Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

A surprise stocking into Community Fishing Program waters took place about 10 days ago. We stocked some big largemouth bass weighing between 2-4 pounds into select Community waters in Phoenix and Tucson.

We didn’t immediately announce the stocking in hopes that less fishing pressure will allow for a successful spring spawn.  Largemouth bass already were present in waters that were stocked; this was a supplemental stocking to the natural populations.

Stocking bass is expensive and so is rare. Anglers can help maintain bass fishing in Community waters by practicing catch-and-release, but if you choose to harvest, remember there are minimum length limits of 13 inches (smaller bass must be released unharmed) and bag limits of either 2 or 1 bass, depending on the water. Water Ranch in Gilbert is catch-and-release only (single barbless hooks). See the 2017-18 fishing regulations.

This is a reminder for anglers to keep fishing Community waters because you never know what’s going to bite. The recent rains in desert regions has triggered an excellent bite for many species, especially stocked rainbow trout. This time of the year, Community waters can provide some of the best trout fishing in the state.

Plans to stock trout at Lees Ferry:
public meeting March 5

We plan to stock rainbow trout this spring into the lower 3 mile walk-in section of Lees Ferry!

A public meeting on the proposed stocking and the current status of the Lees Ferry fishery will be held 5-7 p.m. on Monday, March 5, at the old lodge across from Marble Canyon Lodge on U.S. Hwy 89 A in Marble Canyon.

Read more.

Pre-spawning bass activity underway

Bass tend to spawn earlier at western Arizona impoundments such as Lake Havasu and Alamo Lake than at the rest of the state because these large, solunar bowls warm up early and quickly.

At Lake Havasu, an unseasonably warm winter nearly made for some fairly early pre-spawning bass  action but recent rainy, windy weather has prevented more bass from moving in shallow to stick around and build spawning beds. Look for the full moon around March 1 to produce a big wave of spawning activity.

There’s also pre-spawn bass activity underway at Lake Pleasant and Saguaro Lake.

See five great baits for catching pre-spawning bass.

Snow on the Rim — finally

Snow fell on Willow Springs Lake Monday afternoon.
Snow falling on Willow Springs Lake Monday.

Many anglers are celebrating recent snow fall during an abnormally warm winter. That means increased run-off and nutrients that will flow into the Salt River chain of lakes this spring.

Ice has melted off a number of lakes in the Mogollon Rim and White Mountains areas earlier than usual. These include Luna Lake, Hulsey Lake, Willow Springs Lake, Black Canyon Lake, and the Greer lakes. All lakes at lower elevations than these are also ice free.

If you plan to do some high country fishing, be sure to check the latest road conditions from the Arizona Department of Transportation, and remember: We consider all ice on Arizona lakes unsafe.

Catch of the Week

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

Riverview Lake (Mesa)

Larry G. with a 19-inch rainbow trout caught Friday, Jan. 12 from Riverview Lake in Mesa.

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. 24

Just for Kids Fishing Festival. 8 a.m. – noon. Take a Kid Fishing Day. Kiwanis Park 5500 S. Mill Ave. Tempe, AZ 85283

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

Verde River (Clarkdale to Camp Verde), Fain Lake, Lower Salt River, Red Mountain Lake, Patagonia Lake, Pena Blanca Lake, Hidden Shores-Imperial Dam, Somerton (Council Park) Pond, Yuma West Wetlands, “expansion/custom” Community waters.

Previous stockings

Rainbow trout

Wednesday, Feb.  7 —  “core” Community 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”.


4 thoughts on “Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal”

  1. Thank you to Az Fish & Game for all you do to keep our lakes & rivers stocked! I’ve been a fisher woman since I was 3 years old! I know that it is expensive to stock, especially large mouth bass. I appreciate all you do for us anglers here in Arizona!
    Linda Bayer

  2. I applaud you on your stocking of Largemouth bass into our Urban lakes. It was well needed. I would like to see all Largemouth be returned to the water. There is no need to harvest. Trout and Catfish are tasty fish as well as the bluegills, but bass isn’t really a good tasting fish but a prize To catch. Let’s change the rule to bass catch and release. It will save on future expense. Maybe Dump some brush piles for habitat. If you need a volunteer to head that, I’d be more than Willing. You might remember me, I was Trout Unlimited State Chairman. I purchased a backpack Fish shocker for you from Grant money to help in the Gila Trout Project. Thanks Jeff Collins

    Sent from my iPad


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