11 December, 2015

Big Tires, Little Trout

By Chris

There's not much going on at VO this week other than filling a lot of orders due to our 20%-off sale. So I thought I'd post a few photos of yesterday's ride. I took the day off and drove out to New Germany State Park in western Maryland. The plan was to do a little trout fishing and some solitary riding.

The Piolet in it's natural habitat.
There are numerous ORV (off road vehicle) trails in this part of the state. Fortunately, some of the best ones are no longer open to motorized vehicles. I rode an abandoned Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) road that runs along a small trout stream. The CCC built a tremendous number of roads, lodges, cabins, and other infrastructure in national and state parks during the great depression. It was a very successful program to boost employment for young men and to improve our park system.

The road along Poplar Lick is just abandoned enough to make it too bumpy to ride comfortably on my Pass Hunter, so I took a demo Piolet. It's a beautiful trail, yet I didn't see another person all day. If you want to spend the night there, you can choose from some lovely hike/ride-in campsites along the way, most of them with picnic tables and fire rings.
One of the smoother sections.
So many fords.
The road crosses Poplar Lick more times than I could count, often on small bridges, but I also made 16 fords and all but a few were too rocky and slippery to ride across. The air temperature was in the high 40s and the water temperature was in the 30s. I rode and waded in sandals; surprisingly, you soon get used to the cold water.
I had to watch out for occasional brush on the trail.
Poplar Lick ("lick" being local for "crick",) is home to a healthy population of native brook trout, the only species of trout that's native to our area. The streams up here are so isolated that the trout are genetically different in each stream. As it turned out, after riding for four hours I was too beat to put much effort into fishing afterward, so it was one of the few times I've visited this area without catching a single fish.
Fly fishing kit with tenkara rod.
My fishing gear for cycling includes a Tenkara fly rod and a few accessories that fit in a small shoulder pouch. The Tenkara rod is is Japanese fly rod that telescopes from about 21 inches to about 11 feet. It uses no reel and only weighs a few ounces, perfect for biking and for smaller streams.
It's a small stream.
One of the trophy Poplar Lick trout from a trip earlier this year.
The Piolet performed perfectly with 2.4" tires, just what's needed on the rocky eroded portions of these trails. I also liked the Seine bars, though they were wider than needed for a non-technical trail. In fact, I liked the ride enough that I'm thinking about a Piolet with wide drop bars and a double crank, and maybe a porteur rack.


Noel said...

Huh. I figured I was the only "adventure touring rigid semi-fat bike with a tenkara rod" guy out there. Guess I'm still not trying hard enough.

Anyway, great bike with a great name (I enjoy mountaineering in the winter and have noticed the same kind of attitude or "feel" for sport among both mountaineers and "adventure touring" cyclists), and a good tenkara rod seems to fit right in.

Looking at your fly box, though, I wonder if you're actually hucking streamers with your tenkara rod...

VeloOrange said...

Noel, The streamers are for my Western rod, though I did try them with the tenkara once. Interesting that you're a mountaineer as I also did some alpine climbing back in the day.


Unknown said...

I love reading your blog for great bike ideas, travel destinations, and beautiful bicycles. I wasn't expecting to have my fishing life changed! This is the first I had heard of tenkara, and I've fallen in love with the style. Thanks for introducing me to a wonderful new way to enjoy fly fishing!

For the record, I find that streamers and bucktails work great with tenkara, at least on the rod I have.