Elk River Topo Map

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Most of the use on the Elk River is by rafts or drift boats oared by anglers keying in to the river’s native bull trout and cutthroats. The fishing can be good in late summer and fall—so good that anglers don’t invest the time a paddler might devote to appreciating the scenery. From the cottonwood-lined shores up to spectacular peaks, the Elk is an eyeful. The river upstream from Hosmer, British Columbia, is smaller, with tighter turns and a steeper gradient. The large but graceful hoofed creatures for which the river is named make their home at the river’s headwaters. The river below Morrissey, British Columbia, offers generally good floating, with some slack water to reach the alternative take-out at the bridge near the dam at Elko, British Columbia. This trip features the most scenic portion of the 119-mile river, with stunning views of Mount Hosmer and other peaks. It flows through Fernie, British Columbia, a small ski-resort town where paddlers can easily eddy out for food or supplies. The river is especially scenic in late September and early October, when cottonwoods and aspens turn brilliant yellow. Since the river flows don’t tend to settle down until the end of July, the fishing is best from August through mid-October.

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