Rory’s Tips

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October 1st, 2009

I am going to ask a favor — if you come to Fossil Creek this weekend (or any time for that matter), whether to fish, hike or just enjoy this Arizona treasure, please bring along a trash bag and fill it. Unfortunately, there is another group of users who are too often trashy abusers.

It’s the right thing to do for the right reasons, which is justification enough. But this is also an opportunity to demonstrate what happens when conscientious angler-conservationists are intimately involved with a landscape. Do it for youself and to leave a legacy for future generations who will be enjoying this marvelous spring-fed travertine stream winding its way down tree-shaded lanes and picturesque waterfalls to the Verde River.

If you come there on Saturday, be sure look me up and say hi. I’ll be the slightly graying, over-fed guy huffing and puffing up and down the stream decked out with more cameras than a summer tourist at the Grand Canyon.

Okay, back to the report. The new winter stocking report is now available on our Web site at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml. Enjoy.

There is a full moon this weekend, so using submersible lights to help catch fish at night won’t be very viable.

With temperatures finally becoming more autumn like, my recommendation is to take advantage of all the possible activities and get outdoors this weekend. Keep in mind the weather folks are predicting “breezy” conditions in the northland throughout the remainder of this week and possibly into the weekend.

The biggest problem right now may be too many choices. On Oct. 2, the seasons open for turkey, squirrel and quail. On Oct. 1, we have the catch-and-release fishery at Silver Creek opening for larger colorful Apache trout and fesity rainbows. The opening for seasonal Fossil Creek roundtail chub fishery is slated for Oct. 2, although a group is trying to get the fishery closed down. Stay tuned on that one.

With the nights down to freezing, this is the time for the aspens to start changing colors. Look for the first blush of autumn gold on the more exposed northern slopes in the higher elevations, such as the San Francisco Peaks, Mt. Baldy, and Escudilla Mountain. Here’s a link the Coconino National Forest’s fall color report. If you find spots with good color, let us know and we’ll share your tips with others.

The high country trout fishing is pretty good. Some anglers are reporting impressive catches, but for most of us just catching a fesity fall trout is impressive. Catching more just adds to the autumn delight.

For the warmwater lakes, the action should really pick up with the cooler, longer nights and the milder days. Water temperatures should be lowering slightly each day. Bass and other sport-fish will respond accordingly.

If you have a strategy that is working, stick with it. If not, try mine. Look for sportfish actively working shad in the coves at first light. You may or may not find boils. Some anglers are doing well with reaction lures, such as buzzbaits and spinnerbaits. Others are effectively using topwater plugs or stick baits. Rig a pole with a flutter-down bait such as a Senko or curly-tail grub for those times when a bass stikers short, or does a hit-and-miss. But keep a subsurface lure handy, such as a soft plastic or hard plastic jerkbait.

Once the cove bite peters out, try the main lake points, islands and reefs. Watch for surface action. In fact, carry binoculars. Sometimes the fish-eating birds, such as herons, osprey and gulls, will be your telltale for surface action.

By the way, you might fund multiple osprey working any single desert lake — this is the time of year when they are migrating.

So go out and catch some fall memories. Maybe we’ll see you out there.

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