Tune into nature with fly fishing
Fly fishing is more than a sport. It is an art, therapy and a way to get connected with nature.
ﾓFly fishing in general is super relaxing,ﾔ Elk River Touring Center owner Gil Willis said. ﾓThereﾒs really not any better way to spend the afternoon on a Saturday or Sunday, or after work, with water sort of circulating around your feet, fish can actually come up to your feet depending on how quiet your are.ﾔ
With quiet, comes a more all-inclusive experience.
ﾓOnce you kind of quiet down and become part of the landscape, you start to see other stuff,ﾔ Willis said. ﾓYou can see bears, deer, fishers and you can bird watch.ﾔ
But more importantly, you can attract fish.
To attract the fish, it is important to study the habitat and types of insects the fish eat in order to make flies identical to the real thing.
ﾓItﾒs really fun to get focused on what the fish are eating because fly fishing is about using imitation material, whether it be beads or feathers or fur, trying to match the natural food the fish would be feeding on at that point in time,ﾔ Willis said.
In Pocahontas County, the prime time for fishing is late April to early July. With four types of trout, the streams are chock full of a variety of fish.
ﾓThereﾒs only one thatﾒs really a true native to the county, and thatﾒs the brook trout,ﾔ Willis explained. ﾓThereﾒs another trout referred to as the brown trout, and thatﾒs a German brown trout that was imported from Germany sometime in the mid 1800s and released into different streams in the U.S. Then you have the rainbow trout. Thatﾒs the one they stock alot of and those are actually from out west, originally, and brought back here.ﾔ
The last type of trout receives a little ridicule due to its appearance.
ﾓWe make jokes and call it the banana trout, but itﾒs a golden trout thatﾒs a genetically altered rainbow,ﾔ Willis said. ﾓThose are really easy to spot and we always joke with people that come through here that you can see them from outer space.ﾔ
Being the birthplace of rivers, Pocahontas County has an endless supply of streams ﾖ large and small ﾖ for fishermen. Elk River Touring Center utilizes them all.
ﾓWe have a fly fishing guide service,ﾔ Willis said. ﾓWe basically teach them how to fly fish, teach them how to cast, share with them background on how to identify bugs, how to tie knots. All of these things that will lead them up to hopefully going out and fishing on their own and having some success.ﾔ
The guided trips are offered as half-day or full-day adventures and include public and private streams, as well as waters of adjacent counties.
ﾓWe fish over at the Williams, Cranberry and some of these native streams that are kind of top secret,ﾔ Willis said. ﾓWe have some private water that we fish on that people own both sides of the stream and a high quality stream flows on. We get permission to do that. Shavers Fork, into Randolph County, even up in the Canaan Valley area. Weﾒre all over the area. We like to keep a variety and kind of keep it different.ﾔ
The trips can either include wading or a ride in an inflatable raft, depending on the time and location of the trip.
Elk Riverﾒs guided tours have been so successful, they have garnered the attention of Orvis, a sporting adventure company, which added Elk River to its endorsed guide service list.
Along with guided tours and lodging, Elk River also sells and rents equipment for fly fishermen of all levels of expertise.
For more information on the packages offered at Elk River Touring Center, visit www.ertc.com.