Good small river that is easy to access and full of small to medium Browns that can put up a fight! i was Czech nymphing for the first time and had a blast here. When the trout began to rise I brought out the Tenkara!
After traveling five hours north from Phoenix and one stop at ” The Place” in Flagstaff for an unreal breakfast, we put the Jetboat into the river and loaded it to the gills with what we thought was everything and the kitchen sink. Cruising up the river at 60mph is a thrill for sure with all the bright canyon walls racing past and weaving around gravel bars and shallow runs. It was great to have Fred, our guide and friend of my father, to show us his old stomping ground. Fred seemed to know every gravel bar and seem on the river that held trout, and he was spot on every time. After a long night of constantly adjusting and readjusting the boat lines because the flow out of the damn fluctuated so much I was Geeked to cast a line!
It took some time for me to figure out to expect the unexpected on this stretch of the river. Just when you think you have the drift down the water level changes and you are having to adjust and change plans. From knee deep to waist deep in water. From natural drifts down stream to swirling back eddy pools that would suck your indicator down to the river bed. And the trout seemed to adjust so quickly that they didn’t even miss a beat.
The food and forage here for the trout is everywhere you look. Huge Midge hatches on the topwater were sometimes so thick that you had to hold your breath as you walked by them. And samples taken from under the water were full of Midge nymphs, Scuds and worms. Tan and red San Juan worms and gray and root beer UV scuds worked great as point flies. I tied up a bunch of size 22 UV midge larva in blue and white and some PBR’s in the same size. The rainbow trout seemed to be drawn like a moth to a flame to the UV patterns and even would hit it on the swing!
The rainbows that dwell in these waters are abundant and give a good fight. Allthough you will probably not catch a trophy rainbow, you will have the chance to catch a lot of them and do it all day long. The “Cookie Cutter” rainbows average about 10-12″ and the post spawn rainbows were between 17-19″ with one or two that were over 20. The fish gave a good fight here and with high flows and consistent water temps they had some spunky personalities and often flipped and tail walked out of the water. Using 6x tippet and leader is key here as they are smart and seasoned fish who see a lot of anglers out there.
All in all I would fish here again no questions asked! I am usually fishing Gray Reef this month but decided to branch out a bit and try someplace new. A special thanks to Fred for showing us around and setting this trip up!
“One More Cast”