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Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 6.26'
Flow: 9270 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond


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High Tide: 6:48am
Low Tide: 1:36am

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Posted In: Fishing, James River

Striper fishing the James River…in July

Andy Thompson

July 9, 2014 8:38am
A downtown RVA striped bass caught in July. Credit: Dave Valdimirou

A downtown RVA striped bass caught in July. Credit: Dave Valdimirou

Nothing like striper fishing on the James in July!

Dave Vladimirou, friend of the program and topwater angler extraordinaire, sent me this picture on Sunday night. It’s the smaller of two schoolie stripers he caught in downtown Richmond as the sun went down. Valdimirou was actually out after smallmouth bass. He parked at Diversity Park on the south side of the Mayo Bridge and walked upstream along the Floodwall to the train bridge. He rigged up a wacky worm on some six-pound test and “cast across to a little pocket where I thought a smallmouth would be waiting.” Nothing bit in that fishy-looking pool, so he began reeling the worm in quickly, dragging it across the surface.

That’s when the first striper hit. “It was awesome,” he said, though he wasn’t quite able to bring it in.

Valdimirou quickly switched to “the biggest topwater lure I had” — a skitter pop. On his first cast, a striper broke the line. He soon landed a 5-pounder and then the smaller fish (pictured). He also hauled in a nice largemouth before calling it a night.

Valdimirou said he’d heard that some schoolie-sized stripers will stay in the area until the fall before returning to the Bay, but catching them on the topwater in the middle of July is still a rare occurrence.

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?