Washington DC

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Washington DC Fishing Charters

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Top Fishing Charters in Washington DC

Though technically not part of the state proper, anglers 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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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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Great day
Eric B. fished with JadeLady Charters on November 19, 2020
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
If you are going in November, pack clothing for any weather.
Half-day trip with Capt. Billy
Robin C. fished with Ebb Tide Charters on October 3, 2020
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Despite it being late in the season, Captain Billy worked hard to make sure that the guys all caught their limit. The first mate took great care of them, and all had a wonderful day on the Bay. Worth every $. Do not hesitate to book!
Full Day trip with Rich Johnson on upper Potomac
David K. fished with Osprey Fishing Charters on September 16, 2020
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Use a guide, such as Rich Johnson who is knowledgeable of the local conditions and can get them on the fish much faster than trying to fish on their own .
Amazing Time, worth every dime
Melissa B. fished with U.S. Blues Chesapeake Charters on September 12, 2020
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
come prepared - welcome letter from captain addresses everything you need to know about what to expect, and what to bring, etc. (good company, good tunes, good food, sunglasses, stay hydrated) Take the Non-drowsy Dramamine just in case -
Great Grandsughter's 10th Birthday!
Robyn J. fished with Screaming Eagle Charters on August 23, 2020
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Check the season of fish first. Rockfish were off season for the first 2 weeks ever on our trip.
Osprey Fishing Charter - awesome day on the Potomac
Steven W. fished with Osprey Fishing Charters on July 7, 2020
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Take an extra hour and walk down to Great Falls.
Whole day trip W/Captain Darnell & Denny
Terry S. fished with PrimeTime Charters on June 20, 2020
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
This was our first fishing in Maryland and it was top notch!
Birthday Rockfish
Kelita A. fished with PrimeTime Charters on June 7, 2020
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Helpful to go with Captain & First mate that will communicate about the sea.