Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, happy holidays. Welcome to the Zane Grey Chapter December 2023 newsletter.
We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are enjoying our Autumn weather. While the mountain creeks may be cold, there are still many opportunities for fishing here in the valley. One opportunity is this coming Saturday, December 2, 2023, where we are co-hosting a Salt River Saturday event with Arizona Game and Fish Department. More information is below and here. The Salt River Saturdays are as follows:
December 2, 2023
January 6, 2024
January 20, 2024
February 3, 2024
February 17, 2024
March 2, 2024
March 16, 2024
April 6, 2024
The Arizona Trout In the Classroom (TIC) program distributed eggs to 36-Arizona schools for the 2023-24 school year earlier this month. See Jim Walker’s article and pictures below. The program continues to grow and Trout In the Classroom is looking for new schools for future enrollments, and always looking for additional volunteers.
This is a season of giving and we hope you can find it in your heart to help our annual fundraising drive. We continue our quest to get both the Apache Trout and the Gila Trout off the Endangered Species List, and continue our efforts to sustain and improve the Apache Trout habitat. Look for a letter in your mailbox soon! That’s right a real letter, not an email! If you can’t stand the suspense, you may see a sneak preview of the letter here, or simply click here.
The new spring box at the R-C Scout Ranch on Christopher Creek is complete! See some pictures and article below. We are delighted with this progress and look forward to beginning the final phase – creation of a Christopher Creek fishery. Look for additional stories to come.
Coming to the Salt River this Saturday, or plan on coming soon? Here are some helpful casting instructions for river casting. See the video here.
Scroll down to the volunteer section to learn more and look for a follow up email addressed to Zane Gray members asking for your help and support.
By Woody Wilson
We’re down to the yuletide wire and you’re still scratching your noggin for a stocking stuffer to please that fly angler who has it all. Yet another fly box (like last year) just shows a ho-hum lack of effort on your part. Until now…
When our affable teen-aged San Juan River guide pulled out his stackable Fishpond MagPad Fly Pucks earlier in the fall, I thought, “Oh, man…those things are fiendishly engineered to be the acme-zenith of stocking stuffers this year.” I went back to the Soaring Eagle fly shop and bought a short stack. They are not only cool but really (and this is important) cheap.
If you haven’t seen the newer Fishpond stackable Fly Pucks, Google them. Simply put, the Shallow Fly Puck and the Shallow MagPad Fly Puck are just that…pucks; round, plastic, sturdy, flip top and stackable. The MagPad has a magnetic inset in the bottom to keep the flies from becoming a conjoined ball of feathers and hooks in transit. At $7.95 per puck, buy a dozen and sprinkle them around at your holiday parties this month. It will bring out your inner-Santa. Buy Now!
And, here’s a few more brilliant ideas if you’ve already discovered the Puck.
The Insulated Beanie LED Light - A Hands-free Led Beanie for on the go. More than a beanie, but a hat with light! With the added feature of the LED light, beanies become more than a fashion choice by transcending into a necessary safety feature for both home preparedness and travel safety. Useful outdoor gadgets for Dog Walking, Jogging, Biking, Running, Camping, Hunting, Fishing, Hiking, Handyman, and Home Improvement, or any other activity needing hands-free lighting. Practical and unique gifts for the person who has everything. Buy Now!
Personalized Stream Flask - The perfect gift for the fly angler who is hard to shop for! These engraved flasks are both useful, aesthetic and are a unique way to display a true passion for all things fly fishing. They will also keep you warm for that cold day on the river. It is stainless steel and finished with a layer of textured powder coat for a non-slip feel and grip. Flask includes metal funnel for easy filling. Good Wood PNW (the manufacturer) also offers FREE SHIPPING on orders over $35 (buy two) as well as combined shipping for items that are less than $35. Five Star reviews at $16.95. Buy Now!
The Little Red Knot Book- A send up title of Harvey Penick’s iconic book on golf. Without strong knot tying, all your expensive fly fishing gear and fishing efforts are futile. The Little Red Knot Book, is an illustrated pocket guide book that includes all the knots you need to know. This 72 page book contains instructions and diagrams on how to tie over 50 of the best fishing knots known to man. Five star reviews at $6.95! A must have for all us Knot-Heads out there. Buy Now!
And here’s a thoughtful Christmas or Chanukah present for that Scout in your family from our good friend, Arthur Greenway.
This Summer’sR-C Fish Camp is Open for Registration - Fish Camp is a high-end, hands-on, immersive adventure offered in partnership with AZ Council of Trout Unlimited and the Grand Canyon Council, BSA. Participants will learn the ecology necessary to select proper fly or lure, understand how to cast, understand where to cast, and master the art of provoking fish to attack your fly or lure.
The week will start with foundational experiences ranging from classroom time to experiential opportunities like seining for insects in Christopher Creek. As the week advances, the group will venture daily to new and exciting fishing locations where participants will learn how to cast into creeks, wade in streams, and fish from canoes in lakes.Additionally, we will have expert lectures and sessions on fly tying, fish and insect identification, and an opportunity to visit the State Fish Hatchery.
There will also be a conservation project all participants and staff to participate in. The week will conclude on Friday afternoon with a short graduation ceremony.
Participants and staff will be housed in twin-sized bunk beds in cabins at R-C Scout Ranch (20 minutes north of Payson, AZ) and will eat most meals in the camp dining hall. Shore lunches will be available for off-site fishing excursions.
The Camp Health Lodge is staffed 24 hours a day by qualified medical personnel. Arrangements have been made with the local rescue squads and hospitals to handle any medical emergencies.
Fish Camp is available to any youth (male or female) at least 13 years old. The registration cost for each camper is $510 (before February 8, 2024) and $525 (between February 9 and May 1, 2024). Some scholarships will be available. Maximum of 14 campers per session.
And don't forget, a membership in TU is great Holiday gift! Order here.
If your TU membership has lapsed, please take a moment and renew. Our Zane Gray TU team is doing exceptional work, and we need you! And after you've re-upped, tell a friend to join us. New members get an introductory half-price membership here.Pass it on. Here's the renewal membership link. Click here to renew.
Coming up in December in Zane Grey land.
Arizona Fly Casters has its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 6-8:30 pm at the Arizona American Italian Club, 7509 N. 12th St., Phoenix, AZ. This month's speaker is Cinda Howard. More info at www.azflycasters.org .
Desert Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 6:30-8:30 pm at the Elks Lodge, 1775 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler, AZ. This month's speaker is Dan Briley, ZGTU board member. More Info at www.desertflycasters.com
Have a Wonderful Holiday Season from your Team at Zane Grey TU!
November Meeting Summary
The AZTU-PPC meeting held in November 2023 was devoted to discussing the 2023 accomplishments of the Public Policy Committee to date, discussing the strategy session to be held in February 2024, ground water updates, the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program, and then members of the Public Policy Committee discussed the upcoming film festival to be held in February 2025 led by Alec Young.
The state legislature is very quiet right now, they passed their budget on May 12th and there is no activity on bills. The only items taking place are confirmation hearings. TU will continue to monitor these hearings and continue building relationships with lawmakers over the Summer and into Fall so we can be productive in the upcoming 2024 session.
Groundwater News in Arizona
Groundwater continues to be a hot topic in Arizona! The Ad-hoc Committee in Arizona continues to promote the message that local control of groundwater in rural communities is critical to their livelihoods. Twenty percent of Arizona's groundwater became managed in 1980 with the "Groundwater Management of 1980". But the other 80% of groundwater in Arizona still has no protection. Landowners can pump as much water as they want, without measurement, reporting or limit. The group working with the Arizona Department of Water Resources is looking to find an executable protocol for managing water outside of the Active Management Areas of Phoenix, Prescott, Pinal County, Tucson, and Santa Cruz which were established by the legislation in 1980. The draft legislation would empower local and rural communities to create Rural Groundwater Stewardship Areas if the groundwater in their rural community became threatened.
The Committee is currently hosting county-based dialogue sessions to engage local residents in the issues. One was held in Flagstaff for Coconino County on October 25th and had an attendance of local community members of approximately 70 people. Coconino County Supervisor Patrice Horstman, the water manager for Flagstaff, the mayor of Tucson, a hydrology professor from NAU, and our AZTU-PPC Past Chairman, Tom Osterday, were panelists. Additional meetings/events are being planned.
We encourage you to be alert for calls to support the Rural Groundwater Stewardship Areas legislation in the upcoming legislative session!
Two articles published in the Arizona Republic recently:
Arizona won't explain why it has paused leases on some state-owned farmland.
Is the Arizona State Land Department taking steps to reverse a handful of unpopular leases? Or, more widely rethinking water use on state trust land?
The December 2023 AZTU-PPC Meeting will be held Thursday, December 14, 2023 at 7:00 PM. The meeting will be devoted to updates on initiatives from members of the Public Policy Committee related to legislation, clean water, ground water, and the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program, and discussion of the upcoming strategy session to be held on Saturday, February 24, 2024.
The AZTU-Public Policy Committee (AZTU-PPC) hosts a virtual meeting on the second Thursday of the month at 7:00 until 8:00 PM. If you are interested, please contact Ron Stearns at PublicPolicyChair@az-tu.org .
Trout in the Classroom
Eggs Now In Their New Homes
Madison Meadows Egg delivery: Teacher Cynthia Bradley looks on as students add 100 delivered rainbow trout eggs. - Photo A Davis
On Monday, November 13th volunteers picked up eggs in Camp Verde for Payson and Flagstaff region schools and another for the Phoenix metro area and Tucson schools. The Bass Pro Shop parking lot served as the distribution center for the various volunteer couriers throughout the Phoenix metro area and relayed to Tucson. By the end of the school day, 32 schools welcomed the eggs to their new homes.
The next day 4 remote schools successfully received their eggs via FedEx.
This year over 4,200 students and teachers will see their aquariums and growing fish daily in their classrooms and another 11,000 others will see the fish tanks throughout the year. The student and teacher smiles are energizing. Some of the excitement experienced can be seen in the Arizona Trout in the Classroom video at www.aztic.org.
A big THANK YOU goes to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, supporters, and volunteers for their commitment to the program.
AZGFD Video of the Month - Trout in the Classroom (TIC)
Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) showcased in its monthly e-news the Arizona TIC program that offers students hands-on experience in raising trout in a classroom setting.
Your Conservation License Plate Supports Our Programs
The Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation (AZSFWC) license plate fund is derived from the sale of wildlife conservation license plates and member organizations as well as non-member organizations are eligible to apply for those funds.
The Arizona TU Council and Chapters have received funds over the past eleven years in support of the Annual Native and Wild Trout Conferences, Fish Camp, Trout in the Classroom programs and conservation projects.
The next time your registration comes up for renewal, choose the conservation license plate option at registration to show your support for conservation and our projects.
New Spring Box Completed for R-C Scout Ranch - Update
Last month we wrote about the new spring box and water pipeline work Arizona Trout Unlimited is working on at the R-C Scout Ranch near Payson, AZ.
We are happy to announce our contactor finished the work, and as you’ll see in the pictures nearby, the difference is significant.
The former system was very old and leaked. This system feeds a pond that is listed as one of the established habitats for the threatened round tail chub. The new spring box and pipeline will also increase the volume of water in Christopher Creek as well as eventually open a new year-round fishing area in the creek, about 80 to 100 yards up stream of the spring box.
This is a great project as the pond also provides youth recreational fishing and conservation opportunities.
The December Fishing Report courtesy of Pheasant Tail Fly Fishing.
Salt River - Average
Low winter flows have returned to the Salt and water levels have receded from their summer high. Rainbow trout stocking is up and running on the Salt. Check here for the stocking schedule. Try stripping woolly buggers through the larger pools and drifting scuds and hare’s ears through runs. Keep an eye out for a BWO hatch in the early mornings. Besides trout, the lower Salt has a good largemouth bass population. Bass will hit woolly buggers as well and will often rise for small poppers in the mornings and evenings.
Now that water levels have dropped, anglers can sight fish for carp and suckers. Look for these fish in the deeper pools by cliff faces and larger boulders. The Salt is a great place to practice your fly casting.
This state park has great access and is an awesome spot to learn how to fly fish or hone your casting skills. Anglers can enjoy catching multiple species, including rainbow trout, channel catfish, largemouth bass, and bluegill. Slowly stripping wooly buggers and leeches is a great technique to hook up with multiple types of fish. Colorful egg patterns and mop flies will catch fish as well.
Now is a great time to catch a ton of rainbows and perhaps a late season trophy brown. Focus on fishing shallow bays and transition areas around drop-offs. Indicator rigs with leeches and eggs are producing fish. Try stripping streamers with a sink tip line during low light hours.