How to Ride Over Road Obstacles

 

Most public roadways aren’t pristine stretches of asphalt. They are typically covered in obstacles and present various hazards that are quite dangerous when you’re on a bicycle.

Here is a quick guide on how to navigate over or around obstacles on the road.

Pot holes.

 

The best method is to ride around a pot hole. If you spot the hole far enough in advance (thanks to keeping your head up and scanning the road ahead,) you can check traffic and move to the left or right of the pot hole.

If you spot the pot hole too late and you have to go straight through it, use a technique called “unweighting” the wheels. Right before your front wheel hits the pot hole, slightly spring your body up into the air. Your bike doesn’t need to leave the ground; you just don’t want a lot of force on the wheels when they hit the edges of the pot hole.

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Sewer grates.

 

Sewer grates are another obstacle that you want to ride around. These grates are typically on the shoulder, so check traffic and move to the left to ride around the grate.

If there is too much traffic, and the grate’s slots are perpendicular to your wheel, you can ride over the grate (just try to go in a straight line.)

However, if the grate’s slots are parallel to your wheel, your wheel could possibly slide down into the grate, throwing you over the handlebars! In this case, either go to the left or stop if you have to let traffic pass by.

 

Roadkill.

Ride around roadkill if possible. It will keep you cleaner.

If you have to hit it, you can unweight your wheels and glide over it or at least shift your weight backwards so the front wheel goes over it lightly. (If the front wheel hits it hard, you could go down.)

 

Railroad tracks.

The key here is to cross over the railroad tracks at a right angle. Go straight across them. If the tracks are angled, try to angle yourself in the lane so you cross at a right angle.

Traffic permitting, of course.

 

Sand and gravel.

If you encounter sand or gravel, go through it in a straight line.

Don’t try to turn, and don’t brake unless absolutely necessary. Either movement could cause you to slide out or skid.

 

Wet leaves.

Wet leaves are very slippery, so try to avoid them. If you can’t, coast over them in a straight line. Do not turn or use your brakes, because the outcome will be even worse than on sand or gravel!

Those tips should make the roadways safer.

 

How to Go Around a Sharp Turn or Corner

 

Cornering is an essential skill. When done properly, it is tons of fun!

Here are the steps to cornering properly.

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Slow down.

 

Slow before the turn. Don’t brake during the turn.

Braking during a turn is dangerous, which is why you want to do all your braking before the turn.

Feather the rear brake if you have to slow during the turn, but not the front brake. You need to let the front wheel track through the corner.

 

Pick a line.

 

Pick a good line. Make the turn less sharp. Do an outside-inside-outside line as road conditions and traffic permit.

 

Look.

 

Look through the turn. You will be looking to the exit. (Remember, always look where you want to go.)

 

Turn.

 

Push against the handlebar with your inside hand, and lean into the turn.

Weight the outside pedal for stability. Also, having the inside pedal up decreases the chance that you catch it on the pavement when you lean.

For example: If you are making a left turn, you are pushing with your left hand. You have your right pedal down at the 6 o’clock position.

 

Pedal.

About 3/4 through the turn, you can start accelerating to regain your speed.

In Pursuit of Big Steelhead

In Pursuit of Big Steelhead

Big steelhead you say? That will usually get some attention from fishermen. Steelheading on the fly is one of the greatest challenges out there, but also offering one of the biggest rewards. Confidence is one of the most important factors of the steelheading game. As a flyfishing guide, I stress this to my clients from the first phone conversation to the morning of the trip. Patience is another aspect. Steelheading is hard work and you must be willing to put in long hours. But, if you love fishing, this will not be a problem. If you are looking for the challenge of big steelhead, then March is one of the best times of the year to fish. The weather usually turns in our favor with less rain; air and water temps rise, streams are uncrowded, and the big March natives are heading home to their natal rivers.

Big Steelhead

Ok, now that you are armed with extreme confidence and limitless patience, we have targeted the month we are going, let’s talk tackle. For the “March natives”, I would recommend a nine to ten foot, eight weight fly rod. A rod with medium-fast action and a strong butt section is best as you will be using heavy sink tip fly lines or heavily weighted flies attached to long leaders on floating lines. Oregon law requires that all wild steelhead must be released which is another reason for choosing an eight-weight rod. This heavier rod allows you the opportunity to land the fish quicker making it safer for the fish. I suggest a disc drag reel rated for an eight-weight rod. If you want to experience a real challenge, select a single action reel with exposed rim. (This is what is referred to as the “knuckle buster” approach.) You will need a “steelhead taper” floating line. These lines have a long front belly section, which aids in roll casting on small streams and casting larger flies when you need to throw long casts. The floating line method works well when you’re fishing small stream pocket water using the dead drifting method with a strike indicator and long leader. (This is a very effective method, as most small stream fishing situations don’t allow the traditional wet fly swings.) Sink-tip fly lines are needed and I recommend a five foot mini-tip (which is great for small stream steelheading) or a twenty four foot, 325 grains sink tip for big water (like the Nestucca River) or fishing high water situations on small streams. Shooting head systems are a great choice as you have the ability to change heads for different water types without having to pack extra spools. Leader choice is important. For floating lines, use a nine to twelve foot leader. When using the five-foot mini-tip line, a six-foot leader is your best choice. If using a 325-grain sink-tip line, normally you will need only a three to four foot leader. Tippet sizes with a ten to fifteen pound rating are recommended for most conditions. I do not feel steelhead are leader shy.

There are a lot of flies out there for winter steelhead, keep it simple! Pick a few patterns and stay with them. My favorites are the PaintBrush, Glo-Bugs, Salmon River MVP, Pink King, Green Butt-Orange and Pink Articulated Leech. (Remember to pinch down the barbs.)

Now we are all geared up and ready to go fishing! We just have to pick which stream. My favorite winter steelheading stream is the ##@*###. (If you can figure out that secret river code then definitely go there.) I can tell you there are many good systems that hold decent runs of the big “March Native Steelhead”. I would search out smaller streams with good upper watersheds. These streams offer good habitat for these big guys to continue their life cycle and present us with an opportunity to fish for them.

 

Fly Fisher’s Checklists

Fly Fisher’s Checklists

The following is a handy list of things you need and also things that may make your time on the water more enjoyable.

outdoor

Rod – Trout 3-6 wt rod, Lake Trout 5-6 wt rod, Steelhead 7-8 wt rod, Salmon 9-10 wt rod. 

Reel – A drag isn’t necessary for trout fishing, but is recommended for Steelhead and Salmon. 

Fly Line (Matched to your rod)

Line Backing

Leaders

Tippet material

Flies (Varies based on where you’re fishing and whether you’re using a floating or sinking line.)

Fly Box (Most fly fisherman have several)

Polarized Sunglasses (Eye protection and takes glare off the water surface.)

Visor cap

Vest Tools

  • Nippers for cutting leaders

  • Forceps to help you remove the hook from the fish and pinch down barbs

  • Retractor to hold tools

  • Knot tying tool (makes streamside knot tying a breeze)

Wading Gear

  • Neoprene is usually less expensive but can be uncomfortable in warm weather.  Breathable waders pull moisture from your skin but keep the water out.  Capilene or Polypropylene under garments help keep you comfortable in all weather conditions.

  • Wading Shoes – good felt soles will help you in wading.  Here in the Pacific Northwest a spiked pair of wading shoes can help give you a big advantage on slippery moss covered rocks.  

  • Wading Belt – IMPORTANT!!

Fly Vest or Fanny Pack to hold your gear

Rain Jacket – Spend a little more here and get a good breathable one

Practice minimum-impact fishing by carrying out everything you carry in. Leaving the shore pristine promotes stewardship of fishing areas for future generations to enjoy.

 

COASTAL SALMON & STEELHEAD TRIPS

COASTAL SALMON & STEELHEAD TRIPS

Salmon River – This is a small coastal stream north of Lincoln City. In the fall, large runs of Chinook and Coho Salmon are present. If you would like to fight “big” fish on a fly, then this is an experience you don’t want to miss. Coastal Chinook average from 25 to 45 pounds are are easily fooled by a fly. Early in the season we fish the estuaries where the fish converge waiting on the rains which will draw them into their natal rivers.  Once the rains begin, we move upriver along with the fish and use freshwater fly gear. Picture to the left is guide Rich Youngers with a nice estuary caught Silver Salmon.

COASTAL SALMON

Big Nestucca River- The Big Nestucca is 53 river miles long and flows in a west-southwest direction to Nestucca Bay. It meanders through several small coastal towns such as Beaver, Hebo, Cloverdale  and then right through the center of Pacific City. The Nestucca offers a good run of summer  and winter steelhead as well as good numbers of  native and sea-run cutthroat trout as well as a fantastic run of fall Chinook Salmon.  We fish the Nestucca year round.  December through the end of January hatchery run steelhead enter the river.  The month of February the famed wild winter run steelhead make their entrance and continue to make anglers smile through mi-April.  These fish run up to twenty pounds and are aggressive to a well presented fly.  The month of May is the time Spring Chinook and some early run summer steelhead start to show.  June, July is the peak time for Spring Chinook.  The summer run steelhead will fish well all the way into the fall months.  The month of September is time for the mighty Fall Chinook to make their way in to the bay and estuary of the Nestucca.  These fish will stay in these area until the first good rains of the fall that will move them up into the freshwater section of the river.  These fish come to a fly very well and will reach weights of up to fifty pounds. I’ve fished the Nestucca for close to thirty years and have been guiding the river for over 13 years and this river has a special place in my heart.  Pictured upper left is customer Hunter Nolan with a big Nestucca steelie caught in spring 2006.  On the left is Peter Fleishman with another steelhead caught on a guide trip in February, 2006. Lower left photo is of Kathy with a fat cutthroat caught on the Nestucca in October, 2006.

Fishing Oregon’s Famous Rivers

Fishing Oregon’s Famous Rivers

The Deschutes River, located in central Oregon, is renown as one of the best native trout streams in America.  Summer steelhead and large rainbow trout provide an exciting challenge for the fly fisherman.  Late spring and early summer you can enjoy the famous salmon fly hatch where the fish feed voraciously on these large insects.  Then later, the warm weather brings on various other caddis, midge and mayfly hatches.  In late fall the steelhead fishing can be awesome.  These steelhead can be readily coaxed to a fly and offer good opportunities for even the novice steelheader.   The Deschutes River canyon is very scenic and the trip is worthwhile even if you don’t fish.  We primarily guide the upper section of the river from Warm Springs to Trout Creek in 16′ driftboats.   There is no fishing from a flotation device on the Deschutes so everyone must wade.    Book with us early as we fill up for season.

oregon river

North Santiam River – This river is located close to Salem, Oregon and is known for it’s abundant runs of summer steelhead.  Fishing for summers can be good from June through the end of October.  The Santiam also offers trout fishing with the average trout size ranging from 10-13″.  Each year larger trout are also taken from the river.   The North Santiam provides some winter Steelhead fishing from January through March when water conditions are favorable.  This is a beautiful river offering some great scenery.

The McKenzie River – This classic western Oregon river is located about 1 hour south of Salem (close to Eugene and Springfield) and is perfect for flyfishing right from the drift boat.  Several anadromous fish species are found in the McKenzie including spring Chinook Salmon and Summer Steelhead.  Dry fly fishing for trout is excellent from spring through late fall and this river offers great fishing opportunities for flyfisher’s of all skill levels.  There is a strong population of wild rainbow, with more numbers of wild cutthroat in the lower river and a small population of bull trout.  The McKenzie trout average 8 to 14 inches, with some up to 18 inches or better. Many of the larger rainbows have the dark coloration with red stripe that identifies them as redside trout.

STRIPER FISHING

STRIPER FISHING

On Sept. 17, I took off for Scarborough, Maine, to do some East Coast striper fishing. Excellent food and historic lodging was experienced at Higgins Beach Inn. The first afternoon of my fishing experience was to get a self taught lesson in casting heavily weighted flies with my 8wt Scott saltwater rod.  I was watching my backcast to get the timing down for the forward motion. As I turned my head forward I noticed a young seagull was flying right across my casting zone.  Sure enough, the line goes where the rod tip goes and the rod tip goes where you look.  I caught a 3 to 4 lb seagull and had an airborne fight.  It  back paddled with its wing as it let out screams of fear and hate.  A dozen other gulls suddenly flooded into the area around my prize.  The 8 wt handled the bird very well and after a few minutes it was landed.  Each reach with my hand was met with open beak, wild eyes and my fear.  Quickly putting my hat over its head saved my hand and fingers.  The bird was quiet with his eyes blinded.  I unwound the line from its wings and luckily, the hook had only grabbed somebody plumage.  Once released, it flew off giving me all sorts of verbage.  The other gulls looked like they missed a meal.

Moving downstream, I put on one of Rich’s Home Run steelhead pattern to see it I could evoke some strike from something where the river met the salt.  At the pickup for the start of my third cast I noticed the rod loaded faster.  Wow, I had caught my first East Coast 4 inch smelt.  Actually he was snagged.  Used him for some added enticement until he broke off.

fisher

Maine is having a phenomenal appearance of stripers this year.  The next morning I was on board for a half day  guide trip offshore and along breakwaters.  Two of us and one guide, Scott Howard, with his 18ft flat bottom powered by a 90 hp Honda outboard screamed across the bay and out to some breakwaters and island shielded waters.  Sunny and clear sky, calm ocean, fish pods feeding.  Striper fishing is not the same as trout fishing.  Setting the hook is quite different.  Intermediate sink line, a 30 to 45 foot cast, relatively fast strips to imitate bait fish action, and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER raise the rod when you get a strike. Strip set the hook!  I lost about 8 to 10 fish before I got the procedure correct.  Dave Burnley from West Virginia, on the other end of the boat, had fished for these critters before.  He caught 3 to my 1. Very clear water varied from 8 to 15 feet deep. You could see the fish following the fly.  After getting sore wrists, the guide would run us out to the rocks at the outer end of the island.  The surf was a little heavier and the hope was the bigger fish would be out there too.  We fished from 7:30 AM to 12:30.  I caught, landed, and released about 15 stripers.  Dave was into the 45 + range.  We watched one very large striper in about 10 ft of water swimming toward the boat. Scott yelled, look at the size of that one  ( over 3ft ).  I looked to the left and my eyes popped.  The fish saw the boat and turned away and my line went tight.  I had slowed my strip down just to watch the lunker.  My line was pointing to the right.  Had him on for about 30 seconds.  These fish fight.  They don’t jump out of the water but do make runs, turn a lot, thrash, and basically fight like hell.  An 8 wt rod is ideal.

Day two involved a zodiac getting me to a sand island during low tide.  We fished using a crab pattern on the sandy bottom of the bay.  Practice casting (flinging) heavily weighted flies before attempting this tactic.  The back of my head stillhurts. Stop moving the rod immediately when you feel the whack. Carefully remove the hook from your hat or scalp.  The stripping action for the crab pattern is different from the baitfish pattern.  Shorter strips, variation in length and speed. Don’t set the hook until you are sure.  The stripers don’t want to get pinched so they tend to pick them up and mouth it, spit it out, nibble at it, then crunch it. Early strikes leaves you with zip.  Only got an hour on the water that day. Fog rolled in and we were losing sight of the beach as well as losing the island to the incoming tide.  Lobster boats coming back in was a clue as to the weather front.  Only one fish to the guides 5 this day.

Lessons learned:  When a guide asks you if you would like to use one of their rods, don’t be stupid and stubborn.  They want you to catch fish.  They know what they are doing.  They have developed a successful tactic.  I was using my floating line with sink tip and had even added a heavier sink tip.  The hinging action and floating part of the line did effect the action of the baitfish fly.  Success more than doubled when I switched to their equipment.

Had a great time, learned a lot.  Want to try the stripers in the Umpqua and  Smith Rivers here in Oregon.  Yes, I did get a Steamer Clam and Maine Lobster meal.  Fresh means it was live and kicking 30 minutes before you got served.  The trip also involved a presentation by the Stripers Forever conservation group that is trying to get the striper listed as a game fish in Maine and other New England states.  The trip was organized and coordinated by Steve Stracqualursi of Patagonia.  I can give interested people some contacts back in Maine.

Fly Fishing Rods

Fly Fishing Rods

Smallmouth Bass – 5-7 wt. fly rods.

We use mostly nymphs and some top water poppers throughout the season. A floating line with a 9′ 4x to 3x or longer works well. Most of the nymph fishing is sight fishing. You will literally spot and target fish then watch them inhale your fly. These fish are extremely hard fighting fresh water fish. Flies and technique change during the season so if you want more specific information for a specific time of year you can call or email and we will get you information directly from one of our guides.

Shad – 6-8 wt. fly rods.

A 20′ to 25′ shooting head with 300 to 400 grain striking line with a shooting line backing is the most effective. A full sinking line works but is not as effective. We use a 7′ to 9′ 4x to 3x leader. When the shad are in, fly fishing is very effective. These fish average 2 ½ lbs and many in the 3 to 5 lbs range. These fish are some of the hardest fighting fish you will see with many aerial displays. We use small bead-chain eye flashy nymphs. Call for more specifics and we can get you directly in contact with a guide.
fish
Steelhead – 7-8 wt. fly rods.

Fly fishing can be very effective for steelhead from July through September. We fish both above and below the fly water zone on the North Umpqua. We strictly fish the North Umpqua above Roseburg for summer steelhead. Since techniques change drastically below fly water and above fly water zone it is best to call for information.