November 2007

Time To Experience Autumn Colors, Bugling Elk And Jumping Trout

The time is right to experience golden aspen quaking in the autumn breeze, huge bull elk bugling in the forest, and aggressive trout jumping in the cold, clear mountain lakes.

Arizona Game and Fish Department officials say this is a great time of year to visit Arizona’s high country.

Be sure to take along the fishing poles, binoculars, a thirst for adventure, and a warm jacket. You might even toss in a .22-caliber rifle or that trusty old .410 and get reacquainted with the youthful joys of tree-squirrel hunting – the season opened Oct. 12. It’s also blue grouse season.

You can discover some of the best trout fishing of the year in Arizona’s mountains and streams. This is also the leading edge of the winter trout-stocking program in the mid-elevation waters (visit for a listing of the winter trout stockings). It’s really the best of both fishing worlds.

Coincidentally, some of the most prolific high country trout lakes are also smack dab in the middle of prime elk country. This is the tail end of the elk rut, and on any given day, you can expect to hear huge bulls issuing their high-pitched challenges in the forest. You might even hear the clashing of elk horns reverberating through the woods as contentious bulls fight for the right to mate with a harem of cow elk.

The Mogollon Rim lakes near Payson offer excellent trout and elk opportunities. For lots of feisty fall trout, try Woods Canyon, Willow Springs, Bear Canyon, Chevelon Canyon, Knoll and Blue Ridge.

The White Mountains of Arizona also provide superb trout lakes and streams and terrific elk herds, but the autumn show has waned at the higher elevations and is slowly moving lower right now. A visit to the mountain hamlet of Greer is well worthwhile. Big Lake, which is Arizona’s largest mountain trout lake, offers the most trout fishing diversity; it has rainbows, cutthroat, brook and Apache trout.

The Flagstaff-Williams area is dotted with interesting trout lakes, not to mention some terrific views of the San Francisco Peaks and plenty of elk to liven up the sounds of the forest.

Another interesting place to fish right now is Oak Creek, which should be coming in to itsown with fall colors.