Re: Elk River report :-D
OK, so we're back from West Virginia and here's the scoop:
They have had a rainy spring, so the rivers were all a bit high, the water a little stained. We fished the upper Elk, lower Elk and the Williams rivers. The rivers there are in an area with a lot of limestone caves, so very cold (55-58) and stay that way all year. The Elk actually drops below ground for a ways and re-emerges again, hence the upper and lower designation. There is a LOT of natural feed, particularly since the levels are up a bit. There were areas of didymo (rock snot) that were thicker than I've seen around Albany. There were some hatches but not many trout jumping. Hatches seen: sulphers, green drake, coffin flies, few march browns and dobsons. While some trout are stocked there were places we tried with wild only. Only catch and release. Browns, rainbows, speckled, and golden were the species. Infact the origenal golden trout was found here, and bred from one single fish.
That said, we had a great time! We all caught fish, my wife catching her first on a fly. Many, many hits that were missed. most fish were in the 1+ pound size with one nice rainbow I caught about 2+ lbs. This was a huge learning experience for all of us, as these are big fast rivers. Wading out chest high in a roaring stream, learning where and how to fish such water, and learning about specific hatches being the important lessons. We did hire a guide for each of the three full days who I requested to spend most of his time with my wife. Yes, guides can be expensive, but we reaped a great bit of local knowledge that we would have spent a log time figuring out ourselves.
The techniques and hints I learned I used on Monday after we returned on the Battenkill. The Battenkill can be a tough river to fish because of the pressure from other fishermen, but I did very well, catching at least a dozen fish in a few hours. I outfished a guy next to me by about 4 to 1! I moved upstream to the catch and release area and nabbed an about 2 1/2 pound brown.
Would we go back? Absolutley! We're hoping for maybe this fall or next spring again. The place we booked was the Elk River Lodge in Slatyfork. It's an Orvis recommended place with nice clean rooms, good food, and excellent guide service. They are on the internet, and I found them very fair to deal with, very honest and willing to do anything to make your stay relaxing.