If you’ve ever spent a night binging fly fishing videos on YouTube, you probably came across at least a couple with people on bikes chasing fish. And if you didn’t, well, just know: it’s totally a thing.
Every fall, we make an annual downhill bike fishing day happen. Why fall? Because it’s beautiful and fleeting; and what better way to celebrate the transition season than doing 3 of our favorite activities in one day?!
In the Colorado high country, this time of year is perfect to check so many outdoor adventure boxes from downhill mountain biking to “leaf peeping” and fly fishing…all at the same time!
Our ride starts above 11,000 feet and descends 4,000 feet, passing historic cabins, colorful aspen, green pines, and miles of creeks packed with trout.
Selecting the fly is serious business on these small creeks. You get just a couple shots at these fish and that’s about it, so choose wisely! We bring a wide range of flies to ensure we’re ready to fish smaller dry flies (gnats, flying ants and mosquitos are always a hit) and nymphs (beadhead hares ear and copper johns) within creeks and larger flies in deeper beaver dam ponds.
While the views are always nice when fly fishing in the fall, landing fish can be just as rewarding! If you’re fishing in a tight spot, try a few different casts. The bow & arrow are one of our favorites, but small roll casts can work well too, depending on the creek width. Whatever you do, skip the indicator! Often, fish are weary of big disturbances on these creeks. A big splash from an indicator will spook the fish before it even has a chance to see the fly.
If you’re thinking about adding bike fishing to your “must do” list, keep it simple but be sure to bring the following:
- Rod: use a 1-3 weight rod with 5-6x leader
- Nymphs: Zebra midge (Black, Red, or Purple), Prince Nymph, Copper John
- Dries: Flying Ant, Gnats, & Elk Hair Caddis
- Tippet: Bring extra 4-6x tippet along just in case you snag trees/break your leader
Big River Collective is a tag-team duo, Ryan Michelle Scavo (@RyOutside) and Sam Scavo (@S_Scavo). They are content creators – photographers, writers, & more. – and lovers of Postfly & The Wade blog. They do a lot of playing outside including chasing trout and rambling around southern Colorado looking for the next adventure with their two kiddos and cattle dogs.