Back The Brookie Project – Mullenax Run
The buzzer went off at 5:15 yesterday morning and the sun rose to a 70 degree sunny day. Man, it was awesome weather. I took a day of annual leave (vacation) and drove to God’s Country, USA – (Pocahontas County, WV) – except my trip was not fishing related. I was to meet with a group of constituents from the US Forest Service to discuss a project for Trout Unlimited on a grazing alotment on the head of Mullenax Run. Mullenax and Crooked Fork meet to essentially form Old Field Fork, which is well known because Old Field and Big Spring then meet to form the Elk River which is one of WV’s most famed watersheds as it bilaterally divides the state in two and the Elk has some really interesting characteristics.
The grazing alotment consists of 37 acres and currently the cattle can access the length of the creek there which is causing erosion as well as having some runoff issues. We spent several hours going over plans to fix these problems with fencing, road repairs, hard crossings and a bridge. After we finished, I had very little time to do any fishing before needing to return home. I decided to go against my better judgement and pass on looking for some warmed up brook trout and go to the Elk River below Elk Springs to see if there was anything hatching/rising. I drove to the tressle hole and took a look to discover quite a few midges and a smattering of other insects about, but no fish moving at all. I would imagine that the warm weather causing snowmelt had turned the water quite cold and the fish would not be cooperative. I fished a triple soft hackle rig with a lot of weight by swinging it on the bottom. I did this for about 40 minutes and did not move any fish. Being bored with this I decided to head home. I’m not a big fan of fishing rivers and I’ve yet to ever have a good experience on the Elk in the wintertime.
I wish I’d have spent my alotted hour on a brook trout creek, but my reward for the day was giving back through TU work, not taking. A lot of folks claim they don’t “have time” to help with TU or maybe they have issues with someone within TU. In my mind, Trout Unlimited does more for trout and trout fishing in WV than any other non-profit citizen group in the state and the WV Council does more for trout than many other state councils. I take vacation time if necessary to give back. Pouting over policy differences or personal snits is unacceptable to me. I also have a issues with those who make a living via trout water that don’t do much to give back to the resource like outfitters and guide services that do not get involved. I would like to see TU national produce a pamphlet of national and local businesses that support trout through giving, volunteer time or other impacts. In my case, I would only support those businesses and not the others. I’ve proposed this concept through our NLC rep, but have not heard back on it yet.