Potomac River, Washington, D.C., May 7, 2018
I had Monday off and it was supposed to be a gorgeous day, so despite the disastrous Saturday, May 5, shad fishing experience I decided to head down to Fletcher’s Cove to try again.

By 6am I was comfortably anchored just outside the bubble line and dredging an
Orvis Depth Charge full-sink line through the water column as I attempted to locate some shad. For the first hour it was pretty slow. I had a few grabs but no solid takes and I began to get antsy, thinking about the terrible weekend fishing and beginning to suspect that today was going to be a repeat of fishing, but no catching.

However I had a sudden hard take and in a few minutes I hauled in a fairly large American shad to the boat. After a quick picture and release I resumed fishing—tossing the fly to the same area and soon I was boating a lot of Americans, sometimes a fish on every cast. There would be quiet periods of maybe 10 to 15 minutes, but the bite would return and nearly all the fish I caught were very large American shad. I burned through my fly box because I lost a lot of flies to cut-offs or, if the fish was hooked deep, I just cut the line and let them go.

The fishing action continued for most of the day. Around 2:30pm I decided to quit fishing because my arm was killing me. So I pulled the rock and headed back to the dock for a Fletcher’s hot dog and Coke before heading home.

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 6:15am. 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.