Have you been looking for a way to escape the summer heat? This time of year, many other Arizonans have the same idea, which is why most who love fishing and the outdoors look for an escape from our popular highly pressured desert lakes. If you are one of these people, how about heading up to the high country for some cooler weather and perhaps some fantastic Trout fishing? If you are willing to adventure off the grid and explore areas that are not as easily accessible, you can find some true honey holes that produce excellent Trout fishing.
Over the years, I have spent a lot of time looking at old logging road books, off-road jeep trail guides, and topographic maps just to find areas that will get me a few hundred yards to a mile or so from untouched creeks and streams. These are the areas where you will often find native Trout such as Browns, Rainbows, Brook Trout and other species that rarely see a fishing lure. My recommendation is to check with the https://www.azgfd.gov and look at the state’s creeks and streams before planning your trip. This will give you a good idea as to which species of Trout you can expect to find, and if there is a regular Trout stocking schedule. Typically, Trout stockings will be in areas accessible to a stocking truck, but if you venture away from those areas, you are almost always going to find bigger fish and those that do not receive a ton of pressure.
Some of the Trout I have caught in small streams would shock most people. Fish more than 10 to 12 pounds have been caught in creeks you could hop across and in less than 1 ft of water.
As far as equipment goes, I travel simply. Yes, you can try your luck at fly fishing, but many of these creeks are tight or overgrown which makes it difficult to work a fly rod. I recommend a 6-6”6 Med Light Spinning Rod paired with a 6-pound monofilament fishing line. This will allow you to make those accurate casts around trees, bushes, and overhanging grass which you will encounter during your hike of the streams. My lure of choice is a 2.75-inch floating Yo-Zuri pins minnow. You can try rooster tails or other lures, but after years of chasing Trout in these streams or creeks, this has been by far the best and only lure choice for me. I do change colors from time to time, but the benefit of this lure is that it floats in shallow streams allowing the lure to float over and past the rocks naturally. Most of the time I can cover water very quickly with this presentation, and Trout often attack or explode on this lure the second it hits the water.
Although Trout feed on a variety of flies, nymphs, and small crustations, they seem to have a hard time passing up a small minnow as it passes by their face. You can let this lure float or reel it down 1-3 feet when you encounter a deeper pool; many times, bigger size Trout can be found here. Some of the best Trout fishing I have ever had in this country has been in Arizona which was the last place I would have thought this would occur years ago.
You need to be careful if you do venture off to find a new fishing area, and I highly recommend traveling with a friend. It can be a lot of hiking in and out of the water, so have a good pair of hiking or trail shoes. You will have wet feet and you will be walking on uneven terrain or rock most of the day. Make sure you let somebody know where you are going before you head out on your trip. Encountering black bears, snakes, and other animals is common when you get into these remote areas, so be prepared on how to handle these situations should you find yourself in a predicament.
When I venture out exploring new areas, I often found myself on some rough roads and rugged terrain. I would recommend a 4×4 as you will need to get off the beaten path to get to these areas I am talking about. It is also good to travel with a small gas can, chain saw or ax, emergency first aid kit, and of course, plenty of food/water should you get stuck or need to spend an extra day due a breakdown or otherwise.
These have been some of my favorite summer fishing adventures in Arizona, and some of the best Trout fishing I have experienced. If you do some research, a little planning, and willing to do some hiking, it is only a matter of time before you find yourself a new favorite fishing spot.
All of the equipment and tackle needed for your next Trout adventure can be found at Shoppers Supply Arizona.
Be safe, and good luck!