High Country Fall Fishing
By Diane Tilton, Education and Information Manager
As Summer draws to a close and temperatures cool down, trout fishing will be picking up in the White Mountains. Although any day with a line in the water is a good day, of course, it’s always better to get a fish in hand for dinner. Here are some great, easy-to-access fishing spots for Fall trout fishing.
Woods Canyon Lake
The Arizona Game & Fish Department built Woods Canyon Lake for aquatic recreation. Woods Canyon has easy access, close proximity to Phoenix and excellent visitor facilities. It’s a beautiful, canyon bound, deep lake with plenty of trout fishing opportunities. Woods Canyon Lake has produced a couple of winners of the Department’s “Big Fish-of-the-Year” Program in the rainbow trout categories, including a 10-lb. brown trout in 1999. Now, very few, if any, brown trout are present. However, tiger trout were stocked here beginning in Spring, 2016. Green sunfish can usually be caught easily from the shore.
Woods Canyon Lake is located close to the edge of the Mogollon Rim, approximately 30 miles east of Payson in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. To get to this scenic Rim lake from Highway 260, drive west about four miles on paved Forest Road 300 (the Rim Road), then turn north onto paved Forest Road 105 and proceed about a mile to the lake. Access is restricted in the Winter when roads are closed at the highway due to snow, generally from December to early April.
Woods Canyon Lake consists of 55 surface acres, with an average depth of 25 feet and a maximum depth of 40 feet. It lies at 7,510 feet. Because it is deep, the lake maintains good water quality and is stocked weekly from May through September with catchable rainbow trout.
Hiking, camping, hunting and fishing are some of the safest healthy physical activities. You can not only become more physically fit, but mental health also gets better with outdoor activities for many people. When we make efforts to be in the “wild”, we usually want to see, hear, and experience wild things. Fortunately, 99% of those wild things are safe and won't harm us. However, certain precautions can make the experience even safer and more enjoyable.
Water is a precious resource here in Rim Country and the White Mountains. It’s important to be aware of water usage before the monsoons hit, and even then, being water-smart is important to the ever increasing demand and decreasing supply. Rainwater harvesting is the most trending way to save on water when it comes to landscape irrigation, wildlife and livestock watering, in-home use and fire protection. It also helps with storm water control to prevent flooding, and because the the new modern tanks are sealed from light the water stays clean for months, so it can be used for nearly any purpose that requires water.
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