Hooked on Fly Fishing

Lorin Hicks, Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club

“In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing.” Those memorable words were written by Norman Maclean and made famous in the movie A River Runs Through It, about a Montana family that learned the lessons of life through dry flies and tight lines at the end of a fly rod.

Sun Lakes residents are fortunate to have an organization in their neighborhood dedicated to the proposition that all fish are created equal and can be caught at the end of a fly line. The Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club has been in existence for seven years and now has 47 members who meet regularly to plan outward-bound fishing trips and offer clinics, to teach newcomers and experienced fishers alike the extensive art of fly fishing.

Arizona offers many exciting environments to fly fish. These include high mountain lakes, fast-flowing streams, desert ponds, and urban lakes. Arizona supports an impressive array of fishable sport species. In addition to widely-distributed cold-water species such as rainbow, brown, brook, and cutthroat trout, Arizona has two native trout species, the Gila trout and the Arizona’s state fish, the Apache trout. The state also supports arctic grayling and tiger trout, the sterile hybrid of female brown trout and male brook trout, that can grow to over five pounds and 24 inches long in Arizona.

Warm water fly fishing can yield bass, crappie, red ear perch, northern pike, and sunfish. Even water bodies within Sun Lakes, not on golf courses, are open to fishing. Our Sun Lakes lakes are stocked annually with catfish, a variety of carp, sunfish, largemouth bass, red ear perch, and bluegills.

The Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club meets twice monthly for breakfast or lunch, typically on the first and third Tuesday of each month, and always actively plans day trips and overnight trips within Arizona, and out-of-state fly fishing destinations as well. During the second week of April, four SLFFC members completed a day trip fishing trip to the upper reaches of the Verde River and landed and released over 50 Gila trout. Another SLFFC trip by seven members to Willow Springs Lake on the Mogollon Rim yielded many rainbow and tiger trout caught and released. One rainbow was actually stolen by an osprey just prior to landing it.

To attend a meeting, clinic, or fishing trip, check out the SLFFC website at www.sunlakesflyfishing.com or call SLFFC’s founder, President George Abernathy, at 480-521-1060 or email him at [email protected] The website provides details on upcoming trips, fishing reports, clinics, equipment for sale, product reviews, knot-tying instruction, fly-casting tips, and photos of popular flies used by SLFFC members.

Plan to attend a Sun Lakes Fly Fishing event and find out why author and renowned angler Arthur Gingrich considered fly fishing the “most fun you can have standing up.”