Shenandoah River Fishing Report

Updated April 6, 2021

2021 fishing licenses are available in our store. Also available online at Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Date: 4/3/2021
Water: Clear & 50 Degrees

Some people say that the smallies don’t bite in the Spring when the water is cold. Well, these two young ladies beg to differ. They caught these babies on Saturday when the water was cold and the daytime air temperature wasn’t much better. The wind was also a bit of a problem. I believe they said they caught them on blacks senkos rigged Texas style. Come on out and get some fishing action while the lunkers are hungry!


Date: 3/20/2021
Water – Gin clear & 48.5 degrees

While, the river temperature is definitely going in the wrong direction. After jumping up to the mid 50’s, the cold nights have dropped the temperature back down into the 40’s. Once we see the water temperature jump up to 60, and even more so at around 68, the fish will turn on strong. If you are patient, you can catch some lunkers once the river temp hits the mid to upper 50’s. Good luck and we’ll post updated conditions as soon as guests report back. See ya soon and fish on!

Date: 3/13/21
Water: Clear – 52 degrees
Welcome back fisherman! Today is opening day for the 2021 season! We are so happy to have 2020 behind us and we look forward to awesome fishing in 2021. The Department of Wildlife Resources has said that this year we should see some bigger fish and improved catch numbers across the board in the Shenandoah River. With the clear water that we have now and the increasing water temperature, this is the time to catch the lunkers. We hope to see you soon and we will be posting a new fishing report as soon as guests start reporting back.

Date: 6/1/20

Water: 74 degrees

Sunny, beautiful day

I had the pleasure of renting a fishing kayak this past Saturday, May 30th. It was out of this world. The water was stained and the river was high, but the Largemouth bass were just post spawn guarding their fry. I caught more large bass on a river than I believe I’ve ever caught in my life. I used a 4 inch paddle tail swimbait on a 1/8 ouce jighead worked slow in the creek mouths. Also used a natural colored Nikko helgrammite “shaked off the bottom” in those same creek mouths. In the main river near the bends I would set up to make a cast to a shoreline mini eddies to give a couple of bounces. The fish were not biting very aggressively and the bite would just feel like a moving log on the end of the line, but that bite was consistent throughout the float. My left thumb feels like I took a coarse sandpaper to it. I had a blast and highly recommend renting a fishing kayak for a float.

Daniel C


Date: 4/11/2020

Water: Clear: – 55 degrees

Weather: Partly cloudy to sun breaking out occasionally – 70 degrees

The South Fork is gin clear and primed for great fishing. With very little pressure so far this spring, the smallmouth are active and trolling for food. Today’s float produced several big smallies in the 14 to 16 inches range, with the biggest running over 18 inches. The lures that worked the best were the good old Mepps spinner thrown out along the ledge line and retrieved just downstream of the ledge at a moderate pace. The smallies would bite as the spinner worked from the faster current into the eddy pools. The other two winning baits were NIKKO Tadpoles and NIKKO Hellgramites. These babies are the real deal. NIKKO lures are almost indestructible and attract the smallies every time they see them. If you need NIKKO baits you can usually find them at the Front Royal Outdoors store or buy them from their online store and they will ship them to you. We also threw the Tried and true Rooster Tail with good success as well. Overall I’d say we landed about 20 fish on the float from Shenandoah River State Park down to Karo landing. Pretty good day for early spring fishing.

While Front Royal Outdoors is not currently shuttling people to and from the river, they will still rent you the equipment for you to take to the river. FRO also has the two car option, where you park a car at the put-in and another at the take-out and FRO with bring the equipment to you and then pick it up at the end of your trip. These are great ways to hit the river in these difficult times.

Until we all have a chance to hit the river together, be safe and get your gear ready

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