It’s the forehead-soaked homestretch of summer. Consider fishing the night, morning or high country. First, though, pick a species.
So what are you looking to catch?
The nighttime striper bite at Lake Pleasant still is one of the best bets going. Take anchovies, set out a high-quality submersible light, drop some ‘chovies deep (80-plus feet), and wait for the “zing.”
Looking for bass of the largemouth variety? Try Saguaro Lake. Night fishing has been excellent, and in the morning, bass are chasing bait. Try top-water lures and swim baits in the mornings. As the morning progresses, throw dropshot-rigged Roboworms (morning dawn with a chartreuse tip and red crawler are good colors). Anglers can target humps, points, boulders, reef signs and grass bottoms. Of course, locate the food source (shad, for example) and you’ve found the fish.
Bassin’ is also good at Roosevelt Lake. Try the Salt River end of the lake throwing a dark-colored jig using a flippin’ technique, or a dark-colored worm on a dropshot.
OK, here are some hot spots. In the White Mountains, fishing is good at Show Low Creek (being stocked this week with 1,190 rainbow trout), Woods Canyon Lake (3,030 trout) and Big Lake. Willow Springs Lake also is being supplied with some ‘bows.
In the Flagstaff area, Kinnikinick is a viable option. Escape the crowds, and because it’s spring fed, it often has a nice summer bite. Some decent browns linger here as well. The lake is full, and some anglers last week were fishing worms on small hooks (size 8 or smaller), catching fish around weed beds near the boat ramp. Plan a trip here for Labor Day weekend.
Boaters should stay away from Ashurst Lake – the water level has dropped to the point that launching boats is not allowed.
How about Bartlett Lake, home of the heaviest recorded fish of all time? Try toppling “Flathead” Ed Wilcoxson’s 76.54-pound flathead catfish landed last year (pictured to the right). Or just take something home that’s good to eat.
It’s prime flathead catfish season. Try live bluegill or small carp as bait. Look for the deeper holes, especially up-lake where there is a little current. For bluegills, try the backs of rocky coves using nightcrawlers or meal worms on light tackle.
Our Fish&Boat Arizona map will show plenty of other options, as well as the locations of those mentioned above.
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(Send your fishing reports and photos to Bfishing@AZGFD.gov.)
John A.: Good morning, I was just writing you to let you know how our trip was at Pleasant this weekend. Me, my buddy Drew, my dad and father-in-law fished just inside the bend at Agua Fria.
The striper bite was non-stop from about 6:30 p.m. until 8 a.m. when we were leaving. All in all we caught striped bass on anchovies, minnows and shrimp with the heads still on them. The shrimp was the ticket that night — it caught the biggest one for us which was around 2 pounds. Most of the bass that night were one-half to one pound with 104 being caught for the night. The best rig setup for me that night was Carolina rig with shrimp. As far as the catfish go, well, we caught about six and let me say this: I think the anchovies were bigger, haha. So we threw them back in and continued on with our night.
Barry W.: I have been fishing Pleasant over the last month and it’s kept me busy. The night fishing has continued to be excellent for stripers. It’s been an adventure trying to find a good night that does not get interrupted by monsoons so be careful out there. The key is to find the deep water. Fish are being located at 80-100-plus feet deep.
The key is having a great submersible fishing light. The brighter the better when it comes to the light. Frozen anchovies are working great for bait. Keep in mind that that the warm water unthaws them quickly, which means fish get it off the hook quickly. Be ready for a quick hookset. If you’re missing the hooksets, try using worms. They stay on the hook longer and increase your chances for a successful hookset.
The top-water boils have been minimal on average (in my opinion) for the earlier part of August. The great news now is that the boils have picked up greatly throughout the day and also last longer on average.
We hit a boil in a northern cove at sunrise last Saturday morning that lasted 30-40 minutes in length. Every cast we had a striper on and many double headers. The exciting news is most of the stripers hitting our lures were 3-4 pounds in weight. The biggest striper of the morning was a 5 ponder that measured 23 inches.
Silver Kastmaster lures are working fantastically and so are shad jerk baits. Don’t forget about those top-water Spooks also. The picture I provided are just some of the striper we decided to keep and clean for dinner. Great time of year to be fishing AZ waters.
Good luck fishing everybody.
Carp caught Tuesday, Aug. 19 at 11 a.m. in the rain. My setup was a medium action 6-foot-6 pole, and 12-pound test mono with a barbless circle hook. No weights, and I used bread. The fish was 43 inches. Did not get the exact weight — think it was like 35 pounds.
Steve: I fished Saguaro from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 15. Had some top-water nibbles from 5 a.m. to 5:30 a.m., but nothing hooked. I was using a top-water hard bait. Switched to a Texas rig in all colors from 5-30 feet of water… nothing. Rigged up a 3-inch swim bait for 5-10 feet of water and caught three largemouth bass in the 2-3.5-pound range. The water temp was 85 degrees, no wind and very little traffic. Fished until 9 a.m. with no action after 7:30 a.m.
Backwater in Parker
Kallee O.: A hog bluegill. 🙂 I had 1/100th jighead with a Berkley trout worm, chartreuse.
Picacho State Park to Davis Dam
Charles S.: Here’s to another weekend of great bass fishing. Peggy and I fished over the weekend and water surface temps were around 88.5 degrees with storms intermittent throughout the weekend.
Water clarity continues to be poor with lots of sediment and debris in the water. And as far as air temps go, it was hotter than “you know what” and topped off with a lot of humidity. I don’t know which time of the day is worse for me, in the morning before my coffee sets in, or after six hours of broiling in the sun.
We jumped right back into last week’s pattern which was fishing in the current, and the bass did not let us down — in the morning it was almost one bass after another. Weights were ranging anywhere from 4-5-plus pounds (and of course a few dinks here and there) and we took most of the fish on jigs or brush hogs. While the fish were not stacked right on top of each other, I still felt that the poor water clarity aided in keeping the fish in fairly close proximity to each other: 20 feet apart would be a fairly accurate statement.
Since the way we fish usually breaks convention for largemouth bass fishing, I also want to add a little about what fishing in the current means to us. We have a 24v 5-speed trolling motor on an 18-foot bass boat, and when we fish the current, it’s normally set on setting 4 or 5 (5 is max thrust) and if the water is really flowing… it’s not uncommon to see my wife holding us in position with the main engine. So that’s what I mean when I say we are fishing in the current on the Colorado, or an awesome body of water like the Mississippi River for all that matters.
Good luck and remember to practice catch and release.