Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Arizona Wild Trout Challenge- Day Three, Rainbow Trout

Check out more from our trip on the Orvis New page here: The Arizona Wild Trout Challenge- Day Three, Rainbow Trout or read below.

Wild Trout Wednesday; The Arizona Wild Trout Challenge- Day 3

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Over grown and forgotten, I hope this spot continues to stay a secret.

We ended day two with about a 4 hour drive for the next destination to camp. After setting up in the dark again we finally got relax and reflect on the days adventure. The next species on our list was the Rainbow Trout. Typically I feel these fish don't get much credit due to being so wide spread and mostly hatchery fish that have been stocked. I have felt the same way about them in the past but decided to reach out to a friend for a stream that is off the beaten path and not often talked about. I had read about this stream before but didn't get the chance to scout it out before our trip. A new spot with a time crunch and all of the other pressure of the trip made me a little nervous but we are pretty determined people, so we went for it. Today we slept in longer then expected but after the long hike and elevation gains of the day before it only made sense to be tired. Anastasia made breakfast while I got the car packed up and then we drove a short distance to park and hike in to the creek.

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I don't think they had people like us in mind when designing this car but it seems to do just fine.

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Even after a long nights rest Sebastian was quick to take a nap on the trail. 

A local I had talked to in the past told me stories about the Rainbow trout in this creek when he was a kid which happened to be over 50 years ago. The area has no record of stockings that I can find since about that time era. We hiked along the trail we started getting to some small pools which looked promising for a place that would hold trout. The plan was to head further up stream before fishing so we kept our distance and were on our way. This creek had immediately caught my interest because its seemed like we were going through completely different looking environments every ten minutes or so. At one point each pool we passed had a completely different color substrate and plant life then the last pool which then had me concerned how that would affect our fishing.

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A stretch of this creek even has the red rock, flagstone look of Sedona with some really cool mini canyons.

With all the variables involved in fly fishing I was a bit curious if the quick changes in the habitat could play a roll in the trouts behavior. We decided it was time to try our luck and got our gear set up. Instead of the typical flies we would use I thought it would be good idea for us to each try something completely different then the other one. Anastasia was on the Tenkara Rod Co. Cascade rod using a traditional Tenkara style fly and some float gel. I decided to go with a small leech pattern that I tied before we left. It soon was clear that presentation was more important than the type of fly. With the basic knowledge we had about where trout hold in small pools we were almost pulling a fish out of each spot we presented our flies.

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  Anastasia with her first wild rainbow trout. The buggy look of this fly had trout jumping out of hiding spots to take a bite.

I was using my usual fly rod set up most of the day and was happy to have a little more room than usual to actually cast. It seems that more often then not the creeks we fish are so small or over grown that you spend the day feeling like you are archery hunting for wild trout. If you have not yet perfected the bow and arrow cast, fishing small streams will make you a pro.
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Yellow fins and eyes with black eye bars are typically an Apache Trout trait but these are 100% pure rainbows

Now as I mentioned before each pool had a unique look to it and soon we found out that the fish in each area did too. Only rainbow trout had been stocked in this creek so these fish have pure blood but have adapted to the environment over the last fifty or so years to their surroundings. If the ground was dark the trout seemed to have colors that matched, if the ground was tan gravel the trout blended in perfectly The concept that nature finds a way was clear here. These trout have found a way to survive by blending to their environment and avoiding predators.
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This rainbow was living in a dark brown muddy pool and is one of my favorite wild trout I have caught so far.

In one of the pools, using the Tenkara this time I took a different approach about where to place my first cast. The shape was not normally what most people would even stop to fish but off of the tail end there was a strange sort of culdesac looking pocket. In the middle was what looked like a little crack between some grey colored rocks and I hoped that my instinct would be right about a fish inside. My fly landed right in the center of the pocket which was perfect for how small it was. The tiny splash sent a quick shock to the otherwise calm water and nice size fish came charging out to eat. I set right as its mouth closed and watched my rod bend until he was finally in the net.

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The grey rocks gave this guy the perfect hiding place and for his size in the small steam he was a blast to catch.

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A tan gravel made for some nice tan and yellow colorations of rainbow trout.

The sun started to pass over the mountains and still tired from the previous day we decided to head towards the car. Rods in hand it is always hard to pass by the creek without a cast so we fished our way managed to fool a few more into eating our flies. This would be the first time we actually got to set up our campsite before sunset.

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Hungry fish with nice coloration made for a refreshing day.

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Even the smallest pockets held 6-8" fish on this creek so nothing was passed up.

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The view from our camp site was incredible.

We drove to a spot that looked like it would be nice to camp at even though there was no close water. When we approached the end of a trail we knew this was where we wanted to call home for the night. The view was so impressive that we almost forgot to unpack the car and prepare our site. As the sun finally set it was time to relax with a hot meal cooked over the fire and some cold drinks while planning our the 4th day of our wild trout challenge. Although today was a success the next species of trout has always been tough for me and a few times I have left the streams they call home with no fish ever touching my net. Follow our adventures in search of wild trout each week for Wild Trout Wednesday and stay tuned next week to read about our fourth day on our Arizona Wild Trout Challenge trip.
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Little planning makes for a much more comfortable night.

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When you're camping, your food choices sometimes gets creative. Here we have what was named the Camp Vibes dog. Organic all beef hotdogs topped with avocado, seasoning salt and Sriracha. Do yourself a favor and try one as soon as possible

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On a more recent trip for wild Rainbow Trout I was able to find some much larger fish holding in a few small creeks. At just about 14' this fish made all the miles on my boots finally pay off.

For behind the scenes photos follow @thecolemancollection on instagram.

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