Fly Fishing DC

James River Near Nickel Bridge (VA) – Smallmouth

Basics:

Where: James River under the Nickel Bridge, Richmond, VA

Coordinates: 37°31′54N 77°29′06W

When: August 23, 2008

Permits: Virginia State Fishing Permit

Catch: Bluegill, Small Smallmouth

Access: Very good wading from south side of river; park on north side in the park and walk across nickel bridge.

Map:

Ratings:

Trip Report:

I fished a small portion of this stretch of the James River for a couple hours while in Richmond. Access to the river is extremely good, and is right inside the city, making it a short trip if you are in town. The best way I found to get to the fishing is to park in the “Pump House Park” parking lot on the north side of the river, then cross Nickel Bridge on foot and cut down the hill on the dirt trail that picks up on the South Side of the bridge.

Wading was pretty easy at this time of year, but I suspect in the spring the water is much higher and much more difficult to cross. There is also a strong current that you’ll need to be careful of while crossing between the large rocks that dot the river in this area. There were a dozen or so other fisherman here while I was around, and I suspect this is generally the case, but there are so many spots to fish on this stretch of the water that you hardly noticed them.

The best strategy seemed to be to find a deep hole with a current dumping into it; there are many of them that have good rocks to cast from. Most of the holes I found held a large number of small smallmouth bass, and I’m assuming there were some bigger ones in there as well. I also saw a few good-sized carp in the area that continued to feed even while I was standing directly over them.

One local suggested using chartreuse or white streamers when fishing this area. I didn’t have any of these, but managed to pull a couple small fish out using a brown and white streamer.

Bottom Line:

This a a nice easily accessible place to fish if you are in Richmond. I wouldn’t drive 2 hours just to get to it…but whenever I’m in the area I will probably drop by to try it out. Next time I’ll come prepared with some chartreuse streamers.

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