Most trout streams of north-central Arizona have as their origin the Mogollon Rim, but there are a few exceptions, which should create some interest among anglers. Names like Workman, Salome and Haigler Creeks are definitely off the beaten path, and have as their origin the Sierra Anchas or the Naegelin Rim. These small streams are in the vicinity of Young, Ariz. and require a bit more driving time on winding, gravel roads, which also reduces the fishing pressure during the summer months.
As the crow flies, they are only 20 to 25 miles away, but because of the mountainous roads heading south from Highway 260, travel may take up to two hours. These streams are stocked periodically during the spring and summer, but not as frequently as the more popular waters which can be reached by never leaving the pavement.
Following the Chamberlain Trail, which starts on the Colcord Road, can be an adventurous trip as it meanders over Turkey Mountain and hugs the canyon walls as it descends into Haigler Canyon and the picturesque trout stream at the bottom. It is a common occurrence to see various kinds of wildlife, which may include turkey, deer, elk, and maybe even a wandering black bear. Of course, the early morning or late afternoon reduced light periods increase the odds of seeing one of these popular big-game animals.
The Chamberlain Trail road crosses Haigler Creek where there are numerous unimproved camping sites and ample parking for the angler planning on spending the day on the stream. By hiking away from the road, the fishing pressure is greatly reduced and there is always that chance of catching a trophy German brown in the 14-inch or larger category. Although most of the fish caught will be rainbows that have been stocked during the previous weeks of the spring and summer.
Another small stream to explore is Workman Creek, which is south of Young about 14 miles and can be reached by driving State Route 288. This gravel road meanders through the heart of the tall pines of the Sierra Anchas and eventually descends into the desert a few miles east of Roosevelt Lake. Workman Creek is at an elevation of 6,200 feet and the water flow is minute in comparison to the more familiar Tonto Creek, but it is stocked a couple of times each summer. There are always a few trout in its waters, which makes it a fishing spot for someone who wants to enjoy the scenery as well as wetting a line.
Both of these creeks are off the beaten path and require additional driving time on unpaved roads. The fishing pressure is obviously less, which might even create a little solitude when casting a spinner or dabbling a fly in one of the many riffles created as these small streams descend from the high country.
This weekend, in the celebration of our country’s independence, remember our Founding Fathers and the sacrifices they made during the American Revolution. We can enjoy all the freedoms we have, which include fishing and hunting in the greatest country in the world, the United States of America.