Bill P.: Caught this guy this morning at Desert Breeze on a nightcrawler. My wife’s kitchen scale said 10 pounds, 1 ounce.
Send your fishing reports and pictures to BFishing@AZGFD.gov
Dick K.: I took a friend out on Pleasant on the morning of April 24th to fish stripers. We hit the lake early and caught shad with the cast net and then in the next couple hours put 22 very nice fish in the boat. Most fish were caught in 45-50 feet of water, some while drop-shotting live shad and others while trolling live shad on planer boards over 30-50 feet or water. Pictured is Bob Oliver from Peoria with 19 of the 22 fish that averaged around 3#. In the last 5 trips to Pleasant I have boated and filleted 119 stripers. I share my fillets with a lot of older people who never get to go fishing but enjoy eating fresh fish.
Riverview Lake (Mesa)
Rich S.: April 23, evening, 10.65 pound (channel catfish) on cut shad at Riverview Park (2100 W. 8th St., Mesa).
Also the recently stocked crappie have dispersed through the lake and are doing well. I have caught a few at multiple locations, when cast-netting for shad. I have been fortunate to have a few 6-inch shad swim under the net. What I find interesting is I have yet to have a bass take a free-swimming shad under a float (day break or evening). I know the bass are there because they show up in my net. Just makes me think there is a lot of food. To pass up such a live offering ?
Last, I let a young boy (under 10) struggle to land a 4-pound cat while his dad captured the moment with his phone. The best being when it finally surfaced.
Thank you for all the work you do, and then taking the time to put out the fishing report.
Don M.: Here are 16 channel catfish that my friend Linda Kaufman caught at Alamo Lake recently. We caught these in two hours in the upper end of the lake on nightcrawlers on 6 feet of water.
Bass and crappie fishing is tough!
David M.: Caught some nice crappie and a few yellows April 22 night fishing with minnows.
Caught April 22 — 18-inch cutthroat trout. My Daughter Aubrey who is 6 years old. Was fishing on the bottom with a worm. I thought she got stuck on a rock until I seen the tip of her fishing pole wiggling. Her first big fish.
Michael W.: Great Day Of Fishing At Mingus Lake! April 19: In 2 hours and 45 minutes of fishing, I caught and released 51 rainbow trout, ranging from 8 to 14 inches. Biggest fish weighed 1 pound. All fish caught at a depth of 1 to 3 feet deep on 2-inch minnow tubes. Recently stocked with rainbow trout. Note: Road Access Gate was locked, must was about a mile to lake. Weather Conditions: Clear & Sunny. Water Conditions: Muddy.
Non-stop action At Fain Lake! In 4 1/2 hours of fishing, I caught and released 93 brown trout and seven brook trout ranging from 6 to 11 inches. All fish caught at southwest cove of lake at a depth of 2 to 4 feet deep on 1.5 inch crappie tubes. Averaged 4 to 6 bites on almost every cast. Due to the amount og food in lake, fish are easy to catch! Weather Conditions: Windy, clear and Sunny. Water Conditions: Stained.
Brown trout stocked at Fain Lake! In 3 hours of fishing, I caught and released 47 beautiful brown trout, ranging from 7 to 12 inches. Fish caught from bridge at a depth of 2 to 14 feet deep on 1.5 inch crappie tubes. Average 4 to 6 bites on every cast. Fish are very aggressive and hard fighters for their size! Weather Conditions: Windy, clear and sunny. Water Conditions: Stained.
Troy G.: The river is cleared after spring runoff. I got this spawned out bass on a hula grub. Selective harvest is needed on the river up here, so this one is getting filleted. Seeing a lot of bass fry in the river.
Jim N.: Retired Carpenter Johnny with San Carlos black crappie on silver flake/green 1/16-ounce jigs. Caught 20 total on northeast end of lake in 6 feet of water. Water up 30 feet from rain and clearing.
Jim N.: Caught a limit of 3-pound stripers in 25 feet of water in northern coves on top water and shad for 1 hour. My fishing buddy Rett with nice fish. Small flatheads cruising the shore. 3-pound soft shell turtles too. 🙂
Now is the time to get the tackle box ready, grab the fishing rods, and explore northern Arizona for some spring fishing.
Typically by late May or early June, as temperatures warm up and lake levels drop, water quality diminishes and conditions will be unsuitable for stocking fish.
Bass, pike, catfish, and crappie fishing are the best during the summer — but now is the ideal time for trout fishing. Get up there while you can.
Stocking trucks fromPage Springs Hatchery have been loading up trout into Flagstaff/Williams regional waters the past few weeks.
Top 5 spots to fish near Flagstaff and Williams
(All are being stocked with trout):
Upper and Lower Mary lakes. A state record channel catfish was caught from Upper Lake Mary, and trout fishing can be good at Lower Lake Mary. Upper Lake Mary is full. Lower lake Mary is half full and has more water in it than has been seen in 7 years. See more information from Coconino County on fees and hours of operation at Lower Mary.
Ashurst Lake. Ashurst is full and the road is open. The water in the lake is relatively clear so try fishing with lures for the fresh stockers. With the low water level of the lake prior to the spring runoff many fish may not have survived the winter.
Frances Short Pond. Anglers have been catching fish using flies and lures. Some have also been caught using corn and worms. A recent load of trout included some trout measuring more than 14 inches.
Kaibab Lake. The lake is full and spilling for the first time in years. When muddy, try small silver or gold lures for trout.
Dogtown Reservoir. This 50-acre lake in the Kaibab National Forest can be one of the best bets for a high country Arizona trout fishing adventure. Some experienced anglers can catch plump winter holdovers. Effective baits are PowerBait, small spinners, and wet flies such as bead-headed prince nymphs and zug bugs. Make sure the spinners are small — no heavier than 1/8 of an ounce. Some anglers can have success slow-trolling spinners. (There are special regulations at Dogtown: the limit is six trout, two bass at a minimum size of 13 inches, and a limit of four channel catfish). Electric-only motors are allowed.
Grab your gear and your fishing licenseand get ready for a pine-scented weekend!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Time to strip the old line off the reels, get your lucky hat on, and get spring fishing!
The last month the striper bite as not been ideal and very inconsistent. The water temps really did not climb or maintain a warmer temperature for the month of March. The water temp at Lake Pleasant is finally staying in the 64-67-degree range.
The females are full of fully developed eggs and the males are leaking.
Lake Pleasant striper catch rate on the rise
The last week the bite has really improved. Whereas last month most anglers reported only catching and average of 3-7 fish daily, that has now increased to 11-30 (or more) fish during a trip.
Last month live shad seemed to be the only consistent method producing fish on a slow bite. Lately anglers are reporting frozen anchovies, silver Kastmasters, plastic swimbaits, and top-water lures as producing good results.
I think the next 2-3 weeks will produce moderate-to-good fishing conditions for striper. Northern coves are still recommended for best results.
Anglers are catching fish in 20-48 feet of total water depth and still having success cast-netting shad in 4-8 feet of water.
Recommended swimbait colors would be sexy shad, white, smoking grey, money shot and baits with some chartreuse color in them. The night bite is slowly picking up and night fishing will become more popular moving into future months. If using anchovies, don’t forget to chum.
Matthew D.: Big fan of the blog and articles. My brother and I caught these channel cats at Chaparral Lake on a simple bobber-and-nightcrawlers. We were fishing about 15-20 feet from the shore. We started at sunrise but the fishing really started biting around 9-10 as it was warming up.
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!
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.
March 28 — Verde River (middle), Salt River, Lower Lake Mary.
Monday, March 27 — Eldorado Lake, Papago Ponds, Steele Indian School, Encanto Lake, Roadrunner Lake, Ashurst Lake.
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.
Send your fishing reports to BFishing@azgfd.gov — one will be selected as Catch of the Week
Gunny C.: Finally a quality bass. 8-pounds, 2 ounces on March 15. Thanks to Johnny Johnson for the great informational videos!
Jack caught this monster 48-pound, 13-ounce striper in about 10 feet of water in the flats across from South Cove. He also caught another lunker on the fishing trip.
Pena Blanca Lake
Andrew: Fished the shore this last Sunday evening. Didn’t get any bites using small jigs. Caught sunfish and bass on nightcrawlers during sundown.
Jeff P.: Working the shallows between Grapevine and Schoolhouse, put 12 in the boat (catch and release), mostly on the smaller side, but also picked up a couple of good ones including the 19 incher in the photo. All were caught on clear/red hula grubs, Texas-rigged.
Desert Breeze Park (Chandler)
Anonymous: Viviana and her dad caught these two catfish late afternoon on Monday. Using chicken liver and are so excited for some spring fishing!
Max W.: Just wanted to let you know, chub fishing at Fossil Creek was on fire over the weekend. 5-6 fish an hour in the morning, all on dark simi-seals and wooly buggers. Things slowed down around 9:30 or so.
Dead Horse lagoons
Debbie A.: Taylor Allen (of Flagstaff) caught this largemouth bass on a drop shot. Sunday, March 19.
Jim P.: Went fishing yesterday, March 9, at Parker Canyon Lake. I was surprised to find a very heavy algae bloom in the lake and it was a brownish color. I have never seen algae in that lake before. I could see only a few inches into the water. Fishing for trout was very poor.
Weather in the White Mountains region has been warming to highs in the 60s, and could nip the 70s this weekend. Many lakes are thawing, and more roads to some prime fishin’ holes will become open. The region, in a sense, is melting.
Fishing is good at Concho Lake, Silver Creek, and Becker Lake. Silver Creek is in the catch-and-release season, where in October there was a parasite outbreak — but fishing is now good. Concho Lake was stocked the week of March 8. Becker Lake is catch and release as well, but fishing for large rainbows and tiger trout is good.
Here’s a chart showing an overview of fishing ratings, followed by a look at each lake along with some other photos from Friday around this scenic, fishing heaven:
Mogollon Rim lakes
*Skim ice may be present, use caution. Ice coverage is unpredictable with warm days and cold nights. Forest Road 300 (Rim Road) to Woods Canyon Lake and Bear Canyon Lake is closed for the winter.
BEAR CANYON LAKE – Inaccessible. Forest Road 300 (the Rim Road) is closed for the winter as of Jan. 5.
BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is poor. Try crankbaits for bass. Accessible on Forest Road 86. Road may be muddy and have snow on it but is accessible.
CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair for large wild brown trout and rainbow trout. Forest Road 504 from the north is open.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is fair to poor for stocked rainbow trout and tiger trout. The gate to Willow Springs Lake is closed (the boat ramp is inaccessible), however the road to Sardine Point is open but has snow on it. The lake’s main body is open; however the fingers of the lake are snow and ice-covered. Temperatures are freezing. Ice is thin and unsafe.
WOODS CANYON LAKE – Inaccessible. Forest Road 300 (the Rim Road) is closed. Ice is thin and unsafe. There is some open water. You can walk in.
Pinetop/Show Low/St. Johns lakes
*Skim ice may be present, use caution. Ice coverage is unpredictable with warm days and cold nights.
FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair. No ice. Rainbow trout are being caught. The lake is full. 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. Try crankbaits for bass.
RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is fair to poor. Lake is full and spilling no ice. We are doing northern pike removals, so beware of gill nets during the day. We have caught some bass, many 17-inch catfish, lots of northern pike and even one 16-inch rainbow trout! Northern pike are congregating to spawn to shallow weedy coves. Try your luck, they are a tasty fish!
SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fair. No ice.
SHOW LOW LAKE – No ice. Fishing is fair. Holdover rainbow trout should be fishing well. The two fishing piers have been disconnected so that winter ice does not damage them, thus, they are not available for shore-fishing. The road over the dam is closed for the winter.
WOODLAND LAKE – No ice. Fishing is fair. Fishing dock is inaccessible.
PATTERSON PONDS – This is a community fishing water in St. John’s. A regular fishing license or a community fishing license is required to fish here. Channel catfish and sunfish fishing is fair, but trout fishing is good. Catfish were last stocked in October and rainbow trout were just stocked in Jan. 25! The pond daily bag limits in community fishing waters (2 trout; 2 catfish; 5 sunfish) apply.
White Mountains lakes
*Skim ice may be present or lakes may be frozen over. The 261 and 273 roads are closed. Forest roads are icy and snow packed.
BECKER LAKE – Fishing is good to excellent. Becker Lake is open to catch-and-release only for trout, artificial fly and lure only; single barbless hooks only. No bait. No trout may be kept. Many large, thick rainbow trout are being caught on white semiseal leach with olive or gray tail, or red chironomids under a strike indicator. Tiger trout are also being caught.
BIG LAKE – Inaccessible and ice-covered. Ice is still VERY thin and unsafe. During the winter survey on March 8, accessed with snow mobiles, ice was easily broken through just standing on it. There is some open water. Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter. Forest roads from the south are not passable due to deep snow.
CARNERO LAKE – Inaccessible but has some open water. Winter kill is NOT predicted here as of Feb. 16. Forest roads to the lake have deep snow in spots and are not accessible all the way to the lake by vehicle.
CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor for trout, but fair for sunfish, bullheads, and bass. No ice.
CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is excellent. The lake was stocked last week with trout!
CRESCENT LAKE – Inaccessible and ice-covered. No open water as of March 8. Ice was 10 inches where we checked; however, ice may be unsafe with warm winter days melting the ice. A partial winter kill is predicted here as of March 8. Survey in April or May will determine if winter kill occurred and stocking will occur regardless if water quality is acceptable to stocking. We are seeing high pH and some suppressed oxygen levels. However, we look forward to fishing for large rainbow trout and brook trout in the spring! Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.
GREER LAKES (River; Tunnel; Bunch) – All three lakes are full or nearly full, and ice-free. Large brown trout and rainbow trout are being caught in River and Tunnel. Greer Fire District will be conducting prescribed burns Feb. 22-March 10. The burns will be in the area of squirrel spring and the spade ranch areas. The community of Greer will be impacted by the smoke. Contact Greer Fire District staff if you have questions.
HULSEY LAKE – Open water. The road is snow packed. Fishing is fair.
LEE VALLEY LAKE – Inaccessible and ice-covered. Ice is thin and unsafe. Ice may be unsafe. Few fish remain here, although we are not predicting a winter kill. Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.
LUNA LAKE – Fishing is fair. Road is ice-free. Fishing should pick up as water warms. Lake is murky colored.
LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is open. Fishing is fair for bass, walleye, carp and catfish. Use corn or nightcrawlers for carp and catfish. No ice.
NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair. Fish may have sores from a parasite called Lernaea; however, they are safe to eat.
White Mountains streams
EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Roads are snow packed. This is only accessible from the south from Forest Road 26. Fishing is fair for brown trout. Moderate flows from snow melt.
LITTLE COLORADO RIVER in GREER – Fishing is poor. The stream was last stocked in September. Wild brown trout are also present in the stream. Moderate flows.
SHOW LOW CREEK – Fishing is poor. The road over the dam at Show Low Lake is closed for the winter.
SILVER CREEK – Fishing is good. Current regulations are catch and release with artificial flies and lures with single barbless hooks only. A protozoan infection called “Ich” hit rainbow trout in Silver Creek in October, causing significant stress, some mortalities of trout, and poor fishing, however, that bout of infection has passed. Fishing is good! This stream is ice-free all year round.
SHEEPS CROSSING/LCR – Inaccessible. Highway 273 is closed for the winter. Frozen over and snow-covered.