Re: Trout Fishing Near Northern Virginia
For Md. trout I would recommend the book "Guide to Maryland Trout Fishing" by Charlie Gelso and Larry Coburn. It covers the special reg streams and is broken into central and western Md. It also covers most of the hatches and effective patterns, access points,etc. I'm not sure if it's been updated recently.
With the North Branch and Savage it's a good idea to check the flows first. I haven't made it up there in a couple years, but as long as the flows are good the North Branch is my favorite. You have the chance of BIG fish. Although most are stocked as fingerlings they aren't pushovers. It is pretty big water and can be difficult to wade. A few 20"ers in a day isn't unrealistic. I like a 9' 5wt. on these.
Beaver creek I've fished a couple times and the water flows cold in the summer. There are good numbers of fish and doesn't appear to get poached hard. I believe it's all private land open to the public. The public areas are well marked. This is a limestoner. An 8' to 9' rod is comfortable for me here. But 8' is better for me.
Big Hunting I won't go near on a weekend. The browns are wild and can go to 16" but 10"-12" are most common. Move slow for them, they're spooky. I love them in Jan.-Mar. on the black and brown stonefly hatches. This is fairly small water. The browns tend to be spread out in the pockets more so than the stocked bows and brookies.I use anything from a 6' 3wt. to a 9' 5wt. here. Although 8' and under is more comfortable for me.
Morgan Run seems to have a poaching problem again. Used to have lake run browns in the fall but I doubt there are any left (stripers in the resevoir). I've also caught up to 3.5 lb. smallmouth here in the lower part. If the fish are there you can normally find some rising and sight nymphing is possible.I use anything from a 8' 3wt. to 9' 5wt. here.
The upper nine or so miles of the Patuxent is pretty small water and can be tough one day and fantastic the next. The browns are all wild and can get pretty big for small water. Best I've done there is about 18" but have seen pictures of bigger and been broke off quite a bit. The stocky bows holdover pretty well in the faster water. Buggers and Patuxent specials do me best here. It muddies up easy. I like a 7' 5wt. here. The water normally stays below 70 degrees. The browns blend in very well and the water clarity is seldom good enough for sight fishing.
The Casselman is good for big stockies in the spring. I've caught 8-10 five pounders in a day there several times. Some of the bows are shaped like footballs. I've only streamer/bugger fished here.I use a 9' 5wt. here.
Since you brought an 8 with you and said something about being in Rome... You might want to try some rockfish and bluefish out if you've never done it. Some areas kayak accessible in the Northern Neck can be insane on an outgoing tide. This time of year they are keyed in on bay anchovies and silversides. Only 1.5"-3" or so. So easy to throw. Once you find and figure out a good spot 50+ fish in a few hours is realistic. I carry wire bite tippet in case I get into blues over 15". Even that small they will start biting you off. Them things are hard on flies too. They can turn an epoxy spoon into a hook and a piece of wire.