Looking like it is going to be a great year in the White Mountains. I have done a mid April trip the past 5 years and this is the best I have ever seen the water look. We set up camp at Carnero and fished there on Thursday evening. I caught a dozen fish in an hour or so fishing copper johns and pheasant tails under an indicator. That night was cold, thankfully the wood stove in the tent made things a little more bearable. Thanks to Emerson to providing some wood for me on my way through Pinetop.
Got up early on Friday and headed down the hill to Becker. I fished there from 5 A.M.-7:30 A.M. and landed several fish in the 16-18″ range. All hard fighters with girth. This lake will hopefully continue to produce these quality fish. I was starting to get pretty cold, so decided it was time to make a hike into Lee Valley to see what was happening.
Took the hike in from the junction of 273 and FR87 out of Greer. There was still a road closed sign, so took the 3 mile hike through the Forest, across the Little Colorado and up to Lee Valley. As soon as I got up on the road about 45 minutes later a truck with a boat passes by me on the road, then a couple minutes later I see another car. They could not make it to the Lake due to a large snow drift on the hill past Sheep’s Crossing. I arrived to the lake just in time for a snow squall and 30+ MPH winds. I did manage to pick up a couple of fish, but 1/3 of the lake still had ice and the fish seemed lethargic. This lake has a ton of water in it.
Saturday we got up and fished Carnero again for a bit. Lots of eager 12-16″ rainbows. The bite seemed to slow down a bit, so we decided to take the 273 to the snow drift and hike back into Lee Valley.
We arrived at the lake to much nicer weather than the day before, as well as some other people. The ice from the day before was gone and the fish seemed to be a little more active. Travis started to catch some fish stripping his version of a Simi Seal leech and it was not too long until all of us managed to catch a few fish. These fish were chunky and average 14-16″ with a few nicer ones coming out. Brandon caught the fish of the trip with an extremely fat 18-20″ Apache that had to be pushing 3lbs. Oh and Travis caught a Grayling as well!!!
We did get a visit from a NF Ranger while we were on Lee Valley. He said there is currently a “soft closure” of the Forest, which means you can access it, but if you get stuck you will be ticketed and fined. He drove the 273 from Big Lake to Lee Valley and said there were a couple of drifts, but no major problems. He said he was going to call the Highway folks early this week and expected an official opening and clearing of the final couple snow drifts in the next week or two(barring any major storms). I also heard from Virgil at Hon Dah today and they officially opend the 473 into Hawley this morning.
It is going to be a great year in the White’s, time to go fishing!!!!!!