Potomac River

Unspecified • 0 mi • 0 ft

Short Take: Approximately 50 miles fishable for bass; tidal influence, hydrilla, shallow underwater cover, large tributaries. Unless they happen to be bass fishermen, tourists driving across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (Interstate 95) just south of Washington, D.C. seldom realize that when they look down at the Potomac River they’re seeing one of the finest bass fisheries in eastern America. Anglers who solve the twin puzzles of tidal influence and hydrilla usually have a busy day on the water. As unlikely as it may seem, it is possible to follow the Potomac right into Washington, catching bass within sight of the Washington Monument or even in the Pentagon harbor. One of the best areas on the entire river, for example, is just a few casts north of the Wilson Bridge itself, where professional bass tournament angler Jay Yelas has won tens of thousands of dollars over the years. Just a few miles down the river, fishermen can look for bass in the shadow of Mount Vernon, which is visible high on the bluff above. The Potomac is an ever-changing fishery, however, and while some areas do remain consistently productive year after year, others do not. That’s because hydrilla covers much of the Potomac’s shallow water areas, and its growth is dependent on water flow. Heavy saltwater intrusion from Chesapeake Bay or high, muddy water from north of Washington will totally change the hydrilla growth pattern each year. Large beds of the vegetation that are present one year may be completely gone the next. Primary Species: Largemouth and striped bass.
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Activity Type: Fishing
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Unspecified
Season: Best April, May, September, October
Local Contacts: Smallwood State Park
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Recent Trail Reviews


A group of us dropped some lines below the Wilson Bridge from 0630-0930 (Jones Point Park) along the Potomac River. Unfortunately, we did not get a single bite. A number of things could have occurred, whether it was the type of bait used (live and fake worms) and the fact that the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project could have spooked the fish. I would not rate this part very highly, however, just becuase we did not catch anything I would not preclude the rest of the Potomac to be a bad area. I am looking forward to trying some of the other areas recommended in this guide.

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