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Wheel & Reel: Mountain Biking to Remote Fishing Spots


Two of my favorite outdoors activities are fly fishing and mountain biking.

So whenever I can combine my two favorite pastimes, which I like to refer to as Wheel & Reel, I jump at the opportunity.  

And fortunately for me, a number of local lakes allow for mountain biking on trail about the lakes, to the campgrounds and some of the best view points in the area.

A few of the trails even head down near the water, cross a few spring creeks, and get you to remote parts of the river or lake where few anglers cast a line for Rainbow Trout.

These are my favorite places to fish year in and year out because not only do you get a workout in cycling to these remote destinations, but the fishing is usually pretty good since these lost coves get little or no pressure outside of a few boats throughout much of the year.

Get Used to Technical Mountain Biking

Now mountain biking alone isn’t for everyone. If you’re not used to mountain biking on streep trails or narrow single tracks, you might start off by practicing on less technical and more level fire roads around your local area.

Once you get comfortable mountain biking the more technical trails around your favorite fisheries, start scoping out where the best fly fishing spots might be, and the best route to get there.

But don’t bite off more than you can chew on your first few trips. Keep the mountain bike portion to 2-3 miles, so that you have enough energy to not only fish but to make the return trip with all of your gear.

Mountain Biking with Fishing Gear

Once you’re comfortable with mountain biking technical mountain single tracks, you’re going to have to get organized and get all of your gear prepped and ready for the trip.

Along with the typical mountain biking gear (helmet, sunglasses, gloves, biking apparel, an extra tube, flat repair, bike tool and a water bottle), you’re going to need to get clever and figure out a way to get all of your fly fishing gear to and from the fishing destination.

One way to get all of your gear to and fro is to bring a backpack, which you can carry your lunch, extra drinks, flies, breakdown fly rod, reel leaders and extra line.

And don’t forget a camera. The GoPro waterproof camera makes a perfect companion for documenting both your mountain bike excursion and your fishing time. And with all sorts of mounts and support braces, the GoPro can fit right on your bike helmet or handlebars as you ride.

You’ll also want to bring a phone and/or a GPS unit so you can see just how far you’ve traveled.

If you fly rod doesn’t break down and fit nicely into your backpack, you’re going to want to build your own bike fishing rod holder (or get another rod, here were some of my favorite fly rods in 2012).

If built correctly, this setup could be much more safer on the rider if they get thrown from the bike on their trail ride. The last thing you want as a rider is for your rod to poke through your backpack if you get thrown off the bike, and have that rod also pierce through your body afterward.

You can make a pretty simple bike rack using PVC pipe, glue, hose clamps, and, of course, duct tape.

In fact, the International Game Fish Association has instructions for how to build a do-it-yourself bicycle rod rack on its website for families and junior anglers. You can get this six-step article for free on the IGFA website.

As always when traveling in the outdoors, use caution when trail riding.

And if you’re riding a busy trail, with pedestrians and their animals such as dogs or horses, where a bell as you ride to alert oncoming trail goers.

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