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  1. #1
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    Bikeraft fishing trip

    I am in the midst of researching a trip for the spring, targeting early May, for a buddy and I to combine pedaling, paddling (packrafts), and fishing. I live in East TN and my friend is coming from the Toronto area. We're looking at options in between where we can find some fun for 3-4 days. We'll be using gravel/cx type bikes as opposed to mountain bikes, and obviously looking for proximity to river access which hopefully will have some fun moving water, class I and II mainly, though the odd class III that we had the option to run would be okay. Oh yeah...and good fishing. Not sure if we can have our cake and eat it too, but that's that goal! We're both long time and experienced cyclists, have reasonable experience on the water and respect for it, and we both have a fair amount of experience fishing. We would like to camp and have appropriate gear so could be front-country or back depending on what is available and makes the most sense.

    The two areas that I've explored that seem to fit most of the criteria are the Greenbrier Trail and river as well as the New River Trail and river. The river areas accessible in and around the trail on the Greenbrier seem to have better whitewater options from what I can gather, but being the Greenbrier is un-dammed the water levels would need to be accounted for, and fortunately Spring should be a good time to go. The New River seems to have better moving water (our preferred speed, not the gorge) south of the trail, more around the Independence area, which isnt accessible on the trail. Worried that more of the New River would be flat water where we would access. Smallmouth fishing seems to be good on both rivers in the areas we can access. Both also seem to have tributaries that are accessible and would have trout fishing. I think trout fishing opportunities would be a plus as my friend tends to prefer that style and likes to use a tenkara rod when possible.

    Does anyone have any information and/or experience they can provide for a trip like this, particularly on the water, both the paddling and fishing? All info and suggestions appreciated.

    Thanks much.

  2. #2
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    Don't forget the C&O trail along the potomic. The C&O is a trail thats perfect gravel grinder that follows a canal that is actually pretty fun fly fishing and the potomic river itself in the spring is really good fishing. The Potomac has up to class III and even has a white water course that has some super fun singtrack along it. You could do it without a car, Litterally fly into regan with your gear, saddle up, take bike paths all the way to the C&O and be on the dirt within 30 minutes from the airport. The trail goes all the way up to cumberland maryland and really beyond (you could take it all the way to pittsburg). There's ample camping along the way and you can even reserve and stay in the lock houses along the way.
    I have ridden Greenbrier a bit and there are good fishing options but the river seemed pretty lazy to me. Riding wise the trail that i sampled was pretty rocky and a MTB would be the better tool for it but not sure what section you are thinking about.
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  3. #3
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    Great suggestion. Thank-you very much. I'm going to really look into that in combination with the Potomac. The funny thing with your recommendation is that it was right in front of me and I just missed it. I actually ordered the 13th edition of the TrailGuide detailing the C&O and GAP back in December. I was thinking it would be a fun trail to ride and hitch a ride back with Amtrak. The Potomac never crossed my mind but from the skimming I've been able to do thus far after reading your post, I can see it could make for a great option. Very good to hear there are good fishing opportunities also, that's a big piece of the puzzle. I will dig further for sure.

    Thanks for the info on the Greenbrier. In terms of the packrafting river sections, I was eyeing the Renick to Anthony section as well as Anthony to Caldwell. I had the impression this would be class II with the odd III mixed in based on the site here, but not sure in the Spring and I know it's free flowing. Have you by chance ridden that area of the Greenbrier trail? I don't have my mountain bike set-up for bikepacking...at least as of yet!

    Thanks again for the feedback.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtb7000 View Post
    Have you by chance ridden that area of the Greenbrier trail? I don't have my mountain bike set-up for bikepacking...at least as of yet!
    I've ridden the entire Greenbrier trail and it is packed gravel. A cross bike is fine.

    If you opt for the C&O, three are some other tributaries you could check out as well for fishing or to vary your route. The Monocacy is a large river and would allow you to Pedal up to Frederick, MD which has several small breweries, then drop into the Monocacy and float back to the Potomac. The C&O makes camping easy, with hiker/biker sites approx. every 5 miles. Primitive sites with a water pump, spot-a-pot, picnic table and fire ring.
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  5. #5
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    I'll add that for fishing, Potomac and Monocacy will be primarily small mouth bass, catfish and panfish. Just west of Frederick are trout streams on Catoctin Mountain.

    https://www.frederickcountymd.gov/Do...er/View/291474
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  6. #6
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    Thank-you, riderx, good to hear the cyclocross bike should do fine. I run 38c tubeless tires and pretty routinely ride it on light singletrack and plenty of gravel and dirt for what it's worth. I was also thinking tributaries might be a good way to get some trout opportunities. I'll check out the Monocacy, a quick search produced a fairly long blue trail that is mapped which had a lot of historical references, which is definitely cool, as is the brewery scene, great idea. I dig the idea of hitting multiple water ways as well. I did read that the hiker/biker sites were plentiful and pretty well balanced along the C&O, that's good to hear so the days can play out without as much rush if the water calls or the bite is on. Thanks for the info!

  7. #7
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    I love fishing for small mouth, personally. I actually feel more comfortable with that type of fishing and river, I grew up on saltwater and was introduced to fly fishing through saltwater. Where I live now there are some really good small mouth fisheries and certainly a bunch of great trout water as well, but the latter is often tough sledding for me. My buddy would want to chase trout though for sure so having the ability to hit both is a big part of the puzzle. Thanks for the link, looks like some great trout water opportunity in the vicinity.

  8. #8
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    Not sure what the blue trail is that you found, post a link and I can give feedback. It way be a civil war historic route or something (on road). I live in Frederick, so if you have route questions or anything else, I can help.

    I've done the entire C&O and Greenbrier on 28s, so 38s will be fine.
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  9. #9
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    Here's a good map for the Monocacy Water trail:
    Monocacy Scenic Water Trail Map | Frederick County Parks and Recreation, MD

    And this is the best resource for the C&O for camping, stops, etc. Click on the "timeline" at the top for info on each segment
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  10. #10
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    That's the water trail link that I found when I searched after your initial post. It looks like a cool option and I like that there is plenty of detail readily available for planning.

    Thanks for the C&O link as well. I don't know that I've looked at that one before. I will definitely look at it more closely. The trailguide that I purchased was from this site.
    Trailguide 13th Edition

    I am going to put together 2-3 trip options simultaneously to talk through with my buddy. The C&O/GAP is on the list. I plan to tackle all at some point in the future, so I feel it's time well spent and having planning done in advance helps make things actually happen when timing does align.

    Thanks for the confirmation on the tire choice. I also appreciate your offer to assist on routes, etc. I may take you up on that if/when I find gaps in info or planning options.

    Thanks again!

  11. #11
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    I have caught BIG smallmouth's in the Monocacy. They are KILLER! Enjoyed canoeing on it also. The river is Beautiful. The area is also very nice. The Potomac is loaded up with smallies. Good luck with your choice.
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    Love to hear the smallmouth's are healthy up that way, fishboy316. Under typical conditions, would you say that the water is pretty flat on the Monocacy so you're paddling a lot, or is the water moving at a decent clip, even if not what is classified as proper whitewater/rapids?

    Are you fishing fly or spinning rod/reel? Any patterns or specific colors you'd recommend in the Spring time?

    Thanks for the info!

  13. #13
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    If youíre looking at setting up 2-3 three options, then using the C&O/GAP and setting Cumberland as as a meetup point would work really well.

    High water - Green Ridge State Forest a little East of Cumberland. Tons of gravel roads and abandoned ORV trails, bass and catfish in the Potomac, stock trout in the tribs, class 1 to 3- in the tribs when there is enough water to float, and probably the most scenic stretch of the Potomac.

    Normal water and snow lingering up high - Fredrick Co about an hour East of Cumberland. As already mentioned by others, gravel options in the Fredrick Watershed Area, trout there as well, bass in the Potomac and Monococy (not really any flatwater stretches in the Moc BTW), some more heavy 2+ rapids up the C&O by Harpers Ferry, lots of beer and food options in Frederick

    Normal/Low water and no snow - the GAP and Garrett Co west of Cumberland. Lots of WW options. Anything from 1 to 4- on the Caselman/Savage/Yough Rivers, great trout fishing, bass and walleye in the lakes, will require more planning to connect everything but there are abandoned forest roads littered around the area

  14. #14
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    Thanks, smiia482. Great information. I took note of Cumberland when reading the TrailGuide book I purchased. You make a good point about it being a good staging point, particularly with the two trails converging there and it's about equidistant for us driving wise. I also like that the Eastern Continental Divide and Mason Dixon line are in the vicinity, as well as the Paw Paw Tunnel, all things I noted when reading the TG.

    I looked a bit at Green Ridge and it seems to offer some great trout options (stockers are fine) as well as options for how the water levels are looking. Water levels and options will be key because we will be locked into the dates when we make a final decision and book the time off from work and with our families.

    I'll check out the GAP side more and the alternate rivers you mentioned. I can see what you mean as far as it being a little more challenging to link these together, but the fishing and WW sounds promising for sure.

    Frederick and the Monocacy are still sounding like good contenders to fit in as well.

    Thanks again for the details, it's very helpful!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtb7000 View Post
    Love to hear the smallmouth's are healthy up that way, fishboy316. Under typical conditions, would you say that the water is pretty flat on the Monocacy so you're paddling a lot, or is the water moving at a decent clip, even if not what is classified as proper whitewater/rapids?

    Are you fishing fly or spinning rod/reel? Any patterns or specific colors you'd recommend in the Spring time?

    Thanks for the info!
    I am sorry, I just saw the question, small rapids but is good for drifting and fishing. It is a pretty meandering river. I have done both spin and fly up there. I have done well with a black large mister twister silver blade andthe brown gld bade on ultrlite and large nymphs on the fly. Wolly buggers in brown and black. Unweighted oil coloed worm 4-6 inch with attracktant and weedss hook. Green lizzard 4". Its a fun pace.

    Another place is the south fork of the Shenendoah river. Lots of smallie and they have stocked it with Muskie.
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  16. #16
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    Right on, fishboy316, good intel on the bite action up that way, much appreciated. I'll likely bring a 5wt fly rod so I get line out when necessary but still find it versatile enough for tighter spots too.

    I'll definitely give the SF of the Shenendoah a look, any place that stocks Muskie sounds good to me!

  17. #17
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    If you are interested in trout and mild whitewater, the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon might be fun. Iím not sure what a pack raft is though.

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I'm not familiar with the Pine Creek Gorge, but a quick search produced some interesting info and gorgeous views. Thanks for the tip. We decided on a North Georgia trip in early May for our first adventure. We are lining up a couple others to follow including info gained from this thread. I'll add this one to the research bucket.
    As for packrafts, do a Google search on Kokopelli packrafts or Alpacka packrafts. Thanks again.

  19. #19
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    Cool, have fun. Post a report. I like these kinds of trips and do some myself. If you are headed to the Chattooga, be careful around the locals.

  20. #20
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    No dueling banjos where we're heading..hopefully! Most of that river is a lot more than I am capable of. Will do on the report.

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