Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Rosy2Roosevelt Lake on Thursday got yet another stocking of Florida-strain largemouth bass, something we hope will lead to a revitalization of this fishery. We stocked 40,000 fingerlings. See more details.

Also, get free licenses for youths at Glendale’s Bonsall Park on Saturday (April 25). The first 1,000 youth ages 10-17 during event hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. will receive a free youth hunt/fish license that’s valid for 365 days. Besides, it’s a free AZGFD fishing clinic — read all about it.

On to hot spots. At Lower Lake Mary in Flagstaff, we had a report on Sunday of an angler catching and releasing 72 trout fishing along the south dike using a bead headed prince nymph fly.

Canal fishing has been good and flathead catfish action is picking up and should be good until mid-June.

Speaking of flatheads, a state record also was set this week. Joe Kauffman of Peoria brought to our Phoenix headquarters on Tuesday this 41.16-pound flathead catfish that is a non-hook-and-line state record. See the video for all the details. Kauffman bow-fished for the flathead at Saguaro on Saturday, April 18.

A year-round bow-fishing season was approved in Sept of 2013 only for Salt River-chain lakes Saguaro, Apache, Canyon and Roosevelt with a special regulation bag limit of five catfish in any combination. This season will end Dec. 31 of 2016, but can be continued upon commission approval. Department data showed catfish populations in these fisheries are robust in sizes and populations.

Sounds like smallmouth bass fishing is excellent at Lake Powell, and in the Colorado River, anchovies are still “getting it done,” according to the Mohave Valley Daily News.

Also a great time to target holdover trout in the high country. Mogollon Rim lakes Woods Canyon and Willow Springs are good for holdovers and recently-stocked trout (Forest Road 300 is open).

Don’t forget to see the new summer trout stocking schedule.

And be sure to grab a license online – your purchase helps conserve wildlife!



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

Pena Blanca Lake
Marcus R.: 7.2-pound bass caught on a 7-inch plastic worm and at 6:25 a.m.

SRP canal
Tyler D.: Canal fishing has been great lately because “rainbow trout” have gotten in it for some reason. I’ve been using dropshot with mice tails and I’ve been throwing Savage Gear Real Trout’s, Strike King Hack Attack jigs, and spinners for larger bass.

Lake Pleasant
Kevin H.: Fished the upper Agua Fria Arm of Lake Pleasant on Sunday April 19th off of Table Mesa Road. The water temperature ranged from 66 degrees in the morning and 68° in the afternoon. The weather system that blew through last week seemed to slow down the fishing considerably compared to the last few weeks. The morning striper bite was very slow, but the fishing picked up in the afternoon once the south wind started blowing. We caught a couple of largemouth in the shallows and 10+ stripers in 30’ of water near the main channel. All fish were caught on shad-like bait. The striped bass are spawning, or very close to spawning by the looks of their eggs. The water is dropping over a foot a week due to the CAP releases.

Jim N.: Many largemouth bass nests were seen to be abandoned in all northern coves of Lake Pleasant since the water level has dropped more than 4 feet during the past couple of days. Bass fry production will naturally be affected. My party caught bass by steep structure such as Clift’s where bass go when water levels drop.

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

 

The catch-and-keep season at Silver Creek is underway. What’s possible?

Well, our Sport Fishing Education Coordinator Marci Alderman caught this 8.05-pound, 26 5/8-inch rainbow trout at Silver Creek on a nightcrawler and 8-pound monofilament test line.

Below is a picture from Wednesday’s Silver Creek stocking.

Beginning April 1 until Oct. 1, anglers can fish Silver Creek outside the Silver Creek Hatchery for the beginning of the catch-and-keep trout fishery. Bait also is allowed until the end of September.

Anglers should arrive before sunrise for a chance at catching the native Apache trout. Bait fishing and a six trout daily bag limit (including Apache) are allowed at this time, however, the upper section is closed until Oct. 1.

“The creek has received habitat improvements, and for two miles of fishable waters the creek meanders through the meadows,” Game and Fish hatchery manager Scott Gurtin said. “It’s just a pristine location at the gate of the White Mountains.”

For the beginning of “bait season,” worms fished in deeper holes are the best bait, but PowerBait and assorted flies work as well. Apache trout can be caught by a variety of methods, including throwing wet or dry flies and small lures such as spinners.

Silver Creek Hatchery is located east of Show Low about 5 miles on Highway 60. Turn north off 60 onto Bourdon Ranch Road for five miles to Hatchery Way Road. Turn east on Hatchery Way Road for 1 mile where you can park at the Silver Creek Hatchery.

We have plenty of new reports throughout, including a fresh spread of Tucson-area updates, so browse for your favorite fishin’ hole and send us your reports and pictures to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

Just above there, at Lake Havasu, the early season top-water bite is on. Shad are spawning and stripers can be caught in shallow water. See more of this report from Friday in the full report.

Rich text editor, singleAndUniqueCKvalueHopeIzUnyque, press ALT 0 for help.

Here’s one hot spot: The smallmouth bass bite is hot right on the Parker Strip section of the Colorado River. Anglers last weekend had success on nightcrawlers and assorted soft baits. Water temperatures are still cool, in the low to mid 60s.

Worms were also working well for the large hybrid redears known to occupy this stretch of river.

A final update: Forest Road 751 was opened Friday, April 3, allowing public access to C.C. Cragin (Blue Ridge) Reservoir, including the boat launch ramp. In order to allow full public access over the spring and summer season, the ongoing boating access project being implemented by the Arizona Game and Fish Department will be on hold until approximately late August.

Don’t forget to see the new summer trout stocking schedule.

And be sure to grab a license onlineyour purchase helps conserve wildlife!

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

Bartlett Lake

Hi, Nick,

Karrie: Thank you for an amazing fishing report every week! I thought I would share with you my recent catch.

Pictures are attached. I caught this 14.7-pound beauty from shore at Bartlett Flats. I used a 1.5-pound (12-inch) live carp as bait. Ironically, I reeled him in at 5:30 p.m. I’m heading back out this weekend to try and catch another one!
Thanks again!

Have an unbelievable day!

Oak Creek
Alan L.: In Sedona for a few days for a short vacation coming from the Los Angeles area since my son is on spring break. … Had a little time before or family hike at West Fork so we stopped by grasshopper near Sedona to fish around 7 a.m. Had my son (Hurley L.) daughter and wife. Only had an hour to fish at the most. Saw a local fly fishing guide loading up as we arrived so I thought it was a good sign.

Did a little homework before coming to Arizona for regulations etc. I ended up with a small rainbow, my son this 22-23-inch brown. You be the judge.

Both of us were using mini jigs, custom made colors. First time here and I’m glad I purchased a year license. Hope to give you future reports. Both trout were caught, pictured and released.

Parker Canyon Lake
Jack W.: I was fishing for trout at Parker Canyon the other day, but got distracted when my fish-finder located fish in about ten feet of water near some cattails and submerged brush. I picked up my fly rod, put on a guide’s choice hare’s ear and promptly tied into several nice chunky bluegill. No top-water action, but that should be coming soon and last for a couple of weeks if past years are any indication.

Lower Salt River
Todd B.: It was one of the saddest days for me in the outdoors today, Saturday the 4th of April. The day started out at Blue Point Bridge, and I had a fun time for a few hours, but no fish to take home.

I then went west to Phon D Sutton to try my luck. The Salt was low, but the Verde was blown out. A good sign for the coming summer crops. What saddens me to the point of becoming sick to my stomach was the number of people there, and the amount of litter scattered everywhere. Nobody seemed to be cleaning up after themselves.

The beach was full of plastic water bottles (countless), foam plates, and tons of beer cans. It was a plain disgusting site. I do not know if I can return to that once beautiful, and clean, park that I had grown to love dearly. I have no other words to describe my experience there. How dreadful of what was an awesome first have of a day, to have this as the ending memory.

P.S. Even the horses there seemed sad as they moved about through the litter to get to the river.

What happened there, Arizona? We messed up big time.


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

Bonsall Park fishing clinic to offer 1,000 free youth licenses

Bonsall Pond is a 2-acre pond in Glendale with a maximum depth of 15 feet.
Bonsall Pond is a 2-acre pond in Glendale with a maximum depth of 15 feet.

To go with a free fishing clinic (loaner rods and reel, bait, no license required), 1,000 youth hunt/fish licenses will be up for grabs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 25 at the “Bonsall Park 1,000 Youth License Giveaway.”

Licenses will go to the first 1,000 youth ages 10-17 during the event at Glendale’s Bonsall Park.

Grab your kids and come on out. Bluegill and catfish will have been stocked.

The licenses will be available for 365 days. Thanks to sponsors West Valley Foundation, Glendale Chamber of Commerce, Glendale Pawn & Jewelry and Gorman and Company, Inc. for donating the licenses.

Bonsall Park is located  at 5840 W. Bethany Home Rd. (59th Ave. and Bethany Home Rd.)

Ready for an Arizona trout bonanza at Willow Beach on the Colorado River?

Get out for Arizona trout

Expect a trout bonanza going forward at Willow Beach on the Colorado River! Check out this Cronkite News video detailing how state, county and federal officials came together to save the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery and provide an eventual boost to the economy in Mohave County.

Paddle giant kayak pond at the free AZGFD Outdoor Expo March 28-29

Paddlemore

 

PHOENIX – Hit the water and paddle a lap in our 90,000-gallon kayak pond at the Arizona Game and Fish Outdoor Expo presented by Shikar Safari Club International.

Admission and parking are free for the family-friendly, hands-on event on Saturday, March 28 and Sunday, March 29 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix.

 See sneak-preview video of Lake Paddlemore.

Kayak-fishing is one of the stealthiest — and cheapest — ways to fish.

 

Ready for your first time in a kayak?

Lake Paddlemore is a great place to learn some basics, get some exercise and experience what it feels like to paddle through this pond that’s sponsored by Bass Pro Shops. The kayaks are considered “try before you buy,” so would-be paddlers can go home equipped to hit the water.

Later, paddlers can dive farther into the kayak craze by taking a Department-sponsored paddling class.

That’s just a hint of the outdoor paradise that is the AZGFD Department Expo.  A 50- by 100-yard OHV track is the newest addition. Qualified participants can ride in a side-by-side OHV and experience some of the latest OHV performance features. Buckle up.

Also see our ATV exhibits. Get information about boating and how to stay safe on the water. Talk to experts about wildlife, hunting and fishing tips, and more.  Hike a field course and learn cool camping tips.

Or take to the archery range!

Archery

Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo drew 48,000 last year

There will be 171 exhibitors, including outdoor recreation and conservation groups, government agencies, and commercial vendors of outdoor products and services.

Last year’s Expo (see highlights) drew 48,000 visitors during the weekend — and we expect more.

Twitter users: please share your Expo experiences by Tweeting with the hashtag #AZGFDOutdoorExpo.

Expo hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 29. The 2015 Outdoor Expo is easy to get to, located on Carefree Highway, about 1/2 mile west of I-17 in Phoenix.

The title sponsor for this year’s event is Shikar Safari Club International. Gold sponsors are Cabela’s and Arizona State Credit Union.

For more information, visit www.azgfd.gov/expo.

Youth anglers take to Tempe Kiwanis Park for 24th annual Just for Kids Fishing Festival

 

TEMPE, Ariz. – The future of Arizona family angling will be on display at the 24th annual “Just for Kids Fishing Festival” from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 21 at Tempe Kiwanis Park.

The event typically draws more than 400 youth anglers. Anglers United, in partnership with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, will conduct this free event that features fishing from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Kids can register the day of the event.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department will be providing “free fishing” to those who register at the Game and Fish booth during the event. This includes: bait and loaner equipment (fishing rods and reels) for individuals to check out and return by 1 p.m.

To those who register, fishing licenses will not be required to fish Kiwanis during event hours.

Game and Fish staff and Certified Angler Instructors will be on-hand to assist people with fishing questions and equipment needs. People are welcome to bring their own equipment.

Anglers United, incorporated in 1982, has raised more than $1 million to benefit fishing habitat and recreational access, particularly for children and physically-challenged individuals.

For more information or to download a registration form, visit www.anglersunited.org/kid_s_fishing_festival.html.

Lynx Lake receives juvenile brown trout (lunkers being caught)

LynxBrownStocking effort to boost long-term angling opportunities

PRESCOTT, Ariz. –– Lynx Lake is ready to be stocked with brown trout for the second consecutive year.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department, which stocked brown trout in Lynx last year, will be placing approximately 6,000 of the fish into the lake this week.

According to Matt Chmiel, fisheries program manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Region 3 office in Kingman, this is the result of surplus fish.

Chmiel said these fish are not a catchable size at just 7.5 inches. However, holdover brown trout from previous stockings have grown considerably and are being caught.

“We’ve had a number of reports of people catching brown trout over the last couple of months,” Chmiel said. “So, while this stocking won’t immediately put dinner on the table, we know there are good-size holdovers in the lake. And, later this year or next year, these trout will certainly make for a good fishing opportunity.

“Brown trout stocked in the past were also smaller, and now we are receiving positive feedback from anglers about fishing for brown trout. We hope to see a continued interest following this effort.”

Lynx Lake 101214 011When wetting a line in search of brown trout Chmiel said any number of catching techniques can work. With fish that are more piscivorous (fish feeding) than rainbows, he suggests using spinners and flies, but lately anglers have reported success using nightcrawlers.

Zen Mocarski, public information officer for the Kingman office, said fishing remains one of the best deals in regards to daily entertainment. An in-state license is $37 for in-state residents. 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 www.azgfd.gov. Licenses are available at the Kingman office as well as at license dealers throughout the state and online.

For information specific to fishing in the Prescott area, visit www.azgfd.gov/fishprescott.

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

 

Spring is sprinting through the state, including consistent 80-degree daytime highs in the desert regions. Bass will soon be guarding beds en masse. Crappie may be following suit, as this full moon can be key to a spawn of these speckled beauties.

Daytime surface water temperatures in the desert lakes have been in the high-50s to low-60s. But of course they are on the rise.

The final trout stocking in the Phoenix/Tucson Community Fishing Program waters is taking place (until Saturday, March 7) and the first channel catfish stocking in the community waters will be March 19.

See the Community fishing stocking schedule.

If you’re headed to Bartlett Lake, keep this in mind: the Salt River Project has advised it began releasing water from Horseshoe Lake on March 3. Already the lake elevation has increased 8 feet and water flow in the Verde River between Horseshoe and Bartlett may reach 3,000 cubic feet per second. Campers are advised to camp at least 20-30 feet above the shoreline.

In the Agua Fria Conservation Area, motorized vehicular access will be closed to this weekend. Read more.

Great news from Willow Beach on the Colorado RIver (and for all Arizona anglers.) An agreement has been executed to ensure trout stockings will continue in the Colorado River. Check out the details.

Also, we’re getting modern with our stocking schedules. See what the hype is about.

Bill Luke Bass Days March 13-15

OK, we’ve got some pretty big events coming up. The biggest is Bill Luke Bass Days, March 13-15, at Pleasant Harbor Marina. Bill Luke Bass Days is the Southwest’s largest family fishing tournament and festival. Everyone can partake in day and nighttime festivals featuring a Cornhole Tournament, food, vendors, carnival rides, wildlife exhibits and live music. See all the information.


Arizona Game and Fish Department Expo is coming in late March

The Department will be hosting its annual Outdoor Expo, Saturday and Sunday, March 28-29

The event is FREE and will have tons of events for the whole family to enjoy.

Last year’s Expo and Youth Day drew a total of 48,000 attendees, the highest three-day total in the event’s history.

Check out the kids fishing tanks and take home a free photo, a NEW OHV track, see all sorts of live wildlife, learn target archery and try other shooting sports in a safe, supervised, controlled environment on the range.

Get a feel for specialty shooting disciplines like clay target, cowboy action, practical pistol, black powder, and air gun. Check out the many firearms manufacturers, or see our new side-by-side OHV track!

Concessionaires will have food and beverages available for purchase, and many accept only cash — ATMs will be on site.

Expo hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Outdoor Expo is easy to find, located on Carefree Highway, about 1/2 mile west of I-17 in Phoenix.

Also, visit our Fish AZ blog for the latest free public fishing events, as well as timely fishing reports, fish stories and more.

ANGLER REPORTS

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

Tempe Kiwanis

Phan N.: 9.5-pound catfish (Saturday, Feb. 28) 35-pound white armor (at left, Sunday, Feb. 29).











Lower Salt River

Dave H.: Went fly fishing this week on the Lower Salt. The Sonora suckers are really active. I caught several of them in larger pools using a beaded woolly bugger. All were in the 2-3 pound range and put up a great fight.

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

Some big boys are being caught out there. First, Lake Havasu.

Two days ago, this 44-inch, 36-pound striper was caught Wednesday afternoon on an anchovy. This man told John Galbearth of Bass Tackle Masters that he hadn’t caught a striper all winter. Then — Yahtzee.

Another monster from Havasu. This flathead catfish was taken Feb. 22 from the Black Meadow area. It weighed 59.8 pounds. See one of our videos that has some flathead-catching tips.

On the whole, striper fishing is tough at Havasu since shad have not yet spawned. Surface water temperature at Havasu on Friday was 60 degrees.

Salt River-chain dandy Apache Lake also was the site of some great catches recently. Gary Becko came to our Mesa Regional office with this state record smallmouth buffalo caught on Friday, Feb. 20. The fish weighed 42.86 pounds and measured 38 inches long.

Becko was using a minnow. Get this: he caught it using 8-pound test line. Keep in mind, the fish is the only of its species that has been submitted for a state record. An impressive catch nonetheless.

Here’s another, again from Apache. Nice to get a picture of a plump yellow bass. Bruce W. caught this yellow bass on Feb. 3 that weighed 1-pound, 10.24 ounces and qualifies as a Big Fish of the Year leader for its species. Congrats, Bruce!

This could be the final cold front and last wisp of winter before anglers can prep for some of the best fishing conditions of the year.

We’ve had some early largemouth bass spawning action. Saguaro Lake had some spawning activity last Wednesday — the water temperature hit 62 degrees. The day before, some anglers said they were moving shallow and building nests. (Saguaro must have some hard-working bass.)

Pre-spawning activity had been witnessed at Havasu (a few bass are actually on beds) and Roosevelt as well. With this cold blast, some bass might think twice about moving shallow and building or protecting nests until water temperatures rise and stabilize.

Great time to get one of the above monsters, or get rigged and ready for spring. Need a license? We’ve got ’em! Purchasing a license online also helps conserve wildlife for future generations. (Did you know we receive no state tax dollars?)

Good news about this front is trout are receiving a nice little cool-off. After an unseasonably warm stretch, the bite could pick up, especially in community lakes and ponds. Our last trout stocking for central and southern community waters this season will take place on the week of March 2-7. Catfish stockings will resume after that during the week of March 16-21. Trout will continue to be stocked into Green Valley Lakes in Payson until early May.

Also, see the Community Fishing Program stocking schedule.

And check out our Fish&Boat Arizona map to easily locate our state’s top fisheries.

Now an update on the Agua Fria Conservation Area: Motorized access will be closed this weekend due to weather. Read more.

OK, we’ve got some pretty big events coming up. Here’s a rundown.

  • Alamo Lake Cleanup, Saturday, March 7: Register at the group use area on March 6. For more information, call the park or call Stew at (928) 856-0706.
  • Bill Luke Bass Days, March 13-15, Pleasant Harbor Marina. Bill Luke Bass Days is the Southwest’s largest family fishing tournament and festival. Everyone can partake in day and nighttime festivals featuring a Cornhole Tournament, food, vendors, carnival rides, wildlife exhibits and live music. Stay tuned for more information.
  • Visit our Fish AZ blog for the latest free public fishing events, as well as timely fishing reports, fish stories and more.

ANGLER REPORTS

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

SRP canal (Mesa)

Johnathan T.: Caught this nice carp in the canal in Mesa. Caught with a tortilla. Released and swam away. 15 pounds.

Upper Lake Mary

Anonymous: Only catch of the day for the 3.5 hours we were there — lots of wind. But he caught it from shore north side of upper Lake with a gold shad bomber crankbait.






SEE THE FULL REPORT

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

 

We’re getting some early peeks at spring with reported pre-spawn conditions at Alamo and Roosevelt lakes. For reference, the daytime water temperature this week at Lake Pleasant in north Phoenix hit 59 degrees. Also, the unseasonably warm weather has melted the ice off most White Mountains regional lakes. This is extremely early for ice to be coming off (usually this happens late March-April).

Oh, sounds like fishing’s pretty hot at Alamo Lake, where some anglers are catching 15-20 crappie a day.

Hey, curious how we survey some of our waters? Check out a short video of one of our surveys from at Topock Marsh from Wednesday.

The survey continued on Thursday and we saw a good number of catfish in the marsh (these two pictured above were put right back in the water.) Unfortunately, the most abundant fish on Wednesday was gizzard shad – remember, anglers, live transport to another water is a violation.

OK, onto trout. Our Page Springs Hatchery this week are stocking trout into:

Feb. 17-24: (Kingman/Prescott) Deadhorse; (Tucson) Cluff Pond, Roper Lake, Dankworth; (Phoenix) Red Mountain, Tempe Town Lake, Saguaro Lake.

Next week, we’re stocking the Verde River, as well as Somerton Pond and Yuma West Wetland in the Yuma region, Patagonia and Pena Blanca in Tucson and the Lower Salt River.

Also, see the CFP stocking schdule.

See our Fish&Boat Arizona map to easily locate our state’s top fisheries.

Finally, there will be limited weekend motorized access to Agua Fria Conservation Area to be allowed beginning this Sunday. Read more.

ANGLER REPORTS

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

Tempe Kiwanis Park
Melony L.: Caught (white amur) at Kiwanis Park Sunday, Feb. 15 and released unharmed.





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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