May and June, 2014, Valley of the Sun,
May 15th, that’s the day.
The sun rose warm promising temperatures approaching a hundred degrees. A bit early for near triple digit temperatures here in the Valley. But that wasn’t what made the day standout. It was the first day since mid-October when medical reasons kept us off the water that we were able to fish. It was only for an hour on a local urban pond and no fish were caught, but what a great day! If fish caught and released were the sole criteria for determining the quality of a day on the water, then some days were better than others. Thankfully results are not the sole factor in determining whether the overall day was good or not.
The first fish actually caught was this palm-sized bluegill on a # 16 dry black ant. I firmly believe that fishing results are a matter of perception. After all those months of surgery and chemotherapy, hooking this bluegill was like catching a blue marlin.
We started out slow, fishing the local lakes and ponds in the Community Fishing Program (formerly the Urban Lake system). We visited Red Mountain Lake and Discovery Pond regularly. We also made a few trips to Veterans Oasis Lake and Water Ranch Lake. The results were good with catches of small to mid-size bass. Enough to keep us encourage to continue building stamina back after chemotherapy and get out on the big waters.
PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.
We started fishing at the ASU Research Park Lakes. These lakes are part of an industrial/office park. As such, to avoid the “nine-to-five workday” we tend to fish these lakes on the weekend. The atmosphere is generally pleasing and relaxing. The fishing experience and results tend to be very satisfying. Hook-ups have included largemouth bass, catfish and carp (quickly becoming a favorite quarry for my fly rod).
In early June, health status was good enough to begin fishing Canyon Lake and the Lower Salt River. Both of these locations involve a fair amount of hiking along challenging terrain. Health-wise we did good. Fishing results were slow, but, hey we were off the water for almost seven months during chemotherapy. So, it may take a bit of time before we’re back up to snuff.
Fishing the Lower Salt River involves a lot of hiking; moving from location to location in search of fish. Our team member that finished chemo was still building her stamina and trips to the river proved challenging. So,we fished the river once a week; more as stamina increases. As the summer progresses, fishing will be limited to those locations that are not impeded by river tubing.
Our first trip to the Lower Salt River saw an unusual occurrence. US Forest Service and MCSO officers were looking for a poacher. As we cast, we watched the drama unfold with officers on horseback, and helicopter. We often heard “Come out with hands up and we can work this out, if we come in to get you, you’re going to jail.” Here’s a link to the full story: http://flyfishingdojo.com/2014/06/09/match-the-hatch/
In these dog days of summer fishing success on the Lower Salt varies depending on river flows. I check the flow beginning three days before any planned trip and the in morning before heading out. If there is a change in flows greater than 200 c.f.s., I don’t fish the river and wait for more uniform flows.
Below is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.
Sneak-peak at July: July 2nd I caught this huge cat fish ON A Fly (details in the July journal) but, here’s a video (condensed) of the over twenty minute fight:
PRODUCT NOTE (and discount code):
In the photos I’m wearing an uv protection shirt I purchased from Wicked Catch gear. You can visit their website at http://www.wickedcatchgear.com/fishing-shirts/
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Until the next submission, I remain,
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