Fish on!

George Abernathy, Founding Member

There’s never a guarantee of landing fish when you go fly fishing, but Brad Smith, a SLFFC member and I, with our collective wisdom, really thought we planned a great trip with prepared alternatives in case Mother Nature reared her head.

With our one-man pontoon boats loaded in my truck, we left a couple of hours after the July 2 club meeting, believing we could get into some late afternoon dry fly action at Becker Lake in Springerville. The only fish I landed on this overnight trip was a 20-inch rainbow, and Brad only landed one as well.

If you hate golfing in windy conditions, try fly fishing from a one-man pontoon boat. After battling the winds for three hours, we opted for some cocktails and dinner. The following morning, we were up early enough to wake up the roosters and headed to Carnero Lake with the intentions of meeting up with another club member, Terry Maze. The last time I fished Carnero Lake, four of us had a 30+ fish day. After creeping up the backside of the lake, which is basically a rocky goat trail, we arrived just in time for our second regatta. After watching the howling wind for an hour, we opted for plan B. I called Terry and told him we would meet him at the Railroad Cove on Big Lake. Strike Three! Again, Mother Nature was going to have her way, and after 20 minutes of watching white caps form on the lake, we threw in the towel.

Instead of returning to Sun Lakes through Globe, we opted to go through Payson and took a short drive up to the Tonto Fish Hatchery. If you’ve never seen it, it’s worth the time to check out the enormous rainbow and tiger trout that are kept in the first pool. Checking out the hogs was fun, but we spent a lot of time checking out Tonto Creek for a possible fishing trip. It’s not a large stream, but it had several pools that held multiple trout. It’s a stream that I plan on fishing, but it might require some “bow and arrow” casting practice. Even though the catching was slim pickins and Mother Nature was totally uncooperative, just being in the outdoors with a fly rod is relaxing and rewarding.

The SLFFC meets informally on the first and third Tuesday of every month for breakfast at the IronOaks Restaurant at 8:00 a.m. Even though 80% to 85% of our members are out of town, remaining members still enjoy the comradeship. If you’re thinking about fly fishing and would like to learn more about our club, visit our webpage at or email me at [email protected] or Randy Smith, president, at [email protected] If you enjoy casual conversation regarding fly fishing, then join us for breakfast.

Fish On! Fish On!