Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal


With cooler temperatures, bass are chasing down crankbaits, buzzbaits and top-water lures in some of our desert impoundments. Rainbow trout stockings are coming from Phoenix to Yuma. If you didn’t know, it’s absolutely one of the best times to “Fish AZ.”

The Salt River chain lakes Saguaro, Apache and Canyon will be stocked with trout next week. The lower Salt River and the “core” Community Fishing Program waters in Phoenix, Tucson and Payson will get their trout loads the following week (Nov. 9-15), followed by Tempe Town Lake and Yuma waters Fortuna, Redondo, Somerton and Yuma West (Nov. 16-22).

Get out for trout. If you happen to wet a hook just after fish are stocked, try fishing near the surface (and on the surface), especially around first light.

BartlettBassOr go for some good ol’ “Bartlett bass.” Bartlett Lake remains a hot spot for these smaller largies. although some lately have been reported up to 2.5 pounds. Best bites are on top-water lures (such as Ricos), crankbaits, buzzbaits, and Berkley Powerworms on Texas rigs and shaky-head rigs. Many bass are in 2-10 feet of water. Shoreline anglers can go to Rattlesnake Cove and fish some of the points (tip: try casting parallel to the shore inside of just outward). Surprised we aren’t getting more Angler Reports from Bartlett. Send your photos and reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

Speaking of Angler Reports, follow our new Fish AZ blog for more updated information and occasional from-the-water articles and videos, such as those from a recent kayak, fly-fishing excursion for trout, bluegill and crappie at Payson’s Green Valley lakes (which were recently stocked).

Or follow me on Twitter @NickFishAZ.

Get out while the bass bite is hot. With upcoming desert-region nights in the 50s, it probably won’t be long until fish will be in more lethargic winter feeding patterns. In essence, their metabolism slows down and they might only have to eat a single shad every day or two to maintain their body condition.

On the other hand, during the prime fall bite, a bass might gobble up lots of shad and feed four, five or six times each day. That’s why catch rates can increase in the fall, and decrease significantly in winter. Right now, we could be in that in-between stage with bass not quite in winter patterns, but not really in full autumn feeding patterns.

Go prepared to fish at 15-30 feet deep, but also be prepared with your top-water arsenal just in case you discover fishing gold — bass chasing shad at the surface.

See our Fish&Boat Arizona map for directions to these waters and other top fisheries.

Thank you, anglers!

Arizona fishing opportunities wouldn’t be possible without the Sport Fish Restoration Program. It was created through the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950 (Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act) and the Wallop-Breaux amendments of 1984.

Through a federal excise tax paid by manufacturers on fishing gear and motorboat fuels, it provides grant funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

Catch a license

Good luck fishing, and remember that 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.)

Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

Here’s what anglers said was biting over the weekend across Arizona:

BigLakecuttroatBig Lake
Dennis D./James T. of Sierra Vista: Hello, my son-in-law and I camped at Big Lake Oct. 17 – Oct. 22 and it was a great week of fishing and relaxing. We managed to catch three cutthroat trout (one pictured above), the biggest weighing in at nearly 4 pounds. In one day we caught 11 fish, lost four, and on another day we caught around 10. The weather is turning to cold, we had nightly rain, cold temps (lowest was 32) and in the daytime temps were in the 60s. Happy Fishing!

Long Lake
Steve C.:
Went to Long Lake on Oct. 24 with five guys in party. Fished all day with no luck. Water VERY low, ramp out at least 30 feet. We were hoping for pike and were not sure if Game and Fish removed pike like they did at Ashurst. Any feedback would be helpful to avoid spending money and time chasing fish that are not there.

  • Steve: We’ve only removed pike from Ashurst Lake. Because the water level at Long Lake is so low, there may not be many pike remaining. Likely, the big pike have eaten the smaller ones. Consider trying nearby Soldier Lake. Lake levels are higher, and there’s pike, walleye, largemouth bass, and some giant bluegill – if you can get them to bite. Good luck. — Nick

Davis Dam, Colorado River
Bob S. from Orange, Calif.: Caught at Davis Dam, No. 12 hook, on cut anchovies (left).

BearCanyonTroutBear Canyon Lake
Ryan W.: Caught this rainbow (22-inch, 5- pound) at Bear Canyon Lake on Oct. 18 at 11:30 a.m. using a small Kastmaster with 6-pound test and a ultralight rod. What a fight.

Colorado River (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam)
Charles S.: Water temp. in the current was 75.5 degrees,and 78 degrees near the back end of the lakes. Peggy and I primarily fished the upper reaches of Picacho State Park and fishing was fair at best.

Most of the fish we caught in the current were smallmouth, with a few largemouth here and there. We really didn’t catch many bass that were much more than 2 pounds, though we did boat one largemouth that was 3.5 pounds. All of the fish were caught with creature baits; they didn’t hit crankbaits at all for us.

If you’re planning on fishing in the upcoming weeks, plan on moving around because the fish don’t appear to be bunched up, nor do they appear to be very hungry. We also didn’t hear any reports of anyone catching any big fish, not even in the Saturday bass tournament.


2 thoughts on “Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal”

  1. I wonder what is your average air temperature in fall? Also do you target fish smaller fishes too, something like perch. I personally like so called “active fishing” when targeting groups of perch with drop shot. It is great change from normal trolling or casting.

    1. Well, WeatherSpark Beta tells me that the daily high temps in Phoenix, in October, range from 92 degrees to 79 degrees. … Personally, I absolutely love catching sunfish like bluegill and crappie — because they’re so great to eat. They give a good fight on a fly rod, too!

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