Weekend fishing roundup: monsters at Becker, Saguaro lakes

Fishing at Becker Lake, a catch-and-release, trophy trout fishery in the White Mountains, is good even though waters are warming.
Fishing at Becker Lake, a catch-and-release, trophy trout fishery in the White Mountains, is good even though waters are warming.

When the man with the bent rod and his Fish Cat pontoon boat began to be towed across Becker Lake on Friday afternoon, our photographer George Andrejko knew this was not a snag.

And not just any ol’ fish.

“It was a big fish,” said Andrejko, following the fish from the shoreline with his Nikon digital camera. “And when he got out the net, and landed it — so to speak — it looked like the fish filled the net.”

Click-click-click. Shooting still pictures during a day peppered with rain storms, Andrejko nailed the above picture of what looks like a monster rainbow trout.

A closer look:

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A net-sized trout.
The fly angler  released the fish. Becker Lake is open to catch-and-release only for trout, artificial fly and lure only, and single barbless hooks only. No trout may be kept.  Please release trout immediately.

Also, see how to safely handle a trout.

Tiger trout were stocked at Becker earlier this year and are starting to bite on the surface and subsurface.  Try beetles or hoppers on top and simiseal leeches stripped subsurface.

Saturday lunker bass at Saguaro

Jim C. sent in this picture of a largemouth bass caught Saturday at Saguaro Lake. He said the fish weighed more than 9 pounds and was caught “in the last twilight of day in a main lake cove, next to a stump in about 10 feet of water on a Texas-rigged lizard.”

Saguaro Lake in Arizona is a well-known monster bass fishery
Saguaro Lake in Arizona is a well-known monster bass fishery

And finally, an August fishing report from the Arizona Fishing Guides:

  • Bartlett Lake: The last few weeks has been fishing pretty well with its ups and downs due to weather and water levels. We haven’t been catching them very deep — most of our fish have been up shallow within the first 20 feet. The best techniques have been slow moving baits like jigs and Shaky heads.
  • Lake Pleasant: Lately has been some of the best striper fishing we have enjoyed in the last few years with some of the biggest stripers as deep as 60 ft. There has been a ton of top-water action although it has been a lot of smaller fish; however, the occasional 3 pounder has been lurking below the big schools of smaller fish. Top-water and small swimbaits have been the ticket for the smaller ones and the bigger ones have been caught on spoons from 1/2 to 1.5 ounces.
  • Roosevelt Lake has been pretty quiet the last few weeks with not a lot of action. You can still catch fish on top-water and moving baits in the morning and late evening. After the reaction bite slows, a slow moving bait seems to be the best bet.
  • Apache Lake: This lake has been a bit of a dark horse. The topwater bite has been lots of fun first thing in the morning and up in the river when (SRP is) moving water. The bite slows down as the sun comes up and they fish tend to move deeper with the bait fish. When this happens try spoons and deep swimbaits to get those fish to bite.
  • Saguaro and Canyon lakes: The fishing has slowed down a bit due to pressure and monsoon storms. We have been able to catch them on dropshot,  worms and jigs. We are still waiting for that surge of top-water action to start up and that usually happens when the night time temps dip a little.

 

See more fishing information

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Have a White Mountains adventure like Esli V. did last week at Chevelon Canyon Lake, catching this monster brown trout on a big streamer.
Have a White Mountains adventure like Esli V. did last week at Chevelon Canyon Lake, catching this monster brown trout on a big streamer.

Let’s lead off with this angler report from Chevelon Canyon Lake. Just  a beauty brown trout. Esli V. hooked into this brown (above) using a big streamer. Time to go.

OK, monsoons rains brought a brief chill to water temperatures and kicked bugs and worms and nutrients into many fisheries. For nighttime anglers, a waning, last-quarter moon means submersible lights will be increasingly effective at drawing the plankton/bait fish/sport-fish chain. Nights will get darker, stars should appear brighter, and we’re just days from the Sept. 1 start of the early dove season.

Who else needs a cast-and-blast outing?

Dogtown Reservoir south of Williams is a spot to mark. It has recently been stocked with trout, and with water levels having risen (many fork-shaped sticks used to hold shoreline poles are underwater), trout are coming from deep water to the surface and hitting an assortment of flies – small woolly buggers, simi-seal leeches, and gold-beaded hare’s ear nymphs, for example. Apparently, the fish are hitting best with cloud cover and/or during water-rippling gusts.

Making Labor Day weekend plans? A few other suggestions:

Dogtown Lake south of Williams is an Arizona trout angling paradise.
Dogtown Lake south of Williams is an Arizona trout angling paradise.
  • Woods Canyon and Willow Springs lakes. Both of these Mogollon Rim lakes are exceptional producers and always worth a visit — crowds or not. Get there early to get a camping spot.
  • Canyon Creek. It’s just down the road from Woods and Willow Springs lakes. It’s being stocked with rainbow trout. To get there, take the Young road off Highway 260 and keep a watch for the sign for the turn (left). It’s easy to miss.
  • Kinnickinick Lake. It’s been stocked with tons of trout. Escape the summer crowds. During summer, it is best fished from a float tube, canoe or kayak.
  • Lake Powell in northern Arizona.  On any given day Powell might just provide some of the best freshwater fishing in North America. With 1,700 miles of shoreline, you might not even see another angler. See Wayne Gustaveson’s tips in the full report.

Channel catfish will return to Community Fishing Program waters in late September. Stay tuned.

Need some summertime bass fishing tips? See the Fish AZ blog article below.

And thank you for your annual fishing license purchases – they go back into fish stocking and management and help conserve all species of wildlife (we receive NO state tax dollars). Grab a license online and conserve wildlife for future generations.

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Wednesday, Aug. 17 — Show Low Creek.; Tuesday, Aug. 16 — Dogtown Reservoir.; Monday, Aug. 15 — Kinnikinick Lake, Dogtown Reservoir, City Reservoir, Silver Creek, West Fork Little Colorado River-Greer, Canyon Creek, Kinnikinick Lake.

Channel catfish

Thursday, Aug. 18 — Dead Horse Lake, Lynx Lake.

Read more.

Angler Reports

(Send fishing reports and photos to bfishing@azgfd.gov)

VerdeBassUpper Verde River
Got this largemouth with a spider jig out of the river near Tuzigoot. It was between storms so the river was moderately clear at the time.

 

 

 

MikeAtSaguaro8-19-16Saguaro Lake
Ben L.: Went out Friday, Aug. 19.  The early morning largemouth bite was actually quite good using Rapalas at about 5 inches in 15-20-foot depth waters.  A LOT of weeds to steer clear of though.  Later in the morning, Michael Kramarczyk of Maricopa landed this one in a cove using a Rebel jointed minnow.

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 funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Anglers are slogging down the home stretch of summer, water temperatures are peaking (90 degrees at Bartlett Lake last weekend), and that means fishing can get a bit trickier.

Trout are generally deep. The summer trout stocking season is starting to wind down, so get ’em while you can. If the weather holds, we will have stocked about 25,000 rainbow trout in Kinnikinick Lake, located southeast of Flagstaff, by the end of this week. Try lures to catch these fresh stockers.

Largemouth bass at many desert lakes are not always in the mood for reaction baits. See about how to beat the summertime bass blues.

Taking the family fishing? Try heading to Show Low and putting the kids on crawdads and sunfish. See a how-to video on catching both.

Hot desert nights are made for bottom dwelling catfish and carp. Relax on the shoreline, wet a line with some stink bait, corn or both, watch the sky for meteor showers, and hook into Mr. Whiskers at the same time.

Don’t forget to send your angler reports and photos to BFishingAZGFD.gov.

Grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go.

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Wednesday, Aug. 17 — Show Low Creek.; Tuesday, Aug. 16 — Dogtown Reservoir.; Monday, Aug. 15 — Kinnikinick Lake, Dogtown Reservoir, City Reservoir, Silver Creek, West Fork Little Colorado River-Greer, Canyon Creek, Kinnikinick Lake.

Channel catfish

Thursday, Aug. 18 — Dead Horse Lake, Lynx Lake.

Read more.

 

READ THE FULL REPORT

Sunfish and mudbugs: how to do family fishing in AZ

Sunfish and mudbugs. Kids love ’em. If you’ve never tried putting the family on these fun species to catch then you might be missing out on Arizona’s best summertime family outings.

Show Low Lake and Fool Hollow Lake are excellent fisheries for getting the family into the outdoors and onto sunfish and mudbugs (freshwater lobster).

Here’s a quick how-to video from Show Low on one of the best ways to have a fun family outing in the high country — it could end with a spectacular dinner:

 

Here’s a rundown of the basics:

Catching crawdads in Arizona

Have a net handy for catching crawdads -- they're known to fall off the hook once the come out of the water.
Have a net handy for catching crawdads — they’re known to fall off the hook once the come out of the water.

Just use your fishing pole with 4-pound  test line, a No. 12 hook and a piece of a hot dog. Sometimes a piece of panty hose helps keep the dog on the hook.

Usually, you can see the crawdad in shallow, clear water such as Show Low Creek. The crawdad will latch onto the hot dog with its claws. Reel it in slowly and be sure to net the crawdad — they’re known to fall off.

Also, many tackle shops sell crawdad traps that can catch dozens of crawdads.

You will just need a fishing license — remember, kids licenses are just $5 and good for 365 days. All license purchases help conserve wildlife for future generations.

See a video on how to clean and prepare crawdads.

The sunfish will come up in the morning (and afternoon, and night … )

 

The rocky habitat at Show Low Lake holds high populations of sunfish.
The rocky habitat at Show Low Lake holds high populations of sunfish.

For sunfish, just target shallow structures such as piers or rocks. Dangle a small piece of worm on a No. 12 hook between the cracks of the rocks and get ready for some fast catch-and-release action.

Now you have tool to get the kids catching crawdads and sunfish — it’s easy, fun and one of the best ways to get the family unplugged and into the cool, pine-scented outdoors.

How to beat summertime largemouth bass fishing blues

A largemouth bass eyes a plastic worm. Largemouth bass fishing during the summertime means focusing more on plastic and mixing up presentations.
A largemouth bass eyes a plastic worm. Largemouth bass fishing during the summertime means focusing more on plastic and mixing up presentations.

Wondering why largemouth bass aren’t crushing your reaction baits? It might not be your fault.

It’s the nature of summertime: the water temperature at Bartlett Lake hit 90 degrees on Saturday (for example), and nights aren’t cooling down much. Monsoon storms moving in and out are keeping bass “dazed and confused.”

Across all statewide desert bass fisheries the next few weeks,  plastic worms rigged on Texas rigs, Carolina rigs and dropshots will be the most reliable tactic.

“Every day changes,” said Gary Senft, a Bass Pro at the Mesa Bass Pro Shops who has fished Bartlett Lake often during the past couple weeks. “What you catch them on one day, you may not catch them on the next day. If you’re catching them on jigs one day, a couple days later they might not be hitting jigs at all. In August, be smart and try different colors and depths.”

Here’s a tip: at night, make your leader small – you only want your bait about 5 inches above the weight on a dropshot. During the daytime, make that a bit longer, say, 10-12 inches.

Bartlett Lake largemouth bass fishing in Arizona can be steady due to high numbers of fish,
Bartlett Lake largemouth bass fishing in Arizona can be steady due to high numbers of fish,

Arizona bass fishing hot spot

Bartlett Lake is probably the top spot for bass. It’s typically the most steady for bass fishing because of its high numbers of largies.

At many lakes, such as Bartlett and Roosevelt Lake, bass are not retreating to the deepest water possible. Instead, they are suspending in their comfort zone of around 70 degrees. Even though a lake might be 60-90 feet deep, fish could be suspended in 20-25 feet – along with all the shad they want to eat.

Take heart: it’s not necessarily that you’re fishing skills aren’t getting it done right now.

Just mix it up and grind away until that first fall cool-off.

Second Saturday Striper Tips: August tactics

Arizona striper fishing can be excellent in August -- fish on the surface, or go deep around midday
Arizona striper fishing can be excellent in August — fish on the surface, or go deep around midday
Here’s a game plan for August striper fishing. It’s simple.  The water temperature gets hot and the striper go deep.

For two reasons:

  1. No eyelids, and light sensitivity, means they want to escape the bright daytime sunlight. Cooler water is deeper in the water column.  The water temperature might be 86 degrees on the surface, but at 100 feet the temperature might only be 76 degrees or less.
    2. Deeper water equals more oxygen. 
    Many Arizona lakes are having water pumped out daily. This results in the water levels dropping greatly over a short period of time.  So those coves, channels and bays are now a lot more shallow and extremely warm.  That might be great for some species of fish, but for striper, it’s a NO GO!
This trophy striper was nabbed from the surface of Lake Powell and released.
This trophy striper was nabbed from the surface of Lake Powell and released.

A warmwater feeding pattern

The water temperature at Lake Pleasant is averaging 86 degrees.  This can be good because this triggers the metabolism of the striped bass, which then feed even more aggressively.   This of course means more boils — a blast when using top-water lures.

Warm water also means that the fish are going to go deeper when they aren’t busting  shad on the surface.

 

August game plan: Xs and Os … and  ice

Fish during sunrise and sunset hours for boils. If you can handle the heat and insist on fishing during midday hours, fish deep with a dropshot and anchovies, or jig spoons.

Nighttime fishing gets really good in August with many boats catching anywhere from 50-100 fish a night. Same information applies to night fishing also: fish deeper water and don’t forget to chum and have a great light in the water to attract baitfish.

If possible, use live bait. Live shad is the ultimate bait and will greatly increase your chances.  When fishing these lakes at night. be sure to think safety all the time. Have lights, a first aid kit,  spotlight, cell phone, and also monitor monsoon activity.

Be sure to have all required life jackets in your boat.  It’s the LAW!

Don’t forget the last two important rules of striper fishing: be sure to put your catch on ICE after keeping it — and have fun!

Barry Worman is the moderator of the Arizona Striper Fishing Faebook page

 

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Let’s get right to some weekend Reel Deal hot spots (click on the lake for Google map directions):

Wet Beaver Creek is a bit off the "beaten trail" but an outdoors paradise for trout anglers.
Wet Beaver Creek is a bit off the “beaten trail” but an outdoors paradise for trout anglers.

Rainbow trout

Kinnikinick Lake. It’s being stocked with thousands of rainbow trout. This excellent fishery 38 miles southeast of Flagstaff is usually just stocked with brown trout in the fall. So far this week, thousands of rainbows have been stocked. More are coming next week.

Wet Beaver Creek. An angler reported fishing to be “unbelievably good” with consistent action on smaller bass.

Show Low Lake/Show Low Creek. Families can get some crayfish and stocked trout from the creek, just downstream of the lake, and then some of the large “supercatchable” trout from the lake that will be stocked this week.  Fish 10-15 feet below the surface.

Striped bass

Lake Mead, Lake Powell and Lake Pleasant. It’s still a decent moon  phase (first quarter, headed toward full) to drop submersible lights (and anchovies) at night. At Powell, an angler reported dropping spoons for shad in 40-80 feet of depth and hooking up with smallmouth bass, walleye and catfish, too. Top-water boil action is good, too. Read how to fish striper boils.

Largemouth bass

Saguaro, Apache, Canyon lakes. Go get some big bass. Marissa Mandigo this week caught the above 7-pound, 15-ounce bass at Saguaro on a nightcrawler. Most angler try deep diving crankbaits, or plastic worms Texas-rigged or with a dropshot.

Crappie

Roosevelt Lake. Additional water has boosted action for these speckled beauties. Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods reported: “ … most crappie anglers are fishing vertically using a John-Deere colored 2″ grub-tail in 20 to 25 feet deep water. A 1/8 ounce jig-head hook creates a slow fall rate which crappie like. Crappie will be in schools during this time of year near brush or rock structure. The size of the schools can very, so anglers may need to find another school if the bite in one area begins to slow.”

Mr. Flattie
Mr. Flattie

Flathead catfish

Bartlett Lake. For flatties, it’s hard to beat Bartlett this time of the year. Try live bluegill or small carp as bait. Look for the deeper holes, especially up-lake where there is a little current. For bluegills, try the backs of rocky coves using nightcrawlers or meal worms on light tackle.

Bluegill

Parker Canyon Lake. Bluegill, anybody? Reports on this tasty sunfish are excellent.  The lake is 6.06 feet below the spillway so .boaters should use caution on the ramp.

There’s a few. Maybe you’ll stake out your own hot spot this weekend.

Grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go.

Catch of the week

 

Here’s what’s new with your fellow adventurers:

photo by @Chrisbilley
photo by @Chrisbilley

Use #ADVENTURERENEWED for your chance to get featured on the Catch of the Week

Editor’s note: This Instagram photo of a largemouth bass was reportedly caught at a Phoenix-area canal.

Angler Reports

(Send fishing photos and reports to BFishing@AZGFD)

WetBvrCrkTroutWet Beaver Creek
A little off the beaten path, but I fished Wet Beaver Creek Saturday and it was unbelievably good. Mostly small (4-8 inches) bass, but constant fish all morning.

Thanks for keeping up the reports!

Lake Mead (south cove)
MeadStripersRay P.: Ray and Dave caught over 175 Stripers Monday, Aug 8 under a quarter-moon. We actually ran out of anchovies before the fish stopped biting! Great fun!

 

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Tuesday, Aug. 9 — Rose Canyon Lake, Silver Creek, Kinnikinick Lake.; Monday, Aug. 8 — Kinnikinick Lake,  Goldwater Lake (upper), West Fork Little Colorado River-Greer, Oak Creek; Friday, Aug. 5 — East Verde River, East Fork Black River, Canyon Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake; Thursday, Aug. 4 — Tonto Creek, Haigler Creek. Read the full stocking report.

 

SEE THE FULL REPORT

A return to glory: AZGFD’s habitat enhancements coming to Salt River-chain lakes

Fish take protection in underwater structure.
Fish take protection in underwater structure.

This fall, the Arizona Game and Fish Department plans to use a crane on a 36-foot pontoon boat to sink fish habitat — critical to anglers’ fishing opportunities — into lakes along the Salt River chain in central Arizona.

For anglers, this ongoing project will result in better fishing for generations to come.

Roosevelt Lake is planned to be the first to receive habitat. These artificial structures and concrete reef balls attract bait fish, which then attract predatory fish for sport-fishing anglers to target. Habitat is important for fish spawning, recruitment, growth, health and populations.

 

Fishing at Roosevelt Lake will continue to improve with planned habitat enhancements beginning this fall.
Fishing at Roosevelt Lake will continue to improve with planned habitat enhancements beginning this fall.
The Fish Habitat Restoration Program requires numerous steps to get to the point of being able to put fish habitat in the lakes. In May, the Tonto National Forest (TNF) got the Department one step closer to putting fish habitat in central Arizona’s busiest and most popular fishing lakes and increasing catchability of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, and catfish.

READ MORE

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

LakePlez
Striper fishing in AZ can be one way to beat the summer doldrums and catch fish.

Looks like anglers this weekend will have to pick windows of dry weather. Trout anglers: fish just before a storm. Bass anglers: fish the early morning or night (and check out the monster from Saguaro Lake in the Angler Reports).

There is new moon on Aug. 9, making this an excellent time to fish at night under lights in the major desert impoundments (when monsoon storms aren’t blanketing the state).

Usually a sudden onset of desert rain has bass temporarily “dazed.” But fishing does tend to spike in areas where runoff is flowing into lakes such as Apache Lake.

And there’s the fishing at night under lights — this is the best moon to do it. The submersible lights attract plankton, the plankton attracts threadfin shad, the shad attracts predatory sport-fish (which in turn attracts anglers). It’s a food-chain effect. Read how to fish striper boils.

The key is selecting the right spot to fish at night. Try for locations such as major lake points that might get good fish traffic at night such as reefs along submerged river beds, submerged humps, rivers, creeks, and vegetation, or in the mouth of a major cove.

Grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go.

Catch of the week

Here’s what’s new with your fellow adventurers:

Photo by rockgypsyme
Photo by rockgypsyme

Use #ADVENTURERENEWED for your chance to get featured on the Catch of the Week

Editor’s note: This Instagram photo of crappie was tagged as being from Alamo Lake.

 

Angler Reports

(Send fishing photos and reports to BFishing@AZGFD)

Bass 9.3 pounds 7-26-2016 Saguaro Lake 6Saguaro Lake
David S.: Largemouth bass catch and release. Caught July 27 at Saguaro Lake about 10 a.m. Weighed 9.3 pounds on digital scale. Caught using 5-inch green plastic lizard.

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Monday, Aug. 1 — River Reservoir, Canyon Creek, Tunnel Reservoir.
Friday, July 29 — Willow Springs Lake, Show Low Lake.
Thursday, July 28 — Chevelon Canyon Lake.
Wednesday, July 27 — Chevelon Canyon Lake.

Read more.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

A great AZ fishing guide: 8 characteristics

Many anglers can benefit from an educational trip with a professional guide.

So what makes for a “Great Guide”? There are many in Arizona, and they can make you a better angler with one trip on the water.

Do your research, ask around, and check out these eight characteristics of a Great Guide:

Great guides are safe guides

You can’t enjoy yourself if you don’t feel safe. A Great Guide will keep track of weather patterns and not take you out on the water during a bad monsoon.

Last year an angler told me about a guide who took them on a trip where he felt uncomfortable with the waves and weather. The more time a guide has spent on the lakes and rivers in Arizona, the safer the customer will be.

Pro Staff guides have the necessary experience for keeping you safe.

Boating6830010_6830010-R6-E098
A great AZ fishing guide considers conditions — and the well-being of the client — before risking heading out into the water.

Attention, hut: conditions, fish, angler

Concentration is the hallmark of a Great Guide. He’ll be sitting on the edge of his seat, focused on every aspect of the fishing conditions in front of him. He will not be kicked back with his feet propped up like he is on vacation.

A Great Guide watches your rod tip. How it moves tells him what is happening to your bait or lure. How fish react, or don’t react, to lures and baits tells him even more.

A Great Guide treats his clients like royalty. He rigs their tackle, baits their hooks, nets their fish, takes the fish off the hook, and maneuvers the boat into optimum position over each fishing hole. The reason a Great Guide does all of these things for his clients is because he can do it faster and better. This results in more quality fishing time for the client in a day’s time.

Pro Staff guides also frequently cast for the client because they get the bait in the optimum zone for any condition.

Get an attentive guide.

A water-wise guide

There are many levels of fishing experience. The test of a Great Guide is whether or not he can fish any time of year in any weather and water condition. A Great Guide can typically catch fish in low water, high water, or muddy water.

A guide will explore and map out many spots on a lake and expose the client to various locations/options on a trip. A guide should never start up the motor, move 100-200 yards, and fish from the marina all day. I’ve seen guides who turn their motor over for 1 minute, then turn it off — just so they could move to a different marina and tie off to a public dock and fish. Meanwhile, the client is fishing next to unpaid anglers on the dock and never seeing the lake at all.

If anglers wanted that experience they can do it for free and park the truck at the marina … and save money.

BarryWPleasantBass
Barry Worman, moderator of Arizona Striper Fishing Facebook page, with a largemouth bass from Lake Pleasant.

Spare the “celly”

Great Guides always give their undivided attention to the clients in their boats at all times. This means not talking on cell phones unless it is absolutely necessary. A Great Guide saves his business and personal calls for when your fishing trip has ended.

There are times Pro Staff guides might call each other for hot fishing tips.

A Great Guide is focused on the elements — not the voice in the phone.

A positive, fun atmosphere

Fishing is fun and the atmosphere on the boat should always be positive — no matter how many fish you’re catching.

CCCragin
Fishing is fun — it should stay that way on a guided trip.

Fish in the net: a strategy

You can’t say you caught it until it’s in the net. A Great Guide is a good coach — not a drill sergeant. He’ll talk you through the moves you need to make when you’ve hooked a big one.

He’ll coach you through rod position, tell you when to let the fish run, when to fight it with line pressure, and how to steer the fish away from obstacles.

By paying close attention, and by using the boat motor and current to his advantage, a Great Guide can increase or lighten your line pressure. Once the fish is close enough to net, a Great Guide knows how to dip the net into the water without spooking the fish or knocking it off your line. They make it look easy.

Boat positioning

Getting you on the right spot means you’ll get the best possible fishing action.

A Great Guide can do this all day. When drifting in high water, the challenge is getting bait down to the fish. As you drift across the river bed, the depth of the water changes from shallow to deep, and back to shallow. A Great Guide knows the lakes and rivers well. And so can follow constant changes in water levels.

Lake Pleasant, for example, by the end of summer, will be 100 feet lower as compared to mid-spring. That has a huge impact on the fish and a guide will understand the pumping and releasing of water in these waterways.

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Boat positioning is one of the most underrated aspects of successful fishing. Find a guide who is experienced at maneuvering a boat.

Your fishing money’s worth

Just like anything else in this world, you get what you pay for (in most cases). Do your homework. What’s the guide’s reputation? Will the guide clean the fish after a catch and give you fresh dinner in a bag? Are there any amenities on the boat that you require?

Do the math, shop and compare – all that common sense smart-shopping.

The main goal of Arizona Striper Fishing is to educate and provide the knowledge to empower anglers to have success on their own.

So get out there and turn your money into fishing memories — the smart way.

Tight Lines!

Barry Worman is the moderator of the Arizona Striper Fishing Facebook page.

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