Deep section of Potomac

I got out on the Potomac at Dargan’s Bend yesterday. This is a section above a now breached dam, but it is still deep, slow, and wide. I wanted to test my engine now that I installed a rock guard for the prop. It hadn’t been run for a couple years and I was afraid it would need repair. It started right up and ran fine. There was some user error to keep it from running right at first, but then I realized that I had to close the choke ALL the way. It ran much better then.

My buddy who was supposed to accompany me didn’t. I was supposed to call him after I was done with yard work. I did, but he didn’t answer. So I left him a message of where I was going and my cell phone number. Unfortunately, my cell phone chose to shut itself off despite having adequate battery life. It does this more than is reasonable. So if he called, I didn’t know it. At the ramp, I saw that I had a message, which I tried to get but the phone decided to shut off the calls to voice mail. Twice. So I called my buddy’s house and tried to reach him, but he didn’t answer again. All this to say two things: 1. I hate my phone. 2. I had no ballast and the stern was way, way low and the bow was out of the water.

Stern low and bow exposed is not a great attitude for your boat if you care to make any speed or have any handling of any sort. But it worked well enough and that’s all I needed. I found a nice little spot to which I’ll return when I have the anchor trolley mounted better. Beautiful ledge. It looks like I MIGHT be able to run it on the far river right bank. Maybe next time when I have more time to spend rather than a quick test. If I can get past that ledge, it looks like it’s pretty good for a while. I can always row through, or get out and line the boat from shore.

No fish. Only one hit, but I missed it. It was a pretty sorry hit too, which I expect was just a bump and not a real strike. It was mid-day in deep water on a hot day. Not the best time to be fishing a river.

  • Big D

that’s a nice looking ledge …

It would be easy to spend a good, long time there working it side to side and back again.

Do you know whether that far right channel is deep enough to handle a prop? It looked clean, just a rapid because of the loss of elevation, not because of impediments. But I wasn’t willing to risk it. Maybe I’ll try and find a put-in upstream and kayak or raft down to it so that I can get a better view.

  • Big D

I don’t know if you will be able to …
… pass it powering upriver , probably depends on the water level and amount of power you got .

On river left (MD side) in the still water below the rock , what did it look like for draging your boat over the top ??

There be Muskies in the waters around that area . Did you know there’s a new state record caught this year … 31.75 lbs. . The kid (12 yrs old) caught it during the flood Apr.,14th . That beat the 04 record of 28.25 lbs. .

Both fish were taken up river from your ledge . The kid caught his down river of Dam #4 .

I think the current state record for a Tiger Muskie (hybrids) is a bit over 29 lbs. . They stopped stocking the Tigers in 06 .

Washington Co. is where they are suppose to be the thickest , but they range from Montgomery to Allegheny .

At the least you may want to use a short steelon leader when working around that ledge , lol . Even though they generally take large baits , they will take Smallie size stuff just a quick sometimes …

Not steel
Thanks for the advice. I’m still thinking that it looks like an intentional navigation cut in the ledge from the old days and that it may be runnable.

It looked like Musky water on Google Earth, so on one of the rods I put on heavy salt-water braid that I use for bluefish. Musky teeth and bluefish teeth are about the same for cutting line (I guess, I’ve never caught a Musky).

I know with a little effort I could line the boat on the Maryland side. The West Virginia side is cliff, so I wouldn’t be able to line it there. It might be easier to find a launch above the ledge and come down. I did find what appeared to be a rarely used launch when biking and exploring one time and marked it on my GPS. I ought to download it and see where it lays. Unfortunately, I forgot to mark the ledge! (Big bonehead)

I’ve got a buddy who has been bit by the musky bug, who has a bit of an adventurous spirit, and may enjoy an exploratory trip to see whether we can make it. I’m surely not going to try it without some ballast keeping the bow down.

There’s always Antietam if I don’t mind the carry (and I don’t).

  • Big D

maybe check out Mountain Lock 37
… it’s listed as a soft launch (canoe/kayak) .

Harpers Ferry Rd. , left on Mountain Lock Canal Rd. , just above the ledge … about 1/2 way between your ledge and Antietam creek . I suppose you’d have to call NPS up there , to get details about launching at Mountain Lock 37 , access , parking , etc. . Their info. is there after clicking on Mountain Lock 37 from the list in the link .

Where would you park and launch from at Antietam creek ?? There’s a white gravel/stone lot right there .

There is another ledge just down river on Potomac from the mouth of Antietam creek .

Park at the lot - walk to the river
I use that as a take-out for Antietam Creek. I’ve never put-in there, but there’s no reason one couldn’t I suppose.

I’m not sure of the name of the parking lot that I found, but it sounds like those directions. If it’s the same one, there’s a primitive ramp there that’s unsuitable for a trailered boat but generous for kayaks, canoes, rafts, and cartopped jons.

  • Big D

D , I’m pretty sure you can …

– Last Updated: Jul-09-11 9:23 PM EST –

...... get right to Mt.Lock 37 by the road (Mt.Lock Canal Rd.) , some will probably be unimproved at the end ... but what about leaving an auto near there for the day ??

That's a question that would have to be asked of the NPS up there at Sharpsburg , 301-739-4200 .

If you put in at the mouth of Antietam , you'll have to cross that other ledge just downriver to get to your ledge ... so can you get back up over it to take out again at Antietam ??

Mt.Lock 37 put-in/take-out would be ideal if you can keep your auto near there .

D , it’s ok to park your auto …
… at the Lock House there at Mt.Lock 37 .

There’s enough parking area for about 3 vehicals . This is 1st hand info. from a Ranger who patrolled that area before he took his current positon at the Williamsport C&O visitor’s center .

He said , you can park right behind the Lock House (it’s legal) and just be aware of potential thieves as with parking at any remote/removed area .

He does not know the condition of the soft launch there right now because it’s been awhile since he was there … so it would be a good idea to go check it out ahead of time before packing everything in anticipation .

Let me know how it is if you do go check it out … good luck .

That was very nice of you to do that legwork for me.

  • Big D

sure D , no problem …

– Last Updated: Jul-18-11 11:47 PM EST –

...... also if it (Mt.Lock 37 launch) works out good for you and you tell me about it before I get a chance to check it out , then it makes another good posibility for me someday up the road .

I figure since you seem to be interested in that stretch between your ledge and Antietam , you will get to know it pretty good in time since it's reasonably close to you ... I may never take the time learn and work it due to going other more familar places , and more of them than I can get to already ... but who knows I'm drawn to where mr.tooth hangs out more and more over the years , and that stretch is getting pretty darn near where the last two state records came from .

Did I ever tell you that both Lock Raven Res. and the Yough Res. have not Muskies but Northerns in them ... oh the stories I could tell .

Actually , I hope you run into mr.tooth up there and get him boat side , I'm just waitin for it to happen , it's the next best thing to catchin one myself (maybe even equal to or better) , I like to hear about such things ..

ps., ... I think the Williamsport C&O center phone # is 301-582-0813 with the ex-patrol Ranger I spoke to , he said he's like 65 or something if I remeber correctly . Um , I think the Brunswick C&O office is 301-834-7100 ??

That ex-patrol Ranger (now C&O Williamsport center employ) I spoke to also said there is a book which he thinks is one of the best he knows of called "184 Miles of Adventure" , it's a Boy Scout book and also sold at the Willaimsport C&O center ... (this guy also was Boy Scout leader too , if I remember correctly) .