On Friday, September 17th, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) lifted its harmful algae bloom…
With the wet spring we’ve had, the North Fork of the Shenandoah has been flowing steadily. Since most of the rains have been coming in afternoon downpours, or single-day events with modest gaps in between, farmers, anglers, paddlers, and swimmers have all had to pick their opportunities here in the Valley.
Notes from the Field:
Fishing – We are generally hearing good fishing reports, with plenty of activity on Smallmouth Bass and Sunfish, a few Fallfish and Catfish as well. So far, we’ve heard very few reports of lesions or poor health. As nearly the whole summer is ahead of us still, it’s early to make pronouncements, but things are looking good so far.
Paddling – As the North Fork is a generally shallow float, these intermittent (and often torrential) rains have done a lot to keep river levels in good shape for paddling. And, the two new boat ramps at Seven Bends State Park are “on-line” and getting broken-in nicely.
Swimming – The higher water levels are certainly good for swimming and tubing. The rule of thumb – waiting to swim until 48-hrs after a significant rain – is always a good safety measure to minimize exposure to contaminants. Shenandoah County Supervisor, Brad Pollack, called to share the joy he has been getting from nearly daily dips in the river. Click here https://swimshenandoah.com/ to see the latest reports on river temperatures and bacterial predictions at points throughout the valley.
Water Remarks – So far, we have not heard reports of major algal blooms in the river. The flushing rain events may be helping with that. Water temperatures are on their way up though, and that may encourage the algae. We’ll keep an eye out, and will listen for your reports as well.