Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

From the high pines to the lowers deserts, fishing is about to be gangbusters. Round up the family and friends, stuff camping and fishing tackle in the trunk or cab, grab a fishing license, fill up the tank and take off on a spring fishing adventure.

Full moon is Friday. We have nice warm weather, even briefly hitting the 90s this weekend in the deserts. This should definitely be the time for the crappie to spawn. Mini jigs and live minnows should be the trick for most.

Alamo, Roosevelt, and San Carlos should be on fire. Bartlett could be OK. Every now and then, some big crappie are being taken from Lake Pleasant.

We should also see a spawning surge for largemouth bass right now. Check the backs and sides of shallow coves. Use polarized glasses to see. For lures, think bright colors — ones you can see if you plan to sight fish the beds. Please immediately release bedding bass.

Catch of the week

Here’s what’s new with your fellow adventurers!

Photo by @RedneckTC


Use #ADVENTURERENEWED for your chance to get featured on the Catch of the Week.

Take the trout Challenge

Headed to the high country?  Complete one of our trout challenges. Any angler completing the Challenge will receive a certificate featuring the species caught along with dates and locations. The first group of anglers to complete the Challenge will receive Trout Challenge “schwag” that could include a sweatshirt, hat and/or water bottle.

More high country highlights

  • Greer reservoirs Bunch, River, and Tunnel were stocked with trout on Tuesday.
  • Last week, Rainbow Lake, Show Low Lake, and Fool Hollow Lake were each stocked with large “supercatchable” size trout.
  • Knoll Lake is now open off Highway 87 on the Coconino National Forest side of the Mogollon Rim.
  • If you plan on hitting the East Fork of the Black River, anglers could catch a tagged trout. See what to do (act “normal”). 
  • Dogtown Lake south of Williams should still be a hot spot for brown trout. See why, as well as our top-5 places to fish, in the Williams/Flagstaff area.
  • Keep following for more tiger trout updates. In May, the tigers are coming to Arizona for the first time to Carnero, Becker, Willow Springs and Woods Canyon lakes.

    Fishing licenses, stocking updates

Fishing is family fun at an incredible value, so go make some memories.

Looking for fast stocking updates? Search Twitter for #AZfishtracker (@NickFishAZ) for real-time updates such as this Thursday, April 21 tweet announcing that day’s completion of catfish stockings.

Our fishing licenses are valid for 365 days, so get ’em online and help support all of our wildlife species.

Angler Reports

(Send reports and pictures to

Big Lake

Lee M. of Sierra Vista: First trip of 2016 to the lake. Caught this nice one, on a nightcrawler, at South Cove on Saturday, April 16, in freezing cold wind and snow; the fish were biting, though! Caught limit on Saturday and Sunday.

Colorado River (near Martinez Lake)

Ted M. The water is starting to warm up! My fishing partner John Taylor and I were fishing on the Colorado River near Martinez Lake. The fishing trip started with a lot of rain and some hail, and suddenly the skies cleared and the winds calmed down.

We were able to catch some bluegill and search for the right spot to fish for flathead catfish. After setting up, we had three fish in the boat and had them released, before the first game of cards could be played. It turned out to be a great night of fishing; we caught seven flathead catfish totaling 98 pounds. The catfish season is just starting, so take a child out and enjoy the Arizona rivers and lakes.

Patagonia Lake

Wayne: Fishing at Lake Patagonia is picking up now that the spawn is running down. Spent Thursday afternoon at the dock at the west camp ground and ran out of bait in three hours.

Crappie, redear and largemouth were everywhere I threw a hook. One gentleman said to have landed about 30 crappie (I only saw 6-8 come in). Both my wife and I would have been out on the boat but this week we had to fish from the shore and were not disappointed. The largest bass was about 19 inches and 3-4 pounds.

A lot of kids were catching fish for the first time and I would bet they are hooked.

Upcoming free fishing events

What: Family Fishing Day

When: Saturday, April 23, 8 a.m. – noon

Where: Red Mountain Lake, 7745 E. Brown Rd. Mesa

Comments: Come out and enjoy some family fun with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Staff and volunteer instructors will be providing free fishing for everyone who signs in at the Game and Fish booth during event hours. Bait will be provided and loaner equipment will be available. This event is free; see you there!
Contact: For more information please contact the Sport Fishing Education Program at (623)236-7240

See the full schedule.


3 thoughts on “Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal”

  1. Went to Riggs flat lake on Tuesday may 3rd an caught 4 nice size rainbow trout off the bottom with floating power bait. The weeds were heavy. The trout were jumping all day an feeding heavy on the top but not biting any lures.

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