Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Possibly the best-tasting fish in the state  — crappie — is a prime target. Some good crappie fishing is being reported thanks in part to a particularly wet spring that seems to have allowed for a great class of spawning fish. Top targets for crappie are Roosevelt, Alamo and Bartlett lakes.  With stable, warm weather this weekend, it’s worth using your favorite crappie technique, whether that’s trolling jigs, dropping minnows, vertically jigging spoons, or maybe your own specialty rig.

Rain and run-off from last spring has helped make for some pretty good winter fishing and there’s plenty of time left for some better high-country snow pack.

The bass bite

Guide Gary Senft with a 4-pound largemouth bass caught Tuesday from Bartlett Lake.

The water temperature at Roosevelt Lake (2,112 feet in elevation as of Thursday) has been a just above 50 degrees during the day. Many anglers find that once the water temperatures dip below 50 degrees,  the metabolism of bass slows considerably. We may not have to worry about that this week. There is more unseasonably warm temperatures ahead in desert regions with overtime lows predicted to reach low- to high-50s  in Phoenix and high-40s in Tucson. In general, fish slowly, and cover a lot of water. Best overall rig for largemouth bass is probably a dropshot-rigged Roboworm fished during afternoons.

Expect access restrictions
to Lower Salt River day-use rec sites

Headed to the Lower Salt River? The Tonto National Forest announced that paving projects on Bush Highway will impact the Granite Reef and Phon D. Sutton day-use recreation sites along the Lower Salt River. Expect access restrictions into Granite Reef, between Feb. 1 and March 5 while Maricopa County Department of Transportation completes improvements to Bush Highway.

Also, paving work will also occur at Butcher Jones Recreation Area of Saguaro Lake beginning on Feb. 20.  Butcher Jones will remain open for the majority of the project work, but will be closed to the public on March 7 – 9.

Read more from the Tonto National Forest, or read additional information about the Bush Highway road project.

Trout stockings continue

We’re still stocking tons of trout into many waters statewide. See the schedules.

Catch of the Week

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

Alamo Lake

John P. from Central Point, Ore., a first-time visitor to Arizona, helped a group of anglers, including Dick K., boat a reported 34 crappie Sunday and Monday that averaged 2 pounds each. John caught the largest fish that was at a reported 2 pounds, 12 ounces.

All fish were were caught trolling small crankbaits behind offshore side planers over 15-20 feet of water.

See previous Angler Reports

Family Fishing Events

During the events, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required to those who register during event hours.

Saturday, Feb. 10

Take a Kid Fishing Day. 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. La Paz County Park 7350 Riverside Dr. Parker, Ariz., 85344

See the full events schedule

Stocking reports

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

Rainbow trout

Watson Lake, Lynx Lake, Apache Lake, Lower Salt River.

Previous stockings

Rainbow trout

Thursday, Jan. 24 — Pena Blanca Lake. Wednesday, Jan. 23 — Saguaro Lake, Lower Salt River, Community “core” waters.

See all the stocking schedules

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 “Fish AZ”.


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