North Landing and Northwest Rivers

Moratorium on Possession of River Herring

It is now illegal for any person fishing this river to have river herring in their possession - this includes blueback herring and alewife. All river herring inadvertently caught by anglers must be immediately released back into the water.

New Regulations for Herring

The North Landing River winds its way from the urban settings of Hampton Roads down through tree-lined wetlands into North Carolina's Currituck Sound. The river is part of the Intra-coastal Waterway, an essential segment for boat traffic up and down the east coast. Many pleasure boaters travel the river from the New England states in the spring down to Florida for the summer and then back north again in the fall.

Local anglers know this river as a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Hampton Roads "rat-race" without having to travel hours from home. The river is known for having a diverse fishery; from sunfish species to the anadromous striped bass and American shad, any angler can find something to pursue all year long. There are several boat ramps on the mainstem or in the tributary creeks that will give you access to the entire river. Check out our map for more details.

Because the North Landing lays completely below the fall line, it does not have rapids or fast water like most other Virginia rivers. That means you can't just float downstream with the current from one put-in to another-you have to do a little work (which really isn't such a bad thing). An advantage with canoeing this river is you don't have to take two vehicles or paddle upriver fighting the current to get back where you started. Pick one of the public boat ramps, or canoe access sites shown on the map, paddle or motor around all you want, upstream or downstream, and return to where you started. No shuttling of vehicles is required! One thing to remember- since upstream and downstream are not always that obvious (wind tides can actually push water upriver), there's some chance of getting disoriented, particularly if you go exploring back in the marshes and swamps.

The river has extensive marshes around it with several small tributary streams, particularly along the western shore. This gives the canoeist plenty of water to explore away from big boats on the river. The river can be somewhat salty at times, particularly when southerly breezes push water upriver from the Sound. West Neck Creek, one of the larger tributaries, also can be salty due to a manmade canal connecting it to the Lynnhaven River to the north. West shore tributaries are typically less salty.

Much of the land surrounding the North Landing River is owned by the Nature Conservancy and protected from development. Wildlife is plentiful in this area, particularly deer, so bring your binoculars. Certainly you'll get to see a wide variety of birds, and yes snakes. The river is home to cottonmouths and canebrake rattlesnakes, so exercise caution. There are plenty of harmless water snakes as well, so don't get too upset if you see a snake on the water. Contrary to popular belief, not all snakes around water are water moccasins. The canebrake rattlesnake, a state endangered species, is fairly rare and terrestrial, so there's little likelihood of encountering one on the rivers.

Whether you want to chase after largemouth bass, striped bass or just canoe the back waters, the North Landing River has something for you. A short drive from the downtown Chesapeake, Norfolk or Virginia Beach, will take you to a world away. Come explore this treasure close to home.