Shenandoah River Fishing Report

Updated June 1, 2020

2020 fishing licenses are available in our store. Also available online at Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

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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