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Old 04-21-2019, 08:40 PM
Bucksnort Bucksnort is offline
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Black River

Has anyone been to the Black River in the area where it flows under Road 25?

Is it clear or off color?

Latest report indicates flow is about 490 cfs.
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Old 04-21-2019, 11:49 PM
15flyfishaz 15flyfishaz is offline
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I was there Friday it’s not really of color but it is flowing fast and cold! I caught one rainbow in about 4 hours fishing!
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Old 04-22-2019, 09:28 AM
Bucksnort Bucksnort is offline
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15Fly, thanks for the response.

Last October, I fished the Black from the bridge downstream until pocket water ran out. I don't know what the water volume was at that time. I will go into the flow site and see if I can determine this. This was the first time I fished the Black main stem.

Was the water too high for wading?

The two most important decisions I can make when deciding where to fish moving water are.

1. Are there fish there?

2. What is the flow in cubic feet per second? I like to wade to good pocket water.

As I said, last year was the first time for me on the Black. I like the anatomy of the river. I love pocket water and I was pleased with immediate results.

After 40 years of fly fishing, I have learned what I like in volume. When I made this posting, the level near the bridge was 491 cfs; it is 461 today. This is a bit much for me for the Black and I can't see it coming down to an acceptable level for my taste come the first week in May. I have cancelled my May White Mountain trip because of the volume. I don't want to drive 4.5 hours and not be able to fish the river. I can see the Black being ideal at around 50 to maybe 125 cfs, maybe 150 depending on the location.
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Old 04-22-2019, 04:58 PM
BunsbertMontcroffEsq's Avatar
BunsbertMontcroffEsq BunsbertMontcroffEsq is offline
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Bucksnort, I did not take these but they were posted to an Arizona Fly Fishing group on Facebook last week. I hope it gives you some idea of what the Black River looks like right now.

Wildcat Crossing/Bridge

West Fork Campground

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Old 04-22-2019, 09:26 PM
Bucksnort Bucksnort is offline
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Bunsbert, thanks, this helps considerably; however, I am a bit confused.

Perhaps someone can, as Ricky Ricardo would say, "esplain" this so I can understand. On the National Water Information System site (USGS), flow information is available for various locations in the state. Flow data is available for the Black River at Point of Pines, which is the one I was told would help me determine fishable water.

One column indicates flow in cubic feet per second. Another column titled, "Long Term Median Flow" indicates another figure but not in cubic feet per second. I think it is supposed to be cfs but just isn't printed on the chart.

Perhaps someone can explain what "long term median flow" is. Below is a description I found on line. It doesn't help. I don't know what exceedence flow is. I assume the flow, as of a few minutes ago, is 460 cfs but by looking at the second of your photos, it looks more like 240 as shown in the long term median flow column. Is the flow 460 or 240?

This is the on line definition of long term median flow. The long-term median flow for the month is the 50 percent exceedence flow in the period of record, determined by ranking the monthly mean flow values for the same calendar month from throughout the years of record; for the given month, the median flow value is such that half of the previously recorded monthly mean flow ...

Looking at the photos you provided, I see the water clarity is ok for me and the flow looks workable. Volume will come down probably daily so by the time I wanted to go to the Black, the first week of May, it should be perfect so I guess I'm going to the White Mountains in May.

Last edited by Bucksnort; 04-22-2019 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 04-22-2019, 09:38 PM
aztightlines aztightlines is offline
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I don't believe the flow rates at Point of Pines would be of much help, Jim, as the gauge is so far downriver - way down on the reservation. Mostly smallmouth bass with some trout in the mix.

That water looks fishable to me as well...better than too low
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Old 04-23-2019, 09:42 AM
Bucksnort Bucksnort is offline
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Rod, I agree, the water looks very fishable and is clear enough for me so I have reinstated my plan to hit the White Mountains next month. If I can pull myself away from the Black and its forks, I may hit some lakes.

Instead of going the first week in May, I will go the day after my wedding anniversary on the 22nd. When I retired, I was ready for all sorts of free time to go fishing/hunting whenever I wanted; however, those darn doctor's appointments, grandchildren, birthdays and anniversaries get in the way. I have learned to plan way ahead and place my dates on my calendar so my wife can see what I'm doing and when.

My problem with this is, I don't know where the gauging stations are. Last year, I created a topic on this site asking which of the two Black River stations would be of interest to me. There are two stations on the Black. One is at or near the pumping station an the other is near Ft. Apache. Someone said the pumping station is what I want but, I will trust your knowledge. I assumed the pumping station location is up stream from Wildcat crossing.

Regarding your statement about low water, I would rather fish too low water than too high water. I learned to fly fish up stream from Deckers on the S. Platte during a year when snow pack was so low and downstream demand was not what it is now that I don't think water at Deckers was much above 30 cfs during that first spring and summer. Of course, I didn't know anything about snow pack, dams, tail water, runoff, flies, tippet, knots, waders, fly rods and reels.

Last edited by Bucksnort; 04-23-2019 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 04-23-2019, 11:30 AM
ADFISH ADFISH is offline
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Did you see this photo on the AZGF website. This was taken April10 at the Winn campground at Big Lake.

9000ft vs 7000 ft you would think there would still be snow there on the river.
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Old 04-24-2019, 12:23 PM
bgiordano bgiordano is offline
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The Black is on the drop. We do still have snow up top, but it shouldn't affect the Black much. Water temps are still in the 40's in our creeks. So the fishing should start picking up as it increases.

As far as CFS goes, the reason we suggested the Point of Pines gaging station is that it is the closest gaging station there is. We use it to do what the name means, gauge what the stream flow is doing. Unfortunately, USGS doesn't have enough funding to have gages everywhere. So that's the best we can go by.

We don't have a perfect flow rate to go by because there are too many variables to go by with the limited amount of USGS gages available.

The Black fishes best when it is relatively stable or on the drop. It fishes the worst when at base flows and water temperatures are high. So I recommend checking the trends.

I was out the past weekend and it was okay. Fishing was somewhat slow but we picked up some fish here and there. There is still a fair amount of water in the system and it is difficult to cross in most places. It will get better when there's a bit less water in the system and the temperatures are higher.
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:38 AM
Bucksnort Bucksnort is offline
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The photo of the snow plow brings back memories. Looks like my former house in Colorado - ha! Not exactly but on some occasions, the shoveled snow from my driveway would pile up on either side to about chest level before the end of the snow season.

bgiordano, I now recall what you said about the station being the closest to the bridge. As I said, one of the two most important decisions I can make for a successful day of fly fishing was/is to choose a location with acceptable flows.

If I checked the flow at Deckers on one day and it was in my range then the next day it was up a hundred feet or so, I would go to another location; however, I had no problem fishing when the river dropped suddenly or gradually.

Thanks for the information.
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