Report from Fletcher’s Cove

Mist on the Potomac greets Fall Kayakers (photo by Dan Ward)

Mist on the Potomac greets Fall Kayakers (photo by Dan Ward)

Fletcher’s Cove rental season will end on Sunday, October 29th. If you want to take a paddle or row at our little slice of “wilderness in D.C.” (or as close as you could imagine to that), please hurry down the hill and through the dark tunnel. You will emerge into a world apart from urban Washington, exploding in a palette of rich fall colors and not a construction crane to be seen! You can purchase a season pass for Boating in D.C., good for your visit here and all of 2018 at any of our sister locations as well. (The pass can also be purchased on line at the Boating in D.C. web site.)

As the water of the river cools during the next month, the resident species of fish should feed more aggressively and your chance for a big small mouth bass or a tasty walleye will improve. The tackle shack at Fletcher’s still has a good selection of lures as well as live and frozen bait. Even after we conclude our season of business, you are welcome to come to the park and fish from the banks of the beautiful Potomac. The canal towpath, Crescent Trail and woods around Fletcher’s are all great places for a late fall or winter hike.

Brooks Noble, King of Catfish (photo by Dan Ward)

Brooks Noble, King of Catfish (photo by Dan Ward)

As for fishing, big blue catfish have been the fish most often hauled-in these last couple months. The species seems to be taking over the river and bay environment. This concerns those of us with a long term perspective and who remember the days of channel catfish and large schools of white perch. Are these all-season gluttons gobbling up the perch, bluegills and baby channels? Only time will tell. In the meantime, these suitcase-sized invaders provide an angling opportunity not unlike an episode from the popular “River Monsters” T.V. series.

A Happy Cooper Family with a Channel Catfish (photo by Sam Zimmerman)

A Happy Cooper Family with a Channel Catfish (photo by Sam Zimmerman)

In the “you never know what to expect at Fletcher’s” category, one September day two white Muscovy ducks appeared, waddled up the hill and right into the store, apparently looking for a free lunch. When informed there was no such thing, they turned tail and waggled their way out! To the best of my knowledge, they are still in residence up on the shore somewhere, making the best of their new neighborhood. The ducks followed in a long history of unusual avian appearances at the cove. After the big flood of November, 1985, three ducks, a white one, a brown one and a black one appeared as three musketeers and hung around for the better part of a year. We nicknamed them “the killer ducks” because of their aggressive feeding behavior. In another season, long ago, an albino pigeon was waiting one summer morning by the big old silver maple tree just outside the store. It too appreciated a handout from employees and guests alike. Most likely, that poor bird became breakfast for a hungry hawk. As I’ve written before, Fletcher’s is a great place for bird watching and we have several visitors who come just for that purpose.

Unexpected Visitors to the Tackle Shack (photo by Mark Binsted)

Unexpected Visitors to the Tackle Shack (photo by Mark Binsted)

I have a sad note to pass along. Danny True, a long-time angler and friend of Fletcher’s, passed away on the first of this month. Danny was a large bear of a man with bad knees and a big heart who always arrived to fish at the cove with a hopeful and happy attitude. A year and a half ago he caught the fish of a lifetime, a beautiful striped bass, in reward for his perseverance. Danny, you will be missed.

Danny True with the Catch of a Lifetime (photographer unknown)

Danny True with the Catch of a Lifetime (photographer unknown)

Many hands mold a successful season at Fletcher’s Cove. I’m the “old-timer” here and that gives me a unique perspective on the appreciation of what it takes to achieve a safe and satisfying experience for our guests and our employees. The crew of Fletcher river-rats has been great this year and a personal thank-you from me is in order. Support from Boating in D.C. and our parent Guest Services, Inc. is also an essential element in continuing Fletcher’s legacy as Washington’s oldest public boathouse. A thank you to those organizations is due as well. Fletcher’s Cove boathouse is the ONLY place in Washington providing a full range of on the water services to the area’s angling community. That’s been true for five generations now, four with the “actual” Fletcher family, and now a fifth generation with the Guest

Services family. As new ideas and services come to The Cove, I’m hopeful the value of history and tradition will persevere.

Thanks for reading this… hope to see you next year by the waterside!
Dan

POSTED IN: Fishing Report