Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Storms early in the week dumped on many fisheries statewide, which not only cranked up any inflows, it created a jolt of nutrients and oxygen that turned some fish on.

At some lakes, the inflows may be a bit turbid. A key can be fishing the edge of a stain line. Also fish near a feeder creek where there is an influx of nutrients that brings in bait fish, and in turn, sport fish.

That said, it sounds like the lower Colorado River from Picacho State Park to the Imperial Dam has been much better for flathead catfish than bass. The bass bite reportedly was poor due to the storms lowering the water temperature and making the water murky.

But Rich Fritz isn’t complaining. He caught the above flathead catfish out of the Colorado River in Yuma on Aug. 24 that measured 48.25 inches and weighed 55 pounds and 11.84 ounces. It’s a new Big Fish of the Year leader for the flathead catch-and-keep category. Catfishing also is great at Alamo Lake and Bartlett Lake.

Catfish stocking will return to the Community Fishing Program lakes on Sept. 14. Get rigged and ready.

The high-country summer trout stockings are winding down. In the White Mountains, we’re stocking Fool Hollow Lake (400 13-inch rainbow trout), Show Low Lake – (850 13-inch rainbows), Willow Springs Lake (1,895 rainbows), Woods Canyon Lake (3,060 rainbows), East Fork Black River (1,000 Apache trout), Little Colorado River in Greer (500 Apache trout), Sheeps Crossing (500 Apache trout), and Silver Creek (500 Apache trout).

Our Fish&Boat Arizona map will show plenty of other 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.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend by kicking back with a rod in hand and an ice chest full of fish.


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

Encanto Lake

Vini U.: It’s been a great week to fish for carp at Encanto Lagoon, day or night. They’ve even been biting in the pouring rain. I caught all three of these fish off of 4-pound test on an Ultra-Light rod. Use a few pieces of corn and a No. 6 hook and you’ve got yourself a great fight on Ultra-Light tackle.

Colorado River (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam)

Charles S.: I fished the river on Sunday and Monday and the bass bite was extremely poor. Recent storms and lower air temps have lowered the water temps by about 5 degrees, with average surface temps around 83.5 degrees, water is still murky. We fished both current and a few of the lakes and only caught a few dinks over the entire weekend. We were asked by a few bass fishermen if we were able to establish any type of pattern and I could only hang my head in shame. With the Labor Day weekend upon us, I doubt I will do much fishing until after the holiday. The good news is that almost everyone that fishes for flatheads are reporting that they are catching lots of double-digit fish as well as a few trophy fish.

Steele Indian School Park

Andrew R.: This bass was caught by my girlfriend on a Zoom plastic motor oil/ chartreuse 5-inch worm. Greatest catch of hers and weighed 2.4 pounds on site. Caught on Aug. 23 about 2 p.m. in about 10 feet of water between weed lines. Location was Indian School and Hayden. Indian School Park, I believe. Small, non-stocked lake.

She has been actively fishing for about one year and has excelled in every type of fishing that I have presented her. The motivation and willingness to learn has led to her catching catfish, trout, carp, bluegill, and largemouth bass. With a little know how and the right tools she can seek and destroy any type of fish she is after.

Ryon G.: At Steele Indian School Park, caught nice size catfish on dip bait on Aug. 22 at 8 p.m. Pounds unknown — did not have a scale with me, but it was 25.5 inches long.

Saguaro Lake

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 top-water hard bait.

Switched to a Texas rig in all colors from 5-30 feet of water… nothing. Rigged up a 3-inch swimbait 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.

I went back to Saguaro on the 18th (Monday). Hit the water at 4 a.m. and fished until 9 a.m. There was a fishing tournament going on and there were about 27 boats at the boat ramp. Since they weren’t getting on the water until 5 a.m., I went around them. Usually I watch these guys and try to mimic their fishing methods — not today.

I got back to Shiprock (I think that’s the name). I noticed a load of fish at 5-10 feet and 25-30 feet with shad above and below the bigger fish.

I started throwing top water above the shad and got nothing. Switched to a 6-inch swimbait and hooked nine largemouth bass by 5:45 a.m. All were 2-4 pounds. The sonar showed the shad collecting from the surface to about 10 feet with the larger fish at 15 feet.

While tying on some different lures, I started seeing and hearing some serious top-water action. Threw some top-water bait and got nothing.

Switched to a shallow (1-3 foot depth) crankbait and pulled in a 4.5-pound and a 5-pounder in less than 10 minutes.

I followed the action west through the canyon toward the big water and caught another 10 largemouth.

Around 8:30 am the fish started going deep. I had to make a decision… keep fishing or go home a look for a job. Decided a job would be best if I want to keep the boat.

Lake Pleasant

Bruce B.: Stripers under lights in 60-70 feet, Aug. 22.

Arivaca Lake

Joe N. in Amado: I made a trip to Arivaca Lake this (Friday) morning. The lake is super low and there is a lot of vegetation between the boat ramp and the nearest point of water, which is approximately 200 yards.

Even with the rain it has received it is still very low.

The best bet for getting on the water would be a kayak, canoe, or something light you could throw in the bed of a truck or rooftop. Didn’t do any fishing, but I’m sure you could have some success early mornings and towards evening. This is going on the third year of not enough rain from the monsoons to fill the lake.

If it continues….it may be helpful to install some sort of a low water ramp or access farther down the lake where everyone unloads their boat. I’ve visited the lake several times and always find that I can’t get my boat in the water even though it’s only a little 12 feet.

You guys did an awesome job on the new boat ramp and floatable dock, but I think it’s gonna be a long time before it gets any use. I believe the water table needs to come up 4-5 feet before there will be any use of the new ramp and dock.

Other than that, the road leading down to the lake is in good shape. Good luck to those of you who can get on the water and enjoy the fishing. It’s still a very scenic and peaceful place to go and spend some time with the family.

Hope this helps as I haven’t seen any recent reports about Arivaca Lake.

Tempe Town Lake

C.P.: Rich S. reported he cracked the code… I went out there today and had a great time. Caught three largemouth bass in about an hour and a half using a Carolina rig.

All three were keepers, but I released them because I was just having fun.

This is the type of fishing that makes fishing fun. My Carolina rig: red No. 2 hook with a rubber crawdad on a 12-inch lead, swivel, red glass bead, half-ounce brass slide weight. Thanks, Rich S.


Game and Fish Department investigates

use of aircraft to harass wildlife

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is investigating a reported incident of harassing wildlife with an aircraft. Multiple reports were received by the Department on Aug. 22 and 23, 2014 from a number of concerned archery hunters who witnessed the incidents. Read the full article.


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