A method for constructing a non-dimensional performance curve for a cross-flow hydrokinetic turbine in sheared flow is developed for a natural river site. The river flow characteristics are quasi-steady, with negligible vertical shear, persistent lateral shear, and synoptic changes dominated by long time scales (days to weeks). Performance curves developed from inflow velocities measured at individual points (randomly sampled) yield inconclusive turbine performance characteristics because of the spatial variation in mean flow. Performance curves using temporally- and spatially-averaged inflow velocities are more conclusive. The implications of sheared inflow are considered in terms of resource assessment and turbine control.