Angler's Lane

James River Fly Fishing
Guided trips for smallmouth bass

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From the confluence of the Jackson and the Cowpasture at Iron Gate through its southern dip in Lynchburg and beyond, the James River offers some of the best smallmouth bass fishing on the east coast.  We have fished the James for well over 20 years and know the river, which is our home water, as Lynchburg is the southern most stretch west of the fall line.  We focus most closely on the stretches within 50 miles of Lynchburg in each direction.  If you are looking to fly fish the James, we can guide you so you can enjoy its beauty as we work to put you on fish.

The Upper James above Lynchburg the James River is unimpeded until the Snowden, where it is interrupted by the first of a seven dams ending at Scotts Mill Dam in downtown Lynchburg at the southernmost spot of the section which many call the "middle James."   Here the river begins its meandering path towards northeast for the next 50 or so miles where one can experience some excellent smallmouth fishing, usually without tremendous boat traffic, if one times the trips correctly.

Our fishing experience on the James began in 1990 as clients with retired guide Chuck Kraft.  In the late 1990's with the advent of Angler's Lane we began guiding the river with clients on a regular basis. 

We have put plenty of clients on citation smallmouth over the years, though one can never guarantee this on a particular outing.  Like any river the James has experienced its share of swings in fish counts over the past several decades, and 2012 was a surprisingly strong year for both quantity and quality.  We are highly encouraged about the early outlook for 2013.

While access on the James is respectable we use a variety of private and public access points from Buchanan to Howardsville.  We work diligently to keep a pulse on which sections of the James are fishing best at any given time.  We guide from a 14' Outcast raft and a 15 1/2 Maravia raft, both of which can make it down the river without scraping in the low-water summer months when popping bug action is at its peak.  Guide Tom Reisdorf knows the stretch near the nuclear facilities like the back of his hand, as he probably skipped out there on lunch break when he worked there prior to his time at Angler's Lane.  Each of us has our favorite stretches on which we focus, but we pool information and switch over frequently to ensure customers have the best trip possible.

We do try to avoid this River on the day of the bateau festival, usually the 3rd Saturday in June.  Catch us for a trip on the Staunton River for that weekend.

In the springtime and fall, often clients will ask us to combine a trip on the James with our Rivenridge at Piney Forks lodge where one can stay within 45 minutes of float fishing the James.  This makes a great two or three day package trip for the angler wishing to fish for trout and bass on the same outing. 

To experience smallmouth fishing at its best on Virginia's historical and productive James, give us a call at 434-385-0200 or  book a trip now and we will get back with you to confirm the preferred date.  Best days of the week are Monday - Thursday.  We will book Friday or Saturday but realize the likelihood of crowds is greater that time. 

The James yields big smallmouth in one of America's most historic rivers! 

↑ ...Early days 1990-1991 - with Chuck Kraft on the James R with future understudies ...↑ ;

Rate - Smallmouth Bass Float James River

Full Day Float Trip - 2 person - $450
Full Day Float Trip for Smallmouth    $430  - 1 person    Book a trip now pending availability
Trips include necessary equipment; bring appropriate rod if you own one.  Streamside lunch for full-day included.  Beverages included (water, iced tea and other non-alcoholic canned drinks as requested). Lost flies not included.  Lost lures not included (spin fishing).


        Book a trip now pending availability  

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Angler's Lane Fly Fishing Stores
 Graves Mill Center at Route 221, P O Box 1265, Forest (Lynchburg), Virginia 24551-5265
434-385-0200 Fax: 434-385-0400   Email: Contact Form