Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Looks like a fairly calm stretch of sunny weather is ahead for our desert regions. Another week or so of it and the bassin’ activity could pick up.

The top early bird lakes for bass that can have rapidly warming water temperatures are Alamo, Havasu, and Martinez. At Havasu this time of the year, there tends to be some short-lived, pre-spawn activity.

A top pick for bucketmouths is Saguaro. Although it is a little deeper than Alamo Lake and not quite the solar bowl, Saguaro can heat up as well — in more ways than one. Trout and yellow bass are options if the largemouth bass are finicky. It’s also the early bird for channel catfish that like to feed on shad. Plus, Saguaro is just downright gorgeous and was No. 10 last year on Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes in the western region:

Saguaro Lake
Saguaro Lake
Considering Canyon? If you want decent catch rates, avoid it. If you want one or two wall-hangers, you might want to go exercise your swim baits.

Some anglers’ favorite fishing-camping spot is Apache Lake (No. 24 on the same list). The  largemouth bass and yellow bass populations are superb. You might even catch a delectable walleye or two.

We have a new moon this weekend, so using submersible lights at night for striped bass can be effective. For winter fishing, Lake Mohave (No. 16) has been pretty good day and night.

Also notable, Rio Vista Pond was not stocked as scheduled this week since the pond is being lowered for maintenance.

See a winter trout stocking schedule, maybe grab a fishing license online — you can get them 24/7 — and go “Fish AZ.”

Don’t forget that Youth Combo Hunt/Fish Licenses (required for those age 10-17) are just $5, and good for 365 days.  Youth under the age of 10 and blind residents do not need to purchase a state fishing license to fish in Arizona. Check the Arizona Fishing Regulations for additional information.

Catch of the Week

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

Bryce Marco Permuy had a blast landing this “incentive” rainbow trout with just after a double rainbow appeared in the sky at Desert Breeze Lake.

See all the Angler Reports

Public fishing events

Free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required to those who register during event hours.

Saturday, Jan. 28 — Family Fishing Day, 8 a.m. – noon, Red Mountain Lake (7745 E. Brown Rd., Mesa).

See the full schedule

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.

Ever wondered how we survey fish? Come aboard one of our electrofishing boats and see one way we provide sport-fishing opportunities. In this case, it’s for the elusive tiger trout!


Stocking report

Rainbow trout
Friday, Jan. 20 — Pacana Pond, Dave White Regional Pond, Discovery Ponds, Freestone Pond, McQueen Pond, Eldorado Pond, Roadrunner Pond,  Bonsall Pond, Friendship Pond. Tuesday, Jan. 17 –– Dead Hose Lakes, Apache Lake, Dankworth Ponds, Cluff Reservoir #3, Roper Lake. Monday, Jan. 16 — Fortuna Pond.

Next week: We’re scheduled to stock Lynx Lake, Watson Lake, and Apache Lake.

See the full schedules.


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