Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

RainbowTroutRedMtnBelieve it or not, this is great weather for trout fishing. At least it is in mid-elevation and lower elevation waters where we do our trout stockings.

In the Phoenix area, try the one-two punch of the Lower Salt River and Saguaro Lake because they are close to one another, and are being stocked. The Lower Salt was scheduled to be stocked this week and Saguaro is scheduled to be stocked the week of Dec. 15.

Anglers can try fly fishing in all trout-stocked waters such as the Lower Salt. Copper johns, prince nymphs, and egg patterns can work well for sub-surface flies, and for dry fly anglers can try stimulators and elk hair caddis. If you are spin fishing try small Rooster Tails with a gold blade in the slower moving water.

Saguaro has lots of fishing piers, especially in the Key Hole area just up from the marina. PowerBait is effective, but anglers may also want to try nightcrawlers that entice largemouth bass, yellow bass, bluegill and catfish. If you’ve learned how to tie a dropshot rig, try one with a nightcrawler or even mealworm.

Don’t forget the Community Fishing Program lakes are stocked with trout in the winter. There may be times when the community waters are offering some of the best trout fishing in the state. An angler reported to our Mesa Regional office Tuesday, Dec. 9 to weigh the above rainbow trout that weighed 3.46 pounds and measured 19 inches long.

Check the entire winter stocking schedule.

In the White Mountains, some lakes are thawing out with the recent warmer weather. Most areas have had no recent reports, but the little info we have indicates that even the higher elevation lakes have some open water at this time. Hot spots are Becker Lake and Silver Creek. Both are catch-and-release with artificial fly and lure with single barbless hooks only.

Not a bad time to get up to these mountains for a white Christmas. Speaking of – if you’re in need of some affordable holiday gift ideas, we’ve got you covered. Read about some of these ideas, including a $5 kids fishing license (great stocking stuffer.)

Also, keep up with the Arizona Department of Transportation for the latest road closures.

See our Fish&Boat Arizona map for directions to our state’s primary fisheries.

Outdoor recreationists and pilots are asked to give bald eagles

space during breeding season

Each year as part of its nationally-recognized and highly successful program to manage and conserve bald eagles in the state, the Arizona Game and Fish Department asks outdoor recreationists and aircraft pilots to help protect important eagle breeding areas by honoring the closure of 23 areas across the state.

Various land and wildlife management agencies close the breeding areas for part of the year to protect the state’s 55 breeding pairs of bald eagles. Some of the closure areas are located near popular recreation sites.

Read more.

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.


Please share your fishing memories and pictures with us at BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

Pena Blanca
Don L.: My friends and I returned to Pena Blanca yesterday, Dec. 6. We arrived around 8:30 a.m., and while overcast it wasn’t cold. The lake is full and pretty clean except for a lot of green algae down by the dam. The water temperature was 53 degrees. While we know the lake is stocked with trout, we went ahead and fished for bass. Between the three of us, we caught and released 28 bass by the time we quit at 2 p.m. The bass were small, but a lot of fun to catch. All were caught drop-shotting. We hope there is enough forage for them to someday get larger. Considering it is December and snowing in other parts of the country, we had a great time getting out on the water.

Chevelon Canyon Lake
Dave C.: Went to Chevelon Canyon lake last week. I fished right near the spill-away from the shore. Rainbows were hitting pretty hard on the drop-offs in the early hours. Best success was with a Rapala sinking jerkbait. But in all honesty, if it was the color gold and fished slow enough with a heavy jerk, they’d hit. None of the anglers I spoke with mentioned any luck with browns. Hope this helps.

Scott’s Reservoir
Jim: Fished Scott’s Reservoir late afternoon on Dec. 6 with no luck. Went back at around noon on Dec. 7. My wife caught two 11-12-inch rainbows right after noon and I got one about the same size about 1:30 (catch and release). Left around 1:45. We were using pink Trout Magnets from the shore. Great time, close to town. The temp was in the low 50s and wind picked up at times. We were the only ones on the lake.

Kinnikinick Lake
Doug P. of Clarkdale: Was there this Tuesday, Dec. 9. Pretty chilly, 27 f at 10 a.m. and very foggy. Caught 10 brown trout over about 2.5 hours, kept five. Several were obviously full off eggs so put those back to hopefully spawn. The road in is muddy and rough but passable after last rains.

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