Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club

Fred Smith

George Abernathy

During the winter months, fly fishing slows down for most fly fishers; however, Arizona is open to licensed anglers 12 months out of the year. Most of the premium still water and running water fisheries are inaccessible due to closed roads and/or are frozen over, but they will be opening soon, depending upon their elevation. Until then, there are multiple locations where you can wet your lines.

Veterans Oasis Park in Chandler offers trout fishing until about the second week of March, when the water temperatures rise too high and AZGFD stops stocking the lake with trout. Red Mountain Lake in Mesa also offers the same. The Salt River by the Blue Point Bridge typically has great trout and bass fishing. Last year it wasn’t uncommon to land rainbow trout exceeding 14 inches. Fishing at the confluence of the Salt and Verde Rivers at Phon D Sutton Recreation Area has produced hook-ups for our club members over the years. If you Google, you’ll find which fisheries are open and which ones are being stocked, including all of the community lakes throughout Arizona.

In the Sun Lakes communities, most lakes hold different types of carp and other warm water fish species. My understanding from both the Cottonwood Palo Verde and IronOaks HOAs is that the lakes are open to fishing for their residents, with the exception of the lakes that border the golf course fairways. Sun Lakes Phase 1 offers fishing for a nominal fee. Fishing in Sun Lakes won’t yield trout, but landing a 10- to 25-pound carp on a flyrod is about as exciting as it gets. Just ask Fred Smith. Fishing Arizona fisheries might not be appealing to those who fish renowned fisheries throughout the USA, but the bottom line: Those who do keep their lines wet and work on their techniques.

Fly Fishing is very similar to the game of golf in regard to the learning curve. You don’t start out hitting drives over 250 yards, and neither do the scores drop below 100 when you take up the sport. Fly fishing is very technical, and it takes a while to learn the basics, just like the game of golf. As in golf, practicing increases your ability to land more fish.

To assist our club members this year, our club sponsored three clinics on casting, knot tying, and equipment maintenance. These clinics were very informative to the club members who are new to fly fishing, as well as the seasoned fishers.

The Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club (SLFFC) is open to all residents in Sun Lakes and the surrounding communities. In a nutshell, our philosophy is simple: Keep our lines wet and support the disabled veterans and active military with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. To find out more about our club, visit or email me at [email protected] If you are interested in befriending others who enjoy the same, the SLFFC might be a good club for you.