We have been hitting Becker about every other day and although we haven’t had anymore ants hatching the fishing is still very good. I have been doing nothing but top water using a gray bodied hopper and a jumbo black foam ant. The fish are eating each about 50-50. DW came up the other day with his niece Abby and her fiancé Steve. I believe he caught his first rainbow on a fly….I know it was his first trout on a dry. Abby caught several fish too…..and of course hers were BIGGER!!! But no pic’s…sorry
He ate the gray hopper…sight fishing to it. Fishing that day was a bit slow but this morning Tim, Ron and I fared quite a bit better. Again black ant and gray foam hopper. Must have had 16-20 on and landed about half that. Some of the bigger fish will get you down in the weeds if you end up playing them too long. They are remarkably strong and if water temp’s hold up they’ll continue to fight hard. I had one blow up on me so hard he snapped my fly off like it was thread.
I hit Becker this am with Tim and Ron. We had fished it a couple days previously and had moderate success at best. Fish were just not that playful. It rained Tuesday off and on and the forecast was the same for today……ants!. Every now and then you make a plan that works. Today was one of those days. We hit it just right. Spitting rain, slight wind and about 10 they started popping.
We fished with Charlie Girard, an old friend and former shop customer who has been hitting the lakes hard since he retired. 30 + years at Intel, shaving every day and getting a haircut every two months….not anymore. Looks like Grizzly Adams…your best look since I’ve known you (over 20 years). The fish he’s holding is the average fish in Becker right now. 17-18″s and a solid 2.5 lbs. Water temps are holding up and these fish are the best fighters I’ve seen in Becker. They were eating a green Para hopper that Charlie made up (and was nice enough to throw one my way) initially and small Para Adams. Once the ants started popping it was 50-50 for me on the hopper and the ant. Tim was banging them on a black beetle. At one point there were so many ants, I had to move because the fish just had too many choices and too often the choice wasn’t my fly. I’m not sure how many we landed and missed or broke off but it was a very goooood day.
Thanks Charlie for the hopper.
Sorry for no other pics’s……busy
Hit Carnero yesterday and fished with Kevin and his friend Jeff. The lake is fishing well. We did all our damage with various patterns under a bobber. I was using a UV resin midge, black/red and I believe Kevin and Jeff did best with a blood worm. I saw several other guys landing fish as well….not sure what they were doing. I didn’t see a Tiger…all rainbows between 8-16″s. They fought hard and were in good shape. Lots of top water activity but I don’t really think they were eating on top….think they were just being rainbows and being active. Although I never saw a nose, I tried various top water flies with not even a lookey-lou. Nice day….cloudy with a nice chop on the water. Looked like it could rain at any time but nada while I was there. Monsoons are coming and the lakes can really use it. This lake has gone down considerably since I last fished it in May.
Sorry….no pics again
Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Been busy and when I’ve been fishing….I haven’t been taking any pics. Mostly been at Big Lake banging the cut’s. Went yesterday for a couple hours and got blanked??? Me along with about 5 others. Just fishing I guess? I hit the West Fork a week ago and caught some wild browns. Water is pretty tight and the fishing was as well but a nice morning.
I helped AZGFD set and pull nets on Crescent the other day. Nets were out over night and we netted close to a couple dozen fish. These were rainbows that were planted in May. They seemed to be in good enough shape…most were the 8-10″ variety with one that hit 14″….not sure where he came from because they think the lake had a total winterkill….but who knows? The ph is pretty high and the water is a bit off color but the fish were actively feeding. You could feel it in their bellies.
Becker continues to be off and on, but when it’s on the fish are nice. More 17-20+” fish that I have seen. The bow’s aren’t hitting the shoreline this year like normal. This may be due to the fact that all the diploids are gone now and the Triploid trout are not in shallow looking for spawning sites. Water temp’s are climbing so look for it to slow down some. The day we pulled nets it looked as if Becker was getting hammered with rain. Monsoons trying to get here and this will help lakes cool down some and add some much needed water.
Carnero has been doing well. AZGFD planted some super catchables so there are some 18″ fish being caught…and you always have a chance at a Tiger. Cloudy days are great top water…..ants, damsels, hoppers and small mayflies…..and possibly some cicadas this year.
All for now. I’ll try and take more pic’s. They lifted the pre-evacuation orders for up here today. It’s been warm but I know not as warm as down there. Monsoons are gonna cool things down soooon.
Fished Big Lake this morning for 5 hours. Been busy playing catchup since I got back so this is the first AZ fishing I’ve done in a couple weeks. The cutt’s are in spawning and it seems that there are more rainbows this year than last….and they are bigger and badder. The cutt’s I got this am still had eggs so not sure how long it will last but it’s a great time to get yourself a nice AZ cutthroat. There doesn’t seem to be quite as many as last year but they average even bigger….17″-19″s with some 20″ + fish as well.
Got them stripping simi’s and small pt’s. Hung a few under a bobber too but didn’t do that very long…probably would have caught more doing that but….NO PATIENCE GRASSHOPPA.
The week before I left we had a day to remember….about 5-6 of us hit it good. The midges were coming off big time and the fish were on them hard. Not sure how many we landed but at least 30-50 each. Very few midges today and the fishing was way slower.
Sorry….no pics…by myself.
WMLF had it’s Fourth Annual Becker Best day last Saturday with a great turnout and some accommodating weather and fish….at least early. Plenty of nice rainbows and a few of the Tigers came to the net. The bow’s are as good as I have seen there. They must average 19″s and fight harder than I can remember them ever fighting… with a lot of them coming WAY out of the water. Nothing like seeing a 3 lb’r come 3′ out of the water. The weather cut the day short around 12….just enough time for some dogs and burgers with enough time left to get the raffle prizes passed out.
A couple of the guys stayed over for a few days. We hit Big the following morning but the wind was so bad we ended up tying flies and making materials all day. Next day was better and we launched at Railroad. Found a few of the bigger cutt’s that were starting to come in…caught them stripping leeches and small hares ears.
Most of the better ones went 17″ and Joe got one 19″ with no pic (sorry). The water temps were up to 53 when we left but as I am writing this it has been storming all morning. They may be getting some snow up on top as I got some decent hail here. May cool those temps down a bit. Water is up higher than the past two springs and if it stays cold it prolongs the blooms we seem to be getting every summer anymore. Heard some good reports on the streams as well with some BIG fish coming to hand.
Hit Carnero this morning… trying to beat the winds. It totally killed this past Winter but AZGFD stocked it with rainbows a couple weeks ago and then with Tigers this past week. The winds have been pretty bad but thought I might get a few hours on the water to try and land my first AZ Tiger…..Bingo!
Pics aren’t the best but you can at least see the mottled markings of a Tiger. They weren’t very big, 12″s at the most but they’re right here in AZ…..and they’ll grow really fast in this fertile lake. They ate simi seal leeches stripped on an intermediate in the shallows. Now let’s just hope the lake will hold up and they can survive. AZGFD and Bobby Peters did some work last Fall to improve the water flows coming into the lake and repair the leaky valve on the dam. WMLF is working on making improvements on the ditch leaving the lake that goes to some of Bobby’s fields and a pond owned by AZGFD. WMLF is planning to pipe the ditch because of significant water loss due to seepage, evaporation and breaching of the current ditch. Every drop we can save from losing downstream is more water that can be kept in the lake.
I hit Big Lake this morning. The wind has been pretty fierce the past week and today was supposed to be more of the same but I just was tired of making materials and needed to fish. Hit the lake about 6:15 to wind and some spitting snow. I was not going to attempt to launch a kick boat as the wind was predicted to get worse as the day progressed. Walked the banks…mostly out of the winds for a couple hours. Tried midges, pt’s, streamers, leeches…stripped and dangling….nada. Oh well, not the first time I’ve been blanked early in the season…..and I’m sure not the last.
Good news is we have more water this season than this time last year. Big is about 2.5 ft below full pool. Crescent is full (although dead). No fish stocked there this season so far…. still testing water quality to see if it improves. WMLF is still trying to make improvements on the lake and have been told this may be the year …..SOMETHING HAPPENS! Sunrise is up some. The island is at least an island again. Not all of the ridge extending from the shoreline is under water but most of it is. A-1 is higher than I’ve seen it in recent years. Carnero killed over the winter but has been restocked already and has plenty of water. Some of the fish stocked were bigger than the average 8″-9″ stocker…..and we all know how fast they grow in that lake.
Looks like it may be a decent season…at least waterwise. And don’t forget Tigers go in Becker, Carnero, Woods Canyon and Willow Springs next month. I believe Becker gets them next week. They WILL be in the lake for the annual Becker Best Days at Becker May 14th. Come join us and maybe catch your first AZ Tiger Trout.
Got back from Utah Sunday without a chance to wet a line up there. Played a little catchup with work and got a call from old fishing buddy, Matt Worman. Matt and I used to guide for bass on Apache and Canyon ….back when. Since then we haven’t spent much time on the water together. So when he invited me to join him at Apache for a day or two of smallie chasing….how could I refuse? I had talked with DW on the latest poop….’cause I know he was fishing it when I was working my tail off in Utah. Got the latest …as things always seem to change. Seems the smallies are winding down with their spawn and the lmb’s are moving in. There may have been a yellow bass spawn as well because Daryl had much better success after he switched from the DW Minnow he usually fishes to a mega amber/olive ss leech.. That is what I started out with….nada. I switched to my usual RL chartreuse Ultra Foxy and Matt fished his old faithful patterns. Fishing was pretty much as usual except we picked up a crappie each, some yellows, a bluegill and more lmb’s than smallies….and the smallies were not the size we had caught earlier in the season….may be a post spawn thing?
Anyway, I had tied up some new patterns I call Helmet Heads. They employ the plastic helmets made by Fish Mask and make it much easier to put a hard head on your streamers, which makes for better quality stripping. I tied on a 1/0 shad pattern and picked up about a 3 lb lmb right off the bat. Fished it for awhile and then I went a lot smaller with a yellowish/goldish baitfish that maybe would resemble a young yellow….Boom!!!! It was like somebody turned on the light switch. We proceeded to have one of the best afternoons we’ve ever had on Apache. Not sure how many we caught but it was pretty much non stop everywhere we stopped. Didn’t take enough pics but here’s a few.
We didn’t land any giants but the sheer quantity made for a great day. I think Matt got our biggest lmb at 3.5 lbs but I can’t tell you how many 2-2.5 lb lmb’s we landed…and these lmb’s are the hardest fighting lmb I’ve ever played with. Not sure why, maybe the strain of lmb’s we put in after the Golden Algae dieoff…not really sure….but they are well worth the trip down that bumpy, dusty road.
I had a great trip to Oregon, saw some old friends, attended a great tying expo and even caught a few fish on the Deschutes. It rained every day I was there so it was nice to come back to some sunshine. I spent the whole of the next week playing catchup on back orders so no fishing for about 8-9 days….BAD! Daryl called Saturday and told me he was whacking some good fish at Boulder Cove on Canyon. That just made the no fishing situation even worse.
DW was mainly bed fishing with bed flies/jigs when the sun and wind cooperated but caught some good fish stripping DW’s as well. He landed a 6 that he didn’t get a pic of.
I continued to bite my lip and work…yes, this is where I pat myself on the back. Sunday I ran out of labels….no labels….means can’t work. So, 11 am I packed up and made my way down to Boulder Cove. The cove was packed by then with the weekend crowd, grilling hot dogs and kayaking. Had a tough time finding a place to park. Finally someone left and I grabbed their space and launched. I think DW may have sore lipped most of them by then because the fish were pretty spooky. Tough to find a player. We caught a few but Daryl said the bite was much better the day before….the old “should have been here yesterday” gig. We started stripping DW’s and I hung a pretty good one that fought like a mad man.
We fished til dark and decided to go hit Apache the next day. We ate breakfast at the Butcher Hook and launched at Burnt Corral about 7 and fished until 1-2 pm. We landed about 9 between us but landed only one nice fish. We decided to go hit Rosey for the afternoon bite
When we had breakfast we heard of some good bags coming that weekend from a couple tourneys….28 lbs with a 10, a 9, an 8 in the bag. That’s good fishing anywhere. Supposedly the lmb’s were on beds everywhere. Launching at Grapevine we had ideas of bed fishing but the water clarity was only about 3 ft. We stripped some and caught a few fish but it was pretty slow. Figured it wouldn’t hurt to look for a few beds…glad I did. I found a pair that were locked but really spooky. Eventually, after 6 trial runs they came back to the bed…at least the male did. I finally got him after about 25 minutes of fooling around.
He went 4 and the female was half again his size.
Joe Staller and Gentry Smith hit Apache Sunday as well and sent me a few pics of their day.
They were fishing Waterdog (Davis Wash). Joe caught his smallie on a bronze peacock simi seal leech with an orange bead and Gentry caught his lmb on a chartreuse/white RL Ultra Foxy. Good job guys.
The Salt River lakes are on fire right now. I know some of you are trout fanatics but you’re really missing out on some exciting fishing by not trying to chase the bass. It’s probably the only thing I miss about living in the valley, but hey….life up here’s not so bad. The high lakes are opening up and trout fishing’s right around the corner.