Potomac River, Washington, D.C., April 18, 2008
It was going to be a great day with temperatures in the 80's so I got a head start on the traffic and arrived at Fletcher's Boat House around 5:30am. The Boat Lady was already getting equipment laid out on the dock and I quickly secured a boat and headed out of the cove and upstream toward Chain Bridge.

Fish were splashing everywhere and the
Humminbird RF15 fishfinder showed sporadic clusters of fish stacked from 10 feet to 35 feet in the water column. I picked a deep seam that dropped to 65 feet and anchored the boat on a ledge right next to it that was 35 feet deep. I was using a fast-action 9'6" 7-weight with a Type VII density-compensated fast-sink line with a size 10 red conehead/white body shad fly.

After three casts I had a fish. The action remained sporadic but steady for a few hours but the bite stopped when the sun came out. I switched to a size 8 red conehead/chartreuse flash body (esatz) shad fly. That was the ticket and I continued to pull in fish for about 30 minutes but then the fishing really took a nosedive when the sun rose above the trees and by 9am the fishing sucked.

I pulled anchor and moved around, using the fishfinder to spot pods of fish but the rest of the day was spent chasing shad from one bank of the Potomac to the other. I would anchor and catch two or three fish then they would be gone. By noon it was really bad and although the finder was marking lots of fish in the mid-water column nothing was biting. It was the same for the other boats out on the river. The fishing was great in the morning, but by mid-day the bite disappeared. Anglers were catching fish here and there, but not in great numbers.
Bottom line: fish early in the morning on the falling tide or go late in the afternoon and fish the rising tide. Pray for overcast weather. Bright sun drives the shad deep, so you've got to dredge the bottom. Compared to
last week when I fished the bottom of low tide into the rising tide, today was not that great.

EQUIPMENT: I used a fast-action 9'6" 7-weight with a Scientific Anglers Type VII density-compensated fast sink line. I used 5 feet of leader and 24 inches of 4-pound fluorocarbon and flies from size 8 to 10 dressed in chartreuse or white.

DIRECTIONS: Fletcher’s Boat House is located on the Potomac River along the C & O Canal National Historical Park, between Chain Bridge and Key Bridge at 4940 Canal Road, NW, Washington, D.C., and is an official National Park Service seasonal concessionaire, renting row boats, canoes, kayaks and bikes. Fishing tackle and licenses are also available as well as food and drink.