Tag Archives: arizona fishing

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Typically, water temperatures in May can reach close to optimum levels for trout. May and October can be the top trout producing months for our high country lakes. We’re stocking trout throughout the state — even tiger trout have already been stocked into Woods Canyon and Willow Springs lakes.

This gorgeous brown trout recently came out of Dogtown Reservoir near Williams:

Beginning Monday, though, looks like the desert regions will have the best spots to drown a hook (Saturday is expected to be windy statewide). Things will have cooled significantly. Most bass are in a post-spawn mode. Full moon is March 10 and so expect another heavy wave of spawners. With increased water covering more trees and shrubs, bass have had plenty of ideal areas to spawn. By most accounts, bass fishing during last month’s full moon was incredible.

Oh, and walleye season has begun at Lake Powell.

See the full fishing report, grab a license online, 24/7, and don’t forget to send your fishing reports and photos to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

Catch of the Week

Six year-old Steve F. wouldn’t be deterred by windy weather at Lake Havasu on Saturday and caught this 3 1/2-pound largemouth bass with a shad jig from the Cattail Cove launch ramp dock at Lake Havasu.

See all the Angler Reports

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Wednesday, April 26 — Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek, Haigler Creek, Show Low Lake, Hulsey Lake, Lower Lake Mary, Frances Short Pond, Ashurst Lake.

Tuesday, April 25 — Kaibab Lake.

Monday, April 24 — Bunch Res., RIver Res, Tunnel Res., Canyon Creek, Ashurst Lake, Dogtown Reservoir, Colorado River,

Tiger trout

Tuesday, April 25 and Monday, April 24  — Willow Springs Lake Woods Canyon Lake.

Channel catfish

Wednesday, April 26 — Patterson Ponds (St Johns), Tempe Town Lake, Dave White Regional Pond (Casa Grande), Pacana Park, Redondo Lake, Fortuna Pond, Yuma West Wetlands Pond, Council Ave. Pond, Roadrunner Park, DIscovery, Eldorado, McQueen, Freestone.


Wednesday, April 26 — Friendship Park Pond, Bonsall Park, Roadrunner Park Lake, Discovery Park, Eldorado Lake, McQueen Park, Freestone Pond, Friendship Pond.

See more stocking schedules.

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.


Youth and Community Fishing Day, Cortez Park (3434 W. Dunlap Ave., Phoenix), 7-10 a.m. Read the full schedule.


Cinco de Mayo fish recipe: spice-rubbed catfish

To celebrate our Cinco de Mayo flash sale — get $5 off resident and nonresident general fishing licenses May 3-7, online sales only — here’s a recipe from Seis Kitchen and Catering, which specializes in regional Mexican cuisine.

Seis Kitchen and Catering prepared this incredible, tangy catfish dish during our recent “Hook to Plate” fishing clinic at Silverbell Lake in Tucson.

Enjoy, and celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a fishing fiesta!

Spice-rubbed catfish topped with pickled jalapeño relish
  • 2 cups corn meal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • .5 tsp ground oregano
  • .5 tsp black pepper
  • .5 tsp cumin
  • .5 tsp chile powder

Mix ingredients in dry bowl


  • 1 cup milk

Place milk into a large bowl alone


  • 2 pounds fish

Pat dry fish


  1. Dip fish into milk, coating entire fillet
  2. Remove fish from milk allowing excess milk to drain off
  3. Dredge fish in the corn meal mixture until completely coated
  4. Fill a medium sauce pan with canola oil about a 1/4 in high.
  5. Heat on a medium heat
  6. When oil is hot place the fillets in the oil cooking for 3 minutes on each side or until you get a nice firm crust. The thicker the fish the longer you will cook it. This recipe was done with fish that was about 3/4 to an inch thick.
  7. When fish is done, place on a towel to allow oil to drain off.

Seis Kitchen and Catering is located on 130 S. Avenida del Convento #100, Tucson, Arizona

See more about fishing in Arizona

Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Many bass are in a post-spawn mode, and although there’s some windy weather predicted for much of the state this weekend, anglers can pick their spots. A couple might be  Woods Canyon and Willow Springs lakes on the Mogollon Rim — tiger trout are back and have been stocked for the first time this year. Looks like some pretty decent weather there Saturday and Sunday, too.

Top-water action had been picking up with a recent spat of warmer weather and some anglers were having success with frogs, Rebel Pop-Rs, and Ricos. With a string of predicted 90-degree temperatures in desert regions next week — possibly hitting 100 toward the end of the week — the surface action should pick up again.

A new moon was Wednesday, and so using submersible lights at night will be effective for a couple more days. Try striper fishing at night a Lake Mead, Lake Mohave (some big stripers were just caught fishing from shore with anchovies), or Lake Pleasant.

Also time to wet some lines in the Yuma area! Council Avenue (Somerton), Yuma West Wetlands, Fortuna Pond, and Redondo Pond were all stocked with channel catfish and bluegill Wednesday, April 26. See the stocking:

Grab a license online, 24/7, and go get ’em.

Other fish-lights:

Rainbow trout being loaded Wednesday en route to Flagstaff-area lakes at our Page Springs Fish Hatchery.
  • Rainbow trout are being stocked in the high country.
  • We just started a new habit project at Roosevelt Lake.
  • Crappie fishing has slowed. Action had been hot during their spawn following the recent full moon.
  • All roads to Big Lake are open.
  • Flathead catfishing will be picking up and should be good until mid-June. This is typically the time monster flatheads are caught.
  • Be sure to check the weather forecasts. Some gusty weather is predicted throughout the state this weekend (particularly out west).

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

April 19 — Goldwater Lake (Upper), Concho Lake, Bear Canyon Lake, Rainbow Lake, Fool Hollow Lake, Haigler Creek, Christopher Creek.

April 20 — Tonto Creek, Ashurst Lake, East Verde River, Tonto Creek.

Channel catfish

April 20 — “Core” Community fishing waters.

See full schedules.

Catch of the Week

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

Aubrey, 6, caught this reported 18-inch cutthroat trout April 22 at Big Lake fishing on the bottom with a worm.  It was her first big fish.

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.


  • Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club free fishing event at Mittry Lake, sunrise-noon.
  • Somerton free fishing event at Council Park Pond, 9 a.m. – noon.

See more details and the full schedule

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.


Spring fishing has arrived in northern Arizona

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 from Page Springs Hatchery have been loading up trout into Flagstaff/Williams regional waters the past few weeks.

Fishing at Lower Lake Mary is refreshing and trout fishing opportunities are abundant.

Top 5 spots to fish near Flagstaff and Williams

(All are being stocked with trout):

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Kaibab Lake. The lake is full and spilling for the first time in years. When muddy, try small silver or gold lures for trout.
  5. 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 license and get ready for a pine-scented weekend!

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.


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


Glendale fishing clinic to give away up to 1,000 youth licenses

Bonsall Park

PHOENIX – As many as one thousand youth hunt/fish licenses will be given away free of charge at the third annual “Hook a Kid on Fishing” event on Saturday, April 8 at Bonsall  Park in Glendale. The annual event was organized by Glendale City Councilmember Jamie Aldama in cooperation with the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, which will be sponsoring the giveaway of youth licenses.

The giveaway coincides with a free fishing clinic  — loaner rods will be available, no license is required, and bait will be provided. Licenses will go to the first 1,000 youth ages 10-17 during the event at Bonsall Park. Register on-site during clinic hours of 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We’re excited to have an opportunity to give kids a window into the world of fishing,” Arizona Game and Fish Department Community Fishing Program Manager Scott Gurtin said. “This will be a great community event and the fishing should be excellent.”

Bluegill and catfish will be stocked (more than four times the regular amount of catfish), and the free licenses will be valid for 365 days of fishing and hunting. Grab your kids and come on out.

Bonsall Park is located at 5840 W. Bethany Home Rd. (59th Ave. and Bethany Home Rd.) in Glendale.

Flagstaff man breaks 30-year-old catfish state record

Carson Pete with his 33.36-pound, 39 ½-inch channel catfish that set an inland waters hook-and-line state record for channel catfish.

A giant, dark fish tail curled beneath the surface of the water.

Carson Pete, shore-fishing about 50 yards away, hiked to where he spotted the tail Sunday at Upper Lake Mary near Flagstaff.

He happened to have brought a heavy spinning rod with 50-pound braided line, a 60-pound fluorocarbon leader, and a 7/0 Gamakatsu circle hook. Just before the sun crawled beneath a horizon of pine trees, Pete grabbed a few frozen anchovies he’d dipped in a homemade fish oil/garlic mix and slid them onto the hook. Then he cast the bait near a brush line in 2 feet of water depth.

Immediately, a fish took the bait, drifted away — and then bolted. Pete said he set the hook three times as the fish peeled out about 60 yards of line during a cool and breezy evening. After about 20 minutes of wrestling and reeling, Pete got the huge fish to shore.  Monday morning at the Arizona Game and Fish Department office in Flagstaff, the catfish weighed 33.36 pounds, measured 39 ½ inches in total length, and set an inland waters hook-and-line state record for channel catfish.

“Before I left, my 7-year-old daughter kept saying, ‘You’re going to catch a big fish. Send a picture when you do,’” said Pete, a Flagstaff resident who was targeting northern pike. “Well I saw a few people fishing for pike and no one was having any luck. So I just kept fishing and fishing.”

As one reward for his persistence, Pete has quite the picture to send his daughter.

Pete broke the previous record by about one pound. That record belonged to Chuck Berndt of Sierra Vista, who caught a channel catfish at Parker Canyon Lake that weighed 32 pounds, 4 ounces and measured 38 ¾ inches.

Berndt caught that previous record fish in 1987.

It is possible that Pete’s catfish is as old as the record.

“It is feasible that this new record catfish is 30-plus years old,” said AZGFD Wildlife Specialist Scott Rogers, who helped weigh the fish. “The oldest on record for this species is 40. These slow growing cats live a long time. Perhaps he was hatched the same year the old record was set.”

The inland waters, catch-and-release record catfish also was taken from Upper Lake Mary. Jared Sandall of Rimrock caught that 34-inch channel catfish in 2015.

With an elevation of about 7,000 feet, Upper Lake Mary has excellent springtime fishing and refreshing summertime temperatures.

See  more information on fishing in Arizona.

Weekend Roundup: Angler Reports

Send your fishing reports and pictures to BFishing@AZGFD.gov — one that includes a photo will be featured as Catch of the Week

Here’s the latest from your fellow anglers (click on the water for directions):

Tempe Kiwanis Lake

Mike M.: Cheyanne Montes caught this on a first-cast strike at Kiwanis  on Saturday March 11.   Set the hook just like Dad taught her … and go Irish!

Rainbow Lake

Blake Frost with a northern pike at Rainbow Lake — her second fish ever.

Lake Havasu

Drex A.: Caught this one on a drop shot in Lake Havasu.

Parker Canyon Lake

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.

Patagonia Lake

Anonymous: March 9, bass 15 1/2-inch bass trolling using plastic bait.

See more about fishing in Arizona

A drenched desert: slideshow from a wet and messy week

Well this has been some kind of wet and sloppy week, right?

Tempe Town Lake has reopened once again, and at most desert impoundments, rivers and creeks statewide, run-off and high flows shook our desert fisheries into a sliding chocolate milkshake.

This slideshow begins with a kayaker at Phon D. Sutton on the Lower Salt River, heads to Stewart Mountain Dam, and ends with sights from Tempe Town Lake.

CREDIT: George Andrejko/AZGFD


Fishing will only pick up from here, folks. Grab your gear, a license online, 24/7 if you need one, and “Fish AZ.”

How was your wet and messy week? Catch any fish? Chat us up in the comments below.

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