Tag Archives: Veterans Oasis Lake

Arizona Urban Lake Guide Part 1

8 Feb

community fishing sign  I’ve had a few comments on my You-Tube videos asking for information on where I fish on a specific Urban Lake. The answer isn’t necessarily where I fish on any one of the Urban Lakes, but how I fish the lake. In the next few articles, I’ll try to share my techniques and hopefully make your Arizona Urban Lake fishing (now called “Community Lake Fishing”more satisfying.

Sunrise, Veteran's Oasis Lake, Chandler, AZ

Sunrise, Veteran’s Oasis Lake, Chandler, AZ

First and foremost, I loved the Arizona Urban Lake program. In fact, having relocated back to New Jersey it is probably the one thing I miss the most about living in Arizona. The Urban Lakes were my go-to fishing water. Any time I could spare even as little as an hour I would be on one of the lakes. And that is the first consideration as to how I would fish any of the lakes; time.

If I had two hours to travel and fish I would fish the Urban Lakes with a “Once-around” strategy. On days that I had three to four hours to fish (again with about and hour travel), I would either fish one of the lakes with more attention to detail or plan on fishing two of the Urban Lakes. Days where I could devote at least five hours to fishing, I would fish the “big-waters” – Lower Salt River, Canyon Lake or Apache Lake.

"Super-Moon" at Veterans Oasis Lake

“Super-Moon” at Veterans Oasis Lake

What is my “Once-around” fishing method?

As to Urban Lake selection, the three closest lakes to my home which was in San Tan Valley were: Veteran’s Oasis, Water Ranch and a small Urban Pond in Gilbert. I do not name it here as fishing pressure really put a damper on fruitful days spent there; however, those that are curious can read any of my past fishing journals and get the name. Generally speaking, these lakes were more often than not my “once-around” lakes.Additionally, depending on where my work took me, I would get some fishing in on another Urban Lake. For example, if I had to be in Mesa, I would fish Red Mountain Lake before my work. Lastly, time of day was not a factor, if my mornings started too early to fish, then I would fish at night.

Stocking Rainbows at Red Mountain Lake - see video page for more

Stocking Rainbows at Red Mountain Lake – see video page for more

Prior to fishing, I would have three fishing rods prepared and ready with all lures tied and set. My usual rod set up was;

   CIMG1161  Any species:

Fly Rod – 7-8 foot with a 5-6X tippet depending on time of year. I always start with a wet fly combination involving a streamer with a small nymph dropper fly. If fishing is super slow, I’ll change this to a small dry fly and fish bluegill instead of skunking out;

I would also pre-rig two bait casting rods. The pre-rig would depend on the species.

  CIMG3943   Largemouth Bass:

In addition to the above fly rod:

Bait caster # 1 – this will have a fast exploratory lure, usually a rattle trap in a weather appropriate color. In summer months; however, and if I’m on the water by sunrise, this rod will be outfitted with a top water proper;

Bait caster # 2 – usually with a spinnerbait or a soft plastic lure to use as a follow-up to rod number 1.

   CATFISH-3  Catfish:

In addition to the above fly rod:

Bait caster # 1: curved hook heavily weighted and baited with week old shrimp that I would salt.

Bait caster # 2: rigged for Largemouth bass to fish while my bait was in the water waiting for catfish.

   

chloe-fish Rainbow Trout:

In addition to the above fly rod:

Fly Rod # 2: a 7 foot fly rod with a 6X tippet with a dry fly and dropper combination. The dry fly is usually a hopper, or large ant pattern.

Spinning Rod # 1: In-line spinners

Once on the water, I start on the water as close to the parking lot as possible. I usually start with the fly rod to see if there’s any fish around. I hope for blue gill or small bass that may provide forage for larger fish. After a few casts, I’ll follow up with the rattle trap or popper. In all instances I start closest to shoreline and work my way out. After six to ten casts I move on a few feet. You MUST be careful walking the edge of the Urban Lakes as many times fish will hold close to shore and be easily spooked! In this manner I work my way around the entire lake. In most instances this takes about an hour.

To this general strategy I would add:

If I find good size fish, I’ll stay on that area longer and stay with that lure or fly. Once I feel I got what I can out of that area, I’ll resume my walk;

Based upon my experience, I have my “honey-holes” on each lake. Naturally I’ll fish them a little longer than other areas. But, the key concept is to fish as much water in the time available as possible.

If I loose confidence in any of my pre-rigged lures, I’ll change them. Circumstances may also dictate this. For example, if I’m catching small bass on a red streamer and have a chrome blue rattle trap on my bait caster, I’ll change that to something that is either red or includes red such as a “bleeding” pattern.

That basically summarizes my “Once-around” strategy for those days when I really do not have a lot of time to fish. If its one of those days when I really want to fell a tug on the line, I’ll spend the last few minutes of an outing with the fly rod playing with, catching and releasing blue gill. After all they decades of fishing, they always put a smile on my face on otherwise fish-less days.

Featured Video:

Please visit my video page for many videos on the Urban Lakes: https://flyfishingdojo.com/video-media/

In part two of this Urban Lake series, I’ll review my strategy for days that I can more time fishing the Urban Lakes. Until then, “Tight lines.”

Sensei John

Sensei John Szmitkowski

© Copyright 2017 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

sunsu-cactus   You may wish to view my martial arts blog at https://senseijohn.me

Au Revoir Arizona Fishing

13 Jan

Now that I’m settled in in New Jersey, I wanted to post some final thoughts on fishing in Arizona. Simply put, I hated living in Arizona. It is dry, dusty and damnably hot. Having placed myself in a situation where relocating was not possible, I was doomed to try to endure. The one saving grace was fishing. During the triple digit temperatures of the Arizona summer, you would have to be out the door by four o’clock in the morning. This gave you at least until ten or so when triple digit heat would radiate from the Sun. I do not write about my intense dislike with living in Arizona to simply air my gripes in cyber-space. rather, I write of my dislike only to highlight the manner in which fishing provided if not an escape, then at least a respite. I write to that another, who is disillusioned with the Valley Of The Sun, might discover these words and be led to explore fishing in the desert.

My first exposure to fishing in Arizona was through the Urban Lake System (now called the Community Fishing Program). Frankly, the lakes in this program were a God-send. They are easily accessible and extremely user friendly, even for the novice fisherman. They are regularly stocked with catfish in the summer and rainbow trout in the cooler winter months. If you are an Arizona resident or winter visitor, you owe it to yourself to get the necessary (and relatively inexpensive) fishing license and try out one of your local Urban Lakes. While many of the videos on my video page (see the tab above) show some of the Urban fishing, here is my most memorable catch, a huge catfish on a fly rod, yes, a fly rod, filmed at Red Mountain Lake in Mesa.

Simply put, I cannot recommend the Community Lakes system enough for any Arizona resident, or winter visitor.

While the Urban Lakes provided easy access fishing, the big waters provided the most beautiful experiences in spectacular natural environments. By the big waters I mean Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake and my “watery-mistress”, the Lower Salt River. Even if you do not fish, take a ride and enjoy the day hiking at one of these locations. Not sure if its worth the trip? Then check out my fishing videos and see some unbelievable scenery. So spectacular is the scenery and so profound is the experience of being at these locations, that in addition to fishing, I often filmed my martial arts videos in these environments. Here is one of my most memorable filmed my very last day on the Lower Salt River amongst one of the many wild horse herds that call the river home.

You can also use this link to access all of my kata videos, all have a description advised of the filming location. Check out a few and then get in your car and check out these big waters. http://senseijohn.me/kata-syllabus/

In the last few months of living in Arizona, I was exposed to a very unusual aspect of fishing. That is fly fishing for carp (both common and grass carp, or amur). You can find exciting fly fishing in almost any irrigation canal that is not posted otherwise but, I recommend you checkout SRP’s website for regulations and further details as ALL fishing is catch and release.

canal

In addition, you will find carp, and largemouth bass, at the lakes at ASU Research Center in Tempe, again, consult the local regulations.

carp

Checkout any of the articles in my Fishing Journals category prior to the date of this post and discover the therapeutic beauty of Arizona fishing.

And so, with this post, I say “Au revoir Arizona.” In the next article, I’ll look to what’s ahead as I prepare to once again fish New Jersey waters, both fresh and salt.

vulture-me

In the photo 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: WCProstaffkowski at checkout for a 5 % discount (not applicable to shipping costs and taxes). Or, you can also log in with my personal link (as of January, 2015)
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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 $ 1.75 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 $1.75, I’ll keep listing while supplies last.

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ffd coffee mug

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May & June, 2014 Fishing Journal

5 Jul

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.

blk-ant  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.

Di first bass  After seven months of weekly chemotherapy, Di hooked her first bass. Oh, what a feeling!

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

bass-salt-   bluegill-canyon     redear-hat

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).

bass no mask   CIMG4959   carp

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.

vulture-me  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.

hatch helicopter copy  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: https://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.

salt-april-may-june

NON-TRADITIONAL FISHING
canal  With the popularity of fly fishing for carp growing in the United States, We started fishing some of the local canals in search of carp and amor.

saltJPG  We hope that we are able to continue to fish in these venues and provide more reports in the coming months.

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

Fly Fishing Dojo FEATURED PRODUCT:
fly_fishing_dojo_bandana  This Month’s featured product is the FFD Logo bandanna. You can visit our “Shop” Page Tab or use this convenient LINK: http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.1286760541

Until the next submission, I remain,

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 $ 1.25 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 $1.25, I’ll keep listing while supplies last.

Sensei John is available for guest speaking engagements. Please see the “GUEST SPEAKING” Page tab above for more information.

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

CIMG2517  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

May, 2013 Fishing Journal

7 Jun

May, 2013, Valley of the Sun, the first full month of fishing since my return to the Valley. It felt – – good. 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.

fishing - welcome

As I write these monthly reports it always seems that there never was enough of time spent on the water. The reports seem too “short and sweet” – nonetheless, here it is. PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

While most of this month’s fishing was on Canyon Lake and the urban lakes, there was a trip or two to the Lower Salt River. As the summer progresses, fishing will be limited to those locations that are not impeded by river tubing.

salt  salt-2

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

salt-may-2013

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

The fishing bridge at Boulder Recreation Area has been repaired and is again open for fishing. Most of our fishing this month centered around Boulder Recreation Area in general. Largemouth Bass, small Stripers and Bluegill provided regular activity.

bloulder dock

Fish could be caught on small “swimm’in squirt” tubes, small crank baits and a variety of flies. My usual fly rig included on lare fly for largemouths and a smaller trailing fly for blueill. Often, if a bluegill took the small fly, I would leave the rig in the water as largeouth were often attracted to the commotion caused by the hooked bluegill. In such a case, the larger fly was soemtimes taken by the bass.

bass rig

bass

bluegill with fly

SAGUARO LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Fishing along the shoreline adjacent to the two fishing bridge (and on the bridge themselves) provided action from Bluegill and Largemouth. On one trip, we were joined by a friend who was more than happy to chase down the bluegill we threw back.

heron-saguaro

bass-2

URBAN LAKE FISHING

We were able to visit Veterans Oasis, Water Ranch and Red Mountain during May. Due to work commitments, we missed out nighttime cat fishing at these lakes. As catfish stocking will soon end, we’ll have to wait for the fall stocking for these tasty fish.

CIMG3943

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John

This month’s FEATURED PRODUCT – Logo T-shirt

t-shirt

you may purchase this item using this link: http://www.cafepress.com/mf/42689803/fly-fishing-dojo_tshirt?shop=FLYFISHING_DOJO

Please feel free to shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo products wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page. Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

You can now arrange for either a fly fishing lecture or lesson with Sensei John, please see the “LESSONS & LECTURES” Page tab above.

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

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.Me You may also visit my karate blog at WWW.DeFeliceRyu.Com

NOVEMBER, 2012: FISHING JOURNAL

7 Dec

With thoughts focusing on the Holiday Season, I wish you all a very Happy Holiday; may you all find peace, love and joy as you open your hearts to the Holidays.

merry-x-mas fish

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, November 2012, at long last, despite higher than average temperatures, the valley began to cool down. This can only mean one thing – rainbow trout fishing is back. Get out of the house and wet a line for some fine specimens. With cooler night time temperatures, I am able to enjoy an evening of kata practice under the stars followed by sitting outdoors, fireside with one of my favorite fishing books; Hemingway On Fishing. Here’s one except that put a smile on my face one fireside night:

“Of course, it could never be considered an equal contest (between man & fish) unless the angler had a hook in his mouth, as well as the fish. But insistence on that might discourage the sporting fisherman entirely.”  Ernest Hemingway from: Lyons, Nick, Hemingway On Fishing, (Nick Lyons Press, New York, NY, 2000) p. 148, originally published as “the Great Blue River” in Holiday magazine, July, 1949.

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

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

River flows continue to decrease, with one drastic drop in flows as evidenced by the flow chart shown below. I do not know what effect such dramatic changes of flows have upon the fish population; however, I speculate that it can not be favorable.

Phon D. Sutton Rec. Area

Phon D. Sutton Rec. Area

Late fall and winter is always my favorite time of year on the river. Whether fishing is “good” or “bad’ I cannot help but feel connected to this environment. It is a reminder that we, humans, despite our egotistical tendency to believe otherwise, are but one small part of that which is so much larger than us.

On one particular day when fishing was slow, I decided to shoot some video footage for my Sanchin DVD. I was able to catch this footage with a gallery of unusual observers and a few critics; you may enjoy this footage filmed amongst a few vultures by clicking the following link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf8dlXsBnoI

CIMG3197

This blog is by no means a political forum. I strive had to “bite my tongue” on various affairs within the political realm; even if same pertains to fishing, or the natural environment.

My tongue has enough scars from such biting, and so, it is time to express my views – like it or not.

On November 15th, I wanted to fish one of my favorite spots in the Water Users Recreation Area. Upon arrival, I noticed a sign, which I do not recall from last year, advising that the area was “Closed For The Season.” On searching the internet, I could not find any mention of this. In my humble opinion, this is absurd. These federal lands belong to each and every one of us. We pay our taxes and then must pay a user-fee in the form of a permit or license to enjoy that which WE own. It is absurd and an insult that we are barred from using that which is not only OURS, but also, PAID FOR,  based upon a bureaucratic decision by some anonymous and innocuous little federal drone.

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

salt-nov

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

We visited Canyon Lake a few times with mixed results. Most of our fishing was along the various roadside banks. This is because not only is the fishing pier at Boulder Recreation Area still not repaired (and therefore closed), but the back area of Boulder is “Closed For The Season.” Rather than rant, rave and reiterate my feelings on this state of affairs, please refer to my comments above.

URBAN LAKE FISHING

The cooler temperatures mean that Fish and Game has begun to stock rainbow trout on a biweekly basis. These fish are, in a word – magnificent! They are wary opponents, great fighters and provide a good meal. PLEASE remember daily bag limits. These limits adequately provide for sufficient food for your table, and sport for others. Don’t be a hog, respect what we have!

rainbow-veterans

In addition, please note that in one instance, I witnessed a fist fight almost erupt between two fisherman over one’s excessive daily harvest. Apparently one fisherman caught his limit in the morning and returned in the late afternoon to harvest another limit. I know economic times are difficult and the trout are a food source, but let’s not be greedy, leave what’s fair for others, lest we sink into depravity.

As is my preference, I visited and fished Veteran’s Oasis Lake (Chandler), Water Ranch Lake (Gilbert) and Red Mountain Lake (Mesa) with mixed results, save for stocking dates which were fruitful.

Veteran’s Oasis Lake has a “Solar System Walk” composed of various stone markers along the lake containing photos of facts of the planets and celestial bodies.

CIMG3253

On one particularly slow day of fishing, I was able to photograph a UFO in the form of a muddler minnow orbiting the Earth (as indicated by the arrow).

CIMG3254

IN NEED OF CHRISTMAS IDEAS? 

FFD logo stocking link: http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.492888429#

stocking

FFD logo ornament linkhttp://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.459912530#

ornament

Until the next submission, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

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 

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 WWW.SenseiJohn.Me

MAY, 2012 – FISHING JOURNAL

6 Jun

 Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, May, 2012, with triple digit temperatures upon us, mornings no longer have that awakening chill, the temperatures are, as the song goes, “Hot-Hot-Hot” and, if you persevere and have patience, so is the fishing. PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

With the float, kayak and tubing season underway, fishing tended to be in the early morning hours and in locations that lay outside of the boundary of tubing operations, namely Water Users Recreation Area and up river and Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area and down river.

Trout and largemouth bass could be found along the shoreline and in the deeper and slower pools. My “go-to” fly patterns included a # 14 wire caddis nymph tied behind a sparkle shad streamer and a # 14 ju-ju bee nymph tied behind a # 16 orange/black wooly bugger.

             

To see a video of the above bass being caught and a rainbow trout caught on the very next cast, please see the “Featured Video” links bellow. Here is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Hiking down from the many roadside locations produced some exciting fishing courtesy of the largemouth bass population. Some of the best action using the fly rod was found with a large purple salt water fly with a # 14 wet alexandra fly tied behind it.

  

 On traditional bass tackle, a Bass Pro Shops swimm’in squirt (red flake and clear/black flake) on a 1/16 ounce jig head induced quite a few otherwise lethargic bass to strike.

The various areas within the Boulder Recreation Area produced consistent panfish action, particularly on a # 16 foam ant. While not as thrilling as the largemouth bass, panfish on a fly in triple digit temperatures will always make me smile.

URBAN LAKE FISHING

Biweekly stocking of cat fish was still in effect this month. As such, the majority of my time on the Urban Lakes was spent in search of these tasty whisker-faces. Most of the fishing was done at Veterans Oasis Lake with a few visits to Water Ranch Lake and Red Mountain Lake.

          

A most memorable night fishing for these tasty urban dwellers was on Cinco De Mayo (May 5th). On this night there was an uncommon “Super-Moon” full moon that provided a beautiful sight.

I was very pleased to have not only visited an urban “old friend” but to have also confirmed that this old friend still held some impressive fish. I was very pleased that the population of largemouth bass remained in tact.

         

I was surprised when a nice tug on my fly line produced an unexpected tilapia that hit a # 14 wet alexandria fished behind a large purple salt water fly. A very unexpected treat that was quickly photographed and released.

          

Noting that, in the past, when I wrote about my summer visits to this urban pond, the population of fisherman increased, for now, I’ll keep this treasure hidden and known only to the hand full of regulars.

FEATURED VIDEOS:

1. For a look at fly fishing at Phon Sutton where the first two casts produced a largemouth bass and a rainbow trout, please click the following link to our video: Lower Salt River – 2 casts – 2 fish – LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcbxR6L_n-I

2. For a unique historical look at “Fisherman As Warriors”, please click this convenient link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cMRW503DbY

FEATURED PRODUCT:

This month’s featured FFD Logo Product is the FFD Logo Trailer Hitch Cover; purchase information and link is below.

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information. You can now arrange for either a fly fishing lecture or lesson with Sensei John, please see the “LESSONS & LECTURES” Page tab above.

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.

JANUARY, 2012 – FISHING JOURNAL

9 Feb

Before you read this month’s report, get in the mood by watching our video of rainbow trout being stocked at Red Mountain Lake, Mesa, Arizona (trout supplied by Crowther’s Fresh Water Trout) by clicking this  link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPHyCIdmStY

The above stocking was a “super incentive trout stocking” with trout up to six pounds!

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, January, 2012, this month is represented by two words – Rainbow Trout. The cooler temperatures allow for the regular stocking of beautiful (and tasty) farm-raised rainbows. Without further adieu, here’s this month’s submission.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Lower flows again allow for very enjoyable days to be spent fishing the Lower Salt River. Take your time, pack a backpack and enjoy exploring stretches of the river that are otherwise inaccessible in the summer months when flows are high.

This month's hot pattern's a # 16 Ju-Ju Bee nymph fished behind a # 12 Chartreuse Wooly Bugger

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

URBAN LAKE FISHING

Sunrise at Veteran's Oasis Lake, Chandler, AZ

The Siren’s call of “rainbow trout” once again calls anglers to these urban treasures. Conveniently located and well stocked, the lakes provide fun angling. In these hard economic times, the lakes also supply a nutritious food source and the satisfaction of having caught your own supper. I tend to frequent Veteran’s Oasis Lake, Water Ranch Lake and Red Mountain Lake.

Once again, please remember the daily bag limit of four rainbow trout. Harvest what you will consume and return excess fish so that others may enjoy them.

Now, for a bit of humor, here’s a look at “Historical Fishing”. Enjoy

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

You can now arrange for either a fly fishing lecture or lesson with Sensei John, please see the “LESSONS & LECTURES” Page tab above.

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 MINI WALLET

Here is a convenient link to this month’s featured product – http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.594046850#

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 2012 – FISHING JOURNAL

10 Jan

Before you read the report, get in the mood by watching our video of rainbow trout being stocked at Red Mountain Lake, Mesa, Arizona by clicking this  link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPHyCIdmStY

Stocking rainbow trout, Red Mountain Lake, Mesa, AZ

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, December, 2011, was a busy time here in the low desert. Holiday preparations and (fortunately) work kept me busy and not on the water as much as usual. There were some memorable mornings on the water that gave life to the saying, “Quality not quantity.” The morning of December 10th was a spectacular lunar eclipse that was truly memorable. In addition, several mornings I woke to unbelievable fog that enveloped my fishing experience in an erie aura.

Before I submit this month’s report, I found an interesting quote from Ernest Hemingway which you may wish to, shall we say, “chew on.”

Of course, it could never be considered an equal contest (between man & fish) unless the angler had a hook in his mouth, as well as the fish. But insistence on that might discourage the sporting fisherman entirely.” (See Endnote # 1)

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

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

I am always amazed at the way this river changes with its seasonal use and functionality. The summer months see increased demand for the river’s water both for occupational (such as power and irrigation) and recreational use (such as fishing and most notably water float-tubing). After the heat of summer dissipates, flows are severely decreased and the hidden treasures of the river are, I believe, truly reveled. With the decreased flows, river accessibility greatly increased. Equally so, the ability to find and fish otherwise remote hotspots is made easy. Having said that, the decreased river flows can mean that stealth and caution when fishing may be needed.

For a point of comparison, here is a photograph taken in June from a video shoot for my Sanchin For Everyone DVD. (See endnote # 2).

Here is almost the same location this month.

You can see even more dramatic views of the Lower Salt River and listen to John Lennon’s stirring “Stand By Me” by clicking this video link to a promotional video used to promote the Sanchin DVD filmed at the Lower Salt River. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3MFNsl4mWg

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

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Due to other commitments, I spent little, if any time at Canyon Lake. As I type this report, I can only imagine the fishing opportunities that I missed. I look optimistically forward t next month and fishing this “big” lake. My optimism is buoyed by the rumor that improvements at Boulder Recreation Area have been completed and the area is again open.

URBAN LAKE FISHING

VETERAN’S OASIS PARK LAKE, Chandler, AZ

Most of my fishing this month was at this, my favored, Urban Lake. The significance of the Urban Lake system is it’s ready access. Located in every major urban area, the lakes and surrounding parks provide easy and readily accessible access to the beauty of nature and through the stocking program reliable access to fish for the table.

Please see to it that the treasure of the urban lakes is not taken for granted; obey all applicable rules (including respecting areas off limits to fishing), don’t litter (there is nothing as intolerable as fishing debris) and respect the harvest quotas. I too love taking home a catfish or two in the summer months and a trout or two in the winter months. But, respect daily bag limits; there will always be more tomorrow or the next day for every fisherman if limits are respected.

      Trout for Supper    

WATER RANCH LAKE, Gilbert, AZ

Here’s a bit of video footage from Water Ranch Lake that I used to promote my Sanchin Kata To Improve Everyone’s Health Campaign. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI

For more information of the physical & spiritual health benefits of Sanchin & how to purchase my economically priced 1 hour Sanchin DVD, please visit either my website: http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html or blog WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com – the blog also contains numerous articles and videos and is regularly updated.

NEW VIDEOS:

I submit this video under the category of “just-for-the-fun-of-it”. It is a video of a Harley-Davidson Electra-glide motorcycle ride through the cotton fields of my neighborhood used as a promotion for my Sanchin For Everyone DVD. Give the following link a click, and “throw a leg over your bike” and come for a ride. Link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNbDxDHvlL8

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

Please feel free to shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo products wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page or this link,http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo This month’s featured product – THE FFD PUZZLE

FFD Logo Puzzle

ENDNOTES:

1. Ernest Hemingway from: Lyons, Nick, Hemingway On Fishing, (Nick Lyons Press, New York, NY, 2000) p. 148, originally published as “the Great Blue River” in Holiday magazine, July, 1949.

2. Here is a link to a FREE Sanchin For Everyone promotional video on You-Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE  You can find information on how to purchase a Sanchin DVD & Book by clicking the following convenient link:http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

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

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, 2011 – FISHING JOURNAL

14 Dec

 Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, November, 2011,  cooler temperatures, serene environments and the wonder of nature made for a month of enjoyable fishing.

Decreased water flows at Lower Salt River (Blue Point Beach)

Sunrise - Veterans Oasis Lake, Chandler, AZ

With the Holiday season upon us, I extend to you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.As a small gift, here is a video clip I made of the Fly Fishing Dojo Christmas HO Train layout set to Joe Nichols “Old Toy Trains”.

Scene from the Christmas Trains FREE video - link below

I hope you enjoy it. LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M__4r1qAavU

Please feel free to visit the FLY FISHING DOJO “SHOP” page for unique Fly Fishing Dojo Logo Christmas themed and fly fishing products.

      

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

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Water Users Recreation Area

Rainbow trout stockings resumed on the Lower Salt River with bountiful results. Thanksgiving Day proved to be a most productive day on the river with catches (and releases) of largemouth bass and rainbow trout.

             

            

Prior to its release, Chloe inspects a small bass

All fish were released except for two rainbows harvested as a tasty alternative to turkey leftovers.

The best fly pattern on that day was a sparkle shad streamer with a # 16 chartreuse/red scrambled egg nymph.

Always aesthetically pleasing, there was one uniquely special day on the Lower Salt River when we were visited by a herd of wild horses.

Experience this special day for yourself; here is a link to a video made on that day. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT491X5vea8

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

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

With falling temperatures, catches of largemouth bass along the various shorelines were replaced with catches of newly stocked rainbow trout.

The Boulder Recreation Area was closed for renovations. As such, most of our fishing was along the shoreline along the first one-lane bridge.

URBAN LAKE FISHING

The beauty of Urban Lake Fishing

Rainbow trout were stocked for the first time this year on November 17th. Stockings will continue every other week; however, the exact dates will not be known prior to the stocking. With biweekly stockings, there are plenty of tasty rainbows for supper.

PLEASE, remember the daily bag limit of four AND you need an Urban Fishing License.

Regular visits to our favorite Urban Lakes, to wit: Veteran’s Oasis Lake, Water Ranch Lake and Red Mountain Lake proved enjoyable and productive.

NEW VIDEOS:

WILD HORSES (At the Lower Salt River, AZ): Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT491X5vea8

CHRISTMAS TRAINS (To “Old Toy Trains” by Joe Nichols): Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M__4r1qAavU

For a very unique look at a historical aspect of fishing, you may wish to view “Fisherman As Warriors” by clicking this convenient link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cMRW503DbY

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information. You can now arrange for either a fly fishing lecture or lesson with Sensei John, please see the “LESSONS & LECTURES” Page tab above.

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.

OCTOBER, 2011 – FLY FISHING JOURNAL

4 Nov

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, October, 2011, a wonderfully enjoyable month of fishing thanks to comfortable temperatures and the start of fall stocking by AZ Fishing and Game. The frequency of days spent on the water was less than preferred due to promotion, personal appearances and seminars related to my Sanchin Kata For Everyone DVD project (additional information is at the end of this article).

Jacket Art for my Sanchin Kata For Everyone DVD

As I enter November which marks the start of the stocking of rainbow trout, I have made a promise to myself to spend more time on the water notwithstanding my Sanchin commitments. PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Once again, the Lower Salt River returned to a natural state after being trod upon all summer by rafters, kayakers, swimmer, and beer swilled inhabitants. Pending trout stocking, fishing for bass was plentiful with bountiful bluegill and occasional carp.

    

With a few parking areas closed for the winter, it is often necessary to hike to your favorite fishing location. I find that the hike adds to the anticipation of the fishing experience and the desire to have a tug at the end of your line.

A welcome rain on the Lower Salt River

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

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Bass and panfishing was exceptional during October. Topwater action was extremely exciting. I was often thrilled with the results experienced by casting a dry deer hair frog amongst the reeds and rocks.

One planning note involves the Boulder Recreation Area. On two occasions, this area was closed for improvements; so, if you plan to fish at this location, there is a possibility you may be disappointed. On the two days the area was closed, I used the closing as an opportunity to scout locations that I had not fished and was pleasantly surprised.

Exploring Canyon Lake

SAGUARO LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Bass and panfish were also plentiful at Saguaro Lake. I did notice; however, that topwater, dry fly action was not as fruitful as at Canyon Lake. Having said that, my usual fly rig of a streamer (sparkle shad or muddler minnow) as a head fly and wet fly or nymph (bloody mary, red serendipity, rainbow warrior0 as a tail fly did not disappoint.

URBAN LAKE FISHING

October fishing at the urban lakes meant one species – catfish. While most of the our fishing took place at Veteran’s Oasis Park (Chandler, AZ), we also fished at Water Ranch Lake (Gilbert, AZ) and Red Mountain Lake (Mesa, AZ).

      

FEATURED VIDEOS:

For a very unique look at a historical aspect of fishing, you may wish to view “Fisherman As Warriors” by clicking this convenient link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cMRW503DbY

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

For additional information on my Sanchin DVD, here is a link to a free promotional video on You-Tubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

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 CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT

You can obtain theis month’s product by clicking this convenient link: http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.459912530

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, 2011 – FLY FISHING JOURNAL

9 Sep

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, August, 2011, a record-breaking month for the State of Arizona. No, the largest fish wasn’t caught. August was the hottest month ever in the history of Arizona; there were 33 days all summer with temperatures exceeding 110 degrees. Reminds me of a quote by the literary and fishing master, Ernest Hemingway.

No one can work everyday in the hot months without going stale. To break up the pattern of work, we fish . . .  (See Endnote # 1).

For my part I mixed fishing pleasure with the business of filming my Sanchin Kata for non-martial artists DVD. I used various locations in Tonto National Forest, and my favorite fishing locations at the Lower Salt River, Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake, as background for the videos. Here is a link to a free promotional video on You-Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

Well, with cooler months in the near future, let’s proceed with the “hot” fishing report.

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

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

I fished several locations on the Lower Salt River that were not readily intruded upon by float tubers. These areas included up river from the Water Users Recreation Area and down river from Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area. Fly fishing produced small to mid-size largemouth bass, mostly on # 12 muddler minnows and a few on # 12 sparkle shad streamer. In both instances, I fished a nymph behind the streamer. The top producer for the month was a # 14 bloody mary nymph and a # 16 red serendipity nymph. There was definitely something about the color red provoking strikes in the bass.

Small bass on a Rebel Pop-R - up river from Water Users Rec Area

In addition, during filming of the DVD, the videographer had caught a few carp drifting a hook baited with corn kernels downstream. Something different to break up shooting video footage in one-hundred degree plus temperatures.

Filming video for the DVD at Phon Sutton. 106 Degrees but the river was cool.

Without a doubt, I am looking forward to being on the Lower Salt in cooler temperatures with decreased water flows and the return of rainbow trout stockings.

Di with another bass taken on a muddler minnow

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

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

I fished my preferred locations, including Boulder Recreation Area, roadside locations along Highway 88 and the shoreline around the first one lane bridge with moderate success. Moderately sized panfish were prevalent with respectable catches of largemouth bass.

I even hooked into one catfish that, for whatever reason, known only to the fish itself was induced to strike at a # 12 apache lady wet fly. The whiskered fish eventually ducked under a log and broke my 5X tippet.

SAGUARO LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Due to the time constraints of shooting video, my only visits to Saguaro Lake were for filming purposes. Many a morning I looked longingly at the shoreline wishing I could flick a fly or two; but, alas, duty and responsibility called, and so, the task of the day was performing Sanchin for the video camera. Now that the DVD is completed and available to the public, my “irresponsible” self can again settle down to the task of fishing at this lake.

Tough fishing? Try the FFD STUNT FISH!

URBAN LAKE FISHING – GENERAL COMMENTS

With the hectic video shooting schedule, I was only able to visit two of my favorite Urban Lakes. I’m anticipating cooler temperatures and the stocking of catfish starting in the middle of September by Arizona Fish and Game.

VETERAN’S OASIS PARK LAKE, Chandler, AZ

I feel I neglected regularly visiting my favorite lake in the Urban Lake system as I only fished it about twice. The best time was early morning when, in addition to bluegill, bass could be caught and released on a fly.

The most productive pattern proved to be a # 16 black serendipity tied in line behind a # 12 apache lady wet fly.

WATER RANCH LAKE, Gilbert, AZ

This lake seems to be recuperating from the harshness of July. Bluegill and small bass could be taken on various nymph and wet fly combinations. This seems to be a good indication of promising fishing to come in the cooler months.

FEATURED VIDEOS:

BLOODY MARY BASS, a nice sized largemouth that decided to sample a bite of a # 14 bloody mary nymph. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8COsXhjoKTc

SANCHIN KATA FOR FLY FISHERMAN: Filmed at Water Ranch Lake in Gilbert, AZ, this video was designed for the fly fisherman prior to the release of my Sanchin Kata DVD. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI

FISHERMAN AS WARRIORS: For a very unique look at a historical aspect of fishing, you may wish to view “Fisherman As Warriors” by clicking this convenient link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cMRW503DbY

This months featured FFD logo product is shown below. With cooler temperatures forecasted for the coming months, I thought you may find a need to “heat things up.”

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

ENDNOTES:

  1. Ernest Hemingway from:Lyons, Nick, Hemingway On Fishing, (Nick Lyons Press, New York, NY, 2000) p. 153, originally published as “As Situation Report” in Look magazine, September 4, 1956.

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

You can now arrange for either a fly fishing lecture or lesson with Sensei John, please see the “LESSONS & LECTURES” Page tab above.

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 CLASSIC THONG

– only $ 9.99 plus delivery.

Here’s a convenient link: http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.459914580#

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.

JULY, 2011 – FLY FISHING JOURNAL

4 Aug

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, July, 2011, Monsoon season is officially underway. So far this has meant mostly dust storms and very little rain.

Superstition Mountains "Flatiron" the morning after a record-setting dust storm

Please remember that during the summer month’s it is extremely important that you carry enough water for you and all members of your fishing party. Suffice to say that dehydration and heat-related illnesses will quickly spoil an otherwise enjoyable day of fishing. Failure to carry enough water and exercise caution when hiking the shoreline has unpleasant consequences; there’s always a few residents of the waters that wait for you to make a mistake.

                   

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

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Success on the Lower Salt River was sporadic and highly influenced by the amount of pressure from float tubers. As such, I started exploring areas up river from the Water Users Recreation Area and down river from Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area.  These areas are outside the boundaries of commercial tubing operations. Fishing often involved casting in and about tight places, off of rock ledges and sometimes more hiking than casting flies.

There were catches of trout and small bass, but not as exciting as the quantity and size of fish to be found in the cooler months.

         

Water flows remained high, but started to settle down to normal summer flows.

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

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Canyon Lake proved, again, to be a go-to place for the month. Regular catches of bluegill and fair sized bass could be found in several areas, including both sides of the first one lane bridge on highway 88, all around Boulder Recreation Area (fishing the bridge was good, but also try hiking all around the area, there are many fine locations to be found) and several areas located off highway 88.

Best of all in the mid-morning, usually between eight o’clock and ten o’clock, there was great top water action to be had. For bass, deer hair poppers worked best twitched, “popped” and paused along the surface. For the bluegill and crappy, a small # 16 grasshopper and # 16 foam ant delicately twitched and paused on the surface could not be beat. For non-fly fisherman, rebel “Pop-R” lures worked best during this time.

This nice bass was the result of top water action courtesy of a deer hair popper.

In addition to the top of the water action, once again, several sub-surface combinations proved effective, including a # 14 apache lady wet fly with a # 16 red serendipity nymph tied behind it, # 12 muddler minnow with either a # 16 rainbow warrior nymph or a # 16 peacock lady tied behind it. Fishing the apache lady and red serendipity combination off the fishing bridge at Boulder Recreation produced fun largemouth bass action when the bass came out from under the bridge to take the little # 16 red serendipity.

 a video link is below  

We were able to capture some of the action on video, here is a convenient link to our video entitled “Serendipity Bass.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlYgmOSpbts

                   

SAGUARO LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

With favorable results at Canyon Lake, we decided to see how the action at Saguaro Lake was. We found several good locations both on the two fishing bridges and along the shoreline adjacent to and between the bridges. Use extreme caution when hiking down from the parking lot to the shoreline when fishing in between and adjacent to the bridges themselves.

The successful fly patterns were the same as Canyon Lake for both top water and sub-surface fishing. Di also had top water success again with the Rebel Pop-R’s and sub-surface action on small “Swimmin’ Squirt” tube baits on a 1/32 ounce jig head by Bass Pro Shops.

    Bass – and – More Bass   

URBAN LAKE FISHING – GENERAL COMMENTS

The Urban lakes System is one of the best means of introducing a child to fishing. Unlike the larger bodies of water, where you may have to hike to a good fishing location, contend with natural inhabitants, bees, and snakes, to name a few the Urban Lake System provides a “user-friendly” environment for a child take catch their first fish.

My grandson, Stratton, age 2, practices his fishing skills

VETERAN’S OASIS PARK LAKE, Chandler, AZ

Fly fishing was slow, but I did notice a few bait fisherman with respectable catfish catches. I also once again noticed quite a few bass cruising the shoreline. These cruising bass were easily spooked and hard to catch using flies.

WATER RANCH LAKE, Gilbert, AZ

As I indicated in my June fishing report, this lake was once inundated with algae. I am very happy to report that when I revisited the lake on July 16th, water clarity was greatly improved. Small largemouth bass and bluegill could been seen from shore.

Given these positive signs, I look forward to anticipated good fishing in August.

RED MOUNTAIN LAKE, Mesa, AZ

Walking the shoreline and fishing as I do allowed me to regularly see respectable sized catfish and largemouth bass; sometimes within inches of the shoreline. In addition bluegill were regularly seen. Water quality was very clear and care had to be exercised in approaching these fish as they were easily spooked.

Good bass fishing could be found along the reed laden sides of the off-shore islands. Due to limited fly casting opportunities caused by the shoreline vegetation, I opted for a bait-casting bass pole and had good success with a top water Rebel Pop-R cast very close to the reeds and “popped” along the surface. Watch for a ravenous attack when the lure is paused prior to the net pop. Here’s a photograph of one bass caught using the Rebel Pop-R in this fashion

We were also able to get some video footage of two bass; the video is entitled “Red Mountain Bass.” Here is a convenient link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqiMVWBkNLg

OTHER:

DISCOVERY LAKE, Gilbert, AZ

I paid an exploratory visit to this lake on July 13th. There were several small bass fry that were interested in taking a # 16 wire caddis tied behind a # 14 claret wooly bugger. While I was elated by the prospects of good bass fishing in the fall, after the fry have had a chance to grow, I was disappointed to find a dead bass which must have been caught and carelessly discarded into the water flow from the upper lake to the lower lake.

I can not emphasize enough that in order for this small lake to produce quality fishing, care must be exercised in catching and releasing fish. Any negligence will result in fishing decreasing faster than the Dow Jones Average on Wall Street.

NEW VIDEOS:

SERENDIPITY BASS, Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlYgmOSpbts

BLOODY MARY BASS, Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8COsXhjoKTc

RED MOUNTAIN BASS, Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqiMVWBkNLg

For a very unique look at a historical aspect of fishing, you may wish to view “Fisherman As Warriors” by clicking this convenient link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cMRW503DbY

Until the next submission, I remain, fishing the Arizona desert known as “The Valley Of The Sun”,

Sensei John

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information. You can now arrange for either a fly fishing lecture or lesson with Sensei John, please see the “LESSONS & LECTURES” Page tab above.

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 – FLY FISHING DOJO Coffee Mug –

     Convenient link: http://www.cafepress.com/FLYFISHING_DOJO.459912522

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.

JUNE, 2011 – FLY FISHING JOURNAL

8 Jul

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, June, 2011, with summer rising upon us like the dawning sun, fishing in the Arizona desert crept along at an arduous pace. By the end of the month triple digit temperatures, more often than not exceeding 105 degrees, became the norm. The were a few consistent days that exceeded 110 degrees. This made for hot fishing, not necessarily meaning fast, consistent catches.

All species of fish, including, bass, perch, catfish, bluegill, crappy and trout,  could readily be seen cruising shallow waters or rising to the surface to feed. Some of the fish were of legendary proportion; at least large enough to brag about over a cold drink. Being seen is one thing being hooked another. Bluebird skies, and clear, calm water often made for difficult fishing that emphasized delicate presentation to the finicky feeders. When all factors converged, there was a reward at the end of the line that provided a respite from the heat. A joining of man and fish at the end of a line for a moment or two until each returned to their natural environment; the fish to the water and the man to the shore.

It’s too hot for more literary metaphors, so onto this month’s report

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

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

With the Salt River Tubing season in full swing, I fished certain sections of the river early in the morning and moved on to more remote (and not open to tubing) sections after nine o’clock when tubing gets under way. For areas unaffected by tubing, please consult one of the many online map resources. Also exercise caution as many of these areas involve varying degrees of hiking. Make sure you have an ample supply of drinking water.

I would note that the week of June 20th was the last stocking of rainbow trout for the summer.

At the Phon D. Sutton Recreation area I found small bass and trout that were willing to take a fly. That is until morning temperature soared and it was time to put down the fly rod and take a swim.

While wooly buggers and various nymphs produced with satisfactory results, the best combination I found was a # 16 tan scud tied behind a # 14 bead head (bh) rooks blueberry nymph.

At Water Users Recreation area, the same combination produced well. Occasionally, I had action on a dry fly with a # 16 foam ant, #16 foam beetle and # 16 bee. For my non-fly fishing readers, I note that Di had a few medium bluegill on a white swimmin’ squirt tied on a 1/32 ounce jig head.

With the fast water flow, I preferred to fish the lower salt river with my two longest fly rods, an 8 foot, Fenwick Ferrulite Rod and my monster-caster, a 9 foot, Sumo Distance XS fly rod.

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

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Fishing at Canyon Lake provided a regular opportunity to catch largemouth bass and panfish of various species on flies.  Depending on water conditions, depth, wind and temperature, these species regularly roamed from deep water to shallow water to almost hugging the shoreline. As such, the best locations were those where a shallow shelf fell off to deep water. I have several of these type of locations in my geographic arsenal. These location range from the area surrounding Boulder Recreation area to various locations along State Highway 88. When fishing these roadside locations, caution must be exercised when hiking down to the lake. Remember that hiking down to the shoreline is easier than hiking up from the shoreline. Also remember the natural invasive inhabitants, bees, snakes, and such, along the path and keep a watchful eye for them.

My fly rod of choice for fishing Canyon Lake and targeting pan fish is my ultra-light 6 foot Fenwick Ferrulite fly rod. I also fished the 9 foot Sumo Distance XS to throw larger flies in and around bass locations.

The most productive fly patterns were determined by adaptability. Conditions changed often with the increasing heat. However, it seemed that in the morning hours, a nymph tied behind a streamer and fished from deep water to shallow, twitched and paused, produced the best. The most popular patterns were a # 14 or 16 bead head (bh) tan caddis nymph tied behind a # 10 bh claret wooly bugger, a # 16 bh rainbow warrior nymph tied behind a # 10 apache lady wet fly and a small wet or nymph (# 16 red serendipity nymph, # 16 juju bee nymph or a # 16 red ass wet fly) tied behind a # 10 sparkle shad streamer. The sparkle shad seemed to get the attention of the fish who then took the smaller trailing fly.

              

On June 10th, I was fortunate to hook two panfish at once on my 6 foot Fenwick Ferrulite fly rod using a #16 wired caddis black/pink nymph tied behind a # 12 claret wooly bugger. There is a link to the video entitled “Double panfish” below and on the VIDEO & MEDIA page tab above.

As morning progressed and temperatures warmed, dry fly action could be fast and furious. I had the most success wit # 16 and # 18 foam ants. Again, I fished the dry flies with my 6 foot ultra-light Fenwick Ferrulite fly rod, a 9 foot leader with a 7X or 8X tippet.

              

I began to experiment using large saltwater flies to catch the many large bass I could see cruising the shoreline.

The bass would often chase these flies but not take them. I began to tie on a smaller trailer fly and was very surprise that while the bass would flash and chase the large fly, they ultimately took the smaller fly. I was able to get video and photos of one such bass that flashed on a # 10 sparkle shad streamer but took a small # 14 bh bloody mary nymph that was the trailer fly.

I saw this bass cruising the shoreline (in the area of the first one lane bridge on Highway 88). He was only in about 5 inches of water! I slowly twitched the flies with long pauses to allow fly to sink. I saw the bass turn and take the nymph off the rocky bottom.Below is a photo and there is a link to the video entitled “Bloody Mary Bass” at the end of this report and on the VIDEO & MEDIA page tab.

For those readers who are not fly fisherman, Di was able to regularly catch all species of panfish on either Gulp maggots or Bass Pro Shops’ “Swimmin’ Squirt” soft plastic tube in red/sparkle and sparkle colors on a 1/32 painted jig head.

URBAN LAKE FISHING – GENERAL COMMENTS

This month saw the last stocking of catfish into the Urban Lake System until September.  My fly rod of choice for the urban lake system is my versatile 7 1/2 foot Cortland Pro Crest fly rod. It is light enough to make pan fishing enjoyable and sturdy enough to handle the occasional bass.

VETERAN’S OASIS PARK LAKE, Chandler, AZ

Maybe it was the great fishing on the big waters, but my experiences at this lake in June often were not slow, but, S-L-O-W. I often wondered, “Where are the fish?” This has left me more determined to fish this lake more frequently in July.

Based upon last summer, when I had many memorable mornings at this lake, I anticipate better fishing.

WATER RANCH LAKE, Gilbert, AZ

I fished Water Ranch on June 8th and was shocked to have other fisherman give me reports of dead catfish from a recent stocking and green algae.

I walked the shoreline casting about and fished my preferred spots with some determination, but there was nothing to be seen or enticed. When I was leaving, I saw a clean-up boat arriving. The crew was going to prowl the vegetation and remove any remaining dead fish and otherwise clean the lake.

After seeing the above, I had not fished this lake for the remainder of the month. Given my fond memories of fishing this lake last summer, I will make a point of making a few trips to the lake in July.

RED MOUNTAIN LAKE, Mesa, AZ

Fishing Red Mountain was somewhat slow although several large bass was seen very close to shore. Several smaller bass were caught on various nymphs and streamers that had some sparkle to their pattern. Di also had success with the Gulp maggots.

NEW VIDEOS:

BLOODY MARY BASS, Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8COsXhjoKTc

DOUBLE BLUEGILL (2Flies – 2 Fish), Link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVZlgyR1zb8

IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH – check out the “Sanchin Kata For Fisherman” Video, link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI

July teaser, without jinxing future success, largemouth bass action has been hot in July. As of this posting several nice-sized bass and one over five pounds, have been caught on various flies.

While you will have to wait for the full July report, you can preview a video of a bucket mouth caught on a small, size 26 red serendipity nymph at Canyon Lake, by clicking the following link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlYgmOSpbts

Until the next article, I hope you continue to enjoy reading FLY FISHING DOJO and may your lines be tight. I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

You can now arrange for either a fly fishing lecture or lesson with Sensei John, please see the “LESSONS & LECTURES” Page tab above.

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 featured product — FFD LOGO MOUSEPAD

Here is a convenient link to purchase http://www.cafepress.com/FLYFISHING_DOJO.459912527

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.

MAY, 2011 – FLY FISHING JOURNAL

8 Jun

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun –  May, 2011, turned out to be a difficult month on many fronts, including an unexpected return to New Jersey to attend the memorial and funeral for a very dear friend. For purposes of this fishing journal, time spent on the water was less than I would have preferred. Hopefully, things will turn around in June.

Having said that, the majority of species that could be lured to take a fly were a plethora of panfish, including crappie and bluegill. Although several large bass were seen, catches were of the smaller variety. There was an occasional rainbow or two. and small bass. I hope you enjoy reading about your favorite fishing waters.

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

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Given the unusual circumstances of this month, I was only able to fish the Lower Salt a few times. After water flows increased to summer levels, I concentrated my fishing at the Water Users Recreation Area. This area is above river from where float tubers launch and thus can provide extended fishing time in the morning hours. The fly rods I tend to use on the river (summer flows) are a 9 foot Sumo XS and 8 foot Fenwick Ferrulite. Longer rods for longer casts and fishing Czech-style nymphs.

At Water Users Recreation Area

The beginning of the month (after flow levels increased) was a bit inconsistent. One day, catches of largemouth bass were reasonable with catches of bluegill plentiful (best pattern was a # 14 rooks blueberry nymph tied behind a # 12 claret wooly bugger). The next day would be nothing. But such are the foibles of fly fishing.

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

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

I fished several areas of shoreline on Canyon Lake with consistent catches of small bass and plentiful panfish.  Given the steady stream of panfish, crappie & bluegill that would take a fly, I downsized my equipment to my 6 foot Fenwick Ferrulite fly rod, throwing a four weight line and ending in a 7x or 8X tippet.  The result was often some heart-stopping action provided by light tackle connected to some nice-sized panfish.

The areas that I primarily fished are:

The shoreline adjacent to and surrounding the fishing bridge at Boulder Recreation Area,

  

the rock ledge on the far shoreline from the bridge (use caution hiking down the rocks)

Di & a bluegill from the rock ledge

and the shoreline surrounding the first one lane bridge on highway 88 (use caution hiking down from the road to the shoreline).

                 

The most productive patterns this month were the following: # 14 BH rooks blueberry nymph behind a # 12 BH claret wooly bugger, # 16 red serendipity nymph behind a # 12 sparkle shad streamer and a # 16 wire caddis nymph tied behind a # 10 apache lady wet fly. These flies were fished with a twitch and pause retrieve. As morning temperatures inched steadily to the triple digit range, there was fast and furious dry fly action to be found courtesy of a # 16 black/pink foam ant or a # 16 chartreuse/black ant.  I fished the ants drifting with surface wind currents with an occasional twitch. There were times that almost every other cast resulted resulted in a fish; every sixth cast or so in one that was nice size.

Chloe inspects a bluegill from the rock ledge before release

After a long morning at Canyon Lake, one tends to develop an appetite. To quell the hunger derived from a morning of flicking flies at the aquatic citizens of the lake, the FLY FISHING DOJO crew often stops at Los Favritos Restaurant on Apache Trail in Apache Junction for the biggest, best tasting and economical Burritos in Pinal County. Give them a try the next time you are in “AJ”.

Los Favritos Restaurant, Apache Trail, Apache Junction

URBAN LAKE FISHING – GENERAL COMMENTS

Success on the Urban Lake system this month was somewhat inconsistent. Catfish were (and still are) being stocked by AZ Fish and Game. These fish are reluctant to take a fly, but were caught using various baits, including hot dogs reported by one fisherman I spoke with. It seems to me that during the stocking of the catfish, the other resident summer species of bass and bluegill bury themselves deep into the cover.

VETERAN’S OASIS PARK LAKE, Chandler, AZ

Small bass and bluegill were inconsistent but could be found with wet flies and nymphs that had some sparkle to them. Such patterns included: # 14-16 BH rooks blueberry, # 16 wire caddis nymph, # 14-16 rainbow warrior nymphs, # 16 red serendipity nymph, # 14 alexandria and # 14 apache lady wet fly.

WATER RANCH LAKE, Gilbert, AZ

Results that I experienced were generally the same as at Veterans Oasis Lake, including the productive fly patters. I did have one heart stopping moment when a large carp chased and was briefly hooked on a # 14 pink san juan worm pattern. I hope to explore this pattern on the resident carps more in June.

FEATURED VIDEOS:

Fisherman As Warriors –  link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cMRW503DbY

Sanchin Kata For Fisherman –  link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI

Until my next submission, I hope you continue to enjoy the articles I post on this weblog. Tight lines.

Sensei John

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

You can now arrange for either a fly fishing lecture or lesson with Sensei John, please see the “LESSONS & LECTURES” Page.

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

FEATURED PRODUCT - FFD SHOT GLASS

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.

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.

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.

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.

FLY FISHING USING THE MUSHIN STATE OF MIND

10 Oct
In the first installment of Fly Fish Like A Karate Master, I discussed the most fundamental element of not only fly fishing, but life itself. That element is PROPER breathing. (See Improve Your Fly-fishing With Proper Breathing, posted on August 25, 2010). In this second installment, I would like to introduce you to an omnipresent state of mind, or spirit, that pervades Karate-Do. This state of mind is called “Mushin” (pronounced “Moo-shin“). Mushin is an abbreviation of the phrase “Mushin No Shin” which refers to a mental state described as “Mind, No-Mind”. Mushin is taken directly from my training in Goshin-Do Karate-Do. Using the Mushin state of mind, you will be able to purge yourself of external thoughts so as to be open to and absorb your complete fly fishing experience. Ultimately, such expansion of the mind or spirit will result in a more fulfilling experience while fly fishing and, perhaps, increase your productivity in catching and releasing the species of fish you seek.

An expression of the Kanji, Japanese calligraphy, for Mushin.

Mushin is a unique state of mind wherein one actively experiences one’s environment with the totality of one’s senses. The sensory inputs are transmitted to the brain. The brain processes these sensory inputs and accordingly transmits reactionary impulses to the body and simultaneously creates a state of mind, or spirit, attendant to the inputs received. Invariably, an undeveloped spirit will focus on what it believes to be the most pervasive of the sensory inputs, to the exclusion of the other sensory inputs, and evolve a mental or spiritual state to meet the situation transmitted via the sensory inputs. This state of mind is characterized as “clouded”.

The Mushin state of spiritual being is “unclouded”. Instead of focusing the mind or spirit onto a specific sensory input to the exclusion of the others, Mushin perceives all inputs from the sensory world and absorbs them totally. Prior to contrary belief, the Mushin perception does not necessarily focus the mind onto one specific sensory or mental inputs to the exclusion of all other sensory or mental inputs. Rather, a specific input is perceived within the context of all other perceptions. Thus, the spirit is uncluttered by a single exaggerated sensory input. The spirit is uncluttered so as to experience and accept all sensory inputs for exactly what they are.

Mushin can, and should be, readily be incorporated into one’s daily routine as a “default“ state of mind. In addition, Mushin can be used to foster the fly fishing experience. Mushin directly cultivates the physical technique, unclouded state of mind and spiritual enjoyment of fly fishing. To illustrate this point, I will share with you one particular day of fly-fishing I recently enjoyed. That day was Tuesday, September 14th, 2010.

The day before I had learned that my first Sensei, Sensei Nick D’Antuono, had passed away. This weighed heavily on my mind and I had a restless night, sleeping maybe three hours at best. At sunrise, I decided I would combine my morning Karate training with fly fishing in the hope that the combination would somehow waken my body and depleted spirit. I drove the short distance to the lake at Veterans Oasis Park. I decided that I would walk around the lake a bit to get my blood flowing. After walking the lake three times, I performed a Karate Kata called Sanchin. The Sanchin Kata takes less than five minutes to perform and is an excellent way to oxygenate and invigorate the body and mind. Sanchin also facilitates attaining the Mushin state of mind. (See Endnote # 1). Now I was ready to fish.

I selected my favorite double nymph combination, a # 14 Rainbow Warrior followed by a # 16 Ju-Ju Bee and tied them to the end of a 5X Tippet (See Endnote #2). For this outing, I was using my 7 ½ foot Cortland Pro-Crest Fly Rod with a five weight double taper floating line. I began casting and presented the brace of nymphs in an area that I know holds fish. Within in the Mushin state of mind, I was able to appreciate the sound of the water as it cascaded down the rocks from the recharge facility to the main lake. The air smelled sweet and clean. Even the sun lightly heating my body felt welcome. I was being absorbed into my environment and it into me. I caught a few bluegill and small bass. From experience, I knew it was time to change tactics and decided that my best chance of hooking a larger fish would be to walk along the lakeshore and sight fish for larger fish that may be cruising the shoreline.

I kept my fly rod at the ready holding the rod in my right hand and a few coils of loose line in my left hand. In this manner I would be able to immediately cast to any fish I might see. I walked along about three feet from the waters edge. In the Mushin state of mind, my mind was unoccupied by any thoughts, it simply perceived my environment. The sound, smell and rhythm of the lake simply entered my body. I walked along the gravel shoreline when I suddenly perceived a different sound. There was a unexpected slight splash from the lake, approximately twenty feet from the shoreline. I looked and saw the slightest ripple on the water. I inhaled in the special method of Karate breathing I call “Issho-ibuki” (Lifetime breathing) and cast to the ripple. The brace of flies landed delicately on the water. After a brief pause I began a melody of retrieving the flies whereby I would twitch the flies and pause and repeat. After three twitches, the line grew heavy. After an additional five minutes or so a decent size largemouth bass was in my hands. I persuaded the fish into posing for a picture and saw to his sound release.

Mushin allowed me to locate this bass.

After releasing the fish, I continued to walk the lakeshore. I walked to the opposite shore which is bordered by a concrete walkway and rounded, walled patio. For reasons unknown to me at the time, I decided to pause and again perform a Sanchin Kata. After the four minutes or so that it took to perform Sanchin, I bent down to pick up my fly rod. As I faced the lake, I immediately noticed a largemouth bass cruising along to my left. I remained crouched low close to the wall so that cruising fish would not see me. After it crossed in front of me, I again, inhaled in the unique manner of Issho-ibuki and began to false cast. I was able to use the rounded configuration of the patio to cast ahead of the fish without casting on top of it. I again paused and twitched. The fish immediately hit. After a few minutes of reconciling of desire to catch the fish and its desire to get away, I eventually won out. I walked the fish to a comfortable and adjacent grassy location where he posed for a picture. The photographic fish was then returned to continue on its journey. In less that twenty minutes I successfully procured two fish at opposite ends of the lake.

A hot 100 degrees, but Mushin provides again

I released the fish, paused a moment and considered my decision, if my act can be called decisive, to perform Sanchin. Had I not done so, I would have walked on before the fish cruised by. I came to understand that by having Mushin as a state of mind, I unknowingly perceived the fish. That is not to say that I foretold the fish would cruise by. Rather, Mushin allowed me to perceive and unknowingly read the lake. Perhaps I perceived the fish’s dorsal fin moving on the surface, or perhaps I perceived baitfish scattering, or saw a heron look interestedly at the water. This is the different between “seeing” and “perceiving“. I firmly believe that the state of Mushin dictated that I pause at that time and place.

After releasing the second fish, I decided that I was fulfilled by the mornings activities. I did not want to over stay nature’s welcome of me at her doorstep, so as is my custom, I turned and bowed to show my respect to the water. I drove home feeling physically, mentally and spiritually better.

Before concluding this installment, I would like to give you another scenario to contemplate. The above example illustrated a benefit of Mushin through an enhanced fly fishing experience. In the following imaginative scenario, I would like to illustrate how Mushin may be used to prevent danger. Imagine fly-fishing on a beautiful remote mountain trout steam, perhaps in Alaska. Imagine further that your mind is clouded and thus not open to absorbing nature through the use of Mushin. You are so focused on the trout fly as it floats on the surface of the water, and so determined to catch a fish that you know must be right there, that you fail to perceive the smell of the clean, pure air, the cool feel of the water against your legs, or fail to see the stray grizzly bear sneaking up for a view.

Until the next article, consider Mushin as a state of mind when fly fishing. May your flies always be on or in the water.

Sensei John

ENDNOTES:

1. Mushin is fully discussed in my book entitled Sanchin Kata: Gateway To The Plateau Of Human Serenity. You may preview thee book by viewing on my martial arts weblog and clicking on the Sanchin Book page. You may visit the weblog at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.

2. For those of you that are not familiar with the fly patterns mentioned, they are available online through Big Y Fly Co.

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.

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