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JestersHK

My journey west... Arizona trout on the fly

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So last Friday we started a journey out west for a week with my family and in-laws.  Had great weather and made the trip in about 20 hours after all of our pit stops that comes along with a 6 year old.  

We took the 44/40 route through OK, TX, and NM and we're staying in flag staff. On the way in we timed it to hit the petrified Forest when they opened on Saturday.  What an amazing park. Truly breath taking in some parts. Well if you're a rock nerd like me lol.  We did some hiking and exploring and after 5 hours in the park headed to our rental. Here's a few pics of the forest.  My oldest is pretending to be a prehistoric wood Chuck...

I'll get to fish I promise ;)

 

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So Sunday we set out to a park called Oak Creek Canyon.  It's a bit South of flag staff and runs all the way into Sedona.  It's a BIG canyon.  And had a bunch of parks and great forest things to do.  I had also researched this park for potential trout fishing, and my chance to land an Arizona trout, but more on that later.  

Park was packed on the holiday but we went and creek hopped anyways for a bit.  Then headed into Sedona.  All 7 of us piled into a Humvee and took an of road tour of the red rocks.  Very cool to see, and the off road park was great albeit a bit bumpy and dusty.

After that it was back home and much needed showers which ran red from all the dust.  I still have red dust coming out my nose lol

Tommorow we hit the Grand canyon... I promise there's a fish story here lol.

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So Monday was a loooong day of traveling.  My father in law flew in and missed the petrified Forest.  We decided he needed to see it and our pass was still valid so cost us nothing to get back in.

We planned out our day which would consist of about 11 hours of driving... 

We'd hit the meteor crater first, then swing up to the forest and do a quick drive through, and the drive to the 4 corners monument where AZ, NM, CO, and UT all come together.  Then a 3 hour plus back to flag staff.

Although it was a super long day packed allot in and had a great day.  Meteor crater is cool, 4 corners was neat, but we all agreed not worth the 7 hours drive time for about 30 minutes of standing on the circles lol.  Lesson learned...

 

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So I mixed it up earlier and Tuesday was actually grand canyon day.  

Was only about an hour and a half drive from our rental and we got there pretty early.  

I'll just go ahead and say it.  I was a nervous wreck the whole time we were there... Watching people dangle over the edge made me naseaus.

Keeping a constant eye on my girls was exhausting even though they were behaved and stayed on the paths most of the time.  The canyon is awe inspiring and I'm glad I got to see it, but don't think I'd make a habit of wandering off the paths.  I'll have to update this post with my wife pics.  I took like 3 pictures the while time I was there lol...

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So I had done some research and found a guide service out of Sedona, but they book up about 3 or 4 months ahead of time, so I figured I'd try my luck on my own. 

I really only had 2 close choices to try for a trout.  The oak Creek Canyon about a 30min drive, and the silver Creek area which was about 3 hours away.

I've driven 2400 miles up to this point so I opted for the closer choice.  I woke around 430am and loaded up and headed back to the canyon. Luckily the night before I had already bought my license and some flies the Sedona guides said were working at the sportsman warehouse.

  Our previous trip to the canyon a ranger gave me a handy handout with mile markers and spots to fish at. So I hit the first mile marker that started the catch and release area.

I worked my way down a boulder strewn path through a bunch of thorns and was greeted with a small pocket of water after some ripples.  

Saw a few small trout working the bottom but I spooked them getting out of the brush to where I could cast. Finally I worked up stream with enough stealth I was able to get a take on a size 16 parachute.  

He wasn't a monster, he was tiny actually lol, but I breathed a sigh of relief as I'd accomplished my mission of crossing off another state that I'd caught a trout in.  I picked up two more small rainbows before I went back up for some water and to hit a different spot.

I found another trail down to the water.  This one was less treacherous than the last and it opened up to a big long pool that was churning with fish.  There was a big out cropping that hung out over the water that I stealthily crawled out onto.  The top water was hit or miss, and I kept hanging flies in the trees above me so I put on a crackle back and started stripping and dead drifting.  The water here is crystal clear enough I could sight fish my crackle back and I started picking up fish left and right.

After I sore mouthed a few of them it slowed down.  A guide from Sedona came down with a client and I gave them my spot as I took a break.  We chit chatted about fishing, and his client was from the same upstate New York town my wife has family in... Small world indeed.  They were having mixed success with a midge under an indicator, but then we both started stripping bead heads and it was game on.  I think I had 4 fish on 6 casts.  

Landed a few nicer ones, but the fish here are tiny compared to Taney rainbows... A 22 to 24in Brown is a lifetime fish here.  I showed him some of Duane's month of May and he was shell shocked lol.

I finished the day with my 21 fish total.  Fished from 5 to 11.  Not exactly killing it, but I'll take it being in a foreign land not knowing the water.

Heading back in the morning.  The have native browns here that I really want a crack at.

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Neat trip, going out west is always fun so much neat stuff to see and do.  There was quite a bit of petrified wood in Washington where I used to chukar hunt.  It had all been encased in lava and was exposed over the eons as the lava rock eroded away.  

There's some chunks on the shore of Beaver lake near the COE parks, little stuff, no big logs.  

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4 hours ago, BilletHead said:

             Nice Trip report DJ,

  A great family trip and fishing bonus. Been doing a bit of research lately in that part of the country. A couple of natives on our list to chase someday. Thanks for the post buddy,

  BilletHead

Agree — nice trip report.  

I want to get to AZ someday for their unique native trout. Did catch a few Rio Grande cutts over in northern NM, which was fun. 

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Thanks for the replies guys.   It really is beautiful out here. 

I headed out again this morning to some different water. After a good 400ft hike down I found some nice pools that were holding fish. I nymph fish with no indicator and could barely see the bead head, but the flash as the fish hit was awesome. I also stripped a small orange jig which they hammered.

Again not any size but they were strong little bows.

Seen a ton of elk out here too.  Was driving so kind of hard to see...

This is my last day here then tomorrow we head to Colorado!

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