The gem of northern Virginia is the wild and native brook trout.
Shenandoah Park offers the Washington DC area trout fisherman a chance to find native brook trout in truly beautiful places less than 2 hours from home. The real benefit is the exercise you get hiking to and from the fishing spots on most of these remote streams. Find a blue line and hike the trail adjacent to it from the base of the mountain range where there will conveniently be parking at most of the popular streams. Hike up the trailhead until you think you're a decent distance away from the lot and start fishing.
Brookies are a good indicator of water quality. They prefer colder water and like most salmonids thrive in water from 45-60 degrees. Their diet ranges from mayflies, beetles, ants, crickets, aquatic worms, mosquito larvae, caddisflies, stoneflies, crayfish, grasshoppers, freshwater crustaceans, hellgrammites, and any other winged insect that might fall in the water.
Brook trout have natural predators including herons, minks, kingfishers, and water snakes. Keep this in mind when hiking thru the park, as water snakes and copperhead snakes have similar colors and patterns. Because these fish are so wary, keeping a good distance and casting into pools over rocks or other obstructions is a must.
Brook trout are considered some of the most beautiful of all gamefish, particularly when in their spawning colors in the fall. Although these fish are elegant, we ask most fisherman to avoid the park from late October through November to give these fish a chance to spawn peacefully.