Fishing: The South Fork of the Shenandoah River is one of the nation's best for smallmouth and largemouth bass, rockbass, redbreast sunfish, bluegill, muskellunge and channel catfish. The North Fork, meanwhile, offers anglers smallmouth bass and redbreast sunfish, and the mainstream offers all species except muskellunge.
A health advisory, issued by the Virginia Department of Health, recommends against eating fish taken from the confluence of the Shenandoah River to the West Virginia line in Clarke County, and on the North Fork from the confluence of Passage Creek downstream, and on the South Fork from the Mountain Road bridge to the main stem. The advisory was issued in the 1980s for possible polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) contamination on the bottom of the stream which prompted the state advisory. PCB is an organic, man-made carcinogen.
State residents age 16 and over are required to obtain a fishing license before fishing on inland waters. Nonresidents over age 12 need a license. All persons needing a license also need to purchase a National Forest stamp when fishing in waters within the boundary of the Washington and Jefferson National Forest, except on the North and South forks of the Shenandoah River. Licenses are sold at authorized agents located throughout the county, but not at the county clerk's office.
Recommended Fishing Spots:
For more information on fishing in Virginia, a free pamphlet on fishing regulations is available at licensing agents or by contacting the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 4010 W. Broad Street, PO Box 11104, Richmond, VA 23230 or call 804.367.1000.