Virginia.gov

Lake Shenandoah - Fishing Opportunities

Largemouth bass

"Fair" with a good size distribution best describes the largemouth bass population of Lake Shenandoah. In the 1970's and 1980's the bass population consisted mainly of fish less than 12 inches in length. The 18 inch minimum-size regulation put into effect in 1989 has worked to restructure the bass population. Largemouth can be found in modest numbers, with fish 9-15" making up the bulk of the fishery.

Crappie

Black crappie in Lake Shenandoah are severely "stunted". Few fish over 6" have been sampled by biologists in recent years. Until the lake can be renovated the crappie population will probably remain unchanged.

Bluegill

Bluegill in Lake Shenandoah are also moderately "stunted" Few fish over 6" have been collected by biologist in recent years. However, the lake does harbor good numbers of bluegill. Without habitat improvement, the bluegill population will probably remain unchanged.

Channel catfish

The Department annually stocks channel catfish fingerlings in the lake. Some channel catfish are also reproducing naturally. Biologists have had a difficult time collecting catfish from the lake. Lake renovation would also benefit the catfish population. Anglers that fish after dark at Lake Shenandoah have recently reported some good catches of catfish.

Muskellunge

The one bright spot at Lake Shenandoah is the musky fishery. Musky do not naturally reproduce in Lake Shenandoah therefore the Department must stock fingerlings each year. Biologists have sampled musky up to 20 lbs from the lake in recent years. Remember, musky are top predators on the food chain and are never found in large numbers. However, Lake Shenandoah offers anglers a great opportunity to catch a musky. Musky are a "cool-water" fish and are active even during the winter months. Musky are caught from the lake every of the year. Due to the lake's murky water, anglers should use baits that have a lot of "action".