Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fishing The Changing Season On Four Mile Run aka 4MR

Its our easily accessible cold water fishery in NOVA (Northern Virginia to the lay person). Water enters the area carved out by the Army Corps of Engineers which some call the 'canal' from springs and runoff up in Arlington. The rest comes from the 'shit plant' as one employee called it last week upon conversing with him through the fence. 'Those fish love that shit' he said.

And that is why we fish there during these times. The water coming out of the plant is crystal clear and warm. Its all the big potty from Arlington that gets cleaned and dumped out into the 'canal' and  the pun of having 'anal' in there is no mistake. You can drive out to the limestones in the mountain valley's to fish all winter or you can fish locally.

In the summer fish find refuge there because the water is cooler than the creek or the main stem of the Potomac which is just under a mile downstream. They swim up to enjoy the cool, oxygenated water coming out of the plant.

Downstream they hang out along the Army Corps terracing of the stream bank as seen in the above picture. Careful not to loose your flies on that and be sure if you wear boots, they have studs. That slimy fencing is slick. 

As the nights have dipped near freezing and the days are not much warmer, so too does the water cool off. The Potomac ins in the 50's right now. The water coming out of the plant is much warmer. The fish in the river know this and thus the changing of the season is upon us.

Larger carp are starting to enter the system. Bigger largemouth (they look like small tuna they are so friggin big) swim with the carp just below the Rte 1 bridge near the 'Toyota Dealership'. The wild goldfish numbers are increasing. Everywhere you look on the outgoing tide from the bridge are bright orange fish lazily swimming around. Large catfish that would otherwise be hiding in the depths of the river have shown up and are now enjoying that warm bath of cleaned doody coming down stream. Of course the bluegill and sunfishes are all over the place. An easy catch on any bead head nymph.

As the main stem drops in temps, expect more and more of these heat seeking fish to enter the river on the outgoing tide. It appears the tilapia have been hanging out there more often and are taking flies and lures.

Layer up kids, the wind there in the winter is brutal. And now that the plants along the shore are dying back, please try to take some of the exposed litter out with you.

One of these days I will drop my stream thermometer in and find out the temp of that poopy water. 

In the next few weeks expect the crappie to show up with the yellow perch. The white perch will be mixed in with them. The crowds will be under the bridges fishing for them to eat. .

I'll see you out there.


I've gone fishing a few times on four mile run. Mostly near the airport. My buddy and I have had plenty of bites down there and he only caught a massive catfish. I think our streak of "bad luck" has something with us having no idea what were doing but having a good time while we are doing it. Will have to head up stream to the shit plant and try my luck. Any other tips?

Best tips: fish the outgoing tide. find the structure- shopping carts, logs, dropoffs, depression etc. They will all hang out there.

Any bead head nymph will bring bluegill. Try bigger flies that won't spook the fish for the big fish. The more time you spend there, the more little secrets it will give up.

Rob, thanks so much for the reply. We headed down there on Black Friday last week. We spent time on the bank across from the treatment plant. You were right we could see the fish on the shore. We saw 4 or 5 schools of fish swimming around with plnety other loner types. haha Your also right again where we fished near a drainage pipe there was a shopping cart and the fish were just hanging out there.
Were using bait casters but I really think after the new year I may step up my game and try fly fishing.

I was just there out by the airport I caught a bluegill after 3 days of goo,g there do you have any flies or strategies you suggest.

Great article. I read this article properly. This is one of the best posts. Thanks sharing this article
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