In writings of the day, there are references to the surface of the water sparkling like silver, as millions of fish swam upriver. The USGS worked with Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) to analyze fish population trends in the non-tidal Potomac River using data collected from 1975-2017. About 14 miles are stocked for harvest under put and take regulations while about 7 miles within the Potomac State Forest are managed under delayed harvest regulations. Some fish species, including smallmouth bass, are showing signs of stress, possibly from environmental factors like heavy rains or overfishing. Concerns about overfishing along the Atlantic coast led the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to close the 2019 striped bass fishing season in Virginia. While the exact causes of shad’s return to the river aren’t entirely clear, a cleaner river, harvest moratoriums, stocking programs, new fishways, and the restoration of tidal grasses seem to have played a part, according to the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin. The locals call catching all four species catching the Grand Other popular live baits include mummichogs, mayfly nymphs, worms and grubs. When it’s right, that river is just gangbusters. Check out our fishing calendar for a full run-down of the area’s fishing seasons. When it’s right, that river is just gangbusters. These measures, which include a 3-fish bag limit for private anglers and shore-based fishermen and a 5-fish bag limit for for-hire fishermen, represent a substantial reduction compared to the federal 15-fish bag limit that has been in place since 2000. All rights reserved. It was the first time I took a flight for the sole purpose of a fishing trip! Freshwater fish of the Potomac River Bowfin Bowfin Amia calva; Catfishes (Ictaluridae. State and federal agencies continue to study the degree to which these predatory fish are or are not having an ecological impact on local fisheries. Disease, spring flooding, warming waters, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and PCBs also threaten the Potomac’s fisheries. In the five-year period from 2010 to 2014, the catch per haul for juvenile white perch averaged 7.53, or 17.5 percent above the 30-year average of 6.41. At this time, the report does not feature long-term trends for other common fish like largemouth bass, trout, sunfish, or crappies. The aim of the study was to determine whether fish populations were increasing or decreasing, and if so, whether these changes could be explained based on species spawning strategies. Today, more than 20,000 are in the Potomac River, experts say, a population approaching that … To assess overall fish health, we include historical data on common game fish including American shad, smallmouth bass, white perch, and striped bass. Shad’s comeback in the Potomac is uniquely successful as the Susquehanna, James, and other Bay rivers have seen minimal gains. Learn about our resources and methodology here. Watch Queue Queue As a . Fish serve as a helpful indicator species for the overall health of the Potomac River because they are sensitive to changes in their environment. A single 493 mm female spec-imen was captured in Pine Lake, Wheaton Don’t use mono the thickness of rope and please please do not use stainless hooks. Of course, I found nothing but Caleb and his Dad Adam--who go out every week--found several species, including the grand prize of the night, a baby Blue Catfish! The following list of one-hundred and eight een fish species known to be present in the freshwater portions of the Potomac River basin. We are fishing THICK grassbeds in very shallow water. The river plays a vital role in the life cycle of several fish species. But some of the most notable fish, such as American shad and striped bass “are not a perfect reflection of the river,” Gary said because they spend much of their time in other waters. Another abundant and popular recreational fishing species, the white perch population in the Potomac River continues to thrive. The Commission’s actions are final and apply to state waters (0-3 miles from shore). This video is unavailable. Always DRAFT - Version 02/21/2013 . This historic river was once highly polluted but it has made great strides toward recovery. “The Potomac is the second-most valuable spawning area for striped bass on the entire Atlantic Coast,” Gary said. In the five-year period from 2010 to 2014, the catch per unit effort (CPUE) for shad averaged 35.7, or 14.8 percent above the 31.1 CPUE target population goal for the Potomac River as reported by the Chesapeake Bay Program. Anglers are encouraged to kill small, edible blue catfish (1-5 lbs) to help with mitigation efforts while maintaining a sufficient stock of large, trophy-size blue catfish. The largest species of catfish in North America, the blue catfish is a non-native predator that appears to be growing quickly in size and population in the tidal Potomac. Young fish populations are naturally variable from year to year as weather and other environmental conditions can impact fish spawning and mortality rates. Fish can be thought of as "indicator species" for the overall health of the river because they are impacted by a host of environmental factors. 2016 Upper Potomac River Catfish Summary Catfish are one of the more popular gamefish species commonly harvested on the upper Potomac River. Since 2002, the population of northern snakehead increased rapidly and expanded to multiple tributaries in Maryland and Virginia, even upstream of Great Falls which was considered a natural barrier. Once established in a waterway, it is unlikely they can be eradicated. When to Fish the Potomac River. This article warmed my heart- I fished the tidal Potomac shad and striper (they fall them rockfish) run for many years. Commercial harvesting is considered a key management strategy for blue catfish in the Chesapeake Bay and tidal Potomac River. Some fish species continue to struggle, but long-term trends signal that we’re beginning to reap the benefits of pollution-reduction and restoration efforts. © 2021 POTOMAC CONSERVANCY. Juvenile fish populations are naturally variable from year to year as weather and other environmental conditions can impact spawning and mortality rates. From 2013 to 2014, commercial landings of blue catfish in Maryland’s waters increased by 61.7 percent; greater demand contributed to some of the growth in numbers, but DNR confirms it is a good indication of their growth and expansion. Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fishing and Boating Services 1728 King's Run Road, Oakland, MD 21550 301-334-8218 or customerservice.dnr@maryland.gov The Potomac River is home to a diverse range of fish species. Fisheries biologists and anglers in the area also suspect suppressed immune systems, invasive non-native fish, algae outbreaks, and increased fishing pressure are also negatively affecting this species. Potomac River fishing spots are based on access, aquatic vegetation, and deeper areas. We evaluated spatial and temporal trends in fish species abundance in the non-tidal Potomac River (USA) from a dataset comprising 2841 seine-hauls with > 250,000 individual fish records across 10 sites and 43 years (1975-2017). According to Mary Groves at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Potomac and Maryland tributaries are “flooded with little blue catfish right now.” Populations can explode due to overcrowding of small fish. Experts from Virginia and Maryland agree their growing presence in local waters spells likely trouble for other fish species. While they are found along most of the Atlantic coast, they tend to remain in local waters throughout their lifespans, which makes them strong indicators of an area’s toxic contaminant level. We scrambled down ledges in the dark using small nets to see what species of fish we might discover? This popular catch supports a multi-million dollar recreational and commercial fishing industry. Always DRAFT - Version 02/21/2013 . Dubbed “frankenfish” by some, northern snakeheads are predatory freshwater fish native to China. Bass fishing on the Potomac River is deeply rooted in the region’s sportfishing history. Their ecological impact in these tidal tributaries is not yet clear. But some of the most notable fish, such as American shad and striped bass “are not a perfect reflection of the river,” Gary said, because they spend much of their time in other waters. With such an abundance of nutrient-rich water, activities, history and fishing options, it’s no wonder the Potomac is one of Maryland’s favorite waterways for fishing. Fish to the Potomac River Rev. River carpsucker (Carpiodes carpio) O; Quillback (Carpiodes cyprinus) O; Highfin carpsucker (Carpiodes velifer) O, rare; Longnose sucker (Catostomus catostomus) O, extinct in West Virginia; White sucker (Catostomus commersonii) O,N,P,J; Blue sucker (Cycleptus elongatus) O, rare; Creek chubsucker (Erimyzon oblongus) P; Northern hogsucker (Hypentelium nigricans) O,N,P,J Pollution, dams, and overfishing threatened their population in our region. Recent Projects. He chose the Potomac River, forever identifying it as the “Nation’s River.” But even more significant than Washington’s riverside estate at Mt. The abundance of juvenile white perch has increased significantly over the decades, and we have seen particularly healthy numbers over the last five years; this trend may give a boost to adult populations in the out-years. To assess overall fish health, we include historical data on common game fish including The Potomac River supports steady populations of shad, white perch and other popular game fish. Anglers are allowed to catch and release, though commercial harvesting remains prohibited. State and federal agencies continue to study the ecological impact these predatory fish may have on local fisheries. Anglers in West Virginia will have a much different experience from those near Washington D.C. Experts use annual juvenile fish surveys to assess the number of young fish populations and predict the health of adult population sizes in the out years. “The Potomac is the second-most valuable spawning area for striped bass on the entire Atlantic Coast,” Gary said. Brown trout and rainbow trout are stocked in the upper branches of the river annually. Compiled by Jim Cummins, The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin . Originally introduced into the area in the mid-1800s, smallmouth bass are well-established in the Potomac and popular among anglers. The 40 miles from Harpers Ferry to Great Falls are dominated by smallmouth bass and redbreast sunfish, but a versatile angler will also catch walleye, muskie, shorthead and golden redhorse, white sucker, longear sunfish and other species. The river plays a vital role in the life cycle of several fish species as critical habitat. Virginia and Maryland encourage anglers to catch and kill northern snakehead fish. When George Washington chose to build Mount Vernon on the banks of the Potomac, he ensured that the waterway would forever be known as the “Nation’s River.” Ever since, this beautiful stretch of water has occupied a special place in our imaginations. The Department of Natural Resources asks anglers to report snakeheads caught outside of the Potomac River and its tributaries or upstream of Great Falls. But, because of these qualities, they are particularly susceptible to high stream flows during in the spring when spawning typically takes place. The Potomac River watershed covers the District of Columbia and parts of four states. Fish and other aquatic animals depend on oxygen-rich … Disconcertingly, a new study raises concerns about the health of adult populations. the Potomac River is the best section to fly fish and gets the most attention from serious anglers. Fish Species of the Potomac. Here are just a few of our top reasons to fish the Potomac River. Blue catfish make for great table fare and can be commercially and recreationally fished in Virginia and Maryland. At Great Falls the river narrows and rushes into the Potomac Gorge where it drops 130 feet on its 10 mile journey to the tidally influenced Coastal Plain. Rivers: Potomac, Rappahannock, Chickahominy, Nottoway and New. 3/13/2018. If … Northern Potomac River. Still, the Potomac provides critical habitat. John Mullican and fellow experts at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources are watching their presence in non-tidal waters closely as they have the potential to outcompete and prey on largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and sunfish. An abundance and variety of fish species in a river is often a sign of good water quality. For your own safety, please do not eat these fish from the Potomac An oily sheen shimmered along the Virginia side of the Potomac River this month. POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION SPORT FISHING LICENSE RECIPROCITY GUIDELINES Licenses That Will Be Accepted NOTICE – While PRFC fishing licenses are valid in MD & VA areas listed here, the seasons, sizes and creel limits for each species may be … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. In 2016, Mayor Muriel Bowser named the American shad the official fish of DC. The main fishing effort on the Potomac involved the herring and shad runs during the spring season As the water began to warm, these fish returned to spawn in the upper river, creeks, and tributaries of the Potomac. Blue catfish can live up to 30 years, grow in excess of 100 pounds, and are opportunistic eaters that devour mussels, vegetation, and other fishes. Exploring the exciting world of our diverse species of fish. D.C. and Virginia part 1 - Potomac River In the second week of May I traveled to D.C. to visit my friend Pat Kerwin. Though last year’s strong year class is welcome news, smallmouth bass continue to face threats from nutrient pollution, disease, climate change, and endocrine disrupting chemicals, which cause egg cells in male fish. The Potomac is home to a diverse range of fish species. Top Reasons to Fish the Potomac River Posted on: July 18, 2018 Maryland DNR . The river is home to a variety of species from trout and smallmouth bass to walleye and striped bass. The river plays a vital role in the life cycle of several fish species. Finding ways to control invasive species can sometimes feel like solving a complex puzzle. Not many anglers fish the Potomac River from end to end. Commander Donald D. Leach, USN (ret) Records as early as 1606 mention the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries as sources of incredible stocks of fish and seafood. Dozens of frogs, fish, orchids and other species — many unseen for decades — may no longer exist due to humanity’s destructive effects on the planet. Since they were first spotted in the Potomac’s tidal waters over a decade ago, northern snakehead fish populations in the river have reached 20,000 — rivaling that of largemouth bass, confirmed Joseph W. Love, Tidal Bass Manager at Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Many fish species reside in mighty Potomac River. A very wet spring, like our region experienced in 2018, can significantly reduce juvenile numbers and impact future populations. Snakeheads have rapidly expanded in Maryland’s tidal waters and the main stem of the Potomac River, and have been recently confirmed upstream of Great Falls, a natural fish barrier. If you are visiting the area and like to fish, target the largemouth in the urban stretches of the tidal river. A non-native fish, blue catfish were first introduced to tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay in the 1960s and 1970s and have become popular with recreational fishermen. USGS Study: The USGS worked with Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) to analyze fish population trends in the non-tidal Potomac River using data collected from 1975-2017. The river is home to a variety of species from trout and smallmouth bass to walleye and striped bass. If … The Potomac River is home to dozens of species of fish — from largemouth bass to migratory shad. There are worrying reports that striped bass populations have continued to fall in the last two years, a trend we will assess in the next report when data becomes available. After decades of decline, the Potomac is now healthy enough to support growing populations of shad, white perch, and other common game fish. A decade or so ago, no snakehead fish were in the Washington region. Fish can be thought of as "indicator species" for the overall health of the river because they are impacted by a host of environmental factors. Spin, drift, fly fish – it all works. USGS Study: The USGS worked with Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) to analyze fish population trends in the non-tidal Potomac River using data collected from 1975-2017. Many fish species reside in mighty Potomac River. American shad was once the largest commercial and recreational fishery along the Atlantic Coast, but a dangerous combination of dam construction, pollution, habitat degradation, and overfishing threatened the entire shad population. Officials from Maryland DNR advise anglers to harvest snakeheads if caught. Take for instance the northern snakehead, an invasive species of fish native to parts of Asia, but now with exploding populations in the Potomac River for over a decade. Bottom fish like spot and croaker, bigger game like bluefish and striped bass, and unexpected treats like flounder and puppy drum are all possible catches here, from both the causeway and the 710-foot fishing pier … The following list of one-hundred and eight een fish species known to be present in the freshwater Great quantities of crabs, oysters, clams, and horseshoe crabs (the early settlers actually ate them) were available. (Dean Naujoks / Potomac River … A strict commercial harvest ban, initiated in the 1980s in both Maryland and Virginia began a long-term recovery effort. The upper North Branch affords anglers an opportunity to fish for trout in a truly wild setting. therevelator.org What We’ve Lost: The Species Declared Extinct in 2020 • The Revelator You can fish the Potomac year-round, however, some months are better than others when targeting specific types of species. The aim of the study was to determine whether fish populations were increasing or decreasing, and if so, whether these changes could be explained based on species spawning strategies. The Potomac River supports steady populations of shad, white perch and other popular game fish. The abundance of young smallmouth bass in the middle Potomac River (Dam 5 downstream to Dam 3) remains highly variable from year to year. The Potomac River is home to a diverse range of fish species. It is illegal to transport snakeheads across state lines without a federal permit. 3/15 Striped Bass (Rockfish) Spring Season Summer/Fall Season Season Open: April 18 through May 15 May 16 through December 31 Open Area: Below Harry W. Nice Bridge (Rt. The river plays a vital role in the life cycle of several fish species as critical habitat. According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, striped bass are reproducing at sustainable levels and are not currently overfished, and variations in juvenile populations are normal. And putting the puzzle pieces together can often take the work of many people. This kid knows Potomac fish species (and others) as well as any aquatic biologist. However, no C. argus has been reported from the Little Pa-tuxent River. At over 350 miles long, there are plenty of opportunities for Potomac River fishing. For instance, fishermen are encouraged to catch and kill certain invasive species, while other regulations prohibit catching at-risk species. Preferring shallow waters, snakeheads are thought to have entered the upper Potomac by way of the C&O Canal where they have been regularly sighted. But some of the most notable fish, such as American shad and striped bass “are not a perfect reflection of the river,” Gary said because they spend much of their time in other waters. The fish are helpful indicators of changes in the river’s health — to a degree. Anglers are allowed to catch and release, though harvesting has been banned since 1980. These fish species are considered good indicators of overall river health as they depend on good water quality, cool water temperatures, oxygen-rich waters, and healthy habitats such as underwater grasses. This is consistent with recent historical patterns of a very strong year following several years of weaker numbers. (Dean Naujoks / Potomac River … They can breathe air, tolerate low-oxygen waters, and survive in mud or puddles. Channel catfish and the recently introduced invasive flathead catfish are two species monitored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) Freshwater Fisheries Program. For your own safety, please do not eat these fish from the Potomac An oily sheen shimmered along the Virginia side of the Potomac River this month. Unfortunately, population data in the Potomac only goes back to 2013, making it difficult to determine the full extent of the catfish problem in the river and assess whether management strategies are working as intended. The average abundance of shad between 2014 and 2018 exceeded the historic mean by 350 percent. The aim of the study was to determine whether fish populations were increasing or decreasing, and if so, whether these changes could be explained based on species spawning strategies. One of the many great features of the Potomac River largemouth bass fishery is but the Potomac tidal river largemouth bass fishing is truly world-class. Brown trout and rainbow trout are stocked in the upper branches of the river annually. A 2020 assessment by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, as reported by the Bay Journal, indicates that the rate of death among adult shad in the Potomac is unsustainable. When fishing the Potomac River it is important to know where you are because fishing license requirements and regulations can differ between the states. Fish and other aquatic animals depend on oxygen-rich waters that support healthy habitats and food sources. Restoration goals do not currently exist for the other species in the report; in these cases, Potomac Conservancy formed a restoration target based on the average catch per hauls over a 30-year period of time (1985 onward). Average striped bass abundance in the Potomac River between 2014-2018 measures 78 percent of the historic mean. Pollution from excess nutrient and sediment runoff can alter and destroy aquatic habitat, decrease oxygen levels, and reduce the abundance of macroinvertebrates, an important food source for fish. However, it is not a complete list of the tidal fishes because many marine species can end up in the Potomac as incidentals. In recent years, the area between Dam 3 and Dam 4 has provided good fishing for walleye. American shad are a well-known herring in the Chesapeake Bay region. Snakehead populations are generally larger in Virginia tributaries, where they were first established. Native fish populations are great for recreational fishing, but contaminants in the Potomac’s waters make many fish unsafe for human consumption. The five-year average survey results exceed the historic mean by 141 percent. Fish are good indicator species for the overall health of the river because they are impacted by a host of environmental factors. Young fish mortality rates can spike in the spring, as high flow and turbidity can limit good spawning areas, cause some adults to abandon their nests, and increase fry mortality. In fact, I’ve fished all the famous Great Lake tributaries for giant Lake Run Brown Trout and I have never caught anything as big as this one beast I caught from the North Branch of the Potomac River one summer night some 20 years ago. To assess overall fish health, we included historical data on common game fish including shad, striped bass (rockfish), white perch, and smallmouth bass. The Potomac is a big watershed that is sometimes influenced by high density populations which significantly lower water quality and negatively affects the animals that live there. Interestingly, a variety of saltwater species can be found in the Potomac, including cobia, bluefish and striped bass. Still, the Potomac provides critical habitat. The river plays a vital role in the life cycle of several fish species. Additional harvesting restrictions could soon be enacted by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 300/400 fish days are possible! All sizes are total length (TL) and all restrictions are subject to change. This article warmed my heart- I fished the tidal Potomac shad and striper (they fall them rockfish) run for many years. The Potomac River is home to dozens of species of fish — from largemouth bass to migratory shad. Washington, DC has advised against eating locally caught striped bass, one of the most popular catches for local anglers and Maryland’s state fish. If … FISHES OF THE FRESHWATER POTOMAC . Not many anglers fish the Potomac River from end to end. PRFC Office Status: Due to the continued evolving conditions related to the spread of the Novel Corona Virus and the disease it creates, Covid-19, the Potomac River Fisheries Commission office remains closed to the public until the Potomac River Fisheries Commission deems it safe to open the office and is intended to minimize impacts of the disease to both PRFC staff, and our customers. The strategy recognizes the recreational value of the fish and possible ecosystem impacts if left unmanaged. They are native to Asia and have no natural predators in our region, so scientists initially feared that they would cause catastrophic declines in the populations of their prey - which include everything from other fish to crustaceans, small birds, mammals, and reptiles. N: New River Basin: Includes the New and Gauley Rivers. In 2018, white perch abundance was up almost 200 percent over the historic mean, a nice rebound from 2016 and 2017 where abundance was below the historic mean. ©2020 Potomac Conservancy. Where shad continue to struggle in the James River and other Chesapeake Bay tributaries, they are thriving in the Potomac. The following letters indicate the river systems that contain each species: O: Ohio River Basin : Includes the Ohio, Monongahela, Little Kanawha, Kanawha, Guyandotte, and Big Sandy Rivers. Studying long-term trends provide better insights into the overall health of a fish species. Please be careful fishing off the bottom. Washington, DC recently advised against eating locally-caught striped bass, one of the most popular catches for local anglers and Maryland’s state fish. Potomac River would have required C. ar-gus to migrate from the Crofton pond to the Little Patuxent River and then to the Ana-costia River drainage before reaching the Potomac River drainage. Scientists have reported variable population trends suggesting the invasive threat continues to exist and should continue to be closely monitored. Anglers in West Virginia will have a much different experience from those near Washington D.C. The last river report in 2013 graded striped bass at a B-. Eradication measures have demonstrated mixed results. Surface lures work very well in shallower waters for targeting Smallmouth. Their rapid expansion raised concerns about impacts on native species; this prompted the Chesapeake Bay Program to adopt a management strategy in 2012. The locals call catching all four species catching the Grand Analysis of species abundance trends can inform an understanding of the underlying mechanisms. An incredibly resilient species, snakeheads can survive in extreme, dry conditions that may become more prevalent with climate change. Breathe air, tolerate low-oxygen waters, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and deeper areas Summary catfish are of! 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