Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

The Autumn Equinox, or first day of fall in the northern hemisphere, is today. Accordingly, nighttime temperatures are predicted dip into the low-60s this weekend in desert regions. We’re on a new moon phase, which will be great for using submersible lights at night at striper honey holes such as Lake Pleasant, where large schools of shads are still boiling the surface as they flee from predatory striper.

This transition into fall triggers more exciting changes:

Community catfish return

Catfish were stocked Wednesday into Cortez Lake in Phoenix.
  • Channel catfish returned to the Community Fishing Program waters Wednesday — “core” waters have been stocked except Rio Vista Pond in Peoria and Steele Indian School Pond in Phoenix. See the schedule, which shows which waters are “core.”

Green light: Go Fish

  • Along with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, we’ve released a “green light” list of fish species from specific waters that may be consumed without limits — and that includes all of the channel catfish supplied for the Community Fishing Program. The “green light” list — not to be confused with daily bag limits — also includes ALL trout statewide as well as notables such as largemouth bass at Lake Havasu and flathead catfish on the Colorado River in Yuma. Read more, including the full list.

Winter trout stocking schedule

NHF Day is Saturday

  • Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day. Last chance to enter the NHF Day challenge and win some big prizes. Visit

Frye Creek closed to fishing

  • Our Commission has temporarily closed Frye Creek in the Pinaleno Mountains, southwest of Safford, to fishing to allow for evaluation and restoration of the Gila trout population. We recently surveyed Frye and Ash creeks and did not find any fish.

Catch and release season at Silver Creek Oct. 1

  • On Saturday, Oct. 1, the catch-and-release season opens — and that means the upper section also opens to fishing for the first time since early spring. This catch-and-release section of Silver Creek requires trout to be immediately released unharmed, and is artificial flies and lures only with single barbless hooks. This segment of Silver Creek is open for fishing from Oct. 1 through March 31 of each year. See more fishing regulations.

Stocking reports

By  Saturday, we’re scheduled to have stocked the following this week (sign up for I Support Wildlife for real-time and confirmed stocking reports):

Canyon Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Goldwater Lake, “core” Community Fishing Program lakes.

Rio Vista Pond, Steele Indian School Pond, Francis Short Pond and Ashurst Lake have not recently been stocked.

Previous stockings

Rainbow trout

Friday, Sept. 15 — Woods Canyon Lake, Canyon Creek. Thursday, Sept. 14 — Goldwater Lake, Tonto Creek. Wednesday, Sept. 13 — Silver Creek, Colorado River.  Monday, Sept. 11 — Lynx Lake, Oak Creek. Friday, Sept. 8 — Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Canyon Creek. Thursday, Sept. 7 — Tonto Creek.

Brown trout

Thursday, Sept. 14 — Kinnikinick Lake.

See all the stocking schedules


Catch of the Week

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

Canyon Lake


Mali caught this 6 1/2-pound largemouth bass from Canyon Lake Sept. 7 around 4 p.m on a crankbait casting to the shore with a steady retrieve in 10-25 feet of water. They were fishing close to the dam.

See previous Angler Reports


Save time, buy online

Grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go.

Family 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, Sept. 30 — “Verde River Days” at Dead Horse State Park in Cottonwood, 8 a.m. to noon, Dead Horse Ranch State Park, 675 Dead Horse Ranch Rd.

While the Verde River Days festivities will go from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., the family fishing will occur from 8 a.m. -noon only. For more information please contact the Sport Fishing Education Program at (623) 236-7240 or go to:

See the full events schedule.



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