Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

One of the state’s hot spots might be the lower Colorado River below Davis Dam, where this month we’re dumping 22,000 trout. It’s the first stocking reared by the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery in nearly a year!

There is a huge fishing pier at Willow Beach. You might even see some desert bighorn sheep. It’s also a great place to rent a kayak and explore the Black Canyon area below Hoover Dam.

Thinking of heading to the White Mountains for a final fall excursion? The best fishing is currently at Big Lake, where large cutthroat and some rainbows are coming into the shallow water. Most are still being caught on bait, but fly and lure fishing should get better from here on out.

Other good fishing spots are Silver Creek (catch-and-release only, artificial lure and fly only), Woods Canyon Lake, and Willow Springs Lake.


Also, the lower Salt River is scheduled to be stocked this week. See the full winter trout stocking schedule.

Welcome Back the Trout to Green Valley Lake in Payson

PHOENIX – After a four month wait, Payson residents and visitors can welcome back the rainbow trout to beautiful Green Valley Park this week.

“Fall is a wonderful time to visit the rim country, see the colors and relax and fish along the grassy shorelines of this popular urban fishery,” said Scott Gurtin, Community Fishing Program manager at the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The Green Valley lakes are located a mile west of Highway 87 on Main Street.

About 340 pounds of rainbow trout, averaging ¾ pounds, are arriving this week to kick off a trout season that features 11- to 14-inch fish delivered every two weeks until early May. Some 2-3 pound lunkers will be included.

No other fish species is stocked at Green Valley; however, good populations of bass, crappie, catfish and sunfish can be found in this productive lake ecosystem.

Trout can be caught on small spinners and spoons and with baits such as scented dough balls, worms or salmon eggs. Popular flies for trout are peacock lady and zebra midges fished slowly, 4-6 feet below the surface.

To catch more trout, use lighter line in the 2-6 pound range, smaller hooks and a minimal amount of weight. Limits on trout are four per day for licensed anglers.

Anglers age 10 and over must have a General Fishing, Combination Hunt and Fishing (ages 10-17), Combination Hunt and Fish or Community Fishing license to fish Green Valley Lakes. The Community Fishing license is $24, and like all licenses, is now valid 365 days from the date of purchase

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.

Catch a license

Good luck fishing, and remember that buying a license online helps conserve wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations. Help yourself and your future loved ones.

ANGLER REPORTS

(Send your fishing reports and photos to Bfishing@AZGFD.gov.)

Bartlett Lake

Bill S.: So I took my son (Beckett) and daughter (Sienna) out fishing yesterday off the pier in Rattlesnake Cove at Bartlett.

My daughter caught her first fish (bluegill) which was quite entertaining. I snapped a few photos from the day. I think the pictures are super cute, but I am biased. :)

Grant A.: My name is Grant A., 60 years old, Mesa resident 30 years, have fished Bartlett off and on for about 25 years. Had one of my best mornings ever Wednesday, Oct. 15. I was on the lake just before dawn — you could see to drive the boat, but the sun had not appeared. I launched at the ramp near the marina and caught my first bass about 200 yards out.

I fished the mouth of coves trolling shad-type diving lures. In early morning the wind was intense enough, so I put my life jacket on. But I kept getting strikes, so I kept fishing. Trolling shad deep-diving lures I caught 12 largemouth bass before 10 a.m. Only two were dinks, the others were more than 14 inches, nice and fat. I fished catch-and-release that day. I had constant hits and I think it was little bass hitting the lure and being shook free. I was trolling using the gasoline motor to control the boat in the waves and was moving faster than normal.

I’m a regular fisher guy and if it is this good for me you will slay them. I would suggest fishing more than just the shore area; I saw a lot of guys doing that and I’m pretty sure the bass were in 35-75 feet of water.

Lees Ferry

Darren W.: Just wanted to send in these pics from a huge Lees Ferry brown! Caught and released on Sunday, October 12, using panther martin.

As this is my first reporting of this fish, is there any way to see if it holds up to a record, only using the supplied photographs? Just wondering.

Fool Hollow Lake

Jim: Fishing here is poor to nothing. Been fishing here for three days with out a bite. Have talked to everyone I’ve seen all say they’ve caught nothing.

Lake Mohave

Russ L.: Oct. 13, Caught these on top waters, several more strikes and sightings from the shore at Lake Mohave. They seem to be all around the lake. We were using Zara Spooks and silver Pop Its between 4:30 p.m. and dark, all in one cove out of the wind!


Freestone Pond (Gilbert)

Aaron J.: Wonderful Saturday morning on Freestone pond in Gilbert. Thanks for stocking!!

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Angler Reports: Oct. 15, 2014

BigBrownLeesFerryLees Ferry

Just wanted to send in these pics from a huge Lees Ferry brown! Caught and released on Sunday, October 12, using panther martin.

As this is my first reporting of this fish, is there any way to see if it holds up to a record, only using the supplied photographs? Just wondering.

TopWaterMohaveLake Mohave

Russ L.: Oct. 13, Caught these on top waters, several more strikes and sightings from the shore at Lake Mohave. They seem to be all around the lake. We were using Zara Spooks and silver Pop Its between 4:30 p.m. and dark, all in one cove out of the wind!

Fool Hollow Lake

Jim: Fishing here is poor to nothing. Been fishing here for three days with out a bite. Have talked to everyone I’ve seen all say they’ve caught nothing.

FreestoneCatfishFreestone Pond (Gilbert)

Aaron J.: Wonderful Saturday morning on Freestone pond in Gilbert. Thanks for stocking!!

Roosevelt Lake/Mogollon RIm lakes/streams

Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods with an Oct. 11 report:

The talk around Rim Country continues to be the water flow into Roosevelt Lake. This past week, the rain has been hard at times and even flooded some roads in the area. This has resulted in big increases to the water flowing into the lake.

Both the Salt River and the Tonto Creek are flowing at well over 100 percent of what is normal for this time of year. The water coming into the lake continues to be a chocolate brown color and the closer you get to the ends of the lake, the worse the water conditions get. Not only is the water chocolate colored, the temperature of the water entering the lake is significantly colder than the main lake water temperature.

Anglers I spoke with this past week stated that they are only fishing the main lake areas from the Windy Hill ramp to the Cholla ramp. The good news is that bass fishing was called excellent this past week. I spoke with Ted Morton of Tonto Basin who reported catching 30-plus bass on two guide trips this week as well as other anglers who reported good numbers. Points and drop-off areas were identified as prime locations.

Top-water baits such as a Rio-Rico and a Zara Spook are working for schooling bass. Deep diving crankbaits were reported successful this past week and lots of fish are still being caught on a drop-shot technique using almost any color 4- to 6-inch worm and fishing in 10-20 feet depths. One other technique discussed was using a spinner-bait to to fish areas where the rising water level has covered grass along the shoreline.

Crappie fishing was called poor this past week. However, with the stable weather outlook for this coming week, the crappie bite is expected to improve. Look for crappie in 25-35 feet water, near rock piles or brush. Traditionally, November is the best crappie fishing on Roosevelt Lake due to the stable weather that month. So you crappie anglers, hang in there, your time is coming.

The winter trout stockings have been announced by AZGFD. Due to the cold weather on the Rim, those lakes and streams traditionally are not included in the winter stockings. You can see a complete list of all the planned stockings on the AZGFD website. Great news for the Community trout stocking program. Green Valley Lake, right here in Payson, will be stocked with trout for three consecutive weeks beginning this week. So if this is your favorite lake, it’s time to get ready. There are different regulations and bag limits for the Community Fishing Program so be sure to review the pamphlet you received with your license or review the Community Fishing Program rules online, before you fish.

Rim Country Custom Rods builds and repairs all kinds of fishing rods. If you have a treasured fishing rod that you would like to have restored to near new condition, give Rim Country Custom Rods a call to get a free quote. Rim Country Custom Rods is located in Payson and can be reached at 928-468-0263 or http://www.rimcountrycustomrods.com.

Have a great week of fishing and I hope see you on the water.

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

In the desert impoundments, predatory fish have become more active. Crankbaits and buzzbaits and jigs are drawing increasingly more largemouth bass strikes. But with a full moon Oct. 8, using submersible lights to attract the plankton-shad-bass food-chain links is not as viable — for now. Another possibility is that the best fishing could be at first and last light, which isn’t all that abnormal.

Regardless, this weather makes it pretty nice to be outside. Grab a final slice of summer, or the first nibble of fall, and take advantage of one of many fishing options. This is the time for flathead catfish. At Bartlett Lake, in particular, they’re roaming the waters looking for meals to add some winter fat. It’s that time! See a video that includes how-to information for flathead newbies.

Our winter trout stocking program is slowly but surely ramping up! See the schedule.

Last week, Fain and Lynx lakes in the Prescott area were stocked, and this week Goldwater Lake is getting a load of rainbows. After you catch some rainbows at one of these lakes, be sure to visit the Sharlot Hall Museum just a block away from the Prescott Town Square (http://sharlot.org/). It’s really an interesting place the whole family will enjoy. There is even an old one-room school house (right) from the Territorial Days of Arizona’s colorful past.

This coming week, we’re also stocking Francis Short Pond and Marshall Lake in Flagstaff.

At Big Lake, PowerBait fished on the bottom remains the primary option. Anglers reported catching rainbows as large as 6 pounds, according to Ray at the Big Lake Store. Despite some heavy rains, the fall leaves haven’t fallen, so get out and enjoy the sights of autumn, and sounds of line zinging away, while you can.

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.

Catch a license

Good luck fishing, and remember that buying a license online helps conserve wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations. Help yourself and your future loved ones.

ANGLER REPORTS

(Send your fishing reports and photos to Bfishing@AZGFD.gov.)

Willow Springs Lake

Shane V.: Saturday, Oct. 4 — Fishing from shore was hit and miss. Seems yellow/green PowerBait was the ticket. Got the boat out about 1 p.m. Trolling where the main part of the lake enters the two arms and we’re catching pretty regular up until around 5 p.m. While trolling, we caught fish on all of the following: bright green rooster tails; dark green and silver rooster tails; trout pattern rooster tails; yellow and red panther martins; rainbow trout pattern floating Rapalas.

Crescent Lake/Big Lake

Ann M.: I took my family to the White Mountains … we fished four days at Crescent Lake and a couple days at Big Lake. My wife caught this 20-inch rainbow trout on Oct. 1 at Big Lake. A friend we fished with also caught an 18-inch rainbow trout the same day. Overall the fishing was slow. They were both caught using mice tails fished off bottom.

Rose Canyon Lake, Tucson

Mary S.: My son, daughter, and I went fishing at Rose Canyon Lake yesterday. It is not closed yet, as reported in your newsletter. I talked with the forest ranger. It closes on October 26. We ended up catching 5 fish, but we saw others catching much more. Considering it was stocked last week, we were not surprised. It was a beautiful day there yesterday. Couldn’t have asked for better!

Silverbell Lake, Tucson

Jared H.: Spent Saturday and Sunday morning (Oct. 4-5) at Silverbell Lake in Tucson. The stocked cats were biting both mornings, especially Saturday. All four fish caught Saturday were pushing, or more than, 2 pounds. Sunday was the kicker with a 24-inch channel cat. It was most likely more than 5 pounds and was a big surprise — so much fun to fight and land. Included a couple pictures. Really appreciate the urban stocking system.

Kevin G.: We used worms and light tackle for bluegill. My technique is to be patient, but sometimes I’m not. We go around to weed beds where fish are, but mostly near the stocking-fish gate.




Canyon Lake

I took the family fishing on Oct. 7 at Canyon Lake. I was lucky enough to land this 20-inch bass.

Kinnikinick Lake

Jeff G.: Just wanted to share our experience from Kinnikinick Lake yesterday. My fishing buddy Joe and I had never been to Kinnikinick nor had we ever caught Brown Trout before. Fishing mainly lures we managed to land 7 browns and 3 rainbows and we were off the water by 2:30pm. One of the browns was just under 3 pounds. We hooked up with many other fish but the browns proved to be tricky to land as we lost several inches from the shore. The lure of choice was a green rooster tail. All but two of the fish we wrangled took the green rooster tail with a welcome aggressiveness.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

AZ Angler Reports: Avoid debris in Roosevelt Lake; catch cats in Tucson

Roosevelt Lake

Roosevelt Lake
Roosevelt Lake

From Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods:

I have major updates on Roosevelt Lake this week, so let’s get right to them.

First, the lake level remained constant this past week at 38-percent full but you’ll recall last week the water level increased for the first time in a long time. The water level has come up about a foot of the past two weeks.

More good news is that the Salt River is flowing at about 500 cpfs and the Tonto Creek is flowing at about 50 cfps. The water coming into the lake is a chocolate brown color at both ends of the lake. On the Tonto end the discolored water is down to Rock Creek and on the Salt River end it’s as far as the Grapevine ramp. Along with the dark brown water, there is a lot of debris that has been pushed into the lake. Be extremely careful it you’re boating this week especially where water is flowing into the lake.

The water flowing into the lake is also impacting the water temperature. The freshwater entering the lake is in the low 70s while the clearer water in the main portion of the lake near the dam, is in the high 70s to low 80s.  The increased water level and the nutrients the freshwater brings to the lake are vital to the success of the fishery.

The water changes in the lake didn’t seem to have much impact on fishing reports. Fishing overall was called “good” this past week. For the first time this fall, I received reports that jigging spoons was catching good numbers of fish in 30 feet water.

Bass are feeding heavily right now on shad, and bass that are being caught have full bellies. These schools of bass chasing shad can be seen in the backs of coves, main lake points or along cuts on the shoreline. This time of year, you should always have a clear or silver color Rio Rico tied on a rod and ready to go.

Crankbaits were reported successful this past week and lots of fish are still being caught on a dropshot technique using almost any colored 4-6-inch worm and fishing in 10-20 feet depths.

Crappie fishing was called “pretty tough” this past week. With all the changes to the water condition this past week, crappie just seemed to be nowhere. If you’re planning to crappie fish this week, look to the mid lake areas. Experienced crappie anglers are using a vertical technique and fishing in 25-35 feet of water and always in brush or trees.

A 5-foot-6 to 6-foot ultra or light power and an extra-fast action rod is required to feel the bait through the brush. When fishing vertically for crappie, 95 percent of the time the hook will be in the roof of the mouth, so don’t be afraid to set that hook when you feel the bite.

Mogllon Rim lakes and streams

Trout stockings of the Rim lakes and streams has ended but there are lots of good trout still in Rim Country waters. Fall has arrived on the Rim, so if you’re planning a fishing trip, be sure to dress in layers. It will be around 40 degrees in the mornings and a very pleasant 65 degrees in the afternoons.

Green Valley Lake

Also, the Community trout stocking program is about start stocking trout into Green Valley Lake right here in Payson. The first stocking will occur the week of Oct. 13-17. You’ll recall that AZGFD changed the rules earlier this year so the Community Fishing Program is now included as part of your standard Arizona fishing license, no special tag is required.

Call Rim Country Custom Rods if you have any fishing rod questions or would like to know how a custom built rod will make you a better angler. Rim Country Custom Rods can be reached at 928-468-0263.

Have a great week of fishing and I hope see you on the water.

Willow Springs Lake

Shane V.: Saturday, Oct. 4 — Fishing from shore was hit and miss.  Seems yellow/green PowerBait was the ticket.  Got the boat out about 1 p.m.  Trolling where the main part of the lake enters the two arms and we’re catching pretty regular up until around 5 p.m.  While trolling, we caught fish on all of the following: bright green rooster tails; dark green and silver rooster tails; trout pattern rooster tails; yellow and red panther martins; rainbow trout pattern floating Rapalas.

WhtMtnTroutCrescent Lake/Big Lake

Ann M.: I took my family to the White Mountains … we fished four days at Crescent Lake and a couple days at Big Lake. My wife caught this 20-inch rainbow trout on Oct. 1 at Big Lake. A friend we fished with also caught an 18-inch rainbow trout the same day. Overall the fishing was slow. They were both caught using mice tails fished off bottom.

Rose Canyon Lake, Tucson

Mary S.: My son, daughter, and I went fishing at Rose Canyon Lake yesterday.   I talked with the forest ranger.  It closes on October 26.  We ended up catching 5 fish, but we saw others catching much more.  Considering it was stocked last week, we were not surprised.  It was a beautiful day there yesterday.  Couldn’t have asked for better!

Catfish from Silverbell Lake in TucsonSilverbell Lake, Tucson

Jared H.: Spent Saturday and Sunday morning (Oct. 4-5) at Silverbell Lake in Tucson.  The stocked cats were biting both mornings, especially Saturday.  All four fish caught Saturday were pushing, or more than, 2 pounds.  Sunday was the kicker with a 24-inch channel cat.  It was most likely more than 5 pounds and was a big surprise — so much fun to fight and land.  Included a couple pictures.  Really appreciate the urban stocking system.

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Fall fishing is here, so let’s get right to it. Here’s a rundown of what’s changed since last week.

Kinnikinick Lake turns “brown”

Great news for Kinnikinick Lake — we just completed stocking about 10,000 brown trout. The fish averaged 5-14 inches. Fishing should be excellent this fall. If you’re on Facebook, see more details from our Flagstaff Regional Facebook page.

Oak Creek Canyon near Sedona reopens

See the story from fox10phoenix.com.

On Tuesday, however, the upper reach of Oak Creek didn’t look good. Our biologists didn’t see any fish, but they didn’t electrofish the creek so some fish could remain. There was a lot of gray silt on the bottom of the creek and biologists didn’t find many bugs under the rocks they turned over for fish to eat. The creek was also pretty murky. Because of this, the Department decided not to stock the upper part of the creek. The hatchery will continue stocking the portion down from Sedona.


Seasonal trout fishery at Silver Creek reopens

On Wednesday, the Silver Creek catch-and-release season reopened.

The fishing staff from Cabela’s was on hand, just like in years past. Also once again this year the Phoenix and Sierra Vista South Arizona Chapters of Project Healing Waters attended opening day.

Both Apache trout and rainbow trout were stocked again this year, with some fish tipping the scales at more than 3 pounds or so. A few trout are around 10 pounds.

The seasonal fishery is catch-and-release only.

Silver Creek is five miles east of Show Low on U.S. Route 60. Turn north off Highway 60 onto Bourdon Ranch Road for five miles to Hatchery Road. Then head east on Hatchery Road 1 mile to the Silver Creek Hatchery, park in the parking lot, and follow the signs to the creek.

Remember that trout from this seasonal fishery must be immediately released unharmed – no trout may be kept. It is artificial lure and fly only with barbless hooks. The catch-and-release season is Oct. 1 to March 31.

Besides being a seasonal fishery, Silver Creek does have another unique quality – because the creek is spring fed and stays at a constant temperature it is not subject to freezing, which provides anglers a nice high country trout fishery to visit during winter.



Fossil Creek will open to fishing this Saturday, Oct. 4

Remember Fossil Creek is a catch and release chub fishery with a fly and lure single barbless hook regulation.
In case you missed it, our fall/winter trout stocking schedule is out. See the schedule and plan out some trout-fishing excursions.

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.

Catch a license

Good luck fishing, and remember that buying a license online helps conserve wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations. Help yourself and your future loved ones.

ANGLER REPORTS

(Send your fishing reports and photos to Bfishing@AZGFD.gov.)

Tempe Town Lake
Richard S.: I went bass fishing on the early morning of Friday, Aug. 26. I caught nine bass and one channel catfish in about three hours. Drop-shotting was the ticket, though one bass and the cat came trolling a Rooster Tail in white and red color.

I fished mostly the east end, by the buoys that protect the dam. Best color was a light blue, funny enough morning down did not work at all! Second best color was “holographic shad” from roboworm. One advice: get there early, by 8 AM the byte really slows down. And remember to use navigation lights if you launch the boat at 5 AM as I did, it’s still dark but row boats with their lights are around.


Chevelon Canyon Lake
Travis D. and Joel C. fished on Monday: Other than an underwater dam repair crew, we had the whole lake to ourselves, not another soul. The spillway was flowing fast and fairly deep. We hit the water late at about 7:30 a.m. but within 30 minutes we were getting strikes
.

Using a canoe we went upstream towards the inlet of the creek, only hitting a 20-minute stretch of nasty headwind. About a quarter-mile downstream of the inlet we started picking up some nice ones, including a fat 3.13-pound brown and several rainbows between 2-3 pounds. Their colors were beautiful and they put up some awesome fights on light tackle. Except for a couple smaller ones caught on spinners, most, including the larger ones, were caught on spoons while we trolled.

Total tally for day was 21, with only a few being less than ten inches. We got off the lake at 5 p.m. and debated hiking down to the pool below the spillway to try our luck there, but we knew we had a long trek ahead of us, pulling the canoe up the road by foot.

Though the difficulty of getting a larger boat to the lake and then back up again was an extreme obstacle, it was completely worth it and will be done again.

SEE THE FULL REPORT.

Northern Colorado River to receive trout

First stocking south of Davis Dam in nearly a year

BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. –– Trout stocking south of Davis Dam has been on hiatus for nearly a year, but that will change beginning Oct. 1.

Trout from Arizona Game and Fish hatcheries, and raised by the US Fish and Wildlife Service at the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery, are ready for the first stocking south of Davis Dam since late 2013.

“This is great news and a fantastic opportunity for anglers on the Colorado River,” said Matt Chmiel, the Fisheries Program Manager for the Game and Fish Region 3 office in Kingman. “While fishing in the area has remained strong, trout have been recognizably absent for nearly a year.”

On Nov. 21, 2013, the Willow Beach hatchery conducted an emergency stocking of 11,000 rainbow trout when the low lake level made it impossible to draw in water due to a damaged lower-level pipeline. This fact, along with additional federal budget cuts, resulted in the closing of the sport fish part of the hatchery.

In early 2014, Game and Fish provided the national hatchery with 22,000 sub-catchable rainbow trout to raise to a catchable size while lake levels were high enough for the one functioning pipeline to draw in water.

“However, the lake level will soon be dropping and the time has come to stock the fish,” Chmiel said. “The timing is critical. All 22,000 fish must enter the river before water levels drop below the intake valve.”

Chmiel explained stockings will continue for several weeks in October at Rotary Park and Davis Camp.

“But there’s no need to focus on just those two locations,” he said. “Trout disperse quickly and many areas along that stretch of the river will work.”

For rainbow trout, Chmiel said small spinners and PowerBait are often effective, although marshmallows can work.

“Fishing is just a great way to relax and spend some time with the family with few interruptions,” Chmiel said. “Getting kids outside and away from the computers helps create an important connection with the outdoors.”

A fishing license is $37 for in-state residents and $5 for all youth ages 10-17. The license is good for trout and is valid for 12 months.

For a statewide fishing report, log on to the Game and Fish Department’s website at azgfd.gov. Licenses are available at the any of the Game and Fish regional offices or headquarters as well as at license dealers throughout the state and online at www.azgfd.gov/fishing.

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

The window of sunlight that scours our waters is increasingly short-lived. Top-water action is picking up statewide. Elk have been heard bugling in the high country, there’s less boat traffic, fewer anglers, and yet far better fishing – welcome to anglers’ paradise.

First, before we consider conditions and what’s biting, let’s recognize the foundations of wildlife management. Good a time as any with National Hunting and Fishing Day Saturday, Sept. 27.

On May 2, 1972, President Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day, writing: “I urge citizens to join with outdoor sportsmen in the wise use of our natural resources and in ensuring their proper management for the benefit of future generations.”

And with that, we recognize the hunters and anglers who, more than 100 years ago, were the most boisterous supporters of conservation and scientific management. They were led by fellow sportsman, President Theodore Roosevelt. Let’s celebrate with tight line and successful hunts.

It’s a transition phase into fall in many senses. The final summer trout stockings just took place at Woods Canyon Lake and Willow Springs Lake. Bull elk should be calling like crazy. A great fall spot for elk calling is Knoll Lake on the Mogollon Rim, which not only is a nice trout lake, it’s a scenic drive there along the famous Rim Road. Soon, the aspens should be showing off a new, fall wardrobe. Catfish stockings began last week at many Community Fishing Program lakes and ponds. And don’t forget that Oct. 3 marks the opening day of the quail, squirrel and duck hunting season.

Soon, the winter trout stocking schedule will be posted online. The first stockings the week of Oct. 5 will go to Huffer Pond, Beaver Creek (wet), Mingus Lake, West Clear Creek, Fain Lake, Lynx Lake and the Lower Salt River. See our Fish&Boat Arizona map for locations.

This is also a great time of the year to visit Lees Ferry. Fishing’s good, but anglers are few. This is the off-season as many trout anglers are probably off experiencing a good trout bite where the landscape’s clad in autumn colors.

This time last year, crappie fishing really began picking up at Roosevelt Lake. Check your fishing log, if you keep one, and see if that was your experience.

Other good bets this weekend are throwing your favorite top-water baits at Saguaro, Canyon, Apache and Roosevelt. Stripers are still stripping anglers’ line at Lake Pleasant (see the newest Anglers Report.)

Good luck, and remember that buying a license online helps conserve wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations. Help yourself and your future loved ones.


Silver Creek seasonal trout fishery opens Oct. 1

SHOW LOW, Ariz. — Get your most festive trout fishing hat ready – the seasonal trout fishery at Silver Creek opens Oct. 1.

“The opening has become a fun fishing get together,” said Hatchery Manager Ken McGown. “The cadre of opening day participants seems to grow each year.”

McGown said the fishing staff from Cabela’s will be on hand to help out, just like in years past. Also once again this year the Phoenix and Sierra Vista South Arizona Chapters of Project Healing Waters will be attending opening day.

“The anglers themselves have turned this into kind of an informal opening day fishing festival of sorts,” McGown said.

There will be both Apache trout and rainbow trout stocked again this year, with some fish tipping the scales at more than 3 pounds or so. A few trout will be around 10 pounds.

However, don’t expect to take anything home but smiles and memories – this seasonal fishery is catch-and-release only.

Silver Creek is five miles east of Show Low on U.S. Route 60. Turn north off Highway 60 onto Bourdon Ranch Road for five miles to Hatchery Road. Then head east on Hatchery Road 1 mile to the Silver Creek Hatchery, park in the parking lot, and follow the signs to the creek.

Remember that trout from this seasonal fishery must be immediately released unharmed – no trout may be kept. It is artificial lure and fly only with barbless hooks. The catch-and-release season is Oct. 1 to March 31.

Besides being a seasonal fishery, Silver Creek does have another unique quality – because the creek is spring fed and stays at a constant temperature it is not subject to freezing, which provides anglers a nice high country trout fishery to visit during winter.

ANGLER REPORTS

(Send your fishing reports and photos to Bfishing@AZGFD.gov.)


Colorado River (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam)

Charles S.: After a few weeks off for some surgery, I finally managed to make it back to fishing the river. This particular weekend I guided a family on the river, water temps in the current hovered around 83.5 degrees in the current and 85 to 86 degrees in the lakes. Water quality is still pretty poor, with visibility around 10-12 inches in the areas that have any meaningful water flow. Water levels were low, which is normal for this time of year, though it seemed to have more flow than normal.

After spot-checking a bunch of key areas, we finally decided to go with crankbaits for the bulk of our lure selection, although we did do OK tossing smaller, soft swim baits in select areas. It’s been a while since I have fished with anyone other than my wife Peggy and almost forgot the joy that comes from taking others fishing. Pictured is Justin M. with a nice largemouth, Justin is a big man and his size makes the fish look small, even though it weighed in at 3.5 pounds. We caught a wide range of fish, big and small, and I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that we won’t see any major storms and that the water visibility will improve in a few more weeks.

From what I could tell the fish have pretty much gobbled up most of the baitfish balls, so crankbaits should continue to produce well for the next month or so.

Pena Blanca Lake

Doug L.: My friend Mike and I went to Pena Blanca yesterday, Sept. 20. Dodging a few light rains showers, we arrived at the lake about 8 a.m.

Water was running a small amount down the wash into the lake on its south end. The entire lake was chocolate brown. Getting on the water, we found what I call peat moss floating over a good portion of the lake, including branches and logs that had washed in.

The quarter of the lake in front of the dam was impossible to fish. We heard water going over the spillway. We eventually caught four small bass, which were released. All were caught drop-shotting. We gave up about 1:30 p.m. and headed home.

If you want to fish Pena Blanca for bass, I would recommend waiting a couple of weeks or longer to let the water and debris clear out some.

Patagonia Lake

Cody P.: So we got to Patagonia Lake Saturday morning at around 8 a.m. on Sept. 20. It was raining pretty good but it let up within the hour. We tried fishing during the day but only caught a bluegill. So we decided to wait until about 8 p.m. and went out again with our poles rigged for catfish.

The water was extremely murky from the rain but the catfish must have loved it because they were biting like crazy. I reeled in two large channel cats back to back that were about 5 and 6 pounds, maybe bigger or smaller; we didn’t have a scale. My brother in law reeled in a what felt like a 4-pounder and I caught about five small stockers with in about 2 1/2 hours. So all in all it was a very good night of fishing and I can’t wait to get back out there again.

Fortuna Pond, Yuma

John H.: The evening started off pretty slow for the channel cats, but about two hours after sundown the bite was on. He hit on chicken liver about two hours after sunset.


Bartlett Lake

Paul J.: Went to Bartlett Saturday. Expected to catch the usual one-pound bass — Bartlett is full of so you can understand my surprise when I caught a 5-pound bass on my third cast of the evening. Biggest fish I’ve caught at Bartlett.

Lake Pleasant

Derrick F., Striper Snatcher Guide Service: Despite a wrench in the late-summer fishing pattern with an incredible amount of rainfall and run-off, the fish are still capable of being caught. I’ve been seeing a consistent amount of shad fry, striper fry and full-size shad gradually rising in the water column in most northern creek arms.

It is important to match these baits they are chasing. I prefer reaction baits like the 1/4 and ½-ounce Rat-L-Trap with a chrome/blue pattern being a neutral choice.

During the day, great-sized striper are capable of falling to a one-ounce spoon in the same color as the reaction baits mentioned. At night, the secret to catching big striper is simple: go somewhere where the small striper will not venture — for me that is a minimum of 100 feet of water and off main lake points with structure nearby.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Near-record striper bass from Lake Pleasant -- 28.38 pounds
Near-record striper bass from Lake Pleasant — 28.38 pounds

This week’s report features an all-star striper.

It’s well-known that Lake Pleasant is an excellent spot to target striped bass, but Jason Blauvelt of Peoria nearly set an inland waters, hook-and-line state record for stripers at the lake just northwest of Phoenix on Saturday, Sept. 13.

Read all about the catch.

Striper fishing at Pleasant has been good in 40-70 feet of water using anchovies and spoons.

If you want to catch a giant fish, it helps to use a big fish as bait. It’s one of the reasons anglers use life-sized lures called swim baits.

Please keep in mind that it is not legal to use striped bass or other sport fish as live bait to catch, well, other sportfish. But check the regulations at Lake Pleasant, Alamo Lake and the impoundments along the Verde and Salt rivers — it is OK to use live carp or sunfish as live bait (collected onsite only).

The nights in the deserts are dropping into the seventies and mountain nights are sinking into the chilly 40s — fall fishing conditions are underway.

Those lowering nighttime temperatures, and the shortened daylight hours, combine to drop water temperatures into the prime activity ranges for bass in the warmwater lakes and trout in the mountain waters.

Fishing the Tucson area? Rains pounded those southern Arizona waters, making catfish a primary target because they tend to not be as affected by muddy, stained waters as bass and sunfish.

Catfish stockings have returned to many of the Community Fishing Program lakes. See more details about the stockings in our new-and-improved stocking schedule.

Angler reports

(Send your fishing reports and photos to Bfishing@AZGFD.gov.)

Brent G.: Thought I would send a pic from Friday, Sept.12. Went to Lake Mary for pike.. nothing for 2 and a half hours then BOOM, caught this 11-pound, 10-ounce pike. Still looking for the monsters that I know are in there.

Max B. from Thursday, Sept. 11: The trout are hitting on PowerBait floating off the bottom about 3 feet, and on flies in the morning and early evening.

 

 

 

 

 

Silver Creek seasonal trout fishery opens Oct. 1

This festive fishing get-together seems to draw more participants each year. This is the opening of the catch-and-release season (Oct. 1 – March 31.).

Silver Creek is five miles east of Show Low on U.S. Route 60. Turn north off Highway 60 onto Bourdon Ranch Road for five miles to Hatchery Road. Then head eat on Hatchery Road 1 mile to the Silver Creek Hatchery, park in the parking lot, and follow the signs to the creek.

Trout from this seasonal fishery must be immediately released unharmed — no trout may be kept. It is artificial fly and lure only with single, barbless hooks.

A seasonal fishery, Silver Creek is spring fed and stays at a constant temperature. Because it is not subject to freezing, it provides anglers ideal wintertime, high-country trout stream angling.

See the full report.

Peoria angler nearly hooks state-record striped bass

Near-record striper bass from Lake Pleasant -- 28.38 pounds
Near-record striper bass from Lake Pleasant — 28.38 pounds

The fish —  whatever it was Jason Blauvelt hooked at the bottom of Lake Pleasant on Sept. 13 — took a deep, diving run. Blauvelt scrambled to loosen his drag. The fish slowed, then stopped.

“When I started pulling up,” Blauvelt said, “I couldn’t move him.”

Ten minutes later, after the fish made another major run to the bottom, Blauvelt had landed a 42 1/8-inch striper that by Monday weighed 28.38 pounds on the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Phoenix headquarters’ certified scale,

The fish that bit a 5-inch spoon around 3:30 p.m. was less than a pound away from an inland waters, hook-and-line state record for striper.

The existing hook-and-line record: Bob Liddington of Phoenix caught a 29-pound, 13.76 ounce, 45 ¼-incher out of Lake Pleasant on July 13, 2010.

“I had him frozen,” Blauvelt said. “By Monday it had lost some water weight … I didn’t have a swimming pool to throw him in.”

Needless to say, the catch also is an AZGFD Big Fish of the Year leader for the catch-and-keep striped bass category.

Lake Pleasant

Blauvelt, a guide with The Arizona Fishing Guides, was using 14-pound Sunline fluorocarbon line on a 7-foot-8 heavy-action Dobyns rod with a Shimano Curado baitcast reel.

“He had the spoon in the back of his mouth with his teeth running the line the whole time,” Blauvelt said. “Afterward, I went back to check the line, and when I gave it a pull, it snapped. If he had taken another run without me adjusting the drag quickly enough, it would have snapped.”

He began the day at the north end of the lake, catching small stripers and a few largemouth bass on 4-inch swimbaits.

Later on in the morning, Blauvelt and a client moved to the main lake and began graphing fish in about 75 feet of depth over submerged humps. The anglers would fish a school, jig spoons to catch a couple fish, then move to another school.

“And doing that,” Blauvelt said, “we ended up running into the giant.”

See information on fishing Lake Pleasant striped bass, and don’t forget to bring your fishing license.

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