Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Bartlett Lake in Arizona is always a good spring fishing choice with high quantities of bass that are primarily in post-spawn mode. That means: throw your favorite bass lure and enjoy the fight.

Erratic weather keeps “throwing a wrench” into some semi-predictable fishing patterns — but it’s fishing. We love it anyway.

Alright, mark Saturday, June 4 on your calendar — it’s our state’s Free Fishing Day. During that day, which is part of National Fishing and Boating Week, anglers won’t need a fishing license to fish any of our state’s public waters.

See a schedule of all our free fishing clinics on our Fish AZ blog, a fishing learning center, and stay tuned for more details of Free Fishing Day events.

So as water temperatures rise and we enjoy one of the best seasons of the year to celebrate the rich heritage of fishing with your compadres, here’s a rundown of what’s biting for your next adventure:

  • Our core Community waters. They were stocked with catfish on Wednesday. See which are core. The only core waters that did not get fish Wednesday were Cortez (golden algae) and Sahuarita, at their request, due to a triathlon.
  • Dead Horse Ranch State Park lagoons. Bass are biting and some are still spawning.
  • Mingus Lake. White and pink PowerBait is working or silver-bladed spinners.
  • Lake Mead and Mohave. Both have been going strong for bass.
  • Lower Lake Mary.  Fishing has picked up with folks catching trout on bait around the dam and flies along the shallows.  Fly anglers were averaging about 15 fish an hour on No. 12 bead head prince nymphs this past Friday before a storm moved in.
  • Upper Lake Mary. Campground is closed, but northern pike and walleye are being caught by anglers. The walleye were being caught trolling crawler harnesses and fishing bottom bouncers along the shore in the narrows and from the narrows toward the dam.  Northern pike are being caught near shore on anchovies in the upper parts of the lake.
  • Dogtown Reservoir. Still one of the hottest trout fishing spots.
  • Oak Creek. Some nice brown trout are being caught near Grasshopper Point.
  • Parker Canyon Lake.  Bluegill fishing has been reported to be excellent.
  • Flathead catfish at Bartlett Lake and Lake Pleasant. This is also one of the best times of the year to fish for flathead catfish.
  • Rainbow Lake, Show Low Lake, and Fool Hollow Lake were recently stocked with large “supercatchable” size trout.

See our Fish & Boat Arizona map for directions to each.


Catch of the week


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

Photo by: @onageroutside
Photo by: @onageroutside

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.

See more information.


“Tiger trout are coming to town”

Arizona’s newest trout species is making its debut this month in four select waters. Read more.

Angler Reports

(Send reports and pictures to

Halsey Reservoir
Travis T.: Caught these with my wife Tuesday at Halsey Reservoir near Alpine in less than 45 minutes.

Cataract Lake
Steve E. of Morristown: I caught this rainbow trout at Cataract Lake at about 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 2. It was 21 inches long. 3.6 pounds. I caught that trout on chartreuse PowerBait. On Wed., May 4, I caught a 17-inch rainbow at the same spot — same time and same bait.

Lower Colorado River
Charles S. It’s been a really good year so far for bass fishing in the lower Colorado River. The largemouth have wrapped things up and are in post-spawn and hitting just about any type of bait fairly aggressively. In the Martinez Lake area, water temperature is holding steady at 71 degrees in the current, and up to 75 degrees in select backwater areas. Pictured is James K with a sweet limit of largemouth and his biggest bass to date. As usual, all bass were released.

McCormick Ranch Ponds
Andrew M.: My son caught two bass in the 5-pound range one Sunday night, May 1, McCormick Ranch Ponds.  Using  silver Rapala.

Lake Pleasant
Darrell: Caught this one May 1 – it was down about 30 feet.

Gearing for summer trout: fishing license … check?

Buying a license is pretty easy these days. Just buy one online and fish our great state for a year (and help conserve all species of wildlife while doing so). If you didn’t know, they’re good for 365 days from the date of purchase.

Upcoming free fishing events

What: Family Fishing Day
When: Saturday, May 7, 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Where: Silverbell Lake at Christopher Columbus Park, 4600 N. Silverbell Rd.
Comments: This family event is being put on by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Game and Fish staff will be on hand to provide loaner rods for those who don’t have their own, as well as providing bait and fishing information. Come on out and bring the whole family. The event is free and fishing licenses are not required for those who register with Game and Fish Staff during the planned hours of the event. See you there!
Contact: Please contact the Tucson Game and Fish Department office at (520) 628-5376 for more information.

See the full 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.


One thought on “Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal”

  1. This is all SO GOOD. I grew in the mountains of Colorado, but when I learned to fly fish at the time I was more interested to scrambling over rocks than waiting with a line. So I stopped for several years and last fall was the first time I fished in adulthood, reeling in silver salmon in while living in Alaska.I’m moving to Missoula next month and really looking forward to learning how to fly fish

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s