Potomac River, Washington, D.C., March 31, 2018
A report from PaulC for mikescatchreport.com
Sometime during our first s
had fishing expedition on Friday, the Bass Master mentioned that daughter J really, really REALLY wanted to fish on Saturday. I warned him that with the Potomac heading up to the “no boat rental” 5 foot level he should monitor the U.S. Geological Survey’s Potomac River water flow data and plan accordingly. The folks at Fletcher’s Boathouse were also unsure about where the water level would be the following day—they were certain it was going to be heading up—so for any boat rentals they suggested calling the U.S. Park Service help line before heading down to the cove in the morning.

I waffled on whether I should go or not go fly fishing for shad again. Although the Friday fishing was pretty decent, I really did not like the look of the water, which was getting dirtier just before we were forced off the river by a small storm.


I took a look out the window on Saturday morning, checked conditions, then went back to sleep. Later, I messaged Bass Master to see if they decided to fish for shad, or even if they managed to get on the water.

Bass Master said they showed up in the morning and got a boat but later Fletcher’s suspended all rentals for the day because the Potomac River water flow crossed the 5 foot level, the red line where the water is running fast.
According to his daughter, J, they were the last boat to come off the water (around 2pm) for the day. Fishing was good. She was the hot rod with 23 confirmed shad, with a total of 34 fish caught. The water was also really dirty and there was a lot of junk getting stuck on the hooks.

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 traffic lights and the Abner Cloud House, an old white stone building, which is next to the canal, and will appear on your left if you approach from Key Bridge, or it will be on your right approaching from Chain Bridge. The Fletcher’s boat rental office usually opens at 7am, but when the shad are biting hot and heavy they open earlier to accommodate anglers. You can get a D.C. fishing license and a boat at the rental kiosk. They also sell basic fishing equipment, bait, lures, hot dogs, candy, chips, drinks and ice cream.

WARNING: The entrance to Fletcher’s Cove is a very narrow ramp that can accommodate only ONE car at a time. There is a stop light and a small pull-off area where a car can wait for the light to turn without blocking incoming access. And it is REALLY difficult to negotiate this ramp if you approach Fletcher’s Cove via Chain Bridge because the entry ramp will be facing away from your direction of travel. There is NO RAMP facing Chain Bridge, so you will probably have to drive backwards down the ramp. Park in the upper lot on your left or continue through the low tunnel (if you have a large SUV or van with roof racks, I suggest checking the tunnel height BEFORE entering) to the lower parking lot and dock access. Watch out for cars exiting the tunnel!

WARNING ON WEEKDAYS: Both lanes of Canal Road become ONE WAY into and out of the District 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 to get on Canal Road BEFORE 6am. If you miss this window you must wait until 10:20am because all traffic on Canal Road is ONE WAY into the city. You must use Canal Road via Chain Bridge. Canal Road goes the other way, towards Chain Bridge, from 2:45 to 7:15pm.