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Havasu Redears 5/10-5/12

The weather up here has been pretty ugly lately—-37 degrees wind and sleet last Wed.  The weekend and next few days were 40-80% chance of rain.  Time to head for Havasu again.  I had always wanted to get into the spawning redears.  For those that don’t know what a redear is it is a sunfish in the bluegill family but gets much larger and is a tremendous fighter, especially on light weight 3-4 wt fly rods.  The state record is over 6 lbs.  we didn’t find any near that size but found them almost a pound.

They spawn much like a bluegill…in groups with their beds very close to one another.  They are an aggressive fish but are not that easy to catch, especially the nice ones.  We caught most with small flies under a bobber.  A few were caught with flies actually on the bed, much like we do for smallies and lmb’s.  But most would not aggressively attack the fly on the bed itself.

Another great trip to Havasu.  Last one this year.  When I left Show Low going over it was 41 mid morning.  Sunday it got up to 95 over there.  This old man wasn’t really used to that anymore.  Time to play in the high country.

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Show Low 5/2-5/3

I have been hitting Show Low whenever the wind allows….which hasn’t been very often.  This morning was calmer than any day in the past month so I went for it.  The lake is full but a dirty brown.  Viz is only about a foot so sight fishing for bedded fish is impossible.  I tried stripping the usual chartreuse streamers of various design previous times with not a single grab.  So I switched to the small crayfish patterns fished under a bobber like I used last Fall and found some players.

I fished for 5 hours and landed 3 smallies and a couple nice rainbows.  Not exactly what you’d call “on fire” but a nice enough morning considering the condition of the water.  Fishing will just get better and better as the water clears.  Nice to have a good smallmouth fishery this close to home.  Maybe I’ll go back out this afternoon.

Hit it again this morning.  4 smallies and 1 nice 18″ trout.  Viz is 2′ now but wind in the forecast all next week!

Most all of these are females that are stuffed full of eggs.

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Becker

We finally had a decent day with little wind so a few of us hit Becker, my first trout fishing this Spring in AZ.  Lake is full and the water is beautiful.  We all caught some nice rainbows, mostly on midges under an indicator.  Not my favorite but you do what you have to do.  No real monsters.  18″ was probably the biggest but strong fish and in great shape.  Should be a good season…..water everywhere.  Pic above is Bob Bowers from Pinetop, a member of the flyfishing club up here and a WMLF Board member.

There was a pretty good turnout for a Friday.  Even got to fish with my old buddy, Ron.  Nice day

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Havasu 3/2-3/4

Tim and I hit Havasu Saturday for the afternoon bite and found the smallies a bit more playful and the wind not as bad as last weekend.  More beds, warmer water temps and less wind…can’t ask for much more than that.  Tim had a nice afternoon landing 3-4 smallies.

DW joined us the next day with even calmer water and more sun.

We caught about 20 fish between us all with bed fish flies.  Tim left that afternoon and DW and I hit one of the marinas trying new water.  Good call!

 

DW even caught a bluegill stripping a simi

Getting a couple lmb’s at the end of the trip was a real bonus this early in a cold season.  We saw plenty of big lmb’s cruising but not that many locked on a bed.  DW and I landed between 35-40 bass that day, all between 2-3.5 lbs….unreal!

Phil Click joined us and fished a different area in his boat.  Here’s some pics from him.

All in all another great early season trip to Havasu.  May be the last time I get to hit it his season until maybe April for the redear.  Plenty of water up here this year and lots of new opportunities.  Can’t be everywhere.  Nice to actually have choices this coming season.  Trout, lmb’s, smallies, stripers…eenie meenie….

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Havasu Feb 25 ’19

DW and I hit Havasu Sunday for a day, targeting bedded smallies.  We knew it had been cold but the forecast was for warmer, calmer weather for the entire week.   I have always found bedded smallies by March 1.  It was a little early but I had cabin fever and had to get out.  After two hours of three of us shoveling snow, I was able to get my truck on asphalt.   Two hours later I was on I 40 heading to Havasu.

We hit the first spot we frequent for the smallies and found beds but the water temp was still 51-52…a bit too cold for them to comfortably stay on a bed.  We were counting that the sunny, warmer forecast would bring them back in by the afternoon.  About 8 the clouds thickened and a cold North wind hit and blew that plan up.  Off to sight #2 that was a bit more sheltered and also holds bedders.   The water was warmer, 54 and the beds were there but again no smallies to be found…not even a cruiser…nada.  Havasu can really be a frustrating lake to fish.  Sometimes it is as if there are nooo fish at all and then the next time they’re everywhere.  This unfortunately was the former pattern.

It was about 1 in the afternoon by then and we had one small lmb DW got stripping at the first site.  Pretty bleak for my 5 hour drive.  One thing about Havasu though is the drive is worth it for me just to fish it.  To me, it is a pretty special place…quite challenging but if you get lucky and hit it right it is really rewarding.  We gave up on the bedders and decided to grab the heavy sinking lines and go find some stripers.  The forecast finally caught up with the day and it turned calm and sunny….thank you very much.  We hit one of our usual spots and didn’t do much the first couple hours.  DW caught a couple small stripers but I was still stinking it up.  I hit a spot I had previously caught some good fish and picked up three nice lmb’s all 2.5 to 4 lbs.  Wow, all of a sudden our day took a turn for the good.  We ended up catching about 8-9 lmb’s between us and a smallie that DW picked up out main lake.

Here’s some pics

The day turned out to be pretty good and it points out the fact that more times than not…the original plan is not going to happen and you need go to plan B or C.  All the fish were caught on big 5.5″-6″ Helmet Heads in shad color.  I was fishing a similar pattern in about a 3.5″-4″ and not doing much until I snagged two shad with it that were at least twice the size of my fly, so I switched to a larger fly and started hooking up.  Another odd thing is we caught more lmb’s than smallies or stripers.  The stripers are supposed to be dummies that you can catch on any reasonable imitation.  And the smallies are not that difficult when on beds but we ended up catching supposedly the hardest species of the three to fool.  You just never know when you get out there what’s going to happen.  There are sooo many shad in the lake right now (and big ones ) that I think the stripers are just fat and sassy and feed when they want.

The lmb’s are really getting good size there too.  The smallies will be on soon and I’ll be back to go for them.  March is Havasu time.  I think fishing up here is going to be late as well.  But we definitely will have water….yeeaaahhh!

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Slooooow Plezzzzz 1/20

Hit Pleasant this past Sunday with DW, Tim and Kevin K.  The lake fished very tough.  Flows were at a minimum and there was a big bright moon the night before……plus about ten other excuses I can think of but two’s enough.  We bagged a couple fish each and went home.

Here’s a little fish porn. 

The weather up here has been warm the past few days and we had tremendous wind yesterday.  I went by Show Low Lake and it was wide open.  Two days prior you could count two dozen ice fishing holes on it.  I heard Becker is open as well.  Supposed to be mild weather for the next couple weeks.  Got a dusting last night but nothing major here in town.  Good snowpack already, let’s hope it keeps coming.

Go fishing!

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Pleasant 12/15

Daryl has been hitting Pleasant for the past month and has been doing well on the bigger stripers.  Joe and I hit it with him this past weekend and we got into some good fish.  We fished it in the morning til early afternoon and had a nice morning catching stripers and whites.  DW proceeded to really have a good day.  At one point his rod was bent over consistently fighting nice stripers in the 21″-22″ … 2-3 lb range.  I’m sure he must have caught at least 30 fish.

I had to hit the road for my 3 hour drive back but Daryl stayed and fished til dark and got into the big boys again, landing his nicest striper so far this season.  A very healthy 24″ beaut.  That’s a nice fight on a fly rod!

DW says the lake is rising and the fishing should just keep getting better, exposing more and more structure for the fish to use.  Always nice to have some good fishing during the Winter months, especially with the problems with some of the Salt River lakes.  Gotta love AZ!

 

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Magdalena Bay 11/24-11/30

Joe Staller, Mark Sokol, Rod Buchanan, Dave Weaver, Vince Deadmond and myself hit Mag Bay fishing with Jeff DeBrown of Reel Baja this past week targeting marlin mainly.  Unfortunately Mother Nature threw us a curveball with heavy winds just before we got there.  Jeff said the marlin bite was wide open prior to that.  Plan was to hit the blue water for marlin 4 days and 2 days inside fishing the mangroves.  Turned out to be just the opposite and on only one of the days outside we found marlin that wanted to play.  Mark, Rod and Vince all landed their first marlin on a fly rod.  Congrats guys.

Most of our time was in the mangroves which didn’t really bother me.  It is awesome and with over 100 miles of shoreline and guides that knew where the fish were it was almost non stop….. when they could get us out of the wind.

We ended up getting at least 24-25 different species.

These are the fish we caught…at least we think this is what they were

Spotted bay bass (Cabrilla), Orange Mouth Corvina, African Pompano, Palometa (Golden Trevally, Golden Jack), Black Skip Jack, Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado, Striped Marlin, Green Snook and Black Snook, Mexican Lookdown, Croaker, Halibut, Broomtail and Leopard Grouper, Fine Spotted Jawfish, Pargo/Dog Snapper, Red Snapper, Finescale Triggerfish, Mojarra, Bonefish, Puffer, A different Croaker?, Longjaw Leatherjack, Grunt.

We stayed at the Whale Tail Inn and used Mag Bay Outfitters boats.  Great food/accommodations.  Awesome trip…headed back again next year.

I’m sure I’ll have more pics to add as they come in.  These were just a few from Joe and I.

 

 

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PA/NY 11/10-11/16

Tim Oliver just got back from his annual steelhead trip back East and sent me a report.

Spent 6 days fishing the streams coming out of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario in PA and NY the second week of November.  Was joined by old friends Steve and Pete Martin and Jason Myers.  Had one of the best water years we have seen in the last 7 or 8 years.  Plenty of fish in the streams, just had to do a bit of walking.  Fished Elk Creek and 20 Mile Creek in PA, and Chautauqua Creek and Oak Orchard in NY.  Most fish taken on single egg patterns, a few on PTs and the rest on brightly colored Sucker Spawn in the colored up water.  Weather was colder than usual with plenty of fresh snow and rain thrown in during the week.  Everyone landed fish.  Have learned that when the PA fish run up the river, they no longer linger along the way, so you might as well head up river once the run has passed.  This is a change from years past where the fish would hold up along the way waiting for the next push of water.  As always, good food, great friendship and a fun trip.

Tim O

Here’s some pic’s.

Looks like another great trip, Tim.  Nice water and not seeing much of a crowd either….thanks

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Havasu

I have been super busy with materials/flies this past couple weeks.  Finally had enough and said s***w it and headed to Havasu.  This is the earliest I have hit it ever but was worth the drive….(I guess).  Hit the Bill Williams end first as that was the best last year.  Fishing wasn’t on fire but good enough to warrant future trips this early in the year.

The first morning I got there the winds came up and pushed me off after three hours in.  Managed 3 small ones before I gave up and grabbed some lunch and got my room up in Havasu.  The afternoon quieted down a bit so I went back down and fished til dusk.  Managed another four small ones and a little lmb.

Next morning’s forecast was better and I  hit it before sunup.  Found lots of fish but no birds.  There were also enough balls of shad on the bottom but nothing moving them.  This tells me the big ones aren’t in yet.  You need them to bust up the shad balls and get them to the top.  The birds then tell you where they are so you’re not just fishing totally blind.  Didn’t happen this trip.  Maybe all the big arcs I saw were carp?  Definitely saw enough of them bust the surface, coming completely two feet out of the water.  I ended up getting six in about 6 hours of fishing…all between 1.5 and 2.5 lbs.  Fun fish but not what I drove 5 hours for.

Met a local and he told me that the big ones were in a couple weeks ago but they had terrible winds and the cold came in.  Pushed the big ones back out and they’re just now coming back in…..the old “should have been here yesterday” story.  Anyway, thought I’d get a report up finally.   I’m hearing the Browns are starting to slow down up here….off to Mag Bay for marlin and the mangroves next week.  Hopefully I’ll have a good report.