Finally, something new to report. Four Mile Run is no longer the only place to catch fish! Spring is here! Well... not entirely just yet, but the water temps are pushing 50 and will definitely get into the low to mid 50s by the end of the week. This means a bunch of things for our area's fly fishing community:
A) SHAD RUN
B) STRIPER RUN
C) SNAKEHEAD RUN
D) PRE-SPAWN LARGEMOUTH
E) BEST TROUT FISHING OF THE YEAR
So what's a fly fisherman to-do? There are just too many options.
Well, here is where I come in with some advice. Especially with shad catch reports starting to become more consistent on theTPFR forum and Fletcher's Boathouse website - try to do a little bit of everything. Don't limit yourself. Spring is only sprung for a small portion of our angling calendar. Go nuts.
Options A-C all take place on the same stretch of river near Fletcher's Cove and Chain Bridge. Bringing two rods, while often times a complete burden, will actually serve you well here because you can easily switch from a shad set up to your striper/snakehead rig depending on the respective fishery's temperament that day. Additionally, snakeheads seem to pop out of nowhere, so it'll be good to keep that extra rod close by. FYI - Pink seems to be the color for shad thus far and stripers are not stacked up at Gravelly Point just yet.
As for my catching this past week/weekend, I decided to chase some trout.
On Wednesday of last week, I fished the public section of Mossy Creek. Throwing some hand-tied patterns (meet Kermit), I had one rise from a big brown in the first bridge pool, before having to settle for a few fall fish and one more rise/rejection. A beautiful morning on a gorgeous stretch of water is hard to beat, but driving the 2.5 hrs for a skunking is tough to take. Luckily the next night was the Fly Fishing Film Tour, so I got my fill of fish porn regardless if I was the one doing the catching or not.
On Friday, I fished with Trent Jones of Orvis Bethesda. After telling him about the shit show in Virginia's stocked trout waters, he decided to introduce me to Maryland's Beaver Creek - a small limestone creek in Hagerstown, MD that boasts a healthy population of wild brown and rainbow trout. This creek is a gem. Having almost exclusively fished Virginia's trout waters, I was very impressed with both the number of fish per pool and the quality of them. In short - gorgeous, wild fish an hour from DC. That's hard to beat.
We caught about a dozen or so browns with a pretty rainbow mixed-in in a few hours on the water, Trent slaying them with the smallest dry (size 24) I've ever seen and me, nymphing with size 22 zebra midges and scuds. The largest fish was around 12" but we broke off larger fish throughout the day (fml). The fish were particular about what they ate and are definitely spooky, so careful wading and general stealthiness are key (no need for SNP brook trout stealth tactics though).
I'll be hitting the stretch from Fletcher's Cove to Chain Bridge this week before work in pursuit of shad, stripers, and snakeheads with a guest appearance on the private waters of Mossy Creek on Friday. Add in MLB Opening Day and I'm in heaven.
Hope springs eternal.
Remick Smothers is a native son of the District of Columbia and the founder of FlyTimesDC.