After spending the past weekend chasing redfish, tarpon, and snook in Siesta Key’s Garden of Eden – the Heron Lagoon – I returned to the realities of our Nation’s River. Since this is an urban fishing blog and supposed to be a Potomac River fishing report – I’ll give a brief recap of my adventures on the Treasure Coast. In four days I managed to jump 4 juvenile tarpon (8-15lbs), boat 12 or so snook up to 22”, and fooled 3 carefully sight casted reds (all over 26”) while spooking countless more. I’ll admit, there’s an obvious drop off between jumping tarpon in a mangrove wonderland and bopping snakeheads on the nose with big and ugly streamers in the Tidal Basin, but the tug is the drug and you've got to fish where you are (thanks to Matt Miles and the Urban Lines crew for that one). With Gravelly closed to wading anglers – I’ve had to change up my game to pursue our local striper population. But fear not, all is not lost.
Let’s make this clear - Gravelly Point is not the only place that consistently produces schoolie striper action in our district waters. The river is flush with these feisty game fish right now and will be for the next few weeks until water temps get too high and they retreat to deeper, cooler water. The challenge is finding areas that concentrate these aggressive game fish. In my experience, one can consistently find stripers in areas with current, depth change (think shallow water close to deep water), and lots of bait. Areas such as Chain Bridge, Little Hunting Creek, the Tidal Basin, Four Mile Run, and the mouth of Rock Creek Park on moving tides are all places to target schoolie action in the summer.
This past week, I managed to get a few days on the water chasing stripers at Chain Bridge and Little Hunting Creek. Throwing a small striped bass imitation on full grain sinking line during the last few hours of the falling tide into the main current and stripping it through the eddy seam produced a few fish at Chain Bridge with the largest being a chunky 17”. Bites were not hot and heavy, but each fish was healthy. I’d love to see a moratorium put on the striper fishery so that these stocks could recover and the giant fish (50+lbs) we saw in the late 90s, early 2000s would come back. Outside of stripers - there was a lot of surface activity from spawning gar and a few rises that looked suspiciously like snakeheads. I didn’t see many hookups from the spin or bait fishermen, but the river is still full of fish. Working the outgoing tide at Little Hunting Creek produced a more consistent bite than the big, deep water at Chain Bridge. Swinging some smaller deceiver (size 6) patterns on a RIo intermediate streamer line produced well in the shadow lines, most fish were cookie cutter 10-13” but there were definitely some bigger fish mixed in as they were quite loud in their pursuits of fleeing baitfish.
With Andrea done tormenting our area, expect the river to be off color for a few days and water a tad higher than usual but nothing flood like as the river should be done cresting on Thursday (if more rain doesn’t ruin things). The rain dropped water temps into the low 70s so expect action to be solid this week for our river’s game fish population. In off color water, try fishing darker patterns (black & purple) near structure for largemouth, smallmouth, snakeheads, and catfish. Tight lines.
Remick Smothers is a native son of the District of Columbia and the founder of FlyTimesDC.