Monday, April 12, 2010

Grant Creek- Coronado National Forest, Arizona


I fished in Grant Creek for a couple of hours on the last day of our trip. This was the Grant Creek in the Pinaleno Mountains(Mount Graham) near Safford, not the Grant Creek that is a tributary to the Blue River( I've fished there as well).It's similar to Three Rivers Creek here in New Mexico in that it doesn't so much flow,as fall, from the great heights of a rain and snow capturing mountain. There's been plenty of snow this year,so it was flowing out into the flat desert scrub that surrounds these "sky island" ranges.There was still plenty of snowpack on the upper reaches, so I was fishing down in the junipers, oaks and bare sycamores around 4,500 to 5,000 feet elevation. I caught a couple of trout. One 8 or 9 incher that looked like an Apache/rainbow hybrid, and one heavy 14 or 15 incher that looked mostly like a rainbow. The water was high(inundating the lower few feet of the trees at some pools,)a bit murky, and very cold. Both fish were caught deep,but it would be blast to come back when the water was bit lower and try some dry fly fishing. The stream may be more popular than one would imagine given it's remote location. There's a minimum security prison along it's lower reaches with resident employees who appear to be fishing it from time to time.Plus, except for the last 1/2 mile to 2 miles or so on the rough forest road the approach to the lower stretch of the creek is all on paved roads,if you are coming out from Safford or from I-10.Looking upstream before leaving, at the staircase of waterfalls and deep pools that continued up the mountain, I wished there had been more time to really explore this place. Oh well,I guess there's always next year.

10 comments:

Garrett said...

Nice post about Grant Creek. I currently live in Sierra Vista and really miss fly fishing. Can you post the location of this place? Thanks again for the post. I also want to get to the Gila.

devon said...

Garrett take I 10 to 191 north,at about 25 miles take 266 west,after maybe another 20 miles or so there is a paved road turnoff for Fort Grant( which is a prison) drive all the way to the end of paved road then onto dirt(it's a little weird here because it feels like you're driving through someone's backyard),but make sure to head straight and north.Don't turn to the right.You should see a fence at the back of the houses and an opening for the forest road 157.You can drive a few miles on this and find some parking where you can.There is one crossing that can be pretty deep in the springtime.You can also fish Grant Creek from the top of the mountain,but you have to wait until summer for that.

Kris Keyes said...

I have fished Grant creek numerous times...but always from the top....I need to try it from the bottom this year.
Ash creek on the north side of the mountain is good fishing too.

devon said...

I fished Ash creek a few years back,hiking several miles up from the bottom. I remember catching a couple of fish that looked mostly like apache trout and then having the day cut short by the outrageously windy March weather. I'd like to get back there too.

Garrett said...

Going to give it a try very soon! Thanks for the info guys.

Dan said...

I'm going to try it next weekend. Going to the top for 4 days. Had enough desert living and need some cool weather and pine trees. Good post Devon

Garrett said...

I went there about month ago and no water in the thing. There were small pools of water holding fish and some pools had numerous dead fish in them. Not good. We need more rain and soon..

devon said...

I fished in northern NM back in June,but I don't even want to look at the Gila,until conditions get better. What a change for Grant Creek from last year when the water was flowing under the road to Klondyke. I've read that they are putting Gila trout into streams on the east side of Mt. Graham like Ash Creek and Marjilda(sp. I hope they can survive.

Gary said...

I fished lower Grant Creek last October (2011). Several nice plunge pools, even under low water conditions. Saw a few fish in the 10" - 11" range and had some action on a Joe's Hopper pattern.

Could someone describe the fishing conditions in upper Grant Creek along trail #305 hiking in from the Swift Trail? Is it true that it's a 2000' descent from the trailhead to get to fishable water? Are there Apache trout in the stream? I've fished Ash Creek by hiking in from the top in the past, but Ash Creek is closed to fishing for the next few years beause G&F has turned it into a Gila Trout nursery.

Also, what patterns other than grasshoppers have been successful on Grant Creek?

devon said...

Gary, I haven't fished from the top,but from what I've read, it can't be followed all the way down.Trail 305 doesn't follow the stream the entire way either,but does provide access to Grant creek,Post, and soldier creek and yes it looks to be about 2000 feet down. I used some standard nymph pattens.Yes it should be Apache trout in the upper section. Also Big canyon Creek to the south had Apaches as well, and may have them still.