Lake Pleasant

Got out on Lake Pleasant this morning from 4:45-8:45 with Zach and Scott.  There was a good amount of boils, but the fish we be up and down in a matter of 5-10 seconds making it difficult to get them when they were up.  We boated 4 fish on a variety of small baitfish patterns fishing 250gr and 300gr sink tips.  These early sunrises make it fun to be able to go to work with the smell of fish on your hands.  I need to start doing this at least once a week, it was a lot of fun.  Those stripers pull hard…



Pacheta, Big, Sunrise

I’ve been wanting to fish Pacheta late in the day but dreaded the long drive out late, so I headed up early Thursday am and fished ’til dark.  Started out fishing simi’s and caught lots of small rainbows and browns…..6″ to 13″.   The fish were coming up constantly as it was raining off and on all day so I switched to small dries, imitating the midges coming off….small fish.  Finally around 8 pm a big head popped up and grabbed my ant.  Ended up being a 24″ 4 lb brown.  Unfortuantely the only other person fishing the lake wasn’t the best with a camera and it came out blurry.  You’ll just have to trust me. 

Fished the following am and caught small fish again.  The lake is full and looks great.  One I’ll hit this Fall for sure. I spent that afternoon on Big and caught rainbows on dry damsels.  The lake is brimmed and has plenty of weeds….looks as good as I’ve seen in awhile.  The weather turned so I hit it early.

Hit Sunrise this am and caught small rainbows again.  I got tagged by a big one though and he broke my 3x like a thread.  Not much for fish pics but you get a couple nice am shots.  Summer conditions are on us already and it’s usually the stockers that want to play.  If you want a big one you’ll have to play real early or real late…..or just get lucky like me.

Panguitch Lake

Just got back from our first annual Panguitch Lake trip.  With a $50/night lodging fee and a short 7.5 hour drive to catch the diversity of quality fish we caught, this will surely be one of our best non guided trips every year.  Guests Ron Gonzalez and Buddy Edson both caught the biggest trout of thier lives.  I wish I had better photos of our trip but because of bad weather and a little bit of laziness I missed a lot of opportunities.  I managed to get a few…mostly of Daryl who was definitely on his “A”game this trip.  He caught big fish every day…..the BUM.   Here are a few shots.

This is Ron Gonzalez with a 21″ 3 lb. Bear Lake cutthroat. As you can probably tell, Ron had a bit of a struggle keeping this fish in the net.  I think next year his net will be considerably bigger.

We caught lots of 3-31/2 lb rainbows, numerous 4 lbr’s and a fattie that went over 4 plus Daryl’s big fish of 5 1/2 lbs.  Lots of 19″-22″ Bear lake cutt’s were landed.  Between us we landed 9 Tiger trout which is just about unheard of there.  Many locals have never caught one on a fly yet.  We averaged 15-25 fish a day and your arms felt like it too.   The rainbows fought as hard and jumped as good as any rainbow I have ever caught including the Kamloops in B.C.  95% were caught on simi’s tied up especially for Panguitch using an intermediate line.  With the weather being bad the Callibaetis came off mostly all day and this brought the big fish up shallow.  We simply casted to rises or kept our simi’s in the upper water column and they hammered them.  With the amount of food in this lake I can see it becoming one of the premier lakes in the West, surely one I plan on hitting a lot in the future. 

Hurricane Lake June 12-14 2009

Hurricane Lake

We spent the past weekend camped at Hurricane Lake with about 30 friends.

The unusual June weather continued – it was windy, cool, and occasionally cloudy. Despite this, the fishing was fair to good.

Like the weather, there was no predictable fly. Just about the time you thought you had it figured out, you would find yourself trying a new pattern after a few minutes.

The Apache trout were varied in size. Most of the fish were around 13-15″ with the dink and odd 17″ + thrown in.

Hurricane Lake

Hurricane Lake

Hurricane Lake

Hurricane Lake

Late in the evening, the winds would lay down and everyone would grab their rod in anticipation of the rise. Friday evening was one of those sessions we dream about – water like glass and fish rising like mad along the bank. Lots of tight lines and laughs all around.

Hurricane Lake

Thanks to everyone for coming. It was a pleasure.

Other notes:

Fishing was good at Reservation and Drift Fence for stockers. Pacheta was slow during the day, except for the fingerlings

Damsels are starting to show.

WS Smallies/Trout

Made it up for a day at Willow Springs with Daryl.  We went targetting smallies on the beds.  That didn’t prove to be very fruitful as a lot of the beds were empty and all but one that we saw were of the 10″ variety.  The one good smallie we found didn’t want to play and with the wind and clouds that finally hit midday we finally gave up on her.  The early monsoons have made that country as pretty as I’ve ever seen it and the lake is full.  We did manage to find a few stripping dark colored simi’s over the rocky shorelines. 

All the smallies we caught were prespawn and in great shape.  I even landed a bluegill that looked like a tennis ball, it was so fat with eggs.  I’m not sure how many trout we caught.  They were pretty much swimming around in pods with thier mouths open.  We ended up with a half dozen smallies each and enough trout action to make the day interesting.   Nice day on the water.

Christmas Tree/Memorial Day Weekend Report

Christmas Tree Lake

Like a lot of folks, we were up in the White Mountains for the Memorial Day Weekend.

The highlight of the trip was Saturday at Christmas Tree Lake on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. Not only does it have the reputation of the world’s best Apache Trout fishery, but also as a fine dry fly destination. Its rep held true.

Christmas Tree Apache Trout

Christmas Tree Lake

Christmas Tree Lake

Lon Ellington gave me a Grinch and I fished it for a while. After further consideration, I decided to snip it off and save it for a later occasion.

Most of the fish were about 16″, but very fat. A few up to 20″ showed. Terrestrial patterns like foam ants and parahoppers took fish as did droppers. Simulators and beetles tricked a few as well.

While we mainly fished from tubes and toons, walking the shore and sight fishing nailed quite a few.

Chritmas Tree Lake Arizona White Mountains

Other waters were fishing well too.

My son Matthew, his friend Cooper, both 8 years old, and I went out on Sunday. We fished both Little Bear and Hawley. Once again, dry flies were working and it was a good chance to practice the hook set with a couple budding fly anglers. I think they are already better than I am. Stimulators and small black-bodied EHC worked anywhere fish were rising.

I also tried Earl Park briefly a couple times over the weekend. Not a lot of fish were rising, but I got a couple strikes on foam ants and small Adams. Friends Ken and Emerson were there and they had some success during the day.

I also heard good reports from Crescent, Bog Tank, and Lee Valley.

Can’t wait to get back up there – the fishing is fine!


Brian Westfall Sr. Casting on the Black River, Arizona

Brian Westfall’s, both Jr. and Sr., Ben Manahan, and I spent four mid-May days backpacked into the heart of darkness – Arizona’s Black River. The hike is always a challenge and seems more so every year.

Yet the rewards can make you feel young. Scores of fish will do that to you.

Black River AZ Rainbow Trout Back

Black River AZ Brown Trout

Black River AZ Brown Trout

Many techniques were  effective. Nymphing would take fish all day, but larger flies drew vicious strikes. Both Tim Oliver’s Rubber-legged, Mid-bead Simi Seal leeches and Josh Owens’ Black River Bugs drove them crazy. We are fortunate to have them as shop tyers.

Towards late afternoon pale duns, baetis, and other bugs came off prompting the fish to look up. Appropriately-sized attractors fooled ’em.

Mayfly on Pine Tree Black River AZ

The aches and pains will fade away, but the moments spent in the backcountry hiking, fishing, and hanging around the campfire with friends will prevail.

Black River AZ Rainbow Release

Back to Nevada

 Headed out with JG to check out some lakes around Elko.  We met some friends from Idaho and had a great few days chasing fish.  We caught rainbows, cutbows, smallmouth bass and wipers.  The trout averaged about 3lbs and boy did they pull hard.  It seemed like their first instinct was to go airborn after being hooked.  We also had some sightfishing opportunities for crusing trout, smallies and wipers.  Nevada has so much water to explore, we are already planning our next trip.













Colorado River Top Water Bass

I had a chance to hit the Colorado River for three days around Yuma with Larry Allen for some great top water bass fishing.  Larry has been doing this for years and I have always wanted to hit it with him but am usually in the mountains by now.  I’m glad I finally made it and will certainly do it again.

The routine was to be at the attack zone at first light.  That meant getting up at 3:30 am, grabbing a cup of coffee at the local gas/grub and launch at Fisher’s Landing 30 minutes out of Yuma.   Luckily we only had to motor upriver about 5 minutes and the bass were waiting.  We were fishing during full moon so I’m sure it hindered our efforts some but you go when you can go.

The fish were all in post spawn and averaged about 2-21/2 lbs.  The awesome part is they ate Larry’s Burglers and my Umpqua frogs fished right along the tulies.   Everything was on top.  The bite seemed to get shorter every day so we did some exploring of the river.  It would take a long time to get to know all that is available down there but we found some interesting little lakes off the river and found a few bass and gills that wanted to play.  You would motor into a small cut and it would wind around and open up into a lake.  I am definitely going to have to learn my GPS to further explore it all.

After the am bite died we would head in and rest.  The afternoon was spent fishing a lake about the size of Becker in our tubes and ‘toons fishing for lmb’s up to 10 lbs.  Larry’s long time friend, Dickie Thomas joined us as well as his nephew, Brian.  The lake was lined with tulies and again the same flies worked.  Dickie and Larry got into some bass subsurface but I had much better luck with top water.

On his way in the last evening Dickie landed a solid 4 lb’r but no pic sadly.  We never really landed “Old Moe” but Larry had a good 5-6 lbr on that was wrapped over a limb and he finally pulled the hook and I had one break me on the take using 18 lb tippet so we had our chances.  Maybe next time!!??