Rapidan River, Shenandoah National Park

Trout fishing outside of NJ
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martalus
Posts: 247
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:39 pm

Rapidan River, Shenandoah National Park

Post by martalus » Sun Oct 04, 2020 1:28 pm

I made my annual fall pilgrimage to Shenandoah National Park to fish for wild brook trout. I decided to fish the Rapidan river as it has five plus miles of absolutely perfect and public wild brook trout habitat. Last year I fished the upper stretch which required a five mile drive on a non maintained fire road. This year I entered the lower entrance at about 900 feet above sea level which was a much easier entrance. The Rapidan is known to be best wild brook trout stream in VA and one of the best in the country due it’s size, the size and quantity of fish, and the fact that such a large part of the watershed, including several tribs are 100 percent wild brookies on heavily forested protected land.

After a two hour drive from DC, I arrived at 8 am and started hiking a fishing. After two hours I started to get frustrated as I only caught creek chubs despite seeing brook trout in perfect pools and riffles. I also got caught in quick sand which was unnerving to say the least and I was on the lookout for rattlesnakes and copperheads that often look to sunny rocks to sun themselves before winter sets in.

After regaining my composure I finally started catching lots of good sized brook trout! After getting nothing on a tandem nymph rig a yellow stimulator dry with a prince nymph dropper was the ticket. I got several plump 8-10 inch fish plus a 13-14 inch beast that absolutely crushed the dry. It felt like a smallie on my 3 wt. and was first time that I have heard my drag scream. The shear number of absolutely perfect deeps plunge pools and riffles full of brookies blows the mind. The lower section receives a lot of pressure and has the lowest density of fish so I chock up lack of success there to that and the fact that I was a bit rusty from all my summer smallmouth fishing. I called it a day after almost 8 hours of fishing and hiking and had some BBQ and beer before heading back to DC. Although there were a fair amount of hikers along this section of stream, I definitely recommend it, especially if you come on a weekday.
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martalus
Posts: 247
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:39 pm

Re: Rapidan River, Shenandoah National Park

Post by martalus » Sun Oct 04, 2020 1:30 pm

Some more stream shots.
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