Catching fish, keeping cool in Arizona: some tips

If you’re the type of angler who likes sweat-soaked, year-round fishing opportunities in Arizona, here’s a few simple tips to stay safe — and cool:

  • Go early or go late.
  • Don’t go at all (is that an option?)
  • Drink water every 15-20 minutes.
  • Drink something with electrolytes to prevent muscle cramps.
  • Bring your own shade (wide-brimmed hats, shade shelters, etc)
  • Plan a trip to a cooler part of the state. White Mountains, anybody?
  • Get wet. Soaking a handkerchief in the water and keeping it on your head, and under your hat, is a great way to keep your body temperature stable. Anglers also could wrap an evaporative cooling towel around their neck.
  • Know your limits: Summertime might not be the time to try for a personal best.
  • Leave detailed plans with someone (float plan).
  • Sign up for a boating safety class.

We are moving into a new moon, so expect better night fishing than last week.

During the Aug. 29 first quarter moon, there will be just enough moonlight for good visibility, but submersible lights can still do their plankton-attracting jobs. This time also means shooting stars will be highly visible.

Remember to verify the weather conditions before launching and check for updates while fishing during these particularly dark nights.

There are several mobile phone apps available with live weather conditions and emergency weather information. Monsoon storms can happen suddenly and without much warning.

Onto some more tips:

How to fish in Arizona during summer: some tips

Largemouth bass


Bartlett Lake bass, like this largemouth, are plentiful.
  • Methods of fishing on the summer heat differs. For desert bass fishing, all methods of tackle must be lightweight — light lines, small hooks and sinkers, etc.  Bites from these lethargic fish will be light, so be patient before setting the hook.
  • Across all statewide desert bass fisheries the next few weeks, plastic worms rigged on Texas rigs, Carolina rigs and dropshots will be the most reliable tactic. Make your leader small – you only want your bait about 5 inches above the weight on a dropshot. During the daytime, make that a bit longer, say, 10-12 inches.

Striped bass

Striped bass bag limits are unlimited at Lake Pleasant. Be sure to check special regulations at other waters.
  • Nighttime fishing gets really good in August with many boats catching anywhere from 50-100 fish a night. This information applies to day fishing also: fish deeper water and don’t forget to chum and have a great light in the water to attract baitfish.
  • If possible, use live bait. Live shad is the ultimate bait and will greatly increase your chances.  When fishing these lakes at night, be sure to think safety all the time. Have lights, a first aid kit, spotlight, cell phone, and also monitor monsoon activity.

Catfish and carp

Some big carp can be caught at night — try corn, which can be used for chum
  • Sticky desert nights are made for bottom-dwelling catfish and carp. Relax on the shoreline, wet a line with some stink bait, corn or both, watch the sky for meteor showers, and hook into Mr. Whiskers at the same time.


Silver Creek is a great summer, cool-water fishery
  • Best bet is in the White Mountains region, including Silver Creek, East Fork of the Black River, Little Colorado River in Greer or Show Low Creek just downstream of Show Low Lake. Fishing in these streams should be good because of better water quality — as long as the flows are not high due to monsoon rains.

See more about fishing in Arizona

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