I decided to take a vacation day on Friday and headed up to Brunswick to check out the area downstream of the Harpers Ferry Bridge. The map noted that the area from Knoxville Falls heding upstream had plenty of good structure and rapids. My hope was that the faster water would suppress the growth of grass as well as provide the rocky environment that would attract smallies.
After finding a parking place and paying attention to the caution in the "getting there" section, I walked across the railroad tracks to follow the well defined, beaten trail to the water's edge. Prior to going down the trail, I ran into another fly fisherman and asked him if he had fished here before. He said he had been here many times and that the entire stretch was good. His personal preference was to go downstream. With that, I made up my mind to move upstream -- no need to fish together and add the perception of pressure to a body of water that is so huge that it can't possibly be pressured.
The first thing I noted when I hit the water was that the terrain upstream towards the Harpers Ferry Bridge was marked by a series of rock ridges running perpendicular to the shore. Not knowing where to go and what part would be better than any other part, I started to fish my way out one of the ridges. Here's a critical detail about this geography. The ridges are the high points between drop-offs that, in many cases, are too deep to wade. So once you commit to one of these rocky peninsulas, that's the track you are on. It looks like it's in "in and out" attack sequence. Wade out on the peninsula, return, go upstream, repeat.
I picked up the usual sunfish and small smallies but nothing very large or exciting. After working a few of these rock ridges, I went back to the shore and hopped back on the tow path to walk farther upstream. I came to a wide, park like area at the river's edge and decided to fish out from there on another rocky ridge that stretched towards Virginia. Like the others, it was deep on either side and my movement was limited to the narrow ribbon of rocks. Out in the middle of the river, I could see an old duck blind that looked like it was in an ideal position for the hunting season.
I continued to fish in this vicinity for another hour and then decided to move to another location.
Nothing to brag about on this day -- nothing big and actually not much in terms of quantity either. Even the sunfish here did not line up to attack my popper or the subsurface presentations that I launched. On the way back to the truck, I ran into another fisherman on the trail and struck up a conversation. He said that the best fishing in this part of the river was from the park-like area up to the bridge. Ouch… I should've gone farther and almost felt like turning around and moving back but knew that that was where he was going, so I abandoned that plan and continued back to the truck.
Bottom Line: This place merits additional investigation. The river is exceptionally wide with plenty of rocky protrusions providing hiding and holding places for all sorts of fish. I measured the water temperature and it was a high 84° -- I wish that I had a swimming pool that could maintain that temperature! Maybe that's why I did not have better luck -- I have to blame this on something because this is such a nice looking area!
Date Fished: 08/21/2009
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
Remember to refer to my rating explanations - these are based on what I look for - so RED for Physical Fitness translates to easy physically - you do not need to be in shape to fish this section. I prefer terrain that is tough to get into and out of.
Getting There: I hate to do this, but I support the site by selling books. My book on the Upper Potomac - "Wade and Shoreline Fishing the Potomac River for Smallmouth Bass" is available in both ebook format (instant download) or traditional print.
This book walks the 57.3 miles upstream from the Chain Bridge in DC to Harpers Ferry, WV using words, annotated maps and over 200 pictures to provide you exact references while removing any doubt about what to expect in each section of the river. The 230+pages include detailed directions, 42 maps, 45 tables and 208 GPS coordinates - more detail than you will see in any other fishing guidebook.
You can purchase the eBook version for $9.95 by clicking on the buttons below:
To purchase the traditional print version:
Upstream from the entry point
Downstream - nothing like a sunrise on a great river
You can see one of the rock ridges extending in the river
Upstream to the bend
Great shoreline structure
Looking back at the park like area
Unless stated otherwise, this article was
authored by Steve Moore
Disclaimer and Warning: The contents of this
site reflect the opinion of the author and you, the
reader, must exercise care in the use and interpretation
of this information. Fishing is a dangerous sport.
You can slip and fall on rocks and sustain severe injury.
You can drown. You can get hooks caught in your
skin, face, eyes or other sensitive places. All
sorts of bad things can happen to you when to go into
the woods to visit the places documented here.
Forests, streams and lakes are wild areas and any number
of bad things can happen. You must make your own
judgment in terms of acceptable behavior and risk and
not rely on anything posted here. Calibrated Consulting,
Inc disclaims all liability and responsibility for any
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on this site. If you do not agree with this, you
should not read anything posted on this site.
Finally, access points may be different or restricted
based on changes in property ownership since posting
the original article. It is up to you to make
sure you are fishing where it is legal.