Moto-fishin' in Central British Columbia
My wife and I just returned from a two week road trip through BC, AB and WA state (see signature for link), and now she's working out of town for 3 weeks. The weather has been crap since we got home, but it looks like its gonna be a nice day for a change. What to do... what to do...
Fishing AND riding? Lets try that!
I figured all the crap I was hauling around for two weeks while on vacation was probably less weight/bulk than all my flyfishing gear, so out came the Wolfman Bags and my Northface duffel and in went the float tube, neoprene waders, flippers, 4-piece pack rod, a net, a reel, a few spools (floating, sinking tip, and full-sinking lines) and an assortment of tackle.
First of all... I need to get my fishing license renewed. A quick stop at the corner store just up the road from my house after loading up the DR:
Then it was a straight shot across the highway onto some rural section roads for a bit:
This took me to the Blackwater Road, where I turned south to enjoy some of the hills and curves:
You can barely make it out in the photo below, but near the peak of that 'mountain' in the distance is the local radar weather station, a mere 19.2km from my house. Its nice to be near a good weather station when deciding if the weather is good enough to ride or not:
Soon enough, it was time to hit some gravel. Turning west onto the Pelican FSR:
The road is in pretty good shape... speeds of 80-90km/h were easy to maintain:
Normally, I'd be a little more reserved on these roads, as they're dominated by logging trucks. Today is a stat holiday, however, so I pretty much had the roads all to myself. :clap
First stop - Shesta Lake rec site:
The access road from the Pelican FSR down to the lakeshore:
A nice view, but the lake was already getting pretty windswept, so I opted not to test the waters here. There were several smaller lakes with more shelter close by that I would check out.
Time to cruise some more of these empty forest service roads! :ricky
This road winds past the the old Clear Lake Sawmill. This was a Canfor mill that closed down a few years ago with the downturn in the forest industry in the area. There were people around and vehicles moving about, so perhaps its being maintained for an eventual revival.
Looks like the rednecks were out having some fun on the roadside...
A better shot of the radar weather station on Mt Baldy Hughes (click the image for the link to the Environment Canada weather page showing what that station sees)
Why hello there, Ms Deer!
She bounded down the road moments after I got stopped and took this slightly-fuzzy shot. I idled down the road and spotted her again just up the hill, watching me
Back onto the main FSR again:
Cruising along, enjoying the sunshine which has been so rare around here of late:
Stopping for another photo of the view
Another quick detour over to the old motocross track. Pretty quiet out here nowadays. The new track is apparently up and running tho. Guess I should get out that way and check it out one of these days.
Back out onto the Blackwater Road, heading south for a short detour:
This used to be Camp Baldy Hughes, an old military camp. Its right at the base of Mt Baldy Hughes, which is where the weather station is situated. The camp was a resort/rv park for a few years after the military moved out, and now its a rehab community for people recovering from substance abuse.
Back to the gravel again... almost at the next lake:
And we're here. Clear Lake. Time to get in the water and get away from the whining kids.
A look around from the middle of the lake:
Apparently the 'big' fish were snoozing still. This was the largest of 4 that I caught (I released them all) in the 2 hours I was there. Still fun and relaxing tho!
Not a bad day to be out on the water!
Time to get back on the road, tho. Sadly, I have yard work to do today as well. :pissed Oh well... at least the ride to get home will be a nice one!
I figured I'd take a detour on the way home and make a side-trip to check out the observatory. I'ts only 15 minutes from my house and I've never been there before.
And now I can at least say that I've 'been there'. Might have to go out there and check out the next astronomical event... whenever/whatever that may be.
Not a bad way to kill a morning/afternoon! Next time, further away from home, a bigger lake, and hopefully bigger fish.
I approve of this post. Fishing and riding is the beez kneez! Looks like a great day. What kind of camera are you using? And what kind of trout is that?
The trout is a rainbow. Department of Fisheries records say that lake is stocked annually with diploid and triploid strains. Sorry, I'm not quite a big enough fish-geek to be able to tell you which strain the one in the pic was, tho. :dunno
Excellent! I just bought a new take down rod/reel combo that I took backpacking but plan on toting it around on the bike to some of the more secluded fishing spots around me.
Been down the Blackwater and the Pelican quite a bit in the past. Used to camp out at Titetown lake a lot when I was a kid....
Looks like it was a nice ride.....
I made it out to Kluskoil and Chiny Falls back in.....oh about 1985 or 86 or so. I was only 12 and riding a KDX 80 but we made it there. Tried to go again a couple of years ago on my quad but both the upper and lower crossings were running way too high to even make an attempt at crossing.
I had heard that the NCOAS kinda made Kluskoil an annual trip for their club which is somewhat unfortunate. Only because I know first hand how big 4x4's can really muck up a good trail....
However there is still lots of great riding down around there.
That's exactly the group I went out there with... lol!
That's our old ex-Tacoma over on the far right:
Yea...I recognise a couple of those trucks there. Who knows....we may have even crossed paths a couple of times at the few trips I went on with the NCOAS....
I have to get a take down fly rod someday...
The weather has been nice this week, so I managed to get all the yard work done before the weekend. A sunny day in the forecast for Sunday meant another destination to go wet some lines!
This is where I was headed today:
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This is just one of countless small unnamed lakes in the region. This one is only about an hour north of PG, and I first fished here over 5 years ago, back when I still worked as a GIS technician at a local mapping company.
To find hidden gems like this, I would load up all of the local logging companies' road development planning maps and overlay those onto aerial photos or satellite imagery. By isolating 'newly constructed' roads from the rest of the spaghetti-like network of forestry roads, I could easily pick out small lakes that previously had no road access, then easily make myself a road map and head out to see what the lake held.
This was also the same lake where I took Brandi for her first taste of flyfishing. She hooked into what turned out to be about a 2.5 lb rainbow that spun her around in circles in her float tube for about 10 minutes - you couldn't slap the grin off her face that afternoon! :D
Brandi is out of town working this weekend, so this was a solo trip again. I didn't take the time to show everything I pack with me last time around, so I made sure to take some photos as I was organizing my gear this morning.
Here's the whole mess of it:
Flippers, float tube (plastic air bladder model, not rubber - much lighter), neoprene waders, 4-pc rod, reel and 3 interchangeable spools, net, flies, pump, and a collapsable camp stool. The blue bag on the right just has all my misc tackle like various weights of tippet material, clippers, spare tapered leaders, strike indicators, weights, leatherman, etc.
A closer look at the rod & reels:
The rod is a St Croix Imperial - 9', 5wt. The tube easily fits width-wise in my duffel. I carry three spools for the 5wt reel; a floating line, a sinking tip line, and a full-sinking line.
And a close-up of my fly boxes:
Almost all of these were tied by one of my friends who has wayyyyy more patience than I do. A couple boxes containing a variety of both wet and dry flies, and a smaller box of chironomid patterns as well.
A few minutes later and voila! All stashed away:
Waders and bike tools in one sidebag, float tube rolled up and stuffed in the other, and everything else in the big black duffel bag.
All loaded up and ready to roll:
About 30 minutes later, I'd cleared city limits and was heading north on Hwy 97:
A nice clear sunny day, and the ride was pretty uneventful. Didn't see any wildlife... just a pack of these off in the distance:
Crazy damn spandex-clad roadies... :lol3
After about 40 minutes on the highway, I was able to turn off onto the gravel. I stopped near the first stream crossing for a snack, a drink, and to turn on this DeLorme GPS unit and SPOT tracker I'd borrowed from work:
We used to carry the typical orange SPOT trackers, but these ones have the ability to send a short (41 chars, I think) text message instead of generic or pre-programmed check-in or help/assist messages. I set this unit up so that it would just post status updates to my facebook page just so Brandi didn't worry (too much) about me being off-road by myself.
There were a few people near the bridge fishing the Crooked River, so while I waited for the SPOT to establish its Bluetooth connection to the GPS, I took a few photos:
Back on the road... or some semblance of a road. There were some pretty ugly gravel sections, but most of the time you were fine as long as you stayed in the well-used tire tracks:
Some sections were much better, not very much loose gravel at all:
Now... you would think that seeing as I had actually been to this lake before, and having a GPS unit with me, that finding it would be a piece of cake. Wrong! I blew past the crucial turn-off twice, as it had nearly grown completely over with willow and alder. So after a few scenic detours and some backtracking, I finally found the turnoff and made my way to where the path to the lake starts.
Can you see the path? Its in there... somewhere. Someone was even industrious enough to have been out here with a brush saw. A good thing, but bad at the same time. If ppl are brushing a path to the lake, its likely being fished more frequently than when I'd been there last :cry
Not much of a 'path', but at least its not 6' tall brush and devil's club!
And the woods, just before the lake shore. The mosquitoes were INSANE in there, so no more pictures after this one til I was on the water.
My reel had the sinking line loaded on it, so I figured I'd start out with a leech pattern. If you were a trout, would this not look tasty to you?
I thought so. The fish were of a different opinion tho. No takers for the leech, so I tried one of these:
Fussy little buggers today, these fish. Still no action. Well... time to paddle my ass across the lake and look for a better spot. During the flipper-powered commute across the lake I also swapped to the floating line and then gave one of these a go:
Hmph. I guess this is why they call it 'fishing' instead of 'catching'. Still... this looks like a pretty good way to spend a Sunday afternoon to me; fish or no fish.
I tried a few other dry patterns, then tried fishing a chironomid at various depths, still nothing. So back to the sinking line I went and I tied on a big-assed dragonly nymph pattern - the one furthest from the camera in this shot:
I chucked out about 60' of line and headed for deeper water, stopped, and counted to 30, then started stripping line in. Nada. Count to 40, repeat. Still nothing. Count to 60... start bringing in line and WHAM! Finally! So they ARE down there, apparently hiding in the cooler, deeper water.
Sadly, I never got it to the net but it was my own fault. I figured I'd try for an underwater shot of the fish with my waterproof camera, and while I was getting that out the fish broke water and shook the hook (only single barbless hooks allowed up here).
I had a few more takes throughout the afternoon, but had zero luck in netting any of them. The first hookup alone was worth the trip out tho, great fun! :thumb
It was getting past 5-ish, so I headed back to shore and started packing up while trying not to donate a pint or two of blood to the indigenous blood-suckers that now followed me out of the woods and up to the road where I'd parked. With that incentive, packing was a hasty endeavor and I was back on the road in short order.
Some active logging in the area, it seems:
The less glamorous face of clear-cut logging practices:
It looks ugly, but there's a method to their madness here. They pile all the slash in windrows near the roadside so that when they burn the slashpiles, they're easily accessible. Within a year or two of slashing, the blocks are replanted.
A few fun forest facts from this side of the border:
Back on the road... heading for the highway.
Some fun sections of hard-packed dirt with little or no gravel at all:
But of course, there were plenty of sections that felt like you were riding on marbles... like this one:
And then it was back on the highway and heading for home:
Thanks for following along!
<small><a href="http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Prince+George,+Fraser-Fort+George+Regional+District,+British+Columbia&t= h&ll=54.362808,-122.705097&spn=0.008752,0.018239&z=15&source=embed "
Great read, thanks for posting it! :1drink
Was just through PG on the holiday weekend. Weather was great, nice during the days and rain at night :D
THANKS for sharing your trip!
Looks like a good time!
Glad everyone is enjoying these little outings... I certainly appreciate all the comments! :clap
One thing to add which I forgot to mention earlier with respect to my new Panasonic point & shoot camera - its also GPS enabled! I just recently started using SmugMug for hosting my pictures instead of linking them to facebook and I've just stumbled across the 'Map It' button in gallery viewing page.
The upside is that I don't have to do anything to these photos for them to be geo-tagged. The built-in Google Maps and Yahoo Geocoding API's take care of it as part of the upload process. Sweeet!
Not all of the photos successfully stored a tag - most likely the quick ones where I pulled the camera out, took a quick shot, then shut it off right away. There IS an 'always on' mode for the GPS receiver in the camera, but I'd be concerned about battery life if I left that on.
Anyway... you can check out the exact mapped location of the photos that did get a geotag attached here. Enjoy!
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