Shad season is in full swing on the Rappahannock. I fished it for a few hours on Tuesday evening and picked up five shad and had a few bumps that did not result in a hookup. As you can see from the pictures, the crowds were out enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. In addition to anglers, there were folks swimming and sunning on the wide beach on the north side of the river.
For the first time, I fished for shad from the Falmouth side. I picked up the parking pass that allows early and late entry to the parking lot on the way down to the river. However, if you are going to be on the river between 8 AM and 7 PM, the parking lot is open to all – no pass required. The advantage of the Falmouth side is that the sand that used to be backed up from the Embry dam has pushed its way into that corner of the river creating a wide shallow sandbar that overlooks the deep channel in the middle of the river. The sandbar supports easy wading, even at high tide, that allows anglers to space out and not crowd each other.
But, a quick look at the satellite picture reveals that sand has had an adverse impact as well. It filled in most of the river, leaving only two deep spots to create holding positions for fish. From chatting with other anglers, and there were plenty of them, the consensus was that the run this year has not been as good as previous years. I suspect it is because we are now fishing in the wrong place based on the movement of sand downstream. Other anglers, who fished farther upriver around the bend, reported great success. When I go back down next week, I’m going to move to one of those spots and see if my luck changes.
Google Local Coordinates: 38.319202,-77.47138
Getting There: From I95, take exit 133A for Falmouth. Follow it to Route 1. Turn right on Route 1 and go across the bridge. Take your first left at the light to stay on Rt 17, then an immediate left on Van Buren Street. Park anywhere on the left. You can also continue down to Caroline Street and turn either right or left to find a place to park next to the river.
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented on the Virginia VDGIF site and any number of Fredericksburg community web pages.
Date Fished: 4/3/2012
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Families out in strength
Plenty of company… as usual for shad fishing
The fish are here… just a matter of catching them
This was new… these guys parked a canoe in the middle of the river to plumb the deep hole.
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore