My good friend and best fishing buddy, Nate, and I took off on Friday and headed up to Bear Flats on Tonto Creek, east of Payson. We got there about 10:00(ish) and geared up. Nate had brought an old pair of waders that leak so he decided to wrap the lower half of the waders in duct tape. Not so fashionable but it worked. The area was gorgeous with many long runs with the occasional plunge pool. We both were using a two nymph set up with pheasant tails, copper johns, hair’s ears and midges. Nate had tied all of his own flies so many of his are not named, but they definitely worked.
The fishing started out good with each of us catching a few. We made our way to an area of the creek with a small road cut through it. The south side of the road created a small waterfall into a pool. We fished that area for a while. Nate was catching some really small fish and at one point he said he saw a big fish near a rock by the falls. He threw a line directly over the rock and that fish was hooked in no time. Nate was using a new 3 wt. rod that was pretty light and wasn’t sure how it would handle a larger fish so he netted it as fast as he could. The fish ended up being about 16 inches long and was the largest of the day. The creek on the north side of the road was higher than the south side and created a small pool/run before crossing over. We had noticed some fish feeding on the surface in that area. We stayed there for about 30 minutes or so each catching several.
We worked our way up the creek stopping at each pool and run. There seemed to be good places to fish every 100 yards. I don’t know how far we hiked up this creek, maybe a mile or two, but the fishing was good and it gave me some good experience with small creek fishing.
We fished many more spots on the way back and ended up stopping at the fishing hole that had the small road running through it. We each caught a few more there. Nate was irritated because at one point he had hooked a fish but lost a nymph that he tied. A little while later I had landed a fish and guess what?.......................... I found Nate’s nymph in its lip!
It was late in the day now and we moved back down stream. I ended up catching one more before heading back to the truck. Overall I think I caught 12 or 13 fish for the day, some rainbows and some browns. Most of them were in the 8 to 10 inch range with one or two around 12 inches. Nate probably caught a little over 20. He’s the man! We had a great day of fishing and will definitely be returning to Bear Flats.
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