I headed back to Great Falls National Park to fish the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and more importantly to hit the ponds hidden along one of billy goat trails. I figured the bass should be hungry, and nearly ready to spawn.
When I arrived, I saw the trails were closed due to high water. Knowing that my best shots at catching bass on poppers lay in those ponds, I tied on a big, weedless, rabbit strip fly I had made for snook and tarpon. I worked the shallows of the C&O canal, hoping it would imitate a small bluegill and trigger a strike from cruising bass. No fish, no hits, no bumps. Same thing was true for the spin fishermen around me working plastic worms and crankbaits.
After an hour, I switched to a small popper, and starting working the shoreline. As the sun came out, I started to see bass feeding on top in the shallows, and managed to pull one from a clump of submerged sticks. After a couple hours, I called it a day.
My takeaway: The canal is probably best in late afternoon/evening this time of year (due to colder nights sucking the heat from the shallows), and I will try to time my visits for when the water is warmest, and the light is a bit lower.