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Phoenix Fly Fishing 

For the fly fishing person who has to travel for business, away locales can mean some different fly fishing opportunities. Even if your destination isn’t a destination fly fishing mecca, featured on the cover of your favorite fly fishing magazine, you can still bet there are places to wet your line just outside of any city you happen to fly into.

A couple of weeks ago business took us on a three day trip to Tempe Arizona. As with all good fly fishers I do not board a plane, train or automobile without a trusty fly rod, fly box, and some other fly fishing necessities. Knowing very little about the fly fishing in the area, I was delighted to learn of several fly fishing opportunities close to the metropolitan area. The Salt and Verde rivers, and Oak Creek all have fly fishing access within about an hour’s drive. For a lifetime Northwest resident (or for just about anyone else for that matter) the scenery in the Valley of the Sun, is breathtaking and very unique, there is a certain exhilaration in fishing in surroundings totally different than that of your home waters. And despite the urban sprawl there are ‘forests’ and rivers very close to the urban areas. In fact on the Salt River development just seems to end and a playground full of hikers, bikers and fishers, awaits literally right next door.

One thing I learned is what folks of Arizona call a lot of rain, and what we call a lot of rain are two entirely different things. To be fair I do not know how much rain had been falling before we arrived, it was raining when we arrived, or at least sprinkling. And the effects it had on all three streams was huge. All three were very off color and the Oak at least was clearly above its banks. The Salt was only high but terribly off color. At the advice of the local fly shop we spent sometime on the Salt, but were warned not to expect much in the way of fish. Which was good because we saw none, and neither did anyone who we talked to. According to the locals it generally fishes well all year through early spring, but we just got the timing wrong. Even though it is a tailwater, the effects of rain were dramatic.

We do look forward to our next trip down south however, most likely same time of year. While not likely to catch that once in a lifetime fish, the Phoenix area does provide some reprieve from the winter doldrums, and a quick and reasonable escape into that most scarce of commodities winter sunshine and fly fishing. And for the business traveling fly fisher there are close rivers that provide a nice respite from the hustle and bustle.


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