When I drove up there I had two things in mind more so than the scenery. First of all I was about half ready to go on a hike. I had all my gear ready but as for myself, well I was pooped from poor sleep. I also had it in mind to do some trout fishing at Rose lake. As I drove up to the pay station/entrance I just drove around it because I had a parking permit for this national forest. I continued my drive to the top and a little beyond and stayed impressed with the scenery and with the newly rebuilt town of Summerhaven (burned down some years back). Nice quaint little village with high priced tourist trap shops as you would expect, but all those working in the shops were nice. After that I turned around and decided to try fishing at Rose Lake.
There were probably about 20 or so folks from very young to a fair bit older than me trying their luck. The quarry it seemed were stocked Rainbow Trout in what seemed to me to be no more than a 15 acre lake. I walked around the far side of the lake about 2/3 of the way to the small dam that formed it, and found a nice log on which to park my posterior. Then I got down to fishing. I set it all up with a bottom rig for a worm, then realized I had left the worms in the car. Oh well - it would be artificials for the day. I tried everything I had which was not much. I sure did not travel to AZ ready to go trout fishing (or any other type of fishing for that matter). What I had with me I had purchased since getting here, actually once Brendan had come out for his visit. Finally after about 2 hours or so of casting artificial salamanders, worms, spoons, crankbaits and spinners I latched onto a fish. I could tell right away it was bigger than the ones I had seen other catch. Yes that means other folks were catching them - some were reeling them in left and right - and of course, they were using trout worms as bait. Oh well, I finally had one and it was on a spinner bait I had bought when Brendan was here or just before he arrived. The feisty little booger trout was all of 12 inches, and looked like a whopper compared to some others I had seen float by belly up after people released fish that had swallowed too small hooks. Mine I would keep, I mean there was at least an appetizer.
Had some of those released trout that floated by me, and there were at least 3 or 4, still been flailing their gills and floundering about as they floated by I would have scooped em up to add to the larder. What a waste of a good fish. Not too small to keep legally, and an excellent size for the pan (which is why some fish are called panfish), and delicious at that. Of course, usually I throw small ones back to grow big, but not ones that I know will not survive. Some people think that such little fish are worthless and just throw em back and do not care that all they will do is foul up the water or become dinner for crayfish. The thing is that once you pull out their insides to dislodge a hook they are goners. Shame on the knuckleheads who released fish injured so badly they had no chance of survival. Better in the pan than being wasted like that.
By the way, if you think that fish looks pretty scraggly, well yes it does. I suppose that some crayfish went to work on it when I had it on the stringer in the lake. It really had a tail fin and looked a whole lot prettier when I caught it. pretty meant nothing though when compared to how it tasted when I ate it. As it turned out, I went back to my motel with just the one I had caught. I had it all cleaned up (just gutted is all) at the lake before I left, so when i got back to the ranch I put it in a plastic bag and popped it into the fridge. After a couple of days I remembered it was in there, gave it a whiff, and decided to throw it
out into the microwave for a few minutes on each side. It was ever so scrumptious cooked with no additions at all - no spices, no sauce, no salt, nothing. It was great as it came out of the water except for gutting and cooking. Mmmmmmm-goooood.
All the best,