Go Fish

A mixture of roaring rapids, deep pools, and calm flat water create excellent fishing opportunities and beautiful scenery on the James River within the Richmond city limits. This is a citation fishery for small-mouth bass. In order to promote a population of large-sized fish, there is a prohibition on keeping any bass between the sizes of 11" and 22" and allowing only one longer than 22" to be kept. To stay abreast of regulatory changes, see DGIF's Creel Harvest and Length Limits PDF.

For safety purposes, boating on the James River within the city limits of Richmond is prohibited when water levels measure or exceed nine feet at Westham gauge, unless you have a special high water use permit. This is obtainable from the River Rescue section of the Richmond Fire Department (Station 13). For more information, visit Today in the Park. You are required by law to wear personal flotation devices while boating, fishing or rock-hopping when water levels reach five feet or more.

Fishing Spots

Huguenot Flatwater

Location: .2 mile west of Huguenot Bridge (Rt. 147) off Southampton Rd.
Current Type: Flat water for approximately 2.5 miles (1.5 miles up to Boshers Dam and 1 mile down to William’s Dam).
Fishery: Smallmouth bass and sunfish at dams and rocky areas. Flathead, blue and channel catfish are located throughout this area.

Riverside Drive below William’s Dam

Location: On Riverside Dr. approximately .75 mile east of Huguenot Bridge on south shore. No parking available here. Park at Pony Pasture, approximately .25 mile east.
Current Type: Rapids.
Fishery: Flathead, blue and channel catfish can be caught. Cut bait, live bait and chicken liver fished on the bottom is an excellent way to catch catfish. Smallmouth bass and sunfish at dams and rocky areas.

Pony Pasture

Location: On Riverside Dr. 1 mile east of Huguenot Bridge on the south shore.
Current Type: Rapids and riffles.
Fishery: Flathead, blue and channel catfish are located throughout. Smallmouth bass and sunfish at dams and rocky areas. Occasional largemouth bass, longnose gar and carp are caught here.

Main Section

Location: Along Riverside Dr. between Boulevard Bridge and Lee Bridge on the south shore.
Current Type: Rapids, riffles, and flat water in isolated channels.
Fishery: Smallmouth bass, sunfish and all three species of catfish are located thoughout this area. Other fish that may be caught include longnose gar and carp.

North Bank

Location: At southern end of Texas Ave. on the north bank (this area also known as Texas Beach).
Current Type: Rapids and riffles.
Fishery: Good early-in-the-morning fishing for smallmouth bass. Topwater lures work well here. All three species of catfish and sunfish abound. Longnose gar and carp are also available.

Brown’s Island

Location: Downstream from Lee Bridge on Tredegar St. off 7th St.
Current Type: Big rapids below Brown's Island near sewer line. This area should be avoided by boat fishermen. Waders should use extreme caution.
Fishery: During March and April, this is a popular place to fish for shad and herring, which are migrating from saltwater to freshwater on their annual spawning runs. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, all three catfish species, sunfish, gar and carp are located here.

Mayo/14th Street Bridge

Location: Off Rt. 360 (Hull St.)
Current Type: Flat water
Fishery: Excellent in spring for white perch off the bridge and to fly fish for hickory shad from the shore. All three species of catfish abound year round.

Great Shiplock Park

Location: Dock St. and Pear St.
Current Type: Flat water
Fishery: Largemouth bass, sunfish, flathead, blue and channel catfish. During the months of March, April and May, anadromous fish like the hickory shad and herring fill the river as they migrate from saltwater to freshwater on their annual spawning runs.

Ancarrow’s Landing/Manchester Docks

Location: At the eastern end of Brander St., just off Maury St. Follow signs from I-95 exit or Hull St.
Current Type: Flat water, tidal influence. This is a good place to launch motor boats. Very popular in spring.
Fishery: Largemouth bass, sunfish, flathead, blue & channel catfish. During the months of March, April and May anadromous fish like the hickory shad and herring fill the river as they migrate from saltwater to freshwater on their annual spawning runs. This area is also a world class blue catfish fishery.


fisherman on the rocks


Fish Guides

You can purchase the pamphlet, Fishing the Falls of the James

If you’re looking for a guided fishing trip, consider contacting Discover the James (804) 938-2350 and ask for Capt. Mike Ostrander, www.discoverthejames.com.