The higher James River in Virginia provides a few of the greatest smallmouth fishing within the nation.
Fly fishermen and traditional fishermen each can benefit from the hard-fighting nature of the smallmouth on this completely stunning river, which flows from the confluence of the Cowpasture and Jackson Rivers in Bathtub and Highland Counties, by way of Lynchburg and Richmond, previous Williamsburg and Jamestown to the Chesapeake Bay. It is higher sections wind by way of the Jefferson Nationwide Forest, cross below the Blue Ridge Parkway, and thru the George Washington Nationwide Forest, alongside the gorgeous Appalachian Mountains.
Phrases alone can not describe the fantastic thing about this stretch of river, or the joys of touchdown a four or 5 pound smallmouth bass that decision it dwelling.
The river’s fall line runs by way of downtown Richmond, and wherever upstream of there the smallmouth are plentiful year-round. This part of river additionally holds largemouth bass, catfish, and sunfish, and even musky, however the smallies are the predominant species, and essentially the most enjoyable to catch.
There are a lot of good locations to fish from the financial institution or wading, particularly within the foothills, however float fishing in a canoe, kayak or different small boat is one of the simplest ways to go for big numbers of fish. For kayak fishermen, you would be thrilled to expertise the James’ magnificence and serenity, in addition to the wonderful smallmouth fishing that has been a mainstay of the river for many years.
For standard fishermen, on mild spinning sort out or small baitcasting gear, strive small jigs or grubs in pure colours. Suspending jerkbaits just like the Rapala X-Rap, and Senkos are additionally glorious decisions. Give attention to slow-moving water and the deeper swimming pools. If the chunk is sluggish, use smaller baits and decelerate your retrieve. I additionally like to make use of small spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, and crankbaits within the hotter months, and have caught many fish on topwater poppers. Live minnows and worms will work too, however synthetic lures are extra possible in case your fishing from a kayak or canoe.
The fly fisherman can have a lot enjoyable fishing for smallies on the James, they won’t need to return to trout fishing! Use a 7 or eight weight fly rod with matching floating line with a weight-forward taper and a 1x or a 0x tippet for bugs and poppers, or a sinking tip fly line and a 6 foot chief setup with strike detectors for underwater flies. tip to recollect is the decrease the water, the longer the chief. If the water is shallow, say below three ft, the fish will likely be simply spooked, so you could need to use a 9 to 12 foot chief and forged somewhat upstream of your goal, letting the present carry the fly to the fish. Even be very quiet and transfer sluggish when approaching your fishing gap. It does not take a lot to scare-off a fish.
Smallmouth bass dine on many various bugs, however their commonest delicacies contains frogs, mayflies, grasshoppers, caddisflies, damselflies, dragonflies, hellgrammites, shiners, leeches and crawfish. Simply as in trout fishing, it helps to “match the hatch”, however smallmouth usually are not practically as finiky as trout. Attempt a popping bug alongside grassbeds in the summertime, and in colder water, a sinking fly forged to a gravel bar or towards the financial institution in 2 ft of water can produce trophy-size fish.
All freshwater fish like to hang around round construction, and smallmouth aren’t any exception. Fly fishermen and traditional anglers can use this to their benefit. Any specific boulder, rockbed, downfall, bush or weedbed is prone to be holding a fish. One trick I’ve realized is if you catch a smallmouth in a selected spot, launch him and are available again three or four hours later to catch the identical fish once more.
The Virginia Division of Recreation and Inland Fisheries has a superb float journey map in addition to public boating entry areas right here. I extremely suggest printing the web page in case you are going, as there are rapids and dams to keep away from alongside the river’s 340 miles. You should buy a Virginia freshwater fishing license on-line right here.
No matter your fashion of fishing or your methodology of attending to them, I assure you’ll have a blast fishing for smallmouth bass within the superior James River. Remember to deliver your digicam, as you can be displaying your loved ones and pals not solely your fish, however the unbelievable surroundings of the river and the encompassing nation.