False Start Spring

A flash back to spring 2022, I found this in the “drafts” folder on my site and figured I had better not waste it. A little different than this winter where we have been locked in the snow with a new foot seemingly coming almost weekly. Looks like spring is going to wait until summer this year. So here goes a spring 2022 rewind to slightly warmer times.

As seems to be the norm around these parts in late winter we get a teaser of spring. A few days of warm temperatures, sunny blue skies and the first itchy hint of allergies. These first winter grasses and thoughts of warm days are usually quashed a few weeks later by at least one or two more winter storms reminding us that we live in northern Arizona, not Arizona. Luckily some of these gaps in cold fronts lined up with weekends and I was able to do some spring fishing in February at a few of my favorite spots. Arizona, as ever is a land of extremes and these two fishing holes couldn’t be much different. One, a spring fed, mountain creek subject to the whims of snowmelt every warm afternoon. Filled with sneaky fish and endless pocket water. The other a massive river, the largest in the state which drains the Rockies. Filled with capricious trout who may gobble down any fly you toss and then suddenly go hours between bites regardless of the dainty flies and delicate presentations you offer up. A river who’s snow melt is shackled by series or reservoirs and water control structures and who’s very name has been made false at this location. The Colorado red/brown turned emerald clear by a sediment robbing concrete barrier.

One day freezing temps and chilly dog walks
Sunny days and rising trout the next

Neither of these spots is necessarily better than the other, just individual days are better or worse fishing. Some days you’re the hammer and others the nail in terms of found fish. Regardless both are in some of the prettiest scenery around. Makes me appreciate that I live in a place that can snow on Thursday and I can dry fly fish to rising trout in a t-shirt on Saturday.

Small creek brown eating big pheasant tails
Big river rainbows eating tiny midges
Another ferry rainbow
Gin clear pocket water

Neither spot fished great, but they both fished and at the end of the day in February that’s not a bad deal at all. Managed a couple small browns at the local spot on a fiberglass 3 weight I’d built a few years back. There really is nothing better than a creek and a 3 weight rod. Up on the big water I had a 30 minute stretch where the fish were real fired up on some small ferry monster midges. It was a short run but six hook-ups in the clear water and red walls is more than enough to justify a drive up north.

Pocket water hunting

The fishing was enough to distract me from my February end-of-bird-season blues. Looking forward to many more days on the water to come this year and grateful I got a few warm days to kick off my year in.

Nothing finer than blue skies and a fine light beer in a can

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