James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 6.73'
Flow: 11200 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond

  • Melting snow and warmer temps makes for sloppy trails everywhere. All trails at Pocahontas are closed but fireroads are open.

Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 8:00am
Low Tide: 2:54am

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Posted In: Fishing

Downtown RVA: Striper city

May 13, 2014 10:50am

I simultaneously love and hate when buddies text me pictures of fish they’ve just caught. I love it for obvious reasons: “Dude, nice fish!” But it also makes me insanely jealous, because if I’m texting, I’m clearly not fishing. So I received the below pics with mixed emotions when good friend Dave Vladimirou sent them to me yesterday.

Vladimirou with a beautiful James River striper.

Vladimirou with a beautiful James River striper.

“Sat evening. All topwater. 20 fish,” the text read.

That’s a striped bass in the picture, in case you weren’t sure. Like American and hickory shad, they’re anadromous — they return to the rivers of their birth to spawn every spring. The stripers tend to stay a bit longer than the shad. Now is, obviously, a good time to be out plying the James in search of them.

Vladimirou went on to say that they were caught by he and a buddy, John Hendley, between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. this past Saturday below the overcast and stormy skies among the islands in the James in downtown Richmond (he wouldn’t say exactly where, of course). That is a serious haul for four hours of fishing, and the fact that they were all caught on topwater plugs means those guys had a ton of fun doing the catching.

There’s really nothing like standing in the middle of a downtown setting like Richmond’s, working the banks of islands frequented mostly by homeless guys and watching a big old rockfish break the surface after your lure. We talk a lot about Richmond having the best urban whitewater in the country and the best urban trail system. Could it be that RVA is also home to America’s the best urban fishing scene? How many medium to large cities offer this experience?

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?