Fishing withdrawal

Mexico Joe

Cholla Bay 4 Life
I see what you mean, the trails that I used to get close to the river near the dam are gone.
It's been awhile, but I remember being able to drive down and park 25 feet from the river. The only trails I see are further down the river.
The last time I was there was 7-8 years ago.
Might have to take this issue to the supreme court. It seems every last public land recreation spot has been blocked off to vehicle traffic and mandated hike in trails. I've been sentenced to hell on earth. No fear of the hypothetical hell when you live in real hell everyday. They have basically fenced off miles of what used to be public land North of Pleasant. Irresponsible OHV and trash are what kill it for everyone. People shooting guns where they shouldn't be. SMH...
 

brokenwave

Well Known Member
From Google maps it looks like they revamped the area below the dam for flood/erosion control.
It used to have some nice trees along the river bank near 100-200 yards down from the dam. I need to revise my timeline
I bet it was 10 years since I was there last
 

joester

2 salty dawgs
And after asking my wife, she thinks it was 20+ years ago since were there last. I do remember being able to drive and park pretty close to the river.
We're heading back up to both Tonto and Christopher Creeks Tuesday, temps are going to be lower for a few days then, we can get a nice half day of creek ultralight trout fishing. It'll be sad and interesting to see the damage from the Bush Fire.
 

Mexico Joe

Cholla Bay 4 Life
And after asking my wife, she thinks it was 20+ years ago since were there last. I do remember being able to drive and park pretty close to the river.
We're heading back up to both Tonto and Christopher Creeks Tuesday, temps are going to be lower for a few days then, we can get a nice half day of creek ultralight trout fishing. It'll be sad and interesting to see the damage from the Bush Fire.
We took the prerunner out yesterday in hopes of reaching the Verde via Sycamore creek. About 3 or 4 miles past Fort McDowell the burn scars start. Middle of highway and then somewhere before Sycamore you can see where it jumped the highway heading East towards 4 Peaks. Got to the gate and it was closed and being manned by US Forest Service. Continued further to the Four Peaks gate, same thing. Asked the USFS if this was for covid or fire. Fire. They are worried about erosion and mud slides now as soon as the monsoons start. Might be closed for a while. We later learned the entire Tonto Forest is closed starting 6/26. So we turned around and went back west on the B Line. Decided to turn on Bush and head towards Sag looking for some off road trails. Everything I repeat EVERYTHING was closed. Butcher Jones entrance gated and locked. Nothing. We kept going. The Salt River was PACKED. I mean. Covid WhAT?! WHAT COVID???? Are you kidding me?! I've never seen so many people simply ignoring EVERYTHING. What a joke. So this is open, gyms are open but I can't go offroading or ONE MAN kayaking at PLEZ??????????!!!!! This shit is garbage makes no sense at this point. No logic in any of this. We ended up on USERY mountain pass road. Heading south up the pass we saw a trail head, Bulldog Canyon. It was open so we bought a pass and entered. We get out there and initially all was good. We then came to a fork in the road and saw a SIDExSIDE and asked if there was any way to get to the SALT. The guy goes, follow me. We start following this guy through a canyon wash and come around a corner and boom, bottle neck ROCK GARDEN and we have 2wd. Going downhill. No option to reverse and nowhere to turn around just HAD TO SEND IT. Got hung up on the middle of three sets of rocks. Guy never turned around. No help and now the GF and I are stuck in the middle of this wash in the Superstitions!!! LOL what a nightmare. Took two tries but had to get the truck jacked up in the air with my HI LIFT jack and stack rocks under the rear tires. 12psi and rear diff lock will do wonders for a 2wd. The driver needs to do the rest. Somehow got the truck to start biting and side to side motion before climbing up out of this huge rock we were stuck on and boom I got out of this rock garden. I was able to go a little further down and turn the truck around. I made one attempt at crossing said garden going back the reverse way to get the F out of there and got stuck again. Buried the truck down to the axle. Rear tow hitch was sitting on the sand. Started the dig out/ rock a bye baby technique, D, R, D, R. Started making a couple of feet of headway at a time. 35" tires were hitting bedrock about 24" down and somehow I was eventually able to get the truck un-stuck for the second time in 2 hours and reversed backwards down the trail to some harder pack dirt on the side of the wash. By this time we had already sent SOS with GPS location to Claudia's brother. At about 430pm, two US Forest Service HOT SHOTS found us in the wash and radio'd position to said brother in law waiting at the gate off Bush that was closed. Bulldog OHV North Gate. The US Forest Service Ranger was listening to radio and decided to come see us LOLLLLLLLL. Apparently, we were NOT ALLOWED in that wash that goes down to the Salt. The USFS ranger was very nice and she let us go with a warning instead of the $100 ticket. Eventually brother in law got there and everyone cleared the way for me to give it one more shot. Somehow hit my line perfectly and was able to get out of this rock garden going up hill in deep sand with 2wd. Never needed the tow. Fell horrible!!! The hot shots let us go back the easy way to the N gate and on to the Bush highway. Finished off the day watching the sunset and the salt river counting my blessings at Granite Reef before heading home around 745pm. The longest most trying day ever! Just to find something to do because everything was closed it pushed us out to somewhere we've never been before and almost paid heavily. Thank god we had water and sun protection. Spent 3 hours stuck. Had the bass rod with me, never even got one cast!!!!! All that to try and get a fish from either Verde or Salt!!!
 

Stuart

Aye carumba!!!
Staff member
Forum Supporter
I used to do that trail off of Usery Pass, Joe. Comes out on the backside of the Salt River. Not for the faint of heart, but a nice trip through the wilderness, for sure.

I had an old International Scout, though. Thing was like a damn billy goat and could take those trails. Don't think I'd do it with two wheel drive. Only tough spot for me was that canyon area of the wash that was all sand. Just pedal to the floor and run fast over it and pray you didn't dig in.

There are a couple of nice trout holes on the backside of the river, just above the Blue Point area. The river undercut the bank and formed a nice deep hole for a good distance. Used to limit out on fat rainbows just casting a small Mepps spinner in a 1/2 hour or so.

Actually forded the river near there in the Scout a time or two, but that's scary as hell. Had water breaking over the hood and no snorkel. Plus, the algae on the river bottom is slippery as hell and you'd loose traction and the current would push you down river.

Ah, the crazy shit I would do back then to catch a fish! Those were the days, though. Long before they policed everything down in that area and Salt River Rec even existed. Pretty much pure Sonoran desert back there and we'd always find tarantulas and snakes wandering the trails.

Funniest thing we ever saw was creeping along a trail and there was a big lizard laying in the sand on the trail. Out of the bush, comes a huge king snake and he's hauling ass to get that lizard! The lizard scurried up the trail, but the king snake is faster and just about nabs him. All of a sudden, the lizard stands up on his back legs and starts running like a human! He quickly out ran the king snake and the snake just stopped in the trail with this sort of "Oh shit, now I gotta find something else to eat!" look about him. I swear, it was something right out of a National Geo video.

Good times back there!
 

joester

2 salty dawgs
We took the drive up 87 yesterday on way to do a bit of fishing - the Bush Fire burn is as extensive and horrible as it looked on TV. Was curious about 4 peaks road, but ALL Tonto NF roads closed. For anyone travelling north on 87, give yourself about 15-20 minutes extra time to get past 188 - NB 87 is one lane for about 15+ miles - the guardrail posts on the right side NB are burned in many sections, will be a lengthy and expensive project replacing that many miles of guardrail. Made it up to See Canyon trailhead, about a dozen cars parked there, so did a quick stretch the legs, and left. Was a nice 1/2 day in the cool pines tho.
 

audsley

Well Known Member
Forum Supporter
I fought public lands access issues for years. It's a real barrel of snakes. I should write up a primer on the subject for those who are interested. We've won a few battles, and but in the long run we're all losing access to public lands.
 

brokenwave

Well Known Member
Public lands, that's funny. As long as person works for the BLM or Forest service then they're public 90% of the time.
Sadly we've been losing access for years now.
 

Mexico Joe

Cholla Bay 4 Life
I fought public lands access issues for years. It's a real barrel of snakes. I should write up a primer on the subject for those who are interested. We've won a few battles, and but in the long run we're all losing access to public lands.
You ever come at it from an ADA standpoint? I think there could be grounds for argument there.
 

Mexico Joe

Cholla Bay 4 Life
I used to do that trail off of Usery Pass, Joe. Comes out on the backside of the Salt River. Not for the faint of heart, but a nice trip through the wilderness, for sure.

I had an old International Scout, though. Thing was like a damn billy goat and could take those trails. Don't think I'd do it with two wheel drive. Only tough spot for me was that canyon area of the wash that was all sand. Just pedal to the floor and run fast over it and pray you didn't dig in.

There are a couple of nice trout holes on the backside of the river, just above the Blue Point area. The river undercut the bank and formed a nice deep hole for a good distance. Used to limit out on fat rainbows just casting a small Mepps spinner in a 1/2 hour or so.

Actually forded the river near there in the Scout a time or two, but that's scary as hell. Had water breaking over the hood and no snorkel. Plus, the algae on the river bottom is slippery as hell and you'd loose traction and the current would push you down river.

Ah, the crazy shit I would do back then to catch a fish! Those were the days, though. Long before they policed everything down in that area and Salt River Rec even existed. Pretty much pure Sonoran desert back there and we'd always find tarantulas and snakes wandering the trails.

Funniest thing we ever saw was creeping along a trail and there was a big lizard laying in the sand on the trail. Out of the bush, comes a huge king snake and he's hauling ass to get that lizard! The lizard scurried up the trail, but the king snake is faster and just about nabs him. All of a sudden, the lizard stands up on his back legs and starts running like a human! He quickly out ran the king snake and the snake just stopped in the trail with this sort of "Oh shit, now I gotta find something else to eat!" look about him. I swear, it was something right out of a National Geo video.

Good times back there!
The Forest Ranger told us that wash has been closed since 1996 but my girlfriend remembers being able to drive right down to the salt in the late 90's so I bet enforcement wasn't the same back then. The spot we got stuck at in that canyon was near the top. Real narrow section that had some huge boulders not to mention the 2 foot deep sand. 2wd is not for the faint of heart.

One of the guys that helps Jose with the Boo Bar Poker Run is an off road racer that does baja. Pretty sure for the last 3 years we've been the only one they let go out there with 2wd because Ron knows that I'm not a newb. 2wd = not lifting the skinny pedal EVER! loooooolllllllllllll
 
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