The summer trout fishing season has been going on for three months and all the local waters within an hour’s drive of Payson have had significant angling pressure.
The recent heat wave has brought thousands of campers who have hopes of cooling off, and of course, wetting a line in one of the popular lakes and streams in the area.
The fishing forecast has been very good thanks to the weekly stocking program by the Tonto Fish Hatchery in the local waters of the East Verde, Tonto, Christopher and Haigler creeks. On any summer weekend, these waters are crowded with anglers trying to catch a rainbow and maybe enjoy a little solitude in the shade of the pine trees!
Recently, I have been exploring a few of the secondary streams in the Rim Country which are harder to reach because they require a little hiking. These waters usually start with a spring and only travel a mile or two before they go underground which also makes them difficult to locate by the casual hiker.
It is amazing to note that even in the heat of summer, these small brooks have a very healthy flow of water which can sustain a trout population. As I was wandering these canyons, I realized that there was literally no else on these small streams but my hiking companions Mike Foree and Don Heizer.
Of course, we took our ultra-light fishing gear just in case we saw a trout that we might catch.
These small brooks are so delicate and pristine that we made sure to crimp and file the barbs so that we could release any wild trout caught back to the water. You guessed it, some of these streams held trout that had spent their entire life in that little brook.
More than 70 years ago the Civilian Conservation Corps had actually improved these secondary waters under the direction of a couple of pioneer game wardens and created some healthy trout fisheries. It is amazing that some of these waters still have a few trout as remnants of those initial plants.
This is just a thought, but wouldn’t it be great if these streams that are only a mile or two in length could be re-established as trout waters which would increase the availability of more trout fishing opportunities in the Rim Country? There are at least five streams that I have walked which might fit the criteria.
This no doubt would make the Rim a more attractive destination for a different kind of angler.
These are mostly fly-fishing enthusiasts that have no interest in keeping any trout caught. They often make trips to the White Mountains of Arizona or southwestern Colorado for this kind of backcountry wilderness experience. There are a few spots within a radius of 30 miles of Payson that could be created to offer this opportunity.
This is a vision shared by a few, but maybe it can become a reality with a little planning and volunteerism by outdoorsmen in the Rim Country.
This weekend take a friend fishing and enjoy God’s creation.