The North Fork of the Shenandoah River rises in Northern Rockingham County, Virginia and flows northward for 116 miles. The river is known for areas of bedrock ledge bottom features, several of which can be found in the “seven bends” section of the river between Woodstock and Edinburg. These unusual geological formations create ideal fish habitat for smallmouth bass and other species.
Much of the river is narrow and shallow, making it suitable for float trips and wading. Because of the river’s small size, navigation can be hampered during periods of low water flow. Navigation along the river is also affected by dams and several low-water bridges. The river is first dammed upstream of Timberville. Three dams are located between Edinburg and the Route 758 bridge near Woodstock. Two additional dams are located between Strasburg and Riverton.
Near Port Republic, the South River merges with the North River to form the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. The South Fork flows approximately 97 miles before merging with the North Fork Shenandoah at Front Royal.
The South Fork Shenandoah is impounded by dams at Shenandoah, Newport, and Luray, which are owned by Allegheny Power. Several public access points along the river provide opportunities for float fishing, kayaking, and other activities.
The Main Stem Shenandoah River is formed when the North Fork and South Fork converge at Front Royal, Virginia. Warren Dam is located immediately downstream of Front Royal. The Shenandoah flows for 57 miles until it empties into the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
Riparian lands along the Shenandoah River are privately owned, with the exception of four access points, which are owned by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF). The section of the Shenandoah flowing through Clarke County is designated as a state scenic river.
The Shenandoah River contains smallmouth bass, redbreast sunfish, rock bass, green sunfish, bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, musky, American eel, white sucker, northern hogsucker, redhorse, common carp, yellow bullhead, and channel catfish.