Tag Archives: Lower Salt River

APRIL 2011 – FLY FISHING JOURNAL

11 May

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, April, 2011, after three months away, it was good to once again return home on April 18th. My first day of fishing Arizona waters was April 20th, so what follows is a somewhat abbreviated report. PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

I was able to fish the Lower Salt on April 23rd at the Water Users Recreation Area, Blue Point and Sheep Crossing. Results were slow, but unusually interesting. To my surprise, several carp were located. I managed to hook three of them using a # 14 San Juan Worm weighted with a split shot. These fish put up a real nice fight resulting in two of the three escaping.

Look for improved results with the scheduled stocking of rainbow trout in the coming weeks by Arizona Game & Fish

Below is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.

As of the date of publication, water flows on the Lower Salt surged to summer levels.

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

I fished waters in and around the Boulder Recreation Area for two days with spectacular catches of various panfish eager to take a fly.

          

So spectaculr was the panfishing that I dedicated a separate report and video entitled “Panfish Party Heat At Canyon Lake” to these two days.

Here is a link to the report https://flyfishingdojo.com/2011/05/01/panfish-party-heat-at-canyon-lake/

and video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0Fi5JcuJVs.

URBAN LAKE FISHING – GENERAL COMMENTS


Once again, I fished the Urban Lakes system on days that I only had two to three hours to dedicate to fishing. The lakes are presently being stocked with catfish by Fish and Game. These fish are difficult to catch using a fly. Notwithstanding my lack of luring catfish to my feathery offerings, I was able to catch a few small largemouth bass and bluegill of various sizes. Some days were good and some slow, a few were even S-L-O-W.

PLEASE dispose of bait containers properly

VETERAN’S OASIS PARK LAKE, Chandler, AZ

Veterans Oasis Lake was the first Arizona water that I was able to fish upon my return. My first day on the water was April 20th and it was great. I saw two of my fishing fiends that I hadn’t seen since I left for work in New Jersey. I was also able to shake off the cold New Jersey winter by catching quite a few bluegill and small bass.

For this auspicious occasion, I chose to fish with my favorite fly rod from my teenage years, a Fenwick Ferrulite 6 foot rod. I fished a light, ten foot leader with a 7 X tippet and had a blast with the plentiful palm sized bluegill. The flies of choice this day were a combination of a # 14 Alexandria wet fly with a # 16 Red Ass wet fly on the tail and a # 14 Zug Bug nymph with a # 16 BH Red Serendipity nymph on the tail end.

WATER RANCH LAKE, Gilbert, AZ

I was able to fish this urban lake once on April 28th. The results of this day were a few small bass & several bluegill on a # 14 Alexandria with a # 16 Red Ass as a dropper.

I had also caught and released several bluegill on a # 14 March Brown with a # 16 Scrambled Egg drew the attention of a great blue heron looking for an easy meal. This beautiful bird came closer and closer each time I caught and released a bluegill. At one point in time, it was only about eight feet away as you can see in the photo below. For perspective, the fly rod I am holding tucked under my arm was only six feet long. Eventually, the heron flew off.

RED MOUNTAIN LAKE, Mesa, AZ

I fished this lake twice with reliable catches of bluegill, some nice sized. The best pattern again seems to generally be a large dark nymph in front of a red nymph on the tail end.

The most productive pattern proved to be a # 14 Zug Bug nymph with a # 16 BH Red Serendipity nymph on the tail. Both were readily taken but the red pattern more than the dark pattern.

Chloe inspects a bluegill prior to release

At this urban lake, Di also caught her first catfish of the season.

OTHER COMMENTS:

I made a few brief and uneventful trips to Discovery Park Lake and the ponds at Cosmo Dog Park. Except for a few bluegill and one small carp, these trips were lack luster.

Until my next submission, I hope you continue to enjoy the articles I post on this weblog. Keep your flies in the water.

NEW VIDEOS:

Great Blue Heron at Water Ranch Lake link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRgw1oPVYw4

Panfish Party at Canyon Lake link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0Fi5JcuJVs

Sensei John

You can follow the DAILY adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.

Please feel free to shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo products wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page.

This months new product – FFD LOGO MAGNET

See the "SHOP" page for link to our online store

Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the weblog at WWW.SENSEIJOHN.WORDPRESS.COM.

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JANUARY, 2011 – FLY FISHING JOURNAL

4 Feb

VIDEO RELEASES:

I will be using the Dojo of Shihan Wayne Norlander as a studio for filming the “Sanchin Kata For Fly Fisherman Technical Series.”  I will post updates as each video is released on You-tube. In the meantime, here is a link to the introductory video filmed at Water Ranch Lake in Gilbert, AZ. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI

At Shihan Norlander's (black uniform) Dojo, Bogota, NJ

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, January, 2011, unfortunately, due to a need for me to be on the East Coast, I only fished Arizona waters for a few precious days in January. I was on the road driving along I-40 the week of January 10th when Arizona Game & Fish conducted their “incentive stocking”. You can check out their website for photographs of some fantastic catches.

I arrived in New Jersey and was “warmly” welcomed by a continually renewing blanket of snow and ice.

At the NJ home of Shihan Thomas DeFelice, sparring with Mother Nature

I am sure at some point, I will be able to cast a few flies into the rivers and streams of my youth in before returning home to Arizona and look forward to that time. Eventually, the snow must melt, the streams will flow wildly and the trout will beckon. For now, I simply think about an anonymous haiku:

  • Snow melting,
  • With my stick, I guided
  • This mighty river.

Well enough daydreaming, on with the fly fishing journal for January, at least the first nine days.

PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest

Given my unexpectedly early departure, I was unable to fish the Lower Salt. I hope all that were able to journey into Tonto National Forest to fish these waters had good fishing and memorable experiences. Below is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month of October from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.

VETERAN’S OASIS PARK LAKE, Chandler, AZ

To the early morning crew at Veterans Oasis, I hope your days are filled with beautiful, cool, crisp sunrises, and magnificent rainbows at the end of your line. I sit thinking about the several mornings, in the dark, predawn hours, that I stood on the shore casting my flies on what seemed like an etherial, ghostly battlefield. The sound of shotgun blasts filling the air from the distant fields. My eyes following traces of light that pierce and flicker through the pre-dawn dark sky. The flashing light traces eventually coming to rest on the surface of the lake. Military tracer rounds that accompany the shotgun blasts? Some type of meteor? No, rather a unique invention for the bait fisherman that brave the dark to fish upon the waters – lighted bobbers. Besides being a unique fishing tool, they make for a spectacular light show.

WATER RANCH LAKE, Gilbert, AZ

Knowing I would have to leave earlier than anticipated, I made one trip to this lake. My morning there, as always, was well spent.

Harvested one for a "farewell AZ" dinner

The memories of that morning should get me through the coming (snow-filled?) weeks.

Clearing snow off the official FFD truck.

OTHER COMMENTS:

Arizona Game and Fish had a news release pertaining to a first-ever season on Gila Trout. For your convenience, here is a copy of that release.

PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Commission on Feb. 4 is being asked to create the first-ever season on native Gila trout at Frye Mesa Reservoir on the Pinaleño Mountains in southern Arizona.

“Arizona has never had an open season on Gila trout. They were thought to have been extirpated from the state before we had regulated fishing seasons,” said Fisheries Chief Kirk Young.

The Gila trout proposal is possible because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mora National Fish Hatchery in New Mexico has surplus Gila trout available. The department is asking the commission to establish an open season for Gila trout with a one-fish bag and possession limit for Frye Mesa Reservoir.

“We would like to stock those surplus Gila trout into Frye Mesa Reservoir, which is located below Mt. Graham in the Pinaleño Mountains, to provide a unique angling opportunity,” Young said.

That’s not the only unique angling aspect to the proposal. “If the commission approves the proposal, we would create another unique possibility for anglers – fishing for five species of trout on the same mountain – Gila trout, Apache trout, brown trout, rainbow trout and brook trout,” said Don Mitchell, Tucson regional fisheries program manager.

In fact, Mitchell said, Mt. Graham would become the only mountain on earth where anglers could fish for both Gila and Apache trout.

Gila trout were reintroduced to Frye Creek on the mountain above Frye Mesa in the fall of 2009. Frye Creek is closed to fishing while the population establishes.  From Frye Mesa, you can look down upon the town of Safford.

In closing, I will note that the cold has inspired me to add two new products to the FLY FISHING DOJO Logo Line, the “official” FFD logo Thermal Food Jar and the FUNtainer Thermal Bottle.

FFD Logo Thermal Food Jar

You can check them and all FFD Logo products out at: http://www.cafepress.com/FLYFISHING_DOJO

Until my next submission, I hope you continue to enjoy the articles I post on this weblog. Keep your flies in the water.

Sensei John

You can follow the DAILY adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.

Please feel free to shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo products wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page.

Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the weblog at WWW.SENSEIJOHN.WORDPRESS.COM.

DECEMBER, 2010 FLY FISHING JOURNAL

9 Jan

New videos released this month:

The following videos were released during this month. Convenient links are provided below. Hereafter, the links will be archived on the “Video & Media” Page.

  1. Sanchin Kata For Fly Fisherman. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI
  2. Urban Lake System, December, 2010 Supplement. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFTgzXg1E58

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, December, 2010, the sometimes wild winter weather heralds wild fly fishing. December saw tempestuous swings in temperatures ranging from average highs in the mid-seventies early in the month to highs of only in the fifties later on. There was even one week of record high temperatures in the low eighties. In addition, rain, fog, winds and a winter storm all contributed to the atmospheric excitement.

By New Years Eve, there was snow on Four Peaks

Fishing was equally turbulent. Early in the month, there were good catches of largemouth bass. Throughout the month, thanks to a biweekly stocking program, there were excellent catches of rainbow trout. I was even surprised to see an occasional catfish caught by bait fishermen despite the lower temperatures. On and around Tuesday, December 14th early risers were treated to a spectacular celestial show courtesy of the Geminid Meteors. I was awe struck as I watched this dramatic, cosmic display.

Fly patterns that produced well this month were those that had some flash or sparkle. The following patterns worked nicely: Nymphs: JuJu Bee # 14, Rainbow Warrior # 14, Myosis Shrimp # 14, Perfect Scud (pink) # 14, BH Bloody Mary # 14 and Swimming Roe # 8. Wet Fly: Alexandria # 14, and McGinty # 14 Streamers: Sparkle Shad # 12, Sparkle Claret BH Wooly Bugger # 12, and Hot Flash Minnow # 12. I always fish these pattern in tandem, usually with the streamer at the head and the nymph as a dropper. On the Lower Salt River, I would dead drift them while on the Urban Lake System, I would retrieve them with a twitch of the rod tip and a pause. More often than not, the fly was taken on the pause.

Without further fanfare, here’s a synopsis of the waters Fly Fishing Dojo fished. PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest

Fishing the Lower Salt River continued to be a joy. Each trip I made was one enraptured with the spectacular natural environment.

I will; however, note one disturbing trend. Those familiar with the Lower Salt River know that during summer months, she is used and abused by recreational water craft users. Last month I wrote that with the colder temperatures and the end of river tubing season, she was, finally, being restored to her quasi-virginal self. Now, it seems that some selfish persons, who purport to call themselves fisherman, are electing to use her as a depository for their negligent disposal of waste.

fishing waste is replacing the empty beer cans of summer

Again, as a few of the recreation areas are closed, when I make reference to a location, it is for informational purposes. More often than not, the reference is to the recreation area where the official FLY FISHING DOJO vehicle was parked rather than a specific location fished. These areas included: Water User’s Recreation Area, Bluepoint Recreation Area (provided parking for the down and across river hike to Sheep Crossing), Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area and Granite Reef Recreation Area.

Using the fly patterns referred to above produced reliable catches. Largemouth bass and nice sized bluegill were to be found at Water User’s, Sheep Crossing and Granite Reef. Rainbow trout were found at Water User’s (on occasion) and Phon D. Sutton.

Water flows remained low, but consistent. Below is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month of October from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.

URBAN LAKE FISHING

VETERAN’S OASIS PARK LAKE, Chandler, AZ (See Endnote #1)

This lake continued to provide a regular respite from my daily routine. Early in the month, largemouth bass and bluegill would regularly take a fly, particularly a rainbow warrior or perfect scud nymph. As the temperatures decreased, these fish moved to deeper water, but could still be lured to a fly late in the day, about and hour before sunset.

While trout fishing on this lake is always enjoyable, one or two days in particular were truly memorable. The first memorable day was the morning of December 23rd when the lake was enveloped in a shroud of fog.

That particular morning, while standing on the shoreline casting into an etherial vapor that rose from the lake, I almost had the feeling of being in a vintage horror movie where surely a sinister creature dwelled within the fog.  Naturally, such was the result of my overactive mind at work. In reality, the only creature that dwelled within the depths of the smoky water was a nice, playful rainbow.

This was 1 of 2 fish harvested in December for supper.

The other memorable day was the first day that a huge school of baitfish, that I believe to be shad, first appeared.  From that day, about mid-month, and continuing to the day this report is being generated, this huge school could regularly be seen. A welcome indication of a healthy eco-system. There is a brief clip of a small portion of this school of baitfish on video link above.

The morning of New Years Eve was fun at this lake. Temperatures were in the mid to high twenties. The cold temperatures made for difficult casting as ice built up on the rod guides. Yes, ice on the rod guides, in the desert, in the Valley of the Sun!

Yes, its ice on the rod guides.

Rainbow trout fishing was slow on this particular morning; however, for some unknown reason, fair sized bluegills were extremely active. In a period of about twenty minutes, I had caught and released about a dozen on a BH Bloody Mary Nymph, size # 14. That was fun especially since I could only spare an hour and a half to dedicate to fishing. It proved to be a fun way to end 2010.

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

In my August, 2010 fly fishing journal I wrote about a unique inhabitant of this lake. That inhabitant is a large Koi that I nicknamed “Oishi” after the leader of the infamous 47 Ronin of Japanese history. I am happy to advise that, although I personally have not seen Oishi recently, several people I spoke with have reported seeing him. This month I can report of another unique inhabitant. It is an osprey. Several people, including myself having been shaken from our dogged fishing determination by a loud splash upon the otherwise calm surface of the lake. Seconds later, the lake erupts with the osprey rising from its depths with a fish in its talons. Now thats a real “FLY”-fisherman! When fishing this lake, remain vigilant and you may be treated to a remarkable sight as nature unfolds its drama.

Fishing at Water Ranch proved relatively consistent with catches of small largemouth bass and rainbow trout. The later being particularly susceptible to taking a fly, particularly a sparkle shad streamer, in the first few days after being stocked.

I was fishing Water Ranch Christmas Eve morning and was greeted by a truly beautiful sunrise on that auspicious day. Prior to sunrise, I also received an early gift from Santa when I happened upon a school of bluegill lurking in the reflected light under one of the park lights. Casting a # 16 JuJu Bee Nymph in the pre-dawn dark I caught and released about a dozen and a half palm-sized bluegill in a twenty minute period. Not big fish, but, as I said previously, “Catching and releasing bluegill consistently will make an otherwise dull day of fishing.”

Water Ranch Lake was also the location for my first video in the “Fly Fish Like A Karate Master” series entitled “Sanchin For Fly Fisherman.” You can view this video by clicking the link at either the beginning of this article or on the “Video & Media” Page tab above.

RED MOUNTAIN LAKE, Mesa, AZ (See Endnote # 1)

I did notice a marked decrease in the number of largemouth bass that I was able to catch and release at this lake. In fact, such catches were unremarkable. Rainbow trout provided good sport in the first few days after stocking with decreased numbers being caught about a week after a stocking. The rainbow trout at Red Mountain Lake seemed to favor a # 14 Myosis Shrimp fished behind a # 12 Sparkle Shad Streamer. Each fly was taken equally.

KIWANIS LAKE, Tempe, AZ (See Endnote # 1)

I fished Kiwanis Lake on December 11th with okay results. I had lost one rainbow trout due to a “quick release” and caught and released another in about an hour and a half time period walking around the shoreline. Static fisherman, those sitting on the shore casting bait or scented baits, reported mixed results. There were; however, a few static fisherman with catches of three and four supper-sized rainbows.

DISCOVERY PARK LAKE, Gilbert, AZ

I had not fished this lake in two months. So, one rather slow morning at Veteran’s Oasis Lake, I decided to take the twenty minute ride down Greenfield Road to see if I could discover fish at Discovery Lake. All during the drive I thought of the many monumental largemouth bass that I had caught and released all summer. In the extreme heat of summer, this small, almost swimming pool in appearance, lake unveiled a cornucopia of “bass-tastic” delights. I wondered if such finned opulence would still be present. Upon arriving at Discovery and fishing for about an hour and a half, I soon discovered that the lake was a small remnant of itself. The water was filled with dead and decaying leaves, branches and reeds. The natural decay was highlighted by man-made decay in the form of the occasional plastic bottle bobbing on the water’s surface. Even a bloated football and a half deflated soccer ball played upon the surface of this watery field. Gone were the largemouth bass of summer. The melodramatic metamorphosis of this lake from summer to early winter was distressing “. . . It was as though a young person had died for no reason.” (See Endnote # 2).

And so, this concludes another monthly fly fishing journal. It is now 2011, what natural wonders will reveal themselves as we continue to flick our feathery flies in pursuit of finned quarry? Until my next submission, I hope you continue to enjoy the articles I post on this weblog. Keep your flies in the water.

Sensei John

Again, you may wish to view the video supplement to this month’s journal by clicking the link at the beginning of this article or on the “Video & Media” page.

You can follow the DAILY adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.

ENDNOTES:

1. For exact locations, please see the 2010, 25th Anniversary Urban Fishing Program booklet.

2.  Hemingway, Ernest, A Moveable Feast, (Touchstone, New York, NY, 1996) p. 45.

Please feel free to shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo products wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page.

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

NOVEMBER, 2010 FLY FISHING JOURNAL

3 Dec

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, November, 2010, this surely is the time of year we desert-dwellers suffer all summer for. Gone are the mornings of flicking flies to skittish bluegill and bass while flicking sweat from your brow. No longer is it necessary to pack almost a gallon of water to survive few hours of fishing. With pre-dawn temperatures now in the low thirties, an extra layer of clothing has replaced a slathering layer of 45+ sunblock. And the fish we offer our feathery flies to? Ah, let’s get to those fish, but first an announcement.

FLY FISHING DOJO NOW HAS VIDEOS.
Please see the “Video & Media” page for videos on “Thanksgiving on The Lower Salt River” and “An Homage To The Arizona Urban Lakes.”

Now, as I sit in the pre-dawn hours, outside in my yard, sipping a steaming cup of coffee, under a starry sky dominated by The Big Dipper and Orion, let me compose and type the words that will tell you about the fish I came to catch & release this past month. Incidentally, to facilitate your sensation of the winter season, we have added a falling snow effect to this weblog – yes, it can “snow” in the cyber-Arizona-desert. Sit back, stay warm and enjoy.

PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

With drastically decreased water levels, the Lower Salt River is again the province of fisherman. Used and somewhat abused by river tubers, she offers a diminished aspect of herself to those that ply her waters for a more etherial pleasure, a sense of communing with her natural beauty. She is again a mistress, once prostituted, but again restored to her quasi-virginal self.

My joy in fishing the Lower Salt River is the total emersion in a natural environment that is to be found. Though I do fish the more popular areas, I enjoy taking long hikes down her meandering banks in search of prestine waters unknown to others. Many days I hiked as much as I fished.

Hiking, I mean fly fishing, along Coon Bluff.

As such,when I make reference to a location, it is for informational purposes. More often than not, the reference is to the recreation area where the official FLY FISHING DOJO vehicle was parked rather than a specific location fished.

Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area is always a popular location and saw much action. The various offshoots from the main river were very productive early in the month. As water flows decreased many of the productive areas no longer contained water; let alone fish.

As referred to in our Thanksgiving Video, 4 days after this fish was released, its once aquatic home was a dry bed.

The area around Coon Bluff offered a challenge to finding sufficient water for fish. I did find one little guy sulking in only about five inches of water that was more than happy to be “introduced” to a nymph named Bloody Mary.

Once skulking, this little guy meets a nymph named "Bloody Mary."

I also came across an unbelievable sight on November 13th when I was hiking, I mean fly fishing, this stretch of water. I came across a deep pool with ultra clear water. In its depths were, at least, twenty-five large catfish with literally hundreds of fry about five inches long. Surely, a good omen of a healthy river and good cat fishing for the summer of 2011.

The area of Sheep Crossing provided a few memorable days on the river. This particular parking area was closed on the days I was on a the River. To access this area, I parked at the Blue Point Recreation Area and hiked down and across the river.

Largemouth bass were particularly susceptible to # 10 Sparkle Shad Streamer with a # 14 Shrimp as a dropper. The Sheep Crossing Recreation Area is covered in our Thanksgiving Day Video, a link is available on the “Video & Media” Page above.

Good fishing was also had at the Water User’s Recreation Area. This area contains two large pools that hold Largemouth Bass on a consistent basis and a smattering of Rainbow Trout. More often than not one must approach the shoreline carefully as fish are often in the deep water weeds just a few feet from shore. Stealth and caution is the catch phrase for fishing this stretch of river. My fly of preference when casting to these finicky fish is either a # 10 Lite Brite Zonker streamer, # 10 Beadhead Sparkle Olive or Claret Wooly Bugger or a # 10 Sparkle Shad Streamer. All would have a # 14 Bloody Mary as a dropper. Fish did not necessarily have a preference as to the streamer or dropper; they took the Bloody Mary as often as the streamer.

Below is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month of October from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.

The river flow chart looks like a medical monitor that isn't good for the patient.

URBAN LAKE FISHING – GENERAL COMMENTS

I would hazard a guess that, by far, the Urban Lake System is the most popular and consistently utilized resource in the Arizona Fishing System. With the stocking of Colorado farm-raised trout that first occurred the week of November 15th, the Urban System again basks in its popular status. As well as offering the chance to hook a magnificent shimmering mass of rainbow trout, the system recognizes a desire of fisherman to (hopefully) selectively harvest these fish.

According to the AZ Fish & Game 2010 Urban Fishing Program booklet, “(Rainbow) Trout can not reproduce in lakes.” (See Endnote # 1). On December 1st, I happened to chat with an AZ F & G representative and asked about the trout’s inability to reproduce in the Urban lake System. Such inability, WITHIN THE URBAN SYSTEM, stems from the rainbow trout’s inability to tolerate the heat of the summer months, an insufficient quantity of insect forage and predation of any fry by other species, notably the largemouth bass. It was also noted that more and more angler’s seemed to rely on these trout as a food source. This is understandable during such economic times (a result of the recent census was the revelation that Arizona is the second poorest state in the Nation, Mississippi is number one). Notwithstanding an “economical meal”, harvesting these rainbows should still be guided by prudence; harvest what you will immediate consume. There is a daily bag limit of 4 trout in urban lakes, 2 trout in urban ponds for adults and unlicensed juveniles under age fourteen may only keep one-half of the bag limit. (See Endnote # 2).  My personal preference is to harvest one rainbow for my supper and release the rest for others to enjoy.

Of the five rainbow trout caught, one was harvested for supper.

VETERAN’S OASIS PARK LAKE, Chandler, AZ (See Note # 1)

I fish the Urban Lakes almost daily. Of the various urban lakes, this one is my favorite. It not only seems to readily yield the cacophony of fish that dwell in its waters, it offers a very pleasing aesthetic sense of beauty. My favorite area to fish is adjacent to the inflow from the recharge lake; particularly at dusk. The sun sets directly across the lake painting the sky with a palate of colors derived and mixed from deep within the cosmos. While the sky is painted by an unseen hand, a symphony of relaxing sound is played from the water that cascades down the rocks.

The sole interruption of this cosmic display is the sudden, heart-stopping, soul-penetrating splash of water as a rainbow or a largemouth bass breaks the water’s surface after having dined on the feathery entree cast from the fly rod held in my unworthy hand.

My favorite offering at this location usually involves a Bloody Mary Nymph, a Rainbow Warrior Nymph or a Beadhead Rooks Blueberry Nymph, all in size 14 or 16.

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

This lake also envelopes one with a pleasing natural aesthetic. As the shoreline is smaller than Veteran’s Oasis Lake, I like to cover a lot of ground; often fishing while walking. In this manner I can cover a lot of water. Invariably I settle in either around one of several reed-lined banks or at the point where recharge water enters the lake.

During the month there were regular catches of Bluegill (they revert me back to my childhood days & will always put a smile on my face) and small largemouth bass. Both species patiently biding their time by eating themselves to adult size; waiting for summer when they will once again dominate the lakes.

A small bass on a # 12 Claret Wooly Bugger.

On one memorable day, I was startled out of my fly fishing revery by a large bird of prey (too quick for me to identify) that dive-bombed the middle of the lake and erupted from the water to fly off with a fish in its talons. What a sight!

RED MOUNTAIN LAKE, Mesa, AZ (See Endnote # 1)

I was only able to fish this lake twice in November. The # 10 Lite Brite Zonker with a # 14 Bloody Mary dropper sporadically produced a small sized largemouth bass.

A # 14 Bloody Mary nymph seduced this little guy.

Otherwise fishing, as I experienced it, was slow. These words perhaps do not do this lake justice, as I always enjoyed being at this lake. Perhaps, I simply need to visit it more frequently so as to learn its secrets.

OTHER COMMENTS:

Due to time constraints, I was unable to visit some of the other lakes that were addressed in fishing reports in the past. I regret this in so far as some of these lakes provided a memorable repast to the summer heat. I think that with the cooler temperatures, shorter days and the need to earn my financial keep, I fished lakes that are closer to home during the week and preferred to spend my weekends answering the Syren’s call of my sweetly seductive mistress named the Lower Salt River.

Again, please feel free to view my first two video offering by clicking on the “Video & Media”page tab above. I hope to increase my video, editing and voice-over skills so as to offer more enticing and enjoyable videos. I also hope to be able to synchronize the video camera with some of the larger fish caught; but that is a story for another day.

Until my next submission, I hope you continue to enjoy the articles I post on this weblog. Keep your flies in the water.

Sensei John

JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS – THE UNIQUE, OFFICIAL FLY FISHING DOJO LOGO CHRISTMAS STOCKING – CLICK THE “SHOP” PAGE TAB ABOVE.

You can follow the DAILY adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.

ENDNOTES:

  1. 2010, 25th Anniversary Urban Fishing Program booklet at page 21.
  2. Id.

Please feel free to shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo products wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page.

Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the weblog at WWW.SENSEIJOHN.WORDPRESS.COM.

OCTOBER, 2010 FLY FISHING JOURNAL

1 Nov
Arizona, October, 2010, at long last we are rewarded for enduring summer with moderate temperatures. A result is that fishing is more enjoyable and productive. Without further adieu, here is of Fly Fishing Dojo’s fishing journal for October.

 PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

 
 LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Cool temperatures and consistent water flows made for enjoyable mornings on the Lower Salt.

Sensei John on the Lower Salt

 Catches and releases of largemouth bass, bluegill and trout were enjoyed. The favorite areas were Sheep Crossing and Phon D. Sutton.

The most productive fly patterns were (Streamers) # 14 Wooly Buggers in black and claret, # 12 and # 14 Muddler Minnows, (Nymphs) # 14 Gold ribbed Hare’s Ear, # 16 Rainbow Warrior, (Wet Fly) # 14 Alexandria, # 14 Red Ass, (Dry Fly) # 14 Foam Dragonfly (blue), # 14 Purple Haze-parachute, # 16 Mosquito and # 16 Adams.

Below is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month of October from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

The cooling temperatures meant less shoreline swimming and picnicking activity. This resulted in more shoreline access for fly fishing. Though Fly Fishing Dojo was only able to fish two days on this lake, the results were more than satisfying. Fishing a dry # 14 Foam Dragonfly one particular morning was difficult, but produced a breathtaking fishing experience. The fish were actually jumping from the water to catch low-flying, mating dragonflies. You would have to calculate where the mating pair would set down on the water and cast within close proximity. As soon as the fly hit the water – BAM – you had better be ready to set the hook or you would have an empty hook coming right at you.

I fished the dragonfly close to reeds as pictured above. With shoreline cover, you had to make use of a water-loaded roll cast. If you timed the cast with the living dragonflies, you were sure to entice a fish; hooking it was a different story.

Fly Fishing Dojo also shot its first test video footage on this lake. Hopefully, during November we will soon begin to have video coverage of the topics and reports submitted on this weblog.

URBAN LAKE FISHING – GENERAL COMMENTS

The urban lake system continued to provide convenient, accessible fishing. Catches of bluegill and largemouth bass started sluggish, but increased steadily as the month progressed. The bait fisherman I talked to reported nice catches of the recently stock, farm-raised, catfish. The third week of October saw a stocking of bluegill and small to medium largemouth bass. The recently stocked fish were skittish at first. After a few days of acclimating to their new surroundings, they became eager to take a fly. Such eagerness resulted in one memorable morning at Water Ranch Lake.

Trout fisherman can look forward to the Fall/Winter stocking of farm-raised rainbow trout which will begin the end of November.

Except as noted, the most successful fly patterns remained those previously mentioned.

VETERAN’S OASIS PARK LAKE, Chandler, AZ (See Note # 1)

Due to its close proximity, I continued to be able to fish this lake at least twice a week. I never have a disappointing day at this lake. Fly fishing this lake will, at a minimum, produce steady catches of bluegill. Call me simple, but on a day when I only have an hour and a half to two hours to fly fish, I would rather catch and release a few bluegill than catch nothing at all.

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

Water ranch produce steadily; however, catches of largemouth bass seemed to fall off at the beginning of the month. After the recent stocking, fishing improved.

On Friday, October 26th, I had a dazzling morning of fly fishing at the Water Ranch. I arrived at the lake about seven in the morning. I only had about two hours to fish and was really in the mood for consistent action catching at least bluegills. I tied on my favorite brace of exploratory flies, a # 14 McGinty wet fly on the head and a # 14 Rainbow Warrior nymph on the tail. I walked to one of my favorite starting points adjacent to a bank of reeds and started fishing. After about six casts, I was disappointed; usually my choice of flies would produce at least a bluegill. I decided to take one more cast and move on when I noticed a silver streak in the water pursuing but not taking the flies. The streak was larger than a bluegill so I decided to change flies to something larger and perhaps more appetizing. I hoped that the prospect of a more satisfying meal would provoke a strike from the mysterious flash of silver. I tied on a # 14 Claret Wooly Bigger on the head followed by a # 14 Apache Lady wet fly on the tail. On the very next cast, a decent size largemouth bass had kissed the Apache Lady and was hooked. Clearly, there was no need to move so I continued casting. For the next two and one half hours, I steadily caught and released largemouth bass ranging in size from seven inches to twelve inches and numerous bluegill. I took “a few” photographs of the fish for this weblog. I arrived home and discovered I had downloaded nineteen pictures of bass released and eight pictures of bluegill released. I didn’t even take a picture of every fish caught. What a morning!

   

I had a fly fishing lesson to give at dusk that same day. I called the student and changed the scheduled location of the lesson to Water Ranch. At 5:00 pm, I arrived and met the student. The location I fished in the morning was taken, so we walked to the section where water enters the lake from the recharge basin. After a fifteen minute lesson, the student was roll casting and retrieving the same brace of flies sufficiently well enough to land four largemouth’s. The size was about ten inches on average, but to that first time fly fisherman it was a delight. I knew she was hooked on fly fishing.

Di now happily addicted to fly fishing

 

DISCOVERY PARK LAKE, Gilbert, AZ

Though not aesthetically pleasing, from a fly fishing viewpoint, this lake continued to produce well. Again, due to its small size, the only way that this lake will continue to provide good fishing is through conscientious management via a catch and release system.

I had two memorable days at this lake. The first was on Saturday, October 2nd when I finished working and desired some sunset fly fishing. After a half hour, a dust storm began to move in. The winds and dust soon made fly fishing impossible.

As this bass was caught & released, the dust arrived.

 

The dust & wind arrived ending fly fishing.

The second memorable day was Thursday, October 14th when my youngest daughter, Kim, arrived for a visit from New Jersey. After she unpacked we were able to get 2 fast hours of successful catch and release fishing in.

                     

 

OTHER COMMENTS:

Due to time constraints, I was unable to visit the following lakes previously reported, Red Mountain Lake in Mesa and Cosmo Lake in Gilbert. I will make an effort to fish these lakes next month and report.

Until my next submission, I hope you continue to enjoy the articles I post on this weblog. Keep your flies in the water. Fly Fishing Dojo is now on Facebook; Please see the Video and Media Page tab above.

Sensei John

NOTES:

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 shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo logo wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page.

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

SEPTEMBER, 2010 – FLY FISHING JOURNAL

1 Oct
Arizona, September, 2010, Temperatures “cooled” to a high in the lower triple digits with cool mornings in the high seventy, low eighty degree range. With cooler morning temperatures, not only was fishing physically more enjoyable, but the results greatly improved. Unfortunately, during the last week of September, temperatures again surged to almost record high. The corollary increase in morning temperatures again resulted in smaller catches. I hope you enjoy the within journal as much as I enjoyed “researching” it. REMEMBER – ALL FISH WERE SAFELY RELEASED AFTER BEING PHOTOGRAPHED.
LOWER SALT RIVER, Maricopa County, AZ

Due to the Lower Salt River flowing too high and too fast for my tastes, I did not fish the river in September. For purposes of consistence in my fishing reports, here is the water flow chart for September from WWW.RiverMonitor.Com.

URBAN LAKE FISHING – GENERAL COMMENTS

With the cooler morning temperatures, fishing in the urban lake system steadily improved throughout the month. Bluegill were plentiful and provided consistent fun on light fly equipment. My outfit of choice for these tempting little fish morsels remained my six foot Fenwick Ferrulite rod, a double taper, five weight floating line and a nine foot leader ending in a 7X tippet. It is axiomatic that bluegill readily take a fly. My flies of choice for these bluegill generally fell into the sub-surface category and involved fishing the flies double in a head to tail configuration. The specific sub-surface patterns that I favored were a # 14 McGinty, # 14 March Brown, # 14 San Juan Worm, # 16 Rainbow Warrior*, and # 16 Ju-Ju Bee*. There was also early morning action on dry flies. My patterns of choice consisted of a # 16 purple Haze*, # 16 Mosquito and a # 16 Adams Irresistible. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the patterns indicated by an asterisk (*), they may be obtained though Big Y Fly Co at WWW.BigYFlyCo.Com.

To my extreme gratification, Bass fishing greatly improved. In the beginning of the month, small bass could be taken on using the light fly tackle described above.

Early September, temperatures exceed 105 degrees.

As the month progressed, not only did the size of the largemouths increase, the tenacity with which they fought after being hooked amplified. After breaking a fair number of larger bass off the 7X tippet, I modified my fishing strategy. I began to bring two fly rods to the lakes. The first fly outfit I carried with me was the ultra-light outfit mentioned above. I supplemented that outfit with a sturdier outfit designed to catch a larger bass for photographing and subsequent release. My outfit of choice for these larger bass was my nine foot Sumo Distance XS fly rod casting a seven weight floating weight forward line with a nine foot leader ending in a 4X tippet.

Slowly, the size of bass caught increased.

I employed two strategies to find and catch the bass that these lakes had to offer. The first strategy was to locate bluegill using the lighter tackle. Inevitably the excitement of the hooked bluegill would draw a larger bass out of cover. Once a larger bass was sighted, I switched to my heavier tackle. The second strategy was to walk the lake shore with the Sumo XS at the ready and sight fish for bass. This sight fishing strategy is similar to wading salt water flats and sight fishing, only instead of wading, it involves walking the soil and/or concrete walkways of my urban lakes. Again, similar to the salt water flats, once a bass is sighted, an exacting cast, with accurate and delicate presentation often resulted in the satisfaction of a bass hook-up.

I used this sign as an impromptu measuring device before releasing this bass.

My flies of choice for the larger bass included # 14 Wooly Bugger (in caret color), # 12 Muddler Minnow, # 12 Lite Brite Zonker*, # 12 Alexander*, # 14 San Juan Worm and # 10 Silver Epoxy Minnow Streamer. Again, I fished these flies double. I also had a few heart stopping thrills using a dry # 14 Foam Dragonfly. The colors blue and tan produced the best. The dragonfly had to be well presented with no ripple to be effective. When so presented the strikes were fast and almost instantaneous. Once the fly hit the water – Bam, the game was afoot.

Bass could not resist a well presented Foam Dragonfly.

Arizona Fish and Game stocked catfish during the week of September 20th and provided bait fisherman with ample opportunity to take home a catfish or two. Anglers are encourage to selectively harvest the catfish. Di was able to catch a few that we subsequently harvested. The meat of these fish was clean and tasty.

Di before releasing this urban catfish.

With the sun setting earlier in the sky, I began to fish the Urban Lakes at sunset. Ernest Hemingway once observed that “The setting of the sun is a difficult time for all fish” (See Endnote # 2). Perhaps this is so because, as the sun descends to sleep, fish shed natural inhibition and will readily take a well presented fly, or even, artificial lures.

           Bass at Sunset          

VETERAN’S OASIS PARK LAKE, Chandler, AZ (See Note # 1)

Early in the month was the start of dove hunting season. I spent many early mornings on this lake casting to the rhythmic pow-pow of hunters shooting at their tasty quarry. Mid-month early mornings provided the slightest whiff of steam coming off the lake close to the reed beds. Bass fishing was somewhat sporadic with some mornings being better than others. The morning of September 14th provided me with a classic example of how the martial arts state of mind called “Mushin” can be of benefit to fly fisherman. Using this state of mind, I was treated to sight-fishing two back-to-back largemouths as I walked the lake shore. The subject of the martial arts state of mind called “Mushin” and fly fishing will be addressed in my next article.

Bass loved a Muddler Minnow.

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

Fly fishing this lake was satisfying with consistent catches of bluegill and a few small bass. In addition, I was privileged to view nature’s spectacular awakening and subsequent slumber at sun rise and sunset.

Nature prepares to sleep at the Water Ranch.

The magnificence of nature’s display was diminished by the increasing amount of trash and waste being left lakeside by those that pretend to call themselves “fisherman”. No-one who takes the noble title of “fisherman” would denigrate the sport with such lazy, selfish acts of pollution. The sad part is that these lazily, slovenly lake visitors carried the trash with them and after use, simply discarded it. Garbage consisted of off-the-shelf fishing rod cases, folding chairs, worm containers and an assortment of drinking bottles. In one instance, a broken chair was thrown into the lake. The people that left their garbage certainly are not qualified to call themselves “fisherman”. They clearly have no idea of what it feels like to loose a natural resource to careless pollution. Stop for a minute and think about what this particular park would be like if the lake was too polluted to fish in, and the trails were over run by garbage and the vermin that seeks such garbage. Look well.

WHAT A WASTE!

RED MOUNTAIN LAKE, Mesa. AZ (See Note # 1)

This lake was the slowest of all lakes in the urban system that I visited. Perhaps this was due to fishing pressure or perhaps due to limited catch and release philosophy. I do not know the exact cause. I like to think that October will be better for this lake.

DISCOVERY PARK LAKE, Gilbert, AZ

This small lake, or perhaps I should say pond reminds one of a backyard swimming pool. It is one of the most fruitful ponds for fishing excitement for its limited size.

Having said that, it MUST be nurtured and cared for. There must be careful resource management and a MANDATORY catch and release policy for this pond to continue to temporarily surrender it‘s bounty. Enjoy it as you will, but, please think of the future and carefully release all fish from this facility.

Sensei John takes a line from the Godfather movie - not quite "Sleeping With The Fishes".

COSMO LAKE, Gilbert, AZ

September 20th was my first visit to this lake. I visited it a few times thereafter. It produced bluegill consistently. I also had a thrill of catching a carp on a # 14 Rainbow Warrior but “quick-released” it about a foot from shore. I will continue to explore this lake in the coming weeks.

Until my next submission, I hope you continue to enjoy the articles I post on this weblog. Keep your flies in the water.

Sensei John

NOTES:

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.

2. From, Hemingway, Ernest, The Old Man And The Sea, (Simon & Schuster, New York, NY 1952), p. 73. Also Hemingway On Fishing, Lyons Nick (Editor), (Nick Lyons Pres, New York, NY, 2000) p. 222. You may see my review of Hemingway On Fishing by clicking on the Sensei’s Reviews category.

Please feel free to shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo logo wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page.

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

AUGUST, 2010 FLY-FISHING JOURNAL

7 Sep
Arizona, August, 2010, summer monsoon season was upon us, not only was it hot, but humid as well with dew point readings very high. The National Weather Service posted excessive heat warnings and excessive ozone warnings almost daily. Weather was not fit for fish or fly-fisherman. Fishing may best be described as a sweat-filled quest for sporadic fish. Due to the heat and other factors, I was only able to average 2 ½ days a week of fishing.
I knew that the size of any species caught would be getting smaller and smaller as the heat grew worse. So, to compensate, I adjusted my tackle accordingly. My equipment for the urban lakes was a 6 foot ultra-lite Fenwick Ferrulite Rod ( 2 5/8 grams), a Panther-Martin # 63 lite reel, Cortland 444 floating 5 weight double taper line and at least a 9 foot leader ending in an 8X tippet. In addition, I finished field testing a new rod. The review will be posted shortly.
At least in the coming weeks, I can look forward to temperatures below 100 degrees and hopefully better fishing. I hope the following fishing journal encourages you to beat the heat and wet a fly.  

Veterans Oasis Lake, August 29th seeing a distant hot air balloon stirs memories of cooler temperatures.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Maricopa County, AZ

With the heat and humidity, tubing pressure was great on the Lower Salt. As such, I usually ended my mornings of fishing by 10:30 or 11:00 am. Fishing was sporadic at best. Catches were mainly bluegill and small bass. There was dry fly action to be found in the early morning, particularly between the hours of 5:30 and 6:30. The two patterns that produced were a # 16 Adams Irresistible and a # 16 Purple Haze (parachute style hackle). Fishing conditions was so difficult that I often drafted my dog Chloe, a fish-finding Min-pin, to act as a guide.

Chloe helps locate fish on the Lower Salt River.

The deviation in water flows were less dramatic than in July, but there was an occasional spike or two. Here is the August water flow chart for August obtained from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.

Lower Salt River water flows for August, 2010.

My equipment list for the Lower Salt generally included longer rods. I used either a 7 ½ foot Cortland Pro-Crest or an 8 foot Fenwick Ferrulite. I also interspersed a 9 foot rod that I was field testing. With all three rods I used a Cortland Pro-Crest reel throwing a # 6 floating weight forward line. My leader was always 9 foot ending in an 8X tippet.

On the Lower Salt River wearing the official Fly-fishing Dojo logo T-shirt.

 URBAN LAKE FISHING – GENERAL COMMENTS

Many of the people I have met while fishing the Arizona Urban Lake Program are surprised to see a fly-fisherman. Most people that I encounter fishing these lakes are bait fisherman and a few make use of artificial lures. The majority find a spot on a lake, set up shop and generally spend most of their time fishing in that one spot. They may fish in another spot or two before calling it a day.

My SUMMER tactic for the urban lake program is to cover as much water as possible. It is a tactic that goes back to my days of tournament bass fishing. During those days I would cover water fast with either a spinner bait or a crank bait until fish were found and then fish productive water slowly. Applying that concept to fly-fishing, I quickly cover water with a double set-up of wet flies and nymphs to find fish.

Patch from my time as a member of the Bassing America Grand National Tournament Circuit.

Generally, once at my desired lake, I fish my “honey-holes” first and begin to make my way around the lake. In this manner, I can cover the entire shoreline of a lake in about 1 to 1 ¼ hours. It is “aerobic fly-fishing”. During this stage I am looking for bluegill. If I find that bluegill are present, then I concentrate my fishing for any bass that are present. I especially concentrate around the reeds that are found in the lakes, sub surface vegetation and the moving water found at the point at which the lake is filled via the recharge system. The goal is to find an catch a few bluegill. The thrashing of the caught fish excites the remaining bluegill and usually lures a bass or two out from within the reeds. Then the trick is to entice the bass to the fly.

VETERAN’S OASIS PARK LAKE, Chandler, AZ (See Note # 1)

As my “go-to” fishing location, this lake still produced, but it took some work. Bluegill were always plentiful and eager to take a fly, including a few dry flies. As the heat increased throughout the month, the bluegill provided the only tug on my line. Early in the month, average size bass could be seduced into taking a variety of flies ranging from size 14 Woolly Buggers, # 14 Tellico nymphs, size 16 Ju-ju Bee nymphs and wet flies in the Adams, Blue Dun and March brown patterns in size 14.

August 4th an average size bass on a # 14 Woolly Bugger.

As the month progressed, lake levels fell and the size of bass taken dramatically decreased.

Veterans Oasis Park Lake levels by August 17th were low.

By 7:15 most mornings, I was already soaked with sweat from walking the lake looking for first bluegills and then the bass that hopefully were within the same location. On the ultra-lite equipment and tippet, even small fish made the hot mornings semi-bearable.

A small bass poses with the Fly Fishing Dojo logo

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

Water and fishing conditions on this lake were generally like the conditions at Veterans Oasis Park. I will note that the bluegills found at Water Ranch tended to be more aggressive. On a few occasions, I actually landed doubles. Admittedly, the fish were small, but again with morning temperatures skirting triple digits, relatively high humidity and ultra-lite equipment, even a double of small bluegill are fulfilling. Hey look at it this way, it beats sitting home.

Small bass on a # 16 Adams Irresistible Dry Fly fished close to the reeds.

One highlight of my fishing at Water Ranch is looking for the large Koi that inhabits this lake. This Koi, which is well over 24 inches is a bit of an urban legend. I nicknamed the Koi “Oishi” after the leader of the rebellion by the 47 Ronin.

Water Ranch Lake. The urban legend on film - a rare photo of the Koi I call “Oishi”.

Another highlight of my fishing was meeting the noted author, Al Schneider. Al is another former New Jersey resident who found his way out west to Arizona. He would come by often and we would talk a bit as I fished. One day he surprised my with a signed copy of his breakout book, There’s A Better Place. Thanks Al. It is definitely a recommended read.

Many thanks, Al. See you next week.

DISCOVERY PARK LAKE, Gilbert, AZ

I found about this lake from a friend. It is the newest park and lake constructed. It was finished in or around December 2009. My understanding is that it will be part of the Arizona Urban Fishing Program. There are two man-made lakes at the park. Both are relatively small. These lakes differ from the other Urban lakes that I fish. The lakes mentioned above have a natural bottom and mostly natural shoreline with a portion being concrete walkway and access points. The lake in Discovery Park appears to have a concrete bottom. On the two visits to this lake, I was able to temp small bass into taking a fly. Like a fine wine, fishing and size should improve with aging.

Small bass on a # 16 Wet March Brown.

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

Sensei John

NOTES:

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 shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo logo wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page.

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.

JULY, 2010 FLY-FISHING JOURNAL

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.

LOWER SALT RIVER.

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)

RIVERVIEW LAKE (See Note # 1)

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

NOTES:

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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