Category Archives: The Reel Deal

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)

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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

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

With the steady rain or snow in many regions, predicted to continue through Saturday, the best bets might be catching a dry window at your local Community fishing water for some “incentive” trout, or plan something for next weekend. This time of year fishing can be fruitful if anglers remember one general key: slow your presentations. See more tips in the full report.

If we get a milder spat of sunny winter weather (maybe next weekend), we have two fairly shallow lakes that tend to heat up fast because they are like two big solar bowls in the desert. The first is Alamo Lake west of Wickenberg. The other is Lake Havasu. Havasu has a larger mass than Alamo, but also a larger variety of sport-fish species as well. Alamo has something that draws a lot of winter visitors — crappie.

This influx of rains could boost spring fishing action (and be advantageous for quail hunting next year). At high run-off lakes such as Roosevelt, boaters at both ends of the lake much go slowly and watch for debris.

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

Catch of the Week

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

rm-trout-featured

Richard J.’s son caught this 16-inch rainbow trout at Red Mountain Lake, a Community Fishing Program water in Mesa, on green PowerBait.  “My 4-year-old son literally asks me every day if we can go fishing,” Richard said. “Of course the answer is ‘yes.'”

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).

The lake will be stocked prior to the event with 420 pounds of trout.

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.

Despite low water level,
Alamo Lake fish populations thriving
alamo1-300x225
Largemouth bass from a fall survey.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has completed its annual fall electrofishing trend survey of Alamo Lake in December. Despite some of the lowest water levels since Alamo Lake was constructed in 1968, the fish population is doing well.  The physical condition of largemouth bass appears to have improved during the past several years.

A large number of young-of-year and age-1 largemouth bass were captured in the 2016 survey – we hope these fish will provide a bright future for the lake’s largemouth bass fishery.

All of the fish were collected, weighed, measured, and released unharmed.  A total of 2,891 were captured in 16 survey stations, of which 255 were largemouth bass.  The largest sampled was 19.9 inches and 4.6 pounds.  Forage fish (threadfin shad, blue tilapia, and bluegill) comprised 89 percent of the total catch and should provide abundant food for the lake’s sportfish.

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Thursday, Jan. 12 — Colorado River (Willow Beach). Read more. Wednesday, Jan. 11 and Thursday, Jan. 12 — All Community waters scheduled to be stocked with trout this week (marked with a “T” on the schedule) were stocked with larger-than-average trout. Thursday, Jan. 5 — Dankworth Ponds, Roper Lake, Cluff Reservoir # 3. Wednesday, Jan. 4 — Parker Canyon Lake.

Next week: we’re scheduled to stock the Verde River (Clarkdale to Camp Verde), Somerton Ponds, Yuma West Wetlands Pond, Pena Blanca Lake, Lower Salt River, Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake. (Stockings at Canyon and Saguaro scheduled for this week have been moved to next week.)

See the full schedule.

 

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Meanwhile in Arizona … we’re still fishing. And we’re off to a great start this year with this heavy precipitation — hope the wet stuff keeps falling.  Let’s get right into the winter highlights:

  • Hot spots this week will be the “core” Community Fishing Program waters where we just stocked some monster rainbow trout. See the schedule of what’s been stocked.
  • The 2017-18 fishing regulations are available online and as booklets at AZGFD offices as well as license dealers.
  • The Yellow Cliffs boat launch is once again open at Bartlett Lake. As of Thursday there was 17 feet of water depth at the launch.
  • Rainbow trout from the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery have been stocked into Colorado River waters downstream of Las Vegas after a 3-year hiatus. Read more from our Fish AZ blog.

 

Catch of the Week

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

Photo credit: Lazy Trout Motel and Cabins
Photo credit: Lazy Trout Motel and Cabins

This young man caught this 4-pound brown trout Jan. 9 out of Tunnel Reservoir. This time of year, bunny leeches, simi seal leeches and woolly buggers work well in all of the Greer lakes when there is open water. We consider all ice unsafe.

See all the Angler Reports

 

High country updates: Greer, Becker lakes

Cinda Howard of Fly Fish Arizona … and Beyond (www.flyfisharizona.com)  had this Thursday, Jan. 12 report from the Greer lakes and Becker Lake:

Currently the Greer Lakes are ice-free and they are finally full again. On Jan. 9, there was a young man who caught a 21″, 4 lb brown out of Tunnel (pictured above). This time of year, bunny leeches, simi seal leeches and woolly buggers work well in all of the Greer Lakes. For bait, try worms.

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A nice Becker Lake rainbow trout caught recently from a pier.

Becker Lake is also ice-free and has been fishing very well. I have done well fishing from the pier but if you have a boat, casting to the banks has been very productive. Fish seem to be sitting really close to the bank. My best flies are bunny leeches in white, black and tan.

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. 14 — City of Maricopa Youth Fishing Day, 8 a.m. — noon, Copper Sky Lake (45345 W. Martin Luther King Blvd., Maricopa).

The lake will be stocked prior to the event with 420 pounds of trout.

SEE A PRINTABLE EVENT FLYER

View 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.


In December, another 80 Juniper trees were sunk in Dogtown Lake as part of the Dogtown Fish Habitat Project.  Since the project started in 2014, more than an acre of fish habitat made of Juniper trees has been added to the 80-year-old reservoir.  This project is a cooperative effort between the AZGFD, Kaibab National Forest, Northern Arizona Flycasters and Trout Unlimited.

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Thursday, Jan. 12 — Colorado River (Willow Beach). Read more. Wednesday, Jan. 11 and Thursday, Jan. 12 — All Community waters scheduled to be stocked with trout this week (marked with a “T” on the schedule) were stocked with larger-than-average trout. Thursday, Jan. 5 — Dankworth Ponds, Roper Lake, Cluff Reservoir # 3. Wednesday, Jan. 4 — Parker Canyon Lake.

See the full schedule.

READ THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Water temperatures across the state have dropped to their winter standards, and snow and ice has slowed or stalled driving in the high country — but no precipitation is predicted for the high country this weekend.

See a slide show of pictures from our Fish AZ blog showing recent lake conditions.

Be sure to check the Arizona Department of Transportation website for the latest road conditions. Also, some new fishing regulations are in effect.

First, anglers can pick species to target, grab a license 24/7 online (if needed) then figure out where you’ll go and how you’ll fish ’em.

Here are some updates and a few popular species to target:

Rainbow trout: some incentive

Trout fishing in Arizona is at its best in the Community Fishing Program waters, where larger-than-average trout are being stocked the week of Jan. 9-14.
Trout fishing in Arizona is at its best in the Community Fishing Program waters, where larger-than-average trout are being stocked the week of Jan. 9-14.

Trout is probably the best winter option for putting dinner on the table or bragging to buddies about high catch rates.. Next week we’re going to stock “incentive” trout into many Community Fishing Program waters — see the “core” waters for the week of Jan. 9-14 for a list where they’re being stocked.

Some will be as heavy as 5 pounds.

Bass

 

Bass fishing can be good during the winter in the lower Salt River.
Bass fishing can be good during the winter in the lower Salt River.

Know your winter tactics — it’s not an easy time to catch bass. With typical wintertime water temperatures (surface temperatures at desert impoundments tend to be in the low-50s this time of year) a largemouth bass becomes lethargic and may feed once at first light and be satisfied for a couple days.

This isn’t to say avoid bass fishing. Just be prepared. And fish slowly.

Some tips:

  • Creep a dropshot-rigged Roboworm (bass are eating a lot of orange and red colors, such as Salt River craw) along the bottom. Wait for a possible, subtle bite as the bait is falling. This is where bite-feeling techniques such as holding or thumbing your line as the bait is falling can be critical to catching a bass.
  • Use better gear such as fluorocarbon line and sensitive rod tips. Check online about the advantages of having tungsten weights.
  • Consider that about 10 percent of largemouth bass in our lakes will be staying shallow, or within the first 10 feet of the bank, throughout the day. As the sun comes up, many will travel deep where they might settle into a comfortable 66 degrees (say, 25 feet down.) This also is where the shad has been. The deeper the water, the more plentiful the bait.
  • Target points, humps, reefs and islands.

Crappie

wintercrappie
Crappie fishing in Arizona can be excellent during the season of freeze.

Crappie are heading deep and grouping into larger schools near large pods of baitfish, as they tend to do during the winter.

See a Fish AZ blog article about how to hook them.

So there you go! See our Fish&Boat Arizona map for directions to our state’s primary fisheries.

Catch of the Week

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

img_20161230_191047_750

This 16-inch rainbow trout was Allison R.’s only bite of the day — and now it’s Catch of the Week. She caught it Dec. 30 at East Clear Creek.

See all the Angler Reports

 

Free 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. 14 — City of Maricopa Youth Fishing Day, 8 a.m. — noon, Copper Sky Lake (45345 W. Martin Luther Kind Blvd., Maricopa).

See the full schedule

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Thursday, Dec. 29 — Community waters: Green Valley Lake (No. 1, 2 and 3), Alvord Lake, Desert West Lake, Pioneer Lake, Surprise Lake, Rio Vista Pond, Cortez Lake, Encanto Lake, Steele Indian School, Papago Ponds, Evelyn Hallman Pond, Red Mountain Lake, Chaparral Lake, Riverview Lake, Kiwanis Lake, Desert Breeze Lake, Veterans Oasis Lake, Copper Sky Lake, Lakeside Lake, Sahuarita Lake, Kennedy Lake, Silverbell Lake.

See the full report

Thank you, anglers!

Arizona fishing opportunities wouldn’t be possible without the Sport Fish Restoration Program. It was created through the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950 (Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act) and the Wallop-Breaux amendments of 1984. Through a federal excise tax paid by manufacturers on fishing gear and motorboat fuels, it provides funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

For six months, nights were becoming longer, peaking Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 3:44 a.m. The first day of winter.

As we cross that peak and daytime gradually lengthens toward spring, it’s time to focus on what species and waters are best for winter fishing. First, our Community Fishing Program waters are being stocked with trout. See the schedule.

We have some new fishing regulations coming into effect Jan. 1 — see the details.

Also, be sure to check the ADOT website for road conditions before traveling this weekend. Ice fishing is not recommended due to unstable conditions of ice. Please be cautious – we consider all ice unsafe.

I’ll be out of the office until Jan. 3 and there won’t be a fishing report next week. But be sure to check-in here next Wednesday night — we’ll discuss how to beat the winter striper fishing blues.

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.

lmbWe recently conducted our annual electrofishing survey on the backwaters of the Imperial Division of the Colorado River to gather data on relative abundance, size, growth of fish and to detect any large-scale changes in the fish population.

The largemouth bass population appears to be doing well – the largest sampled was 23.9 inches and 9.5 pounds. More than 20 percent of the largemouth bass captured during the survey were 15 inches or larger. A high number of young-of-the-year largemouth were sampled as well – possibly an indication for a future robust population in this area.

A total of 2,235 fish were sampled at 17 survey stations — including 206 largemouth bass. Other species collected included bluegill and redear sunfish, black crappie, warmouth sunfish, threadfin shad, gizzard shad, blue tilapia, common carp, striped bass, flathead catfish, and channel catfish.

Give the gift of fishing

Need a last-second gift idea? Buy a license online, 24/7, and get a license for family or friends. (A $5 youth combo hunt/fish license makes for a great stocking stuffer).

Stocking report

Tuesday, Dec. 20 — Cluff Reservoir, Roper Lake, Dankworth Ponds.

Monday, Dec. 19 — Deadhorse Lake, Verde River (middle), Fain Lake, Saguaro Lake, Colorado River (3 spots from Rotary Park to Davis Camp).

Thursday, Dec. 15 — Lower Salt River.

Wednesday, Dec. 14 — “Core” Community fishing waters, Patterson Ponds (St. Johns), Patagonia Lake.

See the schedule.

Catch of the Week

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

 

Digital Camera

Jim E. with the first keeper largemouth bass he’s caught at Red Mountain lake after 15 years of fishing this lake east of Mesa.

See all the Angler Reports

 

Thank you, anglers!

Arizona fishing opportunities wouldn’t be possible without the Sport Fish Restoration Program. It was created through the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950 (Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act) and the Wallop-Breaux amendments of 1984. Through a federal excise tax paid by manufacturers on fishing gear and motorboat fuels, it provides funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Although reports have slowed as Christmas creeps, the fishing likely has not slowed at certain low- to mid-elevation lakes.

For one, trout fishing in Community waters is one of the best options in the state. We’ve stocked the “core” Community waters — see the schedule.  One angler reported catching a 4-pound bass this week from Red Mountain Lake.

Also, the Lower Salt River — our No. 1-ranked fishin’ hole for this winter — and Saguaro Lake (pictured above) make a great one-two punch since they’re located close to each other.  Try nightcrawlers (on a dropshot rig if you’re able) for largemouth bass, yellow bass, bluegill and even catfish.

See a recent report for crappie tips — they have been caught in fairly shallow water (15 feet) at lakes such as Roosevelt Lake. Fishing for crappie has been poor at Alamo Lake — but that should change as water temperatures cool.

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

Stocking report

This week we were scheduled to stock the “core” Community fishing waters, as well as Mingus Lake, Goldwater Lake, Canyon Lake, the Lower Salt River, Parker Canyon Lake, Patagonia Lake, and Pena Blanca Lake. See the schedule.

These are confirmed stockings from last week:

Rainbow trout

Monday, Dec. 12 — Goldwater Lake, Verde River (middle). Tuesday, Dec. 6 — Cluff Reservoir #3, Roper Lake, Dankworth Ponds, Fortuna Pond, Redondo Lake. Monday, Dec. 5 — Apache Lake, Deadhose Lake.

See the full schedule.

Licensed to fish

Buy a license online, 24/7, and help conserve wildlife for future generations.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Get “out like trout” for maybe your final chance to fish most high country waters. There have been reports of thin ice forming on lakes such as Woods Canyon Lake. Be careful — we consider all ice on Arizona lakes unsafe.

Winter weather can of course be detrimental to travel. Motorists traveling in Arizona’s high country need to be aware of some annual closings. Be sure to check the Arizona Department of Transportation website for the latest road closures. Other highlights (or frozen notes):

  • Big Lake is 50-percent ice-covered and there is minimal fishing from shore — boats are not able to be launched.
  • FR 105 to Woods Canyon Lake is closed and so boats cannot be launched. But anglers can still walk in and fish Woods Canyon.
  • The stores at Woods Canyon and Big Lake are closed for the winter.

Submit your tiger trout state record

tiger-trout-nicholas-tochko-2016-record

Nicholas Tochko caught this catch-and-keep state record tiger trout, an 8-incher taken in May from Carnero Lake.

The average size of tiger trout at Woods Canyon and Willow Springs lakes? 10 inches. Go catch a tiger and submit your record before tiger trout-stocked lakes (Woods Canyon, Willow Springs and Becker — Carnero is ice-covered) become completely iced over. We’ve received just three applications for state record tigers.

See the “White Mountains” section in the full report for details of ice cover and fishing tips. Once again, we consider all ice on lakes unsafe.

Finally, see a video about catching tiger trout at Willow Springs Lake.

AZ crappie report

Consider targeting sporting crappie populations at Alamo, Bartlett and Roosevelt. Might not be banner crappie-fishing conditions just yet — but it’s worth a shot. As the water temperatures lower, the crappie will congregate into large schools in open water that can be up to 50 feet deep or so. The crappie formations, or schools, look like inverted pyramids (or Christmas trees … ), with the most active fish at the top, around 15 or 20 feet deep.

Catch a window of stable weather for crappie fishing.

The two primary strategies for catching these crappie are to use your fish finder, locate a school, sit over it, and slowly jig a 1/16- or even a 1/32-ounce jighead with curly tail or other small grub, Roadrunner or maybe a marabou jig. The other is slow trolling (1.5 mph) crappie jigs or even small crankbaits. Or combine the two — trolling until you get a bite, then vertically jig.

Be sure to check the stocking schedules.  Community Fishing Program lakes and ponds continue to get frequent trout stockings – see some tips.

Licensed to fish

Buy a license online, 24/7, and help conserve wildlife for future generations.

Catch of the Week

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

lakemead

Joe B. caught this walleye in Lake Mead near mile marker 43 on Nov. 23. He said he’d been fishing Lake Mead for 20-plus years without catching a walleye.

See all the Angler Reports

 

Upcoming free 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 —
Town of Gilbert’s Youth Fishing Day, 8 a.m. — noon, Freestone Pond (1045 E. Juniper Ave., Gilbert). Sponsored by AZGFD and town of Gilbert. Loaner rods provided to first 100 participants. Bait and fishing information available.  Contact Jennifer Lauria, Gilbert Parks & Rec., 480-503-6234 or the AZGFD Sport Fishing Education Program at (623) 236-7240.

See the full schedule.

Stocking report

These are confirmed stockings from last week. See the stocking schedules.

Rainbow trout

Friday, Nov. 25 — Luna Lake.

Friday, Nov. 18 — Community waters: Desert Breeze, Veterans Oasis, Copper Sky, Red Mountain, Riverview, Rio Vista, Alvord, Cortez, Desert West, Encanto, Papago Ponds, Steele Indian School, Chaparral, Surprise, Evelyn Hallman, Tempe Kiwanis, Kennedy, Lakeside, Silverbell, Sahuarita, Water Ranch Lake. ** Pioneer Lake and Green Valley lakes did not get stocked due to water quality issues (both are expected to be stocked the week of Nov. 28).

See the full schedule.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

This might be the last weekend to fish high country hideaways such as Big Lake before skim ice — or unsafe ice — begins to form. The Big Lake Store is officially closed for winter.

Meanwhile, late fall/winter fishing is just beginning in the desert regions.

But first, great news — today through Sunday we’re offering a 50-percent discount on short-term (one-day) combination fishing/hunting licenses purchased online. That means only $7.50 per day for Arizona residents and $10 per day for non-residents.

Bring the kids along — youth licenses (required for ages 10-17) are only $5 and are valid for a year.

Buy a license, and help conserve wildlife for future generations.

OK, back to the report. Trout are back in Community waters! See when and where they’re being stocked. On Tuesday afternoon we stocked 665 pounds of trout into Tempe Town Lake. Watch video of this stocking (from under the pipe).

The next new moon is Nov. 29, which means using submersible lights at night to attract fish such as striped bass and crappie will become increasingly more effective.

 

Catch of the Week

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

sagbass1116
Charles S. caught this giant Saguaro Lake largemouth bass on a Zoom Trick worm in shallow water.

See all the Angler Reports

Upcoming free 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, Dec. 3 — Town of Gilbert’s Youth Fishing Day, 8 a.m. — noon, Freestone Pond (1045 E. Juniper Ave., Gilbert). Sponsored by AZGFD and town of Gilbert. Loaner rods provided to first 100 participants. Bait and fishing information available.  Contact Jennifer Lauria, Gilbert Parks & Rec., 480-503-6234 or the AZGFD Sport Fishing Education Program at (623) 236-7240.

See the full schedule.

Stocking report

These are confirmed stockings from last week. See the stocking schedules.

Rainbow trout
Friday, Nov. 18 —
Community waters: Desert Breeze, Veterans Oasis, Copper Sky, Red Mountain, Riverview, Rio VIsta, Alvord, Cortez, Desert West, Encanto, Papago Ponds, Steele Indian School, Chaparral, Surprise, Evelyn Hallman, Tempe Kiwanis, Kennedy, Lakeside, Silverbell, Sahuarita, Water Ranch Lake. ** Pioneer Lake and Green Valley lakes did not get stocked due to water quality issues (both are expected to be stocked the week of Nov. 28).

See the full schedule.

SEE THE FULL REPORT