Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Fall fishing means crankbaits, top-water lures, buzzbaits and jigs are drawing increasingly more bass strikes.

This is the also time for flathead catfish. At Bartlett Lake, in particular, they’re roaming the waters looking for meals to add some winter fat. Check out a video that includes how-to information for flathead newbies:


Here are some more highlights:

Brown trout fall spawn


Brown trout anglers in AZ target fall as one of the best times of the year for this aggressive-fighting species.
Brown trout anglers in AZ target fall as one of the best times of the year for this aggressive-fighting species.

Keep in mind that brown trout go into their spawning behavior in the fall. Float tubers who are in good shape may want to hike into Chevelon Lake on the Mogollon Rim for the big browns and plentiful ‘bows.


A fishing license in AZ

Good to time purchase or renew that fishing license before the fall fishing frenzy — get one online, which helps conserve all species of wildlife, and get ready for fall fishing galore.

Silver Creek is one of the best winter trout fishing spots in the state.

Catch-and-release Silver Creek trout fishing opens Oct. 1

Fall fishing in Arizona doesn’t really kick off until the catch-and-release season at Silver Creek. This scenic, White Mountains trout fishing classic is great for beginners and experts. On Saturday, the catch-and-release season opens — and that means the upper section also opens to fishing for the first time since early spring. Read more.

Upcoming free fishing clinics

Saturday — Free fishing clinic about fall fishing in northern Arizona, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Kinnikinick Lake.
Saturday — Family Fishing Even at Pena Blanca Lake, off SR 289, Nogales, 8 a.m. – noon.

Stocking report


Thursday, Sept. 22 — Lynx Lake, Deadhorse Lake, Surprise Lake, Rio Vista Pond, Pioneer Lake, Cortez Lake, Steele Indian School, Encanto Lake, Desert West Lake, Alvord Lake, Kiwanis Lake, Desert Breeze Lake, Veterans Oasis, Copper Sky, Red Mountain Lake, Riverview Lake, Papago Ponds, Chaparral Lake,  Evelyn Hallman, (TUCSON) Kennedy Lake, Lakeside Lake, SIlverbell Lake, Sahuarita Lake.

Rainbow trout

Friday, Sept. 23 — River Reservoir, Canyon Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Frances Short Pond, Silver Creek; Tuesday, Sept. 20 — Lynx Lake, Woods Canyon Lake; Monday, Sept. 19 — Kinnikinick Lake, Silver Creek, Canyon Creek; Friday, Sept. 16 — Canyon Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Colorado River (Davis Dam); Thursday, Sept. 15 — Tonto Creek.

Our winter trout stockings will be ramping up! See the schedule.

Can’t forget the cats. In our Community Fishing Program waters, channel catfish are back. Check out our CFP stocking schedule.

See all stocking schedules.

Angler Reports

(Send your fishing reports and photos to

cityresCity Reservoir (Williams)

Michael W.: Caught and released 28 rainbow trout, ranging from 7-16 inches, on Sept. 19. Trout are extremely aggressive. Caught all fish on 1.5-inch crappie tubes in 2 hours!

Goldwater Lake (Prescott)

Michael W.: Caught two Gila trout, ranging from 2.5-2.6 pounds, on Sept. 14. Caught fish on 1.5-inch crappie tubes. You can still see an occasional Gila trout darting up to the surface and back down again. They look to be in the 3 -4-pound range.

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 funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

NOTE: Full report will be updated Friday, Sept. 30

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