When was the last time you looked at a map, found some water you wanted to explore and then hit the road? For me this was twice in the past week. These were streams on the White Mountain Apache Reservation and places I have never heard anyone talk about. I was in search of wild Apache trout but ended up finding a lot of browns. These fish were beautiful and by the way they would attack a fly, I could tell that they don’t get much pressure from anglers.
Two of these streams I fished on my way back from the valley. I have no idea what the names of these places are but in reality, it doesn’t really matter. They were tight, brushy and getting your fly to hit the water was sometimes difficult.
Yesterday, I had a guide trip with a good customer of mine, Todd. There was a third stream that I wanted to explore so I asked if he was up to checking out some unknown water. I had driven past it and knew it was fairly open and had a lot of water in it. I also knew that he had the casting ability to handle small water like this. We hit the road and after an hour of driving back into the reservation, we came to our target.
We hiked down about a mile and fished our way up. We had a lot of action. These were very aggressive little fish in a place that felt like no one had been there in some time. There is no trail, no trash and no real sign of humans. We left it as we found it and I can’t wait to go back.
For me, this is what fly fishing is all about-finding remote places where few people fish. Sometimes you get to these places and there is no water even though it looks like a viable stream. Other times, you find beautiful wild gems that are waiting to eat your fly.
We live in a state with thousands of miles of small streams. Some of them are easy to access and others take some effort. When you take the time to explore, you never know what you will find.