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!