Earl Park and Crescent

Made it up for a couple days with Brian B.  Got a late start Wednesday and didn’t get on EP until around 3 pm.  Heard that the top water bite had been good but we didn’t do anything with top water.  Threw some simis and picked up a few rainbows but pretty slow for us and several others who had fished it all day.  Water temps were 50 but there was a bad algae bloom which may have hindered us a bit, who knows?  Went back the following am and had the same results so we packed it up and headed to Crescent for the rest of the day.  We pounded the spawning brookies and landed lots of 13-15″ rainbows as well.  The lake has plenty of water and the fish are in great shape but AZG&F failed to cut the weeds this year again so again we will have to depend on how our winter goes to see what we’ll have left for holdovers. 

I urge everyone to sign the petitions to help Crescent.  If those fish could make it through and grow another year this time next year we’d be catching brookies pushing 16-17″s  or possibly BIGGER.  It’s a no-brainer for me.  Keep the fish alive, let them grow and everyone catches big fish.  AZG&F sells more licenses again, the store opens up and sells tackle and rents boats.  Everyone wins.

Chevelon Canyon Lake

Headed out to Chevy last weekend with a small group.  The weather was beautiful, which is the opposite of what we were looking for.  In my experience the worse the weather in October, the sooner the Browns start staging for the spawn.  With water temps around 55 degrees, there is still a couple of weeks until the browns will start to show up.  We obviously encourage everyone to leave the spawning fish alone once they enter the creek to do their thing.

The fishing was really good for rainbows in the 10-16″ range.  There is a big fathead minnow hatch that happens in September and the shorelines are just teaming with tiny bait-fish.  We used size 12-16 simi leeches in various colors, but white and peacock seemed to produce the most fish.  The lake was also stocked with 20,000 “sub-catchable” fish about 6 weeks ago.  Not sure about the sub catchable part as we caught many of these small fish.  We decided to throw some larger Diamond Hair Minnows that looked like Rainbow Trout.  I had a couple of big bumps on these flies fishing deep with a Type IV line, but could not seal the deal.  Some of the others in the group did land some bigger rainbows on this fly.  Everyone caught around a dozen fish a day with many, many more fish missed.  Did not take any pictures of the bows as I am sure everyone has seen enough 10-16″ rainbows.

 

Since the browns had not shown up yet, JG and I took a day to explore some other water in the area known to hold large Browns.  It is one of those places that are only accessed by lots of work and rarely mentioned to anyone.  After a long 4 x 4 ride in and a few mile hike, we found a flat that had several Browns over 20″ milling around.  We spent 40 minutes just watching these fish, then we finally figured out their pattern and gave them a shot.  I hooked a 14″ bow on my first cast and within minutes JG was hollering for the net.  The pictures do not do this fish justice, it was 21″ and pretty fat with just some awesome colors.  I hooked a 24″+ fish a few minutes after releasing JG’s, but was not in the cards this weekend as it broke me off.  It was still worth the hike to see JG catch the largest brown of his life.  Both fish took a rubber legged mid bead Simi Seal Leech.  A great way to end the trip.

 

 

Fall Fishing at Lees Ferry

Lees Ferry

When you think of fall fishing, it is likely that one of Arizona’s premier fisheries does not come to mind. After all, it is not historically the best time of the year for fishing Lee’s Ferry. The trout are active in the high country of the Mogollon Rim country and White Mountains, and the bass are aggressive in shallow water down on the desert floor.

However, even if fishing at the Ferry is not at its prime, it can still be very good. Also, this is the time of year when you are likely to enjoy chamber of commerce weather. Both of those were evident for Rusty Topping, Scott Holbrook, Keith Pennington and I this weekend.

Friday afternoon we got into some fish at the walk-in fishing tight to the bank. Saturday was a dynamite day upstream at 4 Mile and near the dam. Sunday at 4 Mile was one of the best days of fishing I have had this year.

Lees Ferry

Lees Ferry

Lees Ferry

Lees Ferry

Lees Ferry

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After a great day on the water, it is tough to beat the good meals and lodging at Cliff Dwellers.

What a blast!

Zebra midges, sizes 16 and 18 in copper/black, black/black, small San Juan worms, and sparkle worms were the consistent producers.

Henry’s Lake, ’08

Another great Henry’s Lake trip is in the books.  We had 9 guys this trip.  Some caught the biggest cutt, hybrid rainbow and brookie of thier lives.  Weather was a bit challenging but that didn’t seem to bother the fish much.

Four of us started the trip off at Panguitch for a couple days of “breaking in”.  The fishing was a bit off but we all managed to catch some nice 2-3 lb rainbows that fight as hard as any I have caught.  I set up a trip for June of next year with a cabin site that should be prime time for the callibaetis hatch.  Along with the damsels, scuds and leeches it should be an excellent trip for some rainbows and Bear Lake cutt’s up to 5 lbs.  The timing should also coincide with the smallie spawn at Piute Reservoir just 45 minutes away.  Should be an awesome time.  Daryl and I landed smallies up to 3 1/2 lbs there last year.

Henry’s produced more fish than usual but the double digits eluded this year.  Biggest fish was Daryl’s 8 1/4 lb hybrid.  Simi’s again were the main producer but several good fish up to 7 lbs were landed by Brian and Brandon using nymphs below an indicator.  Always something new…  great to learn.


Quite a few 6 and 7 lbr’s caught and 3 lb brookies.  Biggest brook went 4 1/2lbs.  Pic wasn’t good so you’ll just have to trust me on that one.

Can’t wait ’til next year.  The state takes really good care of this lake and like Panguitch it will have a future.  If we could just get Arizona to commit to taking better care of some of our lakes we could all be experiencing similar fishing here.  Several of our lakes, although not as large, are every bit as rich as Henry’s and could easily grow 5 lb fish consistently if we could keep them alive to grow.

White Mountains Report

Spent the last 4 days (10/5 to 10/8) in the White Mountains.  The conditions were perfect, highs in the upper 60s to low 70s during the day, lows in the 30s at night.  Fished Pacheta Lake Tuesday afternoon and it was fabulous.  focused in and around where the stream comes into the lake.  The Browns were busy spawning in the stream(make sure and leave them to do their business).  Fished Chironomids under a strike indicator all day long.  Black and red were the best colors.  Went to a dry/dropper at about 5 when they started coming up to the top.  Spent a couple of hours at Drift Fence Lake on Wednesday afternoon with my 10 year old son and he had a blast.  Fish were in any spot there was a little shade and they were very willing to take an Adams.  Also added a chironomid dropper which worked great.  If you are looking for a sure thing, I would try Drift Fence Lake soon.

Tim Oliver

Idaho, Montana, Sunrise

Just got back from a 14 day road trip through Utah, Montana, Idaho, Colorado and Wyoming.  It mainly was an overdue family trip Linda and I took every year.  This was to be my first time back since her death in ’06.  I was to meet Kevin at the end to attend the flyfishing retailers show in Denver.  Managed to get a few days in fishing along the way.

Started off at Henry’s Lake.  Got two days in before the wind started howling and put me on the road to Montana.  I fished a different area that I never been on before just to check out new water.  Fished patterns I had used previously (simi’s) but only managed to pick up one fish the first couple hours.  I started changing flies and finally ended up putting on a 4x long #6 simi and “game on”.  I landed 20 fish the next several hours.  It was tough taking pics of fish but I got a shot of a six and a piggy 4 in the net.  These fish are just tough fish.  I was treated rudely by a couple that just cleaned me in a matter of seconds on 2 x tippet.  The lake was exceptionally clear and in great shape with temps around 57-58.  Usually at this time of year there is an algae bloom and fishing is slow.  Can’t wait ’til the Oct trip…. should be awesome.

Headed up to the Madison next and saw a buddy.  The dam had a problem with a headgate and the river was blown out so it became a good day to check out his shop on the river.  If you are ever up there hit his shop, Beartooth Flyfishing.  It’s out there all by itself between Henry’s and Ennis.

Next I went to Cascade, MT to see another friend with a shop on the Missouri.  Stayed at his place and fished a day over a spot I had found several years back that held quite a few large browns that cruised a large boulder covered flat.  It was all sight fishing and I really looked forward to it because I had missed a brown a few years back that went at least 8-9 lbs.  This year the river was quite a bit higher and most of the flat was too deep for sight fishing.  I got a couple shots at some fish in the 20″ range but blew the shots.  I sure could tell I had been throwing a lot of heavy sinking lines lately.  My delicate approach was more like someone throwing a hand grenade.  It was good to see the river with lots of water anyway.

Hit central Montana and stayed with Linda’s sister and husband.  Luckily for me Ron was waiting with fly rod in hand and we fished for the next four days, hitting farm ponds and streams.   My approaches improved and I got used to throwing a 3 wt dry fly setup again and landed some nice fish, biggest being a 17″ brown that inhaled a hopper pattern.  The farm ponds were excellent fishing.  The first was about three acres and held rainbows that were all 3-4 lbs.  There were callibaetis and water boatman coming off so we had a blast.  The second pond was a lake really, probably 20 acres.  It had rainbows in all age classes.  Biggest I landed there went 8 lbs.  I got a pic of a six but didn’t get any others.  These pond fish all came on simi’s or Daryl’s stillwater nymph.  This is his version of a Denny Rickart fly and it works great.  I make sure I have plenty of several sizes in my box when I’m on any lake.

Hit Denver, went to the show… saw the new goodies for ’09….blah, blah.   Decided to hit Sunrise on the way back home.  Hadn’t heard much about the lake all year and I have not hit the White’s as much as usual this year.  Lake had ample water but with quite a bit of weed growth.  The weed cutter was there but didn’t look like it had started cutting yet.  Lake fished well for small 9-11″ fish.  These must have been a recent plant as that was all I could get to hit.  I saw plenty of good sized fish on my finder but could not get them to go.  Often at this time of year the fish are not very grabby.  Larry Allen used to say “they’re just nauseated”.  I believe the ph gets bad and they go off the feed.  Didn’t seem to affect the new plants.  This is a lake I will hit for sure come Oct, Nov.  When the temps hit the 40’s (they were 57-58) the lake will turn on…..there are plenty of big fish left.

Nice to get back home….and get ready for Henry’s in a couple weeks…..work, work, work!

Delta Report and New Gear Preview

John and I spent the last couple of days learning about all the new products from Sage, Simms, Redington, Rio and Umpqua as well as doing some fishing in the Delta near Stockton, California. We stayed with John Sherman near Discovery Bay. The fishing this year was not as productive as last year, but we learned some new techniques to try out on our home waters.

After going over new products most of the day Sunday, we headed out for the evening bite. Sherman has been busy learning some new tricks for Bass and it was Rohmer and my introduction to “Mat fishing”. It was quite an experience. It opens up water that previously we would have had no chance to catch fish. It involves using heavy rods(Sage Largemouth or the new Redington Predator 10wt) and a new “Rat” Fly. Not sure why we did not take a picture of the fly(we will get one up soon), but it has a hard epoxy bottom w/ a thick deer hair top an upturned hook. We would fish these in some of the weediest water we could find skimming the rat on the surface, we only had a couple of takes which were explosive, but could not connect. We ended up each hooking a couple LM Bass on Umpqua’s Swimming Frog, including a double to end the day. Check out the pictures of what the water looked like and the lines created in the mats by the rat.

The next day we had a chance to get out with Kevin Doran, www.deltaadventures.com.  Kevin guides the Delta and is extremely dialed into what is going on.  We started the day fishing the mats with the rat again.  We hit some areas that were not as dense weed growth which Kevin called Red Weed.  Same tactic of pulling the rat on top of the weeds.  After an hour or so I saw a wake tracking my rat.  I gave a couple of twitches and all I saw was a big mouth coming up to eat my rat.  All I could think about was Sherman telling me to hook these fish you needed to go Jimmy Houston on them, I went Jimmy a half second too soon pulling the fly out of the fish’s mouth.  It was a big fish.  I did manage to get a fish off the red weed a little later, but still thinking about the one that got away.  We both caught fish on the frog as well, John with the biggest at a few pounds.  We still needed to try out some other rods, so we headed out for some stripers.  I threw my fly out next to the boat as I stripped line off for the cast and 3 small stripers came out to fight over the fly, one of which ate it.  The next hour was fun as we hooked 6 and had several taps.  Nothing huge, but it was a good way to end the day.

We saw a ton of new products that will be available soon, here are the highlights of what we heard about and what we got to fish.

Sage/Rio

TCX Fly Rods and Rio Fly Lines-These rods were amazing.  Sage made them lighter and a little bit softer than their predecessor the TCR, making this a great rod to FISH as just opposed to cast.  We fished the 6 weight with the new 230 grain Sage Bluegill line and it threw the big Umpqua swimming frogs with no issue.  We also fished the 8 weight with Rio’s T-11 Outbound line for stripers.  This was a sweet rig that caught almost all of our stripers today and one that you could throw all day.  We also fished the 10 weight with Rio’s new Outbound Short line.  This set up took a little getting used to, if we false casted into the running line at all the cast would just not work.  Once we got used to it, it did it’s job of throwing large top water striper flies more quickly.  Sherman tells us this will be the go to topwater striper line for him this year.

Bluegill Rod-To complement their Bass line of rods, Sage has developed a lighter weight Bluegill Rod and Fly Line.  The line is a 230 grain line, as opposed to the 290 grains of the smallmouth and 330 grains of the largemouth.  It is closer to a 7 weight or fast 6 weight, except with it being only 7’11” it feels much lighter.  It still had guts to throw over big deer hair frogs.  The line stands on it’s own as a great new product.  Put the line on your 6 weight or 7 weight and you have a Bass rod that deliver the fly where you need it.

 Reels-Sage is totally revamping their reels for 2008.  A new 6000 series will be at the highest level of premium reels.  We were most impressed with the Carbon Fiber reels in the 4000 series.  They have a different look, but the carbon fiber is much lighter than the traditional materials used in other reels.  Another wow factor was the cost of a spare spool, $60 for a spool on a $320 reel is an awesome deal.  An extremely nice drag system as well, Sage is really making a push in the reel market.  Their click reels are new as well for 0-4 wt, super lightweight.

Most of these will be availible October 1st!!!

Simms

Footwear-Simms is debuting Vibram which they believe could revolutionize wading.  It is a sole that aids in the fight against the spread of aquatic invaders and has all the benefits of both Aquastealth and Felt.  With a couple of states already banning felt soles this has been a great breakthrough for Simms.  Sherman had a chance to test them out and he told us he and all the others who used them preffered them over felt.  We can’t wait to see and try these for ourselves when they come out in early 2009.

Waders-The return of the pant wader in the Headwater wader.  A great pontoon or shallow water wader.

Apparel-Lots of new stuff, too much to mention.

Buffs

We also picked up a line of Buffs.  These are a must have item for anyone heading to Saltwater destinations and really anywhere that protection from the elements is needed.  There are few flats fisherman around who are not wearing these.  We also have some Windstopper fleece ones coming in for the cold weather that is coming in.  Many very cool fish patterns, I am wearing the Tarpon scale print in the striper pictures above, Sherman is wearing the Bonefish pattern in the Mat photo.  We will have these October 1st.

Redington

Reels-Redington is coming out with a great new reel to replace the popular CD reels.  The name eludes me(it is 11:30 at night), but they are a vast improvement in appearance, weight and function.

Rods-The new Predator series rods are short rods with fast actions made to throw big bugs.  At 8’3″ and 7’10” on the lower line wt rods, these are perfect boat rods when chasing bass.  At a price point of $199 they will be tough not to own.

Look for these around the first of the year.

 

 

Canyon Creek August 10/11 2008

On Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, Greg Holtum and I fished Canyon Creek.

Greg Fishing

I had not fished the creek since the fire.

I am glad we did. Mother Nature, The Desert Flycasters, The Arizona Fly Casters, The Zane Grey Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and The Arizona Game & Fish Department have done a tremendous job of restoring the stream. Kudos to Game and Fish for the new signs in the catch and release section.
Fishing was good with a hopper-dropper set up. About half the fish went for the traditional (non-foam) hopper up top, while pheasant tails, copper johns, and prince nymphs did damage below in sizes 16-18.

The most exciting part of the trip occurred Sunday evening when a heavy brown inhaled a hopper and headed back under a rock. I was able to winch him out a couple times only to have him head back under. Finally, he saw me and headed straight downstream into a root ball. Pop!

Here is one that did not get away:

Canyon Creek Brown about to be released

Panguitch 8/6-10

Dog Days are upon us and I hadn’t heard many great reports from the White’s lately so decided to head up and check out the new fishing shack.  Dragged Daryl along for some always entertaining talk and headed up.  Mainly wanted to see just how long a drive it would be and how much the gas costs would be.  Ended up I can get there faster than I can get to the SJ and with a couple guys splitting gas and no motel fees it is an easy trip.  The shack is not really mine yet but the outfit was gracious enough to let us stay there before actually closing on it….sweet! 

Dog Days are Dog Days everywhere but at least at this lake you can have a day where you catch a couple dozen fish up to 22″ and pushing 5 lbs.  It definitely was not the lights out trip we had a month ago but after figuring out what the fish wanted we had our way with them pretty good.  The area we hammered them in last time still held the most fish in any area we found but we just could not get them to play consistently.  The lake had a pretty good bloom going on and this had to affect them.  The area we fished had a stream entering with pretty good flow and plenty of callibaetis hatching in the evenings.  The bigger fish would slurp up the spinners early am and then hit them again at the hatch in the evening.  If the wind was down we sight casted to them but mostly we fished subsurface with callibaetis emergers, scuds and simi’s. 

Didn’t take many pics this time but got one of Daryl with a not so fat 22″r.  The lake is going to be awesome this Fall with fish up and over 5 lbs cruising the shoreline.

The Odyssey II

It was going to be hard to better last years trip around the West.  I headed out to meet up with Micah on Thursday evening with 11 days of fishing ahead of us.  An airplane delay for Chad made for 12 hours that seemed to last several days for Micah and I.  After getting Chad from the airport, it was off to Geoff’s place for some ice cold keg beer and Leg 1 of our journey.  After an undisclosed length drive to an even more undisclosed location we arrived ready to see if the Bull Trout were waiting.  Chad got me into this sport 16 years ago when I met him in college in Erie, Pa we had not had a chance to fish together in almost 10 years.  This was also Chad’s first trip out West fishing.  As a special welcome to the West, Chad got the biggest Bull Trout of Leg 1 a 10+lbs hog.

To say Chad was impressed at this point would be an understatement.  This year produced even more big fish than last years outings, so we were all pretty pumped at this point.

After a couple days of running with the Bulls, we headed back to pack all the necessary gear for 5 days of base camp at Henry’s Lake.  We arrived to a 30 mph wind that would hang out for just about every day we were in the area.

Day 1-Decided to head out in the morning on Henry’s and try our luck.  Heard rumors of fish stacked up by a spring about a 45 minute paddle away.  Took to the oars and got our spot in the flotilla.  Landed a couple of fish, but it was pretty slow.

After that we headed out for some grayling in some small streams.  We got out of the car and were ambushed by the biggest swarm of bugs I have ever seen.  Not the bugs we were looking for either, the biting kind.  We cowboy’d up for about an hour and Micah caught a couple of fish, we were just glad to get out of there alive without the West Nile.

Day 2-We decided to check out some new water at Wade Lake.  I have never seen a mountain lake so clear.  Micah hammered them here catching a couple dozen fish, I got about a dozen, Chad managed to get a half dozen or so  Nothing big though, most fish were in the 12-16″ range.  We hit a small stream as well and got some nice cutts up to 18″.

Day 3-Yellowstone NP day.  Chad had never been into the park, so we decided to take a 100 mile loop through to see some scenery and hopefully catch a few fish.  We fished the Madison, Gibbon, Lewis, Yellowstone Lake and Rivers.  Nothing on the lake or Lewis, we all managed to catch browns on the Madison and Gibbon in the 12-15″ range.  We did not spend much time on the Yellowstone, but Micah and I both landed Cutts over 20″.  No pictures from this leg, overall more driving than fishing on this day.

Day 4-We decided to head back into a little hike in lake in the area to see if it was as good as last year.  It was.  I landed over 40 fish during the most amazing Callibeatis hatch I have ever seen.  Micah fished mostly dries for 25 fish.  Chad, still learning the ropes of lake fishing, was into double digits pretty easily as well.  A beautiful lake with many eager rainbows in the 15-20″ range with some bigger ones in there for sure.

Day 5-The night before in camp we had heard about 3 10lbs fish being caught out of Henry’s.  We decide to take one last shot on Friday morning.  As you may be able to tell by some of the photos Chad is a guy who likes a good workout.  He decided to row across Henry’s Lake and back, which is about 9 miles.  Micah and I opted for the 1\2 mile paddle.  We got into them a bit, I got 7 fish in a few hours which is good for me on Henry’s.  Micah landed several and shots as several others.  Chad accomplished his goal and is the only one I know who has ever rowed a pontoon across Henry’s.

The wind really started to howl around noon, so we decided to give the grayling and Cutthroat one more shot, hoping the wind would keep the bugs away.  It was pretty slow at the stream, but I got to one stretch and things went crazy for about 5 casts.  18″ grayling, 16″ grayling, 21″ cutt, 15″ cutt, 14″ grayling in 5 casts on the cicada.  I was hollering for someone to come and take a picture, no one came, but managed to get a few pics of them.  It was an awesome way to end Leg 2 of our trip.

After a good watering at Trouthunter’s  that night we hit the road home for Boise, with a stop at the Big Wood.  We all managed to catch a few browns at the Wood and we had some shots at some big fish, but could not connect.  We were fishing in the middle of afternoon and the water was skinny.  Oh well, 1 day left for the Grand Finale.

We finished up on the Owyhee in Oregon.  Same old, same old with a nice surprise to end the trip.

The Macho Man

After already catching the biggest grayling and Bull Trout of my life why not add the biggest brown.  Micah’s fish was caught on a hopper and was 22″ for reference.  We estimate mine to be 27″ around 7 lbs…caught on the last cast of the trip.