Trout Ad­dic­tion

A gateway to lo­cal lakes, rivers and streams

Rappahannock News - - COUNTRYSID­E - By John Mccaslin Rap­pa­han­nock News staff

Any­body pass­ing through Sper­ryville can’t help but be drawn to the cre­ative hand­painted “Trout Ad­dic­tion” sign.

“Come Get Hooked, Guided Fish­ing Tours, Hand­i­capped Wel­come,” topped off with a spec­tac­u­lar brook trout ev­ery­body’s rav­ing about.

Kind of makes you want to go fish­ing.

“It’s noth­ing fancy, it’s not even try­ing to be fancy,” in­sists Eddy Burke, the down-to-earth fish­ing guide whose home is be­hind the sign. “I want to be able to take kids and the el­derly — maybe some wounded vet­er­ans — and have them catch trout.

“My goal was to al­ways work with hand­i­capped chil­dren, es­pe­cially the ones from the city who’ve never had a chance to fish. If I can get them out to a trout pond, let them catch a fish, show them how to clean it and eat it, I think it will go a long a way. They might even get ad­dicted like I am.”

Born and raised in Rap­pa­han­nock County, his an­ces­tors dis­placed by the cre­ation of Shenan­doah Na­tional Park, the 58-year-old Burke, a mas­ter plumber by trade, and his wife, Lisa, who com­muted to Alexan­dria for her job, al­ways talked about guid­ing fish­ing tours from their Main Street home.

Last year, fi­nally, they be­gan to re­al­ize their dream.

“We were go­ing to open last April,” Burke re­calls. “I got the signs made up, got the gear to­gether. And then [Lisa] got sick and I took it [the sign] down. By July she was so sick I had to quit work.”

“She passed on Christ­mas Eve,” he says. “Fifty-five years old and the love of my life. She wanted to do this. So I’m go­ing to try to do it like she wanted to do it.”

Which means when he set out for Madi­son County one morn­ing this week the back of his SUV was filled not only with fish­ing gear — cast­ing and fly rods — but a pic­nic bas­ket con­tain­ing the most de­lec­ta­ble smoked (by Burke him­self) sal­mon this side of Ko­diak.

“I’m not a chef but I can cook,” he of­fers. “Lisa had ideas of pack­ing ev­ery­thing from smoked fish to baked beans and coleslaw. But I’ll have a nice lit­tle lunch and some re­fresh­ments in the cooler, just the ba­sics. A shore side lunch.”

And then there are the trout that can be con­sumed al­most as quickly as they are caught.

“My pref­er­ence is straight off the grill as hot as you can,” says Burke, “so we can do that. And I’ll have some smoked trout or sal­mon for lunch if we don’t catch much. But we’ll catch some­thing. Some days it might be a lit­tle thin, but we’ll catch a few.”

As the weather warms, Burke looks for­ward to guid­ing lo­cally this year on the Hughes, Robin­son and Rose Rivers in Madi­son County, as well as the lime­stone streams sur­round­ing Lu­ray.

“Lime­stone only runs a cer­tain streak,” he ed­u­cates. “There’s no lime­stone on this side of the moun­tains, it’s on the other side. You can’t beat lime­stone, it’s pre­miere. That’s why there are springs over there in Lu­ray you can sit a house in — mil­lions of gal­lons of water flow­ing in and then dump­ing into the Hawks­bill. There are rain­bow [trout] in there by the hun­dreds.

“We have top-notch fish­ing right here in our back­yard,” the

guide points out. “And all the streams in Shenan­doah Na­tional Park have na­tive brook trout. I’ve got lit­tle four-foot rods for that.”

For the more ad­ven­tur­ous, Burke knows ev­ery trout-filled moun­tain lake from here to the south­west­ern cor­ner of the state.

“If some­body wants to ex­pe­ri­ence a true wilder­ness trip it can hap­pen,” he says. “The high moun­tain lakes are in­cred­i­ble. I pre­fer them. That’s the cream of the crop. A trout stream is harder to fish if you’re not an ex­pe­ri­enced fish­er­man, but the lakes I can take the kids to . . .

“If you don’t spend a least a day or two and camp overnight it’s not worth a trip in there,” the guide adds. “Some lakes you have to hike four or five miles into, but it’s worth it. There’s no bells or whis­tles to bother you. You can camp, you can build your lit­tle fire, you can cook, the kids can play, the dogs can run, it’s just wide open.

“And you can al­ways come back,” Burke will re­mind his clients. “You won’t need me af­ter the first trip. When these kids leave a lake I want them to come back and do it again. Now they’ll know where to go.”

Book a “Trout Ad­dic­tion” guided fish­ing tour by phon­ing 540-9879129.

PHO­TOS BY JOHN MCCASLIN

Who hasn’t no­ticed the col­or­ful Trout Ad­dic­tion sign on Main Street in Sper­ryville? Fish­ing guide Eddy Burke, right, heads down the bank to a fa­vorite fish­ing hole where the Robin­son and Rose Rivers meet near Syria.

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