Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Off Winter For Fly Fishing At Four Mile Run

Its been a tough winter at Four Mile Run (4MR). The fish quantity and quality just isn't there this year. I'm not sure but it could be several factors from cold runoff from melted snow, construction from bridge removal, snow-removal chemicals washing in, and the fish might just be fed up with all of the litter that washes in.

Due to the cold weather I haven't had a lot of clients book trips this winter to learn to cast. When I do have clients their schedules don't line up with the tides.

When I have had time to head out to 4MR its either been shore, wading, or from a friends boat. We've taken the boat in at high tide and outgoing tide when the water is 65F and the river near freezing. The only fish we've seen were gizzard shad. Lots of gizzards. This year has had massive schools of them.

We have not seen the huge schools of carp, bass, and goldfish. When I do sight cast at the goldfish its maybe 3-4 at a time, not schools of 20+. Historically when the winter is this cold (the river was frozen solid for a few weeks) more fish head into 4MR for the warm water. This includes carp. Big carp. Schools of big carp. Enough big carp to cover the stream bottom. There are usually carp jumping out of the water for fun.

I've rarely seen any of the Korean carp anglers. When I do, its usually Todd from TPFR.org and he has been having the same lackluster winter. Sure there was the massive goldfish he caught a few weeks ago and the dozens of small bluegills. But he's not seeing the carp or big fish either.

Some TPFR members have caught big fish. Paul caught a walleye and a blue cat (which Remmick may have also caught). But the numbers and quantity are not there. I've been fishing this mile-long stretch for nearly a decade and this is the worst year.

If you are looking for 'river charms' this has been a good year. I pulled these out yesterday and put them up on the trail for kids to take. Plenty of playground toys, Christmas ornamants, bobbers, found a Hula Popper yesterday, crank baits, a Native American statue, screw drivers, and an insurance card. More trash than fish. 

 This is me throwing 'junk flies' yesterday or 'spaghetti and meatballs' aka worms and eggs. NO LOVE. I did not land a fish yesterday. It was low tide with a near full moon and bright sunlight to warm the water. NOTHING
 Ok this one is strange. I foul hooked a tree branch yesterday. I knew it was foul hooked as I could see the glo bug on the branch. But then the branch started to fight and pull back. I was rather confused. I fought the fighting branch and discovered that a largemouth bass on a stringer was wrapped around the branch.
 I removed my hook, removed the stringer, and delicately removed the stringer from the bass' gills. It swam off. Healthy looking fish too. I've been fly fishing for a long time and I'm always seeing something new.
 Like this for instance. I thought this was a dead cormorant. I was corrected on Facebook that it was a loon. I've only seen a few loons in my life and this was the closest. I had some fun with it and put a pint of vodka in its wing. Its eyes were clear and feathers still soft. It wasn't stiff. Probably dead that day. I sent the Potomac River Keeper an e-mail just in case. It didn't have any signs of trauma.

 And for the stuff flowing in, 4MR is an urban stream. Water either comes from runoff, springs, or from incoming tides. If you look at all that nasty black snow along the roads now covered with oil and exhaust-that is what is going directly into our waters (our source of drinking water). We normally don't see all that oil and junk going in but when the snow is there and it turns colors we get a direct glimpse into what is on our roads and what goes into our water.
 This guy caught a bass from the construction walls. The old bridge is being removed. Its loud. There are booms in the water. There are these metal things, there are pumps, there is mud. Its just an obnoxious event. Loads of micro bluegill are around this spot but not much else EXCEPT GIZZARD SHAD. In the past we climbed up on this bridge to spot the carp below. Not this year, not that we'd see anything.
So thats about it. The fishing has been lousy. Sure I have not been out a whole lot but when I do get out its not great. If you are in the area and get to fish here please let me know if you do better.

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