“Fishing the Falls of the James” is a booklet written by Ralph White of the James River Park System and available for $2 at the James River Park System Visitor Center at Hillcrest and Riverside Drive. When you pick up a booklet, pick up a standard James River Park map at the same time. The booklet highlights directions, parking information, and a description of 10 suggested places for fishing in Richmond: Huguenot Flatwater Park, Riverside Meadow Greenspace, Pony Pasture Rapids Park, the Wetlands, Main area, Belle Isle, Shoreline of Brown’s Island, Mayo Bridge, Great Shiplock Park, and Ancarrow’s Landing/Manchester Docks.
Naturally, safety is first! For River Level Information, call (804) 646-8228 extension 4, use of life jackets is mandatory when wading when the river exceeds 5 feet at Westham Gauge. The river is closed to recreation when it exceeds 9 feet. Flood stage is 12 feet. Generally, it makes sense most of the year to wear a life jacket. In some parts of the river, the water can be fast and turbulent with rocks that are slippery and sharp – so wear old tennis shoes or special river shoes. Avoid open-toed sandals. Hip boots and waders are not recommended.
Fishing is good downstream of the 14th Street Bridge (below the Fall Line) in the Spring when fish migrate when high water flows actually attract the fish.
Fish present in the James River in Richmond include Smallmouth Bass, Sunfish, several species of catfish, Striped Bass, Shad, White Perch, Alewife and Blueback Herring. The booklet gives tips on fishing equipment, tackle shops, guides, best times to fish, and everything you need to know to fish in the city of Richmond! Fishing licenses are available at tackle shops and on weekdays at the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 4010 W Broad Street, Richmond. For up-to-date information on limits contact the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. (804) 367-1000.
Fish consumption advisories may be in effect, consult the Department of Health. (804) 864-8182