Fly fishing course offered in the West Virginia outback

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Map showing Spruce on Shavers Fork
Map showing remote ghost town of Spruce on Shavers Fork

There’s only one practical way to reach the ghost town of Spruce on the Shaver’s Fork of the Cheat River, and that’s by train — which may make the opportunity to attend a fly-fishing workshop there that much more alluring. Anglers of every skill level are invited to take part in a $250 weekend workshop in this remote reach of the Allegheny Mountains May 31–June 1, according to Monica Flemming, activity coordinator for Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, which is sponsoring the event.

The workshop will include instruction, an overview of stream ecology, a train ride to Spruce from Cass, two boxed lunches, and a set of flies (though equipment is not otherwise part of the package). “The basics of equipment, stream biology, fly tying, and types of flies to use for streams, casting and basic knot tying will be included,” Flemming said.

Vacation rentals in restored cottages in the national historic district at Cass are not included in the package but are available through the park. Anglers will need a state fishing license with trout and national forest stamps, available online at www.wvfish.com.

Three professional instructors will lead the course: Jim Rainey, executive director of the Outdoor Writers Association of America and the International Federation of Fly Fishers; C. “Biff” Healy, of the Cumberland Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited and a former naturalist at Holly River State Park, and Jeff Steltzer, a specialist in small-stream fly fishing and master of the bow-and-arrow cast.

A course outline and requirements and schedules are posted at the Cass Scenic Railroad website, www.cassrailroad.com. To register for workshop or to reserve a company house, call 304-456-4300.