Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers - Fishing

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Home to a treasure trove of smallmouth bass, the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers near Harpers Ferry have a way of luring anglers back again and again.

Written by

Jason Devaney


0.1 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

219.3 miles


1 of 5 diamonds

The Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers are great for anglers of all abilities.

Time To Complete

0 hours


All Seasons

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits




Harpers Ferry, a historic Civil War town, is at the confluence of 2 major rivers: the Shenandoah and the Potomac. The combined flow is known solely as the Potomac after that, and it continues downstream to its mouth at the Chesapeake Bay. As a whole, the mighty Potomac occupies nearly 15,000 square miles, but the small area around Harpers Ferry has some of the best smallmouth bass fishing around. The rivers joining forces, and the large number of bridges and rock walls in the area, have created a strong fish population that is fun for anglers of all abilities.

What Makes It Great

There are several bridges that cross the 2 rivers at their junction, including the Rt. 340 bridge over the Shenandoah, and 2 bridges over the Potomac—a railroad bridge and a pedestrian footbridge that links Harpers Ferry with Maryland for folks hiking the Appalachian Trail. That bridge also gives hikers and bikers access to the C&O Canal Towpath. There are also bridge ruins in both rivers, just above the water’s surface. Those, plus the rock formations in both rivers, provide excellent cover for fish to hang out.

Fly fishing is particularly good in the waters near Harpers Ferry, since smallmouth bass put up a good fight for anglers with a fly rod. But they'll fall for lures at the end of spinning setups, too.

Who is Going to Love It

Whether you're new to fishing or if you've been an angler practically your whole life, a fishing visit to Harpers Ferry has a way of luring you back. If you like a good fight and enjoy catching smallmouth bass, this is your place. The waters off Harpers Ferry have historically seen some really big fish.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Harpers Ferry is off Rt. 340; just follow the signs. There's a boat launch near the base of the bridge where it crosses over the Shenandoah River. You can take small boats here, but there's a 200-yard carry from your car to the water.

While you’re in town, check out The Angler's Inn, a Harpers Ferry bed and breakfast that specializes in stay-and-fish packages with professional local guides.

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Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers

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