June 1, 2013 Fishing Report

The heat has arrived here in the valley! So get out of the heat and go fishing.

With temps in the low 100’s you have a couple options to put a bend in the rod. Here are some of the places we would recommend hitting.


Lees Ferry:

  • Lees Ferry: The fish are feeding, and feeding heavily. Just checked the flows graph today, and it looks like they are starting in the morning at just shy of 10,000 cfs, and peaking around 15,000 cfs around 12:00 pm. This means the fish should be hugging the banks, looking for calmer water to rest and feed in. So as always fish the water right by shore before walking into it. With the higher flows, more scuds and aquatic worms are coming down river so be prepared with plenty of Lee’s Ferry Scuds, and San Juan worms on hand. Recommended flies; Zebra Midges, San Juan Worms, Scuds, Lazer Midges, Olive Wooly Buggers, and Olive SlumpBusters.


Flagstaff Area:

  • Oak Creek: In the shadow of the canyon on Oak Creek you have some awesome opportunities to fish. The key is to get out early before the tourists descend on your honey hole. Hoppers are out and about, and cicadas are coming. I would start fishing Oak Creek with a Dry/Dropper rig, and if that isn’t working fish the deep pools with some medium to small streamers. Key flies recommended are; Rubber Legged Stimulators, AZ Wanderings Mini Hopper, Parachute Ants, Parachute Hoppers, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Gold Ribbed Hares Ears, Craw-buggers, Olive Wooly Buggers, Black Wooly Buggers.
  • Upper Lake Mary: Some of my best fishing came this time last year at Upper Lake Mary. Look for the wind blocked coves, and you will find success. Suggested patterns; Barry’s Pike Fly, Big Eyed Bait Fish, Clouser Minnows and Deceivers.



Mogollan Rim:

  • Canyon Creek: Canyon Creek see’s a lot of pressure this time of year, however don’t discount it entirely. Fish are still being caught out of Canyon but it all seems to be during the witching hours of 2pm to dark. Canyon Creek is going to fish very similiar to Oak Creek. Just don’t be discouraged when you show up and there are quite a few anglers fishing the water ahead of you. Just take your time and methodically pick apart the water. Recommended flies; Rubber Legged Stimulators, AZ Wanderings Mini Hopper, Parachute Ants, Parachute Hoppers, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Gold Ribbed Hares Ears, Craw-buggers, Olive Wooly Buggers, Black Wooly Buggers. And for those of you that are a little more adventurous, pack your head lamp and head down to some of the bigger pools, and tie on a mouse pattern. Browns are very predatory and love to move out of their hiding spots at night to feed, and a big old mouse is a tasty morsel for a giant brown.
  • Tonto Creek: Tonto Creek has always been a fallback for me, when I am just itching for a few good hours of fishing. From the 260 bridge and up, catching some little rainbows is almost a guarantee, with a shot at some beautiful stream bred browns. Tis the season where most of our recommended flies will be the same across the board. Recommended flies; Rubber Legged Stimulators, AZ Wanderings Mini Hopper, Parachute Ants, Parachute Hoppers, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Gold Ribbed Hares Ears, Craw-buggers, Olive Wooly Buggers, Black Wooly Buggers.

White Mountains:

  • Becker Lake: Great reports coming from Becker Lake just outside of Springerville Arizona. Becker Lake is one of the best fishing lakes in the White Mountains this time of year, being its one of the lowest elevation lakes in the White Mountains. This however does shorten it’s fishing season somewhat compared to the other lakes in the Whites. Once water temps get above 70 degrees, Game and Fish asks that you don’t remove the fish from the water prior to release, as the water is low in oxygen, and it lessens the fish’s chance of surviving. However right now the water temps are still in the 60’s and fishing has been phenomenal. Recommended flies; Snowcones, Bombers, Damsel Nymphs, Mini Leaches, Zebra Midges, and Blood Worms. Becker does offer up some great dry fly fishing if that is your thing. Hammer the banks with; Stimulators, Hoppers, Ants, and Damsel Flies.
  • Christmas Tree Lake: Fish camp is up and running, and reports have been okay from Christmas Tree. The Apaches are hungry and ready to give you a darn good day of fishing. Just purchase your license before making the drive up, to confirm you have a spot on this awesome lake. Recommended flies; Snowcones, Bombers, Zebra Midges, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Gold Ribbed Hares Ears, Prince Nymphs, Ants, Rubber Legged Stimulators, Parachute Adams, Simi Seal Leaches, and Wooley Buggers.

Out of State:

  • New Mexico: The reports we are hearing from the San Juan River outside of Farmington New Mexico are awesome. The fish are feeding, and more big fish are being caught this time of year, then we have seen all season. If you are looking for guide recommendations, or need some help being pointed in the right direction swing by the shop and we will set you up.

Muzzy San Juan


  • Colorado: Salmonflies have arrived. The Gunnison, Colorado River, Roaring Fork, and Eagle have all reported the beginning of Salmonflies. This is your chance to throw giant foam dry flies, to every fish in the river. Salmonflies only last a short period and we here at the shop are doing our best to keep up with where it seems to be the best.
  • Nevada: Nevada rivers are pretty well blown out right now, however don’t discount Nevada quite yet. Pyramid Lake is still open for another month, and some success is being had at the northern most beaches. If you put off Pyramid for the last couple months, but have an itch to get out, this would be my recommendation. Check in with us at the shop to get set up.

pyramidkirk5 walkerbrownkirk2


  • California: Most of the rivers in California seem to be blown out, very similar to Nevada. However I just got a report from a customer of ours that Mako shark fishing off the coast of San Diego is amazing right now. He mentioned they landed 7 sharks in a half day trip, which is pretty darn good. If you are looking to hook your first saltwater fish or first shark, Dave Trimble of On The Fly Fishing Charter is your man. We can hook you up with him if you would like, or you can contact him directly by going to his website.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us through the form down below, or give us a call here at the shop: 480-368-9280. Thanks for reading.

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Umpqua Ledges 650 Waist Pack by DJ Zor


We here at Desert Sportsman are extremely lucky to have some amazing customers, and sometimes those customers turn into great fishing companions. This is one such case. Kyle and I don’t have time to fish every new piece of gear to hit the market, we try, but it is seemingly impossible to keep up with manufacturers. So on a recent fishing trip, I offered to let my good buddy DJ use an Umpqua Ledges 650 Waist Pack to see what he thought of it. He was nice enough to take the time out of his day, and write a review of his thoughts on the bag. Hope you guys enjoy.


Umpqua Ledges 650 Waist Pack Review:


If you’re like me, then you’re always looking for the most functional piece of gear for your application. One thing I haven’t settled on is a way to carry my fishing gear while in the field. Well, that is until now. In the last year I’ve tried vests, chest packs, waist packs, backpacks and even just wearing pants and a shirt with ample pockets. I found that for my style of fishing, bushwhacking through the Arizona high country to access our small streams, a waist pack suits me best, but I haven’t been completely satisfied with the one I have.






Enter the Umpqua Ledges 650 Waist Pack. Last week, on a five-day trip, Kirk brought along a demo of the pack that his Umpqua rep dropped off so that the shop could get an idea of the new line. Since Kirk is settled on a sling pack and already had it packed to the gills he asked me if I wanted to haul my gear with it and tell him what I think. “Try out new gear? You bet.” I’m a bit more minimalist than Kirk and since I was already using a waist pack it was an easy swap. The first thing I noticed was that after transferring all of my gear to it I had room to spare. I mean ample room. 650 cubic inches of storage is huge, especially since Umpqua crammed it into a pack with similar dimensions to what I was already using. I fit three fly boxes, leaders, tippet, a small flashlight, emergency tarp, small first aid kit and snacks inside. I also liked that it was compartmentalized better than my pack which just has one main compartment and a small outer pocket. I felt that my gear was much more organized. However, when I put my water bottle in the pocket (which this pack has two of, another plus if you fish in Arizona during the summer) I was skeptical of the configuration and whether or not I’d lose my bottle on the stream. By the end of the week I hadn’t lost my bulky Nalgene bottle and had complete confidence in the way it was attached to the pack.



The Ledges pack sports an aluminum frame and mesh panel to keep the packs shape and allow for airflow between you and the pack. I have a couple of backpacking packs similar features and they all seem to end up with the pack against my back, hence defeating the “airflow”. I was immediately skeptical that this pack would follow suit and since my waist pack doesn’t even have this feature, no big deal right? Wrong! By having ample space in the pack the frame is allowed to do its job and the pack stayed off my back. From breakfast to sundown my back was puddle free even on the hot days. That’s an awesome feature for fishing during hot Arizona summers. You know you’ve been there, wet wading at 7000’ and still dripping with sweat.


There are a handful of attachment points for slinging additional gear including one on the shoulder strap to attach a net to. I attached my net to it but immediately realized that since the pad for the strap isn’t attached to the strap the weight of the net pulls the pad down off your shoulder and you’re left with the bare strap on your shoulder, your net out of reach, dragging the ground behind you. I made a quick fix for this by pushing my zinger pin through both the strap and the pad. It wasn’t an ideal place for my nippers, but it held the pad and my net in place. There is a sheath built into the pack for your hemostats or pliers which keeps them in reach and off your shirt if they get dirty. I found it an easy way to access my hemos and still have the pack behind me. In fact, I found that since the pack holds its shape so well I could open the zippers and reach my now organized gear without sliding the pack to the front of my waist. The zipper pulls are huge and obviously different for each of the compartments which means as long as you can remember which one holds your fly boxes and which one has your Clif bars you can grab either one quickly and easily with the pack behind you. There’s also a separate weatherproof compartment with a sealed zipper that I test fitted my iPhone in. I don’t carry a phone with me when I fish, but if you do it’ll be protected.



After four long days on rivers and one on a lake I can honestly say that I put this pack through the ringer. Even though I carried a bit more gear than normal, since I had the extra space, the frame and padded waist belt kept the pack riding in the right place which makes it more comfortable and lighter feeling than my waist pack. I’m pretty sure once I finish unpacking and cleaning my gear that Kirk’s going to have to wrestle this pack out of my hands. The Ledges 650 is definitely getting added to my gear arsenal.


  • Frame and mesh panel to keep your back cool and the pack riding comfortably
  • Giant zipper pulls for easy access
  • Well designed compartments and easy to organize
  • Tool sheath
  • Sizeable (Which can be dangerous. We all know the adage that says, if there’s room in a pack you’ll find a way to fill it. For those folks there’s also a smaller, 500 cubic inch version.)
  • Smart phone sized weatherproof compartment


  • Shoulder pad isn’t attached to the strap
  • Plastic hardware (I haven’t tested the long-term durability of the hardware. It may last forever.)
  • Not made in America
  • Price (At a retail of ~$130 it’s steep for a bag.)
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Galvan Brookie Review

For those of you who have been into Desert Sportsman, you know that we are huge fans of Galvan Fly Reels. For those of you who haven’t, well here is your introduction. We honestly feel like Galvan makes one of the best fly reels in the market, when it comes to cost vs. quality. A couple months back without notice we received a demo product from Galvan called the Brookie. At first glance we weren’t sure what to think, however with the last couple of months under our belt we are ready to review the product.

galvanbrookie2 galvanbrookie3 galvanbrookie1


Galvan Brookie 0-1/MSRP 200.00$:

  • Spool width: 0.75 inches
  • Weight: 2.54 ounces
  • Line wt: 0wt to 1wt
  • Backing Capacity: 40yd(0wt line)/30yd(1wt)

Galvan Brookie 2-3/MSRP 210.00$:

  • Spool Width: 0.85 inches
  • Weight: 2.72 ounces
  • Line wt: 2wt to 3wt
  • Backing Capacity: 40yd(2wt)/30yd(3wt)

Galvan Brookie 3-4/MSRP 220.00$:

  • Spool Width: 0.85 inches
  • Weight: 2.97 ounces
  • Line wt: 3wt to 4wt
  • Backing Capacity: 60yd(3wt)/50yd(4wt)

Galvan Brookie 4-5/MSRP 230.00$:

  • Spool Width: 0.85 inches
  • Weight: 3.20 ounces
  • Line wt: 4wt to 5wt
  • Backing Capacity 90yd(4wt)/80yd(5wt)

Since we first received the Brookie in the shop we have had the opportunity to both fish them, and receive feedback from customers. The general consensus is that Galvan has nailed their mark and then some. With the latest and greatest in fly rod technology cutting the overall weight of the rod itself, finding a reel to balance these rods has been difficult. The Galvan Brookie is lightweight, durable, and seems to pair well with the likes of the Sage One, Sage Circa, and Winston LT.


Most of us know that when it comes to our 3wt rods and lower, a reel is just a glorified line holder. We really don’t need a phenomenal drag when fighting a wild rainbow trout on some small spring creek, and Galvan has built the Brookie with this in mind. Galvan is calling the drag on the Brookie a Tension Spool system. It is adjustable by simply popping the spool off of the frame, and using the 1/6″ Allen wrench (included with purchase), to either tighten or loosen the set screw located on the circumference of the lower portion of the spindle. When doing this though, it does either tighten or loosen the drag on the incoming and outgoing of line. We have noticed with the ones we have fished or sold, that the factory setting is tight enough to keep the reel from free spooling, and enough to fight the fish if need be, on the reel. This simplistic drag system is one of the reasons the Galvan Brookie is so light!



It’s very difficult to tell someone else how something looks. And what we here at the shop may think looks good may not look good to you the consumer. With that being said, we think the reel looks pretty darn awesome. Galvan machined as much as they could out of this reel, and the overall look is a modern spin on what should be a classic style reel. Galvan does all of their other reels in colors like Green, Bronze, Blue, Clear, and Black, however at this time you can only purchase the Brookie in black. I hope this changes soon, because a Green Galvan Brookie would look amazing on a 6’6″ Winston LT 3wt.

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As mentioned above in the specifications the Galvan Brookie doesn’t break the bank. Coming in at 230.00$ and under for an American made reel, from a reputable company is hard to beat. When comparing it to the Sage Click which is made overseas, has less of a drag, and costs nearly 100.00$ more this has been the reel that we are showing customers as often as possible. And for you lightweight rod guys out there, the spool cost is exactly half of the MSRP for the reel. This means you can purchase a Brookie 2-3 and a spare spool and have a phenomenal reel for both your 2wt and 3wt rods for under 320.00$. And we can’t forget to mention Galvan’s awesome warranty. If anything goes wrong the cost of shipping is all it takes to get you’re reel taken care of for the life of the reel! In our opinion that is extremely difficult to pass up.



  • Lightweight (pairs well with the newest rods on the market)
  • Good looking
  • Fully machined
  • Made in the USA
  • Inexpensive (reel and spools)
  • Great Warranty


  • Tightening the tension goes both ways (incoming and outgoing)
  • Can only purchase in Black (for now)

If you have any questions about this product, or would like to order one feel free to give us a call here at the shop. We would be happy to help you out.

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Sage ONE Fly Rod Review


by Kyle Bourassa

This year I decided that I needed a new bonefish rod for Belize. There were a few new rods out on the market that that made it difficult to choose, but in the end I decided to go with the Sage One. When I got the rod I was surprised how light it was, and how small the diameter of the rod blank was. With the new KONNETIC technology Sage was able to make to make the new One Rod 25 percent lighter. When I first strung up the rod to cast it, I was surprised how much power the rod had, but what really surprised me was the accuracy. Most rods with a lot of power tend to lack in accuracy, and when bonefishing accuracy is monumental. The KONNETIC technology implemented in the Sage ONE keeps the rod on a straight path during the casting stroke making it deadly accurate.


We here at the shop have always been Sage fans, and so our review may come across somewhat biased. However never have we stood behind a rod like we do the ONE. Kirk and I both really enjoy fishing our Sage ONEs in a majority of the situations we find ourselves. Whether it be for small stream Browns in northern Arizona, or giant Tarpon in the Florida Keys.


If you are interested in taking the Sage ONE for a test drive swing by the shop and checking one out. We always make sure we have our favorite rod in stock and ready to purchase.



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