Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Fishing 101

Saturday is Arizona’s free fishing day. As part of National Fishing and Boating Week (June 6-14), no fishing licenses are required for people fishing in any of our state’s public waters. Read more.

High country trout

It’s a great time for high country trout. First to the White Mountains. Nelson Reservoir will be excellent when it is stocked heavily this week. Woods Canyon Lake is good for stocked trout in the Rim Lakes area. Fool Hollow Lake and Show Low Lake is good for recently stocked supercatchable size (12-13-inch) rainbow trout, and Woodland Lake is fair to good for recently stocked rainbows. Big Lake is good for holdover rainbow, cutthroat, and brook trout. Lee Valley Lake was stocked with catchable size Apache trout several weeks ago.

Fire closure in Tonto National Forest

Also, drought conditions, hot temperatures, and increased fire danger have resulted in fire restrictions for the Tonto National Forest beginning at 8 a.m., Friday, June 5. Most fire-related activities will be prohibited across the forest. Read more from the Tonto National Forest website.

Gila trout stocked in Frye Mesa Reservoir

Now to Mt. Graham. Fish for something different this summer — state records are possible for native Gila trout at Frye Mesa Reservoir. Lots of big ones have been stocked! Read in our Fish AZ blog about how to catch them, directions to Frye Mesa, and exactly how many are being stocked.

Fish bits

Read last week’s fishing report for some tips about what bass are up to as temperatures in desert regions rise into the 100s. (You may already know: they’re going deeper, for one.)

If you’re headed to Alamo Lake, keep in mind Cholla Ramp is closed until at least Aug. 31. The lake elevation is 1,092 feet. Read more. If you aren’t following our Fish AZ blog, you’re missing out on some of the latest fishing updates.

Be sure to check our summer trout stocking schedule.

Licensed to fish

Need a license? Click here to purchase a license that is valid for 365 days and helps conserve wildlife.



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

Woods Canyon Lake
Josh L.: Had a great time with my son: got plenty or trout with a garlic PowerBait.

Willow Springs Lake

Charlie L.: (May 28) Took the “Thistle Dew” up the long arm of Willow Springs Lake across from the boat ramp. Went past the stumps to the triangular opening and trolled a cowbell. Lots of strikes but no hook-ups. Finally caught an 8-incher. Switched to a bronze Super Duper and trolled up channel a bit and saw a trout jump twice way behind the boat–then realized it was on my line. Got it to the boat but clunked it on the head with the net and it got off. It was a nice one, too. Went back to the triangle with a cowbell and caught a nice one and then caught one reeling in the Super Duper. Had enough for a good meal with the family so headed back trolling lures that I hadn’t used before. First was a tiny bass look-a-like that got nothing but weeds. Then I trolled a foul cast Z-Ray. Put on a gold flatfish. Flatfish like to be trolled really slow and as the wind was steady, cut the motor and drift trolled. Finally started the motor for an inside curl in a cove and the strike nearly jerked the pole from my hand. The cheap UglyStick knock-off bent double as the trout dove under the boat. Got my net and was able to lift the trout into it. Got out the tape and it was a 15-incher.

Thick, too. Now had enough to even feed my two grandsons.

Ashurst Lake
Mike S.: Just wanted to share the great weekend of fishing we had at Ashurst. Started slow with worms under bobbers. Switched up to cheese PowerBait 2 feet off the bottom and started doing well. Caught 16 total with several of more than 12 inches and my wife landing a 16-inch beauty. Thank you for the updates.

Colorado River (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam)
Charles S.: Water temps have been holding steady at 76 in current and 78.5 in the lakes, though the upcoming hot weather will bring those up pretty quickly. The algae bloom has started and you should plan on seeing some bodies of water turning faster than others. In this area I view algae blooms as a good thing for the fishery.

Fishing for bass in the current is still pretty slow going, but I expect the fish to become more active in the upcoming weeks. Largemouth are biting well in the lakes, most of my fish have been caught on crankbaits and soft plastics in 5-8 foot of water. They are hitting a fairly wide array of colors and lure styles so you shouldn’t have a difficult time catching fish. If you’re really hard up to catch fish, you can always resort to using some local fare such as Kentucky fried chicken or hot dogs.

Rose Canyon Lake
My fiance and I fished top water with black/silver rooster tails Friday and Saturday. The sunrise and sunset top-water bite was steady as well around 9 a.m. Easily caught 8-9 trout when the bite was on and kept three solid 9-12-inch trout.

People using bait on the top around us didn’t seem to have much luck, but some people using worms and PowerBait were steadily getting catches off the bottom.

Show Low Lake
Jim and Cloyce R.: My wife and I went for our first fishing outing of the year last Wednesday. We went up to Lakeside from Casa Grande after the Holiday weekend crowd.

We got on the lake around 11:30 a.m. and did some drifting and trolling around the lake without a bite. Around 1:30 p.m. we stopped on the northeast side of the lake to break for lunch.

While we ate lunch on shore we both put our lines in the water with fluorescent red PowerBait on mine and a worm on my wife’s.

It was about 10 minutes when I had a fish on my line. I brought in a nice 12-inch stocker rainbow.

Ten minutes later I brought in another ‘bow the same size. That was when my wife decided to ditch the worm and rig with PowerBait.

It took another 20 minutes for my wife to bring in 12- and 13-inch ‘bows. We left there at 2:15 to troll and drift down to the south end of the lake and back.

As a side note, we got to see the eagles nest at the south end with the male eagle perched on a limb overlooking the nest.

I caught my next ‘bow while drifting about the middle of the lake.

We ended up back where we ate lunch around 4 p.m. and decided to anchor the boat about 10 yards offshore and fish there until 6 p.m.

My wife got four more ‘bows with the biggest being 14 inches. I only hooked up with one more, which broke the line when trying to net it.

This was the first time my wife had gotten a limit of fish in her adult life. As you can see by the picture, all the fish were plenty big enough.

The best fishing we have had in 10 years of fishing Show Low Lake.

Thanks to AZGFD for your stocking efforts.

Riverview Lake (Mesa)
Doug S.: Today (May 29) Foalima Tuileva “Tui” caught these four catfish at Riverview Lake in Mesa. The largest one weighed 9.3 pounds.

Tempe Town Lake
Jim and Scott Y.: Fished Tempe Town Lake Memorial Day Weekend and had an absolute blast! We arrived as they opened the boat launch at 5 a.m. Saturday, and got our boat/trolling motor in the water about 15 minutes later. Fishing the east end of the lake, using drop shot and egg slider rigs baited with cut up hot dogs; we caught and released a total of 17 catfish in about 5 hours. Most were in the 12-14 inch range, a few 18 inchers, and our big fish of the day was a 28 inch, six pounder on an ultralight rod, talk about fun!

The cats are mid-spawn right now, some with full egg bellies, and some had already dropped. Midday under the bridges was fair, but the best bite was early, and east end. For those who don’t think Tempe Town Lake has a lot of fish to catch — thank you. That just leaves more for us who know better. Special thanks to Fry’s, for the 10/$10 packages of hot dogs. Cheap bait!

Dogtown Lake
Bill S.: Just spent 10 days at Dogtown. Did not spend a lot of time fishing, but my grandaughter caught two nice trout – 12 and 14 inchers using green PowerBait on the bottom. Her first fishing experience! Other folks were catching their limit. One guy said he caught an 18-inch fish. We have been going to Dogtown for Memorial Day for the past 15 years, and have never seen better fishing for big trout! Also watched bald eagles attacking osprey ‘til the osprey dropped their fish, then the eagle would swoop down and grab their meal.

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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