Has Anyone caught ANYTHING on the Potomac this year?

hambone111

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Local MD folks will know the rainfall we had last year (2018) beat us up pretty good, I didnt make much of an effort to fish last year.

This year we have been doing very well, smallies have been hitting well. My dad has been out a ton and ive been on the water an average of 6 times a month since May.

We made our first excursion down to the Potomac 2 weeks ago. water height was fine. 2000 3/m. we went down to Packhorse Ford, just below the Shephardstown bridge if anyone isnt familiar. We used to fish this area frequently in the 90's and not much has changed. We went at night and fished until almost 8:00pm. We absolutely Zero'd for the day. No strikes, bumps, pulls, hits, fish, Nadda. it happens. but i also never even saw a fish. Literally, no panfish, no shiners, no sculpins, NOTHING. we worked the whole water column, size and color changes, i mean we are local guys, so we generally know what we are doing when it comes to rivers we have been on for the last 20 years. i thought it was odd to not even get a chubb or a sunny on small topwater stuff.

my dad also remarked at the lack of grass beds. there was no aquatic grass growth anywhere on the river. something in august you see everywhere in the warm water rivers. river temp was very good. so it wasnt the temp. all the feeder rivers we have been fishing have the august grass pockets in them.

My dad is in the local fly club and very active. a couple days later he went fishing with a tackle guy who is getting into flyfishing the last 2 years. My dad took him out to a local stream for some summer smallies and they did pretty well. the guy told him he refuses to fish the potomac after Zeroing out 7 times in a row with tackle this year. Later in the week dad was dropping newsletters off at the local fly shop/gun shack, and spoke to the owner there, who we know quite well. THAT guy went down to Point of Rocks area 2 times in a row at the beginning of august and HE zero'd out both times and he had the same experience we had of not even getting bumps or sunfish on, he said he has wrote the river off.

There were a lot of raised eyebrows and speculation last year about the flood staging and if it would impact the fisheries. i was less doom and gloom last year and we have been fishing very well this year so i think feeder streams that were flooded but drained consistently werent as impacted as the mighty raging potomac that was like a backed up sink all year.. Im thinking we are seeing some hard results.

is anyone seeing different? anyone getting anything of size or numbers out of the potomac?

-Josh
 

City Rat

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Back when the shad run was "scheduled" to occur I saw a guy catch one way down stream from you at Fletcher's Cove. Down that way guys regularly are catching catfish on tackle as well as one big stripper on tackle. Personally, I have bupkus for three outings on the river and my fishing outings there tend to quickly become casting practice sessions as nothing is biting. Now even when the river is moving fast there are fish as I watch the heron and cormorants fishing and doing well. Last I will say this, it seems to me anecdotally mind as I still am futzing around with the USGS water gauge software, that the river has been really hit hard with a lot of storms and run off since Mid March. Seems to pretty regularly be the color of chocolate milk and quite frequently there is lots of deadfall in the runoff from up stream. All that has to have had an effect on the fish.
 

mike126

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I was out at Algonkin kayak fishing 3 weeks ago and had a nice smallie on a crank bait spin fishing. It shook the hook but I did land a medium catfish later in the morning. 2 weeks ago my wife and I were kayaking the same area and I saw a couple of smallies cruising in medium water. This past weekend I was totally skunked fly fishing the same area. I was using a couple of versions of woolly buggers and a Clouser. It was late morning so that probably had a lot to do with it.


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hambone111

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Back when the shad run was "scheduled" to occur I saw a guy catch one way down stream from you at Fletcher's Cove. Down that way guys regularly are catching catfish on tackle as well as one big stripper on tackle. Personally, I have bupkus for three outings on the river and my fishing outings there tend to quickly become casting practice sessions as nothing is biting. Now even when the river is moving fast there are fish as I watch the heron and cormorants fishing and doing well. Last I will say this, it seems to me anecdotally mind as I still am futzing around with the USGS water gauge software, that the river has been really hit hard with a lot of storms and run off since Mid March. Seems to pretty regularly be the color of chocolate milk and quite frequently there is lots of deadfall in the runoff from up stream. All that has to have had an effect on the fish.
I agree with you ... i added the stream flow info in case others were not familiar with fishing conditions and simply for a bit of documentation as to what is wadeable in that area. the river has been high and flooded for well over a year now and i agree its taken a hit.

sort of a side note to your comment on the runoff and river conditions. 15 years ago when i regularly fished the potomac at that same spot we always wet waded and had no issues. Currently my dad and other locals have told me they refuse to wade without waders in the potomac because water quality is not what it was. one local club member picked up an infection in his leg after getting scratched walking in and then wet wading last year.

i dont mean to sound dramatic. your comment about runoff and fish kill made me think of the past story
 

City Rat

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Funny that you mentioned wading. From the DC side wading is actually illegal and from the VA side the dropoff from shore is quick, deep and dramatic between Chain bridge and Fletchers Cove. There are of course spots where you can wade while casting and no one will care. Once I figured that out I understood why all the rocky outcroppings with no gnarly trees behind were snapped up so fast, lol.
 
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hambone111

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Funny that you mentioned wading. From the DC side wading is actually illegal and from the VA side the dropoff from shore is quick, deep and dramatic between Chain bridge and Fletchers Cove. There are of course spots where you can wade while casting and no one will care. Once I figured that out I understood why all the rocky outcroppings with no gnarly trees behind were snapped up so fast, lol.
I had no idea it was illegal to wade in the DC area ... I have never heard of such a thing. interesting. . The rive is much larger down by the Chain bridge. you're a braver man that i . :bowl::help:
 

weiliwen

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The water quality in the Potomac might not be great, but when I went to Georgetown, when the crew team took a dump in the river, they all had to stay overnight at the hospital for observation.
 

City Rat

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Because there always seems to be places to cast from shore, read rocky outcroppings with some kind of obstruction, read very gnarly trees behind you, it seems regular fly rodders there get pretty good at casts that have very little back cast. Water quality on the Potomac has it's short term ups and downs but looking back long term, say 50 years ago, water quality in the river has made a remarkable come back. Like any large river it has to fight against storm and farm runoff, etc. To get better.
 
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