Sunday, April 17, 2011


Sorry it's been so long since I've updated the blog, guys!  School has been really busy lately, and this crazy weather has kept me from doing much fishing.  It seems like we have another thunderstorm dumping ridiculous amounts of water every other day, so the rivers barely have a chance to come down before they go right back up again.

The good news is, the long term forecasts are starting to improve and I think that the best fishing is just around the corner!

Also, I'm sure many of you have been anticipating the arrival of turkey season...and it's finally here!  My brother hunted in Kentucky yesterday morning where he shot a nice tom.  It weighed in at nearly 23 pounds...the perfect way to start off the season.  I guess we'll be having turkey for Easter!

Keep checking back here often, we should have lots of fishing activity to report in the coming weeks!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

First Time Fly Fisher

Thursday evening, Samantha asked me to take her to Elk Springs and teach her how to fly fish.  So on Friday morning we loaded up our camping gear and hit the road...

When we got to Elk Springs it started raining.  We set up camp in record time and hurried over to the fly shop where Dave helped Samantha find a nice pair of rental waders.  

After a brief casting lesson, I tied on a black pheasant tail nymph and took her to one of my favorite spots on the river.  Within 15 minutes Samantha had landed a beautiful 10" wild Elk River rainbow.  We were both really excited.  Two casts later she hooked into a huge fish that nearly ripped the rod right out of her hands before it got away.

Moving upstream, we found some fish actively feeding on little black stones.  Samantha managed to land another nice rainbow just as the rain started coming down harder.  We decided to call it quits and headed over to the fly shop for dinner.  Here are a few pictures that she took while we were fishing...

While we were in the shop, Chad checked the weather radar and we realized that a thunderstorm was headed right for the campground.  Feeling sorry for us, he offered to let us stay in one of the vacant cabins for an irresistible price.  That turned out to be a great surprise, because it rained all night.

Saturday morning, the sun came back out and we fished for a couple hours before heading back home.  All in all, it was a great trip...and we're both excited to go back again soon!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Fishing is Heating Up!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!  I just got back from a weekend of fishing on West Virginia's Elk River...and I think it's safe to say that Spring is definitely here.  

The river was running high and muddy on Thursday and Friday due to a strong rain storm that moved through the area.  But, by Saturday morning the river had come down quite a bit, and the fishing started heating up.

Black stones were hatching steadily throughout the day.  The fish responded to a variety of nymph patterns in size 16 and 18.  I chose to stick with little black stone patterns and black pheasant tail patterns.

I always love having an opportunity to fish at Elk Springs.  The guys at the fly shop are friendly, and the fishing,'s always top notch!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dolly Sods Wilderness

I just spent the last week exploring the mountains of West Virginia...and I had a blast!  I'd been wanting to explore the Dolly Sods area for a while now, and it turned out to be even more spectacular than I had hoped...

We drove up to Forest Service Road 75 via Dolly Sods Road off Highway 55 between Seneca Rocks and Petersburg, WV.  The further we drove up the mountain, the deeper the snow became.  The truck even got stuck at one point and we had to use a shovel and some spruce branches to get out.

We parked at the gate on FS 75 and began our day hike into the Dolly Sods Scenic Area.  This is the map that is posted at the trailhead.

We decided to follow FS 75, until we reached the Wildlife Trail marker.  From there we hiked Wildlife Trail to its intersection with Rohrbaugh Trail, which eventually took us back to FS 75.

There were lots of cools things to see and explore along the trail.  Here are a couple of pictures...

As we hiked deeper into the woods, we came to another scenic overlook that was absolutely spectacular.  This is the view from Rohrbaugh Trail looking across the deep valley where Red Creek flows...

From the overlook, the trail transitions to an area of giant spruce trees and mountain laurel...

This was probably one of my favorite parts of the trail.  The trees are amazing...enveloping you in a canopy of green...even in the dead of winter...

The hike took us about 5 hours to complete.  The wet snow slowed us down a little, but it was also difficult to follow the trail, because there are very few markings.  I would definitely suggest bringing a GPS if you plan to hike deep into the Dolly Sods Wilderness.  It's an amazing place to won't be disappointed!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

When the water's high...tie a fly!

With all the recent rain we've had, most of the local streams are running pretty high.  This is the perfect time to sit down at the vise and crank out a dozen flies.

I've been working on several ties recently that I think will be excellent flies to have in the box this Spring.  The first one is a classic Barr Emerger tied in standard Blue Winged Olive colors.  You can drop this behind a parachute Blue Winged Olive dry fly and catch fish all day long when the BWOs are hatching!

This next fly is one that I came up with on my own.  It can be used as either a BWO emerger or nymph. Black ultra wire is used to give the abdomen a segmented look.

The last fly is my own version of the ever popular black stone nymph.  I used my favorite attributes from the copper john, pheasant tail, and prince nymphs to come up with this pattern.  It's a heavy nymph, thanks to a tungsten bead and eight wraps of lead wire under the thorax.  I like to fish it as the top fly in a tandem nymph rig under a big indicator.

You can read more about these flies on the message boards at or

I'm looking forward to the arrival of Spring.  The aquatic insects will be hatching and the fish will start feeding.  It's only a couple weeks better make sure your fly boxes are stocked soon!

Appalachian Outdoors

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rain, Rain Go Away

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for areas of north eastern Kentucky, southern Ohio, and south western West Virginia.  Looks like some of our streams and rivers are going to be blown out for the next few days...

On the bright side, there are reports that fishing has improved on sections of the Elk, as well as the South Fork of the Cherry.  If you want to read more about that just go to (or click the link to WV Angler on the right side of the page under "Helpful Links").

We're currently planning a fishing trip for this weekend, but we'll just have to see if the weather cooperates...

Thankfully, March will be here before we know it, and we all know what that means...Spring is approaching rapidly!  Soon there will be hatching insects and rising trout...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ski Canaan

With Spring struggling to make an early appearance in the mountains of West Virginia, we decided to make one last ski trip before the snowpack is completely gone.  Thankfully, Canaan Valley--at an elevation of 3,200 ft--still has plenty of the white stuff.

We stayed at Canaan Resort inside Canaan Valley State Park.  They have some awesome winter packages, which makes skiing much more affordable for a couple of poor college students.  Plus, the deer are super friendly...

The recent warm spell made for icy conditions early.  But as the day wore on, the surface softened up a bit and the skiing improved drastically.

As first time quests to the area, we decided to do a little exploring around lunch time, which turned out to be an excellent decision.

Driving into Davis, we chose to briefly explore Blackwater Falls State Park before satisfying our growing appetites.

After taking in the beauty of the falls, we stumbled upon this little jewel...

Hellbender Burritos has to be one of the coolest places I've ever eaten.  The atmosphere is great and you won't find a more unique collection of decorations anywhere.  The food is top notch as well.  I recommend the's loaded with various peppers and cheeses, as well as black beans, guacamole, and grilled chicken that is marinated in a secret blend of spices.  It's a hefty burrito...sure to satisfy the grizzliest of appetites.

After lunch, it was back to the slopes in order to carve our way through the final runs of the season.

We had to stop in Elkins on the way home to take a picture of this huge statue of Minnehaha

One thing is for sure, we'll be visiting Canaan Valley again in the future...hopefully sooner than later!

-Appalachian Outdoors