Shenandoah River - North Fork

Shenandoah, Cowpasture, and James River fish kills update

The North Fork Shenandoah River is a fifth order stream that drains 2,675 square miles of northeastern Virginia. The river flows north 116 miles from Northern Rockingham County to the Town of Front royal where it joins the South Fork Shenandoah to form the Shenandoah River. As the North Fork cuts through the karst geology of the Shenandoah Valley many bedrock ledges cross the channel perpendicular to the flow of the river. These features are very common in the "seven bends" section of the river between Woodstock and Edinburg. Bedrock ledges create unique fish habitat and angling can be very productive in these areas. The North Fork is a relatively small, shallow river and is very accessible to wade angling. Excessive nutrients in the watershed promote the growth of algae and aquatic plants. This vegetation can become very dense during the summer/fall months and impede fishing and boating.

The North Fork is an ideal river to float by canoe. Clear water, pleasant scenery, abundant wildlife, and mild whitewater make the North Fork a paddler's dream. However, low flows during the summer months often require canoeists to walk their boats through shallow areas. The primary navigational hazards on the river are six dams and several low-water bridges. The first dam is upstream of Timberville; three dams are located between Edinburg and the Route 758 bridge east of Woodstock; and two small dams are found between Strasburg and Riverton.