Fletcher’s Cove, Potomac River, Washington, DC, April 16, 2023
Like the previous week, Jin was fishing with me at Fletcher's Cove on the Potomac River in Washington, DC, in the morning before taking off for home around 11am to avoid the afternoon/evening traffic rush on the Beltway.

We decided to head for the same area we fished the previous day. And it seemed like most folks had the same idea with nearly all the boats heading upstream to fish.

We dropped the rock in the same spot and began to fish. We got five in about as many casts and thought it would be a great day. We were a bit too enthusiastic with our expectations.

The fishing was good for an hour, then as the tide neared slack everything slowed down then stopped. We pulled the rock and decided to try a spot just outside Fletcher's Cove. We caught a few more Hickories here, but it was pretty slow. Tie was getting short for Jin so he decided to call it an early day and I took him back to the dock.

The trolling battery was still balky. I wasn't able to give it a good, full recharge when I got home the previous day so it was again almost in the red zone. I wanted to head upriver, but I felt the battery wouldn't make it so I decided to play it safe and go to a spot that I always fished, one that was close enough to Fletcher's Cove that I could manually row the boat back with no problem if the battery died.

I lined up the boat with the marks on shore and dropped the rock just outside the main current seam. A bunch of kayakers were fishing in a group below me and several Fletcher's boats, a bass boat, a John boat, and a buch of canoes and recreational kayakers and standup paddle boarders were above me.

I got a fish on the very first cast. I adjusted the presentation and quickly got another strike. Then another, and another and another. The kayakers below me noticed and soon were in a rough line just below and to the left of me, fishing the same seam. However I was still getting the bites and they were not.

A powerboat came over and began fishing the same spot but they were getting no eats. They asked what color I was using and I told them. I kept hauling in shad.

The bite kept going on and on. After five hours of nonstop shad action, the weather started closing in and I felt several drops of water hit me and other spatters begin to dimple the surface of the water. It was time to call it a day and head for home.
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.