A Tried and Tested Technique for Fishing the Black River
By -Robert Haislip
I hate to say it folks but it is that time again. The heat monsters are on their way and the only
way to escape them is to run for the hills and far away mountains.
The White Mountains of Eastern Arizona are a wonderful place to escape the heat. Within the beauty of the boreal forest and all the wonderful communities of organism’s that exist; there exist a specific community we refer to as a clear mountain stream. Fed by runoff from snowmelt and by springs rising from aquifers this is the home to trout. Clear cold oxygenated water an abundance of food sources as well as a Wiley cautious attitude can make them quite a pursuit for any fisherman experienced or otherwise.
The East and west fork of the Black River in the White Mountains offer some great fishing spots as well as opportunities to see Antelope, Elk Mule Deer, Turkeys and possibly a bear if you’re lucky.
River Fishing Tips
There are a number of ways to fish these stretches of the Black River and be relatively successful. The variations of the techniques depend on water flow, time of year, the amount of people in the area and of course food sources available to the fish.
This technique is a simple method that is fun for the experienced and inexperienced fisherman alike. You can use a lite weight spinning rod or a fly rod for this technique. If you’re using a spinning rod make sure to use two to four pound test line; with a fly rod use a tapered tippet down to 2 lbs. Hook size in both cases should be a number 12 to 14. I prefer wire hooks as they are very thin and trout have very sensitive mouths.
The first rule of thumb is to always fish up stream. Fish face upstream for a number of reasons; one is to hold their position in the current, another is oxygen flows more readily through their gills and third food sources flow downstream. If you approach a spot from the upstream side the fish will see you and spook.
The second rule is to make your bait presentation as natural as possible. This is done by first reading the water is it fast or slow moving? I prefer to use no weight if at all possible. If you have to use a weight make sure it is a split shot and the smallest possible. It just takes a little trial and error depending on water flow to get it right the fish will let you know.
Okay now let’s get to the Nitti gritty. Fish hold up in eddies behind boulders, logs, under cut banks and under water falls. In this example we are using live bait mostly worms. Do not buy your worms dig them up along the river banks and under rocks as well as under cow pies. The reason for this is that earth worms process soils as they feed to obtain nutrients from the soil. Fish have a great sense of smell and can tell if a worm is local or if it is derived from another soil source.
The first place I always try is under waterfalls. Cast your line above the fall and let it slowly drift over the fall. Under the fall is an eddy that first circulates down then upstream and finally releases downstream.
You will be surprised how long your bait will remain in the fall. Typically the strike will occur right away so be ready. If a fish doesn’t hit try it another three to five times placing it in different places within the falls. Remember to move slowly hold down the noise and beware of your shadow or reflection in the water. Trout are just spooky by nature. If you haven’t caught anything by the fifth try move upstream to the next likely spot.
If worms are not working try using whatever food sources are along the banks or in the overhanging
a Dobsonfly, which can typically be found in muddy areas where flood debris have been piled up. Fish will readily feed on local available food sources at almost any time, but morning, cloudy days, a light rain and evenings are typically the best.
I took my six year old son here a number of years ago and taught him how to fish like this. The fishing was really great he would pull one to three fish out of every hole. He got so excited he would run to the next spot to try and catch all the fish before I could even get there.
There are a lot of stocked Rainbows as well as Apache cutthroats and Brook Trout in the Black River. The stocked fish are a lot firmer and better tasting here due to the toning of their muscular system from living in the current.
On a final note check the fishing regulations and license requirements before going and realize that using this technique typically results in having to harvest the fish because they usually completely swallow the bait.
Good Luck and Good Fishing.
|Last Updated on Friday, 27 April 2012 05:46|