Washington DC variety
The Potomac is a big river, it's headwaters have native brook trout, and in its mouth you can catch saltwater species like bluefish. DC is a transition zone, where you can catch a wide variety of fish. In addition, a series of rapids and a low rise dam stops the migration of anadromous fish, primarily Hickory and American Shad, Blueback and Alewife Herring, and White Perch and Striped Bass.
I had a chance to take a day off last week and decided to spend it on the Potomac. The plan was for my wife to drop me off on her way to work, and then pick me up on the way back. This gave me about 11 hours to fish. I decided to hike a four mile trail which runs along the Virginia side of the river, from Theodore Roosevelt Island almost to Chain Bridge. My target fish were three species that I had caught in the past but don't have picture of for my lifelist....American (White) Shad, Blueback Herring, and White Sucker. Saying that, I was more than willing to take what came my way.
My first stop was directly under the Key Bridge, directly across from Georgetown. There were 1000's of herring spawning against the foundations of the bridge. I quickly tossed a small jig in among them and had a fish on my first cast. White Perch
And then another, and another, and another.....I needed a new plan. I found a tiny jig with a gold hook which I jigged in front of the herring, the white perch weren't biting which was good thing!
To make along story short...a little while after I tied the bare jig on I realized that there was a least one person in the bushes watching me....I figured I should move upstream and find a new spot to fish.
The river is beautiful in this stretch...the high cliffs on the VA side and the flood plain on the DC side prevent any major development, here's a shot a little above Key Bridge.....
Looking back toward Key Bridge.
We've had very little rain this spring so the Potomac is unusually clear. I was able to look over most of the available spots to fish and didn't see anything that I liked. After about a mile I found a nice looking spot and caught this mini Striped Bass on my first cast.
I ended up catching about 20 of these over the course of the day, from this size to about 18 inches.
I noticed alot of sunfish following my jig, including a small longear. Longear are common up river but uncommon in DC, I put on a tiny jig with a sliver or worm. Never caught the Longear but got plenty of Red Breast and Bluegill. I even managed an over ambitious Spottail Shiner.
A traveled up the trail a little further, I saw a decent sized largemouth up against the bank and decided to throw my jig and worm at him..it was quickly gobbled up by this Green Sunfish.
I had two rods with me so decided to fish a 3 inch white gulp minnow on the other. A little while later I connected with this little Smallmouth Bass.
I tried for crappie at this tree but didn't have any luck. I did managed to sight fish a decent Channel Catfish (got two sight fishing that day!).
About halfway through the trip I connected with this Largemouth Bass.
I saw some micro fish at the mouth of a small creek that I couldn't identify. I broke out the small hooks but couldn't keep the spottails at bay.
As you get closer to Chain Bridge the river narrows and the current quickens. I tried for Shad but didn't have any luck with them. I also stumbled across these two 30lb+ Blue Cats that left on the bank. They were still alive so I put them back in the river.
I had the idea that it would be cool to catch a blue cat. I needed some bait but of course there's never a sunfish or white perch around when you need one! While trying to catch one I found this guy dead on the bank so cut him up for bait.
I quickly lost the only two large hooks I had :(.
I was starting to see suckers feeding along the rocks. I switched my light rod over to a small hook and split shot and put a bit of nightcrawler on. The suckers were difficult to see and were feeding on the ledge which made presenting a hook bait a real challenge.
Eventually I got my bait in front of pair that were slowly moving up a ledge. There was a small over hang and my bait was just the other side of it. They both swam under the ledge and I saw one spook out to the river and lost sight of the other. I looked around for the other and turned back to my hookbait just in time to see him inhale it. I slowly lifted the rod and let him set the hook for me. He rain right into the main current and gave me a great fight. I was even more excited to see that it was a species that I had never fair hooked before!!! A new lifer!!
I was hooked so to speak and spent my last few hours chasing them. I caught two more and had about 25 of them make me look foolish!
It's funny how fast 11 hours can go.....Here's my final destination.