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Hey Errybody!  I'm headed to Richmond next weekend and hoping to get out on the James.  The plan is to catch up with a friend and sling flies for smallies.  I've never fished the James and was wondering how the accesses are around Richmond.  Also, we'll likely be wading, so any suggestions on wadable stretches would be doubly appreciated.  

 

Thank you!

Chris

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Chris, safety first.

 

You will be fishing the Pony Pasture area and in the rocks. You can slip and fall easily, and there are holes that you will step in. Please go with a friend; wear your PFD; and if possible, felt soled boots or shoes.

 

The Pony Pasture area is a great smallmouth area if you are wading. Check the weather in Richmond as we are going to getting thunderstorms all next week. Probably late in the afternoon but the chance of rain and storms exists for all days along with high humidity. Dangerously high humidity.

 

https://www.wunderground.com/

https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/richmond-va/weather-radar?play=1

 

If you can find a boat, the Watkins Landing ramp just west of the 288 intersection is a good place to try. Good smallmouth fishing in this area from the rocks down to the dam.

 

If you have access to a jet boat then you can go up river from Watkins Landing and really hit some great smallmouth fishing. But only a jet boat can transverse the river and its rocks up river from Watkins. And no ramp fee at Watkins. Only people from Powhatan county who don't have their teeth.

 

Lots of kayakers launch out of Watkins and also the Robious Landing Park down the road from James River High School off Robious Road is another good place to launch a kayak or canoe. Good fishing in this area up towards Watkins Landing for smallmouth.

 

Flat Rock on the Richmond side of the Huguenot Bridge is a favorite place to launch, too. And the fishery between Bosher's Dam and the Z-Dam is one of the best in the state.

 

The Historic James River can be very, very dangerous around the Pony Pasture and other places east of the Huguenot Bridge. The Pony Pasture area is a great place to fish but as stated above, it can be very dangerous with fast moving water. And I mean with the rains coming this way the Historic James in this area can be unfishable and unsafe.

 

The City of Richmond may close the river if the water becomes dangerous. So monitor the news and if in doubt, call the VDG&IF to find out if the river is open to fishing and boating below Bosher Dam and into the city.

 

Right now the river is low. But that can change in a New York minute.

 

So drive down to the Pony Pasture and take a look at the river and how it is flowing. You can park in the Pony Pasture parking lot and walk down Riverside Drive to the river and enter it any place you can. I like to enter the river in this area by the first island. But check out the water flow and enter and exit the river where you think is best.

 

AND LOCK THE CAR WHILE IN THE PARKING LOT.

 

You can also walk the bank from the Pony Pasture to the Huguenot Bridge, but finding good places from the bank is difficult with all of the trees and bushes.

 

Now there are other places to smallmouth fish the Historic James. Some guys like to go down to the river by the Boulevard Bridge, but too many snakes in this area for me. And it is a Class 3 rapids rafting area.  Others will go into the water by Maymont Park but I don't like that area.

 

And stay back from the dams. They are very dangerous.

 

Stop at BPS off I-95 at Exit 89 and try to find a GMCO map of the Upper James River and you can find the places I have mentioned.

 

Just check the weather and water flow. You may do better fishing local ponds for largemouth.

 

Good luck and let us know what you do and what you catch.

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Now THAT was the kind of information and attention that keeps me coming back to this site. Well done, Sam

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4 hours ago, Sam said:

Chris, safety first.

 

You will be fishing the Pony Pasture area and in the rocks. You can slip and fall easily, and there are holes that you will step in. Please go with a friend; wear your PFD; and if possible, felt soled boots or shoes.

 

The Pony Pasture area is a great smallmouth area if you are wading. Check the weather in Richmond as we are going to getting thunderstorms all next week. Probably late in the afternoon but the chance of rain and storms exists for all days along with high humidity. Dangerously high humidity.

 

https://www.wunderground.com/

https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/richmond-va/weather-radar?play=1

 

If you can find a boat, the Watkins Landing ramp just west of the 288 intersection is a good place to try. Good smallmouth fishing in this area from the rocks down to the dam.

 

If you have access to a jet boat then you can go up river from Watkins Landing and really hit some great smallmouth fishing. But only a jet boat can transverse the river and its rocks up river from Watkins. And no ramp fee at Watkins. Only people from Powhatan county who don't have their teeth.

 

Lots of kayakers launch out of Watkins and also the Robious Landing Park down the road from James River High School off Robious Road is another good place to launch a kayak or canoe. Good fishing in this area up towards Watkins Landing for smallmouth.

 

Flat Rock on the Richmond side of the Huguenot Bridge is a favorite place to launch, too. And the fishery between Bosher's Dam and the Z-Dam is one of the best in the state.

 

The Historic James River can be very, very dangerous around the Pony Pasture and other places east of the Huguenot Bridge. The Pony Pasture area is a great place to fish but as stated above, it can be very dangerous with fast moving water. And I mean with the rains coming this way the Historic James in this area can be unfishable and unsafe.

 

The City of Richmond may close the river if the water becomes dangerous. So monitor the news and if in doubt, call the VDG&IF to find out if the river is open to fishing and boating below Bosher Dam and into the city.

 

Right now the river is low. But that can change in a New York minute.

 

So drive down to the Pony Pasture and take a look at the river and how it is flowing. You can park in the Pony Pasture parking lot and walk down Riverside Drive to the river and enter it any place you can. I like to enter the river in this area by the first island. But check out the water flow and enter and exit the river where you think is best.

 

AND LOCK THE CAR WHILE IN THE PARKING LOT.

 

You can also walk the bank from the Pony Pasture to the Huguenot Bridge, but finding good places from the bank is difficult with all of the trees and bushes.

 

Now there are other places to smallmouth fish the Historic James. Some guys like to go down to the river by the Boulevard Bridge, but too many snakes in this area for me. And it is a Class 3 rapids rafting area.  Others will go into the water by Maymont Park but I don't like that area.

 

And stay back from the dams. They are very dangerous.

 

Stop at BPS off I-95 at Exit 89 and try to find a GMCO map of the Upper James River and you can find the places I have mentioned.

 

Just check the weather and water flow. You may do better fishing local ponds for largemouth.

 

Good luck and let us know what you do and what you catch.

 

 

Thanks Sam!  What are normal levels on the USGS gauge for this time of the year?

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We got some pretty big rain storms the last couple days so the river may be slightly high and probably a little on the murky side. We have more rain forecast for all weekend and all next week. Afternoon thunderstorms upstream can push that river up in a matter of hours. Can't help with exact water levels for that area as I don't ever fish down there, but it only takes a small water level rise to double the current flow. 

 

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This is what I'm seeing.  Generally, this just moves fish push toward the shoreline.   I'm just hoping it's not chocolate milk and still wadable. 

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23 hours ago, Turkey sandwich said:

Thanks Sam!  What are normal levels on the USGS gauge for this time of the year?

Good question and I have no idea.

 

How about looking at this web page and maybe you can figure it out as it has lots of data.

 

https://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?02037500

 

Goggle Upper James River USGS gauge and not other pages.

 

Just check out the river with your friend and decide if it is safe.

 

Be careful.

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On 7/21/2018 at 11:10 AM, Sam said:

Good question and I have no idea.

 

How about looking at this web page and maybe you can figure it out as it has lots of data.

 

https://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?02037500

 

Goggle Upper James River USGS gauge and not other pages.

 

Just check out the river with your friend and decide if it is safe.

 

Be careful.

Yep.  The USGS site is something I check religiously before heading to the water. I was just curious as to how much change I'm likely to see after VA gets rain this week. 

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@Sam, kudos to you for taking the time to type all that helpful info. Sounds like you might have spent a day or three fishing that area.......

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5 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

@Sam, kudos to you for taking the time to type all that helpful info. Sounds like you might have spent a day or three fishing that area.......

Yep, in the good ole days.

 

We used light or ultra light rods, 4 pound test on a spinning rig, with a one-inch white curly tail grub. 

 

For some unknown reason, they love those little white curly tail grubs.

 

Also fished for the beautiful flathead catfish. Very nice fish. You could reach down and pet them as they swam by you. They were not concerned with humans at all.

 

Those rocks can get slippery. That is why we fished with at least one other guy and we always wore our PFD.

 

So come on over from the beautiful state of Tennessee and do some smallmouth fishing on the Historic James River!

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ALERT ! SERIOUS STUFF HERE... FLOOD THREAT GROWING FROM NC to PA / NY

No automatic alt text available.
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Yep.  I also saw this.  Fishing may be out.  Fingers are crossed.

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I think all moving water in eastern VA is chocolate milk right now.

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In the last 48 hours, I've driven over the York, the Rappahannock, the Occoquan and the Potomac and every one of them looks like Yoohoo...and there's still more rain in the forecast...quite a bit more

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I made it down to visit friends, but weird weather kept me off the river.  The James was high and the Rapahannock looked scary high.  I was going to look for feeder streams, but the weather called for rain every day (that of course never actually happened) so I opted to catch up with old friends from the Brazilian jiu-jitsu/MMA community and hung out at a tournament instead.  

 

I was hoping the Susquehanna would be back to fishable this past weekend, but had no luck there, either.  I'm hoping to get out at least a few days this month here in PA before heading out to Colorado the 30th thru the 9th.  I'm still working out the details for that trip, but I'll likely be on the Gunnison, Taylor, Platte, and whatever mountain lakes I can talk non-fishing friends into hiking to.  With any luck, I'll have some great photos for the "Other Species" forum.  

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