Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

This angler managed four 10-12-inch rainbow trout this week from Willow Springs Lake, which is ice covered. We consider all ice unsafe -- use caution. The angler said the ice was 18 inches deep.
This angler managed four 10-12-inch rainbow trout this week from Willow Springs Lake, which is ice covered. We consider all ice unsafe — use caution.  Forest Road 149 is closed. The angler said the ice at Willow was 18 inches deep.

Most of the action this past, frigid week has come from Community Fishing Program waters. Look for fishing to pick up late next week as predicted warm temperatures (possible highs in the 80s)  trigger more pre-spawn bass activity.

See our fishing page on www.azgfd.gov for resources such as our Fish & Boat AZ map, and stocking schedules.

 

Your fishing license

Although this is the time many anglers renew their licenses, our licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. Buy your license online and fish our great state for a year (and help conserve all species of wildlife while doing so.)

 

Upcoming free fishing clinics

What: “Just for Kids” Fishing Festival

When: Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, 8 a.m. to noon

Where: Kiwanis Lake, 5500 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, 85283

Comments: This family event is co-sponsored by Arizona Game and Fish and Anglers United. Instructors will be on hand to provide loaner rods, as well as bait and fishing information. Come on out and bring the whole family. Fishing licenses are not required for those who register with AZGFD staff during the planned event. See you there!

See the rest of the fishing clinics schedule.

 

ANGLER REPORTS

(Send your fishing reports and picture to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)

Surprise Pond
Caught this 10-pound channel cat on Friday night, Jan. 25 at around 9:30 p.m. Was a really fun fish to reel in — pole was completely bent, not to mention I only had 4-pound line. Anyway hope I can get catch of the week! #teamFishScale

Papago Pond
Luis, a.k.a. “Woody” with a 3-pound largemouth bass taken from Papago Ponds on Jan. 31.

SEE THE FULL FISHING REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

We’re all about getting kids on their first fish — this one is Lilliana’s. She caught this trout using corn under a bobber this week at the middle Dead Horse lagoon at Dead Horse Ranch State Park near Cottonwood. Grandpa said she is “hooked” and wants to go again soon. We hope she’s found a new lifetime hobby.

A cold front is predicted to creep through the state early next week, and so it looks like it could be at least another couple weeks until steady weather has a chance to aid the bass bite. The top early birds for bassin’ that can have rapidly warming water temperatures are Alamo, Havasu, and Martinez. At Havasu, there has been some short-lived, pre-spawn activity.


A top pick for bucketmouths is Saguaro. Although it is a little deeper than Alamo Lake and not quite the solar bowl, Saguaro can heat up as well — in more ways than one. Trout and yellow bass are options if the largemouth bass are finicky. It’s also the early bird for channel catfish that like to feed on shad. Plus, Saguaro is just downright gorgeous.

Considering Canyon? If you want decent catch rates, avoid it. If you want one or two wall-hangers, you might want to go exercise your swim baits.

Some anglers’ favorite fishing-camping spot is Apache Lake. The smallmouth are still on the comeback, while the largemouth bass and yellow bass populations are superb. You might even catch a delectable walleye or two. We just got a report of some good fishing for carp, smallmouth bass and bluegill.

Sounds like bass fishing in the Tuscon area at Parker Canyon Lake, where the lake is down approximately 3-4 feet.

By now, you know about out Fish & Boat AZ map, right? If not, here it is: http://gis.azgfd.gov/fishandboat/

And so we turn to trout …




Where are trout being stocked in Arizona? #AZfishtracker to provide some real-time updates

 


So you just want to know where the fish are at?

Follow @NickFishAZ on Twitter and look for occasional real-time updates on the latest fish stockings — when, where and what. Reports will not always be given on all waters, particularly some Community waters that receive high fishing pressure.

As opposed to our stocking schedules, which are just that — schedules that are subject to change due to water quality, weather, etc.  — these tweets will give you some confirmed stockings, and the information will come straight from our employees who stock the waters.



Your fishing license


Although this is the time many anglers renew their licenses, our licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. Buy your license online and fish our great state for a year (and help conserve all species of wildlife while doing so.)

 

Upcoming free fishing clinics


What: “Just for Kids” Fishing Festival

When: Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, 8 AM to noon

Where: Kiwanis Lake, 5500 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, 85283

Comments: This family event is co-sponsored by Arizona Game and Fish and Anglers United. Instructors will be on hand to provide loaner rods, as well as bait and fishing information. Come on out and bring the whole family. Fishing licenses are not required for those who register with AZGFD staff during the planned event. See you there!

See the rest of the fishing clinics schedule.



ANGLER REPORTS

(Send your fishing reports and picture to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)

Chaparral Lake


Kelly K. Here are a couple pictures of a 25-inch, 9-pound channel catfish that I caught last Sunday evening, Jan. 24,  at Chaparral Park, in Scottsdale. As a catfishing enthusiast, my goal all winter was too land a catfish over 5 pounds. This fish by far exceeded my target profile.

This fish was successfully released.

I’m especially proud of this catch because it took a lot of determination and patience. I had several fishless outings refusing to downsize my presentations. Times like these make it all worth it! The fish slammed my cut bait as there was no light bite with this hog!

Hope this makes the report as I’m a weekly subscriber and a huge fan for our respected AZGFD! I also want to take the time and praise the Urban Fishing Community program. I moved to this state last October, from Colorado, and am enjoying the fishing so far! I missed an estimated 5-7-pound catfish from Papago and have pictures of chunky crappie and healthy largemouth cass from Tempe Town that I caught last December. So much fun!

Apache Lake

I recently did some fishing at Apache Lake at 3-mile wash. The fishing was good — the guy next to me caught a smallmouth bass and a bluegill. I, on the other hand, caught an 18-inch, 5-pound carp and this 24-inch, 10-pound carp.

Sahuarita Lake

Daniel P.: I wanted to share a picture of one of the incentive fish my 7-year-old daughter was blessed to catch on Monday the 25th. We were lucky enough to make it to the lake after school, and after about 20 minutes of baiting hooks my oldest hooked on to an 18-inch beautiful trout.

This was her first trout and to my surprise her little Barbie doll fishing rod was able to haul it in. It made my day because I have yet to reel one in that size.

It made my day to see my daughter experience first-hand the excitement of reeling a big fish in ..

Thank you for what the department does to make memories and moments like this.

Good luck to all.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Get real-time Arizona fish stockings, follow #AZfishtracker

Arizona rainbow trout stockings are taking place statewide. Follow @NickFishAZ for real-time stocking updates.
Arizona rainbow trout stockings are taking place statewide. Follow @NickFishAZ for real-time stocking updates.

 

So you just want to know where the fish are at?

Follow @NickFishAZ on Twitter and look for occasional real-time updates on the latest fish stockings — when, where and what.

As opposed to our stocking schedules, which are just that — schedules that are subject to change due to water quality, weather, etc.  — these tweets will give you confirmed stockings, and the information will come straight from our on-the-water employees.

Here’s the latest: Trout stocked Thursday went into Apache Lake, Canyon Lake, Dankworth ponds, Roper Lake, Cluff Reservoir #3.

Delivery truck are en route to deliver fish to the Salt River, Yuma Wetlands West, Council (Somerton) Avenue Pond.

No more guessing. Without sending everybody to each location, we’re all about getting people onto fish by occasionally disclosing these confirmed stockings.

New to fishing? Check out our Fishing Basics page, or learn hands-on from one of our experts by attending an upcoming FREE public fishing event, and join this heritage-rich tradition.

See you on the water.

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

DeadhorseSunset
Sunset at Deadhorse lagoon No. 2 near Cottonwood.



This week we stocked both Dead Horse Ranch State Park lagoons near Cottonwood, and next week the Verde River between Cottonwood and Camp Verde (it was stocked last week).  These two fisheries make a great duo for a family adventure. Deadhorse is great for those with mobility issues with mini-fishing piers and can be just about driven to (they’re first-come, first-serve).


Planning ahead for the weekend of Jan. 29, Watson Lake near Prescott will have just been stocked with trout.  This picturesque lake near the Granite Dells on the northern edge of Prescott is a special fee area for the city of Prescott. And it is receiving some extra trout from nearby Fain Lake.

Dredge work on Fain Lake began Jan. 20 and the lake will be closed until the work is completed and the lake fills.  Approximate reopening will be March 18.  Fish that were scheduled for stocking in Fain were diverted to … Watson Lake.  

At Bartlett Lake, the Jojoba and Yellow Cliffs boat ramps had been closed due to low water levels, but the Jojoba (main) ramp is open once again.

Apache and Canyon lakes are being stocked with trout this week, so taking your shots at some monster largemouth bass with trout-imitation swimbaits is one of the best options as bass fishing in desert lakes has slowed considerably during winter doldrums.

In the Yuma area, Somerton (Council Park) Pond and Yuma West Wetlands are being stocked with trout.

See all our stocking schedules.

Oh, be on the look out for an update about an early walleye bite at Lake Powell …

Need more locations of the state’s primary waters? Our Fish & Boat AZ map has you covered.

For the latest road closures, check the Arizona Department of Transportation website.


Your fishing license


Although this is the time many anglers renew their licenses, our licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. Buy your license online and fish our great state for a year (and help conserve all species of wildlife while doing so.)

 

Upcoming free fishing clinics


What: Youth and Family Fishing Day
When: Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Red Mountain Park , 7745 E. Brown Rd., Mesa, 85207
Comments: Arizona Game and Fish Department and City of Mesa Parks and Recreation invite you to a family fishing day at Red Mountain Park. Fishing license fees will be waived by registering with AZGFD during the hours of the event. Bait will be provided as well as loaner equipment will be available. There is no cost for this event!

See the rest of the fishing clinics schedule.



Angler reports


(Send your fishing reports and picture to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)

Lake Havasu
Jonathan T.: My buddy Chantz caught this nice flathead catfish near site 6. We were working as vendors for the balloon festival and we decided to bring our rods and pulled out this guy. It was caught using hot dog!


 

Desert Breeze Lake (Chandler)
Mark H.: This is my grandson Hayden — he just turned 4 this week. We fish the Community ponds and do pretty good most times. Last Sunday at Desert Breeze he caught his first trout then another. I had none that day.

Headed out in the morning to try and get some of those big fish. Many years ago I caught a big albino rainbow trout from Tempe Town lake and sent you guys a picture that ended up in the newspaper and an Arizona fishing and hunting magazine. It is mounted and lives in my house now.

Thanks for the fishing memories and keep up the stockings, and I will keep the kids fishing.



Dave White Pond (Casa Grande)
Ramon G.: Here are some pictures of my son with trout caught at Dave White Park in Casa Grande. Thank you for including Casa Grande in the Community Fishing Program.

We love to hunt and fish, but sometimes the fishing is hard to do in our busy schedule due to distance of lakes.
Ramon had a blast we caught these trout in about an hour’s time with PowerBait.

SEE FULL FISHING REPORT

Casting and blasting in Casa Grande is Arizona outdoors heaven

Hunting and fishing in Arizona can be combined into a cast and blast. Casa Grande, Arizona is just one area that can accommodate both sports in one trip.
Hunting and fishing in Arizona can be combined into a cast and blast. Casa Grande, Arizona is just one area that can accommodate both sports in one trip.

 

Rainbow trout had just been stocked into the little pond at Dave White Regional Park in Casa Grande, Ariz. For the first time. Some good dove hunting is also in Casa Grande.

Hmm …

Trout and dove for dinner?

Let’s go.

On Friday, Jan. 8 — just a few days before dove season ended — I set out from Phoenix to this 1-acre pond in Casa Grande,  an hour from Tucson, about 1 1/2 hours from Phoenix, and the newest addition to the Community Fishing Program.

Another cast and blast.  One of the best ways to combine adventure with solitude and a bit of strategy. And maybe even some wild vittles.

As a relative newbie to the blasting side, I would be “winging it.” (Bad pun, but you get what I mean.)  The idea was to catch a quick 2-trout limit from the pond during the early afternoon, hopefully find a local to put me on a nearby dove hole, catch the sundown flights, and get home in time for a freshly “caught-and-shot” meal.

Quail season ends Sunday, Feb. 7, and there are good quail populations in this unit, so although dove season is over until next fall, a hook and bullet trip is still a way to enjoy scenes from water and desert.

Hot trout bite at Dave White Regional Park Pond in Casa Grande

 

Dave White Park is Casa Grande, Ariz. also has playgrounds and restrooms and is safe for family outings.
Dave White Regional Park in Casa Grande, Ariz. also has playgrounds and restrooms and is safe for family outings.

 

A trout bit within 10 minutes — the first got off on a black-and-silver rooster tail, but the next two, running about 10 and 15 inches respectively, took a nightcrawler and corn PowerBait, both on gold No. 12 hooks.

A hook was tied to a 4-pound monofilament leader with a small split-shot (2 feet up from the hook) and 8-pound mono backing on a medium-action spinning outfit. (Tied with uni and, for the backing-to-leader connection, double-uni knots.)

Confusing? Check out our Fishing Basics page.

Quote of the day from a lady: “Are you testing the fish?”

Hadn’t thought of that. “Yeah … I guess you’re right. I’m a fish-tester.”

Anyway, these were some pretty big stocker trout:

 

CasaGrandeTrout

 

For the record — sometimes talking to strangers pays off. (Sorry, Mom.) An employee from the city of Casa Grande, who also keeps the pond in great condition, was generous enough to point me to a nearby agriculture field with rows of mesquites where dove often choose to roost. And fly circles above a wandering shotgun barrel.

Arizona dove hunting: fast, furious, fun

 

This is the “winging it” part. Maybe some other beginning wing-shooters can relate or learn from this experience, similar to my first cast and blast adventure at Bartlett Lake.

Around 3 p.m., dove sightings are few …

CasaGrandeDesert

The next couple hours require flushing and chasing with a 12-gauge Savage pump shotgun.  A few doves flash their wings and seem to stay just outside the ideal range of 15-40 yards for the 7.5-shot, 12-gauge ammo.

Sunset comes, and a pair of quail had baited me into chasing far from the truck, and the roost-worthy mesquites. Heading back, the dove flights pick up. Two mourning doves are in the vest as the sun spits a pink hue on jagged clouds. Doves cruise from left and right and overhead, barely giving their short, chirping warnings before erratically dipping and rising into a dim sky. Turn, aim, blast … and hope for a diving dove.

DoveSunset

The pace quickens. Doves sprinkling onto mesquites like salt onto steak. Adapt to their behavior. No use in spotting a take-off. Walk through open areas a couple dozen yards from the mesquites, and look for open pockets where dove could be shot and responsibly retrieved. Yip-yip-yip … and a head turn and the doves are distant blips.

Late afternoon, dry and cool enough to show puffs of breath, smelling of cold dirt and occasional gun powder smoke. Still-desert sounds — a pulse beating in the ears and lungs belching air. From 3 hours of hiking with gear and stalking prey.  A sudden influx of doves makes the heart sprint. Aiming at those beating, wayward wings. Sunset shots.

A few more doves make their way into the vest, and it cost this hunter a little more than a box of ammo. Legal shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. Hunt over. Cheers to the doves — this was every bit of fair chase. Or maybe, for the hunter, unfair chase.

How to eat healthy, wild, fresh

But still it was enough for the first night’s dinner — dove and trout (tossed in a combination of bread crumbs, white corn meal, garlic salt, basil and a little cayenne pepper and sautéed in coconut oil) with homemade broccoli mac ‘n cheese.

Refer back to our Fishing Basics page for filleting and preparing trout.

Easy to prep after a tiring trip, and excellent table fare:

DoveTroutCooked

 

And the next night’s, shredded dove burritos, enchilada-style (dove sautéed in coconut oil with a pinch of cayenne pepper, rolled with refried black beans in a flour tortilla, topped with cheese, green chili and some shredded mixed greens and sour cream):

 

SmoDoveBur

DoveBur

 

In this author’s humble opinion, no better way to eat.

New to hunting and fishing in Arizona? Join the club

 

A few ideas from a beginning “cast-and-blaster”:

  • This type of cast and blast was simple because, by going to a pond and to a nearby field, full equipment didn’t need to be lugged around for one trip. Fish, put the rods and bait away, chuck the fish in the ice chest, drive to the dove spot, strap on the hunting gear and keep the fun going. Easy.
  • A hunting and fishing combination license and a $5 migratory bird stamp take care of all your license requirements in one pop and helps conserve wildlife for future generations.
  • The book “An Introduction to Hunting Arizona’s Small Game” SMallGameBookwritten by our own Watchable Wildlife Program Manager Randall D. Babb, has helped me with the knowledge needed to find, harvest and prepare the small game. My mentor. (Not Randy, necessarily, but he has given me some great tips.) Our publications are sold at all offices of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Or go online and download an order form. Best way to get started if you can’t find a mentor: read it and do it.
  • The best kept secret in Arizona is hunting and fishing in a state diverse in wildlife and habitat. And even without a meal to end the day, there are still sights and solitude and adventure and camaraderie.The memories can’t fully be described in a blog.
  • One last suggestion: go.

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Arizona Game and Fish Department  employees ready to ride out to several high elevation lakes on snowmobiles to monitor water quality under the winter ice. These lakes (Crescent Lake, Carnero Lake, and Lee Valley Lake) are all more than 9,000 feet in elevation and develop thick ice cover for 3-4 months during the winter. Because of the productive nature of these lakes, this ice cover can lead to a loss of oxygen and produce a winter fish kill, which greatly limits the fishing opportunities in these lakes. Biologists monitor the water quality conditions during the winter to gather data that will help them develop solutions to preventing or reducing the fish kills. Since the roads to these high elevation lakes are closed during the winter, snowmobiles are the only way to get there.



Water temperatures across the state have dropped to their winter standards, and rain and snow has slowed or stalled driving in the high country.


Be sure to check the Arizona Department of Transportation website for the latest road conditions.

Also boaters must use caution when fishing some of our high-inflow lakes such as Roosevelt Lake, where some boating hazards, including some full-sizes trees, had been knocked into the lake.

OK, ready for some winter fishing? First, anglers can pick a species to target, then figure out where you’ll go and how you’ll fish ’em. Here are some updates on a few popular species to target:

Trout

It’s a great time to take on our Arizona Trout Challenge and explore some new waters. Read about the Challenge. 

Also, this week we’re stocking larger-than-usual fish into Community Fishing Program lakes and ponds: 13-16 inches in length, and averaging 1 pound or greater. The fish are going into: Silverbell; Riverview; Papago #1; Kennedy; Green Valley #1; Papago #2; Sahuarita; Green Valley #2; Papago #3; Lakeside; Green Valley #3; Steel Indian; Copper Sky; Red Mountain; Encanto; Veterans Oasis; Water Ranch; Cortez; Desert Breeze; Chaparral; Rio Vista; Kiwanis; Evelyn Hallman; Surprise; Desert West; Alvord; Pioneer.


Also, our expansion waters last week received bonus trout.


These waters were: Friendship Pond, Avondale; Bonsall Pond, Glendale; Roadrunner Pond, Phoenix; McQueen Pond, Gilbert; Freestone Ponds, Gilbert; Discovery Ponds, Gilbert; Dave White Park Pond, Casa Grande; Pacana Park Pond, Maricopa.

Bass

It’s not an easy time to catch bass, so know your winter tactics. With typical wintertime water temperatures (surface temperature in the desert lakes are in the low-50s) a largemouth bass becomes lethargic and may feed once at first light and be satisfied for a couple days.


This isn’t to say avoid bass fishing. Just be prepared. Consider that about 10 percent of largemouth bass in our lakes will be staying shallow, or within the first 10 feet of the bank, throughout the day. As the sun comes up, many will travel deep where they might settle into a comfortable 66 degrees (say, 25 feet down.) This also is where the shad has been. In fact, as pointed out by  Gary Senft, Bass Pro at the Mesa Bass Pro Shops, the deeper the water, the more plentiful the bait.

Target points, humps, reefs and islands.

And fish slowly. For example, creep a dropshot-rigged Roboworm (bass might be eating a lot of orange and red colors, such as Salt River craw) along the bottom. Wait for a possible, subtle bite as the bait is falling. This is where bite-feeling techniques such as holding or thumbing your line as the bait is falling can be critical to catching a bass. Also, this is when having better gear such as fluorocarbon line and sensitive rod tips can make a big difference. Check online about the advantages of having tungsten weights.

Crappie

 

Recent storms haven’t helped crappie fishing. Crappie prefer stable weather and clear water. Expect crappie fishing to pick back up at crappie hot spots Roosevelt Lake and Alamo Lake in 1-2 weeks. (Apache Lake was a crappie hot spot this time last year.)

 

Your fishing license



Although this is the time many anglers renew their licenses, our licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. Buy your license online and fish our great state for a year (and help conserve all species of wildlife while doing so.)

Upcoming free fishing clinics


What: Youth and Family Fishing Day
When: Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Red Mountain Park , 7745 E. Brown Rd., Mesa, 85207
Comments: Arizona Game and Fish Department and City of Mesa Parks and Recreation invite you to a family fishing day at Red Mountain Park. Fishing license fees will be waived by registering with AZGFD during the hours of the event. Bait will be provided as well as loaner equipment will be available. There is no cost for this event!

See the rest of the fishing clinics schedule.

Angler reports

 

(Send your fishing reports and picture to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)

Freestone Park


Liz F.: I handed my rod to a 5 year old  (Jan. 14) and he reeled in a beautiful large trout. His first fish, too. It was the best watching him experience the excitement of the reel and landing it himself! Caught 4 today and earlier in the week caught upwards of a dozen since Sunday, but throw ‘em all back. Thanks for the fun!

 


SEE THE FULL

ARIZONA FISHING REPORT

Rebounding fishery at Roosevelt: October survey shows spikes in juvenile bass

 

 

Florida-strain largemouth bass fingerling
Florida-strain largemouth bass fingerling

 

If you’re wondering about how the Arizona Game and Fish Department project of stocking Florida-strain largemouth bass into Roosevelt Lake is going, well, it is far too early to make any conclusions.

That said, early indications give a shred of hope for a robust population of catchable (8-10-inch bass) by next fall, and, in 4-5 years, the hope that trophy bass will be available at this rejuvenating fishery. These Florida-strain stockings, coupled with increased rainfall and an upcoming habitat improvement project, has the lake on its way back as a premier bass fishing lake in Arizona.

Time to geek out with some data.

Results from October 2015 Game and Fish surveys at Roosevelt Lake show spikes in populations from two distinct size classes.

Click on the chart to expand:

 

NewCHart

 

The two far-left spikes of blue lines represent October 2015 results from 5.7 hours of electrofishing, compared to similar fall surveys in 2013 (red lines) and 2011 (green). All the rows measure frequency, or percent, of the total bass catch as they relate to size in inches.

This first row of blue lines (lengths of 2- to 3 1/2 inches) also indicated a healthy population of 5-6 month old largemouth bass, which possibly were boosted by spring 2015 stockings of
Florida-strain largemouth bass fry.

The next, highest row of spikes (6- to 8-inch bass) represents 1 1/2-year-old bass, possibly aided by stockings of Florida-strain fingerlings from this past spring, and/or the spring 2014 stockings of fry.

Note the green lines representing 2011 surveys and red lines from 2013 surveys showing a significant drop in frequency of young bass.

Again, this was only one survey, and at least two more surveys will be needed to make reliable conclusions.

OK, geek-out session over.

What we mean is: the “Rebound at Rosy” seems to be in progress.

 

About Florida-strain largemouth bass

 

The Arizona Game and Fish Department partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) through April of 2014 to stock up to 500,000 fry of Florida-strain largemouth bass, which have been known to eventually attain sizes up to 20 pounds.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) through April of 2014 to stock up to 500,000 fry of Florida-strain largemouth bass, which have been known to eventually attain sizes up to 20 pounds.

 

The Arizona Game and Fish Department partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) through April of 2014 to stock up to 500,000 fry of Florida-strain largemouth bass, which have been known to eventually attain sizes up to 20 pounds.

This species of bass has the potential to grow to a larger size than the Northern strain that dominate state waters — Florida-strain bass can grow up to 20 pounds.

Florida-strain also have the potential to feed on the lake’s nonnative gizzard shad.

See a Department video of last year’s initial stocking.

A United States Forest Service Tonto Pass is required to fish Roosevelt Lake.

Cheers to the future of Roosevelt Lake!

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal



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Arizona trout fishing at its finest in the Community Fishing Program waters — we bring the fish to you

 

They beat the storm. The fish have arrived. Oh, the things we’ll do for trout.

Through seven hours of driving in sleet, snow and rain, those from the Blue River Fish Hatchery delivered trout to some of our Community Fishing Program ponds Tuesday night  and into Wednesday morning before snow could cover the hatchery in Blue, Ariz.

Some of our Community Fishing Program employees worked from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. to help make it all happen. Just a hint of how urban anglers get fishing opportunities.

Thanks, guys and gals. Now let’s go fishing.

These waters that were just stocked were: Friendship Pond in Avondale; Bonsall Pond in Glendale; Roadrunner Pond in Phoenix; Eldorado Pond No. 1 in Scottsdale; McQueen Pond, Freestone Ponds, and Discovery Ponds in Gilbert; Dave White Park Pond in Casa Grande and Pacana Park Pond in Maricopa.

In the desert impoundments, the bass bite could be slow this weekend coming off these storms.

Striper fishing has slowed statewide.

But the combination of hungry fish and hardcore anglers still means fish can be caught at any time.


On New Year’s Eve at Canyon Lake, Chris Y. caught this nice bass on a DEPS Slide Swimmer 250 on the north shoreline of the main lake in crystal clear water — with 20 mph gusts.


Upcoming free fishing clinics

What: Youth and Family Fishing Day
When: Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Red Mountain Park , 7745 E. Brown Rd., Mesa, 85207
Comments: Arizona Game and Fish Department and City of Mesa Parks and Recreation invite you to a family fishing day at Red Mountain Park. Fishing license fees will be waived by registering with AZGFD during the hours of the event. Bait will be provided as well as loaner equipment will be available. There is no cost for this event!

See the rest of the fishing clinics schedule.



ANGLER REPORTS

(Send your fishing reports and picture to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)


Colorado River

Rex’s trout from Rotary Park area on Colorado River.












Fossil Creek
Max W.: Hi, Nick — Long time reader, first time emailer!

I know this is outside the normal “fishing report” purview, but I thought you should know that Fossil Creek is fishing great right now. I worked around the Flume Trailhead with black wooly boogers this morning and from dawn to 9 a.m. I couldn’t pull the chub in fast enough. Thanks so much to AZGFD for keeping this a native fishery– I can catch bass/trout anywhere, but a chance at native fish is really something unique.

Thanks for keeping up the reports– they are incredibly helpful!

 

Lake Pleasant
Christopher S.: Humbug bass are biting, but fish deep and fish slowly.










Lower Salt River

Adam: The Sonora sucker bite is good. Me with a 21-inch Sonora Sucker.

Caught it on a Canadian night crawler. Caught it yesterday (Sunday , Jan. 3). A few tips would be fish close to rock faces in deep pools. Use a sliding barrel weight with a 6-8-pound leader so when the fish bites, it doesn’t feel weight right away and spit the bait.

Make sure your drag is set light because when the fish feels it’s been hooked, it’ll run hard, and, of course, handle the fish with care as they are one of our native fish!

SEE THE FULL ARIZONA FISHING REPORT

Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal



If you’re near one of our Community Fishing Program waters (and we have 37 waters in 17 communities), catching trout shortly after a stocking can be one of the best bets for winter fishing success.

Next week, we have a Christmas bonus stocking planned for Phoenix-area expansion waters. (These waters will receive another trout stocking in February).  Some anglers will put their tackle into hibernation with this colder weather — but the trout should be biting for a while. Waters that will receive trout next week (safe to say they will have been stocked by Sunday, Jan. 10) are:

  • Friendship Pond, Avondale
  • Bonsall Pond, Glendale
  • Roadrunner Pond, Phoenix
  • Eldorado Pond No. 1, Scottsdale
  • McQueen Pond, Gilbert
  • Freestone Ponds, Gilbert
  • Discovery Ponds, Gilbert
  • Dave White Park Pond, Casa Grande
  • Pacana Park Pond, Maricopa


Also, the Community Fishing Program normally stocks trout that average nearly one pound and range in length from 10-12 inches. The next stocking in January will be the larger than usual fish — 13-16 inches length, and averaging 1 pound or greater. Set your drag accordingly …

Typically, it’s also winter crappie time. Unsteady weather has made crappie fishing hit and miss. Roosevelt Lake, Alamo Lake and even Patagonia Lake near Tucson can have good winter crappie action.

Also, anglers can check where the Bill Williams River enters Lake Havasu (you will see some ancient cottonwood tops sticking out of the water — that is a huge flat where the crappie like to hold.)

The crappie might be in 30 or even 50 feet of water, but the active crappie are usually at around 15 feet deep. Keep in mind that crappie feed upward.

So slow troll and get your bait or jig down to just above 15 feet. For example, 6-pound Fireline and a 1/16-ounce curly tail swimming jig translates into 41.5 feet of line at a trolling speed 1.5 mph to reach 14 feet.

Also consider Bartlett Lake as a dark horse crappie option.

Not a whole lot of time until the bass bite hits a winter lull. The water temperature at Roosevelt lake is in the mid-50s, and as water temperature near closer to 50 degrees (and below) the metabolism of bass will slow and anglers will have to fish particularly deep and use extra slow presentations (with dropshots, Texas rigs, etc).

It wouldn’t be a fishing report without giving you an easy link to purchase a fishing license — get ’em online. Your purchase helps conserve wildlife for future generations! (The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive state tax dollars.)



Upcoming free fishing clinics



What: Youth and Family Fishing Day
When: Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Red Mountain Park , 7745 E. Brown Rd., Mesa, 85207
Comments: Arizona Game and Fish Department and City of Mesa Parks and Recreation invite you to a family fishing day at Red Mountain Park. Fishing license fees will be waived by registering with AZGFD during the hours of the event. Bait will be provided as well as loaner equipment will be available. There is no cost for this event!

See the rest of the fishing clinics schedule.

ANGLER REPORTS

(Send your fishing reports and pictures to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)

Lake Pleasant
Dustin C.: With my uncle in town from Idaho, and catching a striped bass on his fishing “bucket list,” we decided to brave the cold, rainy weather on Dec. 23 and head out to Pleasant for the day. It was a rough morning fishing the northern coves with every plastic imaginable. After 5 hours of fishing and one fish total, I decided to reach out to my friend Warren Risberg of Reel’em In Adventures.

At his suggestion, we went back to Castle Creek and hooked up his magic recipe: cut anchovies, a split shot and fluorocarbon line. Within a half hour, we were on the fish and they were much bigger than normal. We picked up 20-plus fish in just a few hours and had an absolute blast! Don’t skip the fluoro line — we had two poles right next to each other and the one with mono rarely got any bites.



Lower Salt River
Jim J.: Here’s a pic of a Largemouth Bass, one of four I caught on the Lower Salt at the Coon Bluff area, Christmas day, Friday December 25th. Caught using worms.







SEE THE FULL ARIZONA FISHING REPORT

Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal



For six months, nights were becoming longer, peaking Monday, Dec. 21, at 9:48 p.m. The first day of winter.

As we cross that peak and daytime gradually lengthens toward spring, it’s time to focus on what species and waters are best for winter fishing. First, our Community Fishing Program waters are being stocked with trout. See the schedule.

This Christmas full moon will add more light to the holiday shine, but it doesn’t help anglers who want to fish for stripers, or crappie, under submersible lights. So trout remains a top target.

Also, be sure to check the ADOT website for road conditions before traveling this weekend. We consider all ice unsafe.

Before fishing this weekend, see our Fish&Boat AZ map for exact locations.

Finally, by purchasing your license online annually, you also are conserving wildlife for the future and leading wildlife conservation efforts.

Upcoming free fishing clinics



What: Youth and Family Fishing Day
When: Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Red Mountain Park , 7745 E. Brown Rd., Mesa, 85207
Comments: Arizona Game and Fish Department and City of Mesa Parks and Recreation invite you to a family fishing day at Red Mountain Park. Fishing license fees will be waived by registering with AZGFD during the hours of the event. Bait will be provided as well as loaner equipment will be available. There is no cost for this event!

See the rest of the fishing clinics schedule.




ANGLER REPORTS

(Send your fishing reports and pictures to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)


Saguaro Lake

Roy E.: I caught these to catfish at Saguaro Lake this week with night crawlers from the shore, just after sun down. The large one was 7.8 lbs. the smaller one was 4.8 lbs.






Lower Salt River


  Jim J.: Here’s a pic of a largemouth bass I caught on the Lower Salt, Saturday Dec. 19. Caught using worms.














Thank you, anglers!

Arizona fishing opportunities wouldn’t be possible without the Sport Fish Restoration Program. It was created through the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950 (Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act) and the Wallop-Breaux amendments of 1984.

Through a federal excise tax paid by manufacturers on fishing gear and motorboat fuels, it provides grant funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

SEE THE FULL FISHING REPORT

FishAZblog

All fishing, all the time

Wawang Lake Resort

FISH: Walleye, Northern Pike, Perch, White Fish

The Fisheries Blog

Five fish scientists discuss fun and interesting topics about fish.

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