Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Channel catfish stockings have returned to the Community fishing waters – grab some stink baits, shrimp or hot dogs and go.

But Mr. Whiskers returned in a way we could barely imagine: not as a stocker into a pond, but as a state record from Upper Lake Mary near Flagstaff.  See the story, or Catch of the Week below, for more about this 33.36-pound channel catfish caught in 2 feet of water on anchovies.

Fishing’s good at Lower Lake Mary, too. The gate will be open weekends from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, some anglers are still catching trout, like this 4-pounder Jean P. just caught from Chaparral Lake in Scottsdale:

In desert regions, bass are in all three phases of spawn. Fishing for spawning bass has been somewhat difficult because of lack of visibility in shallow areas of many lakes. We’re still waiting on stable weather to make bass fishing bust loose.

Silver Creek catch-and-keep season opens Saturday

Headed to the high country? At Silver Creek, the catch-and-keep season will begin Saturday, April 1 and run through Sept. 30 as bait and barbless hooks may be used and the limit is six trout.  The upper section will close to fishing when this regulation changes for the summer season.  Harvest of trout in the lower section during the first week of April should be fair.

Before Saturday, regulations are catch-and-release with artificial flies and lures with single barbless hooks only.

Check out our Special Regulations waters map.

See the full report for more high country options. Hot spots during April and early May tend to be in the Flagstaff and Williams area at the Mary lakes, Kinnikinick Lake, Kaibab Lake, and Dogtown Lake. Get there before it’s too hot.


Stocking report


Friday, March 24 — Community “core” waters.


Monday, March 27 — Eldorado Lake, Papago Ponds, Steele Indian School, Encanto Lake, Roadrunner Lake, Ashurst Lake.

Rainbow trout

Thursday, March 16 — Lower Salt River, Oak Creek, Frances Short Pond. Tuesday, March 14 — Patagonia Lake, Wet Beaver Creek, West Clear Creek. Monday, March 13 – Verde River (middle), Lynx Lake, Frances Short Pond, Lower Lake Mary. Sunday, March 9 — Concho Lake, Cluff Res. 3, Roper Lake, Lower Lake Mary.

See the full schedule.


Nets and Waders: Working For You

Channel catfish caught at Show Low Lake

Pinetop fisheries biologists last week surveyed Fool Hollow and Show Low lakes. At both, the walleye were spawning, which is good for future recruitment in the lakes and also makes for good fishing. Use a Rapala lure or any other fish-like lure. The temperatures in the lakes were up to about 55 degrees.

At both Fool Hollow and Show Low Lakes, we caught large smallmouth bass and channel catfish. Northern pike are at the end of the spawn in Fool Hollow Lake, so try fishing the shallow, weedy coves. We recommend that you keep these fish — they are a delicious white meat fish. At Show Low Lake, the survey found a lot of 8-inch cutthroat trout.

Catch of the Week

Send your fishing reports and photos to — one will be selected as Catch of the Week

Carson Pete of Flagstaff on Sunday, March 26 caught a 33.36-pound, 39 ½-inch channel catfish that broke an inland waters hook-and-line state record for the species. See the full story.

Public fishing events

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

Saturday, April 8 — Youth Fishing Day, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Bonsall Pond (5840 W. Bethany Home Rd., Glendale). The AZGFD and city of Glendale will give out up to 1,000 free youth license on a first-come, first-serve basis.

See the full schedule


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