Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

For six months, nights were becoming longer, peaking Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 3:44 a.m. The first day of winter.

As we cross that peak and daytime gradually lengthens toward spring, it’s time to focus on what species and waters are best for winter fishing. First, our Community Fishing Program waters are being stocked with trout. See the schedule.

We have some new fishing regulations coming into effect Jan. 1 — see the details.

Also, be sure to check the ADOT website for road conditions before traveling this weekend. Ice fishing is not recommended due to unstable conditions of ice. Please be cautious – we consider all ice unsafe.

I’ll be out of the office until Jan. 3 and there won’t be a fishing report next week. But be sure to check-in here next Wednesday night — we’ll discuss how to beat the winter striper fishing blues.

Nets and waders: working for you

This new section will periodically show what our fisheries biologists have been doing in the field to improve fishing in Arizona.

lmbWe recently conducted our annual electrofishing survey on the backwaters of the Imperial Division of the Colorado River to gather data on relative abundance, size, growth of fish and to detect any large-scale changes in the fish population.

The largemouth bass population appears to be doing well – the largest sampled was 23.9 inches and 9.5 pounds. More than 20 percent of the largemouth bass captured during the survey were 15 inches or larger. A high number of young-of-the-year largemouth were sampled as well – possibly an indication for a future robust population in this area.

A total of 2,235 fish were sampled at 17 survey stations — including 206 largemouth bass. Other species collected included bluegill and redear sunfish, black crappie, warmouth sunfish, threadfin shad, gizzard shad, blue tilapia, common carp, striped bass, flathead catfish, and channel catfish.

Give the gift of fishing

Need a last-second gift idea? Buy a license online, 24/7, and get a license for family or friends. (A $5 youth combo hunt/fish license makes for a great stocking stuffer).

Stocking report

Tuesday, Dec. 20 — Cluff Reservoir, Roper Lake, Dankworth Ponds.

Monday, Dec. 19 — Deadhorse Lake, Verde River (middle), Fain Lake, Saguaro Lake, Colorado River (3 spots from Rotary Park to Davis Camp).

Thursday, Dec. 15 — Lower Salt River.

Wednesday, Dec. 14 — “Core” Community fishing waters, Patterson Ponds (St. Johns), Patagonia Lake.

See the schedule.

Catch of the Week

Send your Angler Reports to
one will be featured as Catch of the Week


Digital Camera

Jim E. with the first keeper largemouth bass he’s caught at Red Mountain lake after 15 years of fishing this lake east of Mesa.

See all the Angler Reports


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.


5 thoughts on “Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal”

    1. Hi Kim! The Colorado River is the one area for which I don’t get consistent stocking information — but I will let you know as soon as I hear!

      1. Thank you! Because As it stands now, it sucks to have to find out that they stocked the river a week or two after the fact. They need to make it easier on you and put a rush job on those trout their raising at willow beach! lol

      2. Yeah, I agree! I understand that we are working to add these areas of the Colorado River to the stocking schedule, and good news — the Willow Beach hatchery does plan on stocking trout for the first time in a few years by early February!

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