Hello, anglers,

Crappie anglers — it’s time. The tasty panfish are spawning and based on various reports such as those in the below Anglers Reports, they’re biting as well. Good spots to try are Alamo Lake (see the new report below — sounds like Alamo’s a good bet), Roosevelt Lake, and Lake Pleasant, where the above photo was shot.

Also see last week’s fishing report for a list of what’s hot (which is about everything) and some things to try. But here are some updates.

It’s an excellent time to fish in northern Arizona, so don’t miss out. Check the summer stocking schedule. 

Need ideas on where to go fishing? Try the Department’s Fish & Boat Arizona map. Every primary fishing hole in the state is on the there. Pretty nifty.

Finally, we had a Big Fish of the Year nominee. On April 5, Adam Jacquez caught this 40-pound, 11.2-ounce bigmouth buffalo from Roosevelt Lake, which is a state record in the noon-hook and line archery category. Good job, Adam!

Other than that, we received a ton of Angler Reports, so check ’em out! Anglers can send their own to BFishing@AZGFD.gov. If you’re on Twitter, you can find me “tweeting” fishing news. Follow me @NickFishAZ.

Apache Site Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests’ Stage 1 Fire Restrictions to Begin Tuesday, April 22

From the Apache-Sitegraves National Forest website

Springerville, Ariz. — Campfire and smoking restrictions will be implemented at 8 a.m. Tuesday, April 22, on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in order to protect public health and reduce preventable human-caused fires.

Under stage 1 fire restrictions, fires, campfires, charcoal, coal and wood stoves are allowed in developed campgrounds only. Devices solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off are allowed within an area that is cleared of flammable materials within three feet of the device. The restrictions also limit smoking to within enclosed vehicles, buildings, developed campgrounds or while in an area that is cleared of all flammable material at least three feet in diameter. Fireworks and incendiary devices are always prohibited on all national forest lands.

Implementation of fire restrictions is especially important this year given the dry winter and impacts of long-term drought on the forests. Criteria used to determine when to implement fire restrictions include current and predicted weather, fuel moisture, fire activity levels and available firefighting resources. Fire restrictions will remain in effect until the forests receive significant precipitation.

“Drier than normal conditions on the forests warrant going into fire restrictions earlier than usual,” said Forest Supervisor Jim Zornes. “Our neighboring forests already have had some significant fires with behavior that is unusual for April, and we need members of the public to work with us to prevent human-caused starts.”

To report a fire, call 911.

Follow the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests on Twitter (@A_SNFs) for instant updates on fire information, fire restrictions, and fire prevention.

Know Before You Go! Obtain additional fire information via the following:


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

Editor’s note: Based on the following angler’s report from last week at Woods Canyon Lake that suggested lures were not followed by trout or bass, we felt it would be helpful to say that no bass have been documented from Woods Canyon Lake, and remind anglers that illegal introductions are not tolerated, and the Department is watching closely for any potential introductions.

Both largemouth and smallmouth bass were illegally introduced into Willow Springs Lake nearby. However, last year green sunfish showed up in Woods Canyon Lake surveys for the first time — possibly another illegal introduction.

We are following the situation in Woods Canyon Lake very closely with electrofishing and snorkeling surveys in an attempt to detect an illegal introduction of bass into the lake as early as possible, if it occurs. If you catch something besides trout or green sunfish, please take pictures and send them to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

As always, thank you for helping us conserve wildlife for future generations – which we do on the basis of science — and for your passion for wildlife. We’re all in this conservation effort together.

Wayne B. of Tucson helped his granddaughter land a largemouth bass at Lakeside during her first outing: Now is the perfect time of the year to introduce the younger of us to the craft of fishing. Last week I was able to take my 5-year-old granddaughter Lily to Lakeside here in Tucson for her first real fishing trip.

Needless to say that with the help of her mom, my granddaughter was able to land a beautiful 9-inch bass on her first outing.

Lily is ready for the bigger ones at Patagonia and she’s been practicing her casting to show me she is ready for THE BIG ONE.

Have a great summer on the water and Lily wants everyone to remember that “Safety Travels.”

Barry W. took advantage of the Agua Fria River being opened earlier than normal this year at Lake Pleasant, and even has a nice fish tale from Peoria’s Pioneer Lake: I fished Saturday night from 5-11 p.m. with live shad and chummed with anchovies. It only took about 10 minutes for a school of striper to find us. We were marking fish on the fish-finder at 15-25 feet. That of course will change over time as the water temperature increases.

We caught nothing more than 2 pounds, and most were the really small stripers. It was a blast and it’s a great time of year because the nighttime temps are in the 70s. We caught a lot and kept only a few for some great fish tacos!

I took my 3 year old son to Pioneer Lake on Tuesday and I was very impressed with the lake and the quality of fishing. My son and I were using corn to catch bluegills. It seemed we could not keep the hooks baited quickly enough the action was so good. If you’re introducing children to fishing I highly recommend taking them to catch sunfish.

They are not too difficult to catch and the action is steady. It will keep the kids interested and will create memories for a lifetime.

Matt G. reported he had some amazing fishing Wednesday night and early Thursday morning at Veterans Oasis: Everyone, literally everyone, on the lake was catching them. Apparently (catfish) were stocked earlier in the day and between me and some friends we caught 10 catfish anywhere from 3-7 pounds and an 8-pound white amur.

An anonymous angler reported fishing Roosevelt Lake the morning of Friday, for bass with success: Caught and released four largemouth between 8-9 a.m. straight across from Bermuda Flat Beach in about 4-8 feet of water using 5-inch watermelon color senkos, wacky rigged (hooking the worm in the middle).

I caught one largemouth the night before from the Bermuda Flat camping area standing in about 2 feet of water on the shore using the same wacky-rigged 5-inch dark green senko. No luck on crappie, but didn’t stay out long, so I focused mainly on bucket mouths.

Adrian J. caught a nice nighttime bass at Saguaro Lake on Sunday, April 13: Hello, my name is Adrian J. and I caught this 24.74-inch bass on a ¾-ounce jig with a Strike King Rage craw trailer.

I threw on top of an island in the water and worked it down the boulders under water, using a slow drag and soft twitches and snapping it off a rock and letting it sit — and that’s when she hit.

She was awesome to reel in; I caught nine bass including a 4-pounder mostly bed fishing at Saguaro Lake last Sunday. Good luck fishing! Thank you.

Tom L. went to Woods Canyon Lake Sunday, April 13, and took a boat out for four hours and trolled for a nice catch of trout: The gentleman at the dock told us best fishing has been along the north shore between the dam and the dock. We got our first hit within minutes and had the first fish in the boat after 20 minutes caught on an orange Z-Ray. Within 15 minutes we had another hit and then landed a 12.5-inch hold-over on a gold Z-Ray. We headed over to the Western end of the lake and had no luck but did watch one boat bring in a stocker by the Bald Eagle closure while trolling. So we made our way back over to the “hot spot” and caught three more stockers, one on a green Z-Ray and two on a gold No. 4 Panther Martin with red bead above the hook.

Bites were hard and aggressive first thing but after we caught the first two fish they became less aggressive and you had to be really attentive and set the hook. Besides the five we landed, there were another five that were on but got off and many more hits where we didn’t set the hook in time. Really made for an exciting 4 hours. Others were having plenty of luck as well. One other boat was anchored and fishing green PowerBait and had three in the boat and a gentleman fishing green PowerWorms, bouncing them off the bottom, said he and his granddaughter had caught a total of 14 by 10 a.m.!

Jeremiah L. reported fishing Canyon Lake April 8: Overall fishing was slow. Drop-shotting with an Arizona dragonfly color produced the best bite. The bass are on beds.

Jesse B. reported catching a mess of crappie at Roosevelt Lake Thursday April 9 using jigs and minnows.

An anonymous angler sent this photo of a largemouth bass (right) caught 9:30 a.m. April 11 at Tempe Town Lake with a dropshot-rigged RoboWorm, green with a lime belly.



What’s your fish story? In the eighth segment of “Fish Stories,” we look back on April 12, 2013, the day the heaviest recorded fish in state history was caught. See this week’s “Fish Stories” video about Eddie “Flathead Ed” Wilcoxson’s 76.54-pound flathead catfish taken from Bartlett Lake.

Have a fond memory? An exciting experience? Or, just a special day on the water with family and friends enjoying Arizona’s amazing outdoors? Email your story to bfishing@azgfd.gov, and we may share it with others online, in print, or on television.

Stay tuned for future additions of “Fish Stories,” which will frequently appear here in print, online or on television.

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