Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Fishing Holmes Run

Every time I bike, hike or run Holmes Run Trail I have the same thought: can I fish this run? In some sections it's quite shallow, but other sections are inviting. There's a note at the Columbia Pike trail head that talks about how the waterway is under a delayed trout harvest, so that tells me that they stock the stream with trout; a promising sign.

Last night, I decided to forego my run and find out first hand what fishing Holmes Run is like.

I spent a couple of hours fishing the first 1,000 yards of the trail; from the trail head off Columbia Pike to the first water crossing. Getting down to the water was simple, as there was a bushwhacked trail to follow. From there, I made my way first up the bank to the bridge, and then down the bank to the water crossing. My first thought when getting to the edge of the water was that the level was too low; I thought for sure my little adventure was over before it had started.

I was immediately put at ease when my first cast landed me a tiny sunfish (or was it a bluegill?). He snatched up my trout magnet lure like it was a gourmet meal and he hadn't eaten in days. As I made my way along the water, I found a number of slightly deeper pockets of water and pulled in more pan fish. All told, I easily caught more than half a dozen, all on trout magnets.

But it wasn't just that I caught fish that made this adventure so notable. I'd driven less than 20 minutes from my house and found myself surrounded by the sites and sounds of nature. While off-trail fishing, I saw more herons than people (herons: 2, people: 1). It was wonderfully relaxing, and actually catching fish was a nice bonus.

The trail isn't perfect: I didn't have any luck pulling out more noble trout and you can hear road noise at various points along the water. Holmes Run has a reputation for smelling like sewage, which at moments I could detect hints of. But my gosh, I've stood along the Potomac a number of times on a weekday trying to catch fish, only to watch time expire before I had to head home. And the sunfish I caught were truly beautiful creatures.

I know folks fish the Potomac to haul in massive catfish and the like, and if that's your jam go for it. But if you're looking for a close-to-DC ultralight-friendly fishing experience, definitely give Holmes Run a try. I know I'm curious to go back again and see if my experience is repeatable, or just beginner's luck.

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