Stream fishing in Arizona is a very limited affair, but living in Payson allows us to reach many quality trout waters within an hour's driving time. A number of deep canyons that drain south from the Mogollon Rim have fishable streams that do hold trout. Then, add two excellent fish hatcheries at Tonto and Canyon Creek and we have some pretty good trout fishing very close to home.
Last week I took Ken Perkins, a Payson High School teacher and friend, to Tonto Creek for a late afternoon fishing excursion. This was prior to Memorial Day weekend and I knew the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery usually stocks the streams for the holiday crowds. We were not disappointed. Most pools in the upper reaches of the creek held trout.
This was Ken's first experience at stream fishing, so I had the opportunity to share a few tips that would improve his chances of catching trout.
An ultralight spinning rod of 5.5 feet or less with 4-pound McCoy or Calcutta line is my choice. The short rod gets me into those tight brushy spots that are common along our small streams. The light line allows me to throw the smallest mepps spinners, panther martins, or Z-rays.
To keep from spooking the trout, one should fish upstream because trout normally face upstream waiting for the next meal.
Another presentation tip is to keep your shadow off the water because trout will spook at the slightest motion.
These simple recommendations will help you catch more stream trout, but the key is to go and practice and your fishing will get better.
As Ken spent time on the creek, his casting improved and the accuracy of his bait presentation pinpointed many catchable rainbows. As a result, he caught and released several nice trout to be caught again by some other lucky angler.
By the way, Ken did take a couple of fish home for supper. I think he's hooked on stream fishing.
If you go this week to any of our local bodies of water, bring a daypack and make it a better place because you were there by picking up the litter left by someone else.
Our forest and watersheds are priceless, so enjoy God's creation and take someone fishing.