A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: “Officers were called by a member of the public at 7.15am to the canal in Kildwick, reporting that they had seen a body in the water.
“On arrival they located a body, which appears to be that of a woman.”
She was pronounced dead by paramedics.
The spokesman added: “A police investigation has begun to identify the person and how they came to be in the water.
“The inquiry is at a very early stage and we are not yet able to give any further details.”