Chevelon Creek Az.
Chevelon creek runs South to North around Thirteen miles long feeding into Chevelon Lake on the Mogollon Rim in Arizona. I have wanted to fish this stream for years. I finally met a fellow fly fisherman who had fished it once and wanted to go back.
We left Scottsdale Phoenix at Four am in the morning, the drive up takes about Two hours before you turn off onto a series of dirt roads which will take you another hour of off-road driving. Easy to google the roads for directions. In the summer if there has been no rain, you could maybe use a car, but I would advise against that as there are plenty of rocky boulders along the way. In the winter if there has been any rain, you will need a four wheel drive for sure, as there will be a few mud holes that you have to go thru with no way around. We decided to take the route that was about an hour drive short of reaching the lake. It is only about seven miles further, but the going is rough. Four-wheel drive needed.
The last mile or so is very narrow and rocky, you park at the top overlooking the valley that the stream nestles in. On our GPS we found out that our elevation was Seven Thousand and two hundred feet high. The stream when we reached it was at an altitude of just under Six Thousand Five hundred feet.
Now to put this fly fishing trip into perspective I am Sixty Four years young pretty fit and my buddy is a very fit Seventy-four year old who has spent his life wading and fishing streams, we are no wilted roses!!!!! Been there done that! So all you young guys reading this back off on my comments, as they come from the heart that to my surprise kept on beating, at times a bit irregularly!!!
The hike down around seven hundred vertical feet drop is done on a narrow rocky path, built I suspect by mountain goats and not by the brightest animal in the pack! It is narrow, and if you did fall off you would probably find yourself Seven hundred feet below in a hurry with a few broken bone for sure, so take your time, discretion is the best part of valor!!!
Once you get to the stream, it is broad in places, narrow in others with deep pools, fast-moving water and in other places very wide with deeper water that is very slow moving, so you have a vast range of different types of water to fish. We fished in the last week of October, so a lot of the bushes along the edges of the stream had shed their leaves making it easy to walk thru. I would think in the summer it will be more difficult to move thru. The bed of the stream consists of small to middle size boulders and pebbles which make for exciting wading, I would suggest a wading staff, I used one, and it saved my bacon a few times; however, Ken did not, and he was fine!!
The day was perfect as we descended, cold around Thirty Nine degrees with the stream in the shadow of the valley. It would soon warm up. On reaching the stream, we walked downstream about a half mile and then started fishing back up. Ken my fishing companion went up higher than me to start, with the plan of meeting up somewhere along the stream later in the day, and then to leapfrog each other as we moved on up. In Reality, I did not meet him until about three in the afternoon as we both got into fishing our stretches.
We had high expectations, as there are some big wild brown trout in this stream. It was not to be, and that was a surprise. We fished hard all day I ended up with two small brown trout, and Ken caught three small trout. The whole day I did not see a trout rise. A few grasshoppers were floating along with very little other fly activity. I tried just about every fly in my box using a hopper with different nymphs, dry flies on top, wet flies stripped below, you name it I did it. I varied the length of the nymphs some very deep in the deep holes some shorter. I even put a split weight above the nymph to make sure it was down and dirty, also mid water, no luck!!!
Ken was high sticking a hopper with nymphs, and to my surprise, he used a wholly bugger off the hopper that actually caught a few trout. I don’t know about you but I usually just strip a wholly bugger thru the pools! You have to keep watching and learning!
When I say we fished hard, I mean we did not stop for breaks we fished continuously all thru the day. We covered the stream well, so our fishing results were not from the lack of trying or skill! Just one of those days!!! Ken and I did finally met up around three in the afternoon and fished together the last hour.
This is important when you are fishing out in the wilderness make sure you leave enough time before it gets dark to be able to pack out. In this case, we estimated about two hours of walking, the last thing we needed was to be walking up the rocky path on the side of a steep drop in the dark. As it turned out, we ended up walking the last couple of hundred yards in the pitch dark, but we were over the worst of the trail. Ken also had a flashlight if needed but we did not.
This stream you need to be fit, in the summertime when you can wet wade it would be easier, but in full wading gear, it is a struggle. Young guys, could you have gotten out quicker, for sure, but not by much. I would advise against fishing there on your own, I know people do, I fish alone a lot and love to do so, but if I were you, I would wait to fish there with a buddy. Better to be safe than sorry!
This is definitely one stream in Arizona that you want on your bucket list, but go to the gym first get in reasonable shape, you will be glad you did!