Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park (courtesy, NPS)

The mountain streams of Shenandoah National Park are inhabited by a variety of fish species and these pristine waters provide some of the best protected strongholds for native eastern brook trout. Recreational fishing regulations have changed significantly in order to ensure effective protection and management of fisheries resources in the Park. These recent changes eliminate many of the differences that have existed between Virginia fish regulations and Park regulations. In order to provide protection for gamefish populations and enhance angling opportunities, Park Rangers strictly enforce regulations. If you see someone violating the regulations, please tell a ranger or call toll-free: 800-732-0911.

Park Streams Open for Harvest Fishing

The following streams, including their tributaries within the Park, are open for harvest fishing:


Piney River
Thornton River, North Fork
Thornton River, South Fork
Hughes River
Brokenback Run
Whiteoak Canyon Run
Cedar Run
Rose River
Canway River
South River
Ivy Creek
Doyles River
Jeremys Run
Pass Run
Hawksbill Creek, East
Hawksbill Creek, Little
Naked Creek, East Branch
Naked Creek, West Branch
Big Run
Madison Run
Paine Run
Meadow Run

Streams Designated as Closed

Fishing is prohibited at all times on the following streams, including their tributaries. No gamefish species, including trout, may be in possession at any time. These streams have been designated as long-term inventory and monitoring scientific study areas and must remain undisturbed.

Ragged Run
Dry Run, North Fork
One Mile Run


Waters: All streams within Shenandoah National Park, including all tributaries, are open for catch and release recreational fishing unless (1) designated as closed or (2) designated as open for harvest. Streams designated as open for harvest are also considered to be open for catch-and-release fishing. Those streams that are closed or designated for harvest are listed in this brochure.

Season: Streams and their tributaries designated as Open for Harvest or Catch and Release are open year-round.

License: All residents 16 years and older fishing within the Park must have a Virginia State fishing license in his/her possession. A five-day non-resident license may be purchased at Panorama Restaurant, Big Meadows, and Loft Mountain Waysides, or from local sporting goods stores. Non-residents 12 years and older must have a Virginia license.

Size Limit: No trout under nine inches in length may be kept. Undersized fish must be immediately and carefully returned to the water. Size limits on other species of game fish are those established by applicable State law.

Creel Limits: No person may retain more than six trout per day nor have more than six trout in possession. Creel limits on other species of game fishes are those established by applicable State law.

Lures: Only a single hook (barbed or barbless) artificial lure may be used.

Commercial Fish Guides: Anyone who serves as a fishing guide or instructor for compensation must obtain an Incidental Business Permit from the Park Superintendent prior to entering.


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