Fishing up here has been pretty slow to realllly slow starting about the end of June. July was slim pickens so I started hitting Show Low again seeing if could repeat the success I had last Dog Days on the smallmouth. It stated pretty slow as the lake is totally different than last season at this time. The lake has a lot more water and has been off color ever since ice out. It’s clearing somewhat now and has dropped probably over 6 ft. Still plenty of water, much more than last year.
I have pretty much fished the Jiggly under a bobber. For a short time they were chasing and I fished a Tadpole variation that DW came up with from a Pyramid Lake fly. That worked for a short time but I caught more walleye than smallies with it. That is one thing about the Jiggly, I have caught every species of fish in the lake except for a largemouth on it. Anyway the past four trips I have had at least one good smallie on. I think they are finally coming around and playing a bit. This is about the time I started fishing it last season. Been really fun. Nice to have some water so close you can fish it every day if you want….and some nice fish.
I apologize for the lack of posts. My program has been on the blink and wouldn’t allow me to post. It won’t allow me to write anything after I post pics so I’ll do the post and then add pics at the end….make sense??? Not to me either.
I’ll give you a rundown on what’s been happening up here for the past several weeks. I had been hitting Show Low pretty consistently because of the winds. I can fish a portion of the lake that is semi protected. The smallies continued to grab pretty well but slowed around the end of May. They have not been really aggressive and the only way I can get them to eat is fishing a fly under a bobber. Not my favorite method but “you do what you have to do”.
Early June I started hitting Big Lake and had some decent days fishing c’mids under an indicator again. Several guys were stripping small pt’s with some good success. The Bonneville cutthroats AZG&F planted last year are up to 17″-18″ now and fight very hard. Some of the Snake River’s are still around and have been caught up to 5 lbs recently. We fished it this past weekend and had some good success on some really nice 18″-20″ holdover rainbows fishing midges….sorry no pics.
Becker has been off and on again…as usual. I have been fishing top water catching some nice Tigers and rainbows using ants and hoppers. Both species are in excellent shape and fight as hard as I can remember any fish fighting in Becker. Most all the rainbows are 17″-20″ and some of the Tigers are pushing 20″. The last trip we got into the bass pretty good and had a great time. The LMB’s are not long but very tall and thick. Lake is up but is starting to get a bloom. Rain in the forecast should help that and possibly get the ant hatch moving.
Here’s some pics….the first three are Show Low. The Tiger is Ron at Becker and the remaining three are some of the bass we got at Becker
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.
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.
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
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….
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!
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.
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!