Tidal Potomac River

Waters We Fish: Tidal Potomac River

The tidal Potomac River is a wonderful resource, proclaimed by many experts as “the finest tidal largemouth bass fishery in the world.” While most popular for her largemouth bass, smallmouth, snakeheads and striped bass are also plentiful. We provide guided outings from the tide line, just upriver of Washington, D.C., to the Route 301 bridge, approximately 50 miles downriver—plus every Maryland and Virginia tributary along the way. We choose a launch site that best suits river conditions, weather considerations and “where the fish are biting best.” As good as the river can be, it can be tough some days. One thing is certain; there are plenty of bass to pursue. The average bass is 2.5 pounds but some 4#, 5#, 6# and larger bass are fairly common. Ken Penrod has written three books about the historic Potomac and our guides have intimate knowledge of the fishery. Our boat license often covers you except in District of Columbia waters—but our guides may carry DC license for sale. We utilize large, comfortable bass boats powered by Mercury outboards. One or two persons. Multiple boats available. A great February to December fishery.

LOU Tidal Water Trip Check & Policy.


This Instruction document should cover most questions you have and help you understand how Ken Penrod’s Life Outdoors Unlimited does business. We want you to have a great time and it’s important that we are all on the same page.

We have been doing this for 38 years. Ken is enshrined into the “Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame” as a “Legendary Guide.” Throughout his career Ken has been presented with six national conservation awards; three Youth Activities awards; written six books and hundreds of “how-to, where-at” articles.

BOOKING YOUR TRIP: When you book (reserve) your date with LOU, you will be instructed to send a security deposit of $200 to: Ken Penrod, 4708 Sellman Road, Beltsville, MD 20705. That deposit is not refundable should you fail to keep your appointment. You may change your date—but a new deposit will be required. Only we can change the date without penalty and that will be for dangerous conditions. If you forfeit your deposit your next security deposit may be full fee.

We can only accommodate two anglers of average size per boat.

If you or your guest have “special needs,” tell us up front. That also applies to any meds or pre-existing conditions you may take/have.

We do not permit illegal drugs or alcohol on our boats. After the trip—we will have a beer with you—or two.


Please provide a copy of this document to your guests.

TIDAL RIVER FEES and potential destinations: LOU provides on-water fishing instruction for the following: Potomac River; Upper Chesapeake Bay; Choptank River; Nanticoke River; Wicomico River; Pocomoke River. We allow up to 7-8 hours with you and that would include ground time. You may stop your day at any time but there is no refund,

Our fee is $400 plus expense; you will pay any launch fee, boat gasoline over 5 gallons; overnight expenses (motel/meals); lost or broken rods/reels/lures/tackle. Half days (4 hrs) is at $300 plus expense. Please note that Ken’s Rate is $450 plus expense.

We hate credit cards so check or cash please.

Yep—tips are common practice.

Where will we meet and when: We do not choose a launch site until the last possible minute when practical. We want you at the best areas and we want to avoid wind. We have no faith in long range weather predictions.

Our day begins early and ends early—because of TRAFFIC, the scourge of living where we do. Your day starts at the designated start-time so lateness is on you. Sleep in if you wish. We still “stop” at the designated time.

You must sign our “Waiver of Claims” document which will also serve as your receipt.

What do you bring on our trip: It is your responsibility to bring adequate clothing including rainy weather gear and fishing license if your guide does not have a DNR decal. We fish rain or shine. Bring your own PFD (life jacket) if you are small or larger than XL. District of Columbia license is always your responsibility. You can go on line for it and sometimes we will have extras.

If you have an overactive bladder, bring your own pee-pot. We do try to accommodate the ladies though!

Your lunch and drinks in a small cooler; rods and reels to suit our quarry with advice from your fishing instructor. If you wish to use our rods/reels, just understand that if you lose or break—you buy. I urge all clients to bring their own rods. Your Instructor may charge you $10 per rod you use if you ruin the fishing line.

The tackle we use changes with the season so ask your Instructor for advice on what to bring—which is “not everything you own.”

Sun screen; towel; soft sole shoes (no aggressive soles allowed); instrument to cut line with (fingernail clip etc); camera; meds; hat; buff; sun gloves. We fish winter conditions also. Dress for it!

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR FISHING INSTRUCTOR: We want the very best for you so understand that we are instructors—not servants. We will teach you how to tie the knots we use, and how to utilize the tackle and gear we recommend.

Our instructors will fish with you! It’s his job to find the fish. He often has to prove that there are fish to catch in the “spots” he chooses—and it behooves you to watch his technique. He will always point to the best areas for you to cast however. How well you do depends on your talent level, the mood of the fish and the weather conditions.

We have several ways to enhance your trip planning, success stories and memories. We provide weekly fishing reports and have done so for 35 years. Go to our Facebook Page “Ken Penrod’s Life Outdoors Unlimited.”

We also have a “Club” called “LOU Potomac River Largemouth Club” for clients that catch an 18-inch or longer bass. The longest bass of the year wins a Lowrance Electronics sonar/gps unit. One other member will win an Ardent rod and reel.

Then there is the DC Slam—an honor bestowed on a client or clients that catch a largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish and striper from the Potomac during a paid trip. It’s a DC Grand Slam when you add a walleye or snakehead.