Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Get “out like trout” for maybe your final chance to fish most high country waters. There have been reports of thin ice forming on lakes such as Woods Canyon Lake. Be careful — we consider all ice on Arizona lakes unsafe.

Winter weather can of course be detrimental to travel. Motorists traveling in Arizona’s high country need to be aware of some annual closings. Be sure to check the Arizona Department of Transportation website for the latest road closures. Other highlights (or frozen notes):

  • Big Lake is 50-percent ice-covered and there is minimal fishing from shore — boats are not able to be launched.
  • FR 105 to Woods Canyon Lake is closed and so boats cannot be launched. But anglers can still walk in and fish Woods Canyon.
  • The stores at Woods Canyon and Big Lake are closed for the winter.

Submit your tiger trout state record

tiger-trout-nicholas-tochko-2016-record

Nicholas Tochko caught this catch-and-keep state record tiger trout, an 8-incher taken in May from Carnero Lake.

The average size of tiger trout at Woods Canyon and Willow Springs lakes? 10 inches. Go catch a tiger and submit your record before tiger trout-stocked lakes (Woods Canyon, Willow Springs and Becker — Carnero is ice-covered) become completely iced over. We’ve received just three applications for state record tigers.

See the “White Mountains” section in the full report for details of ice cover and fishing tips. Once again, we consider all ice on lakes unsafe.

Finally, see a video about catching tiger trout at Willow Springs Lake.

AZ crappie report

Consider targeting sporting crappie populations at Alamo, Bartlett and Roosevelt. Might not be banner crappie-fishing conditions just yet — but it’s worth a shot. As the water temperatures lower, the crappie will congregate into large schools in open water that can be up to 50 feet deep or so. The crappie formations, or schools, look like inverted pyramids (or Christmas trees … ), with the most active fish at the top, around 15 or 20 feet deep.

Catch a window of stable weather for crappie fishing.

The two primary strategies for catching these crappie are to use your fish finder, locate a school, sit over it, and slowly jig a 1/16- or even a 1/32-ounce jighead with curly tail or other small grub, Roadrunner or maybe a marabou jig. The other is slow trolling (1.5 mph) crappie jigs or even small crankbaits. Or combine the two — trolling until you get a bite, then vertically jig.

Be sure to check the stocking schedules.  Community Fishing Program lakes and ponds continue to get frequent trout stockings – see some tips.

Licensed to fish

Buy a license online, 24/7, and help conserve wildlife for future generations.

Catch of the Week

(Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov — one will be selected as Catch of the Week)

lakemead

Joe B. caught this walleye in Lake Mead near mile marker 43 on Nov. 23. He said he’d been fishing Lake Mead for 20-plus years without catching a walleye.

See all the Angler Reports

 

Upcoming free fishing events

Free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required to those who register during event hours.

Saturday —
Town of Gilbert’s Youth Fishing Day, 8 a.m. — noon, Freestone Pond (1045 E. Juniper Ave., Gilbert). Sponsored by AZGFD and town of Gilbert. Loaner rods provided to first 100 participants. Bait and fishing information available.  Contact Jennifer Lauria, Gilbert Parks & Rec., 480-503-6234 or the AZGFD Sport Fishing Education Program at (623) 236-7240.

See the full schedule.

Stocking report

These are confirmed stockings from last week. See the stocking schedules.

Rainbow trout

Friday, Nov. 25 — Luna Lake.

Friday, Nov. 18 — Community waters: Desert Breeze, Veterans Oasis, Copper Sky, Red Mountain, Riverview, Rio Vista, Alvord, Cortez, Desert West, Encanto, Papago Ponds, Steele Indian School, Chaparral, Surprise, Evelyn Hallman, Tempe Kiwanis, Kennedy, Lakeside, Silverbell, Sahuarita, Water Ranch Lake. ** Pioneer Lake and Green Valley lakes did not get stocked due to water quality issues (both are expected to be stocked the week of Nov. 28).

See the full schedule.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Take it from a mom: trout fishing how-to’s

Not only has she taught her 16-year-old son how to fish, she’s been consistently hooking trout — only trout, not catfish — for more than 10 years at Community fishing lakes and ponds.

Our “core” waters all are scheduled to have been stocked with trout by Saturday.

liz
Liz is an avid local AZ angler specializing in catching trout at Community Fishing Program waters,

 

So here  are some trout fishing tips from Liz, known on some social media accounts under the handle @TennismomAZ:

 

Gulp an egg (so to speak)

trout
Community trout retain their trademark rainbow sheen.
  1. Use a worm threader to poke a hole through one garlic infused yellow Berkley Gulp Egg, and thread on 4-pound test leader (about one foot in length) onto either a size 14 or 18 treble hook/egg hook.
  2. Attach to snap swivel with an egg sinker above the hook. Light line and tackle is key for trout. I use an ultralight rod and fresh line every season.Vanish by Berkeley is great line — no more than 4-pound test.

Irresistible to trout: the floating worm 

 

rainbow2
Just one of many Community trout caught by Liz.

Another great technique is to use a worm threader and half a nightcrawler below the egg and use a worm blower to puff up the crawler to help it float. See a how-to video as an example.

A little more messy than just using the egg alone, but very effective for catching trout. Both can be purchased at (local tackle shops) inexpensively.

Staying Alive: snug bait = less snags

gulpalive

Garlic infused PowerBait is good, too, but I’ve found the Gulp Alive eggs to stay on my hook more easily and I’ve had less snags using them.

Yellow/chartreuse seems to be the most effective color for whatever reason. Chartreuse or white PowerBait, too. The garlic-infused is well worth the extra $. I always catch fish this way and I’ve been fishing urban lakes now for more than ten years.

Winters are the best for fishing in AZ!

Finally, twin trout tips

    • Never store your rods in your garage in Arizona–the heat will kill your line and equipment.
    • Open reels are best for using your hand to close the reel after each cast to avoid line twist.

 

So there you go. Grab a license online, 24/7, check the Community regulationsand hit the water for some trout.

Follow Liz on Twitter and Instagram @TennismomAZ

 

Editor’s note: If you plan on catching and releasing trout only, please consider using barbless hooks, or larger hooks (Nos. 6-8) that will allow for a quicker and easier release and give trout their best possible chance at survival.

Weekend Roundup: Angler Reports

Send your fishing reports and pictures to BFishing@AZGFD.gov — one that includes a photo will be featured as Catch of the Week

 

Here’s the latest from your fellow anglers:

Lake Pleasant

pleasantflathead

Jim N.: Got a 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-, and a 30-pound flathead catfish. Some are brown/yellow living in sunken brush, some are green/black living in rocks or mud. Got eight channels on corn or shad, eight top-water stripers on Zara puppy, one white bass, 2 largemouth bass on poppers.

Bear Canyon Lake

bearcanyonlaketrouts

Damien B.: The luck keeps hitting (rainbow trout caught Nov. 20), and coming in waves on PowerBait!

Patagonia Lake

Ty S.: Time: 8 am -3 pm; Conditions: Overcast with 10-15 mph gusts.; Temp.: Air – 63, Water – 58; 15-foot Seaswirl boat.

My wife and I fished for Bass for about 7 hrs — 0 fish caught. We used KVD deep (15 foot) crankbaits as well as shallow 3-5-foot bluegill and chartreuse pattern. Used two different whopper plopper 90 size. Carolina rigged 6-inch worms also. Weather front was moving in our fish finder showed fish between 10-15 ft. We focused on bass only. Boat launch was great.

Lake Mead

lakemead

Joe B.:  Caught this walleye in Lake Mead near mile marker 43 on Nov. 23. I have been fishing Lake Mead for 30-plus years and have never seen or heard of one being caught.

See more about fishing in Arizona

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

This might be the last weekend to fish high country hideaways such as Big Lake before skim ice — or unsafe ice — begins to form. The Big Lake Store is officially closed for winter.

Meanwhile, late fall/winter fishing is just beginning in the desert regions.

But first, great news — today through Sunday we’re offering a 50-percent discount on short-term (one-day) combination fishing/hunting licenses purchased online. That means only $7.50 per day for Arizona residents and $10 per day for non-residents.

Bring the kids along — youth licenses (required for ages 10-17) are only $5 and are valid for a year.

Buy a license, and help conserve wildlife for future generations.

OK, back to the report. Trout are back in Community waters! See when and where they’re being stocked. On Tuesday afternoon we stocked 665 pounds of trout into Tempe Town Lake. Watch video of this stocking (from under the pipe).

The next new moon is Nov. 29, which means using submersible lights at night to attract fish such as striped bass and crappie will become increasingly more effective.

 

Catch of the Week

(Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov — one will be selected as Catch of the Week)

sagbass1116
Charles S. caught this giant Saguaro Lake largemouth bass on a Zoom Trick worm in shallow water.

See all the Angler Reports

Upcoming free fishing events

Free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required to those who register during event hours.

Saturday, Dec. 3 — Town of Gilbert’s Youth Fishing Day, 8 a.m. — noon, Freestone Pond (1045 E. Juniper Ave., Gilbert). Sponsored by AZGFD and town of Gilbert. Loaner rods provided to first 100 participants. Bait and fishing information available.  Contact Jennifer Lauria, Gilbert Parks & Rec., 480-503-6234 or the AZGFD Sport Fishing Education Program at (623) 236-7240.

See the full schedule.

Stocking report

These are confirmed stockings from last week. See the stocking schedules.

Rainbow trout
Friday, Nov. 18 —
Community waters: Desert Breeze, Veterans Oasis, Copper Sky, Red Mountain, Riverview, Rio VIsta, Alvord, Cortez, Desert West, Encanto, Papago Ponds, Steele Indian School, Chaparral, Surprise, Evelyn Hallman, Tempe Kiwanis, Kennedy, Lakeside, Silverbell, Sahuarita, Water Ranch Lake. ** Pioneer Lake and Green Valley lakes did not get stocked due to water quality issues (both are expected to be stocked the week of Nov. 28).

See the full schedule.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Watch 665 pounds of trout shoot into Tempe Town Lake

Hundreds of anglers, many with families,  welcomed rainbow trout back for the winter stocking season at Tempe Town Lake Tuesday afternoon with a bang.

Or more like a countdown … and an explosion of trout and water through an Arizona Game and Fish Department stocking truck from our Page Springs Hatchery.

Check it out:

 

Free, and fun, family fishing

Families and community members came and watched trout being stocked — Tempe mayor Mark Mitchell even helped some kids stock a few fish:

mayorstocking

Then the free fishing clinic ensued. See all upcoming fishing clinics.

The event ended as the sun broke through the Tempe skyline and kids went home with smiles and memories of flopping fish.

ttlskyline

Trout stockings in AZ

Tuesday’s event was the first of five monthly Arizona Game and Fish scheduled trout stockings. There already were abundant populations of bass, bluegill, catfish and carp.

We’ll stock a total of about 10,000 pounds of trout into Town Lake during the winter.

See all the stocking schedules.

Also, to get a license, and to help conserve wildlife for future generations, head online, 24/7.

Weekend Roundup: Angler Reports

Send your fishing reports and pictures to BFishing@AZGFD.gov — one will be featured as Catch of the Week

 

Here’s the latest from your fellow anglers:

Chaparral Lake

chaparralcat

Brian: Caught this catfish at Chaparral Lake on Nov. 14 using stink bait. Catch and release.

Colorado River (near Yuma)

yumacat

Carlos D.: Caught this 24-inch channel catfish on the Colorado River near Yuma during our super moon.

Thank you and keep up the great work on e-newsletter!

Verde River (by Camp Verde)

verdebass

Troy G.: Got this big Verde River largemouth on a square bill crankbait made right here in Camp Verde by a local custom bait friend of mine. Caught on the day of the super moon.

Big Lake

biglaketrout

Mike L.: My brother and I fished Big Lake on Tuesday, Nov. 15 and Wednesday, Nov. 16.

We caught eight fish on Tuesday, of which 5 were 15-18 inches. On Wednesday the wind was howling and it was icy cold but we stuck it out and caught another 18 incher to end our fishing time on Big Lake. What a great trip it was. Truly my best fishing trip ever! We caught them on PowerBait and with lures. I won’t tell you which ones as I would like to keep that to myself.🙂 Thanks!!

Saguaro Lake

 

sagbass111611-16-2016-saguaro-2-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles S.: Nov. 16, caught these two fish and lost another about the same size. Caught them on trick worms in shallow water.

See more about fishing in Arizona

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

For some anglers, the super moon earlier this week helped trigger super fishing. (Or was at least something cool to stare at until that next bite.)

More importantly, it’s transition time. Winter’s stomping on the door mat.

Cooler temperatures means time is ticking on trout fishing opportunities in the high country, flathead catfish are fattening up for the winter, and soon, bass metabolism will slow.

Waters temperatures in many desert lakes are in the mid-to-high 60s.

Other highlights:

Striper fishing doesn't get much better in Arizona than at Lake Mohave.
Striper fishing doesn’t get much better in Arizona than at Lake Mohave.

 

    • Trout are back in Community waters! See when and where they’re being stocked.
    • Jigging spoons, or dropping nightcrawlers, for yellow bass in the Salt River-chain lakes will be a good option when these fish head into deeper water.
    • Crappie fishing is reportedly fair-to-good at Roosevelt and Apache lakes.
    • Striper fishing is excellent at Lake Mohave. The above picture includes Kenan (right) and his 5.84-pound striper taken with a top-water lure.
    • Looking for a trophy trout opportunity? Try Becker Lake in the White Mountains. Our recent survey showed that 58 percent of rainbows caught there were 18 inches in length or greater.  See the White Mountains full report for special regulations that are in place at Becker.
    • Finally, at Canyon Lake, construction has begun on the Boulder Creek Recreation Area fishing pier. It should be finished by late December.

No need to go to an office or tackle shop for licenses — grab a license online, 24/7 (and help conserve all species of wildlife).

See previous reports from this month for more hot spots.

Catch of the Week

(Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov — one will be selected as Catch of the Week)


showlowbowfeatured

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veronica caught this 16-inch rainbow trout at Show Low Lake on Friday, Nov. 11 on a Roostertail.

See all the Angler Reports

 

Upcoming free fishing events

Loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required to those who register during event hours.

Saturday — Family Fishing Fun,  8 a.m. – noon, West Wetlands Pond (282 North 12th Ave., Yuma). Join AZGFD and Yuma County for a morning of family fun. Open to all ages.

Tuesday, Nov 22 — Welcome Back the Trout to Tempe Town Lake, 4-6 p.m.

 

AZ stocking report

These are confirmed stockings from last week. See the stocking schedules.

Channel catfish
Thursday, Nov. 3 — Evelyn Hallman Pond, Papago Ponds (1, 2 and 3), Steele Indian School, Roadrunner Lake, Eldorado Lake, Riverview Lake, Red Mountain Lake,  Veterans Oasis Lake, Copper Sky Lake, Siverbell Lake,  Kennedy Lake, Sahuarita Lake, Lakeside Lake, Surprise Lake, Rio Vista Pond, Pioneer Lake, Cortez Lake, Encanto Lake, Desert West Lake, Alvord Lake, Kiwanis Lake, Desert Breeze Lake, Caparral Lake.

Rainbow trout
Thursday, Nov. 10 — Colorado River. Tuesday, Nov. 8 — Colorado River, Parker Canyon Lake, Salt River, Redondo Lake,  Frances Short Pond. Monday, Nov. 7 — Oak Creek, Saguaro Lake.

See the full stocking report.

 

SEE THE FULL FISHING REPORT

Get “out like trout” in Community fishing waters

By the weekend, thousands of pounds of rainbow trout will have been stocked into Community Fishing Program waters.

OK, we’ll even give you the exact day of the stocking …

Friday.

Thank goodness for that day.

All of the “core” waters, plus Water Ranch in Gilbert and Green Valley lakes in Payson  (23 waters total), are scheduled to be stocked.

Anglers will be able to catch some of the nearly 6,000 pounds of trout that are coming from Colorado.

We’ve scheduled a total of nine stockings into “core” waters and 15 stockings into Green Valley lakes. Also, there are two planned stockings for the expansion waters with a possible a bonus stocking in January.

See the schedule.

(This will explain which waters are “core” and which are “expansion.”)

How to catch Community trout

Wanna get fancy? Throwing flies can catch trout, too!
Wanna get fancy? Throwing flies can catch trout, too!

To catch ’em, try worms, salmon eggs, PowerBait, corn, cheese, marshmallows, artificial lures and flies.

The number one key to successful trout fishing is to use light line (2 to 6 pound test), small hooks (10-14 sizes), and small sinkers.

See more fishing basics.

Licensed to fish

Grab a license 24 hours a day, 7 days a week online (and help conserve wildlife for future generations).

See complete Arizona fishing resources

Weekend Roundup: Angler Reports

Send your fishing reports and pictures to BFishing@AZGFD.gov

Here’s the latest from your fellow anglers (updated Nov. 17):

Frye Mesa Reservoir

fryemesagila

Jim A.: Made a first trip to Frye Mesa reservoir on Wed., Nov. 9. Gorgeous little lake on a beautiful day. Caught and released two of these gorgeous fish. Lost another with a few more strikes. Hint: don’t follow Google map or directions on Coronado forest website.

Call Stafford ranger station — a very nice lady had perfect directions. Road easily driven with high clearance vehicle.

Saguaro Lake

catfish-7_5-lbs-5

David C. of Mesa: Early Sunday morning (Nov. 13), just before the sun rose on  Saguaro Lake, I hooked a really nice channel catfish that weighed in at 7.5 pounds.

Caught on a chicken liver sitting on the bottom in about 25 feet of water. I knew I had a big one right away when my pole doubled over with line stripping off my reel.

It took a minute or two to get him close enough to the surface to see the outline and that white belly, but then he took off again, straight to the bottom, stripping line away.

Three times he did this until finally we got him into the net. It was an exciting few minutes that made my day! The pic I included is poor quality but it’s the best one of the few we took. And although I’m dressed for the White Mtns, it really wasn’t all that cold out there! Thanks and best of luck on the water!

 

Woods Canyon Lake

woodscanyonrainbows

Nicholas J.: Here are some pictures from our fishing trip on Thursday, Nov. 10, to Woods Canyon Lake. We caught a total of 12 all day — one of them was a tiger trout. We used PowerBait about 3.5 feet below a bobber and had good results.

 

Lower Salt River

saltrivertrouts

Javier L.: Rainbow trout fingerling.

 

Show Low Lake

showlowbow

Brandon N.: My wife (Veronica) and I spent some time last week up in the Show Low/Pinetop area.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t great and it rained most of the time. My wife sat in the truck the majority of the time while I fished in the rain.

On Friday, as the storm cleared and the sun appeared through the clouds right before sunset, she decided to make a few casts with a rooster tail in-line spinner. Next thing I know I look over and she’s fighting a beautiful 16-inch rainbow trout! Highlight of the trip. It would be awesome if she made the weekend round-up!

See more about fishing in Arizona

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

There are only a few weeks left before winter conditions prevail in the high country, so if you’re looking for scents of pine, scenes of eagles and tight lines from trout, go now.

The trout bite is hot at spots such as Dogtown, Kinnikinick, Reservation, and Willow Springs lakes.

Ready to catch the elusive tiger trout? They were biting on Monday afternoon, rising to the surface in shallow water at Willow Springs Lake for dry flies.

See a video from Monday of a tiger trout wrecking the surface to take a dry fly:

Speaking of trout, the first winter trout stockings are coming next week to Community fishing waters. See the schedule.

On Monday, Oak Creek and Saguaro Lake were stocked with trout.

See all the angler reports, because there are a ton of fishing options from carp to monster largemouth bass and flathead catfish.

Looking for more hot spots? See another recent report.

Grab a license online, 24/7 (and help conserve all species of wildlife).

Catch of the Week

(Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov — one will be selected as Catch of the Week)

showlowlake

This 3 year old helped catch three stocked rainbows in 30 minutes at Show Low Lake.

See all the Angler Reports

 

 

Upcoming free fishing events

Free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required to those who register during event hours.

Saturday — 3rd annual Fishing Expo at Eldorado Pond (Eldorado Park, 2311 N. Miller Rd., Scottsdale) , 8 – 11 a.m.

Read the full schedule.

 

Stocking report

These are confirmed stockings from last week. See the stocking schedules.

Channel catfish
Wednesday, Oct. 19 — Surprise Lake, Rio Vista Pond, Pioneer Lake, Cortez Lake, Steele Indian School, Encanto Lake, Desert West Lake, Papago ponds, Desert Breeze Lake, Tempe Kiwanis Lake, Chaparral Lake, Water Ranch Lake, Red Mountain Lake, Riverview Lake, Tempe Town Lake, Lakeside Lake, Sahuarita Lake, Kennedy Lake, Silverbell Lake, Copper Sky Lake, Veterans Oasis Lake, Green Valley Lake #3.

Rainbow trout
Monday, Nov. 7 — Oak Creek, Saguaro Lake. Friday, Nov. 4 — Frances Short Pond, Green Valley Lakes 1 and 3. Tuesday, Oct. 25 — Parker Canyon Lake. Monday, Oct. 24 — Goldwater Lake, Oak Creek, Frances Short Pond, Lynx Lake. Friday, Oct. 21 — Salt River, Tonto Creek. Thursday, Oct. 20 — Apache Lake,  Lynx Lake. Wednesday, Oct. 19 — Colorado River (Davis Dam), Salt River, Green Valley Lake #3. Tuesday, Oct. 18 — Saguaro Lake  Canyon Lake, Mingus Lake.

See the full schedule.

READ THE FULL REPORT

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Wawang Lake Resort

FISH: Walleye, Northern Pike, Perch, White Fish

The Fisheries Blog

Five fish scientists discuss fun and interesting topics about fish.