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Virginia Fishing Report

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James River Sponsored by
Date 12-Feb-15
Water Condition
Water Temperature  

Conditions : James River: 2015 Outlook updated….

2/1 Report - Upper James: Contributed by local guide Jared Harker. Fishing on the upper stretches of the James River can be productive even into the winter months. As we approach the end of January the muskie are beginning to feed heavily. If you are wanting to catch one of these elusive beasts, plan your trip between January to March for the greatest opportunity. Smallmouth bass can also be had into the winter months with some patience. The smallmouth have made there way into their wintering holes into deeper water where there is a deep ledge or shelter from the main river current. This structure might be a deep ledge or a boulder submerged in 5 to 15 feet. Fish these areas to pinpoint the school. Fish slowly and bounce jigs and tubes off of th bottom, or drop shot a fluke.

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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”.

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James River Flows

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