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What's going on at Pony Pasture?

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Any of you Virginia guys fish Pony Pasture this time of year?  '07 was my first time fishing that section and I got a late start on it - August.  But I ended up doing reasonably well on jigs.  

Just wondering if anyone fishes there this time of year?  If so, what's some good baits?  I live in Newport News - some 65-70 miles from Richmond so trips to Pony Pasture are few and far between.  

I notice the water level is up a bit from summer - 6 inches to a foot (according to a website).  Has anyone seen the recent conditions at Pony Pasture?  Is rock-hopping to the middle of the river still possible?  If not, are there any other places to try where fishing from the bank or rocks is possible?

(I was going to ask this in Triton's thread but didn't want to hijack it.)

Thanks.

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Are you kidding?

It is freezing in Richmond.

I have not seen anyone around the Pony Pasture all month.

If you go, be very careful of the cold water and please go with a buddy in case you get into trouble.

The Pony Pasture is a very unforgiving place, as you know, and most people enjoy it when you can wear only a swimsuit and wading shoes.

The nice thing is that the Pony Pasture is not going anywhere so it will be there in the spring and summer for you enjoyment.

If you want to come to Richmond then I suggest considering attending the Richmond Fishing Expo on the 25, 26 and 27 of January.

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I know it's freezing there.  It's freezing here, too.  But the fish didn't high-tail it to Florida.  And "Danger" is my middle name.  Maybe it's "Stupid."    Well, I forget.  

I'm just wondering about those slow stretches that are about thigh deep between the dam and the boulders at Pony Pasture.  It's easily accessible from the bank.  

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I've fished the pasture a couple times in winter and have figured that its really not worth it. Due to the high, cold water you are pretty much limited to the bank, so you can forget about reaching any of the deeper holes and pockets.

Also, for some reason the fish seem to just turn off when the water gets cold. I have been out there 4 or 5 times in the cold and have yet to get a single bite from anything when the water temp is down. Which is very strange because in many of the rivers I fish the fishing is actually better this time of year than any other time.

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i wish that was true for me, basspro. I can't buy a bite in my waters this time of year.

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Thanks, BP.  

What's Pony Pasture like in the spring?  When is the earliest best time to hit it?  

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The Pony Pasture in the spring is great.

The air temperature is still low enough to keep the sunbathers away.

Park police have chased the Mexicans away.

Just be careful as the water temps can be in the 50s which is cold.

Bass and bluegills start to move around and get ready to go to bed.

The big catfish start to move, too.

Give it a try and let us know how you do.

You can fish the grass and islands near the road or venture out into the rocks.

But please wear your PFD and have a friend with you.

The James River is a dangerous place.

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I have been upriver of Huguenot Bridge area toward Bosher dam lately and although I have seen a few surface splashes, I have not caught any fish. With a depth/temp/fish finder on the canoe, it is clear there are some holes over 10 feet deep. With the current after the river has risen above 5 feet, you have to have a very stable boat and be extra careful. I use a self inflating Mustang PFD, paddle tether, and take special care and stay out of the current as possible (water is about 40 degrees).  I looked at Pony Pasture from the bank and it's too risky, in my view. It's pretty fast, very cold, and no one is coming in after you if you are in trouble.... spring or summer is very different.

Keep your hand in the water for about 30 seconds and then decide what to do. A stable canoe in the flatwater is not the same as a kayak in the rapids with the water up...

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Hey guys,

Quick question.  Next weekend is suppossed to be in the mid 50's.  High to mid 40s all week this week too.  My question is since this thread is now about a month old and the pre spawn is coming up here in the next month (hopefully), what are conditions like now, or what do you think they will be like next week as far as bank fishing?

I know the rap was up last week, but it's only half a foot to a foot above right now.  Not sure of the James at Pony Pasture.  Would it be worth possibly checking out next weekend if the temps do indeed do what they are suppossed to?  I know there is rain in the forecast as of now for next weekend, but it says showers.  If it is showering out how rough will those waters get?  Only fished the pasture once, caught three but lost about 4-5 more.  Those suckers fight down there.

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Just Crazy,

I have not driven by the Pony Pasture in over a month but I would assume, but the water level at Snake Hill, that the river is still a little low.

If we get a heavy rain up river towards Charlottesville, that water could cause a strong current at the Pony Pasture.

From what I have seen the river is docil; not much fast moving current.

Maybe you should wait until March before spending a lot of money on gas just to find out that you can't fish the Pony Pasture like you would like to fish it.

Just food for thought.

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I agree with Sam, I went to the Pastures a few days ago when it was kinda warm...the water level is up and the river is flowing rather strong so trying to jump rocks might be a bit dangerous at this time of considering the cold temps.  

I tried bank fishing when I was there too...no luck =/

How was the fishing at the rapp?

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Well... the Rap.  So not worth the drive lol.  We tried at the Route One Bridge for about an hour with mostly jigs and worms, and finesse type presentations.  Nothin', tried all the sluggish water and pools we could find there but no luck.

Then we moved on down to the Fredericksburg City Docks to fish for some largemouth.  Current was a bit strong, water is wicked muddy and the levels are up quite a bit.  They came down this week so most of the banks were still very muddy.  Egh... nothin' at the docks after beating the break walls and brush with jigs.  My dad tried a trap for a bit but the current was too strong.

We tried a couple more spots on on riverside dr where we normally fish, but all the pools we normally fish had current ripping through because of the high water.  Everywhere was really, really muddy and stained, the water was freezing...

Jigs, Finesse Worms, Grubs swimmed EXTREMELY slow, and tubes were the baits.  No takers or bites anywhere.

So we quit early and headed over to Burke Lake.  Saw a few boats out on the water, one person on a canoe, three bass boats out in the deep water to the left of the island.  They were there a while probably drop shotting or jigging as we didn't see much movement from their rods AT ALL.  We fished the dock for about 30 minutes with spoons, deep diving cranks, worms w/ slip sinkers (deadsticked, fished VERY SLOW).  Nothin' there.  Wind sucked and it got real cold, started sprinkling later and the conditions were just retarded for fishing.

So we quit and headed to Hooters for some lunch.  Some good lunch lol.  2 lbs of Crab legs, Clam Chowder and Cheese Fries, washed down with a cold miller light.   We decided this was the next best thing to fishing lol.

Needless to say I won't be going back smallie fishing til' that water warms up at least 10 degrees pushing it close to the 50's.

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