Iíll admit that traveling to Phoenix is a bit extreme to find open water. Every year we make the trip to visit a few days with good friends who winter there. With highs in the 70ís, clear skies and little wind the weather is a prefect break from Coloradoís winter weather.
Phoenix isnít viewed as a destination fishery. Over the years Iíve learned that where there are people thereís water and water means fish. So when we make our annual run I carry my fly rods and an assortment of lines and flies.
Years past Iíve brought float tubes and, last year when we drove, a kayak. This year we decided to fly, so I limited myself to a wader bag filled with basic gear.
Yesterday, Ron had golf scheduled. He golfs like I fish, several times a week. So I drove out to Lake Pleasant. Pleasant is close, less than 30 minutes, which is why I fish it. While it is known for good populations of stripers, largemouth bass, crappie, and white bass, Iíve never done very well, and this time out wasnít an exception.
So why do I fish it? Did I mention it is close? And I have to admit, itís a challenge and Iím intent to figure it out. Part of the issue is the waters are still at winter temperatures, so the fish are typically deep and inactive.
Last year after I got off the water in my kayak, I drove around and explored. One of the inlets, Cactus Gulch, was flowing water from recent rains. The shallow, warmer waters were stacked with carp, but I didnít have time to fish as I had a dinner engagement. So I filed it away for the year.
As the fates would have it. No rain this spring, thus no running water, and the reservoir had dropped putting the water edge a quarter mile from the road. Water clarity was excellent, about three feet and clearer the closer I got to the main lake. And unlike the year prior, there was no indication of fish, no carp, no birds, and every boat that came in, quickly left. Still that didnít keep me from trying.
For those that havenít fished this area, know that itís a mountain type reservoir. The banks are steep and rocky, making working along the shore difficult. Casting is also hampered by the abundance of cocklebur plants and other debris on the shore. Further, it is true desert, so when walking above the high water mark (about 20 feet up) you have to carefully walk between plants, as every one of them, cactus or other, has spines of some sort.
Still, a sunny, warm day, made for a great outing, even though catching was limited to a small striper and a largemouth. But from what I could tell, no one else was catching much either. Making the day even better where wild burros. Years past Iíve always heard them, but never spotted one.
Simply, thereís nothing quite like getting an open water fix in February, even if you have to travel to Phoenix.