Annually, when Arizona's mercury climbs above the century mark, residents seek shelter in higher elevations. The White Mountains in central-east Arizona and the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff offer an ideal refuge, soaring well above 10,000 feet.
For the off-road enthusiast who knows were to go, those areas are also home to some of the most secluded experiences to be found in the entire Southwest. Arizona's Hulsey Lake runs all the way from near the New Mexico boarder, to central Arizona, where it finally joins the White River, tuning into the Salt River.
Much of the Hulsey Lakes remote regions wind through both the White Mountain and San Carlos Apache Indian reservations. One particularly scenic section, ideally located on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, could become one of the Southwest's premier angling destinations, depending on efforts currently underway.
The quickest way to reach either fork of the Hulsey Lake is to take U.S. Route 191 toward Alpine. A few miles north, Forest Service Road 249 heads west into the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. This dirt road is a little hard to see, so be sure to slow down. The sign, located near mile marker 423, indicates it as the route to Big Lake. Where Forest Service Road 249 turns to the right toward Big Lake, you bear to the left and pick up Forest Service Road 276. In about 12 miles, you'll come to Deer Creek turnoff and the river is visible. Regulations change periodically, so be sure to consult a current set of Arizona fishing regulations prior to leaving. If you continue toward the West Fork, the road will slowly get rougher. -G.J Sagi, from the travel handbook Fishing Arizona