The heat is on now that its mid July. The rivers have gotten low quickly with the lack of rain. So now wishing we would get a fair amount so the drift boat doesn’t suffer more than usual. Maybe a tropical storm will make its way north sometime in the near future.
The smallmouth bass fishing on the James River as been off from previous years. There seems to be a population drop likely due to poor spawns in the past a few years back. Catching 20-30 bass most trips with some days in the teens. The size of the fish is still great and I see fish from last years spawn in good number. One thing that hasn’t changed is the amount of 18-21″ that are catchable. Yesterdays trip provided a 20 3/4″ bass and two others over 18″ on topwater flies. The James is still providing the big boys but not as many numbers as the past. Topwater bite has been great though. When the bass see the fly splat their rushing over for the kill. Tons of bugs are present, I have caught many fish with Japanese beetles still in their mouth, so plenty of food coming from the trees that line the river bank.
The Staunton River has fished well for numbers of fish the past few times there. Streamers have been working the best but as water flows drop the topwater bite improves with the fly rod. The Staunton holds some very large smallmouth bass but not quite as easy to get on them as the James River. The big bass on the Staunton don’t tend to get as shallow as the James so you have to focus more on deeper holes. Eventually the big bass will move on the banks, especially when the annual cicadas start to die off and fall in the river.