Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

This is prime time for high country crayfish and “low country” catfish.

When the trout bite slows down, grab a bucket, some string, a stick and some meat (bacon, hot dogs or even fish guts will work) and go harvest some mud bugs. In fact, you’ll be helping the environment — crayfish are not native to Arizona and cause immense problems in our trout waters.

If you’re in the north-central region at trout haven Willow Springs Lake, which is being stocked this week, anglers can also throw out some Yamamoto Senkos and jerkbaits for post-spawn largemouth bass. Some anglers also love to troll small crankbaits for trout and get a bycatch of bass. To top it off, crayfish crawl here, too.

It’s also prime flathead catfish season. Arizona has proved to be a destination for these monster flatheads. More proof is the above photo sent in by Katie S. of a 41-pound flathead taken from Bartlett Lake. See a video about how to catch Arizona flatties.

This week we’re also stocking trout into Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, Silver Creek, Bunch Reservoir, Little Colorado River-Greer, Little Colorado River-Sheep Crossing, Canyon Creek, Christopher Creek, East Verde River (please return any tags from trout), Tonto Creek, Woods Canyon Lake, Ashurst Lake and Dogtown Lake. See the entire summer trout stocking schedule.

Back to craying. Some anglers’ favorite lakes include Woods Canyon, Willow Springs, Knoll, Ashurst and Kaibab. But you’ll find crayfish in most of our high country lakes. The damage crayfish do to some of our trout streams can be staggering — these voracious crustaceans eat everything from frogs and vegetation to fish and insects.

Crayfish hunting is great for kids and young-at-heart adults. Children especially can get bored if the fish aren’t biting. Crayfish can sometimes provide non-stop action. And, not bad camp fare as well.

Typically, those folks who don’t like crayfish have overcooked them.

Here’s a simple cooking process: Boil water in a pot, then take the pot OFF the fire and put in the crayfish (do not put the pot back on the fire). In just a few minutes, the crayfish will turn bright red, which means they are done.


You can also get a packet of seasonings called a “crab boil” at most supermarkets and add the spices to the boiling water.

Look up some recipes for crayfish and take your pick.

Grab a license online – our new structure offers more value than ever.

Also, see a full list of fire restrictions in Arizona.

Forest Service law enforcement searching

for individual(s) who placed rebar in roads

Flagstaff, Ariz. – Forest Service law enforcement is asking the public for any information related to sharpened rebar that was purposely placed on and near forest roads in the Happy Jack area.

At least five pieces of these spiked rebar placed on a forest road were responsible for slashing at least eight tires over the weekend. It appears the rebar is being placed in areas frequented by off-highway vehicles (OHV).

“The end of the rebar has been flattened and sharpened to a point and the exposed point has been painted to blend in with the road surface,” said Mogollon Rim District Ranger Linda Wadleigh. “The objects pose a serious threat to everyone, and that doesn’t just mean people recreating on a motorcycle or OHV, it includes people walking, hiking and even wildlife. We are taking this very seriously and asking the public to keep an eye out and report suspicious activity in the area.”

Anyone with information regarding who may be placing these dangerous rebar should contact Forest Service law enforcement at 928-527-3511.


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

Saguaro Lake

Clint: Saguaro Lake has continued to be a hot spot. I caught this 5-pound bass hiding in the grass by the reeds. I’ve had my best luck fishing with soft baits and a dropshot always seems to bring the fish into the boat. Overall, Saguaro has been my favorite lake to fish.

Jim F.: My wife and I fished Saguaro Lake from mid-morning on July 10 until 9 am July 11, hoping to duplicate our top-water success from a few weeks ago, but it just didn’t happen. We only caught three fish during the entire excursion, but all were good sized. That’s why it’s called fishing, folks. We will be back out this coming weekend to try to redeem ourselves.

Rainbow Lake

Jael: Caught catfish, green sunfish and trout on nightcrawlers. Started at around 6 a.m. and finished around 8 a.m., from the shore, caught a lot of catfish ranging from 6 inches to 2 feet. Released all unharmed!



Bartlett Lake

Katie S.: (See picture at top) July 4, 10:20 pm., north side of Bartlett Lake. Used baby carp about the size of your palm. We swam our lines out about 50 yards out and let them sink! I caught a 41 pounder and 25 pounder!:) My “Uncle Critter” caught several!:)

I’ve only caught 5-15 pounders at Deadhorse State Park. Great expierence! I’m hooked on catfishing now!

See the full report

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