Posts Tagged ‘James River Park’

Fishing The Falls of the James

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

“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

Snorkeling in the City?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Yes, of course! The James River runs right through the middle of Richmond and the James River Park System is managed by the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks. If you’d like to explore the underwater world of the James River, here are a few tips:

Follow these tips for getting the most out of snorkeling the James River in Richmond

1. Stop by the Visitor Center at Hillcrest and Riverside Drive for detailed information, maps, and guides. Many have been written by Ralph White, Park Manager and Senior Naturalist for the James River Park System. There’s even a map for $2 printed on Tyvek, so it’s waterproof! You may call (804) 780-5311 to reach the visitor center.

2. Be SAFE! Wear tennis shoes to protect your feet from sharp objects; wear a life jacket to improve your mobility and protect you from rough rocks; and, use sunscreen especially on the back of your neck! Long sleeved shirt and lightweight long pants will protect you from abrasive surfaces and sharp rocks.

3. It’s best to use a snorkel and face mask and crawl or walk upstream with your face in the water. Choose shallow rocky areas (6 inches to 24 inches deep). You’ll find the best viewing is in slow-moving water. Search the shadows – many creatures hide or attach themselves under rocky overhangs.

4. Pick your place! Pony Pasture is easily reached but is also the most heavily used area. The broad stretch of rocks at the 43rd St Entrance offers more variety and is generally less crowded.

5. AVOID sandy or muddy areas that cloud up, fast water such as Hollywood Rapids (north of Belle isle) and the “Pipeline” between Belle and Mayo’s Islands.

6. CAUTION: If you are pulled into fast water (waist deep or knocks you off your feet) float through it with your feet up and pointed downstream!

7. Protect the environment! Please……no glass. Do not  bring glass into the park and place all trash in the proper receptacle. Leave plants, animals and artifacts where you find them for others to enjoy!

Some creatures like clams, mussels, snails and fish nests are easy to find. Some creatures like crayfish, insects, nymphs, Dragonflies. mayflies, etc will be found in and around rocks. Other creatures like small, medium, and large fish move quickly, but if you lie in a shallow rapid (6 inches deep or so) with your arms outstretched, small fish will often use you as their new territory. Or, bend over so your head is underwater, place your face up close to a rocky overhang — you just might come face-to-face with a large fish!

So start your river-focused adventure at the James River Park System Visitor Center at Hillcrest and Riverside Drive to get the latest information. If you’re lucky you’ll find Ralph White — the James River Park System’s head guru who is scheduled to retire January 2013! And, if you need overnight accommodations check out Richmond’s premier bed and breakfast, home of the hearty gourmet breakfast that will stick to for ribs all day long! More information is available from these experts:

City of Richmond Info

Friends of James River Park Info