Grouse-Trout Camp 2015


Arizona Grouse
Ranger dog in the aspens

DJ and I had been talking about doing this trip for quite a while, and it was a bit surreal when we finally rolled into camp at midnight. We set up tents and made short work of getting to sleep knowing that morning would come quickly. Waking early, we donned bird vests and shouldered our shotguns for our day afield. We put some serious miles on our boots without much luck, but our hike took us through some of the prettiest country in Arizona.

We broke for lunch and decided to shift our focus from the birds and dropped 2000 vertical foot into a remote canyon in search of wild Apache trout. We found the golden beauties in a small trickle of a stream, eager to take a well placed fly. On our hike out, we debated how many other anglers walked the small canyon trail to this tiny creek. With the trail being so faint and overgrown, we concluded that the fish here did not often see a fisherman’s fly.

The roaring fire we built that night warded off the evening’s chill and provided a bed of coals to grill steaks and cook potatoes over. But the miles put on that day had taken their toll and we headed to bed for another early morning. The next morning, we worked some different country and were able to flush one grouse, but no shot opportunity presented itself.

Heading back to town, Ranger dog crashed on the back seat for a well earned rest, and we sat up front recounting the beauty of the country, the hard work we had put in, and the overall success of the weekend.

We’ll be back.

Arizona Grouse
Ranger Dog
Arizona Grouse Hunting
Arizona Grouse
DJ and his boy
Tailgate breakfast
Tailgate breakfast
Stanley Growler
Camp Coffee
Apache Trout
Looking down into the canyon
Apache Trout
Straight on down
Ranger and Apache Trout
Apache Trout
Apache Trout
Apache Trout
DJ and Ranger
DJ and Ranger tag-teaming a small pool
Apache Trout
Apache Trout
Arizona Grouse Hunting
One last morning looking for grouse
High Country

Rambling Review – Stanley Gear for Fall


Stanley Growler
Stanley Growler

I’ve had some pretty cool opportunities lately to check out some gear from Stanley. Several have really stood out to me over the past few weeks. The first is the Stanley Growler, I had reviewed a growler from another company a while back, and although it was an awesome product, the Stanley Growler had two features that made it stand out from others I’ve seen. The first was that Stanley printed the proper government warning right on to the bottom of the 64oz growler. Arizona law states that for a brewery to fill the growler it must have the government warning on the actual container. The second feature I like about the Stanley growler is the heavy duty o-ring and latch. There is zero chance of leaking and the contents either stay very hot or very cold.

The second piece of gear that I really found useful in the mountains was the set of Stanley tumblers. The stainless steel BPA-free tumblers stack and nest together to save room when not in use.  These came in real handy around the campfire and the built in neoprene sleeves kept your cup sweat free while your drink stays icy. The Stanley Adventure Stacking Steel Tumblers make a serious upgrade to plastic Solo cups or the mismatch set of cups that typically make the journey to the mountains with me.

Stanley’s name has become synonymous with quality outdoor gear and they continues to expand their lineup and offerings. Check them out at Stanley Brand.

Stanley Growler
Stanley Growler
Stanley Tumblers
Stanley Tumblers

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. – See more at: Stanley Brand 

Visit personal injury attorneys in Joliet today for some detailed information about injury cases.

Arizona Fly Fishing: Autumn Brown Trout


Arizona Brown Trout
Colored up Arizona Brown Trout

It had been a while since I’d seen some moving water, and my understanding wife told me to head north for the day. I was feeling pretty stubborn, and even though there wasn’t a ton of surface activity, I continued to fish hoppers through the day. I managed the fish about as the sun was getting lower in the sky. The colors on this brown defied description, and I took just a moment to appreciate the Creator’s handiwork.

There’s no therapy like standing knee high in a stream with a fly rod in hand.

Brown Trout
Hungry brown on a bushy terrestrial
The last bit of summer hanging on.
Brown Trout
Drippy brown trout

Arizona Dove Season


GSI Percolator
The sun rising on a morning of dove hunting in Arizona

My brand new baby boy made is appearance on the opening day of Arizona dove season, and subsequently Saturday the 12th was my first day in the field. With mama and the two babies still sound asleep at home, I eased the truck along a bumpy road that lead to a small piece of state trust land. It surely isn’t the greatest spot, but it offers a quick hitter for an hour or two at sunrise. I had packed the necessary fixings for a tailgate breakfast and coffee. Eggs and coffee were not a disappointment.

There was a small window of dove action right at sunrise, but things died down pretty quick. Knowing that there were little ones waiting at home, I called it a morning and made short work of the plucking. You’d be hard pressed to find a better way to spend a Saturday morning in September than hunting doves in Arizona.

Arizona Dove Hunting
Dove hunting
Tailgate Breakfast
Plucking Feathers

The Baby #2 Post



Our family grew by one this past week. Elijah Clark Smith arrived early last Tuesday. Both he and his mama are happy and healthy, and his big sister couldn’t be happier to have someone to boss around. It looks like I’ve got an excuse to add a few more fly rods and long guns to the collection.

Me and Eli
Mama and Eli 2
Leaving Hospital
JoJo and Eli

Arizona Quail Hunting: Bird Dogs


Arizona Quail Hunting
Ranger pup

I scored a free Saturday morning and got a chance to head out into the field with my good buddy DJ and his up and coming pup, Ranger. We planted a couple birds and let the nose on the dog work out the rest. With quail season just around the corner, it was nice to stretch my legs, see a dog on point, and watch a bird flush.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for this Arizona quail season to start.

Training pigeons
DJ wrangling pigeons
Ranger on the retrieve
Mouthful of feathers

DIY Rod Tube Holder


Rod Tube Holder
DIY Rod Tube Holder

So the story goes, I used to have a whole room in our house all to myself. Camo and waders hung in the closet and the table was always covered in fly tying material, tools, and books. My rod tubes were leaned in the corner with an assortment of arrows and a couple of long guns.

Then we had a little girl. I painted that room pink for her, sold some of the gear that hadn’t seen much use and moved what was left to the garage and guest bedroom closet.

Then 8 months ago, I found out we were having a little boy. So I painted the guest room blue, sold a bit more gear that was seeing even less use and moved the rest of the gear into the master bedroom closet. It didn’t take long for my patient wife to let me know that the “clutter” piled in the corner wasn’t going to fly. So after a couple hours in the garage, I came back with a fly rod tube rack that hopefully will keep the rod tubes a bit neater and the wife a bit happier about having to make some room in the master bedroom closet.

Rod Tube Holder
Rod Tube Holder
Rod Tube Holder
Rod Tube Holder
Rod Tube Holder
Rod Tube Holder


Rambling Review – Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System


Rambling Review: Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System

Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System
Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System


I’ve always struggled to get a hair popping edge on a blade, and I have run through several different  sharpening systems.  The Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System is the real deal and has taken my edge sharpening to the next level.

Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System
Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System – Pivot-Response Technology

First impressions:

What’s included – 

  • 6” coarse (320 grit) and fine (600 grit) Diamond Sharpening Plates
  • 17° and 20° Angle Guides
  • Coarse and Fine Ceramic Hone with built-in Angle Guides
  • 3 sizes of ceramic rods to sharpen serrations
  • Pivot-Response technology
  • Removable diamond plate holder for sharpening tools

– 42 year warranty –  The Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System comes with a 42 year warranty. Why 42 years? According to Work Sharp “that’s how long we’ve been serving our customers, and we’re looking forward to another 42.”

Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System
Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System – Ceramic Hone

Field Use:

I have always had trouble getting a good edge on my knives and broadheads, but the Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System is the perfect tool for a novice like myself. One of the most important aspects of the Guided Sharpening System is the fact that it is guided. The 17 and 20 allows for a consistent starting angle for each swipe of the blade.

The one feature that makes the Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System stand out is the Pivot-Response technology. Different blade profiles require different sharpening techniques. With the Pivot-Response System, the stone surface is allowed to rotate down when sharpening a curved blade. The Pivot-Response system is able to be locked out for straight blade sharpening as well.

Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System - Upgrade Kit
Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System – Upgrade Kit

I usually dread having to sharpen my broadheads and knives, because I spend so much time trying to get it right. The Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System certainly cuts down the learning curve and gives me confidence when putting an edge on a blade. One thing I did find helpful was the The Guided Sharpening System Upgrade Kit which includes:

  • Extra-Coarse Diamond Plate (220 Grit)
  • Extra-Fine Diamond Plate (800 Grit)
  • Leather Stropping Plate
  • 25° Stropping Angle Guides (2)
  • 0.5 Micron Honing Compound


Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System
Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System – Hook Sharepener


Perfect for beginner or someone more experienced

Straightforward ease of use

Angle guides

Pivot-Response System

Multiple interchangeable diamond plates and ceramic rods

42 year warranty


Warranty applies to only non-consumable parts – in other words, everything except the abrasives (diamond plates and ceramic rods).

Upgrade Kit not included – This upgrade kit really completes the package 

Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System
Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System – Pivot-Response System Locked Out for straight blade

Prognosis:  If you’re like me and need a little extra help getting your knives razor sharp, definitely check out the Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System.


* 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.  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.