Anyone been fishing on the upper James lately? I heard that the smallmouth fishing has gone to poo! Going up their next month to the float the Scottsville to Hardware section and was wondering if I should get my hopes up or not[shy]
I floated the Hardware - Bremo section on Saturday....nice stretch of river but unfortunately the area got alot of rain the night before. So the river was running a little fast and muddy. We managed only four fish, 6-8" all on topwater. If it weren't for the conditions, I think we would have done much better.
Sorry to be the messenger with sad news, but the upper James From Tye River to Scottsville has been the worst I have seen in my life time for Smallmouth fishing. I have been fishing that area for more than 25 years and have not seen the fishing this poor in that area. The area I mentioned is usually the area I fish most. A good fishing Buddy & myself fished just recently 3 days in the Wingina Area catching maybe a total of16 or so Smallmouth about 4-6". The Game Warden was @ the ramp at Wingina and we asked him about the problem. He suggested it was a combination of heavy spring rains with a poor spawn the past 2 years and the flathead catfish were eating up everything up there.
Sorry for the poor report...Don't look like my Grandchildren will ever see the fishing Ive seen in my 68 years..
How do I wish I could share some good news about the upper James but I can not. Been fishing it for many years until recent and saw the decline start about 5 years ago. The locals will tell you it's the Flatheads and VDGIF blame it on the spawn, mystery fish kill, the water levels and numerous other reasons. 3-4 years ago they were still denying the flatheads were the cause but I see from the above report maybe they are now admitting that introducing the flatheads may have been a boo boo.. The last few time I fished it (several years ago) I caught as many flatheads and bass. I loved those trips but have started looking else where in recent years.