by Beau Beasley
Fly angling, particularly for trout, allows me to lose myself in the experience.
I try to forget about everything besides outsmarting the trout I’m after. I’ve a few more years and (more than) a few unwanted pounds on me now, and hiking in to my fishing destination allows me to pretend that I’m exercising and not just recreating.
Let’s look at three locations where you can fish for trout, and get in some good exercise there and back.
Bath County, Virginia: A series of waterfalls called The Cascades, located on property owned by the Omni Homestead Resort, is ideal for fly anglers, with both a solid population of fish. The lower end of the stream offers easier access is stocked with large Kamloops rainbows. This lower area allows for fairly long casts and room for the feisty fish to run. Anglers can wade out here and attempt to cast into some of the deeper pools or try their hand at very technical casts near downed trees and other structure. The slow, clear waters give the trout a distinct advantage here, so move carefully and avoid too many false casts.
As fly anglers hike to the top of the stream, they are rewarded with a rich view of moss-covered rocks and one beautiful waterfall after another. Best of all, visiting anglers can cast small flies and test their skills against wild, naturally reproducing rainbows, which seem to inhabit the bottom of every waterfall.
Guests of the Omni Homestead Resort can fish the area for free; outside guests can fish for a nominal fee. Even non-angling hotel guests can enjoy the scenery, thanks to a wooden catwalk that flanks the side of the stream and provides a bird’s-eye view of the cascading waterfalls. Don’t miss the exceptional daily, botanist-led tours of the surrounding flora and fauna.
For more information about this fishery or accommodations in the area, contact Matt Thomas at (540) 839-1766 or (330) 205-2014, or visit http://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/homestead-virginia/things-to-do/resort-activities/fly-fishing.
Carter County, Tennessee: Hampton Creek, a public fishery in the eastern end of the Volunteer State, is ideal for hiking and small-stream fishing. This creek borders a hiking trail, which in turn links up to the famed Appalachian Trail. The trail was used by colonial soldiers who rallied to support General Washington during the Revolutionary War. These early patriots were nicknamed the “Over the Mountain Men” because of their travels in the area.
Hampton Creek is a wild brook trout stream with significant canopy cover and lots of moss-covered rocks. Though you’ll wish you were part billy goat by the time you reach the creek, the natural beauty and the fishing will make the trek worthwhile. Be sure to bring plenty of flies because the canopy cover is tight.
For more information on Hampton Creek, contact Mike Adams at Eastern Fly Outfitters (www.easternflyoutfitters.com) at (423) 538-3007.
Pocahontas County, West Virginia: I often focus on both the Williams and Cherry rivers when fishing in West Virginia. Camping is also available at designated areas near both rivers should you wish to take along your tent.
Large, in-stream boulders characterize both rivers. Fishing all the nooks and crannies that these two rivers provide could easily take the methodical angler a couple of weeks. While climbing in and around the banks of the rivers is a challenge, a great little hike is just around the corner.
The Falls of Hill Creek Trail lies directly between the Williams and the Cherry, and this trail offers a beautiful diversion surrounded by lush canopy cover—and no fewer than three waterfalls. The middle falls on this hike spans an impressive 70 feet and is one of the highest in West Virginia. Though the first 1,700 feet or so of the hiking trail is paved, the rest isn’t. A boardwalk combined with a series of metal stairways leads you down and around a mountain stream.
Visitors can secure accommodations and fly fishing guide services in this area by contacting Gil Willis at www.elkriverinnandrestaurant.com, or call (304) 572-3771.
Like I said, I’ve got a few more pounds on me than when I was younger man. Still, I’ve found fishing for trout in elevated areas is a great way to find less-pressured waters. After all, if I can find a few places to trout fish, while shedding a few pounds what’s not to like?
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