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Old 01-18-2018, 08:58 AM
david vaughn's Avatar
david vaughn david vaughn is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Payson
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Dead Horse State Park + Crusty Pizza

Bill Daily and I decided to give Dead Horse State Park another go yesterday, Jan 17. We needed to learn the daily pattern for this awesome little fishery. We left Strawberry mid-morning arriving around 11:30. Talk about near perfect fishing conditions for some still water. Mid 60's, abundant sunshine, very little wind to speak of. Water was cool, glad I had thermal bottoms and wool socks as I regulated a tad bit cool on my body temps after being in the water for nearly 6 hours.

One of the things I liked about this body of water, is just how clear it is. Bill shared the lakes are fed by the Verde River, keeping it nicely cool and clear. We fished the upper lake with the boat ramp, if you are interested.

Thanks to another fly fisher, we learned the colors were bright and flashy, as he was using golden wooly buggers with a zebra midge dropper. We used an olive SSL body, with a golden peacock SSL tail behind a tan colored glass bead.

Putting that SSL right down in the junk with a steady strip produced strikes on nearly cast. And there was nothing gentle about those hits, either. LOTS of short hits, but we had our fair share of trout to hand. Enough to get us in trouble had we kept more than the regulated limit...

The area we had the most success in was close to the inlet. Lots of cold, clear water running in from an upper lake, holding some nice busy bodies searching for more to eat. Also, lots of stockers in the 10" range, with some heavier action in the deeper, main portion to the lake.

I'm down to just one olive SSL, time to get the kit out and make some more... I may need to give Dub a call for some more product as I'm getting a wee bit low.

We were having so much fun with these highly attentive trout that we lost complete track of time. Did you know that anyone on the lake MUST be off the water 30 minutes before the gates are closed (5:30pm btw)? A Park Ranger politely told us to get off the water as we were nearly an hour late in getting off. Ooops, our bad...

Afterwards, we had a hearty meal at Crusty's Pizza in Camp Verde. I never knew just how good a pizza can be without the marina sauce! Rub in some garlic butter onto the pizza dough, lay down some white cheese with your choice of toppings. I'm addicted to marina free pizza now! Definitely give it a go when you're in the area, you may discover you like it as well.

Sorry, but no pics. My hands were so cold dipping them in to scoop out the fish that I was afraid my phone might slip down into Davy Jones' closet.

I wouldn't mind going back in the late spring or early summer for some bass action in those reeds. It looks all too promising!

So, Billy, when we gonna go back?
- David

"Mistakes do not define you...mistakes refine you"
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:33 AM
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SAT SAT is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2011
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Sounds like fun time David! Next time you’re down in that area try Pizzeria Bocce in Oldtown Cottonwood. Excellent! My wife and I have even driven up there from the Phoenix area just to eat there.
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