James River Flathead Catfish Hotspots

Discussion in 'VIRGINIA RIVERS TALK' started by flathead willie, May 20, 2006.

  1. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    For anyone fishing the Richmond area for Flatheads, try these areas. From Bosher, (above Chippenham Pkwy) to Williams Island. Below that there is good Flathead fishing all the way to the I-95 bridge. This is mainly bank fishing, canoes, kayaks, and small Jon boats. Thirty pounders are common here with a good chance for a 40# to 50# cat. Good luck!
     
  2. SwiftWater

    SwiftWater New Member

    Messages:
    56
    State:
    Central Virginia
    Willie, you mentioned that you have a place near Big Island. Is the stretch of water near Georgia Pacific a decent place to wet a line? How far down river are you able to go in a jon boat and how deep is that stretch? Is the Snowden area a good place for flatheads? I mostly fish River road and Russens (sp?) Dam area in Lynchburg when fishing the James. Never caught anything over 10 pounds in that stretch though.

    One day I'm going to take a weekend and check out the James in the greater Richmond area.

    Thanks,
    D
     

  3. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    Yea, I have the first house up stream from GP, at the mouth of Hunting Creek. There is a boat ramp there at the foot of my driveway and good Flatheads all around the five Islands going up stream from there. Just down stream from the Parkway bridge is a real good place. Right where the shallower fast water meets the deep pool. (at the head of the Island there) that is where I caught my biggest in that area so far, 29 1/2 pounds. Another good spot is 1/2 mile up from there in the hole under the dam that's up there.
    At the entrance of GP is another good place with a lot of Channel cats up stream from the ramp and Flatheads right at the ramp, (there are a lot of RR ties there they hide under left from the last couple floods). Down stream from there the water is 15-20 feet in most areas and you can go down about 2 miles from there to the top of Coleman Falls Dam. Look for the deeper holes as most of them have trees and other cover stuck in them. I guy I know caught a 40# and a 44# the same night here. It's a good area to drift live bait for Flatheads. Good luck, Brother!!! I hope this helps. Let me know how you do.
     
  4. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    Oops, As for the other question, no Snowden is no good above the dam. There is no cove there until you get into the fast water at the top of the "lake", above that first island but you can't get a boat up there very well. That is the bottom of the Gorge. Canoeing down from the top, from Glasgow, is the only decent way to fish that area. The lake above Snowden dam has no cover or structure. I've fished there several times with no luck at all, and then saw why when they drained it several years ago. The bottom is just sand and golf ball sized rocks with no place for a fish to hide. Below Snowden dam is good but there is no good way to get a boat in. That area is strewn with boulder formations, (great Smallie area) but it's really bank fishing only.(you can carry a small boat across the road and put in but it's a lot of work) The hole at the foot of the dam is a good spot if you are agile enough to go down that steep drop from the dam parking area. However, bring plenty of hooks and sinkers because there are a lot of snags down there.
     
  5. SwiftWater

    SwiftWater New Member

    Messages:
    56
    State:
    Central Virginia
    Thanks for the insight, Willie. I may take a trip up that way in a few weeks to scope it out. If I hook up with a brute or dink I'll let ya know!

    Thanks,
    D
     
  6. Otter

    Otter New Member

    Messages:
    17
    State:
    Virginia
    Willie:
    Have you fished around the Bremo Bluff area? I fished there 2 times and thought it had some potential.

    I lived in Lynchburg last year and fished up near Big Island and Snowden. I caught some flatties downstream from GP, but had a difficult time at Snowden. I did have some success at Snowden near the ramp where the footbridge goes across. The water is 12-15 ft. deep and I had one night where I had several bites, but for some reason I wasn't hooking the fish (circle hook problems). The last 2 evenings I went out and tried upstream from Watkins Landing---good wood but fairly shallow and alot of boat traffic.

    I haven't caught any big flatheads in Virginia but I'm still trying. I caught my biggest (38.5", 25lb) flathead in Mississippi about a mile downstream from Sardis Lake in the Tallahatchie river. Lost one that night that was easily 2X it's size.

    Thanks to all for the information!
    -Kyle
     
  7. Ripper

    Ripper New Member

    Messages:
    37
    State:
    Virginia
    What was the water temp. near watkins Otter ???
     
  8. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    Hey Otter,
    no, you won't do too well at Snowden because there is no structure there. the bottom is just golf ball sized rocks and sand. They drained it down a while back and I was amazed that it looks like a desert there. Below the dam is much better but you can only use boats that you can carry across the road. There is what used to be a gaugeing station and boat ramp down stream on the Amhearst Co. side but they put a guard rail up so you can't drive in anymore. The other ramp in Big Island is pretty good. the one above GP at Hunting Creek, on Riverside Circle. That's where I have a house, right across from the ramp, up on the hill. There is plenty of cover around the five islands in that stretch between the two dams and good fishing in the hole under the the up stream dam. A lot of big cats and Muskies cruise thru there.
     
  9. Otter

    Otter New Member

    Messages:
    17
    State:
    Virginia
    Thanks for the info Willie!

    Ripper: I didn't have a thermometer but I think it was somewhere around 65 degrees. I have firsthand experience though, as I had to take a little dip. I forgot my headband light that night so the only light I had was a maglite. I landed a small flathead and it got tangled in my anchor line. With all the commotion, I dropped my maglight in the water. I uttered and expletive and saw the maglight on the bottom, casting a beam underwater. After some deliberation I pulled off to side, stripped down to my trunks and went in after it. The water felt around 65, it was a bit nippy for skinny dipping. :eek:oooh:
     
  10. Ripper

    Ripper New Member

    Messages:
    37
    State:
    Virginia
    Thanks Otter

    me and my brother will be at watkins this sunday night flatheading,let me know if your gonna be out then we'll meet up and chat for a few!

    What was you using for bait,and was bait hard to get,so i know before i make the couple hour trip.

    Thanks for any help you can give.

    James Price
    Elkton VA.
     
  11. Ripper

    Ripper New Member

    Messages:
    37
    State:
    Virginia
    WILLIE--the stretch of river near your house,what is the average depth will a 15' jon boat with a 10hp be ok in that stretch??
     
  12. odominioncatter

    odominioncatter Member

    Messages:
    132
    State:
    Elkin, NC
    Willie,


    Do you have a jet ski in your driveway? I was checking out that boat ramp a month or so ago and think I passed your house.

    Ripper and I have been wanting to fish the upper James and your posts here have some fantastic information. Hope to try it out soon.

    See ya
    Todd
     
  13. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    I'm the house on the hill next to where the jet ski is. That guy is a non-fishing jerk from New Jersey who enjoys speeding by folks in small boats and splashing them with his Jet Ski. Watch out for him! He has most of the fishermen in the area PO'd at him. We have been trying to get the law to do something about him and his son not observing the no "No Wake Zone".
     
  14. odominioncatter

    odominioncatter Member

    Messages:
    132
    State:
    Elkin, NC
    Catfishing solution................2oz egg sinker upside his head.

    So when you put out of the ramp by your house you go upstream for better fishing correct?

    What is the bait of choice? Live bream or are there shad species that work better?
     
  15. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    Yea, you can only go a hundred yards down stream because of the GP dam. You can go around the back of that first island, Big Island, and there are some deep holes there. One of the best places however is just below the Parkway bridge where the shallow fast water meets the deeper water at the head of the second Island.( Next to the canal lock you see there) Another good spot will be behind the island that is just above the parkway bridge. I go up the back side to the head of that island and drift back down hitting all those deeper holes along the rock face. Then the last good place is all the way up to the top dam in the big hole at the foot of the dam. I usuallt just beach the boat on that last island and fish from the point of the island. There are usually Muskies in that hole too.
    Bream and Red Eyes are the best bait as there are no Shad in there. I get them up on the Parkway at Otter Lake which is just across the river. I do real well below the little dam there on Otter Creek and carry them back to the river. However there are a lot of bream along the edges of the Islands and in the shallow fast water up by the dam, left side) too.
    Good Luck!
     
  16. Otter

    Otter New Member

    Messages:
    17
    State:
    Virginia
    FYI- Otter creek is a nice place to get bluegills. That is just up the Parkway.
     
  17. Otter

    Otter New Member

    Messages:
    17
    State:
    Virginia
    Ripper:
    Normally I use bluegills for bait. I'd like to try bullheads if I can find a good place to catch them near Charlottesville. I catch them in the Rivanna most of the time and then use a system with 2 flow-through minnow buckets to keep them in and a reservoir of water in a 22-gallon storage container. The gills can last 2-3 hours with this system without changing the water.

    I may be in Roanoke this weekend, I'm not sure. Some friends of mine are having a get-together and I might stay over and fish somewhere up that way.
     
  18. rebcatman

    rebcatman New Member

    Messages:
    555
    State:
    Manassas, Virginia
    Flathead,

    A few follow up questions for you, if you don't mind.. You mentioned your area has good spots for bank fishing, is that without having to use a boat to get to those areas first? I like to come down and try for the some flatheads, but I do not have a boat. Also, is it safe to fish at night, or even allowed in your section of the river? Thanks.
     
  19. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    Yes, it's legal and safe to bank fish the James, unless you are on POSTED land. Regulations vary at the state parks on night fishing so check with the local VDGIF before going there.
     
  20. rebcatman

    rebcatman New Member

    Messages:
    555
    State:
    Manassas, Virginia
    Thanks Flathead.