4 Aug

Arizona, July, 2010, hot, consistent triple digit temperatures, humid, Monsoon season. I was very lucky to be able to average 4 days a week of fishing. I hope the following fishing journal encourages you to beat the heat and wet a fly.


I have an affinity for the Lower Salt and was able to fish it at least once a week. When I fish the Lower Salt, I use either a 7 ½ foot Cortland Pro Crest rod with # 5 double taper floating line and a 9 foot leader with a 6X tippet or an 8 foot Fenwick Ferrulite Rod throwing the same line and leader. I also fished with a nice 9 foot rod which I recently acquired. I will not provide the specifics of the rod now as I an still field-testing it and will be posting a review of the rod in about 3 weeks. My usual starting points are 1) a quarter mile up river from the first tubing launch point, 2) Sheep Crossing from the Bush Highway bridge to about a mile down river, 3) Coon Bluff and 4) Phon Sutten. The most productive stretch of water for me was the first two locations. Trout were few and far between; however, I had fair catches of decent-sized Bluegill and small to decent small mouth bass. Having said that, due to the heat (low temperatures in the mid-nineties and triple digit high temperatures) fishing was tough. Adding to the overall slow fishing conditions was varying water depth and flow. As you can see from the flow chart obtained from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com water flows for the month ranged from a low of 300 c.f.s to a high of 1,150 c.f.s The most drastic single day fluctuation was on July 31 when flows ranged from 300 c.f.s. to750 c.f.s. in less than 24 hours. Rough on the fish.

Lower Salter River Flows as recorded by WatershedMonitor.Com

The most interesting aspect of fishing the Lower Salt this past month was the unusual encounters with nature. On several occasions I saw a herd of wild horses in the area of Sheep Crossing.

A small herd of wild horses 7-3-10

I also learned that it is best to avoid fishing the Lower Salt on a hot holiday weekend. The weekend of July 4th I wanted to get in some river fishing. Though I have a few spots that are unaffected by the tubers and kayakers, I learned that my spots are not impervious to law enforcement. I was fishing a deep secluded pool when I began to hear a loud sound, almost like a giant vacuum cleaner coming from down river. The sound was so loud that it drowned out the tuber’s numerous floating boom boxes. These floating radios usually provide a constant cacophony of unsynchronized milieu of rock, rap and reggae music. “Ok“, I thought. I knew my hope for a quiet day on the river was a bit optimistic, but this is loud droning sound was more than a bit out of the ordinary. I looked downstream and to my amazement saw a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department airboat coming up the river. I watched the patrol boat speed up river. As I stood knee deep in at the base of what was once a quiet pool turned into a churning mass of water, I knew it was time to leave.

MCSO Airboat Crew (stock photo)

As I was packing my equipment into the truck I heard an airborne roar. Upon looking into the blue heavens, my eyes set up not a wondrous Herron, hawk, or even a vulture, rather, it was a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Helicopter patrol. It was good, I guess, to know that the thousands of river-revelers, sans this one fly-fisherman, would be well protected (from themselves) on land, sea and air by the ever vigilant efforts of our fatherly local government agencies.

MCSO Helicopter Patrol

Oh well, I’ll see how the dog days of summer pan out on the Lower Salt in the coming month of August.

VETERNA’S OASIS LAKE, Chandler, AZ (See Note  1)

This lake provided me with regular fishing. I was often able to take an hour or two, hit potential productive spots, many of which are now “favorites” and be back to work all within two and a half hours. The lake, which is a recent addition to the Urban Fishing Program, produced well.

Sunset at Veteran's Oasis Lake, July 1oth

There were consistent catches of bluegill and large mouth bass. I saw several large white amur, in excess of the thirty inch minimum. When fishing this lake, I used a small Fenwick Ferrulite six foot rod ( 2 5/8 rod weight) with 5 weight double taper line. I also used a nine foot 7X tippet to add to the fun. With this set up, the blue gill were fun, but the largemouth bass were a thrill. My fly patterns involved using double nymph and wet fly combinations. The most productive combination was an Apache Lady, # 14 on the head and an Olive Chironomid Pupa, #16 on the tail end. This set up produced the most fish consistently. I had a real exciting catch of a largemouth bass using the Apache Lady with a # 16 Ju-Ju Bee dropper. Size-wise, the fish was only about 11 inches. Fight-wise it was a contender. It took about 8 minutes to work him out of the reeds in which he was hiding with the small Fenwick rod and the 7X tippet.

Bass could not resist the # 16 Ju-Ju Bee (the black dot in the lower jaw)(released unharmed)

Catfish were recently stocked and provided bait fishermen with nice catches. Additionally, it provided me with an important aspect to my fly-fishing. This aspect is the idea that your fishing partner, whether they fly-fish or not, must have the opportunity to catch fish. In my case the catfish provided Di with suitable quarry. 


Back home Di lets Chloe inspect her catfish (subsequently breaded & eaten)

WATER RANCH LAKE, Gilbert, AZ  (See Note # 1)

This is another lake that I was able to fish at least once or twice a week. I used the same ultra-light tackle and double nymph or wet fly set-up as described above. Once again, the lake was fertile with Bluegill and small largemouth bass. I say small because the minimum size for keeping a largemouth is 13 inches. Notwithstanding the size limit, it is always best to practice catch and release with the bass as they are only stocked once a year. My average catch was between 11 and 13 inches. But, once again, on a rod that weighs less than 3 ounces, a 7X tippet and a fly that is often a size 16, these fish provide the sought after excitement.

Bass on ultra-light fly tackle and 7X tippet July 17th (released unharmed)


July 30th, I happened to be in Mesa on business. A quick check of my map showed that I would be only 2 miles from this lake. Naturally, that meant the fly-fishing equipment would be packed. I arrived at the lake about 3:00 pm. The wind was blowing strong as a summer monsoon storm front loomed in the distance. I made a quick trip around the lake casting a wooly bugger, size 14 with a Red Ass, size 16 on the tail. After one trip around the lake, about 10 Bluegill succumbed to the mythical Siren’s call of the Red Ass. The next time I find my way out to Mesa, I will again fish this lake in a more calculated manner.

Until my August report, I hope you continue to enjoy the articles I post on this Blog. Keep your flies in the water.

Sensei John


1. These lakes are part of the Arizona Urban Fishing Program. The program which provides man-made fishing lakes in close proximity to major population centers is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Please feel free to view my other blog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the blog at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.


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