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Lake Shenandoah

Lake Shenandoah is a 36 acre impoundment owned by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The lake is located in Rockingham County near the City of Harrisonburg. Urban development surrounds much of the lake. Much of the lake is shallow (less than 3 feet) and the maximum depth near the dam is 25 feet. Excessive nutrients entering the lake keep the water green with algal blooms through most of the year. Anglers have the opportunity to catch largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, common carp, channel catfish and musky from Lake Shenandoah.
Throughout its history Lake Shenandoah has had chronic fisheries problems that can be attributed directly to development in the drainage. A public golf course and expanding residential housing have introduced excessive nutrients and sediments to Lake Shenandoah. The result has been severe negative impacts on fish habitat. Excessive nutrients cause profound algal blooms which alter water quality. Decaying planktonik algae causes all the water in the lake except the upper few feet below the surface to become void of dissolved oxygen during the summer months. Low oxygen levels can suppress aquatic insect populations and stress fish . In addition, shallow water in the upper two arms of the lake with freshly deposited sediments creates poor physical habitat for all fish species. Compounding the problem, prey fish can avoid predators in this shallow water and become overpopulated and "stunted". The overpopulated bluegill and crappie compete with young bass and catfish for the limited food supply causing poor growth for all fish species.

Currently, biologists are looking into ways to renovate Lake Shenandoah creating suitable habitat for a healthy fish population.

Access Permit Requirement

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) will require an Access Permit for visitors to department-owned Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and public fishing lakes effective January 1, 2012, who are age 17 and older, unless they possess a valid Virginia hunting, freshwater fishing, or trapping license, or a current Virginia boat registration. Learn more about the Access Permit »