Our Vision: To promote camaraderie through flyfishing.
Our Mission: Conservation, Restoration, and Education through Fly Fishing. We support active involvement in coldwater fisheries conservation. We work to insure that Arizona’s habitat is not degraded and in the development and maintenance of fly fishing opportunities. We engage in conservation work in cooperation with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and U.S. Forest Service. We support the practice of “catch and release”, the use of barb less hooks, quick and harmless release practices. Less harm release includes wet hands without remnants of deet or sun block chemicals, rubber fishing nets, keeping fish in the water and never kept out of the water for over 60 second
NAF was formed in 1984 and from the very beginning have been involved in conservation of local fisheries. At first small projects such as assisting ADG&F in sinking trees (crappie condos) into the deepest part of Upper Lake Mary and removing weeds from local fisheries. As the club grew in membership and financial resources, larger projects were undertaken. We “adopted” four small lakes south east of the City of Williams, stillwater fisheries know as JD Dam Lake, Middle, Elk and Perkins tanks.
NAF’s goal for the Williams lakes was to develop quality fisheries that would provide larger carryover fish. In 1988 NAF in cooperation with ADG&F, USFS, and National Guard, a spillway was constructed at JD Dam Lake. Sediment was removed from lake bottom and used to construct peninsulas and islands, which improved fish and waterfowl habitat and also provided better fishing access. Perkins Tank had reliable water levels but water quality was compromised by large numbers of cattle watering all summer long. So about 1990 NAF worked with USFS and ADG&F in fencing off cattle access. This did not correct the problem when grazing the permittee simply cut the fence and let the cattle water. So with help from USFS, NAF installed a watering system downstream allowing cattle as well as wildlife to water. Perkins became an excellent fishery for rainbows, browns and especially brook trout.
Between 1993 and 1998 NAF participated in several work projects in the White Mountains to reintroduce Apache Trout into the West Fork Black River and its tributaries.
In 1997 NAF participated and provided some funds in reintroducing Gila trout into Dude Creek northwest of Payson, AZ. Unfortunately this population did not survive.
In 1999, after discussions with Region two fish biologists, NAF petitioned Arizona Game and Fish commission to change fishing regulations on 2.2 miles of Oak Creek and all of West Fork Oak Creek. Beginning in January 2000 catch and release, artificial flies or lures, single barb less hook rules went into effect, the first such laws in the state. Our previous work on JD did not provide the desired results so in 1998 NAF reached an agreement with USFS, ADG&F and Army Corps of Engineers to remove additional sediment. In the spring of 1999, 36,000 cubic yards of sediment was removed from a three-acre area. This increased the depth from nine feet to seventeen feet. Again we petitioned Arizona Game and Fish Commission to enact the same catch and release regulations as Oak Creek in all four Williams Lakes. In 2001 the new regulations went into effect. ADG&F stocked large trout and by the fall of 2001 anglers were catching fish up to four pounds. In the following years of severe drought fish still over wintered. NAF then re-vegetated the two peninsulas with native grass and sedges.
Middle Tank is one mile west of JD and was too shallow to allow over wintering of trout. Then in early 2001 a flash flood washed out the dam dropping water levels even lower. So again, NAF in cooperation with ADG&F and USFS with three bulldozers and an excavator removed lake sediment, which was used to raise the height of the entire dam by four feet. NAF re-vegetated about one acre. Some years Middle Tank does not have a fish carry over but it is a much-improved fishery.
The same flash flood at Middle tank washed out the spillway at Elk Tank that is two miles up the same drainage. NAF, ADG&F and USFS cooperated in restoring the spillway to its original level.
Northern Arizona Flycasters has started a Memorial College Scholarship in memory of Paul Weitz.
Paul was a long-time member of NAF and, he worked to make the world a better place. Paul had a great interest to reach young people in support of conservation and fly fishing. Paul was a very important element to NAF being a great ambassador to fly casting and cold-water fisheries. Paul was also a multitude of elements including a husband, father, aeronautical engineer, naval officer, naval aviator, astronaut and friend to many at NAF.
Paul’s fly fishing equipment has been donated to help raise revenue to fund the college scholarship. In addition to boots, waders and vest, Paul’s equipment includes three fly rods and spooled reels. In the near future this gear will be raffled and enjoyed by other fly fishing zealots.
A short summary of Paul’s NASA career included pilot on Skylab-2, the first crewed mission to America’s first space station, he along with Commander Pete Conrad and science-pilot Joe Kerwin rescued the crippled Skylab and, ultimately returned home as American heroes. Also, Paul was commander of space shuttle Challenger’s STS-6 mission, before moving into other leadership positions at NASA’s Johnson Space Center including Deputy Director and Acting Director.
One of NAF’s most competent fly casters has the follow to say about the six weight G. Loomis GL3 rod. “The owner of this wonderful rod/reel/line combination was a true gentleman, an honest to goodness American hero, and a good friend of mine. He was a detail-oriented engineering test pilot and a fine fly fisherman. The outfit he put together, and offered here, is a no-nonsense tool for catching trout. It is perhaps a bit stout for today’s tendency favoring lighter tackle, and may not answer for use in small streams, but it is perfect for handling large and heavy waters and the large and heavy fish found therein. The angler who is fortunate enough to purchase it will enjoy its firm action, its technical balance, and its unassuming but brilliant functionality. It is truly a reflection of its owner.”
The club has awarded our first two Scholarships in 2018.