Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

For many students getting ready to go back to school, it’s time for the last fishing hurrah of summer.

It’s cicada time, so anglers can make a trip to Lees Ferry for some wild trout. This entryway to the Grand Canyon will also enthrall you with time-etched pink sandstone cliffs towering a thousand feet or more above the mighty Colorado. It’s truly the sandstone cathedral of fly fishing — there is nothing else quite like it on this planet.

Can’t forget another world class fishery – Lake Powell. Stripers are boiling, which means these boilers likely will hit any appropriate lure within the boils. Powell has around 1,700 miles of shoreline to explore and dozens of lonely hidden canyons that might not see a fisherman in weeks or even years. Catch striped bass, small mouth bass, largemouth bass and walleye that linger into your dreams.

Lake Pleasant also remains a hot option for stripers. Hit the northern coves for some daybreak, top-water action. Top-water fishing truly is a unique experience – you actually see the fish skyrocket from the water and crash a lure.

It’s also flathead catfish time. The flattie in the photo to the right was caught by a man fishing the Slim Memorial Catfish Tournament on Saturday.

At Big Lake, some anglers are limiting out on rainbow and cutthroat trout using PowerBait and nightcrawlers in 20 feet of water, said Joni from the Big Lake Store. Some 80 degree days have pushed trout down a bit, and so having a boat to reach these fish will be a particular advantage. Garlic-flavored PowerBaits have been effective.

Stocking some stockers? Here a rundown of what stocker trout are being dumped in the White Mountains: Willow Springs Lake (1,895 rainbow trout); Woods Canyon Lake (2,450 rainbow trout); East Fork Black River (1,000 Apache trout); West Fork Black River (50 Apache trout); Little Colorado River in Greer (500 Apache trout); Sheeps Crossing (500 Apache trout); Silver Creek (625 Apache trout).

That should give you some options. See the full report and check the angler reports for late-breaking fish bites. Our Fish&Boat Arizona map will show plenty of options.

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

Buying a license online helps conserve wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations. Help yourself and your future loved ones.

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

Willow Springs Lake

Max B.: Good evening. Taylor Williams, Lori Burnett, Jordan Burnett and Max Burnett of Avondale caught this feast on Willow Springs Lake on Thursday July 24, using PowerBait and nightcrawlers. They are cooking on our Canyon Point campsite grill.

Francis Short Pond

Matt K.: Action there now is really good in the morning until about 9 a.m., or late afternoon after a storm. The catfish are biting on hot dogs under a sinker off the bottom.

I also caught quite a few panfish on a fly rod using a wet black ant. They also like poppers with a short darting motion across the surface, and damselflies, but the black ant is most effective, especially in the shallows near vegetation in the water.

Deadhorse Ranch State Park

Bryan S.: Kids enjoyed catching bluegills, center lagoon, nightcrawlers, then just a piece of plastic worm. They would bite at empty hooks, so big fun for the Family. Some small, 6-8 inch bass were swimming around, but no bites. For the weedy bottom shore use the casting stations and top-water lures.

Apache Lake

Brandon B.: To all my fellow anglers,

For anyone who thinks they need a boat, underwater sonar or high tech equipment in order to catch fish, not so.

My brother and I caught numerous fish on shore over the weekend of July 18-21 at Lake Apache with only our fishing poles, rods, and our go to bait, cooked hot dogs and nightcrawlers. Best times to fish are between 2-8 a.m.

My brother and I caught several large and smallmouth bass, the largest weighing in at more than 4 pounds.

Other species of fish we caught were yellow striped bass, bluegill, sunfish, carp, channel and bullhead catfish. Average weight for catfish were between 8-12 pounds. The carp in the picture was an astonishing 32 pounds.

Overall, an unforgettable weekend at one of our favorite lakes. So grab your poles and your favorite bait and get out there.

Sunrise Lake

Ben D.: Fished four days, Thursday, July 17 – Sunday, July 20, 6:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Caught 35 fish between two adults and three kids — 20 were keepers. Two were 17-inch rainbows and everything else was 14-16 inches. Used different combinations of PowerBait each day.

Colorado River (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam)

Charles S.: Water surface temp in the current has been around 87 degrees and I thought water clarity was pretty good, especially when you consider that last week’s storms introduced a lot of debris and run off into the water.

Lake and backwater temps are close to 90 degrees in some areas. And of course air temps this time of the year range between 109-115 degrees. I noticed that vegetation is starting to emerge in some backwaters and lake areas, so you may want to try fishing some of the matted areas — frogs are always a good choice.

But being the river rats that we are, Peggy and I did just about all of our fishing in the current and I must say that we did pretty well casting swimbaits in the mornings and flipping creature baits in the afternoons. We certainly caught our fair share of dinks, but we also caught a good amount of largemouth in the 4-pound range. We fished in the rain and between multiple storms, one key factor for catching fish was when the low barometric pressure would move in, the bigger bass would really hit the baits with a vengeance.

See the full report

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