Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Salt River - below Stewart Mountain Dam - Arizona

Hatch Chart - Best Access/Spots - Local Fish - About

Water Flow Chart

Using Water Flow Charts & Weather Reports: Begin with our water flow charts to grasp stream velocity and volume – look for stable or rising trends to pinpoint ideal fishing times. Learn to interpret sudden spikes or drops, which can indicate potential challenges. Next, consult our weather reports to understand ambient conditions. Pairing the two, you can anticipate fish behavior, choose the right gear, and select the best fishing spots. Use these tools together for a holistic approach to your next fishing adventure.

In-Depth Weather

Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Midge Afternoon #18 - #22 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge
February Midge, Caddis Afternoon #16 - #22 Griffith's Gnat, Elk Hair Caddis
March Caddis, Midge Afternoon #14 - #22 Elk Hair Caddis, Zebra Midge
April Caddis, Blue Winged Olive Midday #16 - #20 Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute BWO
May Terrestrials (due to warmer temps) All Day #10 - #14 Ants, Beetles
June Terrestrials, Midge All Day #10 - #22 Hoppers, Ants, Beetles, Zebra Midge
July Terrestrials, Midge All Day #8 - #22 Hoppers, Ants, Beetles, Zebra Midge
August Terrestrials, Midge All Day #8 - #22 Hoppers, Crickets, Ants, Beetles
September Terrestrials All Day #8 - #14 Hoppers, Crickets, Ants, Beetles
October Caddis, Terrestrials Midday #14 - #18, #10 - #14 for terrestrials Elk Hair Caddis, Ants, Beetles
November Midge Afternoon #18 - #22 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge
December Midge Afternoon #18 - #22 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat

While we strive to ensure the precision of our hatch charts, some reflect broader river region insights. Through ongoing partnerships with local guides and fly shops, we’re committed to refining our data. Should you notice any inconsistencies or have feedback, we welcome you to reach out. 

Best Fishing Spots

The Salt River, particularly below the Stewart Mountain Dam, offers not just picturesque scenery but also unrivaled fly fishing opportunities. Here are some of the best spots to consider:

  • Blue Point Bridge: Provides a wide space for casting and is quite good for trout.
  • Coon Bluff: Known for a diverse fish population. Both flat water and runs available.
  • Phon D. Sutton Recreation Site: Apart from fishing, it also offers good picnic spots.
  • Granite Reef: This is a day use area which is where the Salt River ends and has multiple species of fish.
  • Water Users Recreation Site: A good spot for fresh, easy-to-catch fish.

Each site allows a different fly fishing experience. Take scouting opportunities before setting up to understand the water and fish movement.

Best Access Points

Fly fishing on the Salt River, below Stewart Mountain Dam offers great opportunities for catching a broad range of fish species. However, certain access points prove to be more convenient and productive:

  • Blue Point Picnic Area: Located off Highway 87 and offers smooth banks for casting.
  • Coon Bluff: Great spot for rainbow trout; particularly well-suited for beginners.
  • Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area: Provides plenty of space for casting and usually has good hatches.
  • Water Users Recreation Area: A highly productive spot known for large browns in fall above the dam.
  • Sheep Crossing: Located north of Mesa, this spot tends not to be as crowded as other access points, offering a serene fishing experience.

Note: Remember to have a valid Arizona fishing license and a Tonto Daily Pass when accessing these points.

Local Fish

  • Rainbow Trout: The Salt River below Stewart Mountain Dam is known for having a healthy population of rainbow trout, making it a popular destination for fly fishing enthusiasts.
  • Brown Trout: Brown trout also inhabit these waters. They are often fished in the tail water stretches.
  • Largemouth Bass: This species is an exciting one for anglers to catch because of their fighting spirit and their prevalence in the Salt River system.
  • Smallmouth Bass: The Smallmouth Bass can be found in greater numbers and they provide a great challenge for fly fishers.
  • Carp: Although considered by some as a ‘trash’ fish, Carp are incredibly strong and can be a thrilling catch on a fly rod.
  • Yellow Bass: This species is fairly common in the Salt River and it’s known for its distinctive, bright yellow coloring.
  • Crappie: Crappie, both Black and White, are often sought after by fly fishers due to their delicious taste when cooked and the enjoyable fight they put up when getting caught.
  • Channel Catfish: One of the largest species one can catch in Salt River is the Channel Catfish. It provides a monumental challenge for fly fishers, as well as great satisfaction when it can be successfully caught.

About The River

The Salt River, Arizona’s second-longest river, commences a new journey below the Stewart Mountain Dam. Originally constructed in 1930, this dam has greatly influenced the course and character of the river.

  • Pre-Dam Era: Historically, the Salt River carved out a natural oasis amidst the arid desert landscape, nurtured by abundant and diverse wildlife.
  • Post-Dam Construction: The dam’s construction fundamentally altered the river, transforming it into a captivating playground for water and nature enthusiasts.

The Salt River below the dam offers a fantastic venue for myriad recreational activities like tubing, kayaking, and fishing, attracting locals and tourists alike. Its riparian habitat is also a registered Important Bird Area, home to numerous vibrant bird species. Next time you’re in Arizona, don’t forget to explore this historic and incredibly vibrant part of the Salt River!


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