Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Lake Powell-2 (3)

Widespread rains, and early-week flooding in the Phoenix areas, have generally helped drop water temperatures. Look for fish to possibly get more active. It can take a couple of days or more for the fish to get active again, but when they do you will likely see them enter more aggressive feeding patterns.

For starters, the top-water striper bite, especially at Lake Pleasant, should begin to pick up. Get there at first light or you might miss the boils. Cover lots of water and look for birds or surface activity. Try top-water lures, jerkbaits and flies. (Zara Spook Juniors and buzzbaits tend to be successful this time of the year.)

As water temperatures slowly drop during this fall transition, fish will move up in the water column, along with shad. Top-water options will improve. This is a good weekend to find out.

And be sure to check out the Lake Powell information in the full report. You might run into some of the best fishing you’ll find this year for striped bass, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass.

In the high country, the cool, refreshing rain might just be the ticket to lower water temperatues that get the bite going there as well, assuming that associated runoff doesn’t make the water turbid. Trout don’t always like cloudy water.

This might just be the event to bring the trout into the shallows at places like Big Lake, Woods Canyon, Willow Springs and the like. Already last week at Big Lake, some trout were busting surface bugs in the shallows at sunset.

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

Community Fishing Program: return of catfish, Water Ranch in Gilbert special regulations

Catfish stockings resume next week!

Deliveries of 1.5- to 2-pound catfish are scheduled to restart the week of Sept. 14-19 at the CFP “core” waters.

During the hot summer months from June 25 through Sept. 15, there are no scheduled catfish stockings at Urban Fishing Program waters. Once lake temperatures begin to drop entering the fall season, then catfish stockings can resume again.

Welcome back, Mr. Whiskers.

The core waters are: Desert Breeze and Veterans Oasis in Chandler; Copper Sky in Maricopa; Red Mountain and Riverview in Mesa; Pioneer and Rio Vista in Peoria; Alvord, Cortez, Desert West, Papago Ponds, and Steel Indian School Pond in Phoenix; Chaparral Lake in Scottsdale; Surprise Lake; Evelyn Hallman Pond and Kiwanis Lake in Tempe.

Check out our Fish&Boat AZ map for locations of the state’s top fisheries, including the CFP waters.

Water Ranch Lake in Gilbert has been approved to become a special-regulations water beginning Jan. 1.
Regulations will be catch and release for bass and sunfish and catch and keep for trout, catfish and other species. The lake will be stocked once per month.

Until Jan. 1, daily bag limits will remain four catfish and four trout.

Finally, Freestone Park Pond in Gilbert will be added to the CFP. The Arizona Game and Fish Department will begin stocking the pond in October.

Silver Creek seasonal trout fishery opens Oct. 1

This festive fishing get-together seems to draw more participants each year. This is the opening of the catch-and-release season (Oct. 1 – March 31.).

Silver Creek is five miles east of Show Low on U.S. Route 60. Turn north off Highway 60 onto Bourdon Ranch Road for five miles to Hatchery Road. Then head eat on Hatchery Road 1 mile to the Silver Creek Hatchery, park in the parking lot, and follow the signs to the creek.

Trout from this seasonal fishery must be immediately released unharmed — no trout may be kept. It is artificial fly and lure only with single, barbless hooks.

A seasonal fishery, Silver Creek is spring fed and stays at a constant temperature. Because it is not subject to freezing, it provides anglers ideal wintertime, high-country trout stream angling.


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

Apache Lake

Tom A.: Had a very good time fishing on Apache Lake this weekend. We used Rapala Nos. 5 and 7. The weather is cooling a bit, and the yellow bass were out in force as well, like we haven’t seen all summer. These pictures say it all.

Sunrise Lake

Eric K.: My dad and I took my 4-year-old daughter up to Sunrise Lake on Saturday, Sept. 6. This was her first fishing trip and just like I had learned from my dad, it was time to pass on the tradition.

My father and I didn’t have the highest expectations from neither my daughter nor the fishing, but wanted to get out anyways. We arrived around 9:15 a.m. and rented a boat for 2 hours. The gentlemen mentioned that people were catching by the dam and we noticed around 20-plus people fishing from shore. We decided to venture out around the island on the east side of the lake.

We anchored, and after a few quick photos for mom, we showed my daughter how to cast. Like most kids and the lack of patience my daughter immediately asked if she could reel in. Before I could finish my explanation of the need to leave the bait in the water, I noticed her rod tip bouncing like her brother after a late-night dessert. As I watched her eyes light up with excitement and terror of not knowing what to do next, I quickly showed her how to reel up the line.

She was too excited for words, and at that moment I knew she was hooked. Her first fish was a rainbow trout and was around 13 inches. She watched as we took the fish and put it on the stringer. She quickly cast back out and within minutes was pulling in another fish. And then another shortly after.

As much as my dad and I were excited for her, we started to get frustrated at the fact we hadn’t caught one.

Just as we sarcastically joked about it my dad caught a huge trout. Had to have been 18-20 inches and weighed at least 3-4-plus pounds. He was shocked to see the size of this trout and looked at me to help get it in the boat.

Unfortunately, we didn’t bring a net as most of our fishing trips in Arizona have never required one. The fish shook the hook as my dad tried to lift the fish out of the water and in the boat. On my dad’s very next cast he caught a fish similar in size to the other ones my daughter caught.

Before long I started to catch them as well. I was amazed at how great the fishing was. Before long, and in less than 2 hours, we caught our limit. As we pulled anchor and took a few more photos, my daughter looked to me and her grandpa and said that “it was the best day ever!”

I must say that I was surprised to have such success in such a minimal amount of time on the water. We enjoyed everything about going to Sunrise Lake that day and can’t wait to go back up very soon!


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