WARNING: Long Report, Picture Heavy!!!!! Read at your own risk!
I recently got back from 3 full days in the whites mountains of eastern Arizona plus a little time after I arrived and before I left. It was great. The fish were looking up and taking hoppers of the surface VICIOUSLY. Hoppers were flying around in the meadows in great abundance. The fish seem to be out of their dog days mode, at least in the streams and rivers.
Arrived late on Friday 9/14. Had about an hour to fish and picked the hatchery apache spot. It was pretty fished out considering 700 had supposedly been dumped here two weeks prior. I had about six hits, all resulting in hook ups.
Next day I fished an apache trout recovery stream. The fishing was slow and we didn't really know much about the stream, other than the area we were fishing should have had fish in it. I finally coaxed a wild apache to take one of my hand tied imitations. We then went back and fished a trib on the way that was ridiculously tiny. A gorgeous little golden gem took my hand tied mini hopper from this small stream.
Yes, that is my tiny 7'3" 2wt fly rod with a little reel lying across the stream.
Good company and great fishing meant the catching didn't have to be on the same level. Walking back to the vehicle, this little guy meandered across the road, and of course I had to get a picture.
Once the horned toad realized I was a gentle giant, and that my hand was forty degrees warmer than the ambient air temperature, it was hard to persuade him to leave, and he wasn't too happy when I gently nudged him off.
That evening I switched tactics and hit a stream for some wild apache trout. It started off slow as I had to get my small stream mojo and stealth back on. Once I had a few things figured out, you couldn't keep the voracious little streambred apaches from taking an olive rubber legged stimi. The fish during the entire trip weren't too picky about what they ate, as long as stealth, good presentation, and a decently long cast were used. They did seem to prefer something with legs, however.
I picked up over 20 in an afternoon's worth of fishing.
This apache had a little deformity, but it didn't stop him from feeding like he was in a Liberian prison camp for the first half of his life.
Some of the scenery after the day's fishing was done.
The next day I fished a semi-remote stream that held LOTS of eager, wild browns. They were definitely no dummies in this lot, however. A shadow or a heavy footstep would spook them, so I put all my small stream skill (what little I have) into finding them.
Again, hoppers and foamy things were the ticket. Green, tan, and orange worked best. The takes were fast and furious, and hook sets had to be almost immediate or they would be gone.
Gorgeous wild brown trout came to hand. Undercuts, pools, and deeper riffles were the ticket to finding them, as was pocket water.