James River Columbia to West View

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Date: 06/07/2009
Trip length: 14.0 miles

We did this trip the day after we did Ancarrow's to Deep Bottom and we were exhausted from the day before. We chose this stretch to do on this day because the water west of Richmond was a little high and we would get an extra push from the river. We felt this was safe to do as there were no rapids on this stretch and the river is wide enough that a couple extra feet of water is not going to make a stretch like this one dangerous. Getting some help from the river was a welcome relief from fighting a rising tide like we did most of the previous day. As a result of being so worn out from the day before we didn't concern ourselves with getting to West View quickly, and spent much of the day just floating and talking. Since the river was muddy, we didn't spend any time trying to fish and were able to make good time. There's not really much to note on this stretch. There is a large island, Elk Island, that extends for about half the trip from Columbia to Cartersville. As the water was high, we didn't consider taking the left channel around the island as it is much narrower than the main channel, and was likely to be too quick from the high water. There isn't really much good structure on this stretch for fishing and the bends are long so there aren't good outside bends to catch trees and brush during high water. Another reason to paddle this stretch while the water is a little high and muddy... lousy fishing. About the only other thing of note on this stretch is the Willis River coming in a couple miles or so above the Cartersville landing on river right. We hadn't been doing much paddling up to where the Willis empties into the James, so we decided to paddle up it for a little bit. It seems like a nice river to explore some hot summer day, as all of where we explored had near-complete tree cover.