Tag Archives: Riverview Lake

September & October, 2014 Fishing Journal

2 Nov

September & October, 2014, Valley of the Sun. With many things on our personal agenda, including an upcoming relocation to New Jersey, we fished when we could and not as often as we would have liked. As of this writing, one of our team members has already relocated to New Jersey. Here’s a photo of her last bass in Arizona, a beauty caught at the Lower Salt River on October 3rd.

di last bass

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

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

With seriously decreased water flows, the key to success is finding deep, moving, well oxygenated water.

   salt-Sept   salt oct

Areas that previously had water may now be dry

Areas that previously had water may now be dry

Depending on the area you desire to fish, this can involve some degree of hiking. The results; however, are worth the hike.

  CIMG5462   CIMG5467

Notwithstanding the consistent low flows, I always consult the flow chart for the river before heading out the door. WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

   CIMG5470   CIMG5505

Our last visit to Canyon Lake was on September 30th. At the time, the fishing bridge at Boulder Recreation Area was still closed. We will attempt to verify the status of the bridge by the time of our next report.


Arizona Game and Fish will start stocking rainbow trout in mid-November.

Riverview Lake, Mesa

On Sunday, October 12th, 2014 saw major blooms of green algae in various locations on the lake.

riverview algae

From talking with other fisherman, it seems this phenomenon was relatively new. Our experience that day was that the algae seems to have hampered the bite. One small largemouth bass was caught.



vulture-me  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/
use promo code: WCProstaff-JSzmitkowski at checkout for a 5 % discount (not applicable to shipping costs and taxes).

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John

sunsu-cactus Please feel free to view my weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts at http://senseijohn.me


July, 2014 Fishing Journal

8 Aug

July, 2014, Valley of the Sun.
I’m driving to the Lower Salt River one morning hoping to get in a few hours of fishing before the triple heat swoops in. Classic rock plays on the radio. A song ends. The D.J. begins the weather report, “Today’s weather; Christ is gonna be hot!” “One fourteen in Phoenix later, but now, the Talking Heads Burning Down The House.”
I think, “What a great way to sum up fishing in the Arizona summer.”

Hemingway once said,“No one can work every day in the hot months without going stale. To break up the pattern of work, we fish . . . “ (Endnote # 1) So, in these unbearably hot days, when one’s spirit can easily go stale, I turn to fishing whenever I can and my karate kata when I can’t. Before my fingers go stale, I best get on with July’s fishing.

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

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

When time permits, fishing the Lower Salt is a double bonus. First, you’re fishing – ‘nuff said. Second, you’re able to wade its cool waters and keep your body temperature within a comfortable zone. Do; however, use caution. The river moves fast and has some tricky currents. A few people drown each year.

                     bass-c00n-b-rat-l     bass-tellico-coob-bluff

The problem with fishing the river is one of changing water flows. I always consult the flows before planning a trip. You can also do so by visiting
If there is a change of more than 200 c.f.s. within a day of my trip, then I fish elsewhere. Here’s what the flows looked like for July, 2014.


More photos from the river.

   bass-mask      salt-coon-bass-bh-eggi-juan-kenobi


CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

On those summer days when I can spare a few hours to fish and the changing flows keep me off the river, I fish Canyon Lake. My exact choice of location is a function of the difficulty of hiking to the location compared with the temperature. My relevant temperature measurement isn’t the forecasted high temperature but rather how early it will hit one hundred degrees. The earlier the time of day, the less hiking I do. In those instances, I’ll fish the more readily accessible locations all along the lake.

 boulder-green sunfish-bluegill- copy

I always look for new fishing spots along the lake’s shore. If I’m on the lake and the heat’s a bit much, I’ll scout out new fishing spots for future trips. I recently began to explore the area in and around the Laguna Beach boat launch. I hope to have more in future reports.



community fishing sign  URBAN LAKE FISHING

The Urban Lake System, now the Community Fishing Program, provides easily accessible fishing; often within a driving distance of less than fifteen miles. or so. On days that I cannot spare sufficient travel time to the big waters, then I fish these more accessible lakes.

Health issues, drastically cut into our time to fish these lakes. There are; however, two items of distinction from this month.

Riverview-Mesa   Riverview Lake, Mesa, AZ

The first is our trip to the newly renovated Riverfront Lake in Mesa. This lake is not quite in “our neighborhood” as are Veterans Oasis, Water Ranch and Red Mountain, but I wanted to see it after its renovation. All I can say is, “Wow, what a great job!” The lake is beautiful and well planned. We caught a few small bass, but did see quite a few larger fish. I think in the coming months that I’l do a full feature and video on this renovated lake. Definitely worth the trip.

Red Mountain   Red Mountain Lake, Mesa, AZ

The second item of distinction occurred July 2nd. We were fishing Red Mountain Lake in Mesa. It was a hot morning. We were walking the bank, going back to the truck when we saw a huge catfish an inch or so away from and facing the concrete retaining wall. He was feeding on something. I’ve seen largemouth bass also do this. I can’t seem figure out either this behavior or what they’re feeding on. We had a few rods with a soft plastic grub, a rat-l trap and my fly rod with a big nymph. To avoid spooking the fish, I decided to throw the fly.

catfish-collage copy

I cast about six or seven times letting the fly hit the edge of the concrete. I would then ease it into the water. On about the eight cast, the fish took the fly and a twenty-plus minute fight was on! Di was able to get some really great video.

I hope you enjoy the new collage editor I downloaded, it is my goal to be able to show fish caught and fly or lure used in future submissions.

7--20-13 inch-asu_Fotor_Collage

In the photos and video we’re wearing uv protection shirts we purchased from Wicked Catch gear. You can visit their website at http://www.wickedcatchgear.com/fishing-shirts/
use promo code: WCProstaff-JSzmitkowski at checkout for a 5 % discount (not applicable to shipping costs and taxes).

Until the next submission, thanks for stopp’in by,

Sensei John

Sensei John

FFD-STICKERS-2_Fotor   As a Thank-you for reading, I have listed a two-pack of FlyFishing Dojo on E-bay for only $ 1.00 which includes mailing. To get your FFD sticker two-pack, simply go to e-bay and search “Fishing stickers-FlyFishing Dojo Logo blog” – do not bid more than the $1.00, I’ll keep listing while supplies last.

Until the next submission, I remain,

1. Hemingway’s quote cane be found in my favorite book on “Papa” -Lyons, Nick, Hemingway On Fishing, (Nick Lyons Press, New York, NY, 2000) p. 153, originally published as “A Situation Report” in Look magazine, September 4, 1956. For my review of this “must read’ please use this convenient link: https://flyfishingdojo.com/2010/07/26/hemingway-on-fishing/

You can follow the 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 – Fly Fishing Dojo Coffee Mug

Taking a coffee break from blogging and vlogging with the FFD logo coffee mug and FFD black and white baseball t-shirt.



sunsu-cactus   Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life at http://senseijohn.me


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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