It’s the forehead-soaked homestretch of summer. Consider fishing the night, morning or high country. First, though, pick a species.
So what are you looking to catch?
The nighttime striper bite at Lake Pleasant still is one of the best bets going. Take anchovies, set out a high-quality submersible light, drop some ‘chovies deep (80-plus feet), and wait for the “zing.” We’re at the tail end of the new moon phase (quarter moon Aug. 22) and using submersible lights at night will still be effective.
Looking for bass of the largemouth variety? Try Saguaro Lake. Night fishing has been excellent, and in the morning, bass are chasing bait. Try top-water lures and swimbaits in the mornings. As the morning progresses, throw dropshot-rigged Roboworms (morning dawn with a chartreuse tip and red crawler are good colors). Anglers can target humps, points, boulders, reef signs and grass bottoms. Of course, locate the food source (shad, for example) and you’ve found the fish.
Gary Senft, a Bass Pro at the Mesa Bass Pro Shops, caught this hawg last week on a dropshot-rigged Roboworm.
Bassin’ is also “average to good” at Roosevelt Lake. Feeding patterns have included top-water or subsurface reaction bites, as well as bass swimming in schools called “wolf-packs.”
OK, here are some hot spots. Woods Canyon Lake and Willow Springs Lake are good for stocked trout in the Rim lakes area. Fool Hollow Lake is good for bass and sunfish. Show Low Lake is fair for walleye at night or early morning and good for trout. Nelson Reservoir is good for green sunfish and stocked rainbow trout. Fishing at the lower Colorado River in Greer, Sheeps Crossing, and Silver Creek are also good to excellent.
In the Flagstaff area, Kinnikinick is a viable option. Escape the crowds, and because it’s spring fed, it often has a nice summer bite. Some decent browns linger here as well. About 14,000 rainbow trout have been stocked in Kinnikinick Lake during the past two weeks.
Fishing was slow on the Williams Lakes this past weekend, but we did hear a report that folks fishing Dogtown have been catching limits of trout between 5 and 7 a.m.
How about Bartlett Lake, home of the heaviest recorded fish of all time? Try toppling “Flathead” Ed Wilcoxson’s 76.54-pound flathead catfish landed last two years ago. Or just take something home that’s good to eat. Ted M. caught this 54-pound flathead catfish last week from the Colorado River near Martinez Lake. See more about his flathead fiesta below in the Angler Reports.
It’s prime flathead catfish season. Try live bluegill or small carp as bait. Look for the deeper holes, especially up-lake where there is a little current. For bluegills, try the backs of rocky coves using nightcrawlers or meal worms on light tackle.
Our Fish&Boat Arizona map will show plenty of other options, as well as the locations of those mentioned above.
Also, see a full list of fire restrictions in Arizona.
Buying a license online helps conserve wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations. Help yourself and your future loved ones.
It’s also about time for a final high-country trout fishing excursion. Consult our summer trout stocking schedule.
(Please send your fishing reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)
Dana Y.: Dale Yeager caught this 9-pound Canyon Lake bass on Aug. 8. We only caught four fish, but this one made his day. A Yeager Family Record.
He caught the fish about 8:30 a.m. at the upper end of the lake. He was using a Scrounger jighead and I am not sure what kind of minnow soft bait attached. We went back again Saturday the 15th. We only caught one fish in 5 hours up-stream. When we got back to the boat dock, there were lots of people. Fish were boiling right by the dock though, and we caught four bass in less than a half an hour. Go figure. This is the smaller boat dock above the second bridge.
Colorado River (near Martinez Lake)
Ted M.: On a very hot, humid desert summer night and with very little breeze, John Taylor and I (Ted McLoughlin) were fishing on the Colorado River near Martinez Lake. Fishing for bait seemed to be difficult at times and it didn’t seem like we were going to have a very productive night.
In the early evening we had our first double run and caught our first flathead catfish (8 pounds). On the other pole the fish was lost; the hook was not set and pulled out of the fish’s mouth after a short battle.
As the evening progressed we had one of the poles take off ripping line out, as the hook was set we knew we had a large fish (54 pounds), during that action a second pole took off and was pulling line. I immediately grabbed that rod and set the hook so now the fight was on: two fish off the back of the boat at the same time. I quickly landed the smaller flathead (12 pounds) and began to help John with the larger flathead. Wow, what a rush to pull a large catfish out of the water.
During the night we caught seven flathead catfish totaling 131 pounds: 54, 35, 12, 10, 9, 8, 3. All fish were returned to the water safely. We encourage everyone to take a child out and teach them the joys of fishing and enjoy the Arizona fishery.
Upper Salt River
Claude R.: The (flathead catfish) was caught Sunday at 7:30 pm I used Walmart brand nightcrawlers and I used a mango spot LCD digital hook scale 110lbs/50 kg (to weigh the fish.) Took me about 45 mins to finally land the monster fish.