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Creeks in Arizona flooded due to rain. No Fly Fishing this weekend!!

Went to Canyon Creek Friday morning, needed four wheel drive to get there. The stream was blown out, it had been much higher the day before. We drove up to the bridge to the farm at lower canyon creek to see that the water the day before had flowed over the top by a good two feet.
Slipping and sliding back up we then decided to go to Willow Springs lake. The road was closed by the gate. We geared up in our waders and walked a mile thru snow to get to the lake. It was frozen over, however there where spots about thirty feet wide by some of the banks that had defrosted.
Water was a dirty color we put on Black wooly buggers and stripped really slowly back to the bank with the fly hitting the bottom and snags.
We caught five Tiger trout between us all on the bottom and deep. Losing five flies due to snags . Sizing 10 to 12 inches great fun!! Arizona version of Ice Fishing but in this case Fly Ice Fishing!!!
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The things we do to catch trout and release them back!!!
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On the way home stopped at upper Tonto creek to look, it was full blown out and Horton Creek which joins it there underground, was in full flood on the surface on the ground pouring into Tonto.
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The game goes on at the Salt River AZ

Well the games go on! I decided to head back to the Salt for a late dry fly session the last 2 hours before dark as the day Sunday was warmer than the previous day.
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I have noticed in the past that there seems to be a hatch of very tiny gnat like insects. Not sure what they are! When I got there i met a fellow fly fishermen named Gary who told me he fly fishes the river a lot.
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We both fished the top end of Blue pool, it was crazy fish jumping all over the stream. On inspection he thought they might be a small Trico hatch.
The smallest Fly i had was size 22 blue winged olive, but you really needed a size 24 as the fished turned there noses more time that not. I did land 3 fish but feel if I had the right fly it would have been a lot more.
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The strikes were very soft so you had to be watching keenly. The only way I can fish a fly that small is to put on a larger dry fly as an indicator. First a size 16 brown drake emerger, followed about 20 inches by the smaller fly. The trout only took the small fly. My eyes as it get dark makes it difficult to see, but I am off to get a few size 24 to see!! If you get the pun!!

Salt River AZ, giveth & taketh away.

The Salt river AZ. Day one fishing was fun landed around a dozen rainbows, 5 last hour before dark on a Dry fly combo.
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Size 14 Parachute Adams with a size 22 dry 15 inches behind. Took all the trout on the dry size 22.
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Daytime used two nymphs down very deep. Went back the next day.
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Fished from daylight till noon, did not catch a thing, not even a cold!
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The river giveth and taketh away!!!

Oak Creek Canyon & Canyon Creek AZ

Fished Oak Creek on Friday very clear water good flow. Caught two small browns. Tried stripping wooly buggers no luck. Ended up catching them on a little black & silver nymph under a hopper.

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Saturday went to Canyon Creek water was dirty color not brown, more like a snow melt color. Very cold day you could see that a storm was coming looked like snow on its way!

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Tried dropper hopper set up no luck. Changed to stripping a black fly with legs behind it, not sure what it was.

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I had no black wooly buggers tried other color wooly buggers no luck. So put this fly on stripped back up stream along the banks and creases of the current.

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Ended up with two small browns and one rainbow. Hooked and lost another five fish for all various reasons!!! Lack of talent being one!!

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Chasing the Sonoran Sucker on a Fly

Sunday afternoon had some time on my hands, went out to the Salt River. Beautiful afternoon, fishermen of all types out there .

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Found one spot stayed on it. Ended up with six rainbows, caught one small Sonoran sucker, then lost two more bigger fish broke off my 5 x tippet.

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Changed to a 4 x and landed a nice sonoran sucker , great fun running all over the water. Also caught a small bass great afternoon.

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Horton Creek & Upper Tonto Creek AZ

Horton Creek & Upper Tonto Creek AZ

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Got off to a late start today but headed up to the Rim country to try a small creek called Horton Creek all catch and release. Walking to the stream the first half mile is underground you are walking over it, due to the limestone rocks. The stream starts as a small trickle gradually building and getting bigger as you continue to walk on up. The elevation goes from five thousand three hundred feet to six thousand four hundred feet, and you will feel it!

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It is a small stream with pocket pools and a few slightly deeper runs if you follow the stream be prepared to climb, scramble up and down the embankment with all kind of brush and trees to walk around or over. It will be a workout, especially in waders!!

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The stream itself has a lot of twigs and small logs in the pools to snag any droppers, as well as trees strategically placed to catch your flies!! If you are not comfortable casting at odd angles or low, less than waist high cast sideways in some places be prepared to lose a lot of flies. That does not say there are not places that are more open, there are, but if you want the bigger fish, they are mostly hungered down in tough spots to get a fly on.

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This is the second time I have fished this stream, and the beauty and solitude are beautiful so quiet and calm. There is a well-marked path that does not follow the stream, and if you want to get to the spring that starts this stream it is a nice walk, but you will feel it in the legs it is all uphill with the last half mile zigging up the side of a steep hill. The sign says it is a four-mile hike, but it feels longer!

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I started the day with a dry fly and nymph combination without much luck, so changed to a black wooly bugger which yielded some very small browns. The big boys I think took the day off to read the papers!!! I have seen some bigger fish in this stream and talked to other fly fishermen who have caught some browns in the fifteen to nineteen-inch range. They are there but not easy to catch. After five hours I had fished as high as I wanted to go as the last mile is very steep and narrow with not much opportunity in my mind.

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The walk back, I climbed up to the hiking trail and took off, being downhill much easier! It still took me an hour of nonstop fast walking to get down to where the Horton creek underground streams join into the Tonto Creek.

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When you park in the car park for Horton creek, you go over a bridge spanning Tonto Creek and then walk back over it to get to Horton Creek. I noticed in the morning a couple of nice pools on Tonto that I wanted to fish before leaving. I had a little time left before it started to get dark so headed to the first pool downstream of the bridge after a few casts caught a small rainbow that felt a lot bigger than it was as I was fighting the fish upstream in a strong current. A few more casts and time to move on up. The last pool was just above the bridge, fast-moving water narrow at the head of the pool going into deeper slacker water as it flowed towards me. This pool was typically guarded with a tree on the left of the beginning of the pool and another tree halfway up the pool on the opposite side leaning into the pool. I had to cast sideways about four feet above the water level to get the fly to the head about thirty feet away. It helped that I was using a seven foot six inch four weigh so I could cast under the tree and not too near it!

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Fishing is a funny old game, I had pretty much covered this pool with no luck. I was thinking of calling it a day when I hooked a beautiful rainbow to finish off the day in water that was only five feet away from where I was standing!! It was starting to get dark, so time to head off home.

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Canyon Creek AZ

Canyon Creek Jan 18 th 2019

Drove up to Canyon Creek AZ, little snow on the drive up. The last five miles is on dirt roads, needed four wheel drive in places snow and mud. I think if we do not get any rain or snow in the next couple of days it will dry up and you will be able to get to the creek without the four wheel drive.

 

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Ken Wade drove his jeep up and we parked near the derelict Porto Potty, we both wanted to fish the lower canyon creek. On arrival Ken went down stream and I went up stream. I fished a dropper hopper at first drifting with the current but had no luck. The water was higher and dirty, more so than in the past couple of times I have been up there. Next, I changed up to two nymph under an indicator, fished a few runs and deeper pools, again no luck.

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Time to go to the dark side!!! I put on a green wooly bugger, cast downstream and across the creek. Letting it swing thru the current then stripping back up on the edge of the current nearer the slacker water. I also would let it come back across to my side and strip up along the banks or along the side of any weed structures.

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 Second cast small brown trout, life at last! Third cast straight into a bush, lost my only green wooly bugger!!!! Changed up to a black and purple wooly bugger and we were off to the races. The browns loved this fly, ended up catching a bunch of nice browns and losing a few also. It was difficult to cast upstream as the current was moving very fast, you had to strip really fast, not much time for the fish!!

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The day just sped by, noticed it was starting to get darker so headed back to the truck, when I got there no Ken, a little later on in he comes from fishing lower down. We had not seen each other all day, turns out he had much the same experience as I, taking a bunch of nice browns, losing a few all on a black wooly bugger.

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Late drive home, great day at Canyon Creek in January

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