Silver Creek info:
March 31 to Sept 30; all legal techniques and fish may be kept.
Oct 1 to March 31; catch and release, artificial flies and lures only.
Location: Drive east from Show Low on Hwy 60. Turn left onto Bourdon Ranch Road.
Follow to Hatchery Road and turn right.
Park in lot at the end of road.
Silver Creek is divided into three sections, A, B and C. The A section is the lower part of the stream. Restoration had been completed in this section a few years back. The water is slow moving, wandering through the meadow in pools about three feet deep. The bank is a couple of feet high in most places so a long handled net helps when landing a big trout. The B section has recently been restored as a joint project between the State and the local TU chapters. What had been a shallow stream clogged with reeds is now a beautiful riffle and pool creek. Shallower that the A section, it still offers plenty of holding water for the trout. The C section consists of two long deep holes. This section is closed in the summer but is the favorite of many fishers during the catch and release season. All three sections are accessed from a parking lot at the bottom of section A. The A section is right at the parking lot while the C section is a nice 20 minute walk up the valley on a easy to follow trail.
The fall fishing regulations call for catch and release flies and lures only while the summer regulations allow bait, which is the most popular method of fishing then. I have seen many different techniques used successfully during the fall. Most fishers use a fly rod rigged with one or two nymphs and a strike indicator. My go-to flies here are a beadhead pheasanttail and an orange egg pattern. I add a small weight to get the flies down to the bottom. The water is not real clear so the flies have to be deep or you will have little success. It is very rare that these trout rise to the surface. I use this rig on sections A and C, adjusting depth to stay near the bottom. Another technique that works here is slowly stripping a green or black wooly bugger. Again, get the fly down for the best success.
Section B is shallower that A so I find a dry and dropper works better here. Adjust the length of the dropper so the beadhead fly is near the bottom. Strikes are subtle so set on any suggestion of a hit. That slight tick on the bottom is often really a fish.
Use at least 4x tippet or even 3x and a 5wt rod as these fish are big and strong and the creek is full of boulders and reeds. Light tippets are just an excuse for the fish you have been hoping for all day to break you off. I wear hip boots.Not that you will get into the water. Most fishing is done from shore. But the shore is often muddy and slippery and the boots help.
Oh, yes, that fish that took my fly turned out to be a 20 inch rainbow. It ran up and down the pool splashing and carrying on like a mad man but, thankfully, never tried to get to the riffle below the pool where boulders could have saved it. It filled my net. But it was not the biggest I have caught here. That one was a 29 incher I got one mourning on section C. Rainbows from 18 inches up are stocked each October especially for the catch and release period. You may also catch an Apache trout holdover from summer. There is no natural reproduction in the stream so all fish started their life in the hatchery just above section C.
I find the best time to fish is October to mid-November. After that the weather can be snowy and bitter cold. However, if you find a mild winter day, this is a great place to cure your cabin fever.
Several trout were resting near the bottom of the stream. Big trout. I really wanted to get a hook into one of them. As I watched, one trout moved from side to side and occasionally, with a wink of white, opened its mouth to take a nymph. This is the stuff fly fisher dreams are made of. Excited, I searched my fly box for just the right fly. I settled on a beadhead pheasanttail which I suspended below an attractor dry. It took several casts to get the drift in line with my constantly moving target. Finally, I got it. My flies drifted toward that feeding trout. Its mouth winked white just as the dry twitched slightly. I set the hook and all hell broke loose.
Silver Creek originates as a set of springs welling from the hills east of Show Low, Az. The State built a trout hatchery there. Below the hatchery, a small creek wanders through the valley. The State manages it as a put and take trout fishery in the summer, stocking it generously with Apache trout. But in the fall it is converted into a trophy rainbow trout fishery. That is when the real fun begins.
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