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Dennis Pirch

Stories by Dennis

Big game applications due soon

The antelope and elk permits have already been issued for 2013 and those lucky hunters who drew a tag already have a week or two in the fall set aside for the pursuit of big game.

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Let’s keep our forest clean

The Memorial Day weekend crowds appeared to be at an all-time high, with the local campgrounds and day-use areas filled to capacity by Valley residents wanting to escape the heat of metropolitan Phoenix.

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Spring trout fishing

It is mid May and the Rim lakes have been producing limits of rainbow trout to the anglers who have already made the short trip. Water temperatures have gradually increased after the long winter and that has made the holdover trout more active and willing to bite.

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Young Payson anglers win tourney

Over the years Payson anglers have shown very well in state, regional and national bass fishing tournaments. There is a younger generation of high school- and college-age anglers that are continuing with that tradition and the fishing world of competitive bass angling is taking notice.

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Ted Pettet receives Legacy Award 2013

Ted Pettet was a young Arizona State College graduate (now Northern Arizona University) when he came to Payson as a business teacher/coach 54 years ago and he is still making a difference in young people’s lives in this community.

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The crappie bite is starting on Roosevelt Lake

It is finally starting to happen at Roosevelt Lake – the springtime crappie bite is blooming.

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Springtime fishing off to a slow start at Roosevelt

While local anglers are chomping at the bit to head to the largest of the Salt River reservoirs, Roosevelt Lake, the fish just aren’t cooperating.

Listen for wild turkey mating calls

Winter is coming to a close, the days are getting longer, and the comfortable temperatures encourage more outside activities.

Repairing fishing equipment in the off season

It’s early March and most of the hunting seasons are over, yet, spring is still a few weeks away.

First hunt memorable for fifth-grader

The rifles and bows are now back in their cases, stored away for the next hunting season.

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Youth hunt for javelina in Unit 23 a success

Over the last decade, the Arizona Game and Fish Department has expanded the youth hunts for a variety of big game including deer, elk, turkey and javelina.

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Examine those fishing rods before the season

Zane Grey, the famous Western author, was an avid outdoorsman, who enjoyed fishing in all parts of the world including right here in the Rim Country.

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Wildlife, fishing grow when water flows

Remember an old Salt River Project commercial, which stated “Arizona Grows When Water Flows”? How true that is, especially when it comes to outdoor recreation in the Rim Country. 

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Trying to outsmart a wild trout gets the adrenaline pumping

Having hiked and fished just about every stream under the Rim that had any chance of holding a trout has been an adventure over the last 50 years.  It still gets the adrenaline pumping in this aging outdoorsman — trying to outsmart a wild trout and succeeding in catching one of those brightly colored game fish on ultralight gear.  When I find a secluded stretch of water that has a rainbow, brookie, or brown trout, I often wonder how that fish took up residence in a creek that is very much off the beaten path.

HPR ammunition now available nationwide

About a year and a half ago, HPR ammunition was little more than an idea on a notepad that was being pursued by a visionary named Jim Antich, who saw the growing demand for ammunition in the firearm industry.

Typhoon sunglasses a hit at FLW Cup Expo

The fishing and hunting expo at the recent Forrest Wood Cup at Hot Springs, Ark. was attended by thousands of outdoor enthusiasts. Typhoon sunglasses were one of the biggest hits — with new styles of protective eye wear for the fishermen and other water enthusiasts. The display was always crowded with anglers wanting to try on the latest in eye protection.

Archery season begins today

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. If you hunted in the January archery deer season and did not connect, you can try again with the same tag.

Beat the heat — bass fish early

With scorching summer temperatures of well over 100 degrees during much of the day, the desert lakes attract a much smaller crowd of bass fishermen.

August is blackberry time in Rim Country

The first week of August is the time to start picking blackberries from your favorite patch. Residents who have picked in previous years know when to make that first trip with bucket in hand. Most major drainages, which originate at the base of the Rim, will have ample water and at least a few patches of blackberries.

Summer trout fishing in the White Mountains

With all of the trout lakes and streams along the Mogollon Rim that are so convenient, it is sometimes difficult to break the habit of fishing the same waters. This past week, I did just that and ventured 90 minutes farther up Highway 260 to the White Mountains. It was tough not turning left on the Tonto Fish Hatchery Road, at Woods Canyon, and finally Willow Springs, but driving farther on the 260 toward the Pinetop-Lakeside area I was in the heart of another trout fishing bonanza.

Getting in shape for upcoming fall hunts

Results from the Arizona Game and Fish Department lottery drawing for deer, turkey, sheep, and fall javelina hunting permits should soon be available on the Internet — type in and follow the directions posted. Elk and antelope tag winners have already been determined and those lucky hunters now have those precious permits in their hands for the 2011 season. Now is the time to do your part and prepare for the rigors of the fall hunt.

A day hike for wilderness stream fishing

This past week, I made a trip into one of the many wilderness streams of the Rim Country in hopes of catching a rainbow or German brown that could be classified as a wild trout.

Town elk herd requires caution

The front page article reporting the human-cow elk encounter no doubt created much attention in the Payson area. As residents of the Rim Country observing wildlife can be almost an every day occurrence, but last week’s encounter is one for the “believe it or not stories.” Whether its elk, deer, javelinas, mountain lions or bears all will create situations where there are human encounters when they inhabit the same area.

Summer trout fishing in full swing

The Rim Country offers a variety of trout fishing opportunities within an hour’s drive of Payson. One of the most popular is Tonto Creek, only 17 miles east of town on Highway 260. Because of its popularity, the Arizona Game and Fish Department has a weekly stocking program from mid-April until the end of October.

Get those rods and reels repaired now

Winter is upon us and that fishing equipment is stored in the corner of the garage waiting for the spring bite. If you are looking for something to do on one of those cold winter days, how about examining your favorite rods and reels in preparation for the first spring fishing trip?

Thanksgiving in the Rim Country

The Thanksgiving weekend is often a time for our to family gather and enjoy too much food and many stories that seem to focus on the outdoors in the Rim Country.

A look at life from atop a treestand

The four months of fall throughout the country ushers in numerous big game hunting opportunities with a variety of weapons.

Northern Arizona rifle deer season a success

Many of the rifle deer seasons have come to a close in northern Arizona, and there are reliable reports that many hunters drawing tags for the local units of 22 and 23 now have venison for the freezer

Fall trout stocking begins at Green Valley Lake

One of the most popular fishing spots in the Payson area, Green Valley Lake, received its first fall stocking of catchable rainbow trout about two weeks ago. By sundown today, these waters will have the second batch of hungry rainbows ready for all of us local anglers to catch. This program will continue every other week throughout the winter and well into the spring season.

Now is the time to be trout fishing in mountains

Many outdoor enthusiasts have stored the fishing rods as the fall hunting seasons are currently the main focus of interest. Filling that big game tag, chasing quail from ridge to ridge or waterfowl hunting will take center stage for the remainder of the fall.

The fall colors are beginning to show

The fall months, with the last days of Indian summer, offer the hiker and other outdoor enthusiasts perfect weather conditions to view the changing colors of the leaves before the winter snows.

Team effort makes FLW Bass Tournament a success

Just a few weeks ago, 100 of the best bass fishermen in the West launched their boats for a week of competitive fishing on Roosevelt Lake with Payson being the hub of all the activities.

The bugle of the bulls

During the past couple of weeks, the shrill bugle of the many bull elk that are courting the available cows in the Rim Country has interrupted the quiet early morning hours. The early fall is the time of year when getting up at the crack of dawn will add some wildlife entertainment by listening to the competing bulls as they gather their harem of cow elk, which is part of the natural cycle of reproduction for these majestic animals.

Fall turkey hunt starts today

If you were fortunate enough to draw a tag for the fall turkey hunt, chances are you were in the woods this morning at daylight.

FLW Day at Green Valley Park

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.

Now that’s a big fish

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.

Dove hunting season opened Sept. 1

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.

First no slot bass tournament a success

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.

Archery season begins today

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.

The berries are ripe


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.

Get in condition now for fall hunting

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.

Monsoons have great impact on fishing

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.

Big game draws completed; but options remain

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has concluded the drawing procedure for big game.

Keeping our national forest clean

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.

New Rim Country archery shop opens

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.

Off the beaten path

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.

East Verde River has increased water flow

For the past three months, the East Verde River has had a strong flow of water because of the above-normal winter snowpack.

Summer stream fishing on the Rim

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.

MSA awards George Randall Legacy Award

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.

Rim lakes off the beaten path can be well worth the long trip

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.