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Elk Springs Resort vs. Harmans North Fork Cottages

madison, fl
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Elk Springs Resort vs. Harmans North Fork Cottages

I am considering a WV vacation sometime this year. I am a fly fisherman and based on my research to date I have come across two locations that appear to have some above average trout fishing.

I am seeking assistance in determining which of the two would offer the best fishing. I am also attempting to determine when to make the trip. The folks at Elk Springs recommend the last of May for the Sulpher hatch.

I would also like to know when the wildflowers might be blooming and when the leaves might be turning color. In addition, how is the fishing during these times.

Charleston, West...
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1. Re: Elk Springs Resort vs. Harmans North Fork Cottages

I've not stayed at the Elk Springs resort, but I have stayed at Harmans Cottages and I've fly fished all around both places....neither of which are near each other.....I will say that May is the best time to fly fish in WV. In the fall trout fishing is ok...but requires a lot more diligence to be successful. I like the Streams around Elk springs....There is a catch and release section on the elk near the lodge which offers fairly good fishing...and within 20min. there is a large section of Sream called Slatyfork that offers a fly fishing only area with great fishing so long as you match the hatches well. Harmans has good streams but they aren't as close together....South Branch of the Potomac and the Canaan valley Blackwater River area are good....they are just located further apart. Harmans cottages are very nice and a section of the south branch, which is a great stream, runs right along the cabins. The staff there would probably even arrange a guided fishing trip if you wanted...One of the guys actually went fishing with me one day. My recommendation would be to buy a gazeteer TOPO map of WV before you come....Many trib's of these streams are fishable...and even if they aren't marked on the map as stocked or fishable, if they are trib's of these streams they offer good fishing experiences.

Cabins, West...
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2. Re: Elk Springs Resort vs. Harmans North Fork Cottages

Both are great locations. Harman's is stocking large trout that come from Elk Springs. Both have lodging right on the river (elk springs has a large lodge & Harman's has luxury cabins). I'd disagree about their location. Elk Springs and Harman's are only about 1 1/2 hrs apart (e.g a normal drive for me in WY to get to two places). Harman's has Fly Fishing Invitational May 19, 20, 21. So fishing after that weekend will be guarantee that lots of big trout in stream. In general HNFC is stocking big fish all year.

madison, fl
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3. Re: Elk Springs Resort vs. Harmans North Fork Cottages

I would like to thank the last two posters for their reply. I know spring or early summer are the optimum time to visit and fish WV but I have prior engagements (other fishing trips) planned for those timeperiods. I was wondering how the fishing would be during the timeperiod the leaves are changing color (have to consider the wife's desires as well)? According to one website I visited it appears that the leaves typically change in late September for the Seneca Rocks area. What is your experience on the time when leaves change and the quality of the fishing at this time?

Washington DC...
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4. Re: Elk Springs Resort vs. Harmans North Fork Cottages

Here is the link to the West Virginia Dept of Natural Resources site with the Trout Stocking maps, and you can see the Daily Stocking Report. (Link in the black bar at top of page.)

http://www.mapwv.gov/website/dnr/viewer.htm

Gotta love the Internet!

Cabins, West...
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5. Re: Elk Springs Resort vs. Harmans North Fork Cottages

The leaves change based on elevation and 1st hard freeze.

Spruce Knob/Dolly sods start in Sept; Canaan Valley can as well. But the real change in north mountain (seneca rocks) is mid to late october. These locations are just miles from each other (7 to 30), but with elevation changes (dolly sods/spruce are much higher).. Their leaves start 1st with cannan valley trailing some. My recommendation would me mid to late october for seneca rocks area. Unsure about Elk Springs, its more southern part of state, and unsure of elevation.

6. Re: Elk Springs Resort vs. Harmans North Fork Cottages

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madison, fl
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7. Re: Elk Springs Resort vs. Harmans North Fork Cottages

Schelmar, thanks for your input. What more can you tell me about the fishing? Do you have to use a guide? Is there a fee? What else do you know about the mountain stream?

Once again, thanks for your help.

Cabins, West...
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8. Re: Elk Springs Resort vs. Harmans North Fork Cottages

Did you make the trip to West Virginia?

madison, fl
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9. Re: Elk Springs Resort vs. Harmans North Fork Cottages

Yes, we arrived the day after a major rain event, wind blowing 30mph, rivers looked like yohoo. Needless to say the fishing was not to be had. Drove around some (Canaan Valley [every interesting area] and Whitmer Road [so windy tress were falling across the road after moving one and seeing more had to turn around before making it to Spruce Knob]).

Cabins, West...
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10. Re: Elk Springs Resort vs. Harmans North Fork Cottages

Sorry mother nature did not help out! Harman's North Fork Invitational Competition was held in very high water this past year. It is a fly fishing competition with pros and amateurs for cash prizes at Harman's.

The competition will be aired on The Sportsman Channel via Fly Rod Chronicles TV in a week or so via Direct TV/Dish Network.

It was amazing to see the pro's fish in high water. Water was at 10 ft at beginning of week, dropped to 7ft for tourney. The pros caught their maximum numbers of trout every session. The boys from NC caught trout in the fast water under the bridge to take 2nd place.

Harman's NFI is may 17, 18, 19, 2012.