For part of my life, I was fortunate enough to live just about a block away from the upper Potomac river. The river used to be noted for its filth; but the river has been cleaned up immensely over the past twenty to thirty years. The river from Great Falls, past Harper's Ferry and further northwest is the cleanest portion. Except after a rainstorm, the water frequently runs almost crystal clear. The clean water, the abundance of hiding places for fish, and an ample food supply attracts lots of fish which are attracted to a variety of bait. One of the best things to use for bait is a hellgrammite.
I never knew what a hellgrammite was until I accidentally stumbled across them one day when I ran out of night crawlers.
Hellgrammites can be purchased in bait shops in West Virginia, Maryland, and a few other parts of the country or they can be easily found in the river. The Potomac has several areas of the river that are covered with big rocks. The Hellgrammites live under the rocks. The bigger the rock you can turn over, the better chance that you'll find some. If you have never used hellgrammites, look for an insect that is from about 1" to about 5" long. Most of them are two to three inches. Generally, you'll catch bigger fish with the largest hellgrammites. They look kind of like a black, sometimes brown, caterpillar that has been squished. On their heads, there are pinchers that you may want to avoid. The head of this insect is covered in a hard shell. To catch a hellgrammite, quickly turn over a large rock, and grab the hellgrammite behind the head. Drop him into a can or cup that is filled with a media like moistened potting soil. If you are going to use your hellgrammites all in one day, you can put them in a container that just has an ounce or so of water in it. Keep it out of the sun. Some people prefer to use a fine net or screen to catch their hellgrammites. Have a helper stand behind you in the water with a screen or net submerged behind the rock you are getting ready to turn over. Turn over the rock and frequently the hellgrammites will get washed into your net. Again, grab them by the lower back of the head and put them in your container. Now you are ready to fish.
There are several ways that you can put your hellgrammite on the hook. Some folks stick the hook through the tail. It makes a nice presentation to a fish; but, it allows the hellgrammite to climb back under rocks and snag your line. Some people just put the hook through the belly and toss out their line. I don't believe this is a very good way; the hellgrammite curls itself and does not look natural. I like putting the hook right through their mouths and bringing it out through the belly. This gives a natural presentation and hides the hook. Unlike night crawlers, hellgrammites are very durable. I have frequently caught ten or more fish off of one hellgrammite. Using a hellgrammite will catch fish in any type of water. I have the most luck fishing in the rapids. Throw your hellgrammite upstream and let it float with the current. You'll get a lot of bites. I like going after large and small mouth bass with hellgrammites; they love them. In the upper Potomac you'll also catch a lot of goggle eyes, bluegill, a few catfish, and a rare trout. Also try fishing your hellgrammites though rocky areas and around fallen trees. These are also good places to catch fish. If you are on a river that has rock ledges, fish under the ledge.
You can use artificial bait if you desire; but if you want a guarantee that you will catch fish, try hellgrammites. They are inexpensive or free, durable, and a natural bait.Are There Giant Fish in the Upper Potomac River? http://expertscolumn.com/content/giant-fish-upper-potomac-river How to Catch a Mess of Catfish- http://expertscolumn.com/content/how-catch-mess-blue-channel-catfish
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