Arizona is blessed with more than a few wild and beautiful trout streams, many that (thankfully) escape the attention of the masses due to their rugged nature and difficult access, and offer solitude and reflection in abundance. I visited one such stream in early July (and returned later in the fall), a good-sized flow of water relative to others in the state.
I'll leave this place nameless, as the stream seemed to lend itself to some mystery and being rediscovered by other adventurous souls. Suffice to say, it flows out of the White Mountains, and access points are few, requiring hiking and backpacking for any serious exploration.
The stream offered up several fish species, including this fine smallmouth bass of 13" that turned up early in the trip. The bass appeared in some of the quieter backwaters, including one larger specimen of 17-18" that I spooked.
Brown trout were the main quarry that I was seeking, and this stream has a reputation for producing some big fish. I connected with a number of good fish, mostly in the 12-14" range, such as the one pictured below, using #10 Crawbuggers and mid-sized nymphs.
The stream itself was a joy to wade along, with a healthy canopy of trees and a variety of water types, beckoning for continued exploration upstream.
The solitude along this stream was palpable--I did not encounter another person over several days along its banks, although I did catch a fleeting glimpse of a black bear running downstream around the bend one afternoon. There was something about this creek that made me feel quite alone at times, both a welcoming and humbling sensation.
And the trout continued to show themselves, mostly browns but also a few Apache-rainbow hybrids, such as the golden-hued foot-long fish above.
This brown was a solid 15", and grabbed a #10 Crawbugger. These fish certainly reflected the wildness and beauty of their surroundings.
I cast a Crawbugger through the pockets and bankside lies pictured below, and connected with another strong fish.
This chunky brown was a good 16", and one of the larger fish landed on the trip.
I also brought a lovely male Apache-rainbow hybrid of 15" to hand, from the tail of a long shadowed pool.
The trout also inhaled a Crawbugger, no doubt a significant food source for fish here.
A heavy brown lurked in the main part of the run upstream from where I caught the hybrid pictured, but showed no interest in feeding, even when I drifted several offerings right in front of its nose. I encountered several other larger fish throughout the trip, and managed to briefly hook two, but I was unable to bring them to hand.
Life in various forms and hues thrived along the banks, there to be appreciated by the observant.
These two moths took advantage of the sun's warmth and the bounty of pollen on wildflowers.
This bloom seemed to flare out along the stream's edge.
Another brown trout blended back into its suroundings following release.
And here is one last image of the stream, towering conifers and hardwoods looming above clear flowing water, the upper extent of my wanderings on this trip. This was a gem of a stream, both for its inherent beauty and the wilderness qualities of the fishing and surroundings, and one more reason I feel fortunate to call Arizona home.