Washington DC Striper Fishing

When most people think of Washington DC they of course do not think of Striper Fishing, but there is excellent striper fishing in DC of course as it is situated between Maryland and Virginian and on the Potomac River. DC, or the District of Columbia, is really just a city of less than 62 square miles of land and a few of water, and named after George Washington (don't know if George fished, but he did enjoy hunting, cards, and parties).

So Washington DC fishing is essentially Potomac River fishing, and although we have some information here, also lookup Maryland and Virginia fishing. The Potomac is the fourth largest river on the East Coast of the USA, forming the border between Washington DC and Northern Virginia, and is part of the Chesapeake Bay. Chesapeake Bay needs no introduction to most striper fisherman as it is both the biggest spawning ground for stripers on the east coast and the largest estuary in the US. 

Potomac Striper  Washington DC FebruaryMost big fish in the Chesapeake are caught in the winter months, and around DC the big fish start in January and can be there until April before they head upstream to spawn, with February and March ideal for big fish. Water temperatures can be in the 30s, and power plant discharges are hotspots (in general, when it's cold anywhere, fish are often deep).

April to May is usually slow with fish hard to find, but come June to fall top water action for 20 to 28 inch fish is consistent as long as there is current.

Potomac River Cow taken near Washington DC

The Potomac used to be disgustingly polluted, with President Abraham Lincoln complaining about its stench and often moving farther inland during the warm months to escape its stench and President Lyndon Johnson called the river a "national disgrace." The river is infinitely better now although one correspondent still reports "the river up near DC is awful." He sees plenty of shore bait fishermen in the area during the warmer months who also catch carp and other species. I personally wouldn't consider eating a resident fish like a carp, but stripers wouldn't worry me too much in moderation (of course be clear on current regulations first!).

Since the water is brackish both freshwater and saltwater species can be found. As the pictures testify, there are some big cow stripers available at the right time of the year!

Also smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, sunfish and great trout fishing can be found in the upper reaches of the river as well.

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