Arizona Fly Fishing: To the Mountains

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Sunrise
Sunrise

With a long week of work behind us, we made an extremely early morning drive to the mountains to escape the heat and beat the crowds. We rolled into the parking lot and could see the fish rising from the bank. The air was chilly, which made the water warmer than expected as I eased into the water and worked the pontoon boat out away from the launch. The boat got a good workout and I’m feeling a bit more comfortable on the water. I still have plenty to learn about stillwater fishing, but managed to pick up a handful of fish, on a mix between intermediate line with a couple of simi-seal buggers and hanging midges.

We had the water to ourselves until about 10:30 and by noon we were off the water  to make way for the onslaught of the Memorial Day weekend crowds. I think I can get used to this stillwater thing.

Solitude
Solitude
Fishpond
Trout
Flies
Flies
Kristen
An exceptional fish
Damsel
Damsel

Book Report: The Sean Stranahan Mystery Series

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Sean Stranaham Mysteries
The Sean Stranaham Mysteries

I’m always looking for something interesting to read. Most of my bookshelves are a laden with a heavy dose of fly fishing and hunting with a spattering of history and philosophy left over from college, and I don’t have much in the way fiction in my collection. I recently had the chance to get my hands on a couple of books by Keith McCafferty. McCafferty who daylights as the Survival and Outdoor Skills Editor for Field and Stream, has written several novels that center around the main character, Sean Stranahan.

The novels follow this part fly fisherman, part artist, part private eye on his exploits in rural Montana. I really enjoyed reading through the stories that are full of fly fishing and outdoor references and the pages really fly by. If you’re looking for something to fill a day in the hammock, a Sean Stranahan mystery might be right up your alley.

Keith McCafferty
Keith McCafferty
Keith McCafferty
Keith McCafferty
A Sean Stranahan Mystery
A Sean Stranahan Mystery

Arizona Fly Fishing – Hoppers

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brown1
Brown

The weekends in May fill up pretty quick for me. Between Mother’s Day and our anniversary, I’m lucky to find time to get onto the water. In the end, I found a free Saturday early on to make a long day trip to the Whites. With the ridiculously dry weather here in AZ, our creeks look like they normally do in July, and the hoppers are on the banks. The fish are looking up, and  I was able to pick up a few good ones to round out a great day on the water. Can’t ask for much more than this, except maybe some rain.

altoids
Hopper fly box
Brown Trout
Hopper Brown
fly reel
White Mountains, AZ
nymph
Nymph
turkey tracks
Turkey Tracks

Higa’s S.O.S Variations

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Higa's SOS Fly
Higas SOS Varient

The original Higa’s S.O.S. fly pattern has long been a staple in my fly box and has proven itself to be a dynamic fly that seems to work just about everywhere. With many fly patterns I like to make small variations to use up different materials that I have or to meet a need that I have for a particular creek. This variation of Higa’s S.O.S. makes for the perfect dropper here on our AZ creeks and is extremely quick and easy to tie.

Hook – any size caddis style hook

Bead – to match wire

Thread – UTC70

Tail – Gambel’s quail

Wire – size small

Wingcase – Danville 4 strand Rayon

Thorax – Haretron Dubbin to match

Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly
Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly
Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly
Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly

 

Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly
Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly
Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly
Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly
Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly

 

 

Arizona Fly Fishing – Canyon Lake

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Canyon Lake, AZ
Canyon Lake, AZ (photo credit – Kristen Kile)

So… I bought a pontoon boat. Anyone reading this blog knows that I’m a die hard creek guy, but at the end of the day, there is a ton of great stillwater in this state. To be honest, I don’t know a whole bunch about stillwater trout fishing and figured it was high time to learn. So I found a screaming deal on Dave Scadden Madison River pontoon boat and took it on its maiden voyage to Canyon Lake with my friends Jason and Kristen, in order get my bearings.

The bluegills were out and hungry, and we caught a bunch in the couple hours I was on the lake. I learned a whole bunch about my pontoon and some of the things that I need to tweak and straighten out before I head out on the water next time. Bottom line, the pontoon was a blast, and I couldn’t be happier with my purchase. It was super stable and tracked really nicely, once I figured out what I was doing.

Rest assured, there will be plenty of creek fishing in the future, but I’m hoping to spread the love to some of the Arizona lakes in the future.

Canyon Lake, AZ
Canyon Lake, AZ (photo credit – Kristen Kile)
Canyon Lake, AZ
Canyon Lake, AZ  (photo credit – Kristen Kile)
Canyon Lake, AZ
Canyon Lake, AZ

 

Pyramid Lake Flies for sale

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Pyramid Lake Flies for sale
Pyramid Lake Flies

So after this last trip to fish Pyramid Lake, I had a couple of folks contact me about ordering flies for Pyramid Lake. So while tying up these orders, I tied up a few extra and put them all together for a great all around Pyramid Lake Fly box. There are 62 flies here with plenty of variety that should be a great starting point for anyone looking to stock up on flies before heading to the lake. I’m selling the box as a complete set.

The Arizona Wanderings Shop

 

The flies included are:

Pyramid Lake Tadpoles (size 6)

Estaz Wooly Buggers (size 6)

Maholo Nymphs (size 8-10)

Tinsel Midges (size 8-10)

Ice cream cone midges (size 8-10)

Pyramid Lake Flies for Sale
Pyramid Lake Flies

Pyramid Lake fish can be a bit picky, but this assortment is what I carry, and I have found success with these flies.

Pyramid Lake Flies for sale
Pyramid Lake Flies

Don’t forget to order your furled leaders and mini-hoppers from the Arizona Wanderings Shop. If you are looking for specific flies, shoot me an email and I’d be glad to tie you up what you need. As alway, your support is what keeps this site moving along and I truly appreciate everything.

mini hoppers
Mini-hoppers

 

The Arizona Wanderings Shop

 

Book Report: The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision

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The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision

Fish never cease to amaze me.  When The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision by Reed F. Curry first came out, I was immediately intrigued. As the title suggests the book focuses on the what trout see and how we as fly fisherman  can do to make our flies more attracting to fish. As you can see from the chapter titles, Curry goes to great lengths to talk about what ultraviolet light is and how it fits into nature.

Now, by no means am I a biologist or have any scientific background, but I found the whole discussion of trout vision and ultraviolet reflection fascinating. Curry goes through great length to photograph and document his findings while applying its impact on fly tying materials and fly fishing. Much of what I read here in The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision was reminiscent of what Lafontaine investigated in his book The Dry Fly: New Angles. Both authors strive to understand what triggers fish to take our flies, and ultimately, why some flies seem to have such great success.

If you are interested in the nitty-gritty of fly tying and fly fishing, I think Curry’s book is worth the read. As an angler, I found the discussion of what trout see to be extremely interesting and enlightening.

The New Scientifc Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Visison
The New Scientifc Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Visison
The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision

Back to Pyramid Lake

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Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout

The sun was just starting to go down as we packed up the last of the gear in the back of the truck on Wednesday evening. We turned on to the 93 and set our sites first on Vegas and then to Reno. The conversation was entertaining to say the least, but around 1am things got quiet and passengers started drifting off to sleep. We made good time and we positioned our ladders deep in the lake sand and were ready when the sun started to come up again.

Then we spent three days fishing in the howling wind and cold water of Pyramid Lake. The fishing ebbed and flowed as it normally does. We bounced around to different beaches, and ultimately found a couple spots that gave up some nice fish. No true 15 or 20 pound monsters came to the net, but overall we were pretty happy. Most of our fish came on heavy sinking line and beetles being stripped along the barren bottom of the lake.

What stands out more to me about this trip was the atmosphere. We had good food and laughed to the point of exhaustion. Couldn’t ask for much more than that. Here are a couple of pictures from my camera.

Also check out:

Alex Landeen Photos

Sleep When You’re Dead

Rod holders
Fly Rods
The Ladder Line
The Ladder Line
Pyramid Lake
A moment of calm on Pyramid Lake
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
Release
Release
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake