Copyright 2019 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Oak Creek Arizona
There couldn't possibly be a trout stream that is much
more appealing and as beautiful as Oak Creek Arizona.
Fly fishing Oak Creek will make you quickly understand
why fishing for trout isn't always just about catching
fish. Don't get this wrong. You can catch plenty of trout,
it's just that if you didn't, you would still leave very
pleased and satisfied with the time you spent trying.
Highway 89A runs along Oak Creek from Sedona,
through Oak Creek Canyon, and all the way along the
creek including the North Fork of Oak Creek. The West
Fork Oak Creek and the North Fork Oak Creek flow
together at Cave Springs. From there the creek flows
downstream through Sedona and the Sliding Red Rock
State Park where it joins the Verde River.
Oak Creek is stocked with trout from the Page Springs
Fish Hatchery upstream. The lower section of the
stream above the hatchery up to about Grasshopper
point warms up during the Summer. It can warm up so
much the trout have a difficult time surviving in this
section of the creek. That's why it is managed as "put
and take" fishing. Above Grasshopper Point (about 6
miles above Sedona) the stream begins to be capable
of supporting trout year-round and there are holdovers,
and even some wild trout. Fly fishing Oak Creek is best
in its upper 12 miles.
In the Page Springs area, Oak Creek is much cooler
due to the cold spring water. Forest Road #119 off of
highway #89A will lead to the Page Springs Road which
will take you to this area of Oak Creek and the springs.
The West Fork of Oak Creek must be reached by foot.
It provides several miles of wild brown trout fishing. The
Call of the Canyon Parking area is the departure point
to hike upstream on the West Fork. In my opinion, from
a pure fishing standpoint, this is the best section to fish;
however, you don't miss the beauty of the lower
sections. Fishing above Grasshopper point up to the
West Fork can also be very good. Large holdover
browns can be caught in this long section of the stream.
Oak Creek consist mostly of pocket water with riffles,
runs and pools. You should note that from Junipine
Resort to the West Fork Trail is limited to single hook,
barbless "catch and release" only.
Most of the stream is fed by springs and the pH is very
good. That's why Oak Creek has some very good
hatches. Dry fly fishing can be very good and at times
the trout can become selective to certain insects when
matching the hatch is the best bet.
Fly fishing Oak Creek can be challenging at times and
easy at times. It depends on whether your fishing for
newly stocked trout, holdover trout, or wild trout. It is
best to base your strategies on fishing for wild trout
because that way, you can catch just as many or more
stocked trout as you can otherwise, but not be
eliminating your chances of catching plenty of wild trout.
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 &12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
The season runs year-round
Late Spring is a great time to fish due
to the hatches
The lower part can get too warm in the
Summer but the higher elevation
sections will continue to fish well.
Oak Creek Fly Fishing Guide:
Oak creek is made up of many different
types of water depending on where you are
The wild brook trout tend to live in the
highest elevations where the water runs
cold and clean through the meadows and
stands of spruce and fir.
The Oak Creek Canyon is a gorge located
along the Mogollon Rim that runs between
the cities of Flagstaff and Sedona. State
Route #89A enters the canyon on one end
and runs down to the bottom of the canyon
to Sedona. The canyon section hold plenty
of both browns and rainbows. It consist of
some pocket water but mostly pools
connected by runs and short riffles. Most
anglers new to the stream have a difficult
time keeping their eye on their fly because
of the beauty of the canyon. It is like a small
Oak Creek requires a certain amount of
physical ability to wade but casting isn't
difficult. It is wide and open enough to get
decent backcast, so it is a good stream for
beginners to learn to fish. By mid summer,
the trout can become a little picky and tend
to stay well hidden. Oak Creek does have a
lot of anglers and sight seeing visitors that
keep the trout wedged up under a rock at
Most of the time you should be making
upstream cast and fishing in an upstream
direction. Short cast usually produce more
fish than long cast. You need to keep as
much fly line off the water as you can. If
you expect to catch any holdover or wild
trout, getting a drag-free drift is a must.
It is a good idea to dress to match the
surrounding as best you can. You should
wear non-flashing clothing that blends in
with the surrounding. Move slowly. Sudden
movements spooks the trout.
Staying low help you approach the trout
without them seeing you. Avoid getting up
on banks and rocks where you have a
clear view because in those situations, so
do the trout.
You should always use as light of a leader
and tippet as you can get by with. Leaders
and tippets about 9 feet long work best in
most cases. Many of the aquatic insects
are small, hook sizes 18 and 20 are used
mostly and tippets of 5X and 6X are usually
In the air mends are best. If you mend your
line on the water very much, you usually
end up spooking more trout than you hook.
Oak Creek Hatches and Trout Flies:
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in Oak
Creek and in all stages of life that are
applicable to fishing. If you want to fish
better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a
call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
Starting in the late winter and early spring
you will find hatches of Little Blue-winged
Olives, size 20. These hatch in February
and March. Little Winter stoneflies will aslo
hatch during the same time and on into the
first of March. These little stoneflies crawl
out of the water to hatch but deposit their
eggs late in the afternoons and can create
some dry fly fishing opportunities although
that is rather rare.
In March, Baetis species of Blue-winged
Olives will begin to hatch. These are hook
size 16 mayflies. This and other species of
mayflies called BWOs will hatch off and on
from March though June.
In May and June, species of net-spinning
caddis called Cinnamon Caddis and
Spotted Sedges will begin to hatch.
Green Sedges will also begin to hatch. The
larvae of these caddisflies are important
trout food. They are called Rock Worms by
most anglers. These caddisflies will hatch
through the month of June. In the faster
water of the Oak Creek headwaters, Pale
Evening Duns will hatch in June and early
July. These are sparse hatches but will
usually create some dry fly action.
In July, Tricos will begin to hatch. These
tiny mayflies, called White-winged Curse by
some anglers, are prolific. They hatch in
very large quantities. They are a hook size
20 and to complicate the hatch, you will
find that the male and female duns and
spinners are all different colors. This hatch
will continue through September.
In September, Little Blue-winged Olives will
again hatch. These are usually size 20 or
18's. They will hatch on into October and
In the spring water sections of Oak Creek,
you will find some scuds called freshwater
shrimp by some. Imitations of these can be
The creek also has plenty of sculpin and
baitfish. Streamers imitating these fish are
usually very effective if used during low
In the Summer months and on into early
Fall, imitations of ants, beetles and
grasshoppers will produce good results.
Fall is a beautiful time for fly fishing Oak
You can catch trout on warm, nice days
during the winter.
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Oak Creek Fishing Report
Updated November 22, 2019
Oak Creek Fishing Report - 11/22/19
The stream is flowing at a normal level and the water is clear. The stream levels have been
high the past few days due to heavy rain but back to normal. Remember to order online or
call us. There are no fly shops in Sedona or nearby. Fish the uppermost sections of the
river at the head of the canyon or the West Fork.
7 Day Weather Forecast: There is no chance of rain for the next week. Highs will range
from 49 to 60 and lows from 37 to 40 degrees.
Recommended Trout Flies:
Strategies, Techniques and Tips:
The Black Matuka Sculpin and Olive Matuka Sculpin are good flies for the larger size
The Brown Sculpin, White Belly Sculpin & Articulated streamers are good flies to use at
Scuds are present in some sections of the creek.
Blue-winged olives are hatching.
An alternate strategy is to fish a tandem Midge rig under a small strike indicator with the
midge lava as the bottom fly and the midge pupa as the top fly. Fish the adult midge
only when you observe trout feeding on the surface.
Scuds are available for the trout to eat year-round. Black flies are hatching.
Mahogany Duns and October Caddis are working.
Brown Sculpin and Black Matuka and Olive Matuka Sculpin, size 4/6/8
Brown Sculpin, White Belly Sculpin & Articulated streamers, size 4/6
Blue-winged Olives, size 18/16, nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners
Scuds, size 14/16
Midges: Blood (Red), sizes 20.22, larva, pupa and adults
Midges: Light Green, size 20.22, larva, pupa and adults
Scuds, size 14
Black Matuka and Olive Matuka Sculpin, size 4/6
Brown Sculpin, White Belly Sculpin and articulated streamers, size 6/4
Mahogany Duns, size 18, nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners
October Caddis, size 6, pupa and adults
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $100 are shipped via
Map of Oak Creek
Oak Creek Brown Trout caught by
Mr. Alex Latorre. It is a thumbnail
image - click to enlarge
Brown Sculpin Streamer