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Sun Lakes Splash Newspaper Articles

Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club

Fall Fishing in AZ(October 2016) 

George Abernathy

Now that October is upon us, some of the best fly fishing for trout commences. Between now and early

November, depending when the lakes ice over, we will have plenty of opportunities to land numerous

sizable trout. Of course having opportunities to catch them and actually landing them is two different stories.

Our trips this fall will include fishing at Becker Lake, Big Lake & Silver Creek, just to name a few. 

Our last multiple day trip in November 2015 yielded abundant amount of trout over 20’’.

We experienced a little snow in the evening but the fishing and comradeship was outstanding.

For those residents that have physical disabilities and still long to fly fish, don’t sell your gear and

give up hope. Throughout the Valley of the Sun there are multiple locations where you can fly fish

even if you’re using a walker, wheel chair or slightly immobile. Just google

https://www.azgfd.com/Fishing/Community/Phoenix. This page within the Arizona Fish & Game site

will show you all the fishable waters throughout the valley. Most fly fishing guides

will also work with most customers with physical disabilities including Cinda Howard from

Fly Fish Arizona & Beyond (http://flyfisharizona.com), whom I highly recommend.  If you are a 100%

disabled veteran and have a desire to learn how to fly fish, you should contact

Norm Johnson (602-361-7656) with Project Healing Waters. They will not only

teach you how to fly fish but also provide you all the equipment for free, teach you how to make your own flies and

rods and cover your expenses for all fly fishing trips. 

Wanted: Fly Rods, Reels and Equipment

The Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club needs fly fishing equipment, preferable donated so it can be sold to club members. All proceeds will be paid directly to Project Healing Waters Flyfishing which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings.

Our club meeting this month is on Tuesday 4th at 6:30 pm in the main ballroom at the Oakwood Club House. Our meetings are focused on when and where we are going to be fishing next and where we fished last. The SLFFC has limited structure, no red tape and no politics. If you want to befriend others that enjoy fly fishing, then you should make it a point to attend our meeting or contact me directly for questions. The above picture is me, while fishing at Saguaro Lake last year on one of our one-day trips.

“The Gods do not deduct from man’s allotted hours the hours spent in fishing.”

~Babylonian Proverb~

Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club ( February 2016 )

George Abernathy

Last year was very rewarding for those club members that participated

in the 20+ one day and overnight fly fishing trips we went on. Members

landed everything from Tilapia, Bass, Sun Fish, Carp, Crappie and Trout,

including a 5lb rainbow that was landed at the San Juan River on a size

26 midge.  On our fall trip to the White Mountains, with snow falling,

five members landed in excess 40 trout that measured over 17”.

Who said Arizona is 114,000 sq. miles of kitty litter?

The philosophy of the Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club is to bring Sun Lakes

residents together that want to fly fish; no red tape, no politics,

“catch & release”, just wet your lines and go hunting. Be an experienced

castor or new to fly fishing, you’re welcomed to our club.

                                                                                                                        While fly fishing at Lees Ferry last October, these Mountain Goats were

As some of you know our club hosts disabled veterans from                         observed coming down for a drink.

Project Healing Waters several times per year to fish some of

the lakes within the Sun Lakes communities. After his first

experience with working with a disabled veteran from PHW

and learning how underfunded the group is,  Stan Kaufman (SLFFC member) opted to put together the

“Hooked On Healing Motorcycle Ride” to benefit Phoenix Project Healing Waters as well as ,

to a lesser extent, the Arizona Stand Down Alliance which I’m sure you are very familiar with.

The event is planned for Saturday, February 27th. If you are interested in participating or would

like to help with a donation, please check out their web site www.healingwaters.org, email Stan

at info@healingvets.org, or call Stan 480-339-0247.

At our January’s meeting we had two guest speakers. Vince Deadmond from Desert Fly Castors did a power point presentation on salt water fly fishing at Rocky Point for a variety of fish, including Bonefish. His presentation was exciting enough to motivate me and others to acquire the right equipment to venture to Mexico for some excellent fly fishing, fish tacos & margaritas. Ron Krump, a SLFFC club member, spoke about his backpacking fly fishing trips for Golden Trout in the Sierra’s and shared multiple pictures that were primarily taken above 10k feet. Ron also enjoyed several friendly encounters with General Chuck Yeager whom in 1947 became the first pilot to break the speed record.  

In January the club hosted 5 disabled veterans from PHW at the East Lake at the Cottonwood and afterwards enjoyed lunch at their restaurant which was paid for by the club members. The fishing was great, but the catching was slow.

This is going to be a fantastic year to get out and wet our lines. I personally look forward to going on the hunt with fellow members and making sure we and our guests have numerous opportunities to do so.

“What Happens at Bass Prop Shop, Stays at Bass Pro Shop


Fly Fishing with My Brothers(September 2015)

George Abernathy

Forty five years ago, while flying on a scouting mission in Nam with Apache Troop1/9th  Cav, we came upon a river, and being somewhat bored from the two previous hours of flight, my pilot and I opted to do some fishing. Without notifying our Cobra - Gunship cover bird of our intentions, which was protocol, I

toss out a fragmentation grenade with the anticipation of doing some aerial fishing.  As soon as the water erupted from the explosion, several fish floated to the surface.  Thinking we were receiving enemy gunfire and thus on the verge of rolling in with rockets and the mini-gun firing, the Cobra AC first contacted my pilot. Without hesitation my pilot immediately informed him that we had just killed 6 NVA dressed in silver fatigues and his aerial artillery support wasn’t necessary.  Needless to say, the perturbed Cobra A/C reminded my pilot that my hand grenades and other munitions were to be used for more meaningful purposes and to cut out the horse play.

This past August I attended a reunion with about 50 of my fellow brothers from

Apache Troop in Albuquerque.  A few days prior to the reunion, Dan Reinhauer,

a SLFFC member drove in for the day to float the San Juan River with me from

our personal watercraft. The following day five of my brothers from Apache Troop

joined me for a two night stay at the Fisheads Motel and one day of floating the

river with their guides. Fly fishing was some of the best I’ve ever experienced and

reminiscing of our flying exploits over drinks with three pilots and two other

door-gunners went on for two nights. Yes, there was conversation about us

previously using grenades, but at this gathering, we all used fly rods and barbless

size 24 & 26 flies to catch numerous sizeable trout, including one that weight about

5lbs. Catch & Release is the philosophy of most fly fishermen as it was on this trip.

 Even though it had been nearly half a century, the bond between us troopers was

as strong as if we were still in Nam, preparing our helicopters for another sortie.

 We just all had bigger bellies, less hair for some and lots of grey.  Very few events

are better than bonding over drinks after a successful day of fly fishing, especially                  Texas Hole, San Juan River, New Mexico

when you’re with your brothers from an earlier era.  

Earlier this year with the support from the IronOaks and Cottonwood/Palo Verde HOA’s, the Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club hosted disabled veterans from Project Healing Waters FlyFishing. The club members overwhelming volunteered to assist the disabled veterans at both events and enjoyed bonding with them over lunch. Hosting the veterans gives all of us a deep gratification of knowing that we support our veterans and we look forward to hosting them six times in the forthcoming months.

Fish On! Fish On!

Softball Lake Opening Day (August 2015)

George Abernathy

Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club recently received permission to start fly fishing the Softball Lake from the

IronOaks management team.  Special “Thanks” to John Porter, Ironoak’s Board President, Faye Stone,

IronOak’s General Manager and Ron Kotnik, IronOak’s Facilities Manager for bringing this together.
     The inaugural day for fishing will be on Monday August 3rd, starting at 6:30am. Most of us will be

done by 9am which will give us the opportunity to have breakfast at the Oakwood’s Poolside Restaurant

where hopefully some can tout their success and others can share stories about the big ones that got away. 

In addition I’ve also made arrangements for two professional fly fishing instructors to be on hand to work

with those that need advice.
      IronOaks owns the Softball Lake and the South Lake which is directly across Riggs Road and is

connected by a large pipe so both lakes will be open for us to fish.  To fish the South Lake, just park your

auto on the Price Road on the south side of Riggs & walk in.  Bathrooms at the Softball Lake will remain

open during the day and the chain closing off the parking lot should remain off during day light hours as well.

      The lake is loaded with Tilapia, Grass Carp, Israeli Carp and Bass. According to Ron Kotnik, 900lbs

of 1 to 1.2lb bass were recently stock in the lake to give us a better opportunity to land lots of Bass. He

also indicated that several of the carp resembled the size of one man submarines. If you’re into carp

fishing, it could be rod breaking time. Softball Lake is also one of the deepest lakes in IronOaks at 30’ in the middle.   
Fish On! Fish On!

Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club News (August 2015)
George Abernathy

            With summer in full swing and 50 to 60% of the club members gone for the summer, fly fishing trips are still going strong as ever. In the past few weeks several of us have ventured to fisheries on the Rim and to different lakes in the White Mountains. Whether or not you get skunk and land several, it hard relax more than when you’re on the hunt for fish at one of the diverse fisheries in Arizona.
            On June 9th Van Newville and I attended the Sun Lakes Lions club (SLFFC) meeting to express or gratitude for them donating $150.00 to sponsor lunch for the disabled veterans from Project Healing Waters Flyfishing. Members from the Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club will be hosting the veterans on October 31st either in Ironwood or Cottonwood and “Thanks” to the Lions Club; they’ll enjoy a great lunch. 
          SLFFC’s web page is up and running and can be accessed by typing in Sunlakesflyfishing.com in the cursor. Keep in mind that the site is still in the infant stages and is being managed by one of our members, Randy Smith. Hopefully within the near future, Randy will have made enough adjustments so residents and members can access information on previous as well as future trips.  The challenge will be to keep Randy’s fingers on the keyboard instead holding a fly rod and fishing. He and his son just got back from the San Juan River in New Mexico and between the two of them; they landed over 50 trout on their guided trip.
            Our next meeting will on July 14th at 6:30pm at the Oakwood library.  All residents are welcome to join. If you’ve ever entertained the idea of fly fishing or would like to befriend others that do, then SLFFC is what you’re looking for.
       “I fish better with a lit cigar; some people fish better with talent.”   ~Nick Lyons, Bright Rivers, 1977

Fish On! Fish On!

Sun Lake Fly Fishing Club News (May 2015)

George Abernathy

     Fly fishing trips started gathering momentum at the end of March and will continue all the way through November-December this year.  By the time this article is read, club members will have gone on multiple trips to the Mongolian Rim, White Mountains and local waters. Ernie Papacek is pictured below holding a nice Rainbow trout that he landed at Silver Creek in March on one of our overnight trips.
     In addition to befriending fellow residents while fly fishing, our club has taken on a new goal.

After several meetings with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Steve Nolan of  Cottonwood,

John Porter and Faye Stone of Ironoaks,  our club will be hosting disabled veterans with fly fishing

on the fishable waters at both phases. What is Project Healing Waters?  Project Healing Waters

Fly Fishing, Inc. is a nationwide nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the physical and

emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through

fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings. The organization began in

2005 serving wounded military service members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center returning

from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our club members will be hosting the veterans when they

come out to fish our waters 4-6 times per year. As with other fly fishing clubs that host this group,

a free lunch is always provided for them and typically the cost runs approximately $120.00,

depending upon how many veterans attend.  Everyone would appreciate if you or a Sun Lakes

Club would like to sponsor a lunch for them. Please contact me. Also, their outings will be published ahead of time and if you are in the area and would like to drop off some sweets or drinks, the veterans would absolutely enjoy it.  I personally like to thank the above mention names for making this goal become a reality.  Helping disabled veterans is something everyone enjoys supporting and the management teams at IronOaks and Cottonwood/Palo Verde was behind this idea 110% and made it happen!
     If you would like to see what our club is all about and what we do, you can now go to our web page, Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club.com. Thanks to Randy Smith, he was instrumental in putting this together for the club. You can view previous trips, forthcoming trips and events. It’s loaded with great fly fishing pictures and interesting articles. 
     Over the course of the past year, our club has grown to about 47 active members and unfortunately some names, email address and phone numbers  have been inadvertently deleted over time due to computers issues. I blame it on computer issues but it’s probably more like my inputting ability and basic skills.  Anyway, if this applies to you and you would like to get back on the roaster and join our club, please call or email me.
    “The fun of fishing is catching 'em, not killing 'em!"  - Norman Schwarzkopf
Fish On! Fish On!

Fly Fishing and Women​​​​​​​​​​​ (April, 2015)
George Abernathy

     Who said fly fishing isn’t a women’s sport? Seriously, are they still living in the ‘50s
when women were expected just to cook and clean? They haven’t met or know some
of the female fly fisherwomen I know or know of. Take for example – Wendy Gunn
has won multiple Arizona and National distance fly casting competitions. Standing at
about 5 feet 2inches, she outcasts the majority of the male competitors and is part
owner of Lee’s Ferry Anglers.
     At our club’s March 2 meeting, we had the pleasure of having Cinda Howard, a
female professional fly fishing guide and owner of Fly Fish Arizona & Beyond do a
powerpoint presentation on fly fishing in the White Mountains. She totally captivated
me and other members with her knowledge. She offers regular and teaching guided
fly fishing trips for women as well as men.
     Some women associate fishing with handling those dirty squiggly worms, slimy
fish and forget about the idea of cleaning one. A fly fisherman does none of these
things. First of all, most fishermen are supporters of catch and release. Secondly,
we always use manmade barbless flies that simulate aquatic bugs that live near or
in the water. Last, but not least, a seasoned fly fisherman very seldom touches a
fish. After bringing a fish in, they simply detach the fly with a pair of forceps and
allow the fish to swim off without being handled.
     I’m smiling right now, just thinking about what happened in February when professional instructors from the Orvis Fly Fishing store held their exclusive free fly fishing lessons for the residents of Sun Lakes. Two couples came to one of the classes together. Both men had expensive rods and reels and judging by their casting techniques, they knew how to fly fish. The first time I yelled out “Fish on! Fish on!” was when one of the wives caught a bass and landed it. About half an hour later the other wife caught a bass. Neither one of the wives had ever fly fished before let alone held a fly rod. By the time we wrapped up the class, neither one of the husbands even had a take, let alone land a fish. I had to seriously control my laughter, let alone keep a straight face when one of the wives started softly talking to her husband; “Come on honey we can come out tomorrow and fish but we need to go home now”. That wasn’t her only comment she made to him. Grudgingly, he packed up his equipment and they all left together. Their names are withheld.
     Fly fishing is a sport that will give you a challenge and peace of mind at the same time. Spending time with Mother Nature, somewhere far away from any city in the midst of the mountains, on the elusive hunt for trout with a fly rod is a sport that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Dead Horse Lake State Park (March 2015)

George Abernathy

     On February 5th, seven members and I drove 2 hours up to Cottonwood and fished Dead Horse Lake.  While I was fishing a cove where the stream inlet is located, someone asked me what I was using to catch trout. At that moment, I had switch rods and was using an unsuccessful dry fly. The trout wouldn't even look at it, let alone hit it. After several attempts, I switch back to a Copper John and a Chironomid Pupa as a dropper which are two of my “go to flies” when I fish a lake with an indicator. I caught 95% of the trout with the Chironomid. Twice upon hooking and landing trout, I thought I hook into holder-overs (trout that had a year to grow and become wilder) because of the fight they gave, only to find out that after I miss their hits, I had snagged them on the side of their body. Dan Rheinauer got into the trout all day by using a sinking tip line and trolling primarily with non-bead head green & brown wooly burgers and he also caught one bass. Keith Bachman also got into trout all day long while trolling different wooly burgers from his pontoon boat. He is in the above picture. It’s powered by a trolling motor and is capable of throwing out a wake.
     I think in all, everyone had a great time. Some of the guys left early so I didn’t get a chance to find out how they did, but I’m sure they had some stories to tell as well.  When the remainder of us was were pulling our boats out of the water around 3:15, the trout started rising all over the lake which truly had me motivated to get back into the water and break out the dry flies. No matter how many hours I spend on a lake, it’s difficult for me to pack up when trout start gulping (coming to the surface eating surface bugs). Next time, dinner and the wife will have to wait a little longer!
     By the time this story is published, we will have done another overnight trip to Silver Creek (Pine Top area). We were up there a few months prior and really got into the hogs. These are big trout; hogs as I like to refer to them, were caught all day long. After hearing about our prior success, an abundance of generated enthusiasm was strong enough for me to arrange another overnighter.
     Also, two additional 2-4 hour local fly fishing trips were made in February. Several members went to Kiwanis Lake in Tempe and a few went to the Fingerling Lake in Ironwood. There’s not a lot to say about either trip, because there wasn’t a lot of fish caught. I guess that’s why they called it fishing.
     "Bragging may not bring happiness, but no man having caught a large fish goes home through an alley."  ~Author Unk


Free Fly Fishing Lessons (February, 2015)
George Abernathy

     My quest last year to start up the Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club (previously known as the IronOaks Fly Fishing Club) was jump started by bringing in a professional fly fishing instructor, Jack Houck, from the Scottsdale’s Orvis Fly Fishing Store to teach Orvis’s 101 and 201 fly fishing classes. After learning the basics of knot tying, gear and casting techniques in the 101 class, the group met the following week for the 201 class which was an actual hands on fly fishing class and held at the Fingerling Lake in Ironwood. I never stop yelling “Fish On! Fish On!” because almost everyone caught multiple bass within a couple of hours.
     Because of the enthusiastic turn-out we received last year, the club was started and our membership has grown to over 50 members. The club’s philosophy is to bring people together that want to fly fish; no red tape, no politics, catch and release, just wet your lines and go hunting. The club meets informally on a monthly basis at the Oakwood library and last year members went on numerous ½ day and overnight fly fishing trips to a variety of fisheries throughout Arizona. Be an experienced caster or new to fly fishing, all Sun Lakes residents are welcomed to join our club.
     In conjunction with the Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club, professional instructors from Orvis will be here in February to conduct fly fishing classes. These classes are free and are exclusively for Sun Lakes residents only. If you ever thought about trying out fly fishing or would like to brush up on the basics, then these classes are designed for you. All rods, reels and equipment will be provided.
     The first 101 class is scheduled for February 11 at 12:30 p.m. at Cottonwood in the A9 Phoenix Room and is primarily for Cottonwood and Palo Verde residents. Their 201 class will be held on February 18. An additional 101 class is scheduled for February 19 at 12:30 p.m. at the Oakwood’s library primarily for Oakwood and Ironwood residents. Their 201 class will be held on February 26 at 12:30 p.m. Unfortunately, Sun Lakes Country Club won’t allow us to hold classes at their location, so their residents can attend classes at one of the other locations. These classes are limited to 15 residents and you must reserve your space prior to the class; and in order to attend the 201 class, you must attend the 101 class first. If the requested reservations are greater than what the scheduled classes can handle, then additional classes will be arranged.
     For more information or to reserve your place in one of the forthcoming classes please contact me at 480-521-1060; e-mail me at apachescout@gmail.com.; or you can contact Van Newville at 480-772-8655 or e-mail him at vannewville28@yahoo.com.

     “My biggest worry is that my wife (when I’m dead) will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it.” ~Koos Brandt

Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club Adventures (January, 2015)
George Abernathy

     Do you remember when your son hit his first home run or when he opened a Christmas gift

that got him so excited he couldn’t stand still? Do you remember the smile he had on his

face that kept radiating forever? Well, that’s the kind of smile the four of us big boys over

60 years old had on our faces in November when we landed close to 20 hogs (when trout

are this big, I refer to them as hogs or pigs), as in the picture of Randy Smith holding one

of the trout landed.
     We had a fantastic two-night, three-day trip to the Pinetop area for fly fishing. On the

first day we didn’t get our pontoon boats on Horseshoe Cienega Lake until late morning

and only managed to land a few trout. As soon as the cloud cover disappeared, so did the

trout. The following brisk morning we headed up to Reservation Lake (9100’ elevation) and

got our boats on the water by 8:00 a.m. and fished for around three hours with limited

success. Dan Rheinauer, one of our four, suggested that we pack it up and head to Becker

Lake which is managed by AZGFD as a Blue Ribbon fishery and is considered by many to

be the “Trophy Trout Lake of Arizona.” It was a great day at Becker Lake if you were into

sailing because the wind was blowing so hard that white caps covered the entire lake.

Fly fishing in the wind is like golfing in the wind, they don’t mix well together.
     We finally opted to drive to Silver Creek and fished there the rest of the afternoon and the following morning. As soon as we started landing hogs, all faces lit up with contagious smiles. Catching fish brings the little boy out of me. Even now as I write this story, I can’t stop smiling and I’m sure the other three members will be doing the same as they read this story. The one thing that makes all four of us treasure our experience more than catching the trout was knowing that all the fish were released unharmed, to be hunted and caught another day.
     “If all politicians fished instead of speaking publically, we would be at peace with the world.”  -Will Rogers

Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club Continues to Grow (December, 2014)
George Abernathy

     Thanks to several club members for volunteering at the Activity and Open House Shows at the different Sun Lakes Country Club phases. We had a lot of inquiries and since then our club has grown to over 50 members. Our club membership of fly fishermen is growing! As with any type of club, you have active and non-active members. As I have shared with most, my personal goal for the club is to have a minimum core of 10-14 members that enjoy fly fishing year-round on a regular basis. I also encourage those that are just starting out to join our club. I and other members enjoy spending time helping those to help hone their skills at fly fishing. Some will enjoy stream/river fishing versus lake fishing. Others will prefer trout fishing over bass fishing and Arizona offers plenty of fisheries to accommodate all of us. Hopefully by February or March our core will be established enough so new members as well as existing members will meet and befriend other residents that love fly fishing.
     I have been asked on several occasions; do we encourage or allow bait fishermen to join our club? The name of our club is Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club not Sun Lakes Fishing Club. One of the philosophies of the club also advocates catch and release. Some members like to bring spinning and fly rods with them when they fish. Because fly fishing is a lot more technical than bait fishing, it personally took me several years to make a permanent transition to fly fishing. I do not condem anyone that brings a spinning rod with them, but the topic of bait fishing and different spinners isn’t something we will be discussing at future meetings.
     In the past several weeks other members and I have fished for bass on the Salt River from the shore and for trout at Willow Springs Lake from pontoon and belly boats. One of the best trips was up to Pinetop where we fished for rainbow Apache trout at Reservation and Horseshoe Cienega Lakes from one man pontoon boats. Some trips have been one-half to one day trips and other trips were overnighters. A few weeks ago we had a turnout of eight new/old members at my home where we discussed equipment options and the basics of fly fishing.
     By the time this story comes out, other club members and I will have gone fly fishing three to four more times. Our next meeting will be on Monday, December 1 at 6:30 p.m. and will be at the Oakwood Library. Future trips to Lee’s Ferry and the San Juan River will be discussed and solidified. January’s meeting will be on January 6, same time and place.
     “There he stands, draped in more equipment than a telephone lineman, trying to outwit an organism with a brain no bigger than a breadcrumb, and           getting licked in the process.” ~Paul O’Neil, 1965

IronOaks Fly Fishing Club Open to all Residents (August, 2014)
George Abernathy

     I’ve been fishing different fisheries off and on in Arizona since 1966 and switched over to
fly fishing several years ago. I’m George Abernathy, the founding member of the IronOaks
Fly Fishing Club. I recently moved back to Arizona from Colorado with my wife and
purchased a home in Oakwood. After nearly a year of asking fellow golfers and residents
if they fly fish, I heard a variety of answers and yes wasn’t one of them. You can actually
fish in this state? Isn’t Arizona 114,000 square miles of kitty litter? These were two of my
favorite replies.
     The state of Arizona offers some excellent fisheries for bass, varieties of trout, pan fish,
northern pike, walleye, carp and others. We also have one of the top trout river fisheries
in the USA. Lee’s Ferry, which is on the Colorado River in Marble Canyon, offers spectacular
canyon views and is estimated at having 10 to 12,000 trout per mile.
     In my quest to find fellow fly fishermen, I approached Clark Champion, IronOaks
General Manager and Ron Kitnic, Facilities Manager in February for their support to initially
allow the Orvis Fly Fishing Store to hold their free 101 and 201 fly fishing classes on our
premises. After learning the basics of knot tying, gear and casting techniques in the 101
class, the group met again for the 201 class which was held at the Fingerling Lake in
Ironwood. This was an actual “hands on fly fishing” and thanks to the guidance from
Jack Houck of the Orvis Fly Store, I was constantly yelling out, “Fish On! Fish On!”
because almost everyone caught multiple bass within a couple of hours.
     From the enthusiastic response and inquires I received from residents and with the
blessing from Oakwood’s general manager Clark Champion, I opted to move forward with the IronOaks Fly Fishing Club. My philosophy of the club is to bring people together that want to fly fish and work with inexperienced members as well; catch and release, no red tape, no politics, just wet your lines and go hunting.
     Since the inception of the club other members and I have been on several trips. The best trip so far was up to Lee’s Ferry and the fishing was incredible! Two days fishing up river yielded us 20 to 25 trout per day, per person. In the forthcoming months we have several trips lined out, including one to the lower Black River where catching 20 to 50 one to two pound small bass from shore, per day isn’t uncommon.
     The club was originally formed and approved for IronOaks residents only. As of now, the club welcomes residents from all Sun Lakes residents. With the participation of the other areas, I expect our core group to grow and become diversified.
If you are interested in our club, please contact me at apachescout@gmail.com or call me at 480-521-1060.