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Thread: Spring fishing the Lower James

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Spring Grove

    Default Spring fishing the Lower James

    I took a drive along the Colonial Parkway and thought about fishing some of the creeks/rivers I crossed between Rte.31 and 199. The one that really caught my eye was Glebe Gut. (funny name) It spills into the James and it looks fishable at the mouth. My question is, is it a fishable creek and what would be in there? Also, is it possible to wade near the mouth and cast out into the river?

    I know I'm a Newbie so I ask a lot of dumb questions. So here goes another one. Is that part of the James considered Salt or Freshwater? I would think it's Salt. Would I need the Salt Water license to fish it? Where is the boundary between fresh and salt on the James?

    Thanking everyone in advance.

    When fly fishing is outlawed, only outlaws will fly fish.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Blacksburg, VA (for now)


    The only dumb question is the one you don't ask. Never apologize for wanting to learn.

    The feeder creeks on the lower James are high value targets. Lots of anglers focus on these during tournaments. You'll find most of the creeks are heavily silted at the mouth. That means there'll be stumps and logs mixed in w/ the sand and mud. You need to enter/exit w/ extreme caution. In many cases you'll find deeper water on the other side. Timing your entrance/exit is part of managing the tide.

    The amount of salt will be a function of rainfall, weather (wind), and strength of tide. During drought conditions the salt line will creep way up the James (and Potomac/Rappahannock/etc). It's safe to say you'll have some salt content on the lower-most end of the James. This doesn't affect LM bass. They don't mind a lil salt in the water. It would take a torrential rainfall to push the salt line back into the bay.

    Check the VDGIF web site for specific guidance on where you need a salt water license. So long as you stay in the river proper the standard fresh water license covers you. Each of the tidal rivers has a fresh/salt line by which VDGIF govern which license is needed. Checking their site will get you started on understanding how/why they manage things.

    The James, Potomac, Rappahannock, York, Chickahominy, and Pawmunkey are tidal rivers. About the only similarity is the ebb and flow of the tide. Tidal flows vary dramatically one from another. Moon phase and weather conditions add to the complexity of managing tides. Fish species behave a little differently as you go from one to another. There are salt water species that'll come up into the fresh water regions to spawn. VDGIF has some rules in place to protect LM spawns. Be sure to check the specific rules for any tidal river you plan on visiting before going out.

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