Fishing Season: January 1 - December 31 (Prime: March 16 - November 5)

Tidal portion Potomac River - VA

Fishing Outlook & Conditions

Inshore Temp:


Offshore Temp:


Rob Snowhite's Tip of the Week

Find the weeds, find the snakeheads. Misty and I were out in the boat yesterday. We got into some really gross weeds and decided to explore, slowly, very slowly. Sure enough we came across snakeheads sitting on top of the weeds in the very think film of water at the top. We found several 'escape hatches' or tunnels cut out of the areas where they were sun bathing/feeding. They would spook before a cast to them could be made. Baby hickory and American shad are all up and down the tidal section and fish are feeding on them. Small baitfish patterns. Beer Tie returns TONIGHT September 13 across from Orvis Clarendon at the Colony House.

Directions open in app

Map of Tidal portion Potomac River

Tide data

Tidal Conditions

Orvis-Endorsed guides nearby


5-Day Outlook as of 9/13/21

Low and clear, cool water, and shorter photoperiods. You should get out and enjoy this weather while it lasts. Moving tides at dusk and sunrise at choke points. Small minnow patterns.

Techniques & Tips as of 9/13/21

Fish moving tides with a sink tip. Small Clouser lead fly and a small shad fly dropper. Spring - Time to switch over to sink tips. Visit Art or Ryan and get your line adjusted for fall. Swinging flies in fast water should do the trick. At any point that you see fish blitzing bait do what ever you can to cast into that. Big head floating lines for remainder of summer. Fish the shade, structure, moving water. Sink tips for stripers, catfishes, and other big fish that may be deep or holding in fast water (floating lines will get swept away faster than a sink) Always fish a dropper fly behind your main fly. Double your chances of catching fish, double hook up etc. You will get more tangles and use more tippet but its worth it. You can't go wrong with a Clouser Minnow. I like them about 1" long and 4" long. Smaller hook size than you'd think. Tommy's Clousers at local stores are perfect. Everything in the Potomac system eats other fish. Thus this fly pattern is pretty much all you need.

Current Conditions as of 9/13/21

Low and clear, cool water, and shorter photoperiods. You should get out and enjoy this weather while it lasts. Moving tides at dusk and sunrise at choke points. Small minnow patterns.

Local Species Available January 1 - December 31 (Prime: March 16 - November 5)

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    Striped-LM-SM Bass

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    Nile Tilapia

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    Northern Snakehead

Rob Snowhite's Recommended Fly Patterns

"Must-have" fly fishing patterns in descending order of importance:

Name: Colors: Size(s):
Clouser Minnow Chartreuse/White, Ol 6 - 2/0
Lefty's Deceiver Blue/White, Olive/Wh 2 - 2/0
Prince Nymph All Colors 10-14
Shaky Worm All Colors 10-14
Living Damsel Olive any
Double Barrel Sliders All Colors smaller
Half And Half All Colors 2-3/0
Gulley Worm Any Any
Generic bead head nymph. Size 12 Flash back 12
Tommy's Clouser All Colors 6

Clouser Minnow

This fly is arguably the best all-around and most recommended saltwater fly ever tied.

Rob Snowhite's Recommended Gear

Description: About Tidal portion Potomac River

From Great Falls (The Mather Gorge) downstream to Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac supports both resident and anadromous species that are susceptible to fly rod techniques. Stripers, Shad (American & Hickory), Smallmouth, Largemouth, Carp, Catfish,Tilapia, Gar, Perch, Crappie, Snakeheads and more are all available to the fly rodder, and the fishing is year round! Every type of fly fishing gear and technique can be applied on this watershed, whether fishing for panfish with your 2-weight, largemouth with your 8-weight, or swinging for stripers with a 14' two-hander. Open your mind, broaden your horizons, and take advantage of the world class fly fishing we have right here on the Nation's River. FISH WHERE YOU ARE is our local motto.

Nearest Airport:

Ronald Reagan National Airport

Bait Recommendations:

For predatory fish such as stripers, largemouth and smallmouth bass, snakeheads, etc. Your fly box should reflect what these fish feed upon. ALL targeted fish in the river feed on smaller fish thus it is necessary to imitate the wide variety of baitfish available in the Tidal Potomac. Typical baitfish are shad fry and smolts, river herring, a variety of minnow species including the kilifish, and a variety of juvenile perch and sunfishes. Baitfish flies from 1" and 4" will cover most baitfish. Mid April - mid May are our best times to fish.