Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal


Trout time, it is.

Rainbow trout were just stocked into Beaver Creek, Verde River, Deadhorse lakes, Lynx Lake, Goldwater Lake, Fain Lake, Patagonia Lake, Pena Blanca Lake, Cluff Ranch, Dankworth Pond, Roper Lake and Graham County Fairgrounds Pond.

Also, trout were stocked into Apache Lake, Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake. Many anglers like to throw big rainbow trout imitation swimbaits for a chance at lunker largemouth bass.

Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods offered the following tips:

Trout fishing around piers and docks on these lakes can be lots of fun for a family fishing day. For bass anglers, it means there are a few weeks of exciting fishing before the water turns too cold for bass to chase these trout. In the meantime, imitation trout swimbaits can catch giant sized bass if conditions are right.

From a bass perspective, one trout can equal a thousand shad, so it’s not hard to figure out why bass pursue them. The water temperatures on these lakes right now is in the low 70s and as soon as the temperature drops to 50 degrees, the bass metabolism slows to where they can no longer chase trout effectively.

Canyon Lake (left) can be an excellent spot to kayak-fish and sneak up on bass.

It’s also time for a last fall fishing excursion to the White Mountains and Mogollon Rim Lakes.

Mike Lopez, our Fish Program Manager out of Pinetop, had the following report:

Water temperatures are in the 50s in most of the lakes in the White Mountains and Rim Lakes as the days get shorter and nights get colder, with the higher elevation lakes in the low 50s and the lower elevation lakes in the high 50s.

This is the ideal temperature range for trout and they should be very active trying to put on weight before winter sets in.

Trout fishing has picked up dramatically at a number of lakes, including Big Lake, Nelson Reservoir, Woods Canyon Lake, Luna Lake, Chevelon Lake, and River Reservoir. Very large trout were found at several lakes surveyed in October, including Carnero Lake, Becker Lake, Crescent Lake, and even Lee Valley Lake.

Water temperatures are cooler because the air temperatures are dropping, but there is little difference between the water temperature at the surface and the water temperature in deep water, so trout can be found at any depth this time of year.

Thermoclines in deeper lakes have also broken down, so the deep water that had no oxygen during the summer now has as good of water quality as that at the surface. Trout will be where the food is located now that they aren’t limited by water quality (oxygen, temperature, pH). If they are feeding on zooplankton, they will be in the upper layers of a lake where the sunlight penetrates well. Or they will be at the surface if feeding on hatching insects. Or they will be on the bottom if feeding on crayfish, scuds, or midge larvae. Or along the shoreline if feeding on minnows. Fish at different depths and locations until you catch a fish, then keep fishing that depth to catch more.

Brown trout spawning season

This is also the season of spawning brown trout. Wild brown trout can be found in Chevelon Canyon Lake and River Reservoir because they are able to spawn in the rivers that enter those lakes. You can usually find brown trout anywhere in the lake, but near the incoming river is obviously a good place to start this time of year.

Large brown trout prefer fish and crayfish to eat, so using lures and large streamers that imitate fish and crayfish are usually productive. Brown trout are usually more active as it gets dark as well, thus staying that extra hour at the end of the fishing day could really pay off. But make sure you are prepared, as the air temperatures drop quickly as the sun sets.

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

Free family fishing event

In recognition and celebration of our veterans, please join the Arizona Game and Fish Department for an afternoon of fishing at the Hirsch Conservation Education area (Biscuit Tank) located at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix Sunday, Nov. 9 from 2-5 p.m.

See a flyer for all the information.

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.)

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

Verde River

Scott M.: Still killing it on the Verde River below Horseshoe Dam!

Lower Lake Mary

Richard P.: Fishing from shore hooked into a fat 22 inch northern pike. She was full of eggs and her stomach was jam packed with crawfish. I was using a Pumpkin seed power worm by PowerBait, on a 1/8 ounce jig head bouncing it off the bottom in a slow retrieve. I’m using 4lb test on a very light spinning rig to get the farthest casts possible.

Last week the same rig caught a walleye, northern pike, black crappie and bluegill all from the same spot on the same day. I fish the corners of the dam at mid morning.

Bartlett Lake

Jeff B.: Went out to Bartlett on Oct. 30 caught this little 19-pounder (flathead catfish) on a 2-pound live carp. I practiced CPR, and he will live to fight another day — have a good day.

Chevelon Canyon Lake

My family and I went up to Chevelon Canyon Lake over the weekend and fished the inlet at the southern end of the lake. We were lucky enough to land a few wild browns including this one. It was just shy of 20 inches and was a great fight on my lightweight spinning outfit!


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