The headwaters of Virginia’s venerable James River begin in the mountains of western Virginia where the Jackson and the Cowpasture rivers meet near Iron Bridge. As the best-known river in the state, the James draws spin and fly anglers from across the country. Enthusiasts have written entire books on the history and fishability of the James River—I can’t possibly do it justice in this space, even by breaking the river down into its upper and lower sections. Nevertheless, let us consider the upper James to be that stretch that runs from Iron Bridge to Scottsville.
Anglers will find hundreds of places to wet a line in just this section of river by canoeing or wading in public parks. Types of Fish: Smallies are king on the upper James. Anglers may also catch rock bass, carp, catfish, and the occasional muskellunge. This fly-fishing chapter describes the "where, when, and how" for fishing in this area. It includes a full-page map and information on the known hatches, suggested equipment to use, the best flies to use, season, limits, nearby accommodations, and camping.
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