly, was not on Maggie and when she started calling, “I think I have something!” I honestly doubted that she did. But sure enough, she caught a sun fish! My mom and brother came to her rescue since I was occupied, and Maggie beamed with pride the entire time. The fish wriggled off of the line before I could get close enough to get a good picture, but just catching any fish was super special for my little girl.
It turns out that Maggie’s catch was our only catch the entire day, but we enjoyed watching the cousins play at the recreation center after our picnic lunch. Mott’s Run Reservoir also has marked nature trails, but our attempted hike wasn’t much more than a minor exploration. Nonetheless, we cannot wait to go back and give the boys a shot at catching their own fish! And when we got back home, Brendan had a blast “releasing” our remaining worms into the front mulched bed.