Sunfish and mudbugs: how to do family fishing in AZ

Sunfish and mudbugs. Kids love ’em. If you’ve never tried putting the family on these fun species to catch then you might be missing out on Arizona’s best summertime family outings.

Show Low Lake and Fool Hollow Lake are excellent fisheries for getting the family into the outdoors and onto sunfish and mudbugs (freshwater lobster).

Here’s a quick how-to video from Show Low on one of the best ways to have a fun family outing in the high country — it could end with a spectacular dinner:

 

Here’s a rundown of the basics:

Catching crawdads in Arizona

Have a net handy for catching crawdads -- they're known to fall off the hook once the come out of the water.
Have a net handy for catching crawdads — they’re known to fall off the hook once the come out of the water.

Just use your fishing pole with 4-pound  test line, a No. 12 hook and a piece of a hot dog. Sometimes a piece of panty hose helps keep the dog on the hook.

Usually, you can see the crawdad in shallow, clear water such as Show Low Creek. The crawdad will latch onto the hot dog with its claws. Reel it in slowly and be sure to net the crawdad — they’re known to fall off.

Also, many tackle shops sell crawdad traps that can catch dozens of crawdads.

You will just need a fishing license — remember, kids licenses are just $5 and good for 365 days. All license purchases help conserve wildlife for future generations.

See a video on how to clean and prepare crawdads.

The sunfish will come up in the morning (and afternoon, and night … )

 

The rocky habitat at Show Low Lake holds high populations of sunfish.
The rocky habitat at Show Low Lake holds high populations of sunfish.

For sunfish, just target shallow structures such as piers or rocks. Dangle a small piece of worm on a No. 12 hook between the cracks of the rocks and get ready for some fast catch-and-release action.

Now you have tool to get the kids catching crawdads and sunfish — it’s easy, fun and one of the best ways to get the family unplugged and into the cool, pine-scented outdoors.

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