Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal


Fall, finally, is sneaking through summer doldrums.

In the high country, as the nights get longer and cooler, the trout start feeding more and more aggressively to put on body fat before winter conditions arrive, providing some of the best fishing opportunities of the year.

Funny, because angler days decrease in the fall as the fishing gets better.

Remember that brown trout spawn in the fall. Curious where? Check out our Fish&Boat AZ map for locations of fisheries, and a listing of species. After clicking on the “Fishing Search” tab, click on “brown trout” (under the Fish Species headline) and on the map see the best public waters to fish for them. Pretty awesome feature.

Back to our fall foundations. At Big Lake last weekend, an angler reported catching a 5-pound cutthroat trout that had spawning colors and was full of eggs. A little early for their spawn. Just in the past few days at Big Lake, the water has “turned over,” with cooler water flipping to the bottom and warmer water rising. This has caused some fish to rise as well. On Wednesday as the sun set, fish began hitting bugs on the surface within a few feet of the shoreline on the south end of the lake. Bring your fly rod. Lures such as Z-Rays and crickhoppers began to be effective as well. That said, most of the fish remain deep.

Ah, that swinging, squeaky-gate cry of elk. Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods said bull elk were heard bugling in Payson this past week. The rut is getting underway. Good time to hit Woods Canyon or Willow Springs lakes.

Want to fish for something different? Head to the East Fork of the Black River for some native Apache trout and wild brown trown. The stream was stocked last week with 1,000 Apache trout, which was the last stocking for the season. The flows have been moderately high and a little turbid.

In lower elevations, fishing for striper and catfish has produced the best reports. See the 55-pound flathead catfish to the right caught recently from the Colorado River.

Don’t forget your license!

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.)

Lake Havasu

Kathy B.: Nice blue channel catfish caught Aug. 28 at Lake Havasu near the Chalk Cliffs. Caught about 9 a.m. on cut anchovies. Weight was 15-pounds, 4-ounces, length unknown. This was Kathy’s largest catfish ever.

Dead Horse State Park

When to Dead Horse lagoons on Sept. 3 in Cottonwood. We went to Lynx Lake first and didn’t even get a bite, used hot dogs and chicken liver. Left about 10 a.m., and headed for Dead Horse.

We got there around noon and fished the first lagoon. Caught three catfish using shrimp, biggest being 21 inches long and weighed four pounds. All in all a good day.

Colorado River

George T: Channel catfish caught in the Colorado River. I’m using anchovies, a 2-ounce flat weight and a 3/0 circle hook.

Rose Canyon Lake

Daniel: I fished Rose Canyon Lake this morning, Aug. 28 with my two sons. We are not experienced anglers — in fact, we have never caught anything prior to today. We were experimenting with various soft lures, and PowerBait (with a bobber and off of the bottom) with no luck — not even a nibble.

Then on a whim I decided to try a red spoon lure and was very surprised when I immediately caught my first fish! I handed that lure over to my son and in minutes he had his first fish as well. Then my other son blanked on the spoon but caught multiple fish with a slow retrieve using an orange rooster tail lure. We quit when we felt we had enough fish for the family, which did not take long.

We were at the lake early, but the bite picked up from 7:30-9 a.m.

I was expecting a quiet camping day but it turned into an outing we will not soon forget. Nothing beats a successful day fishing with your sons!


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