Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

 

It’s a great time to fish Dead Horse Lakes in the Verde Valley.

This week we’re stocking both Dead Horse Ranch State Park lagoons near Cottonwood, and next week (beginning Jan. 26) we’ll begin stocking the Verde River between Cottonwood and Camp Verde. These two fisheries make a great duo for a family adventure. If you have a loved one with mobility issues, Dead Horse Ranch State Park is a top spot. It has some mini-fishing piers that you can almost drive right up to — keeping in mind that it is first-come, first-served.

As was predicted in last week’s fishing report, Alamo Lake has been a good crappie hole. Keep in mind that Alamo can have an early bass spawn.

Anglers also can sight-fish bass beds at Lake Havasu in late February and early March, especially in the man-made channel for the London Bridge. Anglers may be about to catch some plate-sized redear up to two pounds or so at Havasu and just upriver in the picturesque Topock Gorge.


More on trout stockings. The focus this week is on Tucson. We’re stocking Cluff Pond, Dankworth Pond and Roper Lake.

Ready for a bonus Community waters stocking? Good news — we’re adding a bonus trout stocking the week of Jan 26-31 at our expansion waters: Pacana (Maricopa), Discovery (Gilbert), McQueen (Gilbert), Freestone (Gilbert), Roadrunner (Phoenix), Eldorado (Scottsdale), and Bonsall Glendale).

See the CFP stocking schedule to see if a water near you is being stocked.

Going bassin’? Last week’s report also had some tips and tricks about winter bass tactics.

Be sure to check the Arizona Department of Transportation website for the latest road conditions. Some of the White Mountains lower elevation lakes continue to thaw out with the warm weather and a few more are open and accessible. See more details in the full report.

Free fishing events

Saturday, Jan. 31 – Big Game Fish Bowl, 8-11 a.m. at Peoria’s Pioneer Park lake at 8755 N. 83rd Ave.

It’s going down the day before the Super Bowl! Wear your favorite team’s jersey and enjoy a variety of activities.

The fishing portion, an Arizona Game and Fish Department fishing clinic, is free. Rainbow trout will have been stocked just prior to the event. Loaner rods and reels will be available, and bait will be provided. No license is required for those who register.

We have lots of upcoming, free fishing clinics and events open to the public in the Phoenix, Tucson and southwest Arizona areas.

See all the details on statewide Public Fishing Events page of the Fish AZ blog.

ANGLER REPORTS

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

Lynx Lake
Keith J.: A 17-inch brown trout was pulled from Lynx Lake in Prescott on Wednesday at around 10:30 a.m. Brown and yellow Minnow Rapala is what was used. Catch and release, so it’s still there for the catch. Cheers.


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 REPORT

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Sunrise_on_Roosevelt_2_thumb
ROSY WATERS: Sunset at Roosevelt Lake

Water temperatures across the state have dropped to their winter standards, and fog 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.

Read 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:

Rainbow trout

Trout is probably the best winter option for putting dinner on the table or bragging to buddies about high catch rates.

We just stocked incentive trout into many Community Fishing Program waters, including this one caught by Kevin Wood, a 20.25-inch, 5-pound, 14.4-ounce trout taken Jan. 9 from Surprise Lake. Many more have been reported – go get yours.

In the Tucson area this week, we stocked Patagonia Lake with 1,000 rainbow trout and Pena Blanca with 1,500 trout. At the Community fishing waters Kennedy, Lakeside, Sahuarita and Silverbell, some incentive (larger than average) trout have been stocked.

Sounds like trout fishing is good at Parker Canyon Lake as well. See the angler report from Parker Canyon in the full report.

Bass

Know your winter tactics — it’s not an easy time to catch bass. With typical wintertime water temperatures (surface temperature at Bartlett Lake been around 52 degrees) 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. Many more, as the sun comes up, 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 are 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 …

We’ve had some good bass reports lately from Roosevelt Lake, where the green tinted water has meant fresh nutrients coming in. One angler (in our Angler Report section) reported having great action with an afternoon, crankbait bite in 8-10 feet of water.

According to our local bass fishing pro Clifford Pirch, that green tint is a result on new water carrying nutrients into the lake.

Crappie

Best reported spots have been Alamo Lake (see full report), Bartlett Lake and Apache Lake. In general, crappie will be deep and near large schools of bait fish.


So there you go! See our Fish&Boat Arizona map for directions to our state’s primary fisheries.

See the full report for more details, and please share your fishing memories and pictures with us at BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

Don’t forget to bring your license! Need one? They can be purchased online. Your purchase helps conserve wildlife for future generations! (The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive state tax dollars.)

Free fishing events

We have lots of upcoming, free fishing clinics and events open to the public in the Phoenix, Tucson and southwest Arizona areas.

See all the details.

 

ANGLER REPORTS

Veterans Oasis

Todd B.: I just read the report from the 7th. I have been telling people these fish are big this year. I have been fishing at Veteran’s lately for trout. The trout there have been averaging 14-15 inches and weighing about a pound each. These are nice fish for the average stocker. I have caught a few around two pounds each. I have seen some bigger ones cruising around however. Berkley Power Eggs have been the trick at Veteran’s this year. I use a little anise extract on the eggs before casting out. Just a little of the extract goes a long way, so just use a drop or two. I am still fishing in shallower water, and limiting out each trip. An eighteen inch leader seems to be doing the trick. Thank you.

Lake Pleasant

Barry W.: Striper action was great last week at Pleasant. Maybe with the temps warming up this has caused the fish to be a little more aggressive. A friend and I fished from 2 p.m. to sunset.

To be honest it took a few hours to locate the fish and was slow. Many northern coves we tried did not have many striper on the fish finder. Around 4:30 p.m. we located a huge school of striper (200-plus fish) at the depth of around 20-28 feet. The striper were working a reef nearshore that dropped from 4-20 feet and having a feeding frenzy on shad.

We used a drop shot rig with anchovies and caught 37 stripers in less than an hour. The exciting thing about this fishing trip is my friend and I both had five double headers in that hour. Normally the striper action is much slower this time of year compared to the summer action at Lake Pleasant.

The key is to find the schools of striper. If you don’t have a fish-finder I would recommend dropping bait and chumming. If you don’t get any bites or action after 20 minutes bring the lines up and try a different location (keep searching). Striper travel in schools and are constantly on the move from what literature says and what I have witnessed. Once you find the school be sure to chum and keep that school interested below your boat.

We did not catch any fish bigger than 1.5 pounds, but the action was constant. We did see some anglers catching fish near us that were in the 5-6 pound range. It’s a great time to get out on the water and fish for striper, but it just requires a little more work to find them.

Also for you crappie fisherman we found lots of crappie suspended at 10-15 feet near underwater brush/ trees in the far back coves. I would highly recommend using a live minnow at around 8-10 feet or very small jigs. We talked to one kayaker who caught a few that same day using very small live minnows with a small circle hook. I have included a video that is two minutes long showing the constant fun action we had but most important it recorded our back-to-back double headers.

Roosevelt Lake
Frank: I spent a couple of days last week on Roosevelt and would call the bass fishing good. Sixteen keepers (including the attached 8-pound, 4-ounce beauty) and 10 a day later. Fishing cranks in 8-10 feet, and it is an afternoon bite.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Hello, anglers,

We call them “incentive” trout for a reason: To get you out on the water and hopefully onto some big fish.

The reports of big trout keep coming in. Ryan L. reported catching this rainbow trout that he said measured 23 inches and weighed 5.5 pounds.

Also congratulations to Harold Heres, who caught a 4.44-pound, 21.75-inch rainbow trout on PowerBait at Red Mountain Lake near Mesa on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 1. The trout was entered in the Big Fish of the Year contest. Go get yours!

We’re getting things off right with incentive trout stockings that have just gone into many of the Community Fishing Program waters. Which ones? The trout have been stocked into all the waters but the Phoenix/Maricopa expansion and custom waters. See the stocking schedule. These fish are all at least 1 pound, which most being 3-5 pounds. (A few are 6-8 pounds.)

This is prime winter trout time.

Typically, it’s also winter crappie time. Might want to stay away from Roosevelt Lake if you want crappie. On the other hand, sounds like Alamo Lake could be a good crappie producer. Anglers were reporting that crappie were trying to turn on at this lake, which is located west of Wickenburg. A recent storm that blew through shut the bite down for a few days, but with high temperatures back into the 70s all we, things should turn on again. Crappie are definitely blue-sky lovers.

Go where the Bill Williams River enters the lake and 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 for crappie.

Don’t forget to bring your license! Need one? They can be purchased online. Your purchase helps conserve wildlife for future genrations! (The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive state tax dollars.)

White Mountains fishing updates

Significant access roads closed for the winter on Dec. 30, including Highways 273 and 261, and Forest Road 300 towards Woods Canyon Lake, Bear Canyon Lake, and Chevelon Lake. This has impacted access to a number of waters on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, but the incoming snowstorm would have limited much of that access anyway.

Most of the lakes in the region are entirely frozen over, or mostly frozen. As of Dec. 29, there wasn’t any ice cover that was safe to walk on and thus, ice fishing will have to wait for thicker ice conditions. The late onset of the ice cover will delay the ice fishing season, but will likely mean that no winter kills will occur.

There are only a few waters in the region that are fully accessible (open water or safe ice, open/clear roads), including Lyman Lake, Clear Creek Reservoir, Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, and Silver Creek.

Most waters are still ice covered, and Show Low Lake that was previously ice free now has partial ice that restricts boat launching. Ice cover should still be considered unsafe.

The ice came on very late this year and needs a little more time to build before it is safe.

Upcoming fishing events (Phoenix and Tucson)

BISCUIT_TANK_SMALLSaturday, Jan. 17 – Get some new rods and reels for the holidays? Break in your new fishing equipment at our free seminar seminar on Saturday, Jan. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hirsch Conservation Education Area (Biscuit Tank). The area is located in the Ben Avery Shooting Facility on 4044 W. Black Canyon Blvd. in Phoenix.

See more details.

Saturday, Jan. 31 – Big Game Fish Bowl, 8-11 a.m. at Peoria’s Pioneer Park lake at 8755 N. 83rd Ave.

It’s going down the day before the Super Bowl! Wear your favorite team’s jersey and enjoy a variety of activities.

The fishing portion, an Arizona Game and Fish Department fishing clinic, is free. Rainbow trout will have been stocked just prior to the event. Loaner rods and reels will be available, and bait will be provided. No license is required for those who register.

For a $5 entry fee, the event also includes giveaways, gift cards, an event T-shirt, prizes, food and more while supplies last.

For more information, call 623-773-7137 or to pre-register, visit www.peoriaaz.gov/specialevents.

Saturday, Feb. 21 – Free fishing clinic at Silverbell Lake in Tucson, 8 a.m. – noon

See our Fish&Boat Arizona map for directions to our state’s primary fisheries.

See the full report for more details, and please share your fishing memories and pictures with us at BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

Angler reports

Parker Canyon Lake
Dennis D.: Howdy, my fishing partners and I hit Parker Lake on Dec. 20 and 27 for some early morning trout fishing. We hit our limit on the 20th in under 2 hours and the 27th took a bit longer as it appears the trout were spooked by the cold front that hit this past week. We did limit out on the 27th as well (18 trout) with the average size being 14 inches and weighing about a pound or so.

Fishermen should try salmon peach PowerBait with a small treble hook, or Berkley mice tails on a small snell hook along rock walls and as deep as you can get from the bank. The fish are there and they are hungry once you figure out what it is they want to eat.

Silverbell Lake
Phil C.: The windiest day of 2014. Limited out in 4 hours.

Lees Ferry
Brian S.: Went up to Lee’s Ferry during Christmas break. Fished two full days at the walk-in section. If you are going up dress warm. Very cold in the morning. Low 20’s and by wading in the cold water makes for a very cold day. The flows were about 9000 CFS in the AM and peaked around 15500 CFS in late afternoon. We fished from the Paria bar all the way up to the boat launch. The fishing was poor. My friend and I have been hitting Lee’s Ferry for about a decade and fish the walk in section every few months. We know every hole and where fish hold. This is the worst we have ever done. We both only managed to catch about 12 fish each over two days. I primarily fly fish and my friend spin fishes.

I caught a few on black zebra midges size No. 18 and red San Juan worms. I also had some luck with streamer patterns when the water was up. My friend was using Vibrex spinners and Pistol Pete’s. Some of the fish we caught look malnourished. Large head, big eyes and long skinny bodies. The biggest one we caught was only 14 inches. We talked to several other anglers. Mostly fly fisherman. The story was much the same. In fact several anglers got skunked.

Skunked at the Ferry? At this point I would rate the spin and fly fishing at the walk in section a 1 out of 10. I have to say this place has gone downhill. Either all of a sudden we have become bad fisherman or something is going on. We have had many of 100 fish days in years prior. The last two years there is a noticeable decline in the size of fish and quantity.

Pioneer Lake (Peoria)
Pete J.: Caught this big one at Pioneer Park today (Jan. 3) in Peoria.

Roosevelt Lake
Kevin M.: Slow day on the water, fished from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for crappie between the dam area and windy hill. Fished with jigs tipped with minnows, and minnows on bait hooks on dropshot rigs, at varying drift speeds and depths with only a few bass to show for our efforts. Only one vehicle in the parking lot when we launched and only saw three boats on the water while we were out, lowest amount I have seen out there in the near 20 years I have fished the lake. Sad state of affairs at this lake right now crappie fishing wise — hope it comes back at some point.

McQueen Pond (Gilbert)
Seow L.: Our family went to Gilbert community pond on the cold and cloudy New Year’s Day. My son left his fishing rod on the ground and was pulled by a fish into the water. His quick reaction, by reaching into the water and grabbing the rod, was to save the fishing rod and reel in this 2.25 pounder, the largest trout we have ever caught. 2015 fishing is off to a good start!

Roadrunner Pond
Everybody reports about good fishing and where to fish. I am going to report on where not to go. I know how to fish for trout — I have been doing it for 40 years . I was lucky enough to have some time off over Christmas and was able to give Roadrunner Park a try.

I wish I would have picked a different lake because Roadrunner was terrible. I tried everything — power bait, corn, spinners, Z-rays, worms and even old school salmon eggs and nothing worked. Nobody was having any luck and the lake seemed dead and lacking any aquatic life at all.

I was there at first light and there wasn’t even the occasion jumping of bait fish or boils on the surface that most lakes and ponds have from time to time . If you’re fishing time is short you might pass on selecting roadrunner.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Get out for trout: Lunker trout stocked in Arizona waters

RedMtnLakeBFOYtroutWe call them “incentive” trout for a reason: To get you out on the water and hopefully onto some big fish.

Congratulations to Harold Heres, who caught this 4.44-pound, 21.75-inch rainbow trout on PowerBait at Red Mountain Lake near Mesa on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 1. The trout was entered in the Big Fish of the Year contest.

Where are big trout near you? Phoenix, Tucson and beyond

We’re getting 2015 off right with incentive trout stockings that have just gone into many of the Community Fishing Program waters.

Which ones? The trout have been stocked into all the waters but the Phoenix/Maricopa expansion and custom waters.  See the stocking schedule. 

These fish are all at least 1 pound, which most being 3-5 pounds. (A few are 6-8 pounds.)

This is prime winter trout time. Grab a license and go!

Free Family Fishing Event Jan. 17 in Phoenix

Biscuit Tank
Biscuit Tank

Break in your new year’s fishing equipment!

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is holding a free fishing seminar on Saturday, Jan. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hirsch Conservation Education Area (Biscuit Tank). The area is located in the Ben Avery Shooting Facility on 4044 W. Black Canyon Blvd. in Phoenix.

See a map of the facility.

The event will allow the opportunity for you and your family to break in your new fishing tackle and equipment. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to help you set up and tune your rod and reel for a new year of fishing.  Come on out even if you don’t have your own equipment.  We will have loaner rods, and bait to entice the fish.

This is a “catch-and-release only” activity, and we’ll show how to safely handle the finned and whiskered fish and let them go for another day.  The entire event, including the use of loaner equipment, is free of charge!

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

APACHE LAKE
APACHE LAKE

With the nightly temperatures dipping into the low 40s and high 30s in the deserts, and the winter solstice (the longest night of the year) having taken place Dec. 21, the temperatures in our warmwater fisheries are continuing to drop, making trout fishing even more viable at places such as Tempe Town Lake, Saguaro Lake, Canyon Lake, Apache Lake and the Lower Salt River.

Don’t forget the Community Fishing Program waters. Some have received some incentive-sized trout. You might just catch that holiday wall mount at some of these neighborly waters. Or maybe catch-photo-and-release a slab-sided rainbow (be sure to send me a copy of the picture at nwalter@azgfd.gov). See the latest Community Fishing Bulletin.

We just stocked Saguaro Lake with rainbows. It’s some anglers’ favorite winter fishing lakes for bass. Bass anglers may want to take along some swim baits. Also take along some gold quarter-ounce KastMasters for yellow bass, which are fun to catch. Don’t forget some good ol’ nightcrawlers that can be fished on dropshot rigs for trout and bass.

A quick note on our stocking schedules. It’s possible we’ll release a stocking schedule in the near future that would indicate exactly what water has just been stocked. As it is, our stocking schedules are just that — schedules (not certainties). A water is subject to missing a stocking for a variety of reasons, including poor water quality. Until then, we’ll do our best to provide updates, especially on our Fish AZ blog. Be sure to do your research before heading to your destination.

See our stocking scheules.

Now for some high country news. Fishing is limited on the Mogollon Rim because of snow, but Green Valley Lake in Payson reportedly has some excellent fishing. Also, according to the Coconino National Forest, the roads to Ashurst Lake, the Long Lake complex, Kinnikinick Lake, and Knoll Lake are now closed. For some, it’s a white Christmas indeed!

See our Fish&Boat Arizona map for directions to our state’s primary fisheries.

See the full report for more details, and please share your fishing memories and pictures with us at BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

Angler Reports

Encanto Park

Fishied Encanto Park on Tuesday, Dec. 16. It’s a perfect time to start pitching lures. Early morning just as soon as the sunlight peeks over the clouds. Trout and bass both hit pretty good on lures throughout the day.



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 REPORT

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Top picks to fish this week are the trout-stocked Community Fishing Program waters, Lake Pleasant for flathead catfish, Bartlett Lake for high numbers of largemouth bass, and Alamo Lake for decent crappie action.

See an update from the community waters from our Fish AZ blog.

Be sure to check the ADOT website for road conditions before traveling this weekend – the Kinnikinick Road, for one, is now closed for the winter.

Heading into the winter doldrums, the metabolism of fish such as largemouth bass slows. With this weekend’s rainy (and in higher elevations, snowy) weather, fishing tends to slow down. These can be difficult months to fish. For bass, try something such as a Carolina rig with a long leader and work a plastic worm slowly.

The best place to trout fish statewide can be at the Community Fishing Program waters.

Also, Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods reported: “We’re finally getting some snow up on the (Mogollon) Rim, which overall is a good thing. During the next couple of months, we’ll be talking about frozen lakes and closed roads, but keep in mind that a large portion of that snow ultimately ends up in Roosevelt Lake. When that snow melts, it will ensure a steady flow of fresh nutritional water into the lake well into the spring of 2015.

Trout angling on the Rim may be limited but there are still plenty of streams and lower level lakes reporting excellent trout fishing conditions. Green Valley Lake in Payson, continues to reports excellent results of 12-14-inch stocked rainbow trout. PowerBaits, salmon eggs and small spinner baits were working yesterday.”

See our Fish&Boat Arizona map for directions to our state’s primary fisheries.

See the full report for more details, and please share your fishing memories and pictures with us at BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

ANGLER REPORTS

Kinnikinick Lake
Doug P. of Clarkdale: Was there Tuesday, Dec. 9. Pretty chilly, 27 degrees at 10 a.m. and very foggy. Caught 10 brown trout over about 2.5 hours, kept five. Several were obviously full off eggs so put those back to hopefully spawn. The road is muddy and rough but passable after last rains.

Chevelon Lake
Kenny W.: I was fishing (Dec. 6) in middle of Chevelon with my favorite Rapala (german brown) about middle morning. It’s all about location when fishing this lake. I been fishing that Lake for more than 35 years. In the last 15 years it is only lake I have been to. I work to hard, figure out the habits of where and when they will be feeding so that I can tell the public.

Red Mountain Lake
River B.: I just saw the photo of the nice trout out of Red Mountain. I can attest to the size of the trout that are swimming around in that lake. Although it is trout season on the lake, I still chase after that monster bass I once hooked into one that shook my top-water loose. I named him Hermon from the Adams Family because he was a giant like that character.

I spend at least once a week cruising the shore through spinnerbaits and topwater poppers, and I see numerous trout swimming around foraging for food. I am very impressed with this year’s brood of trout planted. They are larger than last year’s, as the picture in the Dec. 11 report shows. If I was to trout fish, and being from Washington state where trout fishing is one of the main past times, I would go shallow for these fish.

A short leader is all you will need in the shallow water. The fish are hugging the shore this time of year because the water temp is getting lower, and they like the cooler water. The shore is where the food supply will be for these fish. It is not uncommon for me to see the schools of trout just a few feet away from the concrete walls as I pass them by.

If you’re not getting any action at first, wait patiently. The next school will be swimming by shortly. If you keep retrieving and casting out, the splash is likely to spook the fish back in the direction they came from. Trout, like bass, are very sensitive to the vibration from the splashes, so keep them to a minimum. Bottom line, fish closer to shore, and don’t be afraid to let the bait soak. The fish can smell it, and will be cruising around looking for it. If the bait keeps moving, it is harder for them to zero in on it. Thank you.

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 REPORT

Community fishing update: Tempe Kiwanis gets 1,000-pound trout bonus

Tempe Kiwanis
Tempe’s Kiwanis Lake

There are lots of solid options this week when it comes to the Community Fishing Program. But pick-of-the-week winner, by a fish head, is Tempe’s Kiwanis Lake.

Last week, the 10-acre Green Valley lake in Payson was not stocked as scheduled, nor was Alvord Lake in Phoenix, all due to water quality issues.

That said, those fish went to Pioneer Lake in Peoria, and especially to Kiwanis Lake in Tempe — 1,000 pounds of beautiful rainbow trout!

Also, this week we’re stocking our “expansion” ponds — Discovery, McQueen and Freestone in Gilbert; Pacana in Maricopa; Roadrunner in Phoenix; Eldorado in Scottsdale; Bonsall in Glendale.

Enjoy some great winter trout fishing and be sure to check out our Community Fishing Program page on http://www.azgfd.gov for all the information you need to “Fish AZ” at a community near you. Bring some neighborhood friends, round up any family, and bond over some quiet fishing memories.

Need a license? Glad you asked. Buying a license helps conserve wildlife and recreational opportunities for future generations.

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

RainbowTroutRedMtnBelieve it or not, this is great weather for trout fishing. At least it is in mid-elevation and lower elevation waters where we do our trout stockings.

In the Phoenix area, try the one-two punch of the Lower Salt River and Saguaro Lake because they are close to one another, and are being stocked. The Lower Salt was scheduled to be stocked this week and Saguaro is scheduled to be stocked the week of Dec. 15.

Anglers can try fly fishing in all trout-stocked waters such as the Lower Salt. Copper johns, prince nymphs, and egg patterns can work well for sub-surface flies, and for dry fly anglers can try stimulators and elk hair caddis. If you are spin fishing try small Rooster Tails with a gold blade in the slower moving water.

Saguaro has lots of fishing piers, especially in the Key Hole area just up from the marina. PowerBait is effective, but anglers may also want to try nightcrawlers that entice largemouth bass, yellow bass, bluegill and catfish. If you’ve learned how to tie a dropshot rig, try one with a nightcrawler or even mealworm.

Don’t forget the Community Fishing Program lakes are stocked with trout in the winter. There may be times when the community waters are offering some of the best trout fishing in the state. An angler reported to our Mesa Regional office Tuesday, Dec. 9 to weigh the above rainbow trout that weighed 3.46 pounds and measured 19 inches long.

Check the entire winter stocking schedule.

In the White Mountains, some lakes are thawing out with the recent warmer weather. Most areas have had no recent reports, but the little info we have indicates that even the higher elevation lakes have some open water at this time. Hot spots are Becker Lake and Silver Creek. Both are catch-and-release with artificial fly and lure with single barbless hooks only.

Not a bad time to get up to these mountains for a white Christmas. Speaking of – if you’re in need of some affordable holiday gift ideas, we’ve got you covered. Read about some of these ideas, including a $5 kids fishing license (great stocking stuffer.)

Also, keep up with the Arizona Department of Transportation for the latest road closures.

See our Fish&Boat Arizona map for directions to our state’s primary fisheries.

Outdoor recreationists and pilots are asked to give bald eagles

space during breeding season

Each year as part of its nationally-recognized and highly successful program to manage and conserve bald eagles in the state, the Arizona Game and Fish Department asks outdoor recreationists and aircraft pilots to help protect important eagle breeding areas by honoring the closure of 23 areas across the state.

Various land and wildlife management agencies close the breeding areas for part of the year to protect the state’s 55 breeding pairs of bald eagles. Some of the closure areas are located near popular recreation sites.

Read more.

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.

ANGLER REPORTS

Please share your fishing memories and pictures with us at BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

Pena Blanca
Don L.: My friends and I returned to Pena Blanca yesterday, Dec. 6. We arrived around 8:30 a.m., and while overcast it wasn’t cold. The lake is full and pretty clean except for a lot of green algae down by the dam. The water temperature was 53 degrees. While we know the lake is stocked with trout, we went ahead and fished for bass. Between the three of us, we caught and released 28 bass by the time we quit at 2 p.m. The bass were small, but a lot of fun to catch. All were caught drop-shotting. We hope there is enough forage for them to someday get larger. Considering it is December and snowing in other parts of the country, we had a great time getting out on the water.

Chevelon Canyon Lake
Dave C.: Went to Chevelon Canyon lake last week. I fished right near the spill-away from the shore. Rainbows were hitting pretty hard on the drop-offs in the early hours. Best success was with a Rapala sinking jerkbait. But in all honesty, if it was the color gold and fished slow enough with a heavy jerk, they’d hit. None of the anglers I spoke with mentioned any luck with browns. Hope this helps.

Scott’s Reservoir
Jim: Fished Scott’s Reservoir late afternoon on Dec. 6 with no luck. Went back at around noon on Dec. 7. My wife caught two 11-12-inch rainbows right after noon and I got one about the same size about 1:30 (catch and release). Left around 1:45. We were using pink Trout Magnets from the shore. Great time, close to town. The temp was in the low 50s and wind picked up at times. We were the only ones on the lake.

Kinnikinick Lake
Doug P. of Clarkdale: Was there this Tuesday, Dec. 9. Pretty chilly, 27 f at 10 a.m. and very foggy. Caught 10 brown trout over about 2.5 hours, kept five. Several were obviously full off eggs so put those back to hopefully spawn. The road in is muddy and rough but passable after last rains.

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

photo 1Here are some tips for Thanksgiving anglers. Escape the Black Friday shopping syndrome by hitting the water.

Top pick this week goes to Tempe Town Lake for trout and bass. We just stocked 3,000 trout Monday and Tuesday out of the SRP marina. Can’t beat good trout and bass fishing.

Thanks to the Arizona Game and Fish Certified Angler Instructors who helped out the public – it was such a large turnout of helpers for the free fishing clinic that afternoon.

There were 143 anglers who registered. Hope the public – and our great volunteers – come out next year.

OK, next top choice is the Salt River or one of the Salt River-chain lakes. The lakes have been stocked with trout, and anglers can try their luck at some monster bass by throwing some big trout-imitation swimbaits.

See a Fish AZ blog article about kayak-fishing at Canyon Lake.


This trip in early November was combined with throwing a trout swimbait for monster bass, misfortune of losing vehicle keys that led to a party invitation, and, finally, fresh fish tacos.

Keep an eye on the dipping water temperatures. At Roosevelt Lake, for example, the water temp. has been in the low-to-mid 60s — that’s a drop of nearly 10 degrees in one week. Naturally, fish are moving into deeper, warmer water.

This week we’re stocking trout into: Oak Creek and Francis Short Pond in Flagstaff; Patagonia and Pena Blanca lakes in the Tucson area; and in Phoenix, the Lower Salt River and, of course, Tempe Town Lake.

See the Community Fishing Program section in the full report – trout stockings are in full blast.
 

Here are some White Mountains fishing highlights:

  • Winter conditions are beginning to set in. Higher elevation lakes (8,000-plus feet) are beginning to have skim ice in the morning, and some of the highest elevation lakes are beginning to ice over for good. Lee Valley Lake, Tunnel Reservoir, and Bunch Reservoir were almost completely ice covered this last weekend.
  • Consider all ice at this time to be unsafe and not yet ready for ice fishing. It will take more time for the ice to thicken enough to support people walking on it. We’ve received very little snow and all forest roads are still open at this time.
  • Most of the streams are still open, except for the highest elevation streams. Sheeps Crossing was almost completely ice covered this last weekend. But the East Fork Black River, Black River, and Little Colorado River in Greer were open, although had some ice along the edges.
  • Silver Creek is a spring creek that comes out of the ground at a constant temperature and does not freeze in the winter. Catch-and-release fishing for big rainbow trout with artificial lure and flies, with single barbless hooks, will continue through the winter.


See our Fish&Boat Arizona map for directions to these waters and other top fisheries.

Happy Thanksgiving, Arizona anglers! See the full report for more details, and please share your memories with us at BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

Q & A

Q: Do you know who I could call about the gate going to the dam? I have been in there before and you had to drive under it — do you still have to do this? Or have they made a post gate that is to the side that is the 50 inches wide. I would hate to haul a four wheeler out there only to find that it would not fit through the gate but I still might. :) Any help/info would be much appreciated. Thank you. — Cadre

  • A: Cadre

    Mike Lopez, our White Mountains region Fish Program Manager, had this to say:

    “There is a new gate that was installed last year that allows vehicles 50 inches or less through to the side of the gate without having to go under anything (see attached photo). The new gate is closer to the campground at the top of the hill, and they took the old gate out (only one gate to go through).

    – Nick

ANGLER REPORTS

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

Here’s what anglers said was biting over the weekend across Arizona:

Gilbert community fishing waters
Chad G.: Wanted to submit a couple of pics. Please consider using it for your weekly fishing report. My son and his friends find themselves fishing the Gilbert community about three days a week. It’s awesome to see these boys so excited about the outdoors. They would be so jazzed if one of their fish pics made the fishing report.

This bass was caught by Austin Lanphere, 8th grader in Gilbert, with a Rapala on Nov. 23.

The carp (left) was caught by Jacob Gregory, 8th grader in Gilbert, on a float with corn.


Lake Havasu
Anonymous: Nov. 13, south end of Lake Havasu, cove near BLM camp sites, 8-10-pound channel cat on nightcrawler.

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 REPORT

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