Friday, April 25, 2008

In Case You Were Wondering...

The new National Harbor at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Washington, DC has three big piers (I count the marina above as one) in a prime fishing area along the Potomac River. But, surprise — the signs say "fishing is strictly prohibited."

Monday, April 7, 2008

Occoquan Shad and Thoughts About Closing a River

After fishing at Chain Bridge where no one was having any luck, I went to the Occoquan River late in the day April 6. The shad are arriving here, and I caught two shad and lost two, and took a picture of the one-pound hickory shad that hit on a little dark soft plastic minnow on a lead head ("Rattlesnake" brand).
Once a wide open fishing river, the Occoquan has almost no bank access anymore. Especially annoying is the sign at the tiny spot still open to the public just below the Occoquan Reservoir dam. The sign is aimed at the some of the lowest people on earth, fishermen who leave garbage on rivers and lakes. The sign says, "You must dispose of your trash in the trash cans provided. Otherwise the town will be forced to enact a no fishing law."
Let's see — I saw some trash by the roads, so let's just close the roads. I saw trash at the baseball fields — let's outlaw baseball.
I hope this sign is meant only as a scare tactic, and I think it's working. There's very little trash when I visit, and certainly any cleanup crew, or cleanup person, could take care of it in 15 minutes, once a week. But the very idea of being "forced to enact a no-fishing law," again, is annoying.
Some small number of people who fish are litter bugs. Most are not. Town of Occoquan, you have trash to pick up everywhere, including the river. "Oh, life is so unfair, these people come from far away and litter our tiny public spot on the water." Let's have equal protection. Only if Occoquan can guarantee that none of its citizens will litter anywhere they go — where another town has to clean up after them — should they be free to close the historic Occoquan to fishing.
[I would think one source of cleanup funds would be from the taxes from those new enormous condos that block the last open view of the river in the historic section of town.]
I'll note that Occoquan Regional Park does offer very extensive bank access to a wide and scenic stretch of the river. It's downstream from the rocky narrow fishing haven near the historic riverfront. The park gate is along Hwy 123 uphill from the river near Lorton.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Accotink Trout — Just Stocked!

The trout truck arrived Friday and the fish and fishermen were there Saturday. Fisherman Bill Boatman picked up five rainbows on Saturday using a Berkley Trout Worm. It's a little white scented plastic worm that's just a little bigger than a piece of overcooked spaghetti.
Fishing is $10 for adults, who also must have a regular Va. freshwater license, no trout license required here as it is at some other urban fishing sites. This is probably the last stocking as this year's program ends April 20.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Shad returning at Occoquan River

Shad are starting to show up in the mid-Atlantic, including the Potomac River and its tributaries. One of the many traditional spots to catch shad in April is the Occoquan River just below the dam at the town of Occoquan. The shad in the photo was caught in the morning of Friday, April 4. The action wasn't fast. No more were caught by any of the five people fishing here for another 15 minutes. Within just a few more days the shad will probably be much more numerous here and in the other creeks with open access to the tidal rivers (the ones with no dams blocking the migration) --and the fishermen will be more numerous, too.
The two game species, American or white shad and hickory shad, were once so numerous there were no limits, but those days are long gone. In Maryland the season is colsed and possession is illegal. Virginia has a hodgepodge of rules, as do many states, so it's best to just release your catch after enjoying the fight unless you're sure you're in a place where you can keep them.
Va rules: