Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal


The world’s premier fishing tournament, the Bassmaster Elite Series, came to Arizona for the first time last weekend at Lake Havasu. Arizona’s homegrown anglers put on an impressive showing. Three of our anglers finished in the top 12, showing the world how we “Fish AZ.”

John Murray, whose hometown is Phoenix, finished 12th; Dean Rojas, from Lake Havasu, was sixth; Cliff Pirch, of Payson, was second, with a total weight of 66.9 pounds that was 2 pounds short of the winner, Aaron Martens.

Pirch was in first place heading into Sunday’s championship round.

Martens scored big using, of all things, black bird patterns, targeting areas with black bird nests. Read more information.

Lake Havasu was on display on national television, and for good reason — it has become one of the top bass waters in the United States. And this is a great time for fish Havasu for largemouth, striped and smallmouth bass, as well as redear sunfish, which are moving shallow. If you didn’t know, Havasu has given up a world record redear sunfish of 5.80-pound (just last year.)

The Arizona Game and Fish Department was there as well, with several educational opportunities — so thanks to all who came out to say, “hi.” We hope you’re inspired to get out and see what recreational opportunities Arizona has to offer.

See what else there is to do while in Lake Havasu City.

In the Flagstaff region, from May 4-9, we stocked Kinnikinick Lake, C.C. Cragin Reservoir, Ashurst Lake, Santa Fe Reservoir, City Reservoir, Whitehorse Lake, Knoll Lake, West Clear Creek, Wet Beaver Creek, Frances Short Pond, Mormon Lodge Pond, Huffer Tank and Oak Creek.

Oak Creek also got a heavy load of trout this week. A few anglers in Sedona on Monday reported that rainbow trout were hard to find. So be sure to cover a lot of water (that may mean plenty of rock-hopping and driving up 89A to several spots). Even when fishing is slow, the scenery is near impossible to beat.

Plenty of other spots to take shots at some rainbows, as well as native Apache trout. In the White Mountains, we just stocked trout into: Bear Canyon Lake (rainbows); Black Canyon Lake (rainbows); Clear Creek Reservoir (rainbows); Fool Hollow Lake (larger 12-13 rainbows); Luna Lake (rainbows); Show Low Lake (larger 12-13 inch rainbows) Black River (rainbow), East Fork (Apache); Black River, West Fork (Apache); Little Colorado River at Greer (Apache); Little Colorado River (rainbow), West Fork at Sheeps Crossing (Apache); Silver Creek (Apache).

See a Fish and Boat Arizona map for Google maps of all these waters.

This week at the Community Fishing waters, we stocked the “core” Phoenix, Tucson and Maricopa waters with catfish. See a CFP stocking schedule to find out which waters are “core.”

Finally, stripers are running at Lake Pleasant. Read about one way to catch these bass from a trip last Thursday night.

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


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

Lake Pleasant

Doug F.: Great day at Lake Pleasant today caught some large striper trolling in Humbug!

Kevin T.: Lake Pleasant report for May 9:

We started at around 11:30 am. Saw some largemouth bass visible by South Boat ramp at Pleasant Harbor. We used a dropshot setup with palomar knots for all our live bait with 3/8-ounce weight.

(1 hour)
Fished east of boat ramp and twice had 3-5-pound largemouth bass chasing crankbaits all the way to the boat, but didn’t get any strikes.

(2 hours)
Honeymoon cove.
Fished back of cove north of the dominate reef in 30-35 of water. Anchovies didn’t get any bites. Caught three 2-pound striped bass on worms! No bites on minnows; no bites on waterdogs.

(2 hours)
Fished at the mouth of Coles Bay on the east side. Caught very large sunfish on worms – see picture.

(1 hour)
Fished bass bay just east of Castle Creek. No bites on anchovies, minnows

(1 hour)
Fished east of boat ramp ‘til dark with crankbaits – no bites.

Lake Mead

Ray and Yoli: Had a great day of striper fishing at South Cove of Lake Mead today, May 11. Landed a total of 79 fish! Most in the 2-3-pound class and a few in the 4-pound class. Before the wind kicked up, the action was non-stop with pretty much every cast landing a keeper!

Lake Mary

Cole C.: This past Friday. I lucked out and landed this 33-inch, 11-pound blue cat from Upper Lake Mary. My name is Cole Cooper, an engineering student at NAU. Just wanted to share my good fortune!

Surprise Lake

Bob R.: We were fishing on Saturday afternoon, May 9, at Surprise Lake. My son Sean caught several bluegill including this 1-pound, 1-3/8 ounce beauty on a Carolina-rigged nightcrawler.

Bartlett Lake

Fishing is great. Drop-shotting points and reefs in the flats area was most productive for numbers of bass. Lipless cranks were also effective for schooling bass chasing shad when cloudy and windy. Bigger fish are by dam



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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