Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

The anglers have spoken. We received a ton of angler reports that will give us a good feel for what could be biting during the next week or so. We do know it’s hot outside. Now let’s see the locations of some hot bites.

Here’s a quick rundown:

Lynx Lake for brown trout

If you prefer browns over rainbows, Lynx Lake in Prescott is the place for you. We’ve just stocked more than 6,000 browns into Lynx that average 9 inches. There also are larger, holdover browns from previous stockings.

Bartlett Lake, Lake Pleasant, Colorado River near Martinez Lake for flathead catfish

Fish the night for these bruisers. Bartlett Lake is always an excellent producer for flatheads, and an angler reported catching a 44-pound flathead on a live bluegill. “Flathead” Ed Wilcoxson said that at Pleasant, flatheads have been in 30-35 feet of water depth, along with one of their favorite food sources, bluegill. Also, Dean Linne on May 31 bow-fished for this non-hook and line state record flathead catfish (left) from Roosevelt Lake. It weighed exactly 60 pounds and measured 47 inches.

Lake Pleasant for stripers

With hot days, it’s a great time to fish the night for stripers at Pleasant. Coming off a new moon, and heading into a first quarter moon, submersible lights will be effective. Anchovies and small swimbaits are a couple baits that have been effective. Try trolling some of the northern coves with small swim baits for schooling stripers, and anchoring up, chumming and baiting with anchovies for larger stripers. Don’t forget the Colorado River for stripers.

Saguaro Lake and Bartlett Lake for bass

Go to Saguaro for the monsters and Bartlett Lake for quantity over size. Bartlett Lake is a good bet for beginners who want to jusr fish a dropshot rig with a Roboworm. Top-water action is pretty good at Saguaro and Bartlett; get there just before first light. As the sun comes up, fish deep (up to about 40 feet) with dropshots or Texas rigs, and keep a top-water lure such as a Zara Spook Jr. rigged and ready in case you spot surface boils.

Dogtown Lake, Bunch Reservoir, Willow Springs Lake, Frye Mesa Reservoir for trout

Anglers reported that Bunch and Dogtown (right) were productive recently, and we’ve receive multiple reports of trout cooperating at Willow Springs Lake on PowerBait and spinners such as trolled rooster tails. Frye Mesa Reservoir was stocked with a BUNCH of big, native Gila trout — an angler just caught one that weighed just over 3 pounds! (See picture below).

Check our summer stocking schedule, and find all these spots and more using our Fish & Boat Arizona map.

Don’t forget your license! Buy one online, which helps conserve wildlife for our children and grandchildren …


Colorado River near Martinez Lake
Ted M.: Fishing with my buddy John Taylor, I caught this 44-pound flathead catfish using live bluegill near Martinez Lake on June 13. A great night of fishing. We caught 11 catfish total.

Bartlett Lake
Barry from Cave Creek: If you can stand the heat bass fishing has been beyond excellent at Bartlett the past few weeks.

Rico top water on main lake points before the sun hits the water and after it leaves in the early evening. Mid mornings we have been tossing 5″ smoke and pepper grubs on a jig head in 12-15ft of water, bouncing it back to the boat through the water column, and picking up plenty of suspended bass but you really have to be a line watcher as the bite on this technique is very subtle. Midday been hitting them on drop shot and shaky heads at 12-25 ft. using Robo and Zoom finesse worms and keeping a clear Zara Spook Jr. handy throughout the day to target bass busting shad. Go out and enjoy and bring a boat dog with you to kiss and release your bass!

Dogtown Lake
Gilbert M.: Took my dad Gilbert M. to Dogtown Lake in Williams. Thank you for the report on what they were biting on. Green power bait got bites all day even in rain (picture in Dogtown section above). Took four home released a bunch.

Saguaro Lake
Jim F. of Tempe: My wife and I hit Saguaro at first light Friday morning, June 12. We almost went to Bartlett or Canyon — man am I glad we didn’t! We threw top-water lures and got several hits right away, but didn’t hook up on any. About 7 a.m. my wife had her lure smoked and asked me to get the net because she thought she had a sizeable fish. After doing a masterful job of tiring the thing out I could hardly believe my eyes as I netted not one, but two, fish. They both hit the lure at the same time — one was caught on the front treble hook and the other was hooked on the rear. The larger of the two fish weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces, and measured 24 ½ inches. The smaller one weighed 3 pounds, 6 ounces and measured 18 inches. To top it off she was using a light spinning rig with 8-pound monofilament. It’s one of the wildest things I’ve ever seen.

Red Mountain Lake
Romeo R. Caught this 7-pound, 27-inch catfish at around 9 p.m. with cut bait on a 3-way swivel rig by the Playground. Thanks for stocking these sizes in the lake for us bank anglers. Had a good time fighting with this fish.

Frye Mesa Reservoir
Robert H.: I have pictures of a 3 1/3-pound, 17 1/2-inch Gila trout that I caught today at 6 a.m. at Fry Mesa Reservoir. I caught this Gila trout using a bubble and a fly on 4 pound line. I also had one the night before that broke my line. I saw larger ones around the weeds but they are hard to get to.

Apache Lake
Chad B.: My fiancé and I kayaked 4 miles back into Alder Creek area and had an amazing time. Wasn’t as hot as it was in the valley and was absolutely amazing scenery. Once we found a good camp site I found some time to sink a couple lines. Once dark hit, I took my crankbaits and plastic worms off and started using nightcrawlers and hot dogs. I landed a 32-pound carp on my ultralight pole with 7-pound test. (See picture.) It took about a good 7-8 minutes before the carp wore out enough to bring her to shore. So much fun! Also caught a 20-pound carp the very next morning. Missed a couple other bites due to hunting down some firewood. Was a great get away!

Lake Pleasant
Frank B. of Avondale: My personal guide, Paul Castaldo, and I went to Lake Pleasant for a Saturday/Sunday overnight striper expedition. We were fishing in the north end no-wake zone. We were using sardines and did have our hits but no takers. We felt like the burros were laughing at us all afternoon.

We ended up doing some bass fishing in some small secluded area. Hits on nightcrawlers, nothing on plastics. Paul was able to end his slump with a bluegill. He gave it to me for catfish bait. We ended up going to sleep with three lines out with the burros still laughing at us. At 2:30 a.m., I had a big hit on that bluegill. Couldn’t get an accurate weight since it pegged the scale at 15 pounds so we are guessing 20 pounds. Went back to sleep then Paul hooks up a 5-pound flathead on nightcrawlers. Sunday we struck out on the bass so we finished the day feeding stripers but did manage a small channel cat on the anchovies.

Overall, great trip. Caught my largest flathead AND my smallest bass using a 2-inch spoon.

Kiwanis Lake (Tempe)
Brock P.: Caught this guy on a size 10 simi seal red and black at Kiwanis Park. Was fun bringing this guy in. Caught three bass while I was there, also using the same fly. Simi seals seem to be working great right now for bass and sunfish. Let the fly go to the bottom and just strip in slowly — the fish are deep in the urban lakes due to the heat. FYI, that’s a size 13 shoe so I guess he’s around an 8-10 pounder.

Greer area
Melissa M.: My dad and I went on a fishing trip to Greer this past week with the following to report:

River Reservoir: totally skunked

Tunnel: On the first cast my Dad, Greg May, hooked this giant rainbow on PowerBait! It was a struggle to land this big boy, but he prevailed and got himself a 24-inch 3.11-pound rainbow.

This fish made his top three biggest trout ever!

I also attached a picture of the big boy on a cutting board next to two Apaches we caught at Sheep’s Crossing earlier in the day. We have been fishing the Greer lakes a week in June for the past decade and this was the biggest fish we have ever seen out of these lakes. It really made our trip.

Bunch: Plenty of rainbows on PowerBait — everyone seemed to be doing very well.

Sheeps Crossing: Just stocked. We caught two fish with radio tags, very exciting. Actually we went there just to see if we could catch one. We talked to a game and fish guy tracking them who was very personable and knowledgeable. We released both of them.

Black River: (Buffalo Crossing) Plenty of small browns and chubs. No smallmouth bass. There seems to be conflicting info on whether or not they have made it that far. There were definitely some nice spots where you would expect them to be.

Silver Creek: A few Apaches — must not have been stocked when we went. Usually it’s gangbusters.

Big Lake: Limited out on rainbows — all very small.

Thank you — I read your reports every week and always like to see everybody’s pictures of their hauls.

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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