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Rock Creek Message Board => Trip Reports from Elsewhere => Topic started by: eastcoastlurker on May 19, 2013, 08:24:23 PM

Title: Rapidan River, Virginia
Post by: eastcoastlurker on May 19, 2013, 08:24:23 PM
Hello from your friendly East Coast correspondent.  A couple of weeks ago, I took a short trip to Virginia’s most famous trout stream, the Rapidan River.  The Rapidan is managed for catch-and-release native brook trout.  I fished the headwaters in Shenandoah National Park near Camp Hoover.  Just a warning—this report will be a little short on excitement.

Camp Hoover is a gentle two-mile hike down from Skyline Drive, which runs along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park.  It was built as a fishing getaway for President Hoover but was used as a Presidential Retreat for only a few years as the location was not easily accessible for the wheelchair of Hoover’s successor, President F.D. Roosevelt.  It is still maintained by the Park Service.  If you have a chance to stay there, it appears you should try to avoid being assigned Cabin 4-92.

Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park, with the trail to Hoover Camp on the left
Building at Camp Hoover
Cabin 4-92 (left)
Title: Re: Rapidan River, Virginia
Post by: eastcoastlurker on May 19, 2013, 08:30:23 PM
The Rapidan in the mile below Camp Hoover would be no more than a small stream in the West, but this is what we have to work with in the Mid-Atlantic.  Sadly, the river on this day did not live up to its reputation, with numerous small fish maxing out at 6”, most of which could do no more than short-strike my spinner.  The water was still very cold, which generally means the trout focus more on insects than minnows; however when I switched to nymph-and-shot I caught some truly tiny fish.  Fish in the park run up to about 10-11.”

Shenandoah National Park has a lot of wildlife that has adapted to human exposure, and my drive home was delayed for several minutes by a tom turkey displaying and strutting in the middle of the road, oblivious to traffic backing up.

I am probably not making it to CA this year, but I may have another Trip Report from Elsewhere this summer.  Tight lines.

Rapidan “River”
Really inadequate fish pr0n
Shenandoah National Park brookie from 2011
Skyline Drive roadblock
Title: Re: Rapidan River, Virginia
Post by: wshawkins on May 20, 2013, 09:07:56 AM
I hear the Rapidan River is considered the best trout stream in Shenandoah National Park!  Being that it is located within two hours of Washington D. C; I wonder if any of the US Senators use Camp Hoover as a retreat anymore?

Nice report eastcoastlurker!
Title: Re: Rapidan River, Virginia
Post by: saudust on May 20, 2013, 04:24:33 PM
The name Shenandoah takes me back to old movies I watched as a kid.  Sure looks pretty and the stream, even if it is small, still holds life, well witnessed by those little beauties in your hand.

Thanks for the post and pics, ecl.
Title: Re: Rapidan River, Virginia
Post by: Little Hardrock on May 20, 2013, 06:10:13 PM
Cool to hear from our east coast corespondent:).     Such a pretty place.... And full of history too.   

Thank you for sharing with us!