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Rappahannock River - Fredericksburg VA


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This dive site description is of the river environment found around the Motts Run Boat Launch area in Fredericksburg, VA., though it also describes the general underwater territory found throughout the river.
There are many submerged trees with exposed roots, broken-off branches, large and small boulders and rocks that provide shelter and protection for a variety of freshwater fish species like smallmouth bass, redbreast sunfish, herring, shad, white and yellow perch, channel and blue catfish, freshwater eel, and painted turtles.
Just the other day I saw what must’ve been a 2.5’ striped bass hovering over a large hole beneath a huge tree trunk laying on its side. Some of its roots extended to just above the surface. The bass bolted when I was within a foot of it. At the same location, I came within touching distance of a large channel catfish that moved closer to take a look at me.
Though much of the river is 3’ to 5’ deep, there are pockets that range between 7’ and 13’. The large tree trunk I saw was in 8’ of water.
There are strong currents in many places, and kayakers, canoers, and rafters often find white-watering opportunities as they navigate down the river. The currents also provide great workout opportunities if you are willing and able to challenge them. On certain days I’ve had to "crawl" along the bottom against the current, almost like climbing the side of a mountain. By the time I got back to shore I was totally worn out.
Make sure to use a diver-down float to let others know you are in the area, particularly in high traffic places. Fishing is also allowed, so be ready to encounter monofilament line.
Visibility varies greatly depending on the weather and human traffic.
If you like treasure hunting, get a good metal detector and have at it. You can find civil war bullets and relics, and maybe some jewelry.
Scuba diving in rivers is very challenging on many levels, and surprising things can be found in them. Getting wet in the Rappahannock will be no different.

Comments

Airworks - 7/21/2018 8:05 AM
I did a "dark" dive this morning in 10’ to 13’ of water, about 300 yards from the boat launching area, and in sight of the Clore Brothers Outfitters store on River Road.
Got to the site at 5 a.m., and was in the water by 5:15. The current was light, so getting back to the shore ingress point was easier than usual.
Saw many bass and bluegill, a large channel catfish, a painted turtle, and a small freshwater eel. The underwater environment reminds me of the Fredericksburg quarry I’ve dove in many times.
The really cool thing about diving in the river is that it’s FREE and accessible anytime I have the itch to get wet! It provides a great workout, and there’s lots to see and explore.
Like having my very own private dive spot.

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