CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One of the state's premier fishing destinations is preparing a birthday bash.
Elk Springs Resort turns 10 in March, and its owners, Darin and Lisa Dean, plan to commemorate the occasion with a party on March 22.
"This is a 'thank you' and a celebration," Lisa said. "A lot of fishermen were instrumental in helping to support us and get the word out about us. We want to show our appreciation to them."
The party will be held at the resort, located in Randolph County along the upper Elk River not far from Monterville.
"We're going to have food, refreshments and live music, and we'll induct the first member of our new 'Elk Springs Hall of Fame,'" Lisa said. "There is no guest list; the celebration is open to anyone who wants to attend."
This year's honoree is Ken Yufer, affectionately known to fellow anglers as "The Old Man of the Elk." Yufer, 74, was one of the first anglers to notice Elk River trout's tendency to dine on insects almost too small to see. His discoveries spawned an entire generation of small-fly anglers, and Elk Springs has been their base of operations.
The resort wasn't always the grand place it is today. Ten years ago, the Deans bought a forlorn, partially developed piece of riverside property and, in the course of a decade, transformed it into a destination for trout anglers.
"Darin and I had visited the property when I was pregnant with our daughter, Ellie May," Lisa recalled. "The previous owners, who were from Missouri, were just starting to develop it into a resort when we visited. We fell in love with the place."
The fledgling resort, which included a bait shop, three cabins and the skeleton of a lodge building, closed not long afterward.
"The place sat abandoned for three years," Lisa said. "In 2004, Darin and I decided to make an offer on it. We bought it in March of that year."