Two of the most often asked questions among weekend anglers are: what are they biting on and how can I catch them? Well, tomorrow is the opportunity to ask 15 of the best bass fishermen in the world those very questions and more.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and here is the proof of a recent fishing adventure about the big one that didn’t get away! Dylan and Ely Keeney had the chance to go fishing with their longtime friend, Charlie Francis, on Apache Lake where they hooked a behemoth carp on a lightweight trout rod.
The first of the fall shotgun seasons opened two days ago with the mourning and white winged dove hunt. Arizona is one of the premier states for this popular bird with prolific numbers in the lower elevation desert regions.
More than 20 years ago, the slot limit program was created for Roosevelt Lake by the Arizona Game and Fish Department to improve the declining fishery.
The months of waiting have come and gone since the closing of archery deer season on the last day of January. But now we have an additional three weeks with high hopes of outwitting a whitetail or mule deer in most of the hunting units along the Mogollon Rim. I had to dig into my wallet and find that unused, well-folded tag which can be still used for this late-summer hunt that begins today, Friday, Aug. 20.
OUTDOORS UNDER THE RIM
It seems like every month of the year has something to do for the outdoorsmen in the Rim Country. August is one of those months when a trout rod may give way to archery equipment — and don’t forget to keep that berry bucket handy.
The fall hunting seasons are not far away. With the big-game drawing being completed, most outdoorsmen know if they were fortunate enough to draw a deer, antelope, elk or sheep tag in one of the many Arizona hunts.
The summer monsoon rains certainly have a positive impact on the Rim Country as the landscape takes on a brighter green color with the new grasses sprouting everywhere, which obviously benefits all kinds of wildlife. The local streams are recharged with an increased flow of water, and the water temperature of the lakes on the Rim cool a bit, which is healthier trout habitat. Consequently, fish get a bit more active, which benefits anglers as they try to outsmart a German brown or a rainbow.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department has concluded the drawing procedure for big game.
The Payson-Pine area and the other small communities of northern Gila County are unique in that they are totally surrounded by the Tonto National Forest.
If you have driven south on the Beeline, no doubt you have seen the rough sawn post adorned with elk antlers — this is the new archery shop in town.
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.
For the past three months, the East Verde River has had a strong flow of water because of the above-normal winter snowpack.
The Mogollon Rim as a major geological rock formation that rises more than a 1,000 feet in some locations to an altitude of more than 7,000 feet creates many springs and seeps that drain the plateau above.
One of the largest fund-raiser banquets in the Rim Country was held three weeks ago by the Mogollon Sporting Association at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino and again, it was a huge success.
Every summer, the Mogollon Rim chain of lakes receives a mass migration of Valley residents who want to enjoy the cool temperatures of the 7,000 ft. elevation and the chance to catch a limit of rainbows from one of its seven lakes.
The Arizona antelope and elk permits for the fall have already been mailed out to those hunters who were fortunate enough to draw a tag.
The spring turkey hunting season came to a close yesterday throughout all of northern Arizona. The birds in the local units of 22, 23 and 6A were very obliging in that they continued to turkey talk to the final days of the hunt.
The heavy snowfall this past winter has definitely recharged all the trout fishing waters, including the seven lakes above 7,000 feet on the Mogollon Rim
Trout fishing, finding elk antler sheds, and, of course, luring “old tom turkey” with an artificial call highlight springtime in the high country of Arizona
Small-town America fund-raising is alive and well when it comes to a volunteer organization in Payson by the name of the Mogollon Sporting Association.
The local trout streams within a 30-mile radius of Payson have received their first spring stocking of catchable rainbows and will continue throughout the summer. Popular waters like Tonto, Christopher, Haigler, Canyon and the East Verde will be visited by the Tonto Fish Hatchery on a regular basis providing thousands of catchable rainbow trout in the 9- to 12-inch range. Each of these waters will also receive bonus or incentive fish, which will tip the scales at 2 to 3 pounds to certainly add excitement for the locals as well as the visiting anglers from the Valley.
Its mid-April and the crappies on Roosevelt Lake are finally moving to the shallows for their annual spawn. Having said this, still the fishing is sporadic because it is so difficult to find a bank where there is a heavy concentration of those dark speckled beauties. A good day on the water might be a stringer of 20 fish, unless you can find a real hot spot.
Springtime in the high country of Arizona brings a unique opportunity of hearing wild turkeys in the woods.
The water is starting to stabilize on Roosevelt Lake at 100 percent of capacity, which is good news for the future of warm water fishing. Longer days mean more solar heating as the temperature of the water is rising to the low 60s, and that creates perfect spawning conditions for the largemouth bass. All sizes of bass will be cruising the shallows looking for the right location to make the nest where the female will lay the eggs that will soon be fertilized by the male fish.
Spring in the high country is starting to change the scenery, with the snow melting on the face of the Rim and the new grasses sprouting everywhere. The lower elevations have a head start, bringing a myriad of colors with wildflowers and a velvet green landscape. The abundant winter moisture has certainly revitalized all of Arizona.
Dennis Pirch, who writes the Outdoors Under the Rim column for the Payson Roundup, has been fishing the Rim Country for more than a couple of decades. His oldest son, Clifford, is a professional bass fisherman. Here are a few fishing tips Pirch has offered in his Roundup columns.
Spring is finally here in the high country, and the Rim Country Optimist Club is kicking off the warm weather with their 4th Annual Kids Fishing Festival at Green Valley Park.
The late winter storms have continued to bring massive amounts of snow to the Rim Country, and rain to the lower elevations. Every canyon seems to have a live water flow, and those east of the Beeline Highway eventually drain into Tonto or Canyon Creek and finally into Roosevelt Lake.
March is here! Roosevelt Lake is at 100 percent of capacity, and the warmer temperatures are starting to return to Arizona. To the warm-water angler, this means bass will be heading to the spawning grounds of shallow water, and great fishing is right around the corner. The migration of bass boat owners from northern communities, which have been digging out of numerous winter storms, is on the increase daily, because the word is out.
The Rim Country is a trout fisherman’s paradise. Most of the waters are within an hour’s driving time of the Payson city limits. All these lakes and streams are consistently stocked from April through mid-fall. Most of these waters also have a good number of holdover fish that take on characteristics of true wild trout.
Even though it is only mid-February, I would like to think that spring is in the air with this past week’s warmup. If you have lived in the Rim Country for any length of time, this kind of balmy weather may just be an interlude before the next winter blast.
The fall and winter hunting seasons are now history with most outdoorsmen storing their bows and rifles until next August.
Throughout the United States there is a common thread among outdoorsmen who enjoy the hunting experience — the pursuit of the local game animals. In the extreme southern tier of states, which are east of the Mississippi River, whitetail deer and wild turkeys attract the bulk of the big game hunters.
Winter in the northern tier of states has a hardy breed of outdoor recreationalist called the ice fisherman.
It is that time of year again to start the process to secure next fall’s antelope and elk permits for the state of Arizona. The booklets and application envelopes are at most major sporting goods stores as well as the local Walmart. This drawing is early for Arizonans in order to aid hunters in planning fall hunts in state so that there is no overlap with the more popular deer and turkey seasons.
There is good news for local anglers — Green Valley Lake has been stocked again with catchable rainbow trout. Every two weeks throughout the winter and spring months, our local fishing waters receive hundreds of trout to add to those already living in the lake.
Some of my earliest memories of the outdoors were actually encouraged by reading numerous magazines that had fascinating stories about fishing and hunting. An Outdoor Life or a Field and Stream was usually read from cover to cover in one evening, which would usually give me plenty of ammunition for day-dreaming material.
New Year’s Day is a time for college football, food and friends, as the holiday season begins to wind down. This time of year always seems to add a few pounds, with all the great food and desserts that are so easy to reach at a timeout or during a television commercial. Consequently, those New Year’s resolutions made usually include some kind of exercise program for the coming year.
It is Christmas morning and family and friends surround me as we open gifts with anticipation and surprise. That nagging question that always seems to arise in me returns, “Did I get the right present for many of my relatives?”
The first major winter storm has hit the Rim Country and the White Mountains and may have caused a little inconvenience, but is a welcome arrival in regard to future water levels at the local lakes. Most rain gauges in the Payson area recorded about two inches of precipitation while the higher elevations received nearly two feet of very wet snow.
The ice is starting to form on the lakes above 7,000 feet on the Rim and in the White Mountains where only the most diehard anglers are still wetting a line. They are in pursuit of lunker size German brown trout that are trying to spawn in these high mountain lakes.
OUTDOORS UNDER THE RIM
In the last decade, archery equipment has progressively improved, with bows that are lighter, faster and more efficient to use in the field. The engineering departments of the major archery equipment producers are constantly developing ideas that will give their company the edge in sales in the outdoor market.
One of the more popular hunts in Arizona has been going on for six weeks and there is still over two months left in the season.
The Rim Country is synonymous as a trout fishing destination because of all the lakes and streams within a radius of 30 miles of the Payson area. The elevation of all these waters varies from 5,000 to 7,500 feet, which can create quite a climate change, especially at this time of year.
The rifle deer season in Arizona has started in most units with numerous hunts that are a week in duration.
The month of October means the beginning of all those rifle deer hunts in various units throughout the state.
There are so many outdoor activities other than fishing and hunting that can be enjoyed in the Rim Country during the fall. Kathy and I make it an annual event to enjoy the autumn colors in a couple of our favorite canyons under the Mogollon Rim.
The big-game seasons are upon us in the Rim Country and having an Arizona bull elk tag is like winning the lottery to those of us in the hunting fraternity.
It was about a month ago that longtime Rim Country resident and avid outdoorsman, Pat Willis passed away after a courageous battle with cancer.