Some top-water fireworks could be in store for surface-pounding anglers this fourth of July weekend. Nothing like a hungry predator destroying the surface and yanking line.
Although a top-water bite is possible at any time of the day, without the indication of boils anglers can generally find a surface bite at coves in the first light, or off major points in lakes. Once the sun comes up, switch to long points, islands and reefs in lakes such as Lake Pleasant. Look for boils or bird activity. Anglers are hoping the top-water bite improves as we creep toward August.
In the Colorado River and Lake Mohave, plenty of 1- to 3-pound stripers are being caught. See a Mohave County Daily News article about how to catch them.
Moderate rains to open windows for trout bites
A moderate chance of rain is predicted for some areas this weekend, including Flagstaff and Payson (20-pecent most days until Sunday, according to The Weather Channel). Cooling effects of rain bring ensuing fish feeds that tend to occur just before and after storms. That can also mean particularly slow feeding patterns on extremely hot days.
Yep, a high country lake is a prime place to drown a bait. As the barometric pressure drops during the build-up of monsoon clouds, the top-water bite should also take off as insects fly closer to the water surface. And so look for trout to feed more aggressively. Flies can be lethal, but it’s also a great time to try in-line spinners. Mepps, Rooster Tails or Blue Fox are a good bet. Also try Super Dupers, Crickhoppers and KastMasters. Smart anglers know to mix it up.
Here’s a holiday hot spot: Dogtown Lake near Williams. We stocked it last week and it is getting stocked again this week.
If storms aren’t building, the best bet for trout is at first and last light in deeper waters with PowerBait, nightcrawlers, or corn on the bottom using slip sinkers, light line and small hooks. High country anglers also can have success trolling cowbells in deeper water.
Don’t forget your license. (And don’t let a friend forget to buy or bring theirs.) Purchase one online.
Finally, holiday weekend boating means bigger crowds and increased need for safety. See some boating safety tips for this weekend.
Mogollon Rim lakes
Note: Stage II Fire Restrictions are currently in effect on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, State Trust lands, and Arizona Game and Fish Department Wildlife Areas. Several areas are closed to entry due to extreme fire danger, but none impact access to the major sportfishing locations. Contact the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests for closure maps.
White Mountain lakes
Note: Stage II Fire Restrictions are currently in effect on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, State Trust lands, and Arizona Game and Fish Department Wildlife Areas. Several areas are closed to entry due to extreme fire danger, but most do not impact access to the major sportfishing locations, with the exception being Carnero Lake. Contact the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests for closure maps.
(Send your fishing reports and photos to Bfishing@AZGFD.gov.)