Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal


The recent full moon helped trigger a heavy wave of spawn activity in the Phoenix/Tucson-area desert lakes. Although largemouth bass spawn through June, this will likely be the final such apex of spawn activity for some time. Please release bedding bass (especially those younger, 4-5 pounders) to help keep future bass populations robust.

In many desert lakes such as Lake Pleasant, shad are spawning. Anglers can grab a four-foot throw net and snatch shad that tend to race along the shoreline. One accurate netting can scoop up enough bait for the day.

All of our Community Fishing Program waters have been stocked with catfish. See a stocking schedule. The “core” fishing waters in Phoenix and Tucson will be stocked again May 11-16.

This is also one of the best times of the year to fish for flathead catfish (they tend to not move as much at night during the full moon, however.) About this time two years ago “Flathead” Ed Wilcoxson caught a state-record flathead at Bartlett Lake. In doing so, he allowed AZGFD to get on his boat and grab video of some of his secrets. Have fun!

If you plan on fishing the lower Colorado River or the East Fork of the Black River, you just might catch a tagged trout. If you choose to keep a trout, please return the tags to AZGFD. Read more about this project.

On Saturday, several anglers caught their first fish at the second annual Brian Pinney Memorial Fishing Clinic in north Phoenix. Thanks to all who came out to our pond at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility and learned some “Fishing 101.” Some, like the girl on the left, caught their first fish.

We are also looking forward to participating in the Payson Wildlife Fair this Saturday! This fair includes activities and booths to promote wildlife recreation, games, a fishing clinic and other traditional outdoor recreation opportunities. It’s free to the public. For more information, call the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Mesa office at (480) 981-9400.

See more public fishing events from our Fish AZ blog.

And be sure to grab a license online – your purchase helps conserve wildlife!


(Please send your fishing reports to

Canyon Lake

Jason S.: We fished from 6 p.m. till 1 a.m. We caught five before 7:30 and only one after. Two were nice though: a 5.5-pound bass around 9, but the best bite was earlier and I caught a 7-pound, 3-ouncer on a dropshot.

Lake Pleasant

Kevin: Fished the Upper Agua Fria Arm of Lake Pleasant via Table Mesa Road on May 1. It was one of our best days this season. Lots of doubles and triples on stripers and largemouth. Fishing was good until 9:30 a.m., dead when breeze quit until 11:30 a.m., and great the rest of the day when the south wind started. Caught more than 40 and lost many more on shad imitation baits. The water level has dropped, but loading our boat was no problem. The water has actually come up a few inches this week due to CAP inflows.

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.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s