Potomac River


Arlington, VA
United States United States
38.88, -77.1068

The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river (main stem and North Branch) is approximately 383 statute miles (616 km) long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles. In terms of area, this makes the Potomac River the fourth largest river along the Atlantic coast of the USA and the 21st largest in the USA. Over 5 million people live within the Potomac watershed.

The river forms part of the borders between Washington, D.C. and Virginia on the left descending bank and Maryland and Virginia on the river's right descending bank. The entire lower Potomac River is part of the State of Maryland, with the exception of a small tidal portion within the District of Columbia. Except for a small portion of its headwaters in West Virginia, the North Branch Potomac River is considered part of Maryland to the low water mark on the opposite bank. The South Branch Potomac River lies completely within the state of West Virginia except for its headwaters, which lie in Virginia.

The Potomac River runs 383 miles (616 km) from the Fairfax Stone in West Virginia to Point Lookout, Maryland and drains 14,679 square miles (38,020 km2). The average flow is 10,800 ft³/s (306 m³/s).[1] The largest flow ever recorded on the Potomac at Washington, D.C. was in March 1936 when it reached 425,000 ft³/s (12,000 m³/s).[1] The lowest flow ever recorded at the same location was 600 ft³/s (17 m³/s) in September 1966.[1]

The river has two sources. The source of the North Branch is at the Fairfax Stone located at the junction of Grant, Tucker, Preston counties in West Virginia. The source of the South Branch is located near Hightown in northern Highland County, Virginia. The river's two branches converge just east of Green Spring in Hampshire County, West Virginia to form the Potomac.

Once the Potomac drops from the Piedmont to the Coastal Plain, tides further influence the river as it passes through Washington, D.C. and beyond. Salinity in the Potomac River Estuary increases thereafter with distance downstream. The estuary also widens, reaching 11 statute miles (17 km) wide at its mouth, between Point Lookout, Maryland and Smith Point, Virginia before flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.


The Potomac River serves as the natural state boundary between Virginia and Maryland, flowing southeast through Washington, DC and emptying into the Chesapeake Bay. The lower part of the Potomac offers excellent largemouth bass fishing with tidal flows. Migratory species such as the popular American & Hickory Shad will appear in early spring. With Cherry Blossoms in full bloom you can expect that the “Shad are running”. Soon after, large striped bass will come in and feed on bait fish such as herring and perch, with a small migration of schooling sized stripers that are easily caught on flies.

Spot Access:
Boat Ramp, Parking (car/truck), Parking (boat/trailer), Power Boats Allowed, Shore fishing access, Fly Fishing, Bait shop on site, Marina
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Map for 38.88, -77.1068
New Fishing Report

Fishing Reports

Potomac River Fishing Report 09.05.12

The Potomac will be filled with Everstart tournament anglers with their 3-day event starting on Thursday. According to Bass Cat Evinrude pro Bill Chapman, while anglers can expect to catch a lot of largemouth bass, larger fish might be harder to come by. For the anglers this week, the tides will be favorable for an early morning topwater bite as tides will be low in the morning. And with the expected cloud cover, the topwater bite should be solid until the tide rises with water tempera...

Potomac River Fishing Report 08.14.12

A moderate cool down with water temps in the mid 80s this week. This is good news for the early morning bite, but later in the day, you might have to slow down a bit. Cooler mornings will make fish more active, but lure choice is going to be tricky. Tossing top waters until about 9am or so should produce.  NBC Ch. 4 meteorologist "Weather Kim" Martucci says, “With overnight lows dropping to around 70, it won't warm up until later in the day. A bit of cloud cove...

Potomac River Fishing Report 08.07.12

It's as hot as it gets! Water temperatures are staying in the mid to upper 80s to just above 90!  Fish are active early and slow down in the head of the day! Tossing top waters until about 9am or so should produce.  NBC Ch. 4 meteorologist "Weather Kim" Martucci says, “Cooler early in the morning as overnight lows are into the lower 70s, but things will warm up fast as 90 degrees will be reached every day with a chance of thunderstorms along with cloudy sk...

Potomac River Fishing Report 07.31.12

A cooling trend is on the way; with a morning high tide bass should be positioned up near the bank and shore cover. Water temperatures are around 84 but should start to cool off a bit as the nights are cooling off! This will be a good week to stay on the move with boat and baits! Tossing topwaters until about 9am or so should produce.  NBC Ch. 4 meteorologist "Weather Kim" Martucci says, “This week will see highs in the upper 80s early in the week with low 90s by t...

Potomac River Fishing Report 06.26.12

After a record breaking heat wave, things will cool off a bit before the heat returns, dropping water temperature down to the low 70s. Early morning low tides should produce the opportunity for topwaters and extend the moving lure bite into early afternoon. Water temperatures should be into the mid 70s this week. NBC Ch. 4 meteorologist "Weather Kim" Martucci says, “The possibility of scattered thunderstorms start the week with cooler temperatures around 80 with overnig...

Potomac River Fishing Report 06.13.12

The river is clearing and tides are right for early morning topwaters. Look for fish to be in water as shallow as 6 inches!  Cloud cover will make this bite last longer! Water temperatures should be into the mid 70s this week. NBC Ch. 4 meteorologist "Weather Kim" Martucci says, “A warm start around 90 on Monday before temperatures stabilize around 80 for the week. Unfortunately the weather pattern will not be stable as a chance of thunderstorms exists every day wi...

Potomac River Fishing Report 05.22.12

The FLW Tour and BFL All American events are finished and the pro patterns were just as expected. Some targeted crowded but scarce grass beds. Others picked apart scattered cover. This week we’ll see rising tides in the morning with low tides coming later in the day. Water temperatures should remain around 75. NBC Ch. 4 meteorologist "Weather Kim" Martucci says, “Weather will be a bit unsettled with scattered afternoon thunderstorms most of the week. Otherwise sho...

Potomac River Fishing Report 05.14.12

The fishing has been great this spring.  This past Saturday was exceptional.  We launched out of National Airport and headed south. THe water temps were in the mid 60s to 70's back in the coves.  Fishing was slow until the tide started going out.  After this started happening, fishing got hot! We hit some very large fish in the shallow water just inside the new lush grass patches.  Boated a solid 6# fish on a spinner bait burning it over the grass.  Na...

Potomac River Fishing Report 05.14.12

Ken Penrod’s Life Outdoors Unlimited Fishing Report Week Ending May 13, 2012 (Happy Mother’s Day) 4708 Sellman Road, Beltsville, MD 20705 Ken’s BlackBerry: 240-447-2206 & kenpenrod@comcast.net. Office @ 301-937-0010 www.penrodsguides.com   www.fishdeepcreek.com LOU Magazine @ www.penrodsguides.com Webmaster, Captain Brent Nelson Editor of LOU Magazine; VP of Deep Creek Lake Operations; Potomac & Deep Creek Guide Office @ 410-799-9326. E-...

Potomac River Fishing Report 05.10.12

No wind, warm temperatures and big fish moved up in a big way last week! The water cleared and tides returned to normal.  High morning tides will leave fish positioned close to the bank on beds and moving a bit to the deeper edge as tides fall in early afternoon. Thursday was one of the best days I've seen for big bass in a long time! Water temperatures reached the low 70s last week and should rise or stay the same this week. High tides act as cover for bedding bass and you ca...

Potomac River Fishing Report 05.07.12

Ken Penrod’s Life Outdoors Unlimited Fishing Report Week Ending May 6, 2012 4708 Sellman Road, Beltsville, MD 20705 Ken’s Cell: 240-447-2206. Office: 301-937-0010. kenpenrod@comcast.net www.penrodsguides.com    www.fishdeepcreek.com Webmaster Captain Brent Nelson VP of Deep Creek Lake Operations & Editor of LOU Magazine Office @ 410-799-9326. E-mail: captbrentnelson@gmail.com UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: ***; stained; 60 degrees; 2.5 at Point of Rock...

Potomac River Fishing Report 04.18.12

Last week cold nights and windy days affected the bite as main river spots were difficult to fish and water cooled to the low to mid 50s.  This week, water will be back in the mid 60s! Fish will move up to spawn and grass is still the target…if you can find it!  Otherwise, hard cover like trees and rocks will be the best locations. Early high tides will leave lower water during the warmest part of the day. Start on shoreline cover and retreat to grass or scattered cove...

Potomac River Fishing Report 04.04.12

A cool week has kept water temperatures in check…starting around 58 and getting up to 65. Grass is starting to take hold, still hard to find! But clear water and longer days should continue to promote growth. Fish are moving up and staying in preparation for the upcoming spawn. Early high tides provide lower, warmer water around early afternoon. Fish shore cover with higher tides and move out to cover water as tides fall. NBC Ch. 4 meteorologist "Weather Kim" Martucc...

Potomac River Fishing Report 02.13.12

Finally, cold weather! Water was really warm in December and January, into the mid to upper 40s for most of that period. Now we are seeing temperatures dropping to the mid 30s!  This will put fish on drops and edges, keeping them grouped up making for some great winter fishing! Water temperatures hover around 38 and occasionally up to 45.  It's important to pay attention to warm spots…2 degrees can make a HUGE difference. Fishing during the warmest part of the day will...

Potomac River Fishing Report 10.12.11

Potomac River water will be in the mid 60s. Water is going to be a bit cloudy, clearing toward the end of the week. Tides are high in the morning and falling into the afternoon. NBC Ch. 4 meteorologist "Weather Kim" Martucci says, "80 and partly sunny skies will start the week, but a cooling off period into the upper 60s, clouds and even some rain will dominate the rest of the week before sunshine returns for the weekend. “     Skipping Mann's Stone jigs under d...

Potomac River Fishing Report 09.16.11

  Potomac River water will be in the low 70s. Water is beginning to clear after last week's rain. Tides are high in mid morning with low tides in early afternoon. NBC Ch. 4 meteorologist "Weather Kim" Martucci says, "The early part of the week will be sunny with highs in the mid 80s, but falling toward the end of the week into the mid 60s with a chance of showers on Thursday!"   Look for clearest water possible in the backs of creeks or inside edges of hy...

Potomac River Fishing Report 08.31.11

By Steve Chaconas   Fishing on the Potomac CSNwashington.com   FISHING ON THE POTOMAC   Potomac River water will be in the upper 70s, but the river will be very muddy! Hurricane winds and a lot of rain have created a tough fishing situation! Tides are high in mid morning, low in early afternoon. NBC Ch. 4 meteorologist "Weather Kim" Martucci says, "Expect low to mid 80s this week with a mix of sun and clouds, but we’ll stay dry."   The...

Potomac River Fishing Report 07.13.11

Bass generally prefer grass to wood in the same spot. Docks with grass best at high tides. At lower tides, bass move to grass. On sunniest days, get tight to cover. With clouds, the fish are using the cover as a current break. Milfoil edges and boat channels around the front of docks are targets. Crank to 10-12 feet around the Fort Washington lighthouse, South Point, Spoils, the Wilson Bridge and other deeper areas. Make repeated casts to the good-looking spots. Fish will tell you where they a...

Potomac River Fishing Report 05.09.11

Week Ending May 8, 2011   4708 Sellman Road, Beltsville, MD 20705 Ken’s BlackBerry: 240-447-2206 & kenpenrod@comcast.net Office Message Center: 301-937-0010 www.penrodsguides.com www.fishdeepcreek.com Captain Brent Nelson Licensed Guide: VP of Deep Creek Lake Operations LOU Webmaster & EIC of LOU Magazine bbnelson@comcast.net Office: 410-799-9326   NOTES: it’s official, LOU guide, Captain Brian Barnes is the new owner of Big Mouth Lure Company and whil...

Potomac River Fishing Report 04.26.11

Ken Penrod’s Life Outdoors Unlimited Fishing Report   Week Ending April 24, 2011 Office @ 4708 Sellman Road, Beltsville, MD 20705 (Not a Retail Store) Ken’s BlackBerry: 240-447-2206 & kenpenrod@comcast.net Office Answering Device: 301-937-0010 www.penrodsguides.com     www.fishdeepcreek.com     Captain Brent Nelson Webmaster; Licensed Guide; VP of Deep Creek Lake.com Editor in Chief: LOU Magazine bbnelson@comcast.net 410-7...

Potomac River Fishing Report 04.11.11

Ken Penrod’s Life Outdoors Unlimited Fishing Report   Week Ending April 10, 2011 4708 Sellman Road, Beltsville, MD 20705 Ken’s Cell (best way) 240-447-2206. Email via BlackBerry at kenpenrod@comcast.net. Office Answering Device: 301-937-0010 www.penrodsguides.com    www.fishdeepcreek.com   Captain Brent Nelson Webmaster, VP of Deep Creek Lake Operations & EIC of LOU Magazine. bbnelson@comcast.net Office: 410-799-9326     NOTES:...
National Bass Guide Service Captain Steve Chaconas
about 6 years ago (04/06/2011)

Potomac River Fishing Report 04.06.11

One of the best months for big Potomac bass! Fish move up, staging near spawning flats, creek mouths, backs of coves, out-of-the-current areas! Start slow, then speed up! Moving baits cover water, but once you find what's holding them, slow with plastic presentations. Dock fishing is starting! Longer days, warmer temperatures make it easier to catch shallow fish. Milfoil and Eel grasses emerging on main river areas above and below the Wilson Bridge, the mouths of Swan, Broad and Piscataway cre...

Potomac River Fishing Report 03.02.11

This month brings the widest swing…early it fishes like late winter. By month's end, it's early spring! It's transition time. Fish are moving. A bitter winter might make it tougher to find grass beginning to “green up”, so look for hard cover, drops, points and inside creek bends in creek mouths and river points! Fish stage in creek mouths like Swan, Piscataway, Broad and Little Hunting before going to spawning areas. Bryan's Cove across from Mount Vernon is a good early spring spot. Areas...



Bass, Largemouth (Micropterus salmoides)


Bass, Striped (Morone saxatilis)


Shad, American (Alosa sapidissima)




Ken Penrod's Life Outdoors Unlimited

MD, VA & PA's largest and most respected guide service. Sixteen years and 16 guides to serve. Largemouth, smallmouth and stripers on the Potomac, Susquehanna, Rappahannock, Chickahominy and MD East...
Beltsville, MD, United States United States

National Bass Guide Service

We are a professional guide service just minutes from the Nation's Capital in Washington DC. When you visit the Washington DC area, call us and go fishing in the best freshwater fishery in the world...
Alexandria, VA, United States United States

Rifle and Reel Adventures

Serving Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, & Washington, D.C. Fishing Guide Service Potomac River Deep Creek lake Lake Wallenpaupack GUIDED FISHING TRIPS Fishing season is almost here......
Washington D.C, VA, United States United States


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