Rattlesnake fishing pier closed until further notice

PHOENIX — A heads up to those wanting to fish from shore at Bartlett Lake. Rattlesnake fishing pier in Rattlesnake Cove is closed after a weld broke earlier this week.

The pier will remain closed to the public until necessary repairs can be determined.

There is no estimate of how quickly the repairs can be completed to ensure the pier is safe to use again.

The U.S. Forest Service is working on a solution and asks for your patience.

Trout fishing in the cool pines a refreshing remedy to triple-digit doldrums


PHOENIX – For desert dwellers itching to escape the triple-digit doldrums, there’s a refreshing remedy – head to the cool, pine-scented high country for some of the 500,000 “farm fresh” trout that Arizona Game and Fish Department employees and volunteers stock during May and June.

As desert temperatures consistently crack 100 degrees, visit the mountain regions before the summer heat raises lake temperatures and trout activity patterns slow down. Summer has officially started, yet great spring fishing remains – for now.

See our summer trout stocking schedule.

And if you don’t have a license, purchase one online. They’re valid for 365 days from the date of purchase and help conserve wildlife.

How Arizona fish hatcheries are funded

More than half of the money used for the AZGFD hatchery program comes from 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.

Desert rats: here’s some summer bass-fishing techniques

For those who love the blistering heat, here are some summer bass-fishing techniques. For the desert lakes, get up early and fish at, or even just before, first light. At most large desert impoundments, anglers should be able to find aggressive bass feeding on shad at the surface, creating “boils.” This provides some of the most exciting fishing of the year.

Use top-water baits, crankbaits, casting spoons or in-line spinners such as Mepps and Rooster Tails.

If you want to know what’s biting and where, as well as a list of public fishing events and some of the latest big fish stories, visit the department’s new fishing commentary at www.fishazblog.com.

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

The anglers have spoken. We received a ton of angler reports that will give us a good feel for what could be biting during the next week or so. We do know it’s hot outside. Now let’s see the locations of some hot bites.

Here’s a quick rundown:

Lynx Lake for brown trout

If you prefer browns over rainbows, Lynx Lake in Prescott is the place for you. We’ve just stocked more than 6,000 browns into Lynx that average 9 inches. There also are larger, holdover browns from previous stockings.

Bartlett Lake, Lake Pleasant, Colorado River near Martinez Lake for flathead catfish

Fish the night for these bruisers. Bartlett Lake is always an excellent producer for flatheads, and an angler reported catching a 44-pound flathead on a live bluegill. “Flathead” Ed Wilcoxson said that at Pleasant, flatheads have been in 30-35 feet of water depth, along with one of their favorite food sources, bluegill. Also, Dean Linne on May 31 bow-fished for this non-hook and line state record flathead catfish (left) from Roosevelt Lake. It weighed exactly 60 pounds and measured 47 inches.

Lake Pleasant for stripers

With hot days, it’s a great time to fish the night for stripers at Pleasant. Coming off a new moon, and heading into a first quarter moon, submersible lights will be effective. Anchovies and small swimbaits are a couple baits that have been effective. Try trolling some of the northern coves with small swim baits for schooling stripers, and anchoring up, chumming and baiting with anchovies for larger stripers. Don’t forget the Colorado River for stripers.

Saguaro Lake and Bartlett Lake for bass

Go to Saguaro for the monsters and Bartlett Lake for quantity over size. Bartlett Lake is a good bet for beginners who want to jusr fish a dropshot rig with a Roboworm. Top-water action is pretty good at Saguaro and Bartlett; get there just before first light. As the sun comes up, fish deep (up to about 40 feet) with dropshots or Texas rigs, and keep a top-water lure such as a Zara Spook Jr. rigged and ready in case you spot surface boils.

Dogtown Lake, Bunch Reservoir, Willow Springs Lake, Frye Mesa Reservoir for trout

Anglers reported that Bunch and Dogtown (right) were productive recently, and we’ve receive multiple reports of trout cooperating at Willow Springs Lake on PowerBait and spinners such as trolled rooster tails. Frye Mesa Reservoir was stocked with a BUNCH of big, native Gila trout — an angler just caught one that weighed just over 3 pounds! (See picture below).

Check our summer stocking schedule, and find all these spots and more using our Fish & Boat Arizona map.

Don’t forget your license! Buy one online, which helps conserve wildlife for our children and grandchildren …


Colorado River near Martinez Lake
Ted M.: Fishing with my buddy John Taylor, I caught this 44-pound flathead catfish using live bluegill near Martinez Lake on June 13. A great night of fishing. We caught 11 catfish total.

Bartlett Lake
Barry from Cave Creek: If you can stand the heat bass fishing has been beyond excellent at Bartlett the past few weeks.

Rico top water on main lake points before the sun hits the water and after it leaves in the early evening. Mid mornings we have been tossing 5″ smoke and pepper grubs on a jig head in 12-15ft of water, bouncing it back to the boat through the water column, and picking up plenty of suspended bass but you really have to be a line watcher as the bite on this technique is very subtle. Midday been hitting them on drop shot and shaky heads at 12-25 ft. using Robo and Zoom finesse worms and keeping a clear Zara Spook Jr. handy throughout the day to target bass busting shad. Go out and enjoy and bring a boat dog with you to kiss and release your bass!

Dogtown Lake
Gilbert M.: Took my dad Gilbert M. to Dogtown Lake in Williams. Thank you for the report on what they were biting on. Green power bait got bites all day even in rain (picture in Dogtown section above). Took four home released a bunch.

Saguaro Lake
Jim F. of Tempe: My wife and I hit Saguaro at first light Friday morning, June 12. We almost went to Bartlett or Canyon — man am I glad we didn’t! We threw top-water lures and got several hits right away, but didn’t hook up on any. About 7 a.m. my wife had her lure smoked and asked me to get the net because she thought she had a sizeable fish. After doing a masterful job of tiring the thing out I could hardly believe my eyes as I netted not one, but two, fish. They both hit the lure at the same time — one was caught on the front treble hook and the other was hooked on the rear. The larger of the two fish weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces, and measured 24 ½ inches. The smaller one weighed 3 pounds, 6 ounces and measured 18 inches. To top it off she was using a light spinning rig with 8-pound monofilament. It’s one of the wildest things I’ve ever seen.

Red Mountain Lake
Romeo R. Caught this 7-pound, 27-inch catfish at around 9 p.m. with cut bait on a 3-way swivel rig by the Playground. Thanks for stocking these sizes in the lake for us bank anglers. Had a good time fighting with this fish.

Frye Mesa Reservoir
Robert H.: I have pictures of a 3 1/3-pound, 17 1/2-inch Gila trout that I caught today at 6 a.m. at Fry Mesa Reservoir. I caught this Gila trout using a bubble and a fly on 4 pound line. I also had one the night before that broke my line. I saw larger ones around the weeds but they are hard to get to.

Apache Lake
Chad B.: My fiancé and I kayaked 4 miles back into Alder Creek area and had an amazing time. Wasn’t as hot as it was in the valley and was absolutely amazing scenery. Once we found a good camp site I found some time to sink a couple lines. Once dark hit, I took my crankbaits and plastic worms off and started using nightcrawlers and hot dogs. I landed a 32-pound carp on my ultralight pole with 7-pound test. (See picture.) It took about a good 7-8 minutes before the carp wore out enough to bring her to shore. So much fun! Also caught a 20-pound carp the very next morning. Missed a couple other bites due to hunting down some firewood. Was a great get away!

Lake Pleasant
Frank B. of Avondale: My personal guide, Paul Castaldo, and I went to Lake Pleasant for a Saturday/Sunday overnight striper expedition. We were fishing in the north end no-wake zone. We were using sardines and did have our hits but no takers. We felt like the burros were laughing at us all afternoon.

We ended up doing some bass fishing in some small secluded area. Hits on nightcrawlers, nothing on plastics. Paul was able to end his slump with a bluegill. He gave it to me for catfish bait. We ended up going to sleep with three lines out with the burros still laughing at us. At 2:30 a.m., I had a big hit on that bluegill. Couldn’t get an accurate weight since it pegged the scale at 15 pounds so we are guessing 20 pounds. Went back to sleep then Paul hooks up a 5-pound flathead on nightcrawlers. Sunday we struck out on the bass so we finished the day feeding stripers but did manage a small channel cat on the anchovies.

Overall, great trip. Caught my largest flathead AND my smallest bass using a 2-inch spoon.

Kiwanis Lake (Tempe)
Brock P.: Caught this guy on a size 10 simi seal red and black at Kiwanis Park. Was fun bringing this guy in. Caught three bass while I was there, also using the same fly. Simi seals seem to be working great right now for bass and sunfish. Let the fly go to the bottom and just strip in slowly — the fish are deep in the urban lakes due to the heat. FYI, that’s a size 13 shoe so I guess he’s around an 8-10 pounder.

Greer area
Melissa M.: My dad and I went on a fishing trip to Greer this past week with the following to report:

River Reservoir: totally skunked

Tunnel: On the first cast my Dad, Greg May, hooked this giant rainbow on PowerBait! It was a struggle to land this big boy, but he prevailed and got himself a 24-inch 3.11-pound rainbow.

This fish made his top three biggest trout ever!

I also attached a picture of the big boy on a cutting board next to two Apaches we caught at Sheep’s Crossing earlier in the day. We have been fishing the Greer lakes a week in June for the past decade and this was the biggest fish we have ever seen out of these lakes. It really made our trip.

Bunch: Plenty of rainbows on PowerBait — everyone seemed to be doing very well.

Sheeps Crossing: Just stocked. We caught two fish with radio tags, very exciting. Actually we went there just to see if we could catch one. We talked to a game and fish guy tracking them who was very personable and knowledgeable. We released both of them.

Black River: (Buffalo Crossing) Plenty of small browns and chubs. No smallmouth bass. There seems to be conflicting info on whether or not they have made it that far. There were definitely some nice spots where you would expect them to be.

Silver Creek: A few Apaches — must not have been stocked when we went. Usually it’s gangbusters.

Big Lake: Limited out on rainbows — all very small.

Thank you — I read your reports every week and always like to see everybody’s pictures of their hauls.

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.


Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Arizona trout hot spots


(Click on lake name for Google map directions)

Luna Lake: This 27-inch, 7.5-pound rainbow trout was recently caught. The lake has more large holdover trout. Thanks to The Friends of Luna Lake out of Alpine for helping us keep this a viable fishery. … Ashurst Lake: We just received a couple angler reports (below) of stockers and a holdover being caught. Nelson Reservoir. Fishing is excellent. It was stocked heavily last week and this week. Fish in the clearer water at the upper end. Lower Lake Mary: According to our wildlife managers working the lake this weekend, bait fishing was good to excellent on yellow garlic PowerBait.

Complement your trout catch with the abundant crayfish. Read how to do it in our Fish AZ commentary.

Be sure to check our summer trout stocking schedule.

Brookie and carp entries for Big Fish of the Year

  • Congrats to Trevor Dugan, who caught this 11-pound, 7.36-pound common carp caught June 2 out of Papago Pond No. 3. Papago Park is a Community Fishing Program pond in Phoenix.
  • Rob Gerlak fly fished on April 9 for this this gorgeous, 15-inch brook trout taken from Perkins Tank, located near Flagstaff.


Final stockings of Community Fishing Program

The final spring stocking of catfish is taking place this week.

Fishing is good to excellent for catfish using worms, stink baits, or shrimp fished on the bottom. If you want to use bobbers, rig up a slip bobber and fish 8-12 feet deep.

See the latest community waters news.


Arizona world record redear sunfish continues to grab headlines — in Texas


Our world record redear sunfish caught by Hector Brito last year is still making some Texas anglers drool.

Billy Kinder of Big Billy Kinder Outdoors radio in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area said on Wednesday that the picture of Brito’s 5.80-pound redear taken from Lake Havasu was just shared on the station’s Facebook page.

“Everybody went nuts over it,” Kinder said.

Kinder said he plans on interviewing Brito about his catch and, of course, visiting Lake Havasu to nab a tasty redear slab of his own. Redear at Havasu are in full spawn. Anglers are catching many 3-4 pounders in deeper water (25 feet) but higher numers of the sunfish are in shallow.

The world record redear picture was originally posted in Feb. of 2014, on the “T-Bone Outdoors with Travis Turner” Facebook page. To date, it has received 18,176 “likes,” 96,602 “shares” and 2,460 comments.

In other words, they like it.

Licensed to fish

Need a license? Click here to purchase a license that is valid for 365 days … and helps conserve wildlife.


(Please send your fishing reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)

Pacana Pond (Maricopa)
Seth R.: June 7: 9.5-pound channel catfish. Caught ‘em on a size 6 treble hook w/ hot dogs!

Riggs Flat Lake
My sister, Michelle Martin, a friend, Shervon Mendoza and myself took a day trip up to Riggs Flat Lake, knowing that the weather would still be cold at such a high elevation but we took the trip anyway. To our surprise it wasn’t so bad. We had the whole lake to ourselves after 1 p.m. and since it was stocked that week, we were pulling rainbows in one after another.

The smaller fish were on top while the larger ones were on the bottom. Shervon was catching them on yellow cheese PowerBait. Michelle and I were using Pistol Pete’s, small spinner flies. All in all we had an excellent day. We threw back all the small ones and kept the larger ones, taking home our limit.

Ashurst Lake
Anna P. of Flagstaff: We caught a 16-inch rainbow and a 14-incher, as well as six other rainbow trout ranging from 10-12 inches at Ashurst Tuesday! They were biting off of red salmon eggs and rainbow PowerBait.

Howard G.: Wife caught this 3-pound, 2-ounce rainbow on a nightcrawler on the bottom at 9:45 a.m. Fished until 1 p.m. and didn’t get another nibble. One bite — one dinner! It was excellent!

Bartlett Lake
Jim N.: Fished the flats using different rigs to catch bass. Mojo and splitshot, Carolina-rigged Roboworms and lizards work well around points and reefs with boulder piles on main points. Tyler D. and I caught and released 20 largemouth bass with a 2.5-pounder being the best. Good fishing!

Colorado River (Parker)
Kallee O.: This flathead catfish weighed about 30 pounds. Used cut bluegill.

Willow Springs Lake
Jim N.: Fished in the rain on Sat and trolled mini Kastmasters on 6-pound line and caught our limit in 2 hours with the east fork of the lake being most productive. Worms and power balls in green floated 2 feet off bottom worked well to the left side of the ramp. Trout were seen eating bugs knocked down by wind and rain.


Complement trout catch with abundant crayfish

Crayfish photo by George Andrejko, Arizona Game and Fish Department. For more information contact George Andrejko, 602-789-3231.
Crayfish photo by George Andrejko, Arizona Game and Fish Department.
For more information contact George Andrejko, 602-789-3231.


This is the time of year anglers head to the high country for some fishing and mountain air, so our biggest tip is augment your catch of trout or other fish with the abundant crayfish.

Crayfish are not native to Arizona. In fact, we are the only state in the lower 48 that doesn’t have native crayfish. In our trout lakes especially, they are a huge problem. So you can help the environment by catching and eating all of these delectable crustaceans you can.

Crayfish are free family fun

What’s more, it’s a lot of fun — especially for youngsters. Plus, all they really need is a stick and some string, or just string for that matter, plus a bucket or something to put the mud bugs into. A little piece of meat helps to attract the crayfish, such as a hot dog or small piece of bacon. Or a string soaked in bacon grease might attract a hoard of crayfish.

Kids can sight fish for crayfish, or simply toss a bait out, let it sink to the bottom, and pull it in when they feel a tug (sound familiar?).

Or set out a trap like this one:

Crayfish Trap

Preparing crayfish

For preparing the crayfish, keep in mind that most people overcook the crayfish and the meat becomes rubbery. To avoid this, bring the water to a boil, take the water off the heat, put in the crafish, keep the water OFF the heat, and in about 3 minutes, the crayfish should turn bright red, indicating they are done (this works for crab and lobster too).

If you want to get fancy, add a crab boil. These packets can be bought at just about any supermarket. You can cook the whole crayfish, but you can choose just to prepare the tails.

You can also boil or roast corn on the cob to go with the crayfish (and hopefully a trout or two). Melt a little butter and garlic (maybe some Mrs. Dash seasoning) for dipping the cooked crustaceans.

Nothing tastes quit as good as a meal your family has caught in the outdoors.

Eating such a meal in camp while the sun is going down and stars are filling the sky makes it even more special. These are the type of memories the whole family will look back upon in years or even decades to come.

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Fishing 101

Saturday is Arizona’s free fishing day. As part of National Fishing and Boating Week (June 6-14), no fishing licenses are required for people fishing in any of our state’s public waters. Read more.

High country trout

It’s a great time for high country trout. First to the White Mountains. Nelson Reservoir will be excellent when it is stocked heavily this week. Woods Canyon Lake is good for stocked trout in the Rim Lakes area. Fool Hollow Lake and Show Low Lake is good for recently stocked supercatchable size (12-13-inch) rainbow trout, and Woodland Lake is fair to good for recently stocked rainbows. Big Lake is good for holdover rainbow, cutthroat, and brook trout. Lee Valley Lake was stocked with catchable size Apache trout several weeks ago.

Fire closure in Tonto National Forest

Also, drought conditions, hot temperatures, and increased fire danger have resulted in fire restrictions for the Tonto National Forest beginning at 8 a.m., Friday, June 5. Most fire-related activities will be prohibited across the forest. Read more from the Tonto National Forest website.

Gila trout stocked in Frye Mesa Reservoir

Now to Mt. Graham. Fish for something different this summer — state records are possible for native Gila trout at Frye Mesa Reservoir. Lots of big ones have been stocked! Read in our Fish AZ blog about how to catch them, directions to Frye Mesa, and exactly how many are being stocked.

Fish bits

Read last week’s fishing report for some tips about what bass are up to as temperatures in desert regions rise into the 100s. (You may already know: they’re going deeper, for one.)

If you’re headed to Alamo Lake, keep in mind Cholla Ramp is closed until at least Aug. 31. The lake elevation is 1,092 feet. Read more. If you aren’t following our Fish AZ blog, you’re missing out on some of the latest fishing updates.

Be sure to check our summer trout stocking schedule.

Licensed to fish

Need a license? Click here to purchase a license that is valid for 365 days and helps conserve wildlife.



(Please send your fishing reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)

Woods Canyon Lake
Josh L.: Had a great time with my son: got plenty or trout with a garlic PowerBait.

Willow Springs Lake

Charlie L.: (May 28) Took the “Thistle Dew” up the long arm of Willow Springs Lake across from the boat ramp. Went past the stumps to the triangular opening and trolled a cowbell. Lots of strikes but no hook-ups. Finally caught an 8-incher. Switched to a bronze Super Duper and trolled up channel a bit and saw a trout jump twice way behind the boat–then realized it was on my line. Got it to the boat but clunked it on the head with the net and it got off. It was a nice one, too. Went back to the triangle with a cowbell and caught a nice one and then caught one reeling in the Super Duper. Had enough for a good meal with the family so headed back trolling lures that I hadn’t used before. First was a tiny bass look-a-like that got nothing but weeds. Then I trolled a foul cast Z-Ray. Put on a gold flatfish. Flatfish like to be trolled really slow and as the wind was steady, cut the motor and drift trolled. Finally started the motor for an inside curl in a cove and the strike nearly jerked the pole from my hand. The cheap UglyStick knock-off bent double as the trout dove under the boat. Got my net and was able to lift the trout into it. Got out the tape and it was a 15-incher.

Thick, too. Now had enough to even feed my two grandsons.

Ashurst Lake
Mike S.: Just wanted to share the great weekend of fishing we had at Ashurst. Started slow with worms under bobbers. Switched up to cheese PowerBait 2 feet off the bottom and started doing well. Caught 16 total with several of more than 12 inches and my wife landing a 16-inch beauty. Thank you for the updates.

Colorado River (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam)
Charles S.: Water temps have been holding steady at 76 in current and 78.5 in the lakes, though the upcoming hot weather will bring those up pretty quickly. The algae bloom has started and you should plan on seeing some bodies of water turning faster than others. In this area I view algae blooms as a good thing for the fishery.

Fishing for bass in the current is still pretty slow going, but I expect the fish to become more active in the upcoming weeks. Largemouth are biting well in the lakes, most of my fish have been caught on crankbaits and soft plastics in 5-8 foot of water. They are hitting a fairly wide array of colors and lure styles so you shouldn’t have a difficult time catching fish. If you’re really hard up to catch fish, you can always resort to using some local fare such as Kentucky fried chicken or hot dogs.

Rose Canyon Lake
My fiance and I fished top water with black/silver rooster tails Friday and Saturday. The sunrise and sunset top-water bite was steady as well around 9 a.m. Easily caught 8-9 trout when the bite was on and kept three solid 9-12-inch trout.

People using bait on the top around us didn’t seem to have much luck, but some people using worms and PowerBait were steadily getting catches off the bottom.

Show Low Lake
Jim and Cloyce R.: My wife and I went for our first fishing outing of the year last Wednesday. We went up to Lakeside from Casa Grande after the Holiday weekend crowd.

We got on the lake around 11:30 a.m. and did some drifting and trolling around the lake without a bite. Around 1:30 p.m. we stopped on the northeast side of the lake to break for lunch.

While we ate lunch on shore we both put our lines in the water with fluorescent red PowerBait on mine and a worm on my wife’s.

It was about 10 minutes when I had a fish on my line. I brought in a nice 12-inch stocker rainbow.

Ten minutes later I brought in another ‘bow the same size. That was when my wife decided to ditch the worm and rig with PowerBait.

It took another 20 minutes for my wife to bring in 12- and 13-inch ‘bows. We left there at 2:15 to troll and drift down to the south end of the lake and back.

As a side note, we got to see the eagles nest at the south end with the male eagle perched on a limb overlooking the nest.

I caught my next ‘bow while drifting about the middle of the lake.

We ended up back where we ate lunch around 4 p.m. and decided to anchor the boat about 10 yards offshore and fish there until 6 p.m.

My wife got four more ‘bows with the biggest being 14 inches. I only hooked up with one more, which broke the line when trying to net it.

This was the first time my wife had gotten a limit of fish in her adult life. As you can see by the picture, all the fish were plenty big enough.

The best fishing we have had in 10 years of fishing Show Low Lake.

Thanks to AZGFD for your stocking efforts.

Riverview Lake (Mesa)
Doug S.: Today (May 29) Foalima Tuileva “Tui” caught these four catfish at Riverview Lake in Mesa. The largest one weighed 9.3 pounds.

Tempe Town Lake
Jim and Scott Y.: Fished Tempe Town Lake Memorial Day Weekend and had an absolute blast! We arrived as they opened the boat launch at 5 a.m. Saturday, and got our boat/trolling motor in the water about 15 minutes later. Fishing the east end of the lake, using drop shot and egg slider rigs baited with cut up hot dogs; we caught and released a total of 17 catfish in about 5 hours. Most were in the 12-14 inch range, a few 18 inchers, and our big fish of the day was a 28 inch, six pounder on an ultralight rod, talk about fun!

The cats are mid-spawn right now, some with full egg bellies, and some had already dropped. Midday under the bridges was fair, but the best bite was early, and east end. For those who don’t think Tempe Town Lake has a lot of fish to catch — thank you. That just leaves more for us who know better. Special thanks to Fry’s, for the 10/$10 packages of hot dogs. Cheap bait!

Dogtown Lake
Bill S.: Just spent 10 days at Dogtown. Did not spend a lot of time fishing, but my grandaughter caught two nice trout – 12 and 14 inchers using green PowerBait on the bottom. Her first fishing experience! Other folks were catching their limit. One guy said he caught an 18-inch fish. We have been going to Dogtown for Memorial Day for the past 15 years, and have never seen better fishing for big trout! Also watched bald eagles attacking osprey ‘til the osprey dropped their fish, then the eagle would swoop down and grab their meal.

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.


Gila trout state record possible with stockings at Frye Mesa Reservoir

Frye Mesa Reservoir

Have you ever caught a native Gila trout? Within the next couple days, we will have stocked about 1,500 Gila trout in Frye Mesa Reservoir — about half of the fish average 2 pounds (14-20 inches)!

There should be some state record fish stocked. The inland waters, hook-and-line Gila trout weighed 3 pounds, 5.6 ounces, and was caught by Robert Woods of Flagstaff on Feb. 28, 2011 at Frye Mesa.

Watercraft are not allowed onto Frye Mesa. But float tubes are welcome.

How to fish for Gila trout in Arizona

A native Gila trout

Go target some of these native beauties – your typical trout baits will work (PowerBait, salmon eggs, worms, 4-6-pound test line, No. 8-12 baitholder hooks). The daily bag limit of trout is six, in any combination, although no more than one may be a Gila trout.

Keep in mind that Frye Creek, a recovery stream, is closed until Oct. 1.

Frye Mesa Reservoir is a 4-acre lake located at 5,500 feet of elevation on Mt. Graham in the Coronado National Forest. Camping is allowed, but boating is not. The average depth of the lake is 17 feet.

Directions to Frye Mesa Reservoir

To get to Frye Mesa, drive northwest from Safford to Thatcher on U.S. Hwy 70. Turn left, (south) on Stadium Street and follow it to Forest Road 103.  Drive about 10 miles on FR 103 to Frye Mesa Reservoir.  This road is very rough in spots and requires a high clearance type 2-wheel drive vehicle.

Licensed to fish

Need a license? Follow the link below to purchase your license, which conserves wildlife for future generations.


Take your family fishing on Arizona’s free fishing day


Several free fishing clinics also to be held during National Fishing and Boating week June 6-14


PHOENIX — You can fish Arizona waters for free this Saturday, making this an ideal time to take the family out for some fun and relaxing outdoor recreation.

Arizona’s Free Fishing Day will be celebrated on June 6 this year as part of National Fishing and Boating Week, which runs June 6-14. This Saturday, no fishing licenses are required for persons fishing any public waters in Arizona.

“Whether you’re an experienced angler who wants to introduce a newcomer to the sport, or someone who’s always been interested but never took that next step, this is an ideal time to gather up some friends and family members and head out to your nearest community lake, or head up to the cooler country to fish a lake or stream,” said Nick Walter, editor of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Weekly Fishing Report.

Remember that bag limits and other fishing regulations are in full effect and must be observed on Free Fishing Days. Kids under the age of 10 can fish for free all year long in Arizona, so this special fishing license exemption day means that the older kids and parents get a free pass for the day. Try fishing — you’ll like it!

The Arizona Game and Fish Department will also sponsor some free fishing day clinics/events to give people the opportunity to try out this fun, family-oriented pastime. Loaner fishing rods, bait and instruction are provided for free at most of these venues.

In addition, as part of National Get Outdoors Day on June 13, the Coronado National Forest will waive the day-use fees associated with many recreation sites or amenities on the forest in celebration of this day.

Day-use fees in the Red Rock Ranger District in the Coconino National Forest also are waved June 13, with the exception of the following sites: Grasshopper Point, Crescent Moon and the West Fork of Oak Creek Trail.

Bait is provided and loaner rods are available for fishing events. Times and locations of the events are:

Saturday, June 6:

  • Deadhorse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood, 8 a.m.-noon. Entrance fees for participants are waived during this time period only.
  • Garret Tank, Seligman, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to public. No signups.
  • Goldwater Lake First Fish Fishing Clinic, Prescott, 9 a.m.-noon.
  • Fishing for Smiles clinic at Dunton Ranch pond, Kingman area, 7 a.m.-11 a.m. For kids ages 5-15. Sign-ups were Saturday, May 30.

Saturday, June 13:

  • Family Fun Fishing Clinic at Lake Pleasant, 7-10 a.m. Bring the family and come try some fishing. This Arizona Game and Fish Department partnership fishing clinic supplies all equipment and some bait. People who register for the fishing clinic and fish during clinic hours in the designated area do not need fishing license while they are with the ranger. Once inside Lake Pleasant Regional Park, follow the “Family Fun Fishing” signs to the fishing area. Bring shade tents, chairs, water, snacks and bait of your choice. Registration is not required: There is a $6 per vehicle park entry fee. For more information, contact Terry Gerber, Interpretive Ranger, at 602-372-7470 ext. 211. Take Highway 74 to mile post 19, turn onto Castle Hot Springs Rd., then turn right into park and follow signs to program.
  • Parker Canyon Lake, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The AZGFD will be conducting a free fishing clinic as part of a National Get Outdoors Day celebration organized by the Coronado National Forest, Sierra Vista Ranger District. Arizona Game and Fish Department personnel will provide free fishing tackle, bait and instruction. Fish in Parker Canyon Lake include rainbow trout, largemouth bass, sunfish and channel catfish. Parker Canyon Lake Marina will offer a discount on fishing tackle. From Tucson, travel east on I-10 to SR 83 and turn right. Continue south on SR 83 through Sonoita approximately 68 miles and follow signs to the lake.

Cholla Ramp closed at Alamo Lake until at least Aug. 31

Alamo6_JFRCholla Ramp at Alamo Lake, which Alamo Lake State Park ranger Mark Knapp  said is unsafe, will be closed until at least Aug. 31.

Also, beginning June 15, the campground by Cholla Ramp will be closed as well until Aug. 31.

Lower water levels have exposed prop washes and a few boaters during Memorial Day weekend reportedly busted their props.

Alamo Lake is a 3,500-acre impoundment created by Alamo Dam. It is located on the Bill Williams River below the confluence of the Big Sandy, Santa Maria, and Date Creek tributaries.It was created with the completion of Alamo Dam in 1968. The earthen dam is approximately 39 miles upstream of the Colorado River at Lake Havasu.

Fishing Alamo Lake

Alamo7_JFRFluctuating water levels are common in the reservoir and increases of water level up to 7 vertical feet in twenty-four hours is possible.   The current water elevation for Alamo Lake is updated regularly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The “target” lake elevation of 1125 feet (subject to the vagaries of nature) creates an impoundment of 3683 acres.

Alamo Lake is popular for its good to excellent largemouth bass, crappie, and channel catfish fishing. However, sunfish, tilapia, and carp fishing can also be good.

Bass fishing at Alamo Lake can be some of the best in Arizona.

Techniques for bass fishing vary widely. However in general, when fishing for bass in the cooler months, when bass are less active, fish deeper water with jigs, swimbaits, or plastics, using a slow retrieve.

As the water warms up in the spring and summer, bass become more active and move to shallower water. During thus time most people use plastics, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, or crankbaits with a faster retrieve. Plastic baits resembling worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards can also work well. For best results, fish around structure such as weedbeds, emergent vegetation, brush, or tree stumps.

Channel catfish, sunfish, tilapia and carp fishing can also be good at Alamo Lake. For channel catfish use nightcrawlers, chicken liver, stinkbait or some other form of “smelly” bait. Catfishing is usually best at night. Sunfish can be caught on meal worms, night crawlers, or small crappie jigs. Tilapia and carp fishing is often overlooked but Alamo Lake can produce some real trophies.

The upper end of Alamo Lake has a lot of dead standing vegetation and debris, often just below the water surface. This is great cover for fish, but presents a hazard to boating. Be aware that there are no navigational hazard markers at the upper portion of the lake, once you pass the second buoy line.

Alamo Lake State Park, located on the southwest end of Alamo Lake, provides both primitive and improved camping, and paved boat launches.

There is a small store in the Park, where you can get ice, snacks, fishing tackle and bait, as well as information on current fishing. A certified scale is located at the store. No fuel is available at Alamo Lake. It is sold at Wenden, and nearby Wayside.

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal


One hundred-degree days coming up in the valley means targeting tasty trout in the cool, lush-green high country becomes a prime option.

Trout hot spots include: Woods Canyon Lake in the Mogollon Rim lakes area, and Fool Hollow Lake and Show Low Lake, which are being stocked with some 12-plus-inch rainbow trout this week. Woodland Lake also is being stocked with regular-sized rainbows. Big Lake is good for holdover rainbow, cutthroat, and brook trout. Lee Valley Lake was stocked heavily with catchable size Apache trout several weeks ago. All three Greer Lakes (River, Tunnel, Bunch) are being stocked this week.

For Google map directions to all of the above fishing waters and more, visit our Fish&Boat Arizona map.

Another lake for a mixed bag of fish is Willow Springs Lake along the Mogollon Rim. This is one of the larger high country lakes and it has largemouth and smallmouth bass, along with some small crappie. There are no limits on the bass and crappie. Since it’s a deeper lake, it has some nice holdover sized trout.

Some anglers have been catching big northern pike at both Long Lake and Upper Lake Mary. Don’t forget that Lake Mary also has bass and perch, plus, there are no boat motor restrictions there. It’s a great place to take the bass boat when temperatures in the valley hit triple digits – like this weekend.

With high temperatures in Phoenix expected to nip 107 degrees on Sunday, surface temperatures in lakes such as Bartlett and Lake Pleasant could rise from what has been 72 degrees in the morning to 80-82 degrees by week’s end. Naturally, bass will begin to head deeper than the spots you may be used to catching them. And once the sun comes up, they will definitely be search of deeper, cooler dwellings.

This full moon (officially on June 2) might not help largemouth bass fishing any, nor fishing with submersible lights. But at Bartlett Lake, largies are so plentiful that the moon will likely be a slight factor. Afternoon fishing has been great at Bartlett.

If you’re targeting flathead catfish, Lake Pleasant may be a a better bet for monster flatheads than at Bartlett, according to flathead catfish state record-holder Flathead” Ed Wilcoxson. With steady CAP flows and plentiful food sources such as bluegill, flathead cats should remain in the Castle Creek, Humbug and Agua Fria areas.

And the Agua Fria boat ramp at Lake Pleasant will be open this weekend. See more in the Lake Pleasant full report.

Finally, we will be stocking about 1,500 Gila trout in Frye Mesa Reservoir (right) during the next two weeks.



About half of the fish are going to be between 14-20 inches (average 2 pounds per fish) and the remainder are going to be between 8-10 inches (catchable).

Go target some of these native beauties. Should be some state record fish that get stocked.

Be sure to check our summer trout stocking schedule.

And if you’re in need, grab a license online – your purchase helps conserve wildlife!


(Please send your fishing reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)

Saguaro Lake
Ray D.: Grayson’s first fish (a bluegill). May 20, 2015.




Big Lake
J.B. and Tim: My son and myself were really worried that Big Lake was going to be packed seeing your recommendations for last minute places, BUT….

We arrived late Friday night and it was cold (everything left out froze). We were the second boat on the water, cold but could improve — it didn’t! We fished 6 hours to the point of freezing and lack of fish (one bite on a lure). Pulled in and got the gossip to find no one was having luck catching anything. Rumors of someone catching “a” fish was exciting….

I got four fish Sunday, we got four fish Monday, which according to most there…an awesome trip.

Two of the fish were over 2.5 pounds.

The water was warming and the fish also, but the long weekend ran out on us.

Lake Mead
Ray P.: Ray & Yoli did it again this week catching a total of 141 nice stripers out at South Cove of Lake Mead. As we were coming off the lake on Thursday the NPS guys were there with their heavy machinery moving the launch ramp down about another 60 feet (see pic). They told us that a contractor would soon be re-doing the whole launch area.

Alamo Lake
Thomas L.: Went to Alamo Lake to bass fish on May 20. Weather was great. Fishing was poor. Water was very stained and only two bass in the boat.
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.


All fishing, all the time


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