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Willow Springs Lake to Willow Springs Canyon, AZ
mini location map2020-08-28
20 by photographer avatarNobody01
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Willow Springs Lake to Willow Springs Canyon, AZ 
Willow Springs Lake to Willow Springs Canyon, AZ
Backpack avatar Aug 28 2020
Backpack9.00 Miles
Backpack9.00 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was a really fun trip for me as I had the pleasure of introducing a good friend to backpacking. The focus was with fishing and hiking in mind down into a pretty cool area.

We started out the trip from the Horse Trap Trailhead and made our way to the southeastern finger of Willow Springs Lake. From here we continued north along the shore working out towards the dam. We encounered half a dozen people fishing this section and only two other shore fisherman. Our time spent fishing this side of the lake was roughly 3 hours and nothing to show for it.

Our tactics where primarily focused around laregmouth and we tried a variety of different techniques. Senkos, blades, various other plastics, and crankbaits. Didn't seem to matter what our cadence was the fish were just not biting. We saw quite a few cruisers near shore (trout and bass) but they weren't too interested in what we were throwing. Once we made it to the dam we switched it up and to inline spinners (rooster tails) which seemed to attract follower but no takers. The water was warm and very clear. I am not sure if Willow Springs develops a theromcline but I assume the fish are deep right now. Along the way we saw over a dozen males on beds, didn't realize they spawn this late up there? Sight fishing for bass is not my jam so we decided to leave them alone.

The weather was pretty nice considering how hot the valley was and the thunderstorms stayed to the east of us so that was nice. I would like to assume the time of day had a factor in the slow bite (11am) but my guess is poor technique and the wrong tackle were the likely cause of no fish. :oops:

We spoke to a few float tubers who were having luck on spoons fishing humps and drop offs mid lake . They're in there, just a matter of knowing what to use and when/how to use it. Probably need a boat to get to get to better fishing but that's quite boring to me. I can only assume the lake is also over pressured right now. Maybe hitting the water ultra early is the ticket? There is always next time.

The traffic and activity around the lake was as expected for a Friday. Busy. Probably 15 different types of watercraft out there that we saw on Friday and double that number on our hike out of WSC Saturday morning. Not really my jam to fish the rim lakes to be honest, but just being out there is still a good time.

After having enough of the slow fishing at the lake we decided to drop down into the canyon just to the right of the dam. Followed a game trail down, kinda steep and slippery but still very easy to do. At the bottom of the canyon the temps cooled a few degrees but the humidity increased. We continued north towards a desired campsite encountering only one other hiker/angler and his two dogs. The next morning my buddy hit the creek and manged to hook into a few brookies so that made up for the skunking at the lake. Our hike out of the canyon was met with a total of 10 people coming down of which two continued on towards the more trecherous parts of the canyon.

Overall a fun trip, my second time down into WSC, first time camping down there. Such a cool area and I am sure I will be back next summer.
Western Dayflower
Camp-fire Campsite
Embrace the suck.
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