Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bear Flats - Cinco De Mayo

I took a trip back up to Bear Flats on May 5th. I was joined by a friend of mine, Mike Pierson, who’s not a fisherman but wanted to get out of the city and see a part of Arizona he’s never seen before. Plus I figured if he went out there, caught some fish and had some fun he might find more interest in the sport. So, I picked Mike up about 5:45 am. He loads his gear up in the truck including his telescoping “pen” fishing pole and the famous “pocket fisherman”. I knew he had those gadgets, I just didn’t think he’d actually use them!

So we start heading north, telling old stories and having a good time. We finally hit the creek about 8:30 or so. I was concerned about taking him here because I really wanted to put him in an area that was easy to fish so he would have some success and fun. The last time I was at Bear Flats I took the kids and we found fish right away. So when we finally get to the water I was pleased to see fish…..and lots of fish. The water was extremely clear and running slow. We fished the first pool for probably 1 ½ to 2 hours. I think Mike caught 2 fish here and lost one or two more before getting them all the way in. In Mike’s defense, his equipment wasn’t easy to fish with. I think I caught about 8 and lost an additional 2 or 3 before the net. I even caught one with the “pocket fisherman” just to see if it was possible. I have no more comments about the “pocket fisherman”.

From there we moved upstream and found a nice little run. Again the water was so clear you could see fish everywhere. There was probably 10 or 12 fish in this run with one really big one that probably would have measured 17 to 18 inches easily. I waded downstream to cast over the fish and Mike worked them from shoreline. I caught 2 or 3 of the smaller ones from that spot. Mike didn’t catch any trout there but ended landed this monster sunfish. Boy did this little guy put up a fight! It had to have lasted a good 10 or 12 seconds and Mike’s arms were burning! I didn't even know these little guys were in this creek. Check out the picture to the right.

A little ways up further we stopped at a rather large pool that was just loaded with fish. Mike was really having trouble with his set up. I think he did catch a few and seemed to be pretty excited. I caught quite a few here, probably 6 or 7. I lose count after a while. All of them were the average stocker size, around 10 to 12 inches. What I did notice was that even though it was a nice sunny day that would be perfect for dry flies, there was no bugs on the surface and the fish were not rising. So I stuck with dead drift nymphing and it was working. I was using Beaded Pheasant Tails and Copper Johns with different various midges behind them. The fish were hitting on both the larger and the smaller flies.

My end goal was to hike back to what I call “The 2nd Road” to catch this big fish that has been eluding me for the past few trips. As we were hiking in that direction I could see fish in runs everywhere. We would stop at various runs and I’d catch 1 or 2 here and there. We finally made it to my spot. I only fished it for a short time because there was a lot of moss and the water was low but I did end up catching 2 or 3 fish there but not the big one. My plan was to put Mike in the pool above this area which had been productive in the past. However, it didn’t look good today.

At this point I think Mike was getting tired of messing with his micro rod set up so we started heading back downstream. I found a few more runs to fish with one of them holding a very large rainbow. I seemed like I caught every fish in that run except the big one. I guess that’s why he’s big. Mike and I had got split up at this point. He was off whittling a stick and messing with some snake he found. I stayed back and fished some different areas and had some pretty good luck. I eventually made it back to truck. I think I caught somewhere over 25 fish for the day. All of them were rainbows except one was a nice brown. Most of them were in the 10 to 12 inch range with 2 of them pushing a whopping 13 inches and a little fatter. Mike seemed to enjoy himself out there and I'm looking forward to some more trips with him. Overall it was a great day on the creek.