Washington, DC, April 8, 2011
(Note: An agreement on the Federal budget was reached late last night.) Would this be the last shad fishing trip for the season? With no movement by both political parties on Capitol Hill, it looked like a partial Federal shutdown of the government was inevitable. If it happens Fletcher's Boat House will be closed since the rental facilities and dock sit on Federal park property. The workers at the concession stand weren't happy, anglers weren't happy and, God help all the politicians on the Hill, Paula Smith (aka- The Dock Lady) was pissed! And despite a forcast of heavy rain, Glenn and I decided to fly fish for shad because this might be our last chance to do so for awhile IF the shutdown occurs.

We arrived at Fletcher's early to avoid the traffic flow shift on Canal Road. I did not want to back down that driveway or attempt to hang a U-turn in heavy rush hour traffic. After getting all the paperwork out of the way we were soon out on the water with about 9 other boats. t was a cool 48 degrees with an overcast sky. A light drizzle drifted across the area.

I started Glenn off with the
hot fly of the previous trip while I used a tandem rig with different colors. Fishing was slow. It was the age-old game of cast and retrieve--varying the presentation in search of fish. After 45 minutes of fishing, with no bites, I finally landed one on a hot pink fly. I switched Glenn's fly and afer a few casts he brought a fish to hand. We continued to hook a few and land a few but the action was slow. Glenn landed several nice fish and I went 1 for 6. I sucked.
We moved the boat and fished another area that usually produces fish later in the season. Fish were there but it was difficult to get a decent swing with the fly because the wind kept pushing us upstream while the current tried to push us back downstream. We wound up going in a big circle around our anchor line but Glenn managed to land a few more fish and I managed to hook and loose a few more.

Folks started leaving the water and after 5 hours on the water we decided to do the same. We dined on hot dogs for lunch at the Fletcher's concession stand and just as we began to leave the sky opened up and the rain poured down.

EQUIPMENT: We used 7 and 8 weight fly rod with a full sink, density-compensated line. Shad flies were in sizes 4 to 10 in various colors.

DIRECTIONS: Fletcher's Boat House is located on the Potomac River in Washington, DC, two miles north of Key Bridge and one mile south of Chain Bridge, at the intersection of Reservoir Road and Canal Road. You will know you have reached the entrance to Fletcher's when you see the Abner Cloud House, an old white stone building, which is next to the canal on your left.

From 66 East, take the Rosslyn exit to Key Bridge. Stay in the left lane. Take a left onto Canal Road after crossing over Key Bridge. Stay in the left lane and turn left on Canal Road, and continue until you see the Abner Cloud House on your left. That narrow ramp is the entrance to Fletcher's. Go down the ramp and either park in the upper lot or go through the tunnel to the lower parking lot and dock access. During shad season the boat rental office opens at 6:30am. Boat rental fee is $20 for the day. You need a DC fishing license ($10 DC residents. $13 non-resident) to fish and Fletcher's sells this at the rental kiosk along with fishing equipment, bait, hot dogs, drinks and ice cream.

WARNING: Both lanes of Canal Road become ONE WAY into and out of DC during morning and evening rush hour during the weekdays. If you're hitting Fletcher's in the morning and following the route above you have until 5:30am to get there. If you miss it you must wait until 10:20am. Once it's one way you must come down Canal Road via Chain Bridge way and trying to make that turn into Fletcher's from that direction is a killer because that ramp is the only road into and out of the Boathouse parking lot and it faces towards Key Bridge. Canal Road becomes one way going towards Chain Bridge from 2:30 to 7pm, so you must hang a sharp U-turn when you leave.