Heading Down Stream

Twin River Outfitters

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Buchanan, VA, United States
640 Lowe Street Buchanan, VA 24066
Web http://canoevirginia.net
Email: tro@canoevirginia.net
Phone: 540-261-7334

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bay Journal Article on Upper James River Water Trail

The April 2014 Chesapeake Bay Journal included a great article on the Upper James River Water Trail.  Check out the link for the full article. 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 2014 Fishing Blog

Spring has officially gotten here but “old man” winter is hanging on for everything he can find.  Water temperatures are still below 50 degrees F, which is my favorite temp to start trying to key in on pre-spawn smallmouths.  However, the warm weather is upon us and the fishing for lunkers is eminent — the only problem is that it is going to be a shorter window before they spawn and head elsewhere.  There are many reports of some good fish being caught on jigs and tubes on the days that the fish are willing to cooperate and the minnow bite is just around the corner.  What I mean by the “minnow” bite is that these fish will soon be willing to go after a crankbait, spinnerbait, fluke, or senko.  So, let’s focus on the spinnerbait in this month’s blog post.

Assorted blade styles and wire forms on some spinnerbaits

There is no question as to how valuable a spinnerbait is to a lake fisherman in the spring for largemouths and the river smallmouth will react to this bait in much the same way – you just have to be willing to deal with a few issues.  One issue is that the spinnerbait is fine around a log with no current but when stream current gets factored into the equation things can get a little touchy.  You have to realize that you are going to lose quite a few before the day is over.  I have found that the ones without the twist for the eyelet are a little more forgiving on the river.  Another issue is the weight of the spinnerbait – this is totally dependent on where you are targeting your fish.  If they are up tight to the bank behind boulders in less than 5 feet of water you could get away with a 1/4 ounce bait but if you are fishing for bass in deep wood you will need to go to 3/8 or 1/2 ounce baits.  A third issue is to decide as to what type and quantity of blade that you want on the wire form.  Personally, I prefer a single willow leaf.  My thoughts have always been that the willow leaf provides less drag than a colorado and looks more natural as a small minnow being chased by the bigger baitfish.  It will also get deeper quicker than other blade styles.  The biggest drawback of the willow is that it takes a little more water to turn the blade over but you already have the current helping you out on that scenario.  A real big issue is the color.  Natural colors are a great place to start but there are times that a chartreuse or a black bait are very effective.  I have seen chartreuse “come on” in the middle of the day on clear water conditions for no known reason and have seen the black or the black/blue spinnerbait become very effective right at dark.  One last consideration is whether to fish “with” or “without”.  This is like ordering a hamburger at the old Roanoke establishment called the Texas Tavern – you either got it with or without all of the “fixens”.  Some bass will go crazy if the spinnerbait is doctored up with a good sized trailer on the back but then there are those times that they will be turned off to the trailer and want to short strike everything. 
Whatever your curiosities or inclinations are, be willing to give a spinnerbait an honest try and you might surprise yourself, as I certainly learned years ago, that the spinnerbait will catch decent and even lunker sized smallmouths.  Finally, remember to be considerate of others on the river (the warmer weather will bring about lots of other boaters), be careful, and practice “catch and immediate release” – this will ensure that you or your partner will have some more good luck next time.   Until next time, thanks . . .

Richard Furman, Twin River Outfitters Fishing Guide

Clink link to see full article.  http://www.jamesriverguide.com/2014/04/03/april-2014/

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Project aims for busier James River, Roanoke Times Sunday, February 16, 2014 8:30 pm

There is a rule of thumb for paddling the James River. If the combined temperature of the water and air don’t add up to 110 degrees, then leave it for another day. In the dead of winter, the only people contemplating a float on the James are daydreamers and the folks who want to make the experience come summer more enjoyable for others.

Folks like Pete Peters, Botetourt County’s director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, and others involved in the Upper James River Water Trail.

They recently got together to talk about what comes next for the project, launched just a few years ago.
Peters said there are now eight public places to launch a boat along the 45 miles of the James River flowing through Botetourt County.

Not all of them are easy to spot from the river. If an inexperienced kayaker misses a takeout, he might be in for a longer, more difficult journey than he anticipated.  That could change in the next few years. Peters said the group is working to develop more access points and to mark the water trail, much the same as a mountain trail, so that users know where they are and where the takeout points are located. Should something go wrong, rescuers would also have better reference points for finding those who land in a spot of trouble. “We want to come up with a river mile-marking system, and are working with the James River Association,” Peters said.

The James River runs 340 miles from its head in Iron Gate to the Chesapeake Bay. No group has yet marked it for recreation.  Peters said they haven’t settled on the type of sign, but that most likely it will have a logo and a number to mark the mile on the front and back. By working with the James River Association, the Botetourt organization is hoping that a unified design can be adopted for the length of the river.
Plans are to hang the signs on islands and overpasses and have them in place by the spring of 2015.
“Right now there are places where people have spray-painted dots on trees, if you know what to look for,” he said. But they aren’t always easy to spot or recognize, and boaters can miss their planned picnic or takeout spot.

Peters said they are also working to develop more access points and have identified three places — Last Lock near Eagle Rock, Glen Wilton and Roaring Run — that lend themselves to public improvements.
“Folks are already using them,” Peters said.  Last Lock is a spot marked with a flagpole to memorialize the last lock on the James River. The land is maintained by a garden club and owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation, which acquired it decades ago from CSX Corp.  “It’s above Eagle Rock proper on the left at a bend in the James,” Peters said. “What the county would like to do is see if it can be fully developed into a wayside park and boat launch.” And because it is near iron ore furnaces, Peters envisions a greenway running along the river linking attractions that visitors might want to explore.
Peters said county officials are already talking with VDOT and with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation on developing that area as well as the other two. Since many of the same people are involved in all three projects, Peters said, the county will work on them concurrently.

The water trail project was started in 2008 with planning and was officially launched in 2010 and continues to attract more people looking to canoe, kayak or fish along the Upper James River.
It’s hard to take an official count, but there are two measures. The first is what Peters calls the “eyeball test.” On a warm day the parking areas at the access points are filled. Then, there’s increased commerce.
Peters said new camps have started, business licenses for activities along the James have increased, fishing guides and outfitters are reporting upticks in business, and a few property owners have inquired about zoning changes so they can offer lodging.

He expects businesses catering to river users will continue to grow as the water trail is further developed.
Contact Luanne Rife at luanne.rife@roanoke.com.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fishing Blog Post - January 2014  

We have some news about things to offer for this upcoming fishing season at Twin River Outfitters.  First of all, we have created a new website dedicated to the sole purpose of providing some up to date fishing information on the James River in our immediate guiding area.  We intend to post a monthly blog report of what has been working and other beneficial information as the season progresses.  The link is as follows:

Secondly, we have been fortunate to have had the services of Twin River Outfitters to be a part of a feature article in the February issue of Virginia Game & Fish on the state’s smallmouth forecast.  Many thanks to local outdoor writer Bruce Ingram for enabling this feature to come to print.

And lastly, if you and a friend are seriously considering a prime opportunity to catch a lunker pre-spawn smallmouth on one of our guided fishing trips this is the time to look at your calendar and focus on a date from late February to mid April.

Thanks and keep a tight line,

Richard Furman
Twin River Fishing Guide

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

James River Takeout - Cushaw Project


 Frvalogo-wtyp-bw-1bit           FFV logo

Cushaw Project Currents

FORVA Re-starts the Cushaw Project!  
            After a long, several years wait for the Glasgow access improvements to be completed, we have decided to move forward with our re-start for the Cushaw Project, the goal being a better take-out below Balcony.  The Glasgow improvements are somewhat bogged down in bureaucratic red tape, but at least the way is clear to use the new put-in that is directly on the James.  
First step:  apply to DCR
            The process set up by the legislature to apply for an at-grade crossing starts with a “Letter of Intent,” which is really a form that calls for nine different subjects to be addressed.  Then the application goes to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).  Jennifer Wampler is the point person at DCR.  After DCR reviews the application, and if it is approved by DCR, it then goes to CSX.   

Lock 14 is the first choice: 
            We are submitting a request for an at-grade crossing at Lock 14, which is a nice old historic canal lock in excellent shape.  Much of it is covered with brush and needs work.  Interested? 
            We plan to do a gravel road off Rt 501 that would run down to the track but not cross it.  There will be parking at the top of the hill but only a turnaround at the bottom for loading boats. 

CSX has argued liability, but has none: 
            Our last major work on this project was legislative.  We added language to the Virginia code that made it crystal clear that railroads would be exempt from lawsuits if they allowed the public to cross their tracks.  It remains to be seen if CSX has digested the new code and will recognize that liability issues are no more.  Their lawyers will not likely accept this as it reduces their work load. 

Cost of development?  
            We have estimated the cost of the project will be about $200,000.  Currently, we have $165,000 in funds available from Dominion Power.  So expect a major fundraising effort if we get the nod from CSX for the crossing. 

Support Grows: 
            Our newest letter of support for the project comes from Friends of the Roanoke River, as of January 7, 2014.  In February, we will solicit a support letter from the Botetourt County Blueway Committee.  If you know of other organizations or companies that would do a letter, please let me know.  

How to Help: 
Contact Bill Tanger:  Email address:  bill.tanger@verizon.net.   Home: 540-366-2228.  Cell:  540-266-0237. 

Cushaw Update – FORVA-FFV 1-7-14