Fletcher’s Cove, Potomac River, Washington, DC, March 26, 2023
It wasn't good news. During the later days of the week, heavy rain dropped across the region and the Potomac River was slowly creeping up towards the National Weather Service's dreaded 'Action' water level—meaning NO boat rental at Fletcher's Cove.

Bass Master, who already had been out on the Potomac during the weekday and had great luck picking off Hickories and Americans, told me on Thursday that the action was good but he already noticed changes to water clarity and increased flow. Would I be able to get out and fish on Saturday? Maybe. It all depended on how quickly, and how high, the water would rise.

The projections were dicey—they were so borderline that you could not tell whether there would be a boat rental or not. I kept checking and re-checking the data and early Friday it looked like I would be able to take a boat out safely to fish for shad.

I anchored the boat just outside the current line and began casting. The water was running a bit fast and had a muddy brownish-green tinge to it. There was a lot of small debris and river trash floating downriver but the shad were there and I got a bunch of decent Hickories.
EQUIPMENT: We used 8 weight rods, density-compensated full sink line, and flies in size 2 to 8 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 a traffic signal and the Abner Cloud House, a white stone building, which is next to the canal and will appear on your left if you approach from Key Bridge/Georgetown, or on your right from Chain Bridge.

WARNING: The entrance to Fletcher’s Cove is a very narrow entry/exit ramp that can accommodate only ONE car at a time so be very careful. It is VERY difficult to negotiate this ramp if you approach Fletcher’s Cove via Chain Bridge because it faces Key Bridge so you have to negotiate a difficult U-turn to enter. Park in the upper lot on your left or go through the tunnel (clearance is 7 feet) to the lower parking lot and dock access.
During shad season the tackle shack opens at 6am. Rowboat rental is by reservation only via the
Boating In DC website. A late return fee is $25 and you might be placed on a “do not rent” list. Prices are subject to change.
You also need a DC fishing license which is $10 for DC residents and $13 for non-residents.

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 until 5:30am to get there. If you miss this window you must wait until 10:20am because all traffic on Canal Road is one way into the city. During the evening rush Canal Road becomes one way outbound towards Chain Bridge from 2:30 to 7pm.