Arizona Fly Fishing: Summertime


Agua Fria Alchemy

With the temperatures rising all over the state, we made a quick trip to a high elevation stream in the White Mountains. The cicadas are singing in the trees and the fish were looking up, eager to take big bugs. Anything that splats on the water seemed to illicit a response.

Have I told you how much I like this new bamboo rod?

Cicada Shuck
Arizona Brown Trout
Brown Trout

Book Report: Shotguns and Shooting by Michael McIntosh


Book Report: Shotguns and Shooting by Michael McIntosh

Shotguns and Shooting by Michael McIntosh
Shotguns and Shooting by Michael McIntosh

My good buddy DJ, shoved this book into my hand and told me quite sternly that I had to read it. The thought of reading a book on shooting didn’t really appeal to me, as I thought it would be a bit too academic and rigid for my taste. I was wrong.

Shotguns and Shooting is divided into two different sections. In the first section,Michael McIntosh takes the reader through a flowing historical description of the art gunmaking and the milestone achievements of shotgun history. The book then moves into the second section and focuses on the art and discipline of shotgun shooting. By the time I finished the 280 page book, there was no doubt in my mind that Michael McIntosh knows what he’s talking about and I truly enjoyed the flow of the book. Bottom line, this book is a great read, and if you’re jonesing for shotguns and quail season, it’ll will help a little bit.

Shotguns and Shooting by Michael McIntosh
Shotguns and Shooting by Michael McIntosh

Back East


Orvis Encounter
My kid brother getting it done

We made the journey back east to Grandma’s house a few weeks back. As you might imagine, it was action packed with an 18 month old. We visited all the usual haunts and enjoyed the company of those we love so much, but only see a couple times a year. I fixed my brothers up with a set of the Orvis Encounter Combos, and we made the sunfish at the cottage pay for it. We ate enough icecream and sweets to make us swear off sugar for a couple of weeks. All in all, there is no better way to spend vacation.

My girls love their icecream
18 months and on top of the world
Summertime swinging
No place like Grandma’s
The Ranch
When in PA…
Boat rides
Joel Fishing
Brother one
Nick Fishing
Brother two
Mama and babies
Mama and her babies
Making Pizzas
Helping Grandma make pizzas
Getting after it
Rainjacket. Something we don’t often need in Arizona
Walk down dirt road
Long walks on dirt roads
New friends
New best friends
The gang

Arizona Bar Fly


Bar Fly
The First Arizona Bar Fly

This past Friday was the inaugural Bar Fly here in Phoenix, Arizona. The kind folks over at Boulders on Broadway were decent enough to let us crash their place and scatter vises and fly tying material all around. There was a pretty good turnout for such short notice, and the hope is to plan an event for every couple of months. The food was fantastic and the dollar off beer special was extremely generous. Desert Sportsman even donated some fantastic merchandise for giveaways. Make sure you’re at the next one.

Fly Tying
Tying Flies and Telling Lies
Next Generation
The next generation of fly tiers
Big thanks to Desert Sportsman for donating prizes
Bar Fly 2
Passing it on


Arizona Fly Fishing: Christmas Tree Lake


Christmas Tree Lake
Christmas Tree Lake

On a recent trip home from Pyramid Lake, the conversation in the truck turned to fishing in Arizona. We started scheming and pretty soon we had made a makeshift plan to fish Christmas Tree Lake. Christmas Tree Lake on the White Mountain Apache Reservation is arguably the prettiest lake in Arizona, and the Apache Trout that live in it’s waters are always fun to catch.

We rolled into our camp spot at Hawley Lake in the afternoon and made short work of setting up camp and prepping our pontoons for the next day. Aside from the resident Hawley Lake cows making several appearances in the middle of the night, we had an uneventful evening and woke early to break camp. We were the first ones on Christmas Tree Lake and aside from a flock of turkeys, we had the whole place to ourselves for several hours before the first truck showed up.

Fishing was sporadic and the heavy gusty winds made spotting fish a bit tough, but we managed to all take multiple fish throughout the day.  Ants and hoppers did well as did chironomids and leeches underneath the water’s surface. We left the lake satisfied, happy, and scheming about the next trip.

Camp Life
Apache Trout
Apache Trout
Cataract Oars
Cataract Oars
Apache Trout
Apache Trout
Alex Landeen
Landeen wrangling a fish to the net
Christmas Tree Lake, AZ
A view up the lake

Rambling Review: Stanley Brand


Stanley Brand

I had an opportunity to get my hands on some classic Stanley Brand products, and they have been keeping me company at work and in the mountains. Stanley has been in business since 1913 and their name is synonymous with quality.

Stanley Brand thermoses and mugs keep beverages hot and stand up to the day to day abuse of work and the campsite. The 8oz flask is perfect for tucking in your pack for a midsummer fishing trip or a night around the campfire.

Check out more Stanley Brand products.

Stanley Brand
Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle (1.4 Qt.) and Coffee Fixings

Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle (1.4QT) – This big green Stanley thermos is a classic. TheStanley Classic Vacuum Bottle has an iconic look that is matched with a much deserved reputation for keeping your beverages steaming hot for a long time. At 1.4 quarts, this thermos is ideal for those all night drives on the way to a remote fishing spot or a Monday morning at work. It’s the perfect way to make sure you’ve got enough coffee to make it through any situation.

Stanley Flask
Stanley Adventure Flask and Bulleit

Stanley Adventure Flask (8oz) – It sure is nice to have a rock solid flask to dip into around the campfire to take the chill out of the evening. Fill it with your swill of choice and you’re on your way.

Stanley Flask
Stanley Adventure Flask
Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug
Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug

Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug (16oz) – This Stanley mug sees daily use at the office. It is not unusual for a project to keep me engrossed for most of the morning and I neglect to drink my coffee. With the Stanley Vacuum Mug, my coffee stays hot, well into the afternoon, so I’ll always get a hot cup of coffee.

Stanley Brand
Stanley Brand

Prognosis: If you are looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift, definitely give the Stanley Brand a look. There is something for everyone in their lineup.


* Disclaimer:

The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion.   The Stanley Brand products were provided for the purpose of this review and the links in the article help to pay the bills here on Arizona Wanderings. As always, I always strive to be up front and honest about gear and my relationships with gear companies. Thanks for looking

Agua Fria Alchemy Bamboo


Dickerson 7012
Dickerson 7012

Last summer I commissioned my friend and local bamboo rod builder, Mike Johnson, owner of Agua Fria Alchemy, to build me a rod. I’d been pinching the pennies I made from tying flies and finally saved up enough to get the ball rolling. After talking with Mike for quite a while about bamboo and casting/fishing a couple of different tapers, we decided upon a Dickerson 7012 in a 4 weight and the journey began. When Mike finally let me know that the rod was finished and ready to fish, I was blown away by how sweet it cast, and not to mention the beautiful craftsmanship. If you’re looking for a gorgeous handmade bamboo rod here in Arizona, give Mike a shout. You can find him through his blog Agua Fria Alchemy or his facebook page.

Here she is – start to water

Bamboo Rod
Agua Fria Alchemy
Bamboo rod
In the shop
Agua Fria Alchemy
The man himself
Agua Fria Alchemy
Torpedo grip
Agua Fria Alchemy Bamboo Rod
J.W. Young Pridex
J.W. Young Pridex
Agua Fria Alchemy Hand Crafted Split Cane Rods
Agua Fria Alchemy Hand Crafted Split Cane Rods
Southwest Custom Rods
Spalted Maple Reel Seat courtesy of Southwest Custom Rods
Ready to rock
Brown trout and bamboo
Agua Fria Alchemy
Agua Fria Alchemy
bamboo fly rod
On the water

Rambling Review – Sage & Braker’s Bore Snake


Rambling Review – Sage & Braker’s Bore Snake

Sage & Braker's Bore Snake
Sage & Braker’s Bore Snake

There is nothing quite like giving your shotgun a good thorough cleaning  at home, but sometimes in the field weird things happen, and it’s important to give the bore and barrel a quick clean right there in the field. Bottom line, you need to keep your gun in good working condition and I’ve taken my fair share of spills while hiking hills after quail. I’ve heard the horror stories of a muzzle getting filled with debris and when it comes right down to it, it’s not a terrible idea to have a bore snake in your pack or vest to give your barrels a quick clean.

The folks over at Sage and Braker have come up with an ingenious twist on the standard bore snake. They took the one piece bore snake and made the pull rope and wire brush detachable from the cleaning rope. Now instead of throwing the whole snake with wire components into your washing machine, you can simply unscrew the latch and toss just the cleaning rope into the wash. Pretty slick if you ask me.

The Sage and Braker Bore Snake comes in a very nice bag which makes it easy to toss in your vest or pack. At first they just had 12 and 20 gauge snakes for sale, but Sage and Baker have geared up for additional shotgun gauges as well as popular rifle and handgun calibers too. Definitely a worthwhile investment for any avid shooter.

Sage & Braker's Bore Snake
Sage & Braker’s Bore Snake
Sage & Braker's Bore Snake
Sage & Braker’s Bore Snake
Sage & Braker's Bore Snake
Sage & Braker’s Bore Snake


* Disclaimer:

The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  The Sage and Braker Bore Snake was provided for the purpose of this review. My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.