Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Another Strange Winter At Four Mile Run

Four Mile Run (4mr) is a tributary of the Potomac river that has about 1.5 miles of tidal water. About half of that is wade able.

During winter this body of water is normally full of fish. The fish seek out the warm water (~65F) that is discharged from a sewage treatment plant. The warm water allows the fish to be active when the rest of the fish in the river are lethargic due to their body temps being equal to that of the river. These fish include goldfish, tilapia, gizzard shad, channel catfish, blue catfish, common carp, crucian carp, bluegill, black crappie, golden shiner, red ear sunfish, red breast sunfish, largemouth bass, and a variety of minnows.

Last winter was a slow one. Not many fish were up there. My hypothesis was the lack of fish was due to loud noise as a result of a bridge being removed.

I am seeing the same results this year, one year after the bridge was removed. I have not seen schools of monster sized carp. A few years back there were stretches where you could stand on a bridge and look down and not see the stream bed as there were that many carp.

Where are the schools of goldfish? These schools normally have 2-3 dozen orange/white/black fish.

Not a single catfish has been spotted in several months.

Largemouth bass are in there, the large ones have hung out by the bridges while juveniles upstream. In fact, we encountered several small bass over the past weekend that would take a Snowhite Damsel with gusto.

Mixed in with those small bass were large schools of red ear sunfish and bluegill. All willing to eat a fly (some on top). These schools blacked out the stream bed. The only problem with these fish was the crowd on Sunday (about 8 fly rodders in one small stretch-the air temp was in the 60s). These fish were taking small flash back nymphs and damsels.

The outflow usually holds loads of fish. We spotted one singular bass in there over the weekend. The past few trips to the outflow have not produced the amount and size of fish I'd expect. No lack of crowds this past weekend.

Looking down from  the rte 1 bridge has not been entertaining. We didn't see a single fish down there at low tide on Sunday. I have seen a hand full of bass and a single goldfish in weeks past.

I'm open for ideas on why the fish are not present and in the densities of winters past. What are your thoughts?


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