Leeches are an important food source for all things “fishy” subsequently most Fly-Fishers have a go to pattern that they use.Mine has always been a very basic Mohair Leech as it’s simple to tie and fishes well.Fishing Leech Patterns on both Rivers and Lakes can be done in any number of ways and all methods are effective.You can hang underneath a Strike Indicator and Nymph them, trail a leach pattern behind a larger streamer and strip them back or fish a couple leeches in different of combinations and see which works.A popular method on Alberta’s Bow River is to tie a “light” Leech pattern and drop it off the bend of a Foam Stonefly or Hopper Pattern.Leach Patterns are versatile,effective, and impressionistic,meaning your quarry might be eating them for a number of reasons on top of looking like leeches.
My fishing Clients from Arizona always raved about the Semi Seal Leech and we would fish them with excellent results.For whatever reason I did not completely embrace this pattern even after moving to Arizona.The Mohair Pattern seemed to work fine so I just never bothered tying The Simin Seal Leech until this year. John Rohmer’s Simi Seal Leech is even easier which makes it faster to tie.It’s also just as effective as my old “go to” !Best of all it requires one Material which is Simi Seal Dubbing,throw a Bead on it and you are set.It is just as effective as more elaborate patterns and with the variety of colors you can cover the whole gauntlet of what you can use it for.Normally we are tying it in sizes #8-#10 on a Mustad 9672 nymph hook. Colors I like are Black,Brown,Tan and white.These colors cover the gauntlet on which fly can represent which are Leeches,Baitfish,Crayfish,Damsel,Dragon and Stone fly nymphs.Checkout JohnRohmer’s Video below have fun tying.Click Here for Materials.
Let’s face it this Corona Virus has placed the World on “pause” until further notice.Fishing Trips requiring flying are being postponed or canceled severely impacting the Fy-Fishing Industry especially Destination Guides, Oufitters and Lodges as no one wants to risk travel and you cant blame them.I had high hopes of traveling north to Ontario to help a friend out with his Guide Service focusing on Great Lakes Steelhead,that would be a kick I thought but now the U.S. -Canada Border is closed.
So much for that great idea.A case of “Cabin Fever” has also set in and I am thinking I may have to continue to lay low and perhaps squash my guide season in Montana and Alberta which would result in me staying right here in Patagonia Arizona which for all intensive purposes is not the Fly-Fishing Capitol of the World.If that scenario becomes reality Ill miss my northern fishing season however the main thing is stay healthy and limit contact with People.
Urban Brown Trout
Hopefully this situation that we are in sorts itself out sooner than later, but in the mean time I plan on fishing local.Checking out different Bass Lakes and perhaps some Small Arizona Trout Streams,places I have never been before but wanted to go.I’m sure a lot of you are having the same thoughts and want to make the best of a crappy situation.
Great Lakes Steelhead from a river thats 3 hours of Detroit and 2 hours from Toronto
If you live in the east or Midwest perhaps its time you checked out that Smallmouth Bass River you have heard about but never fished,or that little creek that via the rumor network you heard holds Brook Trout the further up you go.East Coasters have a myriad of Salt Water opportunities and if you live close to the Great Lakes their Tribs offer shots at some decent migratory rainbow and brown trout plus various Salmon Species.Farm Ponds stocked with Bass or Panfish can be a hoot ,sure its not Rocky Mountain Trout fishing but all this could be close to your home.Speaking of which, if you live in the West generally you don’t have to go far to find a Trout Stream,maybe this is the year you get into fly-fishing Alpine Lakes or getting off the Tailwaters and fishing back country streams for Cuttys.
Small Stream Brook Trout
Of course all of the above might require some tackle and Fly purchases and rather than order everything online give your friendly neighborhood Fly-Shop a call,Im sure they would love to hear from you and need the business.A suggestion to limit your contact with fly-shop staff would be to order your flies, leaders and hopefully that new rod and reel over the phone and have everything ready to roll for pick up or maybe delivery.
Panfish can be a riot on light tackle
The people that are really going to hurt while this pandemic carries on are Guides.If you enjoy fishing with a local guide why not give him or her a call and see how they are doing ? Question them on what they have been doing to prevent the spread of this virus, most I’m sure have been laying low tying flies or fishing solo.If you are comfortable with their precautions and they are with yours perhaps book a trip.A few Caveats to add would be you would take your own vehicle and follow the guide, if you are floating have your rig shuttled also.I would suggest providing your own lunch and drinks, finally consider tying your own flies on your tippet.This would give you a chance to get out with a Pro,help a fellow Human out while at the same time ensuring social distance is maintained.
Buddy Dan with a nice Arizona LMB
At the end of the day we will all get through this.Of course taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of and catching the Corona Virus is on everyone’s mind.However you still need to go fishing and I’m hoping these suggestions help.Stay Healthy and Safe Amigos !
With The Arizona Mearns Quail Season set to open on Friday December 6th we have a little excitement in the air here in beautiful downtown Patagonia AZ A.K.A.- Mearns Quail H.Q. of the World.The word on the street is Mearns #’s are spotty at best.For those looking for the ultimate shoot’em up Hunt this won’t be it.Birds will be hard earned.
Crush pointing Mearns Quail
On that note here are a few things to consider which will enhance Your Arizona Mearns Quail Hunting experience.
Don’t be an Asshole
By hunting ontop of other hunters.If someone is in “your spot” leave and find a new spot.Most Hunters I know roll with the first one there gets the right of way.Sometimes things happen namely running into other Hunters and their dogs, the unwritten rule is to turn around or head off in another direction and avoid contact.
Pick Up Your Shells
For whatever reason some of us out there feel that shotgun shells don’t count as litter, therefore it’s Ok to leave them scattered all over the countryside.Well here in the Grand Canyon State leaving your shotgun shells on the ground is littering and you could be fined for it.It also makes the rest of us (hunters ) look bad to the non -hunting public.
Pick Up Garbage
If you really want to impress the Quail Gods via good “karma ” pick up garbage as you walk along.This also includes the shells that some dickhead left on the ground.
Leave Gates how you found them
This is ranching country so there are Cows that sometimes think the grass is greener in the next pasture.But thats up to the Rancher to decide not Hunters or Cows for that matter.Leaving gates open when they should be closed is a big no no.
Skirt Around Cows.
As the season progresses a lot of the Cows will be “Calfing” Its best to stay away from them so you don’t piss off Mother Cows.Move around them, also don’t let your Dogs chase Cows.
Enjoy Your time here.
Mearns Country is a very remarkable place that a lot of Folks don’t ever get the chance to see.Enjoy the views and the people that call this amazing area home.
Support Southern Arizona Quail Forever.
S.A.Q.F. has been going hard to help Quail and Quail Hunters.If you are not member maybe you should join ? or throw them a few bucks for the good things they do to help you have a better Experience.Click Here.
Be an Ethical Hunter
There is a lot of folks preaching hunting ethics,however they vary.Simply obey the law by adhering to bag and possession limits, shooting times etc.The Arizona Game and Fish Department is the go to source for all that info via The State of Arizona Hunting Regulations.
It’s good to be home in Arizona.With that comes a lot of preparation for the up and coming season which equates to driving around the S.E. Corner of the State and doing ‘Taste Tests” better known as Scouting which entails running dogs and seeing what is out there.
Sunny pointing Scaled Quail
Other areas of the State might be better off for Gambels Quail however the claim to fame to this area is the 3 Species that we can hunt which are Mearns,Gambels and Scaled Quail.
Due to really shitty scenting conditions,It’s been day to day,I’m encouraged on the “good “days when we find them however some days its a lot of walking or armed hiking chasing Birds that easily disappear.My observation is we a getting or harvesting young of the year Birds which is always a good sign.Its been hot and dry therefore when we get some rain this week conditions will drastically improve.
Young of the Year Scaled Quail
Mearns Quail Diggings
Kate is backed by Belle and Crush as BooBoo gets ready to go in to flush
The 2018/19Season was all about Mearns Quail,with a few Gambels and Scalies thrown in.We had to work for the Birds but as the saying goes “thats what wild bird hunting is all about”.Our Clients like that and so do we.
S.E. Arizona has had above average moisture over the Winter Months.Thats good news for Arizona Gambels and Scaled Quail !Hunters looking to book trips should do it now.Some weeks are almost sold out.We are confident we will have fair -good Desert Bird hunting this season.It’s still to early tell forecast Mearns Quail as Monsoon Rains where spotty, some areas look ok others not so much.We will be out doing our homework before the season starts.
Idaho Bill pointing Mearns Quail
2019/20 Arizona Quail Season Dates
Gambels and Scaled Quail- 10/18/2019 – 2/10/2020
Mearns’ Quail -12/7/2019 – 2/10/2020
For more information our our Arizona Guided Quail Hunts including The El Coronado Ranch Hunts Click Here.
As far as the trout hierarchy goes nothing beats Brown Trout.Cutties are cute,Rainbows fill a void and I would rather take a disobedient Labrador Puppy for a walk than catch a Bull Trout.Opinionated ? You bet.Targeting Big Brown Trout is a lot of fun, wether its a big floatable river or a tiny creek they are a blast.Enjoy the pics from this ongoing seasonI’m sure there will be more.
Good Friend Lindsey Channel hooked up on a streamer eating Missouri River Brown Trout
D.B.O. Guide Gavin Stookes with a Bow River Brown Trout