The Quick Fix

Fly Fishing

Oct 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

Fly-Fishing the Elk River
An eight-mile section of the Elk cuts a lush, remote canyon through the southern Mon Forest, actually diving underground for stretches. These detours keep the water a chilly 50 degrees throughout the summer, a major reason why the Elk is one of the only mid-Atlantic rivers that supports wild trout. The Gauley Divide, which rises 2,000 feet above the riverbank, helps, too—it's the first mountain ridge to snag all that rain that skips the Great Plains en route to the East. Then there's the river's limestone bedrock, which neutralizes acid rain, keeping the fish healthy. All of these forces conspire to produce feisty 20-inch-plus browns and rainbows that would trick an angler into thinking he's in Montana.
HOW TO GO Elk River Touring Center (866-572-3771,, located on 150 acres on Old Field Fork, one of the headwaters of the Elk, provides maps, rental gear, water levels, local hatch and fly information, and a guide, if desired. Guided outings for experienced anglers are $195 a day, or rent a rod and waders for $60 a day.
LODGING Stay in one of the five guest rooms at the Touring Center's inn for $75-$100 per night.

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