Near and dear to my heart, the Elk river is a place I grew up.  If I were Brad Pitt, this would be my river that runs through it.  Often overlooked due to the Yampa and multitude of stillwaters around Steamboat Springs to hunt trout, the Elk river provides a great opportunity to catch Rainbows, Browns, Cutbows, Cutthroats, Brook Trout and even some Whitefish.  This makes it a box of chocolates kind of river and for someone with a short attention span like myself, a real joy to fish.

The real problem with the Elk river is the access.  I’m blessed to have access to a large amount of private water, but without it, access is difficult.  There are however, a few public sections that hold some great fishing opportunity along elk river road between steamboat and the town of clark.  As you drive along the road, watch for little white signs on the trees that mark public access and find the nearest pull out and rig up and work down to the river.  It’s a gambit whether nymphs, dry flies or streamers will work best, so I suggest fishing these sections with a dry-dropper rig or a double nymph river based on the day as you work upstream.  When you are ready to head back to your car, stay on the river, tie on a stream and work the river back downstream with a large streamer.  Something big and heavy to get down deep.  I’ve caught some real monsters on this section, though most of the fish range in the 12-14” range.  The avg size trout seem to fight harder than the big fish however and are as wild as they get often jumping feet out of the water to attempt to shake your hook.  5x is as small as you need on this river and 3-4x is recommended.

Please practice catch and release on this section and revive and return the fish as if they were your daughter.  These fish and this river is very delicate and some years seems to be void of trout while others are the talk of legend.  Fishing pressure is tough on the public sections and fish numbers suffer when careless anglers kill fish or don’t practice proper release practices.