Category Archives: The Reel Deal

Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Crappie are spawning and we’re getting some great reports from Roosevelt and San Carlos lakes. Bartlett Lake and Lake Pleasant should be good targets, too.

At Lake Powell, our state’s Yankee Stadium of fishing holes, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and crappie are on beds and reports are that anglers are having field days on striped bass with anchovies.

From trout stockings in the high pines to bass and crappie the lower deserts, fishing is gettin’ gangbusters. Round up the family and friends, stuff camping and fishing tackle in the trunk or cab, grab a fishing license, fill up the tank and take off on a spring fishing adventure.

Some fish bits:

  • Now’s the time to fish in northern Arizona.
  • Bass and sunfish have been stocked in Community fishing waters.
  • Roosevelt Lake is above 70-percent full for the first time in five years. We’ve stocked crappie and more Florida-strain bass into the lake this month, and began a Salt River-chain lakes habitat improvement project Thursday by dropping fish-hiding structures to the bottom of Roosevelt Lake.
  • At Bear Canyon Lake along the Mogollon Rim, Forest Road 300 opened today.  Fish were stocked this week in anticipation of the opening of the road. All roads to White Mountains/Mogollon Rim lakes are now open.
  • Cases of “swimmer’s itch” have been reported from Canyon Lake. See some tips from the Tonto National Forest on some prevention steps.

Catch of the Week

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

Rett of Cambodia with some nice stripers caught in 25 feet of water in northern coves at Lake Pleasant on top water lures and live shad.

See all the Angler Reports

Nets and waders: Working for You

Some of our fisheries biologists began a Salt River chain-lakes habitat improvement project Thursday by dropping Fishiding structures made of recycled garage door panels  to the bottom of Roosevelt Lake.

Habitat is important for fish spawning, recruitment, growth, health and populations. These artificial structures attract bait fish, which then attract predatory fish for sport-fishing anglers to target.

AZGFD also plans to use a 36-foot pontoon boat to sink fish habitat — critical to anglers’ fishing opportunities — into Roosevelt Lake. Similar work is planned for other lakes along the Salt River chain.

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 — Fishing for Sustainability-Family and Community Fishing Event, 8 a.m – noon, Silverbell Lake at Christopher Columbus Park (3600 N. Silverbell Rd., Tucson).

See more details and the full schedule

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

The transition to spring fishing conditions is finally setting in — time to get out and fish!

Let’s get to some highlights:

  • It’s crappie time! The spawn at San Carlos has been underway for the past few weeks and there have been excellent reports.  The crappie spawn is just getting underway at Roosevelt Lake. Male crappie are in shallow areas of the lake; some females are moving onto spawning flats.
  • Striped bass catch rates are picking up at Lake Pleasant. Check out a report from guest contributor Barry Worman of the Arizona Striper Fishing Facebook page.
  • The Arizona Department of Transportation planned to open State Highways 261 and 273 on Thursday, April 13. ADOT was working to clear the last of the snow drifts off of the highways before opening. The roads were closed during winter months for public safety. Opening the state highways allows access to Big Lake and Crescent and Sunrise lakes. See an Arizona Traveler Information map that shows only minimal delays on these roads.
  • The 300 road is open to the Woods Canyon Lake turnoff.  Store and boat rentals are open. Campgrounds won’t open until May.  A recent survey found lots of rainbow and tiger trout winter carry-overs averaging around 11-12 inches , and rainbow trout are being stocked this week.  We saw full stringers this week before it was even stocked —  fish are hungry and biting hooks.

    A 4- or 5-pound largemouth bass caught recently from Alvord Lake in Phoenix on a No. 10 silver flutter spoon.
  • We stocked bass (yes — bass!) and crappie this week into “core” Community waters. See the schedule.
  • Recently-stocked brown trout have been hitting at Lynx Lake. One angler hooked a bunch of ’em on 1.5 inch-crappie tubes on the southern shore of the lake.
  • A monster 5-pound redear sunfish was caught from Lake Havasu — see the Angler Reports.

Grab a license online 24/7, and go — your purchase helps conserve wildlife for future generations.

Stocking report

Channel catfish

Wednesday, April 5 — Chaparral Lake, Riverview Lake, Red Mountain Lake, Veterans Oasis Lake, Copper Sky Lake, Silverbell Lake, Kennedy Lake, Sahuarita Lake, Lakeside Lake, Surprise Lake,  Rio Vista Pond, Pioneer Lake, Steele Indian School Pond, Encanto Lake, Desert West Lake, Alvord Lake, Papago Ponds, Evelyn Hallman Pond, Desert Breeze Lake, Tempe Kiwanis Lake,  Bonsall Park.

Rainbow trout

Friday, April 7 — Tonto Creek,  East Verde River, Canyon Creek.

Thursday, April 6 — Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek, Haigler Creek, Russell Tank, Lower Lake Mary, Dogtown Reservoir.

Tuesday, April 4 — Becker Lake, Scott Reservoir, Rainbow Lake,  Fool Hollow Lake, Goldwater Lake, Rose Canyon Lake, Dogtown Reservoir.

Brook trout

Tuesday, April 4 — Lynx Lake, Fain Lake.

See the full schedule.

 

Catch of the Week

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

Dave P. caught this Big Fish of the Year, catch-and-release smallmouth bass from Roosevelt Lake on March 21 that measured  23 1/2 inches and weighed 5.96 pounds. Caught on a Kalin’s triple threat grub (John Deere color).

See all the Angler Reports

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, April 22 — Fishing for Sustainability-Family and Community Fishing Event, 8 a.m – noon, Silverbell Lake at Christopher Columbus Park (3600 N. Silverbell Rd., Tucson).

See more details and the full schedule

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

April and October can be the best months of the year to fish in Arizona. The water temperatures are ideal for waves of spawns. Continued access to high country lakes will open the way for lunker holdovers (as of Thursday, access is open to Woods Canyon Lake).

The buffet is laid out – bass are spawning, especially with next week’s (April 11) full moon; crappie should be spawning; flathead catfish are making camera lenses struggle to keep fish in frame; trout are being stocked all across the high country and anglers are catching holdovers as well as tasty stockers; channel catfish are abundant in the Community Fishing Program lakes.

It’s supposed to be a pretty windy weekend, so anglers might consider fishing leeside shorelines and coves. Not only will the protection make fishing more comfortable, the fact that you’re fishing downwind can push baitfish and sportfish to your area.

Seems this is the time of the year the big flathead begin to roam the banks, looking for something like a live bluegill or carp (your bait) to munch.

Enjoy this incredible spring weather– and fishing!

Stocking report

Channel catfish

March 30 — Tempe Town Lake, Friendship Park Pond, Bonsall Park, Roadrunner Lake, Eldorado Lake, McQueen Park, Freestone Pond, DIscovery Park, Dave White Pond, Pacana Park, Patterson Ponds.

Rainbow trout

March 28 — Verde River (middle), Salt River,  Lower Lake Mary.

Bluegill

Monday, March 27 — Eldorado Lake, Papago Ponds, Steele Indian School, Encanto Lake, Roadrunner Lake, Ashurst Lake.

See the full schedule.

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, April 8 — Youth Fishing Day, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Bonsall Pond (5840 W. Bethany Home Rd., Glendale). The AZGFD and city of Glendale will give out up to 1,000 free youth license on a first-come, first-serve basis.

See the full schedule

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Channel catfish stockings have returned to the Community fishing waters – grab some stink baits, shrimp or hot dogs and go.

But Mr. Whiskers returned in a way we could barely imagine: not as a stocker into a pond, but as a state record from Upper Lake Mary near Flagstaff.  See the story, or Catch of the Week below, for more about this 33.36-pound channel catfish caught in 2 feet of water on anchovies.

Fishing’s good at Lower Lake Mary, too. The gate will be open weekends from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, some anglers are still catching trout, like this 4-pounder Jean P. just caught from Chaparral Lake in Scottsdale:

In desert regions, bass are in all three phases of spawn. Fishing for spawning bass has been somewhat difficult because of lack of visibility in shallow areas of many lakes. We’re still waiting on stable weather to make bass fishing bust loose.

Silver Creek catch-and-keep season opens Saturday

Headed to the high country? At Silver Creek, the catch-and-keep season will begin Saturday, April 1 and run through Sept. 30 as bait and barbless hooks may be used and the limit is six trout.  The upper section will close to fishing when this regulation changes for the summer season.  Harvest of trout in the lower section during the first week of April should be fair.

Before Saturday, regulations are catch-and-release with artificial flies and lures with single barbless hooks only.

Check out our Special Regulations waters map.

See the full report for more high country options. Hot spots during April and early May tend to be in the Flagstaff and Williams area at the Mary lakes, Kinnikinick Lake, Kaibab Lake, and Dogtown Lake. Get there before it’s too hot.

 

Stocking report

Catfish

Friday, March 24 — Community “core” waters.

Bluegill

Monday, March 27 — Eldorado Lake, Papago Ponds, Steele Indian School, Encanto Lake, Roadrunner Lake, Ashurst Lake.

Rainbow trout

Thursday, March 16 — Lower Salt River, Oak Creek, Frances Short Pond. Tuesday, March 14 — Patagonia Lake, Wet Beaver Creek, West Clear Creek. Monday, March 13 – Verde River (middle), Lynx Lake, Frances Short Pond, Lower Lake Mary. Sunday, March 9 — Concho Lake, Cluff Res. 3, Roper Lake, Lower Lake Mary.

See the full schedule.

 

Nets and Waders: Working For You

Channel catfish caught at Show Low Lake

Pinetop fisheries biologists last week surveyed Fool Hollow and Show Low lakes. At both, the walleye were spawning, which is good for future recruitment in the lakes and also makes for good fishing. Use a Rapala lure or any other fish-like lure. The temperatures in the lakes were up to about 55 degrees.

At both Fool Hollow and Show Low Lakes, we caught large smallmouth bass and channel catfish. Northern pike are at the end of the spawn in Fool Hollow Lake, so try fishing the shallow, weedy coves. We recommend that you keep these fish — they are a delicious white meat fish. At Show Low Lake, the survey found a lot of 8-inch cutthroat trout.

Catch of the Week

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


Carson Pete of Flagstaff on Sunday, March 26 caught a 33.36-pound, 39 ½-inch channel catfish that broke an inland waters hook-and-line state record for the species. See the full story.

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, April 8 — Youth Fishing Day, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Bonsall Pond (5840 W. Bethany Home Rd., Glendale). The AZGFD and city of Glendale will give out up to 1,000 free youth license on a first-come, first-serve basis.

See the full schedule

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Mr. Whiskers is coming back! Thursday, March 23 will mark the first catfish stockings in the Community Fishing Program waters.

Also, motorized access to the upper arm of the Agua Fria River at Lake Pleasant will again be available thanks to a special development project of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Boating Access Program.  Through the cooperative efforts of the Department, the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, this unique boating and fishing opportunity will be available each Friday through Sunday throughout the spring, beginning Friday, March 24.  Operating hours are from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and regular park entry fees apply (exact change required). See more information.

We also have some updated stocking schedules. Check ’em out.

And then there was this recently at from Lees Ferry:

Finally, don’t forget out come out to our Outdoor Expo March 25-26! See more information.

Now time for some spring break solutions:

(Check out our Fish&Boat Arizona map for locations to these waters.)

  • Alamo Lake. West of Wickenburg, Alamo Lake has lots of great camping sites, fish cleaning stations, and a lack of recreational boaters. Alamo doesn’t have a marina or boat gas. So you won’t be “waked out” by multiple ski boats. Jet skis won’t be cutting your lines. Lacking amenities can be a great thing for those who just want to fish. Plus, fishing is picking up — there have been reports of 3-5-pound crappie being caught this week.
  • Dead Horse Ranch State Park (and Verde River). Located in Cottonwood, the Dead Horse ponds are stocked with trout and are kid-friendly. The Verde River is being stocked.  The Tuzigoot National Monument is a short drive away from the river. We even stock the river adjacent to the bridge leading to these fascinating hillside Indian ruins.
  • Roper Lake State Park near Safford. With great views of Mount Graham, the lake is stocked with trout. Besides tons of camping spots, they also have “camping cabins.”
  • Mary lakes in Flagstaff. Upper Lake Mary is full and spilling and Lower Lake Mary recently has had about 9,000 larger (10 inch) rainbow trout stocked along with about 8,600 smaller (6-8 inch) rainbow trout.
  • Roosevelt Lake. Simply camping galore and good fishing.

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Thursday, March 9 — Concho Lake, Cluff Reservoir 3, Roper Lake, Dankworth Ponds, Lower Lake Mary. Wednesday, March 8 — Silverbell Lake, Kennedy Lake, Sahuarita Lake, Lakeside Lake, Caparral Lake Riverview Lake, Tempe Kiwanis Lake, Desert Breeze Lake, Veterans Oasis Lake, Copper Sky Lake.

See the full schedule.

Catch of the Week

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

Cheyanne Montes caught this nice rainbow trout on her first cast at Tempe Kiwanis Lake on Saturday, March 11.

See all the Angler Reports

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, April 8 — Youth Fishing Day, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Bonsall Pond (5840 W. Bethany Home Rd., Glendale). The AZGFD and city of Glendale will give out up to 1,000 free youth license on a first-come, first-serve basis.

See the full schedule

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Flooding has caused closures to roads and many popular Tonto National Forest campgrounds.

Tempe Town Lake reopened to water activities Thursday, March 2 at 4 p.m.

The lake has been closed due to upstream Salt River debris.

In western Arizona, Alamo Lake resembles a chocolate milkshake as the lake has risen 13 feet in two days.

Shore anglers might have a chance to avoid debris — but not stained/muddy water. Boaters might have a difficult time avoiding floating debris — boat with extreme caution. The Salt River at Roosevelt was running at 3,934 cfs on Wednesday afternoon (2,978 at Tonto Creek at Rosy).

Update from Tonto National Forest: Forest Road 19, leading to Bartlett Lake, reopened Wednesday.

The following recreation sites have reopened to the public:

  • Bartlett Flat Campground
  • Yellow Cliffs Boat Launch
  • Rattlesnake Cove Picnic Area
  • SB Cove Shoreline Site
  • Jojoba Boat Launch

Phon D. Sutton, Coon Bluff, and Granite Reef Picnic Sites along the Lower Salt River have also been reopened for day use.

The Horseshoe Dam Road, Forest Road 205, leading to Horseshoe Reservoir and the following recreation sites remain closed:

  • Riverside Campground
  • Ocotillo
  • Fisherman’s Point
  • Horseshoe Campground
  • Mesquite Campground

Both Forest Road 20, leading to Needle Rock and Box Bar, and Lower Sycamore Road, Forest Road 1847/403 remain closed until the water recedes and road conditions improve.

This was the Verde River Wednesday afternoon at the Beeline Highway Bridge (by Fort McDowell):

 

OK, back to hooking fish. Water temperatures at many desert impoundments are hovering at or above 58 degrees, the mark that typically triggers pre-spawn bass activity.

At Lake Havasu on Thursday, Feb. 23, a smallmouth bass Colorado River waters hook-and-line state record was set. See the story as well as some springtime bass tips.

Other fishing notes:

  • Community fishing. The final scheduled trout stockings of the winter-spring season will take place the week of March 6.  Catfish will return to Community waters  the week of March 20.
  • Repairs at Rio Vista Pond have been completed. We were not able to stock the pond last week as scheduled due to the repairs — those fish went to Pioneer Lake i Peoria — but do plan on stocking it next week.
  • At  Apache Lake this week, we determined a threadfin shad die-off was due to high numbers of golden algae. We continue monitoring the situation.
  • Alamo Lake rose 13 feet in two days and on March 1 was at 1,118 feet in elevation.  Mark Knapp from Alamo Lake State Park said when the lake is done rising the main ramp should open.  Cholla ramp is open, but there are log jams all over and fishing is poor. But in one month, fishing should be incredible. Get ready.
  • White Mountains regional updates. Accessible  lakes as of Feb. 28  include Willow Springs Lake, but it is walk-in only (road is snow packed) and ice is thin and unsafe. The gate is closed. Sardine Point is open, but the road is snow packed.  Fishing at Fool Hollow Lake is fair. There’s no ice and rainbow trout are being caught. Fishing pier and platforms are accessible.  Northern pike should be congregating to spawn this time of year; try throwing Rapala lures or streamers in shallow coves.  Northern pike spawn and congregate in weedy shallow coves.   Also, there’s no ice at Show Low Lake, Woodland Lake, and Becker Lake.   Big Lake is still inaccessible and has extremely thin, unsafe ice.  Best bet in this region remains Silver Creek. See the full report.

Stocking report

Friday, Feb. 24 — Community “core” watersThursday, Feb. 23 — Dankworth Ponds. Wednesday, Feb. 22 — Community expansion watersTuesday, Feb. 21 — Parker Canyon Lake, Dead Horse lakes, Dave White Pond, Roadrunner Pond, Bonsall Pond, Full  schedules

Catch of the Week

(Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov –
one will be featured as Catch of the Week)

Sue Nowak of Lake Havasu City with her Colorado River waters hook-and-line state record smallmouth bass.
Sue Nowak of Lake Havasu City with her Colorado River waters hook-and-line state record smallmouth bass.

Well this one was easy. Sue Nowak caught this 21-inch, 6.28-pound smallmouth bass that is a  Colorado River waters hook-and-line state record. She caught it around noon on Thursday, Feb. 23 with a dropshot-rigged True Image mini shaker lemonade worm. She was fishing with Shaun Bailey’s Guide Service in Lake Havasu City.

Read all the Angler Reports

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, March 11 — Family and Community Fishing Event, 8 a.m. – noon, Roper Lake State Park (101 E. Roper Lake Rd., Safford). For more information please contact Kelly Wright at Roper Lake State Park at (928) 428-6760 or the Sport Fishing Education Program at (623) 236-7240.

See the full schedule

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Striped bass fishing seems to be picking up, as has been evidenced by an influx of striper success stories from Willow Beach on the Colorado River, Lake Pleasant, and especially Lake Mohave …

Les with his striped bass from Lake Mohave. The striper action is good on Lake Mohave, especially near the dam. Anchovies fished down deep are working the best. The largemouth bass bite is picking up in the coves.
Les with his striped bass from Lake Mohave. The striper action is good on Lake Mohave, especially near the dam. Anchovies fished down deep are working the best. The largemouth bass bite is picking up in the coves.

 

See our Catch of the Week below — a monster 21-pound striper was recently caught in about 13 feet of water at Lake Pleasant.

And we have a new moon this weekend. It’ll be cold — lows in the high 40s are predicted for desert regions — but grab some steamin’ hot coffee get out there and fish with submersible lights. Another option, if you’re fishing Lake Pleasant, is using live shad and fishing 11 a.m. to sunset in the northern coves.

Largemouth bass anglers can chase some potential pre-spawning fish at early-bird lakes such as Alamo, Martinez and Havasu out west, and even Saguaro Lake in central Arizona.

Some fish are moving in shallow from 50-60 feet of water depth. They’re not spawning yet, but anglers can target areas of bait fish with crankbaits early in the morning and switch to dropshot and Texas rigs as the sun comes up.

It’s not quite crappie time.  In a month or so, be ready to load up at crappie hot spots such as Alamo, Roosevelt, Bartlett and San Carlos. (Tempe Town Lake has been producing some nice slabs.)

Updates: Topock Marsh, Rio Vista Pond, Upper Mary

  • Topock Marsh on the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge is closed through March 6 due to U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service management.
  •  Rio Vista Pond in Peoria was not stocked this week, but repairs at the pond have been completed and the pond is scheduled to be stocked with trout for the final time of the winter season during the week of March 6. See the schedule.
  • Anglers can access Dogtown Lake near Williams, but we haven’t received any fishing reports. Upper Lake Mary on Thursday was about 3 inches from spilling.

Stocking report

Thursday, Feb. 16 — Community expansion waters. Wednesday, Feb. 15 — Red Mountain Lake. Tuesday, Feb. 14 — Goldwater Lake. Monday, Feb. 13 — Patagonia Lake, Pena Blanca Lake, Salt River (lower), Fain Lake. Saturday, Feb. 11 — Community waters: Chaparral Lake, Tempe Kiwanis, Desert Breeze, Copper Sky, Lakeside, Kennedy, Sahuarita, Alvord, Silverbell, Desert West, Pioneer, Surprise, Cortez, Encanto, Steele Indian School, Papago Ponds, Evelyn Hallman, Water Ranch, Red Mountain, Green Valley lakes.

Full  schedules

Catch of the Week

(Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov – one will be featured as Catch of the Week)

striperpleasant

David Campbell, of Peoria, brought to our Phoenix headquarters Friday morning a striper that officially weighed 20.92 pounds and was 35 inches long — about 9 pounds short of a state record. See the full story

Read all the Angler Reports

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, Feb. 25 — Just For Kids Fishing Festival, 8 a.m. – noon, Kiwanis Park (5500 S. Mill Ave., Tempe).

See the full schedule

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Heavy rains and run-off has Horseshoe Dam flowing, Kaibab Lake spilling and anglers dreaming of spring.

Fishing likely will be unpredictable with  changing conditions. Another heavy storm is predicted statewide for Saturday and Sunday. Fish react to conditions and anglers must react to the fish. Anchor up to this rule: find the bait, find the fish.

Water is being let out of Horseshoe Lake, and Bartlett Lake is now at 95 percent full — up three feet since Tuesday. This featured image is from 2005 at Horseshoe Dam — the last time we had similar high rains and run-off:

Credit Rory Aikens/AZGFD
Credit Rory Aikens/AZGFD

A new moon is coming Feb. 26, so maybe plan to fish at night with submersible lights that weekend. With some stable weather, that weekend could be prime for great striper fishing at lakes such as Pleasant, Mead and Mohave.

Finally, at Pena Blanca Lake, the lake is full and water quality problems have improved — trout stockings are finally underway.  It’s scheduled to be stocked the week of Feb. 27.

Stocking report

Thursday, Feb. 9 — Saguaro Lake, Canyon Lake; Wednesday, Feb. 8 — Fortuna Pond; Tuesday, Feb. 7 — La Paz County Park Lagoon, and Pond, Cluff Res. #3, Roper Lake, Dankworth Ponds; Monday, Feb. 6 — Goldwater (upper), Dead Horse Lake, Verde River (middle).

Next week: We’re scheduled to stock the Dead Horse Lakes, Goldwater Lake, Saguaro Lake, Red Mountain Lake, Cluff Pond, Dankworth Pond, Parker Canyon Lake, and Roper Lake.

Full  schedules

Catch of the Week

(Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov – one will be featured as Catch of the Week)

parkercanyonbass

Rod caught this largemouth bass, weighing approximately 5 pounds, from Parker Canyon Lake in heavy winds with a 2-inch grub on a 1/32-ounce jig and 4-pound monofilament line.

See all the Angler Reports

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, Feb. 25 — Just For Kids Fishing Festival, 8 a.m. – noon, Kiwanis Park (5500 S. Mill Ave., Tempe).

See the full schedule

 

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Now’s the time make a strategic plan to set that state record. See where we think the next AZ state record might come from.

Snow melt is still finding its way into lakes such as Bartlett Lake, where on Wednesday surface water temperatures ranged from 49-51 degrees — too cold even for crappie to move in shallow.

Waters are muddied and stained at Bartlett Lake. Waters temperatures Monday were 49-51 degrees. The lake is 75% full.
Waters are muddied and stained at Bartlett Lake. Waters temperatures Monday were 49-51 degrees. The lake is 75% full.

But we are on the cusp of some great fishing. Lakes such as Alamo and Bartlett remain stained and muddied, but with a week or two of sunny, calm weather, rods will be bending.

Crappie anglers might have to wait a couple more weeks until action picks up for these panfish delights – they remain deep at most lakes and mostly inactive. Similar deal with bass.

Meanwhile, it’s still trout time in Community waters. Some big trout have been hooked (and hopefully cooked) the past few weeks. Hot spots seem to be Desert Breeze Lake in Chandler, Tempe Kiwanis and Surprise Lake.

Silver Creek in the White Mountains is fishing great for big trout if you can stand the beard-frosting cold and can find the right holes:

silvercrktrout

See a winter trout stocking schedule, maybe grab a fishing license online — you can get them 24/7 — and go “Fish AZ.” Your purchases support wildlife conservation (we do not receive state tax dollars) — so thanks!

Catch of the Week

(Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov – one will be featured as Catch of the Week)

img_7748

Karrie R. caught this 22-pound flathead catfish from shore at Lake Pleasant on Thursday, Jan. 26 using a dropshot rig with a worm. “It was definitely cold,” she said, “but worth the catch! Also caught an 8-pound carp and 3-pound channel catfish.”

See all the Angler Reports

Free public fishing events

At free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required to those who register during event hours.

Saturday, Feb. 4 — Youth Family Fishing Day, 9 a.m. – noon, Anthem Community Park (41703, N. Gavilan Peak Pkwy.)

See the full schedule

Nets and waders: Working for you

This new section will periodically show what our fisheries biologists have been doing in the field to improve fishing in Arizona.

Our fish biologists conserve wildlife, provide sport-fish opportunities — and sometimes snowmobile! This video shows Jan. 25 surveys to Big, Crescent and Lee Valley lakes in the White Mountains.

Biologists checked dissolved oxygen levels under the ice at Lee Valley and Crescent to predict a fish die-off due to low oxygen. Ice conditions were checked on all lakes, and ice was unsafe, especially at Big Lake.

Stocking report

Rainbow trout
Thursday, Jan. 26 and Friday, Jan. 27 — Canyon Lake,  Saguaro Lake, all “core” waters except Rio Vista, as well as Patterson Ponds, and Green Valley lakes. Tuesday, Jan. 24 — Pena Blanca Lake, Council Ave. Pond, Yuma West Wetlands Pond. Monday, Jan. 23 — Lower Salt River, Verde River (middle).

Next week: We’re scheduled to stock Deadhorse Lakes, Goldwater Lake, Canyon Lake, Cluff Pond, Dankworth Pond, Pena Blanca Lake, Fortuna Pond and Redondo Pond.

See the full schedules.

READ THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Looks like a fairly calm stretch of sunny weather is ahead for our desert regions. Another week or so of it and the bassin’ activity could pick up.

The top early bird lakes for bass that can have rapidly warming water temperatures are Alamo, Havasu, and Martinez. At Havasu this time of the year, there tends to be some short-lived, pre-spawn activity.

A top pick for bucketmouths is Saguaro. Although it is a little deeper than Alamo Lake and not quite the solar bowl, Saguaro can heat up as well — in more ways than one. Trout and yellow bass are options if the largemouth bass are finicky. It’s also the early bird for channel catfish that like to feed on shad. Plus, Saguaro is just downright gorgeous and was No. 10 last year on Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes in the western region:

Saguaro Lake
Saguaro Lake
Considering Canyon? If you want decent catch rates, avoid it. If you want one or two wall-hangers, you might want to go exercise your swim baits.

Some anglers’ favorite fishing-camping spot is Apache Lake (No. 24 on the same list). The  largemouth bass and yellow bass populations are superb. You might even catch a delectable walleye or two.

We have a new moon this weekend, so using submersible lights at night for striped bass can be effective. For winter fishing, Lake Mohave (No. 16) has been pretty good day and night.

Also notable, Rio Vista Pond was not stocked as scheduled this week since the pond is being lowered for maintenance.

See a winter trout stocking schedule, maybe grab a fishing license online — you can get them 24/7 — and go “Fish AZ.”

Don’t forget that Youth Combo Hunt/Fish Licenses (required for those age 10-17) are just $5, and good for 365 days.  Youth under the age of 10 and blind residents do not need to purchase a state fishing license to fish in Arizona. Check the Arizona Fishing Regulations for additional information.

Catch of the Week

(Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov — one will be featured as Catch of the Week)

bowtroutweb
Bryce Marco Permuy had a blast landing this “incentive” rainbow trout with just after a double rainbow appeared in the sky at Desert Breeze Lake.

See all the Angler Reports


Public fishing events

Free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required to those who register during event hours.

Saturday, Jan. 28 — Family Fishing Day, 8 a.m. – noon, Red Mountain Lake (7745 E. Brown Rd., Mesa).

See the full schedule

Nets and waders: Working for you

This new section will periodically show what our fisheries biologists have been doing in the field to improve fishing in Arizona.

Ever wondered how we survey fish? Come aboard one of our electrofishing boats and see one way we provide sport-fishing opportunities. In this case, it’s for the elusive tiger trout!

 

Stocking report

Rainbow trout
Friday, Jan. 20 — Pacana Pond, Dave White Regional Pond, Discovery Ponds, Freestone Pond, McQueen Pond, Eldorado Pond, Roadrunner Pond,  Bonsall Pond, Friendship Pond. Tuesday, Jan. 17 –– Dead Hose Lakes, Apache Lake, Dankworth Ponds, Cluff Reservoir #3, Roper Lake. Monday, Jan. 16 — Fortuna Pond.

Next week: We’re scheduled to stock Lynx Lake, Watson Lake, and Apache Lake.

See the full schedules.

SEE THE FULL REPORT