Springtime in the DC area means cherry blossoms, flash rain storms, and the beginning of tourist season. For the outdoorsy it also means shad spawning in the Potomac. Probably one of the best kept local secrets is the AMAZING shad fishing that hits the Potomac River every spring. There are three types of shad that spawn in the Potomac river; Amercian shad, gizzard shad and hickory shad. They are a protected species in the Potomac watershed with tight restrictions on creel limits but they are awesome to catch. On a fly rod they are nicknamed 'freshwater tarpon' for their ability to fight and leap out of the water.
|Hickory shad caught on a 9 wt fly rod using a chartreuse Clouser minnow and shad fly trailer.|
|Fletcher's Cove Boathouse: right off the Potomac River, 1 mile from work and a 10 minute drive from the White House. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)|
|View of Abner Cloud House off of Canal Road which marks the entrance to Fletcher's Cove. The upper parking lot is to the left of the house. In the foreground is the C&O Canal and bike path.|
|Downstream view of the C&O Canal. If you follow this it will take you to Georgetown and Washington DC. To my left is the Abner House and upper parking lot. To my right is the lower parking lot, Fletcher's Boat House and the Potomac River.|
|The Boat Rental, tackle shop and Bike rental buildings. You can purchase a DC fishing license here for $13.00|
|View of the cove and boat launch. During dry spells and low tide that area is one giant mud pit.|
|Variety of shad flies I use. Most of the local fly shops in the area carry all of the above; others you can purchase on site at Fletcher's Boat House.|
|Trail that tracks upstream, north of the boathouse. This will take you to several great spots along the Eastern bank where you can cast from shore.|
|Hard to believe you're in the city.|
|Lots of wild flowers along the river and path.|
|Here you can see the low water levels and exposed rocks. Gives you a little more room for back casts.|
|Downstream view from one of my secret spots. Notice the cloud cover - this is ideal for good fishing as bright sunlight slows down the bite.|
|Caught this guy on the 9wt using a double rig. Notice the Clouser above the shad. I use this when I see snakeheads tearing up the water. You never know!|
|Bring a hand towel as these guys are slimy and smelly.|
Directions can be found here. Make sure to read carefully about Canal Road as it turns into a one way street for the morning and evening commutes. GOOD LUCK!