Elkhorn Lake, a 54-acre impoundment on the North River in the George Washington National Forest, is part of the North River Recreation Area in Augusta County. It is a terrific warm and cold-water fishery.
At an elevation of 3,000 feet and depths over 30 feet, the lake is cold enough to support trout year-round. The day-use area provides a boat ramp, fishing piers, and restrooms. A gravel road follows the southern shore and offers good access to the lake, as well as the Delayed Harvest fishery below the dam. Non-motorized boats are allowed on the lake to help you cover the fishery well.
Warm water species include largemouth bass, sunfish, Channel catfish, and White Amur (grass carp). Spring, summer, and fall are best for targeting most of these species. Largemouth will be in the shallows to spawn in April, and five-pound bass are not uncommon. The grass carp are our favorite and can grow to over 4 feet in length! They cruise the surface of the lake in the summer, sipping vegetation and small bugs. They often can’t resist a well-presented beetle.
Trout are stocked by the state regularly in the fall, winter, and spring. It is a put and take fishery, and many fish get kept. It is a large, deep impoundment, and the fish that aren’t kept can get really large. Rainbows over 4 pounds are regularly pulled from the depths of Elkhorn. Trout will go below the thermocline in the summer and are much tougher to catch. Trout will also seek out the cold waters at the head of the lake from the North River.
Elkhorn is a well-managed, beautiful, high elevation lake. It is a great alternative to fish when our streams are blown out due to high water. Throwing large streamers on a sink tip line in the spring or fall could result in a huge trout or bass, and that is what makes this such a fun fishery!