Fletcher’s Cove, Potomac River, Washington, DC, April 8, 2023
The first thing I did when I stepped out the front door to begin my trip to Fletcher's Boathouse on the Potomac River in Washington, DC, was turn around and head back inside to grab a heavier jacket and a wool beanie for my hairless head. IT WAS COLD!

With no high wind or rain to hamper fishing, Jin decided to drive down from Philadelphia to join me at Fletcher's Boathouse for some afternoon fishing on the Potomac River in Washington, DC. However, I had the boat for the day so I invited Bass Master to join me until Jin arrived.

We managed to make it out to one of our favorite spots and began fly fishing for shad. However the wind blowing downriver from Chain Bridge, and the cold temperature, made fishing miserable. With three layers on I still felt really cold.

"Some enterprising person in a rowboat could make a mint selling hot coffee and doughnuts to anglers," said Bass Master.

Not a bad idea. A hot bowl of instant ramen would be good too.

We continued to fish, and although we managed to land around 50, we earned every shad that came to the boat.

After we swapped out anglers, we headed upriver to try a spot suggested by Bass Master. He told Jin and I that earlier in the week he got over 100 shad from this particular location.

After securing the boat we began to fish. We landed a few within the first five minutes, but action began to taper off. We would get a few fish, sometimes doubling up, then the bite would go cold. There were long periods when nothing would take the fly interspersed with strong bites and fast takes.
We yanked the anchor and tried several other spots, but the results were always the same. We'd get two or three fish, then long periods of nothing, then two to three more fish. We caught around 40 shad between the two of us before we decided to call it a day and head back to the dock.

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.