This time of the year, sportfish start to spring from their summer doldrums and wreck surface lures. The surface action at dusk and dawn has started picking up during calm days at Lake Powell (famous for triple-digit days), Lake Pleasant, Lake Havasu, Saguaro, Canyon, Rosy – pretty much name it.
These sportfish start to get a bit more active in early August, chasing shad at or near the surface. Sometimes this results in boils, where the shad jump out of the water to escape predators.
This weekend could be hit-and-miss. At first and last light, try poppers, chuggers, buzzbaits and stick baits such as a Zara Spook, where you “walk the dog,” making the lure dart back and forth, dancing on the surface as though it’s a wounded shad. Never know when a bass will surprise you by blasting the lure and scattering the surface. Nothing like it.
But for pure numbers, a dropshot rig is the best summertime largemouth bass technique. Most bass anglers are fishing at night.
If you didn’t know, you can get real-time stocking schedules by becoming an “I Support Wildlife” member. Read more. It’s a must-have for Arizona anglers trying to pinpoint a bite. Otherwise, consult our summer trout stocking schedule.
And if you don’t have a license, purchase one online. They’re valid for 365 days from the date of purchase and help conserve wildlife.
(Please send your fishing reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)
Silverbell Lake (Tucson)
Erik M.: Caught this 41-inch white amur! This occurred July 19 at about 8 a.m. Bait used was at first corn, then switched to white bread. I had used a spinning reel with 20-pound test line. The white amur was 20 feet off the shore skimming the water as soon as the water warmed up. Originally was going for a bigger catfish but ended up catching my first fish over 22 inches, which was the white amur that was “unofficially” measured in my backyard at 41 inches from mouth to tail. I’m 5’6″ and the fish seemed to be about 2/3 my size.
Although I believe in catch and release, upon bringing the fish on the shore it had snagged on some sort of piping or metal object protruding out of the reeds which punctured and injured the fish in several places. At first I began to put it on a stringer to take a picture then release it, which I did, and I placed it back into the water while it was still on my stringer. About 15 minutes later the fish had showed signs of weakening and began to die basically. The maintenance guy on the ground had suggested I take it home to measure it and possibly fry it. Thanks! – Erik
Rob C. of Goodyear: Some friends and I have gone night fishing for stripers the last three Fridays. We’ve had some pretty good luck each time catching a lot of fish in the 12-15-inch range, and some in the 20-23-inch range using anchovies under a light in the northern end of the lake. Bigger fish tend to be around 40-50 feet deep, but it’s hard to get down that far because the little runts keep intercepting the bait at about 30 feet. It takes a while to attract the shad, but once they move in the big fish aren’t far behind. Last week was a 37-fish night. Looking forward to going out again this Friday!
Penny A.: We caught these stripers at Scorpion Bay, Lake Pleasant, July 26. We used Rapalas. Lots of fun! Thanks AZ Fish & Game for keeping AZ fun!
Kellen L. of Mesa: Left Mesa early in the morning Tuesday, Aug. 4 and reached Haigler Canyon Campground by sunrise. Water was dark and murky. Used a dark-colored Panther Martin and caught at least one rainbow out of each hole as I walked up and down the creek.
All fish were released and all were stocker sized with the largest about 13 inches.
On a wildlife note. As I was switching out my leader, a group of five turkeys slowly walked along the ridge just 20 feet above me. Also saw a mature doe across from the campground as I left. This was my first time at Haigler Creek — a beautiful area — and will definitely be back.