April is here and trout fishing enthusiasts are anxious to wet a line as the ice is breaking up on the higher elevation Rim lakes. The streams under the Mogollon Rim of Tonto, Christopher, Haigler, Canyon, and the East Verde, are running high from the snowpack of this past winter but are now fishable.
All of these waters have holdover trout from the previous year’s trout stocking programs and after a long winter they have that springtime appetite. For the angler, this means various artificial baits of flies and spinners can be very effective at this time of year.
If a trout can last a season in one of these streams, it will become essentially a wild trout with all of their characteristics. This means motions, shadows, and even sounds will cause it to find the nearest hiding place.
For the fisherman, this creates an attitude of a hunt and stalk mentality with a fly rod or ultra-light spinning gear instead of a gun or bow. This adds to the challenge and excitement of trying to fool one of these fish.
Veteran trout angler, Pat Haynes, who is renowned for catching big German Browns, has an interesting story about noise and its impact on big fish.
He was eating lunch on a remote stream in the Rim Country and saw three 20-inch-plus trout cruising the pool, when his buddy 30 yards upstream rolled a rock. Those three trophy trout immediately took cover and were not seen again until sunset!
Remember, keep your profile low, make very little noise, and try to fish upstream, which is the general direction a fish will face. Another tip is to use light line, 4-pound test is probably the best for the streams of the Rim Country.
Low visibility of the line can make a difference in catching these holdover fish.
The Tonto Fish Hatchery will start their summer stocking program this week which will add to the action in all the waters under the Rim.
The scheduled stocking program will improve the fishing all spring and well into the dog days of summer.
If you haven’t purchased that fishing license and trout stamp, don’t wait, there is plenty of quality angling within a 30-mile radius of Payson. Take your family fishing and enjoy God’s creation.