Fly Fishing Arizona: Christmas Tree Lake

Sunrise over Hawley Lake
Sunrise over Hawley Lake

“Blip.” A trout rises to the right.

The fly dropped softly, a foot short of the center of the concentric ripples and the krystal flash wings gleamed in the morning sunlight. There was an ever so slight pause before the nose of the Apache trout broke the surface. The ant pattern disappeared, the hook was set, and the fish danced its way to the net.

This scene played itself many times over for most of the morning. At Christmas Tree Lake on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, the Apache trout like to rise to dry flies until the sun gets too high in the sky. Around eleven, we switched things up and stripped small leeches, damsels, and nymphs off of the banks with pretty good success. As evening approached, there was another flurry of activity on the surface as trout began rising again to ants and mayflies.

Back in the Valley, the temps were well over 100 degrees, but after a light rain as we got off the water, the mountain air was crisp and clean.┬áIt’s easy to have a good day when the fish are biting and you’re hanging out with a couple of good buddies.

Apache Trout
Christmas Tree Lake Apache Trout
Alex Landeen
Alex Landeen doing what Alex Landeen does
Apache Trout
Apache Trout
Landon working the bank at Christmas Tree Lake
Landon working the bank
JW Young and Sons Pridex Reel
JW Young and Sons Pridex Reel
Christmas Tree Lake
Strip, Strip Strip, Set
Alex Landeen
Alex hooked up
Christmas Tree Lake
The Fleet
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5 Responses to “Fly Fishing Arizona: Christmas Tree Lake”

  1. Brian Kuchynka

    So cool, used to fish that lake back in the 90’s , loved the Apache Trout. So neat to see some photo’s to bring back memories. Also liked Lee Valley for the grayling. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  2. Daniel Massa

    I am new to flyfishing and we are planning a trip to Christmas tree lake in May. Could you tell me what setup you would recommend and retrieve style. I will be using a float tube mostly.Thanks.

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      I’d take a dry fly rod and a bunch of ant patterns. I’d also take a sinking line with an assortment of leech and wooly bugger patterns. If you have room, I’d also take another rod rigged up with an indicator to hang nymphs if things are slow with the other two options. I usually have all three rods rigged up so that I can quickly move from one to the other if the situation dictate. Feel free to shoot me an email if I can help out in any way. Hope that helps.

      Ben

      Reply

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