The Civil War country of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania is the ideal destination for those who are both history buffs and fishing freaks. Spend the mornings and evenings catching brown trout and smallmouth bass on rivers and creeks both famous and obscure. Tour battlefields during the day as you drive through the gorgeous green cleavage of the Shenandoah and Cumberland valleys. The Route Start in Washington, D.C., and drive west and south to Harrisonburg, Virginia. From there, march north following Gen. Robert E. Lee’s approximate route, stopping in Edinburg, Virginia; Sharpsburg, Maryland; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; then Carlisle. Then do something Lee never could: Go back to D.C. The Fishing Mossy Creek, near Harrisonburg, has 3 miles of chalky spring water that holds large, wary browns. Call the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (540-248-9360) for a free permit. Wade wet at Chapman’s Landing near Edinburg and catch smallies all day on the gentle North Fork of the Shenandoah. Near Sharpsburg, hike the old C&O; Canal and cast behind rocks for smallmouths on the Potomac. In Carlisle, fish for trout on the Yellow Breeches during the day, then hit the sulfur hatch on the Letort Spring Run in the evening, your best chance to catch a big brown on this petite, air-clear creek. Local Color Mossy Creek Flyshop (800-646-2168; www.mossycreek.com) will fill you in on the hatch. Murray’s Fly Shop (540-984-4212; www.murraysflyshop.com) in Edinburg is also a pharmacy, where fly rods are stacked next to pink bottles of Pepto-Bismol. Yellow Breeches Outfitters (717-258-6752; www.yellowbreeches.com) near Carlisle carries excellent local patterns. At the Antietam National Battlefield (301-432-5124; www.nps.gov/anti) in Sharpsburg, 23,000 Americans were killed, wounded, or reported missing in one bloody day. This July marks the 140th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg (717-334-2100; www.gettysburg.com). At the reenactment, keep an eye on the poor soul who plays George Pickett. Insider Tips The trout fishing is technical (small flies, long leaders), but big browns will occasionally fall for a size 12 Letort Hopper. Stock up on small silver Rapalas and white grubs for the smallies. Where to Stay and Eat Camp on Todd Lake in Virginia’s George Washington National Forest (540-828-2591); stop in for pizza and bluegrass at Chappalino’s (540-459-7332) in Woodstock, Virginia; stay at the Allenberry Resort (717-258-3211; www.allenberry.com) on the banks of the Yellow Breeches Creek.
Where to Go
Civil War country