Friday, July 3, 2015

More bikefishing

I'm not the first to recognize the obvious peas-n-carrots relationship with biking and fishing. But over the last couple years, the fishing component add-on has been the primary hook (pa dum pum!) to keep me on a bike. Well. I commuted a bit, but that's more practical than fun. And mountain biking draws me out too. Generally, as evidenced by this blog: I've not been as spazzed about cycling over the last year or so. 

But I'm recognizing this fishing/cycling bond is really appealing to me. And in the last year I've started fly-fishing, which is a wonderfully complex and difficult thing to learn. Any seasoned blog reader (or mental health professional-- is there really any difference?) will observe that there's all the fixings here for some good old fashion obsessive behavior. You've got the skill building bit, the attraction of far-flung outdoor adventure, and of course.. the gear! If this isn't blog gold I don't know what is. Keep your expectations appropriately low and we'll see where it takes us.

First, we're here in Ferry County on the Kettle River. Liza is busting through our little river trail to my favorite local hole.

The Pugsley is an excellent short-haul forest fishing bike. With the bucket panniers it's a great work horse and hauler. One of the panniers has holes drilled in the bottom to drain goo -- the idea is to fill it with ice, field dress the fish, and keep them on ice. Still an idea at this point... but the holes have been drilled for a year!

That tiny person in the center is Liza doing yoga. On big rocks. The Kettle, like most local rivers is just too warm for the season and nothing is happening. I caught a couple trout last week, but that's it. There are some dead whitefish floating through the water. I assume that's a reaction to a too-unseasonably-hot June. I caught the trout with hoppers, which is the shorthand fly fishing lingo for "grasshopper." My buddy Mike says the genus is "terrestrials"  -- so to sound like a pro, you might stroll into a shop and talk about how you're looking for some terrestrial patterns because the rainbow are hitting the hoppers. Got it?

There's this little pond tucked away on the FDR Rec Area -- this is about 1.5 miles from our place up here. I've known its there for years, but it's a long walk through tall, usually swampy, grassland to get there. With the dry year, the swampy part has firmed up and the Pugs rolls over the clods and grass nicely. 

There may be fish in there, but I'm not skilled enough to get that fly out beyond the muck and there's only a couple places you can work from on the edges of the pond.

But this is where I think the future of my fun lies. For years, I've tooled around the roads up here in Colville National Forest. I've got a pretty good handle on a small wedge of this forest -- where the streams, mountain ranges, etc are -- and this bike is made for riding these roads. 

This is the lazy way to transport the rod -- and it's pretty much the best way to screw things up. One thing that real fly fishers don't care about is disassembling their rod and then restringing the whole thing multiple times a day. I'm super not into that, especially in a place like the South Fork Boulder Creek -- where I was yesterday. The scenario there is that you get into the creek area, which is generally pretty thick and not an easy approach, find your spot to fish, work it a bit, then hop back on the bike and go up the road until the next semi-exposed area, fish it, etc. This section of road/creek is about 2 miles, hence the "lazy transport" setup.

But how great is that? This is the fishing I've come to enjoy the most. There's tons of shade, the water is fast and cold. Every little pool has a couple of brook trout looking for action. They're tiny and fun to catch. If this isn't great, I don't know what is.

My sister took these last two shots. 


Stine said...

Hell yeah.

I have this crazy fishing gizmo for you to try out. It involves LEDs.

Anonymous said...

As an Ohio kid in the 70's that's all we did during the summer. I had a banana seat bike that had a split top tube and I could jam the end of the rod in it for easy transportation. Good times!


Pavel Nosov said...

As a Spokane kid in the 90's all I did in the summers was drink box wine and eat crawdads and suckerfish out of the Spokane river. Mode of transportation was a 60s Schwinn 3 speed and fishing tool was an ocean fishing pole with 80lb line on it which I acquired at a yard sale on the west side of town for $1. The effects are still lingering.