by Daniel Leech, Richmond, VA

Story prompt: The river is important to me because …

I am passionate about the James River and all it has to offer.

One thing about the James I think is so special is how diverse the river is. Within a few miles around Richmond you can access excellent wadable smallmouth fishing, class 3+ whitewater, dammed pools for powerboating, tidal influenced fishing for anadromous fish, and everything in between.

Those who enjoy the river also represent a diverse group of people, and there is no time the diversity is more present than during shad season. When the water warms into the mid 50’s and the dogwoods start to bloom, the crowds flock to downtown Richmond to get in on the shad, herring, perch, and striper that come upriver to spawn. Standing on the rip rap below the southern states silos is a prime spot and where you may fish beside a business executive decked out in Orvis gear or possibly someone down on their luck fishing to feed their family.

Regardless of who you are and what you are doing before or after fishing, the River brings people together who may not normally cross paths, and engages them in meaningful conversations about how the fishing is or how their day was.

Photo provided by JRA