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Top Fishing Charters in Washington DC

Fishing in Washington DC

Though technically not part of the state proper, angers always mention fishing in Washington DC by name when talking about the best fishing spots in Maryland. And the reasons for that are pretty simple. First of all, there is some fantastic freshwater fishing to be found here, and it would be a shame to miss out on it. Secondly, if you’re already visiting the area, you’re probably looking forward to checking out the sights. It’s hard to beat a successful morning of fishing paired with a visit to the Lincoln Memorial.

Where to Fish in Washington DC

Potomac River

Potomac River is an excellent choice if you are looking to stay right in the city. After all, why should you when the best river fishing is right there under your nose? Home to some of the finest Largemouth Bass angling in the country, it’s also perfect for the likes of crabbing and shellfishing. Of course, fishing here is not all about the Bass — there’s also plenty of Walleye, Pike, and Muskies swimming about.

Fletcher’s Cove

Also known as Fletcher’s Boathouse, this spot has an angling tradition dating back to the 1850s. You can find Rockfish, Walleye, Catfish, and possibly some more freshwater biters. If that’s not enough, you can find some of the best Shad fishing on the entire East Coast. The feeling of being somewhere out in the wilderness is quite real here. Apart from the constant sounds of dense traffic, you’d be hardly aware of being smack center in DC.  On your non-angling days, you’re more than welcome to give kayaking a go, it’s lots of fun.

Anacostia Park

On the eastern end of DC proper lies Anacostia Park, named after the river it sits next to. This is one of the largest recreational areas in the city, making it popular with anglers as well. These waters are best suited for anglers who are looking for a fun catch and release experience only. The one important exception to this rule is in the case of the Northern Snakehead, an invasive species. You will be doing a service to the local fishery by killing and disposing of these fish if you happen to catch any.

Chesapeake Bay

The largest estuary in the United States, Chesapeake Bay is a natural choice for every angler looking to score some good fishing every now and again. It’s not as convenient as other spots that allow you to fish mere minutes form the city centre, but it’s more than worth it if you decide to give it a go. It’s probably the best source of Rockfish in the whole DC area. Expect plenty of other saltwater species too, like Red Drum, Speckled Trout, Tautog, and more besides.

Fishing Techniques

Fly fishing near DC is widespread among local anglers. While the accepted rule of thumb for freshwater fly fishing is that you’re good to go with lighter gear, we would argue against that if you’re after Rockfish. There definitely are anglers out there who would go after Rockfish with a 5 wt rod, but that’s best left to the pros. A 7 or 8 wt rod will make your fishing experience all the more easier, especially with heavier flies. Feel free to play around with fly patterns until you see what works best for you. White patterns are best suited for your needs — think Crease flies and Foam Gurglers.

If you plan on using conventional tackle, you’ve got a whole number of different options open to you. For regular bait, stock up on the likes of Squid, Crabs, Clams, Eels, Mullet or Worms. If you prefer artificial lures, plugs and jigs are always a good solution for Rockfish.

Need to Know

The first thing any Washington DC guide worth his salt will tell you is that there are some strict regulations in place when it comes to keeping a catch. If you plan on going at it on your own, be sure to bring yourself up to speed on the latest catch-keeping policies. Anyone over the age of 16 will need to have a valid fishing license with them at all times when fishing. The best way to get those is online. When your ready, go and explore DC both on the ground and on the water.

Washington DC
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Washington DC Fishing Seasons

Be on the lookout for large Catfish, especially close to bridge pilings. A slip-sinker rig is the best way to fish them out of their holes.

Part of the Potomac River near the Washington Sailing Marina is a good place to drop a line during the first few months of the year. Expect Largemouth Bass and Crappie.

Come March, you can usually catch lots of Bass just south of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Be sure to load up on rattling crankbaits and spinnerbaits for the best odds.

The Bass fishing mania continues! Anywhere from the Blue Plains Plant area to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge is a good place to fish until you drop.

Catfish and Shad are the order of the day out near the Fletcher's Boathouse general area. Enjoy the more rustic part of Washington DC and go after some fish!

Want to visit the Lincoln Memorial? Don’t forget there’s some great angling to be done just minutes away for Largemouth Bass and Catfish, so bring your fishing gear.

You can find some great fishing in the grass beds of Potomac River’s lower reaches. Get some topwater baits and watch those Bass go at ‘em like mad.

As August rolls in, you should finally see Crappie schooling up near the Fletcher’s Cove area. Small Minnows should be your weapon of choice when tackling them.

This is when the water temp starts going down. What this means is that fish will move closer to creeks, as well as be much more aggressive when feeding.

Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass continue to be hungry and out for food. The waters near the  Washington Sailing Marina are especially productive.

As winter sets in, the best places for Largemouth fishing are usually rocky or gravel banks near drop offs on the Potomac River. Show them who’s boss!

You can easily find Largemouth Bass in drop offs at around 10-20 feet deep. If you don’t mind heading out to Chesapeake Bay, you can treat yourself with excellent Rockfish angling.

Washington DC Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Washington DC

"CB Charters Experience"

FishingBooker Member fished with CB Charters on October 16, 2018

Excellent. Maxed out the boat limit for stripers

"Half-day on the Miss James II. "

Donald A. fished with Miss James Charters Sportfishing on October 11, 2018

Be prepared for a range of weather and exercise some patience. Listen to the Captain and crew.

"Half Day w/ Joe!"

Kai J. fished with Let's Go Fishing Guide Service on September 30, 2018

Bring snacks, sun glasses, and jackets!!!!

"Full Day Miss James Charter"

Bill M. fished with Miss James Charters Sportfishing on September 22, 2018

Tilghman Island Marina- good locale great talent - can’t go wrong

Top Targeted Species in Washington DC

Bass (Striped)


Spanish Mackerel

Black Drum

Top Washington DC Destinations