Fair warning, this could be a midlife crisis unfolding.
A year ago, on my 13th work anniversary I came to the conclusion that I needed a change-up. I thought about quitting my job and walking the Old West from town to town solving local scofflaw issues with Kung-Fu. What I needed was another year to save some money and learn Kung-Fu. Here we are a year later, Iíve given my employer 2 monthsí notice, and Iím out of here late March.
As it turns out, I didnít save as much as planned and failed to learn any Kung Fu whatsoever. New plan: Iím going fly fishing. Iím going to sell or give away whatís not nailed down, pack my gear, and hit the road. With a no frills budget, I can make it maybe 9-12 months before I have to figure out a new career. Camping and fishing for a week or so at a time, then head back to whatever town and cheap motel is nearby for a cleanup and supplies. I donít have an itinerary, just going to follow the fish.
I picked up fly fishing 5 years ago, my first real trip was to the White mountains. I was addicted; itís the only way to mix fishing and (ADHD). After that, I rearranged my life to get in 40-60 days a year on the water. Excluding one salmon fishing trip to Yakutat, Alaska and a week in southern Utah, Iíve been spending almost all of my time fishing the Mogollon Rim and White Mountains of AZ. For my sabbatical, Iím very interested in fishing moving water, but still plan on bringing my float tube. I have a capable 4x4 and Iím in good shape. That said, I donít own any rappelling gear and Iíd rather not free-climb any frozen waterfalls. No Bear Grylls B.S. for me.
Too much water not enough time and money. Unfortunately I canít cross off the entire ď1000 places to fish before you dieĒ list on this particular adventure. While keeping my options open, I feel that Iíd like to focus or at least start the fly fishing sabbatical out West. Iím thinking UT, CO, ID, MT, WY, NV, and possibly B.C. would be a good start.
What I do need is some direction. Iím not looking for anyoneís honey hole, but a state, river or lake, and a time of year would be greatly appreciated. What was your best trip? What is the trip you always wanted to go on? What should I start with in April Ďbows, browns, brooks, bulls, cutts, pike, salmon, steelhead?
Iíll post location updates, let me know if youíre in the area and want to go fishing.
Feel free to PM me.
Topics to cover later:
Camping suggestions? Preferably not all pay to stay crowded parking lot campsites, then again, I donít want to go ďCastawayĒ style and start calling my fly rod, ďWilsonĒ.
Gladly accepting all corporate sponsorships! Wrap my 4Runner with your logo for gas cards! Front windshield decal 3x extra. Kind of joking, but not.
Iíd like start a blog or something to send to my chump (working for the man) friends to make them jealous. Facebook, blogspot, website, suggestions
Kung Fu Sabbatical Part II: Belize, New Zealand, Mongolia, Patagonia, Etc.
Congratulations, I am jealous. I am going to go out on a limb and assume you are not married
Since you are in Az, start your trip in New Mexico, work your way up to Durango area. From there depending on Run Off flows you could hang in the Rockies and kill most of the summer. Anywhere around Dillon you have the Blue, the Eagle, the Colorado, the Gore.
Them head south fishing the Arkansas and down the S. Platte.
Sounds like a good way to use up one month of your allotted time
Since you are in Arizona, why not start at Lees Ferry. Here is a trip report from another forum member to give you some ideas (if you haven't fished there before). Lees Ferry Arizona
Late March, early April would also be a good time to hit the San Juan river, it will be a bit cold at night but warms up nicely during the daytime and there is camping right there on the river.
Another location I would definitely fit into the schedule is the Green River below Flaming Gorge. I like going there in late April/early May, the wx can be pretty unpredicable making camping tough but the fishing is awesome and the tuber hatch doesn't really start until Memorial Day weekend. There is no camping allowed on the first 7 miles of the river (called the A section), but there are several campsites in the area. The B section has several very nice campsites along the river and this is a nice choice after the tuber hatch as the people floating stay on the A section with the rapids, so even in the summer months the B section has more solitude.
You stated that you are in good physical shape, with that in mind another option (mid-July and later) would be to come into Wyoming and do a back packing trip into the Winds. There are an estimated 800 lakes in those mtns with some great fishing opportunities for mainly cutties and Goldens. If you do consider this option get yourself the North and South Wind River Range hiking and guide map by Earhtwalk Press. I'd also highly recommend getting a copy of Rich Osthoff's book "Fly-Fishing the Rocky Mountain Backcountry".
Best of luck with your trip and I'm looking forward to reading about your adventure.
Thanks for taking the time to check this post out. Some quick answers to some of the feedback and questions Iíve received. Iím 38, soon to be 39. Not married, no kids, no dog, no mortgage.
I get to Leeís Ferry a few times a year. I have very limited knowledge of fishing holes outside of AZ but Iíd wager that the Ferry has to be in the top ten most beautiful.
Iím planning on spending a lot of time in CO during my sabbatical but still want to try to see as much as possible. Iíve never been to the national parks we have out west.
Really like the sound of some of the backpacking fishing trips being suggested. I went on a few pack-in fishing trips last year and really enjoyed them. Then again, we donít have grizzlies in AZ.
Working on a blog / website, Iím IT challenged; hope to have it up and running by March. I plan posting details of every leg of the trip. Considering starting a true website with a web address rather than a blog website.