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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.

 

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A Tale of Two Lakes – Fall Fishing Guest Report

Image of Big Lake
Fall on Mt Baldy across Big Lake

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…..” – Charles Dickens, opening of A Tale of Two Cities

As John mentioned in a previous post, this summer had some of the worst water conditions up here on The Mountain I can remember. It sure is nice to see improvement with the arrival of fall….and it really crashed the party.

On 10/14/18 I fished Big Lake and today, 10/16/18, I hit Horseshoe Cienega.

I heard that South Cove of Big Lake was fishing well. I did not find that to be true this past Sunday, but did find fish near the mouths of Railroad and the adjacent cove. After offering the standard fare of nymphs and midges, I had better luck with dark colored Simi Seal Buggers. One really nice one slipped away, but I did get about a half dozen into the net in the 13-15″ class. They were fat and hard fighting.

Image of fish in net
Fish in Net

Today on Horseshoe Cienega was the opposite. They wanted the midges and were short striking the buggers. I was fishing large zebra midges and while orange and copper was the hot color, the tried and true black and silver worked as well.

Image of Rainbow Trout
Rainbow
Image of released rainbow trout
Rainbow Release

They were really hammering the midges off the dam. At first I was fishing them under an indicator, but eventually was just casting them out on a floating line and using a hand-twist retrieve. Several of the takes darn near ripped the rod out of my hand.

One word of caution, watch out and be prepared for weather!

image of Horseshoe Cienega
View Across Horseshoe
Image of snowpacked road
Snowpacked Road

So glad summer is over.

-Mike McLaughlin

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Hey All

Well….I hope you all enjoy the new site as much as I do.  Thanks to web master, Mike McLaughlin for the new look.  I know it was a lot of work and I’m sure he’s glad it’s done.  Still a few tweaks going on but the majority of the work is behind him.

I have been asked why no reports were going up this past Summer.  Our lakes and streams are as low or lower than I have ever seen…and I’ve been fishing up here since the 60’s.  I did not feel it was in the best interest of all of us for me to encourage people up.  The trout fishing in the lakes was spotty and really took a turn for the worse in August.  Big, Carnero and Luna all suffered some kill, not total but bad enough that I left them alone and tried new and different stuff.  Surprisingly some of the lakes fished well the whole time…you may have had to use some new techniques but the fish were still there and very healthy.  Pacheta and Earl Park fished really well.  In fact on Pacheta it was like shooting fish in a barrel.  They were really concentrated but in good shape and fought hard.

One good thing that happened was I had to adjust and try different approaches.  I am not a real big fan of indicator fishing.  I don’t have the patience to watch a bobber to see if it is going to make a move on still water.  Moving water is different but let’s not waste time getting into that.  I started naked nymphing in earnest and really enjoyed it.  I can fish as deep as 25 ft and still feel takes.  It makes me feel more like I’m fishing the fly instead of the bobber.  On several occasions where others were indicator fishing and catching small fish, I was constantly getting into bigger ones on the bottom….and most importantly…it was fun!  I had to make up new flies that rode with the hook up and came up with a new pattern that has worked for me everywhere I have gone…not every time but to the point on several occasions where it was working better than the usual patterns.  I caught rainbows, browns, bluegill, smallies and even a walleye on it.  You can also strip it if they are chasing.

I was able to hit Show Low lake and fish it the whole month of September when most of our trout lakes were suffering “Dog Days” and did well.  The lake was clear and only a 10 minute drive from my house.  One of my goals when I moved up here was to try and figure out the local lakes (Show Low and Fools Hollow) for smallies, largies and walleye.  I tried hard the first two years and mostly blanked.  I caught some fish but really had no pattern as to what I was doing.  I feel like I really made some progress this year.  It’s nice when you feel you’ve figured something out and you know what to expect when you hit the water.  I feel that way a lot with trout but bass are a different story.  October hit, the weather cooled and the fish moved.  Now I have to go find them again and figure out what will get them to open their mouths.  That is the fun of fishing anyway…figuring things out.

We have already had our first good snow up here.  More supposed to get here in a couple days.  Let’s hope it is a good wet Winter and another and another!!!!  I plan on hitting the trout lakes until they get hard and then it’s striper/bass time.  You gotta love AZ.  There is fishing all year long here.  You may have to travel a bit but it’s there….Have a great Fall fishing season.

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Big Lake

We had probably the best Becker Best Days this Saturday that we’ve had.  We finally hit it where Mother Nature was kind to us….thank you Madam.  Fishing was a bit tough at the lake but that has been the situation this whole Spring/Summer.  The fish are there and very healthy but are not quite as friendly as usual.

I hit Big Lake the following day with Tim for a few hours.  I landed five nice cutt’s stripping a small flashback bh pt.  Tim caught as many or more under an indicator.  The spawn is all but over and the fish are moving back out to deeper water.  Several of the fish I caught dropped eggs that were already starting to be absorbed.  Tim had the same experience.

The rains are pretty steady.  Monsoon is strong so far.  Let’s hope it continues.  It’s only going to help the lakes some…probably not much, but any new water is good.

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Antero, CO

Four of us DW, Bryan and Travis and I hit Antero Lake in Colorado the end of June for three days of stillwater fishing.  We met Joe, Phil and several of Joe’s friends from Co who were already there.  The weather forecast was wind, wind, wind and unfortunately they hit it right this time.  Never worked so hard for three days of fishing in my life.  The afternoon before we got there a lightning strike hit across the lake from us.

This was the fire two days later.  We watched several slurry drops and then a chopper arrived taking water from the lake every 15 minutes.

Unfortunately with the high winds and everyone spread out, we didn’t get many pics.  Here are a few of the 3-4 lbr’s but we didn’t manage to get any of the 6-8 lbr’s that guys caught, Travis especially.  He found big fish every day.  These fish fought incredibly hard.  Everyone of us got broken off multiple times every day on 2x…..even under a bobber.

The majority of us hit the road early Sunday am.  DW stayed and fished that morning and got into some fish that were cruising an island.  He sight fished and caught fish 6-9 lb’s.  Evidently the winds died down enough that the damsels could hatch and he found some gorging on them.

Awesome trip ….going back for sure.

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Worman’s at Carnero

Old friend, Matt Worman and his son, Matt Jr hit Carnero this past week and shared their pics with me. 

Matt Jr landed a 18″ Tiger and a 20″ Rainbow. 

Looks like a nice “father and son” day to me.

 

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Sorry

Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  I had the busiest April for materials I’ve ever had and with the wind this Spring I haven’t had much time on the water.  I hit a few of the high lakes with mixed success.  Carnero is off the charts for nice rainbows and the occasional Tiger.  Black simi’s have been the ticket for me but others are catching them on different patterns as well…stripping and under an indicator.  The lake is wide open and the weeds that normally determine where you can fish are non existent so far.  Big was slower for me.  The fish were still out deeper than I was fishing, but that was three weeks ago.  Becker has been fishing well…using the normal techniques.  I have been spending some time on Show Low Lake, trying to figure out the smallies there…with moderate success.

Materials are slowing down so I’ll try and do a better job posting.

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Carnero

Daryl came up for a day of fishing at Carnero.  Lake is lowww and is stained.  It is a totally different lake from previous years.  Last Fall all the weeds died in the center of the lake.  The Spring winds have stirred up the mud and spread it throughout the water column, leaving about a foot of viz.  You can fish the entire lake now instead of just the open areas.  The fish have much more water to move around in so you have to go find them.  Before you had no choice, you had to fish the open water and channels.

Don’t get me wrong fishing… was great.  We landed at least 45 between us.  Most were caught on small black simi’s stripped close to the bottom….which in most areas wasn’t more than 3-4 ft.  DW caught a few under an indicator but they definitely preferred the fly stripped.

Fish are very healthy and fought hard.  Biggest couple went 18″s, a couple 17″s and a quite a few 15″-16″ fish.  I don’t think AZG&F had stocked yet.  These all looked like fat, colored up, holdover fish and really fought hard.  We didn’t land one Tiger which was a little disappointing.  Not sure what’s going on because we fished pretty much the whole lake.

Sorry, no pic’s.  I forgot my phone.  Here’s a couple from DW.

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Rosey

I hit Rosey again Friday morning about 10 and fished until 4 that afternoon.  Launched at Windy Hill this time seeing if I could find some clearer water that had been sheltered from the winds some.  Water was about the same but the algae wasn’t as bad so I had some better viz.  Problem is the place had been hammered and the bed fishing was tougher.  Managed to land a half dozen in about  the first four hours….all 2 lb bucks.  Fish were spooky and hard to get to play.  I’m sure they had been harassed plenty.

Wind came up so I started stripping, which turned out to be much more productive.  Using gold and shad colored Helmet Heads I landed 5 in the last two hours…biggest went almost 3.

I stayed entirely in the Windy Hill area…fun day.  Still looking for that big one.

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Rosey

I hit Rosey yesterday afternoon for a little bed fishing.  Wanted to see what the water quality was more than anything.  I fished from 11-5, strictly looking for beds.  Launched at Cholla and fished the shoreline all the way around to the back of Rock Creek.

I found quite a few beds even under the floating algae.  Unfortunately many of the fish were really spooked.  I expect many have been harassed already and lots of empty beds as well.  I landed a half dozen and lost a few….all small males

I did see a few bigger fish that just wouldn’t play.  Going back for sure.  The bed season only lasts so long and I try and take advantage of it when I can.  I am addicted!!