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James River Sponsored by
Date 26-Mar-15
Water Condition
Water Temperature  


Conditions : James River: Upper James and Maury Rivers: As we approach the end of March, the muskie are beginning to move into their spawn and slow down. If you are wanting to catch one of these elusive beasts, plan your trip between May and June to get them when they come off of their spawn. They will be feeding aggressively then and will be moving on top water and reaction striking hard on swimbaits or crankbaits. Smallmouth on the upper stretches of the James River are coming to life as we move further into the spring. The largest fish are beginning to stage on the edge of wintering locations and can be caught by implementing swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits. If you are not turning any fish on the faster moving baits, continue to fish tubes in these transition areas and the tops of wintering holes and near their pre spawn feeding areas.

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About: - 2015 OUTLOOK - Smallmouth Bass experienced excellent reproduction on the upper James River in 2014. Good June flows created ideal spawning conditions and produced the most abundant year class in two decades. Anglers can expect average numbers of catchable size fish (> 14”) in 2015 and large numbers of small (6-8”) fish. However, adult abundance should start increasing considerably in the next few years as the 2014 year class continues to grow. The James itself provides a density gradient of Smallmouth Bass population characteristics. As a general rule, the upper James (Eagle Rock) has higher catch rates and decreases down river to impounded sections between Big Island and Lynchburg. Towards James River State Park, anglers can expect to see fewer fish. However, don’t shy away from the lower James - just be more cognizant of the habitat you’re fishing. Try heads of pools above impounded sites between Big Island and Lynchburg and anywhere fast water meets slack water below riffles (three to six feet depth is ideal). Overall, the adult population remains low but is in the process of rebuilding. We are hopeful the 2014 year class will shift the fishery back to what it was in the early 2000s (plenty of large fish). Over a decade of poor spawns in the 2000s created a decline in the population which was evident in surveys and very noticeable to anglers. Rock Bass and Redbreast Sunfish also had good reproduction and were most abundant above Lynchburg. Flathead and Channel Catfish were numerous in downtown Lynchburg - several fish over 25” were captured. Muskellunge catch rates were also very good from Lynchburg to Eagle Rock, but none were captured below Lynchburg. The highest musky catch rates were between Buchanan and the Reed Creek boat launch on Big Island - the majority captured were between 35 and 40”.

Misc Info: -


James River Flows

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