The Elk River, tucked away in West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains, is a trout and fly fisher’s paradise. With a mix of wild and stocked trout of serious sizes, the Upper Catch & Release (C&R) is prime trout fishing territory.
The Elk River, called “The Lady” by locals, is a trout fisher’s paradise. Tucked away in West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains near the Randolph and Pocahontas county lines, the Upper Catch & Release (C&R) is prime trout fishing territory with some deep pools amidst its shallow runs. If you want to find the best spots, you can hire guides to tackle the infamous stretch of Elk River for a try at catching some of the largest trout in the state.
What Makes It Great
The Elk River has long been a favorite destination for fly fishermen in West Virginia, and is even considered one of the eastern United States’ best fly-fishing rivers. The upper section of the Elk River is a limestone spring-fed creek with a steady current that’s filled with trout.
The river has mostly wild fish, though one section is stocked with trout annually, so there are plenty of opportunities to catch large brown, brook, and rainbow trout (some reported to be as big as 26 inches long). The back fork of the Elk River is known as the C&R, and is divided into 2 sections—the upper section, which is nearly 5 miles long and the lower section, which is 2 miles long. The upper section is primarily wild trout, while the lower C&R is stocked each year. Both are equally beautiful, so you can’t go wrong.
Who is Going to Love It
Seasoned anglers love the Elk River, particularly the Upper C&R, because of the great conditions for skilled fly fishermen (and women). There are several local outfitters that offer guided fishing trips to both sections of the Elk River for beginners, too.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The Elk River begins in Slatyfork along State Route 219, just downstream from the Elk River Inn and Restaurant. A West Virginia fishing license is required and please keep in mind that the catch-and-release section of the Elk begins at the headwaters and runs for nearly five miles. Please respect the catch-and-release rules and regulations.