Fish history: The federal government used to farm fish near the Washington Monument

Fish Washington Monument

Who knew?!

“Starting around 1879, such species as carp, bass and shad were bred by the U.S. Fish Commission in large ponds just west of the Washington Monument….”

“In the summer of 1879, ponds started to be carved out in the area then known as the Potomac Flats. The ponds were the idea of Spencer F. Baird, a former Smithsonian curator — and future Smithsonian secretary — who had been tapped by President Ulysses S. Grant to head the U.S. Fisheries Commission. Baird noted the decrease in fish harvests across the country — due, he believed, to overfishing — and thought a breeding program could help replenish stocks. Such wild species as shad, bass and crappie would eventually be raised in the Washington Monument ponds, but the early attention was focused on a foreign fish: the carp.”

“Floods swamped the ponds in June 1889, sweeping no fewer than 4,000,000 baby fish into the raging waters of the Potomac….”

Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/the-world-according-to-carp-answer-man-visits-the-fish-ponds-on-the-mall/2017/11/18/93965c98-caf0-11e7-aa96-54417592cf72_story.html?utm_term=.dcff9ce11f2e

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Fish I Have Caught in the C&O Canal in Washington, DC

It is the simplest of rigs: monofilament line tied to a modest swivel, then attach a trim bobber 6 inches above it and put an Eagle Claw snelled hook (size 6) on. Put a worm on (put the hook through both ends and the middle), and cast and watch.

I have had the following fish strike this rig and bait: bluegill, sunfish, large-mouth bass, channel catfish, and a carp.

The map above shows where I have had success—but don’t feel obliged to try only there. Fish run through the canal, which runs from Pennsylvania to Washington, DC. Wherever one finds a bridge or a fallen tree or brush in the water—those are good places to cast your bait.

One question I sometimes get is, “How can fish be in the canal?” Simple: the canal connects to Rock Creek and the Potomac River—so the fish in the latter two end up in the canal.

Bike/walking/running trails (former towpaths) run along the canal—so if you fish one spot and find it wanting, move along!

Kosar large-mouth bass 04-2017

Photo credit: Craig Furuta.

Bluegills, Bass, and Catfish at Four Mile Run, February 6, 2017


This is urban fishing, for sure. Upfront I should say that this is not an easy place to fish for anyone who is not in decent condition. To fish Four Mile Run stream (history here) requires keeping one’s balance on a slope made of rocks and covered with metal fence-like material. It is slippery, and there is plenty of brush and such.

But the hassles are worth it. Four Mile Run stream offers lights-out fishing. There are tons of bluegills (easily taken on a size 6 snell, bobber, and worm) and large-mouth bass (I scored mine of a pumpkin green Senko worm Texas-rigged. Cast, let it drop for a few seconds, and slow reel in.) The bass range from pipsqueaks (6 inches) to hogs (7 pounds). Guys fishing drop-shot rigs with Senko and Zoom worms tend to do very well here. One inevitable challenge around this bridge is snags—they happen a lot.

Bluegill and bass are plentiful near and under the Jefferson Davis Highway bridge (south side of the stream).

Kosar bluegill 02-0602017.jpg

Photo credit: Kevin R. Kosar.

To chase catfish, walk eastward all the way to where the creek meets the Potomac River (map here). I put out four lines today with fresh cut bluegill. I had two serious bites in two hours, and one produced a 10-pound channel catfish. It was a sizable one, but there are much bigger ones in there—forty to fifty pounders have been recorded by guys on FishBrain. The water level rises and falls, but fishing seems to be good here whatever the tide.

You can park in the Potomac Yards parking lot, which puts you a few minute walk from entry to the stream edge next to Jack Taylor Alexandria Toyota. Yes, you could get towed from the shopping center lot, in theory, but I have staved off this threat thus far by buying drinks and snacks from Shoppers and leaving the receipt and shoppers plastic bag on my dashboard.

kosar-channel-catfish-02-06-2017

Photo credit: Kevin R. Kosar.

2/7/2017 Update

Turns out the same day I was here, the Metropolitan Angler was landing small bass with a Rapala hard bait. You can see him do it in this video, and you can watch me pull in this catfish.

Salmon and Bass Fishing in Traverse City, Michigan, October 24, 2016

boardman-river-traverse-cityLet me state up front: I caught no fish. This was not surprising seeing as the weather was cold (40s) and blustery, and I had no salmon lures. I also had only had a few hours as I was in Traverse for an alcoholic beverages conference. (Really.)

But, oh, most definitely there are fish to be had in Traverse City. Plenty.

Small-mouth are in the Boardman River year ’round. Trout also can be found. (That there are two fly fishing shops in downtown Traverse City is no accident.) Hannah Park is one place to score bass. There are plenty of good spots to cast from, and it is a short walk from the Park Place Hotel. Go west on E. State St, turn left on S. Union, then right on 6th. Voila!

Especially exciting is that salmon and steelheads run in the late summer and early autumn. My late October arrival came at the end of the run. I did get to hang out with two locals and watch them pull three 30- to 36-inch salmon from the Boardman, which snakes right through town. These guys were landing the salmon behind Front Street between Cass and S. Union Streets. Shiny spoons (maybe 3- or 4-inches in size) scored two of the salmon. They also were chucking various hard baits that look like thin or fat minnows. Seeing a hooked salmon leap from the water was really something.

I must get back there. The chance to score a salmon and then stroll to one of Traverse City’s pubs or eateries afterward is too appealing to be resisted.

salmon-spoon

Fishing Four Mile Run and Gravelly Point Article

The August 2012 copy of the Washingtonian magazine carried this helpful article: https://www.washingtonian.com/2012/08/07/fish-tales/ It also had this below map.

Regarding Four Mile Run, the guys on FishBrain advise working the area near the Toyota Dealership (3750 Jefferson Davis Highway) for bass and bluegill (stay on the surface—plenty of snags below!), and another local angler advises fishing a not-long walk west in front of the water treatment plant (3400 Glebe, roughly), whose waters often are warmer (winter) and cooler (summer) than the surrounding water.

How to Texas Rig or Wacky Rig for Bass Fishing

This video explains how to do it. If you need weight for casting, you can slide a cone-shaped bullet worm sinker on the line before tying the hook and putting on the worm or soft lure.

Another way to rig soft worms for bass-fishing is the wacky rig.

 

And these two videos show how to fish the wacky rig Senko. In short, flick it into covered areas (under trees and docks) or cast it into open areas and let it sink to the bottom and reel it up, then flutter down, then reel it up. If you keep getting hung up on the bottom, you can slow reel it in. To garner more bass attention, reel and stagger-jerk it as you bring it in.


Bluegill, Sunfish, Large-mouth Bass, and Small-mouth Bass Fishing In Silver Lake, Ohio, July 5, 2016

This lovely, private lake —you cannot get in unless you are a member or a guest of a member—has a little dock that one can fish off, and rowboats and kayaks may be borrowed for free.

There are lots of lilly pads, but the seaweed is not bad. The sunfish and bluegills are plentiful, and love little hotdog chunks (bobbered or not). In three hours we landed about 10 sunfish, along with a small mouth bass. The catfish lines put out there (hot dog, shad, cat-chow bait) got no bites. (A 16-inch catfish did hang around the dock, trailing a rig and line from its mouth.) A young boy near me caught a 12-inch large-mouth bass on bobber and hot dog chunk.

This advice came from Robert Heydorn, who knows the lake better than anyone:

“It’s mainly a bass lake, largemouth bass to be specific. It also has bluegill and sunfish and black crappie and channel catfish. If you want to fish for the bass he recommends 7 inch plastic worms that are dark colored on a Texas rig. The kids can fish off the dock with little bits of hot dog on a 12 or 14 inch hook using a bobber. Walmart also sells bait now and they have a red worms or wax worms which they called butter worms that he says are really good. For catfish, I use hot dogs, but others use store-bought catfish bait, chunks of old chicken or liver, or night crawlers. Off the dock you can catch lots of panfish and occasional bass. Catfish in the evening. Bass better then too. If he is bass fishing in a boat, tell him to hit the edges of the lilly pads all around the lake.” It was great fun to fish here and I would enjoy trying to work the lake from one of the rowboats.

ABK and small-mouth bass

Small-mouth bass caught from the dock at Crystal Lake.