Daryl and Bryan made it up for some weekend fishing. Wasn’t the best weekend weather wise as the wind howled pretty good but we managed to find some fishable waters and had a great weekend. Friday with the wind blowing we hit Reservation looking for some cruisers…no luck there but managed to hang a few browns and small rainbows. We left Rez and went to look at Big, knowing it would be unfishable but wanted to check out the water conditions for the next day. The weather was pretty much dictating our day so we went over to Silver Creek and banged a bunch of the big rainbows at the upper end….a day saver.
We hit Big the next morning with much better weather conditions and found the cut’s still ready to play. Daryl and Bryan proceeded to show me how to catch fish. I managed to get a few but didn’t have near the day they had. Funny thing was we were all fishing differently with different flies….gotta love fly fishing. Daryl caught a good 19″ fish and Bryan landed one about 18″ but couldn’t hold on to it for a pic. AZG&F had stocked the day before and the big boys were busy chasing the new transplants around and didn’t really want a midge or hares ear much. They had their eyes on fresh trout. I actually had one chase a 8″ cutt I had on trying to make it an easy meal.
Bryan caught the first colored up brookie this season on one of his midges…..something to look forward to. Most of the cut’s we caught were in the 15-16″ range. I’m gonna give it a few weeks and let the big boys digest their gatherings. Lots of nice fish in Big this year.
Another great weekend with some good guys. Looking forward to this Fall….lots of opportunities for big fish.
Tim came up for the weekend. We hit Big Friday with moderate success. I bailed and he hit Becker that afternoon and banged about 10 nice rainbows under the indicator. Saturday we hit Pacheta. He landed 9 good rainbows and one nice brown under the bobber again. I landed 4 nice rainbows…and zero browns stripping bronzeback ssl’s. First time I can remember catching more rainbows than browns there.
Water temps were still around 65 at the end of the day so it’s just going to get better when it finally cools. Definitely worth another trip back in this Fall. The aspens are already turning and many are starting to lose their leaves already. Come on Winter
Dog Days hit a few weeks ago (for me at least) making fishing pretty tough in the lakes I had been hitting. Consequently I have been pretty lame in getting out the past couple weeks. I hit a few of the smaller off the wall lakes just to get to know the waters more than anything else and had some moderate success. I decided to go hit Big Lake again just to see how the lake was holding up. The algae had really bloomed since I was there a few weeks ago. It had clotted up and was in pretty good chunks floating maybe a foot or two below the surface. I got there late but noticed some rises, even though they were very sporadic. I noticed one rise in an area that I had been seeing rises for the past three months….and I could tell it was the same good fish I had cast to probably on 7-8 different occasions…with not even a lookey lou. This time I cast a JR hopper and he came over, opened that big mouth of his and ate it like he’d been waiting for it all along. Ended up being a 24″ 5 lb cutt. Just goes to show you….even during Dog Days they still have to eat. You just have to be lucky enough to get it in front of the one that feels grabby.
Sorry for the lack of reports. Since I got back from Utah, I have hit Big Lake, Show Low, Becker and Carnero…..most of them several times. Fishing’s tough right now. Dog Days have set in and the fish just plain aren’t playing much. You can still catch some nice cutt’s at Big stripping small hares ears or pt’s. The fish are down deep and you just have to stay with it and eventually one comes along and grabs it. Carnero is very low and weedy. The fish have survived but it is so weedy and there is so little water to fish, it is almost not worth it. I was told Sunrise has suffered a Sumer kill and is not fishing right now. Not sure if it was total. I guess we’ll find out this Fall. Becker’s water have warmed to the point that I don’t fish it, myself and I haven’t heard much on it. I know it’s not the best report but it happens every year. We are actually living in an arid state….one that hasn’t had a winter in toooo many years. Hopefully the El Nino predictions will come true and we’ll actually have some new water in our lakes next Spring.
Ron and I made it up to central Utah for a few days of fishing some of the fabulous stillwater opportunities and a bit of moving water as well. First stop was some no name lakes nestled in the Uintas. Getting there involved traveling through some of the most prolific open range deer country I have ever seen. We saw so many deer we quit counting. One herd alone had 16 bucks….and as you can see they weren’t little forkhorns either.
The first lake we hit was a smallish rather shallow lake with rainbows. It took us awhile to figure out how to catch them but once we figured it out….it was hold onto your rods!!! Some of these fish were actually still loaded up with eggs but still fought very hard. They were keyed into the emerging caddis and even though there were plenty of damsels and midges on the water that was the only thing I could get them to eat. Ron landed one on a fly he got from Ron Marlow but that was the only fish landed not on the emerging fly I had. I just happened to have some emerging mayfly patterns that imitated the caddis well enough that they would eat it if they saw it. Problem was the flies were commercially tied on dry fly hooks….We ended up straightening 7 of the 12 hooks we had. No clue why a few of the flies held better. It may just have been bigger fish bending the hooks out or possibly harder strikes…who knows. Here are a few more pics.
I honestly must have tried 20-25 different flies that looked very similar to the one they were eating…..and I never got touched once on any of them. If I ever make it back to that lake again in July, I promise you I will have some of that fly tied up on nymph hooks. Who know how big the fish were that we didn’t land.
We went to see my buddy, Emmett Doane at Circleville to see what was going on in his part of the world. We fished below Piute Reservoir, which we had done quite a few times before, and caught a few rainbows under the spillway. The lake is filling so the river below was lower than I had seen before. Next morning we hit some private water that Emmett had a permit on below Minersville Lake. It was a nice little spring creek like stream with rainbows and a few browns and a pond with some rainbows and smallies eager to take a fly.
This nice brown came out and grabbed a hopper. Emmett showed us a great time and I highly recommend him for a good day in and around Circleville. His fly shop is right off 89 just up the road from Panguitch. He has a nice rental unit that he can set you up with right next to his shop. If he is full up (which is often) there is a nice little motel with cafe across the road from him called Butch Cassidy’s Hideout….great food, good people, reasonably priced. Emmitt’s website address is www.circlevalleyanglers.com. If you plan to hit that area for some fishing…he’s the man to call.
Next day we hit Manning Meadows Reservoir. It’s the lake that Utah has designated for it’s brood stock program for the Bonneville cutt’s. The lake is over 10,000′ and is gorgeous, worth the drive up the mountain just to see it. We caught as many cutt’s as we wanted on top, even if they were the 13″-14″ variety. There was a Spruce moth hatch coming off and they ate just about anything that hit the water.
The drive back to Circleville took us right by Otter Creek Reservoir so Ron and I finished out our last afternoon there. Water temp’s were 69-70 degrees so we probably weren’t fishing the ideal spot on the lake but Ron ended up catching a beautiful 4 lb rainbow on a simi. We weren’t really sure what he had hooked because he fought so hard. We thought it may be a huge smallie….ended up being this nice rainbow with an attitude.
Another great, safe trip with a good friend. Utah has a lot to offer and it’s not that far up the road. I’m sure we’ll be back.
Tim and I hit Becker again this am. Got on the water about 6:45 and fished to 1:00 pm. Wind was minimal, nice chop and the cloud cover lasted til noon….perfect setup for dry flies. And for once it actually worked out that way. We must have landed 20-25 each on cream JR Hoppers and missed/lost more than that. They were on the hopper really hard all day. It would slow down for a bit and you would work around looking for noses and BAM….you’re in them again. A few ants were on the water and after the sun came out they started chasing damsel nymphs….but if you got a hopper in front of them they would almost always take it…..very few refusals. Water temps are actually cooling down some. It was 3 degrees cooler today than when I started fishing it a couple weeks ago and Monsoons are rolling in almost daily so things look good for Becker….at least into the end of July.
On another note….AZG&F received 18,500 3″-7″ Tiger Trout from Utah. They have been placed in the Tonto Creek hatchery to grow out until next Spring. They will then be planted in Willow Springs, Woods Canyon, Carnero and Becker…depending on water conditions next Spring. Looks like we’ll be catching some Tigers right here in AZ….awesome!
Hit Becker with Tim Sunday. We had a good rain the day before so we hoped to hit an ant fall…..got lucky. It wasn’t a major one like a couple days previous but plenty enough to get the fish looking up. We banged them pretty good on cream JR hoppers #12. They wouldn’t touch a tan??? Go figure…and they actually preferred them over an ant. We landed at least a couple dozen between us and missed or broke that many or more. Water temp’s were down one degree so the monsoons are helping. They have been really good so far. Let’s hope they keep on coming right into Winter.
I hit Big Lake last Saturday with Tim. Cloudy day, nice chop on the water. We landed 9 between us with Tim landing the majority of those. We were using c’mids under bobbers…found fish just couldn’t get them to go. We were still fishing to the same cutt’s we had been for the past three weeks. Quite a few were still chasing each other around but wouldn’t touch anything. We had to go deep for them.
Tuesday I fished with one of my old AZFF partners, Mike McLaughlin. We never got more than 100 yds past the boat dock and must have landed a couple dozen between us. Same fish, same flies, different day??? Mike went back the next day and the fish had moved out even further. He had to go with sinking line and leeches to get any to play. Good to see and fish with Mike. Seems like we closed down the shop 100 years ago. I miss it.
Today (Friday) I hit Becker with Mike M, Tim and Ron and a buddy of Tim’s. It was the old proverbial news when we got there. You should have been here yesterday. Evidently the lake had a monstrous ant hatch and everyone cleaned up the day before. Fishing was tough for us today. I’m sure the fish were still sated from the ant hatch. Only way we could get any action at all was with #12 JR Hoppers in tan or cream. I tried #10’s and never got bit. Never caught a monster but all but one were in the 18″ range and in great shape. They didn’t fight extremely hard as the water temp was 70 pretty much the whole time I fished it. The fish all swam away healthy though…no floaters. Monsoons are coming in pretty regularly so hopefully it will cool things down a bit.
Hit Big Lake a couple days this week. The cutt’s are still spawning in some areas and they’ll still grab a p.t. or small hares ear presented to them in the shallows. Some that have already spawned are out deeper and will eat the same stuff on a sinking line. Yesterday I had to resort back to the bobber and midges to get some to play and then I missed the first 6…..some days you have it and some days you don’t. Got chased off by the Monsoons that are coming in pretty regularly now.
I had been noticing some boats on Sunrise when I was coming back so I figured they must have fixed the ramps…and they had. The ramp at the store has been extended and because the lake has gone down even further the north ramp is now usable at a slightly different spot. Caught lots of 14″ strong rainbows on simi’s. The first three were on different bugs and then I switched to a small one with a red bead and they ate it really well. Man, I hope we have a good winter….never seen this lake so low. The reef at the eastern end is now out of water and looks like a dam going almost all the way across the lake.
Going back to Big tomorrow
This past week I have been hitting Big Lake about every other day. Thanks to a tip from an old shop customer, I was spanking the spawning cutt’s pretty good. Using a floating line and small pt’s (16-18’s) I was able to get quite a few to eat….all between 16-20″s. All fought very hard, especially for spawning fish. All swam away fine to go do their thing. Bite got tougher about the third day in. Fished smaller flies and today I switched to my version of a hares ear….which actually looks more like a Baetis nymph and landed a few more. I think the major portion of the spawn is done. Many of the cutt’s we first saw back in the coves are gone now. Bite will change again as the fish get in their normal summer feeding habits. Water still looks good, no sign of algae yet. This time last year the water was turning already. I think the late colder storms have helped the water stay in good shape and with the Monsoons soon to be here, we should see some good Summer fishing at Big…..Tons of damsels out but no fish going for them.