Fly Fishing

George Abernathy, Founder

A good percentage of our club members had no idea that a variety of fly fishing adventures existed in Arizona until they were introduced to the Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club. Most of them are retired, and came here and purchased second homes with the intentions of playing golf in summer attire while their primary homes were being buried in snow. However, to their surprise, Arizona just isn’t 114,000 square acres of kitty litter, 300 golf courses, and, of course, the 4 p.m. cocktail hour. Arizona offers a variety of fisheries that are open year-round for fishing.

I personally can’t think of anything more peaceful and challenging than to be on the water with a fly rod in my hands and in the hunt. Imagine being up in the local mountains, surrounded by pine trees, clean air, and waiting for an elusive trout to hit your artificial fly? Of course, the challenging side is pitting yourself against fish with a brain the size of a pinhead that’s going to kick your butt 90% of the time.

I recently received a texted picture of my niece, who is an E.R. veterinarian in Oregon, holding a bald eagle. She had just mended his partially-broken wing. In addition to admiring her and what she was doing, the picture reminded me of the wildlife other club members and I encounter daily while fishing. I can’t remember a day in the White Mountains or on the Rim that I didn’t observe eagles or osprey soaring above a lake in search of fish. Traveling to and from the lakes and streams, it’s not uncommon to see elk and deer daily, and last year we even spotted a Mexican Grey Wolf near Big Lake.

Fly fishing is a very soothing sport, not only for men, but for women as well. Did you know that 37% of fly fishers nationwide in 2019 were women?

Our club has two simple goals: Keep our lines wet and support the disabled veterans with Project Healing Waters (PHW) at PHW is a national organization dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled, active military service personnel and disabled veterans, through fly fishing and associated activities, including education and outings. We support them by donating money and equipment and arranging outings for them. Last year, we raised in excess of $4,200 in cash and equipment donations. If you have any type of fishing gear, preferable fly-fishing gear, or camping gear that you no longer need, please contact me.

Our club typically meets twice monthly for breakfast or lunch, and everyone is welcome to join us, even if you’re new to fly fishing. Further information can be obtained at, or reach me at [email protected] or 480-521-1060.

“To go fishing is the chance to wash one’s soul with pure air, with the rush of the brook, or with the shimmer of sun on blue water.” — Herbert Hoover

Fish On! Fish On!