Heavy rains in recent days have led to flooding along the James River and prompted FLW this morning to cancel day 1 of the James River Northern Rayovac Series.
The river is actually closed 20 miles north of here because of how swift the current is, Rayovac FLW Series tournament director Ron Lappin said in an update posted at FLWOutdoors.com. FLW has always erred on the side of safety, so postponing day 1 was in the best interest for the anglers. The river is expected to crest this afternoon and we will keep checking it throughout the day. Our plan as of now is to fish the entire field on both Friday and Saturday. Obviously, that could change depending on the river conditions, but that will be decided tomorrow morning.
BassFan columnist Joe Balog, who is due to compete in the event, said the ramp at Osborne Landing in Richmond, Va., where the field was supposed to take off from is completely washed out and the docks are submerged. The National Weather Service declares flood stage for this portion of the James to be at 12 feet with it currently sitting above 13 feet. When the river finally crests it is predicted to be close to 15 feet.
"As of now, they're telling us it's just day 1, but most people are thinking we won't be fishing at all this week," Balog said. "The river has been rising due to all the rain west of here. It's been really, really bad. The water's very high and very muddy and there are giant logs floating everywhere. The National Weather Service is calling for the water to continue to rise through tomorrow."
In addition to the flood conditions, a train carrying crude oil derailed near Lynchburg, Va., yesterday causing much of the oil to spill into the river. The James is the major water supply for the city of Richmond and surrounding area, so much of the concern pertained to the potential for contaminated drinking water. Booms were put in place to collect any oil heading downstream since oil floats in water.