Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

If you’re near one of our Community Fishing Program waters (and we have 37 waters in 17 communities), catching trout shortly after a stocking can be one of the best bets for winter fishing success.

Next week, we have a Christmas bonus stocking planned for Phoenix-area expansion waters. (These waters will receive another trout stocking in February).  Some anglers will put their tackle into hibernation with this colder weather — but the trout should be biting for a while. Waters that will receive trout next week (safe to say they will have been stocked by Sunday, Jan. 10) are:

  • Friendship Pond, Avondale
  • Bonsall Pond, Glendale
  • Roadrunner Pond, Phoenix
  • Eldorado Pond No. 1, Scottsdale
  • McQueen Pond, Gilbert
  • Freestone Ponds, Gilbert
  • Discovery Ponds, Gilbert
  • Dave White Park Pond, Casa Grande
  • Pacana Park Pond, Maricopa

Also, the Community Fishing Program normally stocks trout that average nearly one pound and range in length from 10-12 inches. The next stocking in January will be the larger than usual fish — 13-16 inches length, and averaging 1 pound or greater. Set your drag accordingly …

Typically, it’s also winter crappie time. Unsteady weather has made crappie fishing hit and miss. Roosevelt Lake, Alamo Lake and even Patagonia Lake near Tucson can have good winter crappie action.

Also, anglers can check where the Bill Williams River enters Lake Havasu (you will see some ancient cottonwood tops sticking out of the water — that is a huge flat where the crappie like to hold.)

The crappie might be in 30 or even 50 feet of water, but the active crappie are usually at around 15 feet deep. Keep in mind that crappie feed upward.

So slow troll and get your bait or jig down to just above 15 feet. For example, 6-pound Fireline and a 1/16-ounce curly tail swimming jig translates into 41.5 feet of line at a trolling speed 1.5 mph to reach 14 feet.

Also consider Bartlett Lake as a dark horse crappie option.

Not a whole lot of time until the bass bite hits a winter lull. The water temperature at Roosevelt lake is in the mid-50s, and as water temperature near closer to 50 degrees (and below) the metabolism of bass will slow and anglers will have to fish particularly deep and use extra slow presentations (with dropshots, Texas rigs, etc).

It wouldn’t be a fishing report without giving you an easy link to purchase a fishing license — get ’em online. Your purchase helps conserve wildlife for future generations! (The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive state tax dollars.)

Upcoming free fishing clinics

What: Youth and Family Fishing Day
When: Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Red Mountain Park , 7745 E. Brown Rd., Mesa, 85207
Comments: Arizona Game and Fish Department and City of Mesa Parks and Recreation invite you to a family fishing day at Red Mountain Park. Fishing license fees will be waived by registering with AZGFD during the hours of the event. Bait will be provided as well as loaner equipment will be available. There is no cost for this event!

See the rest of the fishing clinics schedule.


(Send your fishing reports and pictures to

Lake Pleasant
Dustin C.: With my uncle in town from Idaho, and catching a striped bass on his fishing “bucket list,” we decided to brave the cold, rainy weather on Dec. 23 and head out to Pleasant for the day. It was a rough morning fishing the northern coves with every plastic imaginable. After 5 hours of fishing and one fish total, I decided to reach out to my friend Warren Risberg of Reel’em In Adventures.

At his suggestion, we went back to Castle Creek and hooked up his magic recipe: cut anchovies, a split shot and fluorocarbon line. Within a half hour, we were on the fish and they were much bigger than normal. We picked up 20-plus fish in just a few hours and had an absolute blast! Don’t skip the fluoro line — we had two poles right next to each other and the one with mono rarely got any bites.

Lower Salt River
Jim J.: Here’s a pic of a Largemouth Bass, one of four I caught on the Lower Salt at the Coon Bluff area, Christmas day, Friday December 25th. Caught using worms.


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