Fletcher’s Cove, Potomac River, Washington, DC, April 29, 2023
It was a very cool April morning and Bass Master was able to join me for a day of Shad fishing on the Potomac River above Fletcher's Cove in Washington, DC.

After we dropped and secured the rock, fishing started off really slow, with very little action happening on the opposite end of our rods. We had the occasional tap and landed a few fish but it wasn't on-fire action like the previous weeks had been.

However after some experimental color changes we soon thad the Hickory and American Shad biting. And Schoolie Stripers were biting. And Catfish were biting. Plus lots of perch and herring. Any color was working…as long as it was majority yellow/gold or
had some gold flash as part of the pattern. My favorite was a hot pink fly with gold flash on the tail. With the water very dirty and clouded from a few days of rain, the bright gold flash put the fish in a biting mood. I tried some flies with variations—hot pink with silver, chartreuse with silver or chartreuse flash, pink with pink flash, all silver, half and half, etc. None worked as well as the gold.

At one point Bass Master was getting them on every cast. We also had a bunch of doubles. The bite was really good when the school war around the boat, but would taper off and finally stop when they moved on. During slack tied the action suddenly went to zero, like someone turned off the Shad faucet. When the tide finally turned and began to climb to incoming, the bite resumed.

We considered moving to another spot, but there was very little catching action going on with folks fishing above and below us. On days like this, when the catching was ok but not on fire, it wasn't worth leaving fish to go find fish.
Our total for the day was 150, plus two Schoolie Stripers, two chunky American Shad, and two Catfish.

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.