Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Some big boys are being caught out there. First, Lake Havasu.

Two days ago, this 44-inch, 36-pound striper was caught Wednesday afternoon on an anchovy. This man told John Galbearth of Bass Tackle Masters that he hadn’t caught a striper all winter. Then — Yahtzee.

Another monster from Havasu. This flathead catfish was taken Feb. 22 from the Black Meadow area. It weighed 59.8 pounds. See one of our videos that has some flathead-catching tips.

On the whole, striper fishing is tough at Havasu since shad have not yet spawned. Surface water temperature at Havasu on Friday was 60 degrees.

Salt River-chain dandy Apache Lake also was the site of some great catches recently. Gary Becko came to our Mesa Regional office with this state record smallmouth buffalo caught on Friday, Feb. 20. The fish weighed 42.86 pounds and measured 38 inches long.

Becko was using a minnow. Get this: he caught it using 8-pound test line. Keep in mind, the fish is the only of its species that has been submitted for a state record. An impressive catch nonetheless.

Here’s another, again from Apache. Nice to get a picture of a plump yellow bass. Bruce W. caught this yellow bass on Feb. 3 that weighed 1-pound, 10.24 ounces and qualifies as a Big Fish of the Year leader for its species. Congrats, Bruce!

This could be the final cold front and last wisp of winter before anglers can prep for some of the best fishing conditions of the year.

We’ve had some early largemouth bass spawning action. Saguaro Lake had some spawning activity last Wednesday — the water temperature hit 62 degrees. The day before, some anglers said they were moving shallow and building nests. (Saguaro must have some hard-working bass.)

Pre-spawning activity had been witnessed at Havasu (a few bass are actually on beds) and Roosevelt as well. With this cold blast, some bass might think twice about moving shallow and building or protecting nests until water temperatures rise and stabilize.

Great time to get one of the above monsters, or get rigged and ready for spring. Need a license? We’ve got ’em! Purchasing a license online also helps conserve wildlife for future generations. (Did you know we receive no state tax dollars?)

Good news about this front is trout are receiving a nice little cool-off. After an unseasonably warm stretch, the bite could pick up, especially in community lakes and ponds. Our last trout stocking for central and southern community waters this season will take place on the week of March 2-7. Catfish stockings will resume after that during the week of March 16-21. Trout will continue to be stocked into Green Valley Lakes in Payson until early May.

Also, see the Community Fishing Program stocking schedule.

And check out our Fish&Boat Arizona map to easily locate our state’s top fisheries.

Now an update on the Agua Fria Conservation Area: Motorized access will be closed this weekend due to weather. Read more.

OK, we’ve got some pretty big events coming up. Here’s a rundown.

  • Alamo Lake Cleanup, Saturday, March 7: Register at the group use area on March 6. For more information, call the park or call Stew at (928) 856-0706.
  • Bill Luke Bass Days, March 13-15, Pleasant Harbor Marina. Bill Luke Bass Days is the Southwest’s largest family fishing tournament and festival. Everyone can partake in day and nighttime festivals featuring a Cornhole Tournament, food, vendors, carnival rides, wildlife exhibits and live music. Stay tuned for more information.
  • Visit our Fish AZ blog for the latest free public fishing events, as well as timely fishing reports, fish stories and more.


(Please send your fishing reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)

SRP canal (Mesa)

Johnathan T.: Caught this nice carp in the canal in Mesa. Caught with a tortilla. Released and swam away. 15 pounds.

Upper Lake Mary

Anonymous: Only catch of the day for the 3.5 hours we were there — lots of wind. But he caught it from shore north side of upper Lake with a gold shad bomber crankbait.


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