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

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

 

Pre-spawn activity already has been reported at Lake Havasu, and now at Roosevelt Lake, where water temperatures have ranged from 54 degrees in the main lake to 64 degrees in the back of coves. There, some male “buck bass” have been seen swimming to the back of coves, which typically indicates the beginning of an early spawn.

Trout stockings at most of the Community Fishing Program waters continue until the first week of March. (The switch to catfish begins in mid-March.) Our Phoenix/Maricopa expansion waters have just been stocked into Scottsdale’s Eldorado; Gilbert’s Discovery, Freestone, and McQueen; Glendale’s Bonsall, Maricopa’s Pacana; and Roadrunner in Phoenix.

And great news for those in the Avondale area — Friendship Park (above) has been added to the Community Fishing Program! Stockings will come within the next month.

See the CFP stocking schdule.

Trout from our Page Springs Hatchery are scheduled to be stocked as follows:

Feb. 9-16: (Kingman/Prescott region) Verde River, Goldwater Lake; (Yuma region) La Paz, Hidden Shores, Fortuna; (Tucson region) Patagonia Lake, Pena Blanca; (Phoenix area) Lower Salt River, Canyon Lake.

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

To the mountains. In the Flagstaff/Williams area, every lake is ice free, but the only lakes that are accessible are Upper Lake Mary, Kaibab, Cataract, Frances Short Pond and Dogtown. We don’t stock any fish until March, so no stockings have occurred since November. Dogtown is the best bet in this area.

Jim Goughnor of Rim Country Custom Rods said the Mogollon Rim lakes that are fishable are yielding excellent results on wet flies, PowerBaits, small spinners and crankbaits. Be sure to check road and lake conditions before heading to the Rim.

Planning a Lake Powell excursion? Powell guide Wayne Gustaveson reported that when planning a spring trip, expect stripers to be in the backs of canyons holding on the ends of long underwater points and over shallow humps surrounded by deeper water. When planning a spring trip you might want to purchase a Shad Rap SR8 which is the same size and color as a yearling gizzard shad. Something to consider. See Wayne’s full report.

A reminder that at early-bird lakes Alamo, Havasu and Martinez, the water temperatures increase more rapidly and trigger the earliest bass spawn. Good time to head to the “West Coast of Arizona.”

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

ANGLER REPORTS

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

Lake Pleasant
Shawn M. of Phoenix: Caught two stripers at Pleasant, one 5 pounds, the other 6.5 pounds, on Feb. 6.

Roosevelt Lake
My husband and I (Mike Sparks and Ginger Sparks) fished Roosevelt January 20 and 21. We used mostly crank baits and had some success. We did not catch numerous fish, but the ones we caught were very nice. Mike caught this 6# beauty on January 20 on a crank bait. After taking the picture, we threw the fish back to help out with the upcoming spawn. Ginger caught a 4#, 3# and 2# bass on January 21, and the two bigger fish were released. The fishing definitely picked up the first week in February when we caught numerous fish over three days at the end of the week. The water was beyond stained and looked more like chocolate milk, but the catching was great. Hope others find what we found!


SRP canal (Mesa)
Tanner: Keri C. and her carp from SRP canal in Mesa! It was at the Greenfield and 60… caught on corn. Weighed 6 pounds.


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

Alamo Lake report: Fish “as fat as a fully inflated football”

ALAMO LAKE
ALAMO LAKE

From Mark Knapp, Park Manager at Alamo Lake State Park

Well folks, I ‘m pleased to say that when they pulled me out of my cave a few days ago. I saw my shadow, stretched, got the lower back to pop,  and declared an extra six weeks of summer coming our way.

It looks like sooner rather than later. We’re supposed to be in the 80s going into next week.  That should jump-start the bass fishing.  I have heard of a few being caught here and there.  It would not surprise me that if one went out and threw a spinnerbait up into about 2 feet of water you might pull out a bass going a couple of pounds.

As I have mentioned in the past, the Dept. does electroshocking to determine the health and quality of the fish in the lake.  Ninety percent of the fish tested in our lake are very healthy.  They range in the 2-pound area and are as fat as a fully inflated football.  I could run with this, but have to remind myself that this a fishing report and do not need Nick shaking his head thinking “not again, Mark.”

So, moving on.  Crappie fishing is really starting to turn on.  Same ol story there.  Upper end of the lake.  Buoy line,  north side.  Roadrunner jigs with a minnow trailer is the hot ticket.  I also think split shot and No. 10 hook with a minnow would work just as well.  So, in a nutshell fishing is turning on.

I would like to remind everyone that Stew and his Dept. are doing their annual “Alamo lake Clean Up” on Saturday, March 7.  Registration begins on Friday, March 6 at the group use area located inside the park.  We (Parks) will waive the day-use and camping fees if you’re registered for the clean-up and camping in the group use area.

Here’s how it’s going to work.  Plan on launching off the old rental boat road/area.  We will open up the Cholla ramp area as a drop-off point. Once the clean-up is over, Cholla will be closed back down. The clean-up is 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.  After that. there will be dinner and raffle door prizes held at the group use area.  It’s a lot of fun and we hope to see you come out.

The lake level is at 1088ish with releases set at 10 cfs for now.  All restrictions remain place.  Although the lake is still slowly deflating, we still have plenty of water so come on out.  Well, I better quit writing while I’m ahead and this stands a chance to see print. — Mark

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

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