Day 4 began with a slower than expected start, but after a good breakfast at camp, Chris and I headed south for lower Pocahontas County and the Elk River watershed. We had plans on fishing some tributaries to the Elk River then fishing the main Elk later that evening. Those plans changed quite a bit after talking to a good friend and finding out that the #18 sulphur spinners were not hatching during the evenings like I originally expected. No worries, though we had plenty of water to fish and made a decision to fish a tributary stream that I had been told was full of Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout. After spooking a thick water snake from his perch on a rock, we headed up stream for parts unknown. Chris and I did have a few missed hookups and we moved a nice fish, but no trout were landed from this stream, so I will not write this stream off yet, just have to visit it another day. As the day went on, we decided to head to the headwaters of the mainstem of the Elk River. We arrived at the parking lot and decided to eat a bite for lunch before making the 3 mile hike downstream. We were headed down river for a tributary that is not named on some maps, but has been rumored to have an extremely thriving population of wild Rainbow Trout. During the first mile of walking Chris and I either stepped over or dang near stepped on 5 different snakes. We couldnt positively ID any of the snakes, but then again we weren't really trying to stick around to find out either. After trekking through waist high vegetation, nettles, briers, etc., we finally located the mouth of the stream we were looking for. As soon as we started up into the mouth of the stream, we started prospecting pools and it didn't take long until we found out the rumors of wild Rainbow Trout to be true. This stream was extremely steep and loaded with plunge pools, pockets, and riffles. I honestly dont know how many little rainbows we caught, but as the daylight started to fade, we reached a stopping point and began the long hike back to the truck. Another day on another fine WV wild trout stream.
Established January 2009
Thursday, June 16, 2011
The last day of the June brookie extravaganza arrived and sadly Chris and I had to pack up camp and head back to the usual drag some of us call work. It had been a long week, but not long enough and I guess it had to come to an end at some point. We decided to try and make the camp cleanup as quick and thorough as possible making sure we didnt leave anything behind. We had plans to visit one last brookie stream that both Chris and I had fished only a handful of times before. As we left the campground, we headed north and crossed into Pendleton County and cut down a forest route that is well used, but man is it secluded. As we were driving down the forest service road, I spotted a fairly big coyote running hard up the mountain. Add that to the growing list of wildlife seen. As we reached the last point of access on the forest service road, we got out of the truck and I realized I had forgotten my reel for my fly rod. No worries though, Chris and I would just share his rod as this was a small stream. We began working our way upstream and it wasn't long before I hooked up on the first brookie. Chris followed suit shortly thereafter, hooking and landing a nice brookie as well. The fishing wasn't spectacular by any means but we attributed that to a quick thunderstorm that rolled through earlier that morning as we were packing up camp. We did spook several fish that werent caught, but we also caught a few more before we decided that we would have wrap it up. On our way back up the mountain on the forest service road, we spotted a young Black Bear running strait down the middle of the road. We both thought it was about 100 pounds, not big by any means, but it topped of the pretty vast list of wildlife we had seen this week. It was time to put another great trip in the books and go our separate ways.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Day 3 arrived with bright skies, and mild temperatures. Today Chris and I planned on fishing some new water on the top of Cheat Mountian. We were headed for the Shavers Fork of Cheat River and some of its tributaries. The Shavers Fork is a truly unique place due to its high elevation spruce forests and its very colored history. At one time this river which has been claimed to be the highest elevation river East of the Missisippi was once home to vast stands of laurel, virgin Red Spruce, Balsam Firs, Rhodadendron, Birch, Beech, and Maples. After the logging boom of the late 1800's and the early 1900's the virgin timber was gone along with much of the river structure, and consequently the Brook Trout that Shavers Fork was famed for went along with it. Timbering coupled with coal mining has taken its toll on this special place. Today the DNR along with other conservation minded people have begun to implement plans such as dumping limestone fines into the headwaters to improve water quality, and their is currently a mitigation plan in place to attempt to restore habitat quality to the river and hopefully alot of Brook Trout habitat will be restored along with the Brook Trout. Chris and I began our exploring on a stream that neither he nor I had ever fished, let alone seen. It is a major tributary of the Shaver Fork that receives limestone fines. It wasnt long after we had strung up the rods before we found our way upstream picking through pockets and in short order Chris caught the first brookie of the trip and out of this stream. Filled with tannin colored water, the Brookies were very colorful. The tannin water is attributed to the vast spruce and decaying vegetation that gives the water its color. Speaking of Spruce, Im not sure I have ever fished a stream with so much downed timber, mostly old spruce, laying across the stream. It made upstream travel for us difficult, and because of that, we decided to head to elsewhere. Further down river, we found ourselves at another smaller tributary. This stream is a stream that I had fished briefly the summer before, but it deserved another shot. We began fishing upstream and I hooked up on a smaller brookie, then I caught a nice little Brown Trout. Chris hooked and landed a few Brook Trout as well. We approached a nice pool from the tail out and I laid a nice gentle cast out on the pool near the head of the pool and out of nowhere a nice 14'' Brown Trout(monster for this stream) slammed my Stimulator. I fought the fish for a few seconds as it got closer to me, the fish threw the hook. Needless to say I was a little dissapointed. Several pools later we moved another fish that was in the 12'' to 14'' range, but he would have nothing to do with our flies. So, later that day we found ourselves at a trailhead that would take us to the mouth of another tributary and the main Shavers Fork. As we were hiking down the trail, we spooked a mother hen Turkey and her one and only polt. I honestly think she scared us as bad as we scared her. We finally made it to the mouth of the tributary we had been parellelling and decided since the evening time was approaching we decided we would take in the scenery and fish the main stem of Shavers Fork. Chris and I split up fishing picking the fast water and pockets. We missed several fish and spooked more, but I did manage to land a nice little Brown. It began to get dark and we had to hike a fur piece to get back to the truck.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Day 2 of the adventure began after a hearty camp breakfast and a drive over the mountain into Pendleton County. Chris and I planned to make a long hike from one side of the mountain over the the other traversing 2 completely different watershed drainages and attempted to catch brookies from both of those watersheds. To do this we needed to park his truck near the top of the Allegheny Mountain at one trailhead, and park my truck near the bottom but on the other side of Allegheny. We quickly loaded up our packs, strung up our rods and looked for pocket water on the Cheat Drainage side of the mountain. It wasn't long before I spotted a nice brookie for Chris from the trail, and after 2 casts he had fooled brookie #1. I tried my hand at a few pools, but the low water and smaller sized stream made some pools difficult to approach without spooking the whole pool. Finally farther up the trail, I connected on not one, but two brookies that were full of life, and color. Decidedly we'd had enough and moved it on up the mountain and after a longer hike than Chris and I planned for, we finally topped out on the top of Allegheny Mountain. After a brief break and lunch, we descended the mountain on the back side headed for a stream that is a personal favorite and we were trying to catch another brookie from anothe watershed. After finally making it to the stream, I tried the first pool, and on the first cast, I hooked a really nice brook trout with shoulders that measured 10.5 inches. Brook Trout in my opinion seem to be the novelty of this stream and are rare anymore, but this guy is by far my best Brook Trout from this stream. As we progressed forward upstream, we hooked and caught several more rainbows, but neither Chris nor I caught another Brook Trout. We leapfrogged one another for the rest of the afternoon slowly working our way up the mountain again headed for his truck, and finally after approximately 9 mile of walking/fishing/wading, we made it to the other trailhead where his truck was parked.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Early this Spring, my cousin and good fishing partner Chris Mitchell and I made a camping trip during the first few days of April and with snow on everyday of that trip, the weather was less than desirable. We made plans for a june trip that would rectify the awful weather the first go around. Well June finally made it, and we agree on where we would meet at. I arrived at the Island Campground in northern Pocahontas County about 12:30pm on Sunday. Knowing that he wasn't going to be arriving until close to 4pm, I decided to unload my truck and try my hand at a few new streams. After unloading my truck, I headed east over to a stream that Phil Smith had told me about earlier in the Spring. I untubed the rod that he had made for me, my 6 foot 4 inch hand split custom bamboo rod designed and built specifically for what I was about to do, explore blue lines on topo maps for brook trout and other wild trout. I started up the small tributary and not long after I started, I spotted, hooked, and landed, the first trout of the trip, a nice little brookie. I followed that fish up with a suprisingly different species, a wild brown trout, and I could only assume that the brown had came from the larger stream that this tributary flowed into. It wasnt long before I had breezed through a couple of hours in a hurry, and I needed to make it back to the campsite to meet Chris. After him and I talked for a bit, we unloaded his truck and then we decided to fish a stream that makes a major contribution to the Greenbrier River. This stream is on the fingerling stocking list, and we had to see if we could catch some of the browns that are planted every year. As luck would have it, 2 other fisherman had fished about a 1/4 mile of the water we had planned on fishing, however, we did see several good sized fish up to about 16 or 17 inches, and we even hooked a few and did manage to land a couple.