Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

GET OFF MY BED. A largemouth bass noses a bait at Saguaro Lake last weekend. George Andrejko/AZGFD
GET OFF MY BED. A largemouth bass noses a bait at Saguaro Lake last weekend. George Andrejko/AZGFD

Most bass are in pre-spawn mode in most of the desert lakes. Before last weekend’s storms, some desert drinks such as Saguaro Lake were said to have decent numbers of bedding bass. Like the one pictured here.

A lot is going on right now and it’s nearing one of the best times of the year to fish – Mr. Whiskers is coming back to Community waters, trout will be a refreshing mountain option, and bass will be feeding and attacking almost any bait you can throw in front of their bucket mouths. See some Arizona bass fishing how-to videos.

At Lake Powell, the expected springtime fish movement to shallow warmer water is now occurring. Stripers that were holding at 40-100 feet can now be found at 15-30 feet. Good time to visit this scenic, red-rock gem.

First-fish recipe: cheese stink bait rubbed on an anchovy

This is the first fish Hailee has caught. Her family fished from shore as they were camping at Davis Camp on the Colorado River. The family wasn’t getting any bites and Hailee decided to rub cheese flavored stink bait on the anchovy and caught that fish. A great call by the young angler!

They estimated it was 3-4-pound striper.


Big Fish of the Year

Bob Foy is the leader in the channel catfish category with this 9-pound, 10 1/4-ounce, 28 ¼-inch channel catfish taken from Red Mountain Lake on March 1.

See all the Big Fish of the Year leaders, and go get one yourself.


Video: Fish salvage at Tempe Town Lake

Water is being drawn down at Tempe Town Lake to remove the previous dam system. The lake is closed for water activities until April 30. Meanwhile, we’re working with the city of Tempe to save as many fish as possible!

See a video produced by the city of Tempe showing Game and Fish employees salvaging fish.


Fish stocking update

The following waters were stocked this week: Red Mountain; Encanto; Cortez; Rio Vista; Surprise; Pioneer; Desert West; Alvord; Lynx Lake; Silverbell; Kennedy; Sahuarita; Lakeside; Copper Sky; Veterans Oasis; Desert Breeze; Tempe Kiwanis;

Riverview; Chaparral; Oak Creek, Frances Short Pond; Deadhorse; Verde River; Goldwater; Parker Canyon; Frances Short, City Reservoir, Cataract.

For more timely stocking updates, follow @NickFishAZ on Twitter and look for tweets with #AZfishtracker


Community fishing update

Mark the week of March 21 on your calendar – Mr. Whiskers is coming back. The first load of catfish this year is coming to many Community lakes and ponds. Stay tuned.

Also see the Community stocking schedule that has just been updated through April.

Fish kill temporarily hampers angling at Lower Lake Mary in Flagstaff

A moderate fish kill occurred at Lower Lake Mary in Flagstaff on Thursday, and water quality testing by the Arizona Game and Fish Department has discovered areas of low dissolved oxygen that remained from the past winter.

Lower Lake Mary was stocked with trout Wednesday and Thursday. Although fishing will slow temporarily, be on the lookout for when fish become active on the surface.

The Department will be monitoring the water quality at Lower Lake  Mary and will stock more fish once it has improved.

Meanwhile, fishing at Dogtown Lake south of Williams or Frances Short Pond in Flagstaff will be good alternatives.


Patterson Ponds, newest Community fishing water, coming to St. Johns

Patterson Ponds, located in the rural community of St. Johns in the White Mountains of northeast Arizona, will become the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s newest Community Fishing Program (CFP) water. The ponds are scheduled to receive their first stocking of rainbow trout during the week of March 21-26.  Read more.


How fishing opportunities are funded

Did you know the Arizona Game and Fish Department receives NO Arizona general fund tax dollars? We hold the state’s wildlife in trust for the public without a dime from Arizona taxpayers.

Conserving fishing for future generations will require, in part, dedicated anglers to purchase licenses each year to maintain funding for conservation of all Arizona’s wildlife species.

Buy your license online  and fish our great state for a year (and help conserve all species of wildlife while doing so).


Other news

“Tiger trout are coming to town”

Arizona’s newest trout species will make its debut in four select waters next spring. Read more.


Angler Reports

(Send reports and pictures to


Saguaro Lake

Largemouth bass fishing is on fire at Saguaro Lake.

Matthew B.: Just taking a moment to share this photo of an 8-pound largemouth bass I caught at Saguaro Lake on the morning of Saturday March 5th.

My brother Tom and I fish Saguaro Lake quite frequently. Next weekend we are headed to Apache Lake for two days and hopefully this is an example of how the rest of the summer and fall might be….

This particular fish was caught on a dropshot rig with a 4-inch Punkin Punisher Roboworm. Yes, the fish was released immediately after the photos were taken.


Roosevelt Lake

My son caught this beauty while hanging out with his mom last weekend at Roosevelt. Caught it on a spinner.


Upcoming fishing events

What: Bill Luke Bass Days
When: March 18-20
Where:  Pleasant Harbor Marina in north Phoenix
Comments: For everyone, there will be a day and nighttime festival featuring a cornhole tournament, carnival rides, vendors, food, wildlife exhibits and live music. Read more about this exciting, annual event.

Read more about this exciting, annual event.

Also, see our full fishing clinics schedule.


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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