Angler’s Lane in Forest (Lynchburg) says that the smallmouth fishing is finally starting to take shape on the Staunton and the James. The topwater bite in early morning and late afternoon is getting good, and the streamer bite is fantastic!
The guides at Angler’s Lane are specialists when it comes to putting their clients on big smallies. Here’s what they say about the waters they fish.
From the confluence of the Jackson and the Cowpasture at Iron Gate through its southern dip in Lynchburg and beyond, the James River offers some of the best smallmouth bass fishing on the east coast. We have fished the James for well over 20 years and know the river, which is our home water, as Lynchburg is the southern-most stretch west of the fall line. We focus most closely on the stretches within 50 miles of Lynchburg in each direction. If you are looking to fly fish the James, we can guide you so you can enjoy its beauty as we work to put you on fish.
The Upper James above Lynchburg the James River is unimpeded until Snowden, where it is interrupted by the first of seven dams ending at Scotts Mill Dam in downtown Lynchburg at the southernmost spot of the section which many call the “Middle James.” Here the river begins its meandering path towards northeast for the next 50 or so miles where one can experience some excellent fishing, usually without heavy boat traffic.
Our fishing experience on the James began in 1990 as clients with retired guide Chuck Kraft. In the late 1990’s with the advent of Angler’s Lane, we began guiding the river with clients on a regular basis.
We have put plenty of clients on citation smallmouth over the years, though one can never guarantee this on a particular outing. Like any river the James has experienced its share of swings in fish counts over the past several decades.
For access, we use a variety of private and public points from Buchanan to Howardsville. We work diligently to keep a pulse on which sections of the James are fishing best at any given time. We guide from a 14′ Outcast raft and a 15 1/2 Maravia raft, both of which can make it down the river without scraping in the low-water summer months when popping bug action is at its peak. Each guide has a favorite stretches on which we focus, but we pool information and switch frequently to ensure customers have the best trip possible.
In the spring and fall, often clients will ask us to combine a trip on the James with our Rivenridge at Piney Forks Lodge, within 45 minutes of a float trip on the James. This makes a great two or three-day package trip for the angler wishing to fish for trout and bass on the same outing.
To experience smallmouth fishing at its best on Virginia’s historical and productive James, give us a call. The best days to fish are Monday through Thursday. We will book Friday or Saturday, but please realize the likelihood of crowds is greater that time.
Contact Angler’s Lane at 434-385-0200 or go to anglerslane.com.