Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal


Spring is sprinting through the state, including consistent 80-degree daytime highs in the desert regions. Bass will soon be guarding beds en masse. Crappie may be following suit, as this full moon can be key to a spawn of these speckled beauties.

Daytime surface water temperatures in the desert lakes have been in the high-50s to low-60s. But of course they are on the rise.

The final trout stocking in the Phoenix/Tucson Community Fishing Program waters is taking place (until Saturday, March 7) and the first channel catfish stocking in the community waters will be March 19.

See the Community fishing stocking schedule.

If you’re headed to Bartlett Lake, keep this in mind: the Salt River Project has advised it began releasing water from Horseshoe Lake on March 3. Already the lake elevation has increased 8 feet and water flow in the Verde River between Horseshoe and Bartlett may reach 3,000 cubic feet per second. Campers are advised to camp at least 20-30 feet above the shoreline.

In the Agua Fria Conservation Area, motorized vehicular access will be closed to this weekend. Read more.

Great news from Willow Beach on the Colorado RIver (and for all Arizona anglers.) An agreement has been executed to ensure trout stockings will continue in the Colorado River. Check out the details.

Also, we’re getting modern with our stocking schedules. See what the hype is about.

Bill Luke Bass Days March 13-15

OK, we’ve got some pretty big events coming up. The biggest is Bill Luke Bass Days, March 13-15, at 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. See all the information.

Arizona Game and Fish Department Expo is coming in late March

The Department will be hosting its annual Outdoor Expo, Saturday and Sunday, March 28-29

The event is FREE and will have tons of events for the whole family to enjoy.

Last year’s Expo and Youth Day drew a total of 48,000 attendees, the highest three-day total in the event’s history.

Check out the kids fishing tanks and take home a free photo, a NEW OHV track, see all sorts of live wildlife, learn target archery and try other shooting sports in a safe, supervised, controlled environment on the range.

Get a feel for specialty shooting disciplines like clay target, cowboy action, practical pistol, black powder, and air gun. Check out the many firearms manufacturers, or see our new side-by-side OHV track!

Concessionaires will have food and beverages available for purchase, and many accept only cash — ATMs will be on site.

Expo hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Outdoor Expo is easy to find, located on Carefree Highway, about 1/2 mile west of I-17 in Phoenix.

Also, 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)

Tempe Kiwanis

Phan N.: 9.5-pound catfish (Saturday, Feb. 28) 35-pound white armor (at left, Sunday, Feb. 29).

Lower Salt River

Dave H.: Went fly fishing this week on the Lower Salt. The Sonora suckers are really active. I caught several of them in larger pools using a beaded woolly bugger. All were in the 2-3 pound range and put up a great fight.

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.


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