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

No keys, no problem: kayak-fishing at Canyon Lake

The Boulder Creek area of Canyon Lake, because of its no-wake restrictions, is an excellent place for beginning and expert paddlers.
As Arizona Game and Fish public information officer Nick Walter found out, the Boulder Creek area of Canyon Lake, because of its no-wake restrictions, is an excellent spot for beginning and expert kayak anglers.

Undulating water that rippled across Canyon Lake in early November, gently rocking the kayak, was felt from head to hips.

Paddling a new Ocean Kayak Tetra 10 Angler for the first time, and during what was this angler’s first time fishing this desert dandy,  made for excitement that filled the head and heart with ideas of possible thrills — catching a monster largemouth bass on a 6-inch rainbow trout swimbait, carving open water, and endless other adventures.

Losing the truck keys, however, wasn’t supposed to be one of them.

A community of paddlers and anglers

A “thank you” is in order. Four gracious (and sympathetic) kayakers offered this nearly stranded stranger, who somewhere among kayaking excitement lost the truck keys,  a ride from the Salt River-chain lake in the Tonto National Forest to their mobile home in Mesa.

Then, a party invitation. A full moon bash would be happening that night at the swimming pool of their 55-and-over senior community. Karaoke, conversation and wine. “Wow, this is turning out OK,” I thought.

The lesson: fishing can be the doorway to any adventure.

All you need is to purchase a license, some tackle and poles, and maybe a kayak, which is cheaper and more stealthy than a boat. Fish rarely are spooked by a ‘yak — it’s cheating.

But one tip: keep your keys. Consider carrying a carabiner. Or even sign up for one of our free paddling classes — call 623-236-7219 for information.

Anyway, the party didn’t happen — this writer was able to find a ride from the senior community back to his north Phoenix home. But still in order was a cold Bud Light and some macaroni and cheese at the courteous kayakers’ Mesa mobile home.  Almost made up for not catching a lunker bass.

What did redeem this whole mess two days later? Four, fresh fish tacos.

Fishing trout swimbaits at Canyon Lake, Arizona

CanyonLakeVistaCanyon Lake is the “land of lunkers,” and after our first winter rainbow trout stocking, some ambitious anglers begin to throw big rainbow trout swimbaits (usually 4-10 inches)  in an attempt to catch one of those plus-size bass that occasionally feed on trout.

It can be absolute hit-and-miss fishing; maybe an angler can catch one during two or three full day trips.

No luck this day.  Didn’t sound like any other anglers fishing the Boulder Creek area that day had big bass luck, either. But one pesky bass was on the full moon feed.

The technique

CanyonBass
A 13-inch largemouth bass hit a 3-inch Kamlooper orange-and-silver spoon tied to 8-pound test monofilament line kayak-trolling the Boulder Creek area of Canyon Lake.

The setup for monster bass included a 6-inch Huddleston rainbow trout swimbait tied with a uni-knot to 50 yards of 17-pound Stren fluorocarbon line (a roll of 200 yards was just $13 at Sportsman’s Warehouse), connected with a double uni-knot to 20-pound braided line as backing. Go with a medium-heavy action rod of at least 7 feet. Purchasing components for this rig is like buying a really expensive scratch ticket (but a lot more fun.)

Canyon Lake, with its sandy-colored, arcing shoreline features, is one of the most unique fisheries in the country. See more information, including a map, of Canyon Lake.

Fishing from a kayak on such an expansive and deep lake, and it being this angler’s first time at Canyon Lake, trolling a spoon or crankbait and the swimbait from the kayak’s two rod holders seemed to be the most effective method to cover water and possibly figure out a pattern or location of congregated fish. (Tip: put one line out about 10 yards farther than the other to avoid lines crossing.)

YakThe 10 1/2-foot Ocean Kayak Tetra 10 Angler, a sit-on-top, is narrow and weighs only 50 pounds, and so is easy to transport.  Stealthy and smooth on the water, it’s designed for those with small-to-medium builds (the kayak has a weight capacity of 225-275 pounds.) Well worth buying if on clearance or marked down on craigslist.

Trolling from this ‘yak with a 3-inch, orange-and-silver Kamlooper spoon produced the above 13-inch largemouth bass around 2 p.m. in about 20 feet of water in Boulder Creek near the fishing pier.

The bass skyrocketed from the water four or five times, a memory-making sight.

Then, Mr. Bass went from the water to the table.

Taco time (bass, not beans)

Two days later, the bass was filleted into 1/2-inch wide  chunks, soaked in cold water, rolled in white corn meal, and fried in a shallow amount of peanut oil …

FIshFrying

… then laid to rest on paper towels and sprinkled with salt and pepper …

FIshFried

 

… then finally dropped into plus-size corn tacos shells (25-percent larger!) along with shreds of Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese and homemade medium salsa (thanks, the mom of Mary from Game and Fish). Few ingredients helped highlight a fresh fish taste.

Maybe the best part of fishing is the eating!

FishTacos

And at this point … what keys?

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Hello, anglers,

We just got done stocking rainbow trout into Beaver Creek (900 trout), Verde River (2,400), Deadhorse lakes (3,200), Lynx Lake, Goldwater Lake, Fain Lake, Patagonia Lake (2,250), Pena Blanca Lake (2,000), Cluff, Dankworth Pond, Roper Lake, Graham County Fairgounds Pond, Apache Lake (1,000), Canyon Lake (1,500) and Saguaro Lake (1,500).

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

Not sure I have a great feel for what is happening on the desert impoundments right now. This is the transition period from the fall activity patterns to the winter ones. Fish are edging deep and as the water cools, their metabolism slows down. Bass can still be found chasing shad at the surface at times, but for most lakes, expect top-water action to be sporadic (but worthwhile).

For all you wing shooters, don’t forget that the late dove season opens on Friday, Nov. 21. Maybe catch the morning bite, then the late afternoon flight.

Big congrats to Ben Davis of Sierra Vista, who on Nov. 8 caught this Colorado River catch-and-release state record channel catfish of 26 inches. The fish was caught at the Betty’s Kitchen area of the Colorado River. Of course, this was the only such record that has been submitted for this category. So naturally, it’s a record. I bet someone can beat it.

Speaking of the Colorado River, quality is trumping size, especially for stripers and catfish according to the Mohave Daily News. Read more.

The cooler weather is a great time to trout fish. Check our stocking schedule, get out and about, and this time of the year you might have a lake all to yourself.

See the full report for more details, enjoy this awesome weather, and please share your memories with us at BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

Time for a winter-trout celebration! The City of Tempe and the Arizona Game and Fish Department will host the annual Welcome Back the Trout Celebration on that Tuesday at SRP Tempe Town Lake Marina from 4-6 p.m. Families and community members are invited to come down and watch as thousands of rainbow trout are released into the lake. The Department will conduct a fishing clinic starting at 4 p.m. Again, there are free loaner rods, reels and bait that will be available during the event, along with instruction and tips from seasoned anglers.

It really is an exciting time to be an angler in Arizona. Those who purchase a license do much more than give themselves opportunities to fish. They help create such expansions of the Community Fishing Program lakes that will hopefully be around for generations. Let’s conserve the wildlife opportunities we love in the face of a growing human population and distractions that have kept younger generations stuck in their seats in front of fantasy worlds through video games, cell phones, televisions, and so on.

ANGLER REPORTS

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

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

Lake Pleasant
Barry W.: Fished lake pleasant earlier this week — 2 hours before sunset and 2 hours after. While the sun is up the weather is in the low 70s, and it couldn’t be better. We caught about 20 striper before sunset using plastic swim baits (smoking shad color) ¼-ounce jig head. A silver ½-ounce Kastmaster has also been very successful. The fish are a lot shallower now ranging from 4- 25 feet close to shore.

I would recommend any of the northern coves. Once the sun goes down you will need to layer up since the temperature drops quickly. Don’t forget the gloves and hat! Anchovies on a dropshot is still the preferred method but it’s critical to chum at the beginning to hold the school beneath you. The fish are suspended at about 20-30 feet and fishing near the dam has been average.

We never caught any striper over the size of 2 pounds, but these were the perfect size for the freezer. The action is not awesome compared to the summer months, but it’s still good. Good luck to everybody and Tight Lines!

Big Lake
Brian H.: Caught a German brown and rainbow trout, eighteen inches, 2.5 pounds. Nice, fat fish. Beautiful day, warm and no wind.

Dogtown Lake
Here is the picture of the 20 inch brown caught yesterday out of Dogtown. The gentlemen gave me permission to take his picture. There was a second guy that also caught a nice brown while we were there.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Welcome Back the Trout to Tempe Town Lake Nov. 25

PHOENIX – The trout are making their annual Thanksgiving comeback to Tempe Town Lake.

The City of Tempe and the Arizona Game and Fish Department will host the annual Welcome Back the Trout Celebration from 4-6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at the SRP Tempe Town Lake Marina.

Families and community members are invited to come down and watch as thousands of rainbow trout from the Department’s Page Springs Hatchery are released into Town Lake.

Attendees will also be able to fish without a fishing license during the event from 4-6 p.m.

See information on obtaining a license for future use.

“Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced fishing pro, this is a great event to come out and fish,” said Scott Gurtin, manager of Game and Fish’s Community Fishing Program. “It’s a perfect opportunity for families to spend some quality time together and enjoy the outdoors.”

Arizona Game and Fish will conduct a fishing clinic starting at 4 p.m. and will provide anglers of all ages with loaner rods, reels and bait, as well as the tips and advice they need to try their hand at the sport.

“Welcome Back the Trout is a wonderful community event that the city is proud to present with Arizona Game and Fish,” Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said. “Every year, it is great to see families and community members enjoying the lake as young children learn to fish.”

Tuesday’s event will be the first of five monthly Arizona Game and Fish scheduled trout stockings. The trout, in addition to the abundant bass, bluegill, catfish and carp found in Town Lake, will provide fun angling opportunities for all.

Tempe Town Lake is one of 35 waters in the Community Fishing Program that will receive trout during the winter months. An additional 34 waters are stocked with trout statewide. See all the stocking schedules.


For a map of Tempe Town Lake and the SRP Tempe Town Lake Marina, visit www.tempe.gov/lake/Maps/MarinaMap.jpg.

Also, see more information on the Community Fishing Program.

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Alright, anglers, let’s get right to it. The first day of the winter Community Fishing Program trout stockings is Friday.

You ready? See the stocking schedule. Know that Tempe Kiwanis Lake, which is managed by the city of Tempe, and Lakeside (Tucson) will not be stocked on Friday. The excessive algae and aquatic vegetation at Kiwanis is not yet suitable for stockings, and at Lakeside, we were asked us not to stock because of high turbidity in the lake.

Back to the great news. We’re hosting a fishing clinic on Saturday, 8-11 a.m. at Eldorado Park in Scottsdale. Trout will have been stocked, poles and bait will be available to borrow for free, no license is required during clinic hours, and the city of Scottsdale will have a raffle with prizes. Pretty cool – bring the family.

Fast-forward to Nov. 25. The City of Tempe and the Arizona Game and Fish Department will host the annual Welcome Back the Trout Celebration on that Tuesday at SRP Tempe Town Lake Marina from 4-6 p.m. Families and community members are invited to come down and watch as thousands of rainbow trout are released into the lake. The Department will conduct a fishing clinic starting at 4 p.m. Again, there are free loaner rods, reels and bait that will be available during the event, along with instruction and tips from seasoned anglers.

Some anglers also had great trout-fishing trips recently to Knoll Lake, Roper Lake, and West Clear Creek. See their Angler Reports below.

Top-water action sounds like it’s taking off at Lake Pleasant. Bartlett Lake remains a hot spot for largemouth bass.

Also sounds like crappie fishing has picked up a bit at Alamo Lake and Roosevelt Lake.

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

Also, for those who like to combine some blasting with their casting, the second dove season begins Friday, Nov. 21 and runs through Jan. 4 of 2015. The new bag limit is 15 birds. Dove make for great barbeque, so go ahead and stock up for the holidays.

Don’t forget that buying a license online helps support the Department’s mission to conserve wildlife for future generations. We do not receive Arizona tax dollars, so in order to make sure wildlife is available longterm, we need to spread the word that our funding comes from a user-pay, public benefit model, primarily from license sales, excise taxes, boat/OHV registrations and decals, and a few other sources such as the Heritage Fund.

Finally, big congrats to Kim Johnson, who caught this Big Fish of the Year catch-and-keep carp of 13 pounds, 14.04 ounces (and 29 inches) from Tempe Kiwanis Lake.

See the full report for more details, enjoy this awesome weather, and please share your memories with us at BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

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

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

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

Saguaro Lake
Joe P.: I caught a 7-pound bass at 7 a.m. Saturday Nov. 8 on a top-water popper Rico lure.

Bartlett Lake
Richard H.: So the two of us got out to Bartlett Sunday morning Nov. 9. We arrived at the boat ramp at 10:30 a.m. and fished until sunset. We boated 20-plus largemouth with two of them just about 2 pounds, from the area around the trees upstream. Only two baits thrown as they seemed to be working for both of us, a white swimbait (5 inches) and dropshot Gary Yamamoto green craws. Too much fun on a beautiful fall afternoon. Bet nobody in the Midwest was fishing in shorts and flip-flops on Sunday as we were!!! Love AZ! Thanks for the reports as well!

Knoll Lake
Terry H.: Some friends and I went to Knoll Lake on Saturday, Nov. 8. The weather was beautiful and the wind was calm most of the day. We only caught five rainbows during the day and it wasn’t until we found out what some other family was using for bait. They were using corn and catching numerous fish.

If I had remembered to take my spinners and flies, I think I could have caught a few more fish. As I was reeling in my PowerBait and worm offerings, I had several trout chasing after it. There were fish taking insects off the surface all over the lake. It was nice to see that the lake is still full of fish even though the water level in the lake is down so far. We saw one bald eagle early in the morning, but didn’t see it the rest of the day.

All in all it was a fun trip even though we didn’t catch a lot of fish. Keep your lines wet and your feet dry.

Roper Lake
Mike R.: Went to Roper Lake on Nov. 10 had our limit in two hours fishing off the dock. All of the trout were 14-plus inches and some of the biggest I have caught in AZ for a while — even a few 2 pounds plus. Great day and it was our first time there. We will be back. Love fishing AZ.

West Clear Creek
The Johnsons: Hi AZGF! Followed the Fall 2014 stocking schedule to West Clear Creek with the three grandkids (10, 8, 5). Glad we did. Fished two full days up near West Clear Creek trailhead. Lots of nice rainbow trout action mainly floating salmon eggs. Numerous 10-12 inch fish. Kids had a ball. Thanks for a great week of fishing!

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Community Fishing Bulletin: Trout return on Friday

First Trout Stocking Coming Friday, Nov. 14!

For all you trout enthusiasts, this coming Friday is the day! Rainbow trout make their return to the core Community Fishing Program waters. Except for Tempe Town Lake, all expansion waters will be stocked with trout the week of Dec. 15. These trout stockings will continue in CFP Waters through mid March – so grab your fishing poles and hit the lakes and ponds – it’s time to catch some trout!

See the stocking schedule.

“Welcome Back the Trout to Tempe Town Lake”

The City of Tempe and the Arizona Game and Fish Department will host the annual Welcome Back the Trout Celebration on Tuesday, Nov. 25, at SRP Tempe Town Lake Marina from 4-6 p.m. Families and community members are invited to come down and watch as thousands of rainbow trout are released into the lake. The Department will conduct a fishing clinic starting at 4 p.m. There are FREE loaner rods, reels and bait that will be available during the event, along with instruction and tips from seasoned anglers.

Have you renewed your fishing license?

Last January the Department overhauled the license structure. All licenses are now valid for 365 days. If you haven’t yet renewed your license, now is the perfect time to do it! ANY valid fishing, hunt/fish combination, or community license is valid to fish in Community Fishing Program waters. Kids age 10-17 need a license, too — they only cost only $5. Purchase a license at any Department office, or online.


AZGFD conducts FREE sportfishing education clinics

The Department has several “open to the public” fishing programs that have sport fishing instructors available to teach youth and adults how to fish and answer your questions about fishing. The Department provides the rods, reels and bait, and a license is not required to participate in the clinics. For more information call the education branch at: (623) 236-7235 or (623) 236-7219.


TURN IN POACHERS! Call Operation GAME THIEF (1-800-352-0700)

You may notice some additional law enforcement officers at CFP waters as we’re working to improve compliance at CFP waters. Please help us by reporting known or suspected violations. Although the Department may not be able to send an officer to each reported violation, simply reporting the incident to the Department helps establish where and when we have poaching problems. Every call is logged into a database and will be used to direct enforcement activities on your Community Fishing Program waters.

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

 

Trout time, it is.

Rainbow trout were just stocked into Beaver Creek, Verde River, Deadhorse lakes, Lynx Lake, Goldwater Lake, Fain Lake, Patagonia Lake, Pena Blanca Lake, Cluff Ranch, Dankworth Pond, Roper Lake and Graham County Fairgrounds Pond.

Also, trout were stocked into Apache Lake, Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake. Many anglers like to throw big rainbow trout imitation swimbaits for a chance at lunker largemouth bass.

Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods offered the following tips:

Trout fishing around piers and docks on these lakes can be lots of fun for a family fishing day. For bass anglers, it means there are a few weeks of exciting fishing before the water turns too cold for bass to chase these trout. In the meantime, imitation trout swimbaits can catch giant sized bass if conditions are right.

From a bass perspective, one trout can equal a thousand shad, so it’s not hard to figure out why bass pursue them. The water temperatures on these lakes right now is in the low 70s and as soon as the temperature drops to 50 degrees, the bass metabolism slows to where they can no longer chase trout effectively.


Canyon Lake (left) can be an excellent spot to kayak-fish and sneak up on bass.

It’s also time for a last fall fishing excursion to the White Mountains and Mogollon Rim Lakes.

Mike Lopez, our Fish Program Manager out of Pinetop, had the following report:

Water temperatures are in the 50s in most of the lakes in the White Mountains and Rim Lakes as the days get shorter and nights get colder, with the higher elevation lakes in the low 50s and the lower elevation lakes in the high 50s.

This is the ideal temperature range for trout and they should be very active trying to put on weight before winter sets in.

Trout fishing has picked up dramatically at a number of lakes, including Big Lake, Nelson Reservoir, Woods Canyon Lake, Luna Lake, Chevelon Lake, and River Reservoir. Very large trout were found at several lakes surveyed in October, including Carnero Lake, Becker Lake, Crescent Lake, and even Lee Valley Lake.


Water temperatures are cooler because the air temperatures are dropping, but there is little difference between the water temperature at the surface and the water temperature in deep water, so trout can be found at any depth this time of year.

Thermoclines in deeper lakes have also broken down, so the deep water that had no oxygen during the summer now has as good of water quality as that at the surface. Trout will be where the food is located now that they aren’t limited by water quality (oxygen, temperature, pH). If they are feeding on zooplankton, they will be in the upper layers of a lake where the sunlight penetrates well. Or they will be at the surface if feeding on hatching insects. Or they will be on the bottom if feeding on crayfish, scuds, or midge larvae. Or along the shoreline if feeding on minnows. Fish at different depths and locations until you catch a fish, then keep fishing that depth to catch more.

Brown trout spawning season

This is also the season of spawning brown trout. Wild brown trout can be found in Chevelon Canyon Lake and River Reservoir because they are able to spawn in the rivers that enter those lakes. You can usually find brown trout anywhere in the lake, but near the incoming river is obviously a good place to start this time of year.

Large brown trout prefer fish and crayfish to eat, so using lures and large streamers that imitate fish and crayfish are usually productive. Brown trout are usually more active as it gets dark as well, thus staying that extra hour at the end of the fishing day could really pay off. But make sure you are prepared, as the air temperatures drop quickly as the sun sets.

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

Free family fishing event

In recognition and celebration of our veterans, please join the Arizona Game and Fish Department for an afternoon of fishing at the Hirsch Conservation Education area (Biscuit Tank) located at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix Sunday, Nov. 9 from 2-5 p.m.

See a flyer for all the information.

Thank you, anglers!

Arizona fishing opportunities wouldn’t be possible without the Sport Fish Restoration Program. It was created through the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950 (Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act) and the Wallop-Breaux amendments of 1984.

Through a federal excise tax paid by manufacturers on fishing gear and motorboat fuels, it provides grant funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

Catch a license

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

 

ANGLER REPORTS

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

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

Verde River

Scott M.: Still killing it on the Verde River below Horseshoe Dam!







Lower Lake Mary

Richard P.: Fishing from shore hooked into a fat 22 inch northern pike. She was full of eggs and her stomach was jam packed with crawfish. I was using a Pumpkin seed power worm by PowerBait, on a 1/8 ounce jig head bouncing it off the bottom in a slow retrieve. I’m using 4lb test on a very light spinning rig to get the farthest casts possible.

Last week the same rig caught a walleye, northern pike, black crappie and bluegill all from the same spot on the same day. I fish the corners of the dam at mid morning.

Bartlett Lake

Jeff B.: Went out to Bartlett on Oct. 30 caught this little 19-pounder (flathead catfish) on a 2-pound live carp. I practiced CPR, and he will live to fight another day — have a good day.

Chevelon Canyon Lake

My family and I went up to Chevelon Canyon Lake over the weekend and fished the inlet at the southern end of the lake. We were lucky enough to land a few wild browns including this one. It was just shy of 20 inches and was a great fight on my lightweight spinning outfit!

SEE THE FULL FISHING REPORT

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

FISH IN FRIENDSHIP?
FISH IN AVONDALE’S FRIENDSHIP PARK?

With cooler temperatures, bass are chasing down crankbaits, buzzbaits and top-water lures in some of our desert impoundments. Rainbow trout stockings are coming from Phoenix to Yuma. If you didn’t know, it’s absolutely one of the best times to “Fish AZ.”

The Salt River chain lakes Saguaro, Apache and Canyon will be stocked with trout next week. The lower Salt River and the “core” Community Fishing Program waters in Phoenix, Tucson and Payson will get their trout loads the following week (Nov. 9-15), followed by Tempe Town Lake and Yuma waters Fortuna, Redondo, Somerton and Yuma West (Nov. 16-22).

Get out for trout. If you happen to wet a hook just after fish are stocked, try fishing near the surface (and on the surface), especially around first light.

BartlettBassOr go for some good ol’ “Bartlett bass.” Bartlett Lake remains a hot spot for these smaller largies. although some lately have been reported up to 2.5 pounds. Best bites are on top-water lures (such as Ricos), crankbaits, buzzbaits, and Berkley Powerworms on Texas rigs and shaky-head rigs. Many bass are in 2-10 feet of water. Shoreline anglers can go to Rattlesnake Cove and fish some of the points (tip: try casting parallel to the shore inside of just outward). Surprised we aren’t getting more Angler Reports from Bartlett. Send your photos and reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

Speaking of Angler Reports, follow our new Fish AZ blog for more updated information and occasional from-the-water articles and videos, such as those from a recent kayak, fly-fishing excursion for trout, bluegill and crappie at Payson’s Green Valley lakes (which were recently stocked).

Or follow me on Twitter @NickFishAZ.

Get out while the bass bite is hot. With upcoming desert-region nights in the 50s, it probably won’t be long until fish will be in more lethargic winter feeding patterns. In essence, their metabolism slows down and they might only have to eat a single shad every day or two to maintain their body condition.

On the other hand, during the prime fall bite, a bass might gobble up lots of shad and feed four, five or six times each day. That’s why catch rates can increase in the fall, and decrease significantly in winter. Right now, we could be in that in-between stage with bass not quite in winter patterns, but not really in full autumn feeding patterns.

Go prepared to fish at 15-30 feet deep, but also be prepared with your top-water arsenal just in case you discover fishing gold — bass chasing shad at the surface.

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

Thank you, anglers!

Arizona fishing opportunities wouldn’t be possible without the Sport Fish Restoration Program. It was created through the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950 (Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act) and the Wallop-Breaux amendments of 1984.

Through a federal excise tax paid by manufacturers on fishing gear and motorboat fuels, it provides grant funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

Catch a license

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

ANGLER REPORTS

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

Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

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

BigLakecuttroatBig Lake
Dennis D./James T. of Sierra Vista: Hello, my son-in-law and I camped at Big Lake Oct. 17 – Oct. 22 and it was a great week of fishing and relaxing. We managed to catch three cutthroat trout (one pictured above), the biggest weighing in at nearly 4 pounds. In one day we caught 11 fish, lost four, and on another day we caught around 10. The weather is turning to cold, we had nightly rain, cold temps (lowest was 32) and in the daytime temps were in the 60s. Happy Fishing!

Long Lake
Steve C.:
Went to Long Lake on Oct. 24 with five guys in party. Fished all day with no luck. Water VERY low, ramp out at least 30 feet. We were hoping for pike and were not sure if Game and Fish removed pike like they did at Ashurst. Any feedback would be helpful to avoid spending money and time chasing fish that are not there.

  • Steve: We’ve only removed pike from Ashurst Lake. Because the water level at Long Lake is so low, there may not be many pike remaining. Likely, the big pike have eaten the smaller ones. Consider trying nearby Soldier Lake. Lake levels are higher, and there’s pike, walleye, largemouth bass, and some giant bluegill – if you can get them to bite. Good luck. — Nick

Davis Dam, Colorado River
Bob S. from Orange, Calif.: Caught at Davis Dam, No. 12 hook, on cut anchovies (left).

BearCanyonTroutBear Canyon Lake
Ryan W.: Caught this rainbow (22-inch, 5- pound) at Bear Canyon Lake on Oct. 18 at 11:30 a.m. using a small Kastmaster with 6-pound test and a ultralight rod. What a fight.

Colorado River (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam)
Charles S.: Water temp. in the current was 75.5 degrees,and 78 degrees near the back end of the lakes. Peggy and I primarily fished the upper reaches of Picacho State Park and fishing was fair at best.

Most of the fish we caught in the current were smallmouth, with a few largemouth here and there. We really didn’t catch many bass that were much more than 2 pounds, though we did boat one largemouth that was 3.5 pounds. All of the fish were caught with creature baits; they didn’t hit crankbaits at all for us.

If you’re planning on fishing in the upcoming weeks, plan on moving around because the fish don’t appear to be bunched up, nor do they appear to be very hungry. We also didn’t hear any reports of anyone catching any big fish, not even in the Saturday bass tournament.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

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