Fly fishing in Chevelon Canyon

There is a hidden gem that seldom few know about with amazing fishing, and camping opportunities right in the middle of Arizona! It’s called Chevlon Canyon and it’s amazing!

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This is the scenic overlook of the canyon and the creek below.

It is located on the Mogollon Rim in Arizona, or as locals simply call it “The Rim.” This canyon is beautiful in so many ways and filled with a lot of diverse wild life. I took a trip down into this canyon with my friend RC in August of 2017. It was a little tough to find the place but with some mapping and GPS usage, and scrambling down difficult game trails, we were able to find it. When you park at the edge of the canyon there is approximately a 3/4 of a mile steep “game trail” hike(if you dont find the right trail!) to get down into this canyon and down to the creek. At the bottom of the hike the trail opens up to a flat grassy area next to Chevelon Creek. The grass is nice and green and there are some game trails that line the creek from the deer and elk and other wild life that regularly come through. We even saw a coati down there which we were told can be quite a rare site in Arizona.

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Working our way into the canyon.

The strangest thing we found down there was an older man probably around his 60’s. He had backpacked into the canyon and had set up camp beneath a few trees, and when we got down there he greeted us with a friendly smile. We got to talking to him about the fishing and what kind of fish were found down in the creek. He informed us there were rainbow trout and brown trout in the creek and that they were pretty good size. He told us the best fly lures to use down there and gave us some pointers on where he had luck catching some fish. The old man claimed to us that he had been down there for 3 full moons. He said he would sometimes hitch a ride with fisherman into town for necessities, and then would hitch a ride back from friends, or by hitchhiking.

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A beautiful day near the creek.

We spent most of the day down in the canyon fishing and hiking around. We also hiked down stream to explore the dispersed campsites and threw a few flies in to see if we could get a bite. I have never caught any fish, by fly fishing before this trip. I have always been a bass fisherman and never used my fly gear much. I was happy to put it all to use this trip and we had an absolute blast catching so many fish. We didn’t keep them though, the day was too hot, and we didn’t bring a cooler down there nor did we have one in the truck. Had we camped down there we probably would’ve eaten a few fish, as they were all good size and would have been tasty and filling! Not everything went perfectly though, being that neither of us were expert fly fishermen. We forgot a net to pull the fish in with, so a few fish got away. I personally lost about 4-5 flies in the water, and didn’t bring anything down to eat or snack on. What ever “hang-ups” we had didn’t seem to matter at the end of the day though, because the experience and time spent down there was well worth it!

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Me trying to get my fly rod and reel set up.

We are heading back down there again this May. This time we should be a little more prepared from the learnings of last time. This trip we are going to backpack in and stay for a night, and bring some extra company along with us(and food). I’m not sure if the old man is still down there or not, but I guess we will find out soon…Im looking forward to it!

“Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” – Unknown

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