Rocks and Rye
05-03-2005, 12:17 PM
Does anyone have a recommendation on a two day float trip down the upper James for smallies? I know there are a ton of access points as well as areas to fish. I would have a mix of canoes and personal pontoon boats. Looking for info such as put in and take out areas, best stretches for fishing & camping, good water levels, best months for catching smallies on the surface with poppers, sliders, etc... Any advice is greatly appreciated. I'll be happy to share info on the New River in WV for the same type of float if anyone is interested.
05-03-2005, 02:53 PM
a buddy and i floated the upper james near the headwaters last summer (august '04). we stayed at a hotel off i-81, and floated 3 stretches in 3 days.
the fishing was ok, not great, but a lot of that was because of all the drought/flooding the last few years. still probably caught about 50-75 fish a piece over the 3 days, but 16" was the biggest.
the scenery was as good as anywhere - i've been on the new and the shenandoah, and the way upper james is just as good - maybe even a little more remote, if you can believe that!
i highly recommend the book "the james river guide" by bruce ingram (just checked, you can get it on amazon.com for about $12 or less). he's got details about put-ins, take-outs, dangerous parts of the river (very handy!), etc., as well as loads of information about where to fish and what to fish with. the book covers from the headwaters almost down to the richmond metro area - very informative!
i'm not sure i remember the exact names of some of the put-ins and take-outs, but i know we did one float from i think eagle rock (beautiful place, high cliffs tower above the put-in), another from glen wilton, and another from acadia. they're all detailed in the book.
i'm hoping to go back this summer, i absolutely loved it!
closer to charlottesville, you can also do some overnight floats through james river runners. check out their website (jamesriver.com), they can tell you what they have available, but i know they have land you can camp on, they're nice folks, and they provide a reliable shuttle service/canoe rental. unfortunately, my only trip up there last year, the fishing SUCKED, and i think they've had a rough couple of years up there with flooding. also heard the flathead cats are taking a bite out of the smallie population, for what it's worth. back about 6 or 7 years ago, that section of the river around scottsville used to be GREAT for smallies, but it's gotten really tough over the last few years.
(there's another canoe livery in the same area, but i forget the name!)
anyway, good luck, hope this helps!
p.s. - i might be hitting the new river this summer, might try to get some info from you if i do!
05-04-2005, 05:54 PM
A post on an overnight drift of the new river would be great.