Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

This week – in preparation for the Memorial Day weekend — we have been stocking an additional 20,000 trout and catfish into waters statewide. Through June, we’ll have stocked a quarter-million more trout, catfish, bass and sunfish.

Catfish are going into Community Fishing Program waters: give Mr. Whiskers a try.

In desert regions, most bass are still in post-spawn. Sounds like there was not a big wave of spawners during the full moon earlier this month.

Some other highlights:

This and that

  • On Thursday, we recommended the Coconino National Forest re-open Rose Canyon Lake Campground:
  • This weekend, we’ll be conducting an operating under the influence checkpoint at Canyon Lake and participate in a multi-agency OUI checkpoint on the Colorado River.
  • Lake Pleasant anglers can now boat from the main body of the lake all the way up the Agua Fria arm to the Agua Fria boat ramp. The only eagle nest closure remaining this season on the Agua Fria arm has been lifted due to failure of the nest site.

Line-zinging in northern AZ

Northern Arizona anglers in particular will enjoy many benefits of this fish stocking surplus:

  • Some big holdovers are being caught at Dogtown Reservoir near Williams. Try green garlic PowerBait.
  • On Wednesday, May 17, the first stocking of bonus rainbow trout, purchased from Crowthers Freshwater Trout in Colorado, were stocked into Ashurst Lake. Anglers fishing at Ashurst Lake that day started catching fish as soon as the stocking ended using small spinners such as roostertails and small spoons.
  • Knoll Lake had its first stocking of the year last week and will get more rainbow trout this week.
  • Catfish are also being stocked into City Reservoir near Williams and Frances Short Pond in Flagstaff this week. Chunks of hot dog make great catfish bait.

White Mountains magic

White Mountains streams are being stocked this week. Try the East Fork of the Black River, the Little Colorado River in Greer, and Silver Creek (current regulations at Silver Creek are catch-and-keep with bait and six trout daily limit. The upper section is closed to fishing.)

Tiger trout have been stocked for the first time this year into Carnero and Becker lakes. Along the Mogollon Rim, Woods Canyon and Willow Springs lakes already have been stocked with tigers are are getting extra loads of rainbow trout through June.

See the full fishing report, grab a license online, 24/7, and don’t forget to send your fishing reports and photos to

Catch of the Week

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

Bob Donnelly, 70, said he caught this plus-size rainbow trout Sunday, April 30 at Luna Lake using a Zebco 33 rod-and-reel outfit he purchased a month prior to the catch for $1 at a yard sale.  The trout was caught around 10 a.m. and appears to measure 26 1/2 inches in total length.

He said he caught it on a nightcrawler.

“The rod has some old fishing line in it,” said Donnelly. “And when I set the hook the face of the old Zebco reel came off. This fish came to the surface breaking water, and I go, ‘Whoa.'”

See more Angler Reports


Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Friday, May 12 — Green Valley lakes, East Verde River, Silver Creek, East Fork of the Black River, Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake, Canyon Creek.

Thursday, May 11 — Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek, Haigler Creek, Dogtown Reservoir, Huffer Tank, Frances Short Pond, Black Canyon Lake, Hulsey Lake.

Wednesday, May 10 — Show Low Creek, Rainbow Lake, Fool Hollow Lake.

Tuesday, May 9 — Carnero Lake, Scott Reservoir, Bear Canyon Lake, Becker Lake, Knoll Lake, Oak Creek.

Monday, May 8 — West for Little CO RIver-Greer, Ashurst Lake, Mingus Lake, Fain Lake, Canyon Creek, Big Lake.

Tiger trout

Tuesday, May 9 — Carnero Lake,  Becker Lake.

Tuesday, April 25 and Monday, April 24  — Willow Springs Lake Woods Canyon Lake.

See more stocking schedules.

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 — Family Fishing Event, Tempe Kiwanis Park (5500 S. Mill Ave., Tempe), 7-11 a.m. Read the full schedule.


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