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.
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:
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.
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.
(Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov – one will be featured as Catch of the Week)
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.
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.
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 …
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.
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.
(Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov – one will be featured as Catch of the Week)
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
Water conditions: Stained (mossy green), light chop Tackle: One-ounce Kastmaster spoon, 16-pound Stren MagnaThin line (green color to match the mossy green water) Water depth: 12-14 feet Moon phase: Waning gibbous (third quarter) Presentation: Trolling at 900 rpms (about 2.5 mph) Boat: Spectrum 19 1/2-foot
Todd B.: Fished Desert Breeze Lake today (Sat., Feb. 11) for 2 hours in the afternoon. My first time to the lake and I am in love with both the beautiful park and the lake itself. I was using an ultralight rod throwing small Blue Fox spinners.
Countless bites and landed a few decent sized trout around 12-13 inches. I saw other anglers plunking with little success. In these smaller bodies of water, my best luck is always with spinners or spoons.
Spinners and spoons are good because you can use them to search for the fish, while covering each inch of the lake in a couple of hours. I tried a few sizes of lures ranging from Nos. 2- 0s. My best action came on No. 1s.
Thanks AZGFD for the many community waters close to home.
Michael W.: Another great day of fishing at Fain Lake! In 5 hours of fishing, I caught and released 95 beautiful rainbow trout, ranging from 9-12 inches. Fish caught from right corner of dock at a depth of 18 inches to 4 feet, on 1.5 inch crappie tubes. Weather Conditions: Cool and partly cloudy. Water conditions: stained.
Rod: Hope each of you are well and able to fully enjoy these 70-degree temperatures. 70 degrees in February, wow! Anyhow I managed to get on the water just about noon today, right when the winds were building up. I got in some good rowing exercise. The winds were below my no-float threshold of 20 mph. They built up later on to make me question my decision to goof about in the dinghy.
Anyhow it turned out I caught three fish in 3 hours of fishing. Small, medium, and extra largemouth! Sorry no measurements (I’m pretty sure the last two were well over 5 pounds), but I’ve got photos and memories. I can tell you that they were all caught using a 2-inch grub on a 1/32-ounce jig on 4-pound mono. All of them were really fun using the ultra-lite rig! Talk about a full load on the pole.
What is more challenging is to get the dinghy positioned for a proper photo. That wind was blowing me about while trying to get a proper photo using the self timer on the camera.
This winter has already been a mixed bag: record snow levels in some places followed by some warmer weather. That’s Arizona!
While it’s next to impossible to predict what the rest of winter has in store for us and what water levels might turn out to be, it’s always kind of fun to think about where that next state record fish might come from.
Plus, winter is a great time to think about upcoming fishing trips and where to prioritize your efforts.
This is just one biologist’s opinion, but here are some thoughts of where a few of our most popular game fish might be caught:
Saguaro Lake: No surprise for those who have been fishing this scenic lake — there have been great numbers of bass of larger than 10 pounds being caught lately. And there are no signs of that slowing down.
Canyon Lake: Always a perennial favorite to foster the next state record largemouth. After all, it’s where the current record (16 pounds, 7.68 ounces) was caught, and its population has the highest levels of Florida-strain genetic influence (bigger bass) of any water in Arizona.
Colorado River waters: If you like to fish the big river on the west end of the state, the Imperial Division and Cibola Division are great bets to catch a largemouth that weighs in the “teens.” Mittry Lake also has big largemouth that rivals Canyon Lake in Florida-strain influence.
Bartlett Lake: Hard to argue this one: it boasts the current record.
Lake Pleasant and Roosevelt Lake: Both are dark horses to take the record away from Bartlett. Flatheads of more than 50 pounds are routinely being caught at both of these reservoirs, with reports of 60-plus pounders somewhat common.
Becker, Carnero or Luna lakes in the White Mountains: These lakes grow trout fast, but are susceptible to winter and summer kills (mostly because of low oxygen). If all goes well this winter, there could be some really big trout that come out of those lakes.
Dogtown Lake: This is a sleeper lake near Williams. The addition of woody habitat during the past few years has really contributed to high growth rates for trout.
A newcomer to the state last year, the tiger trout’s maximum potential size in Arizona waters is unknown. But one thing is for sure: the current record of less than a pound from Willow Springs Lake will fall.
Willow Springs, Woods Canyon, Carnero and Becker lakes: These lakes are stocked with tigers. Trout grow quickly at Special Regulations waters Carnero and Becker, so try these lakes for tigers weighing more than 5 pounds.
Karrie R.: I thought I’d share this flathead catfish I caught from shore at Pleasant today: 22 pounds on a dropshot with a worm. It was definitely cold, but worth the catch! 🙂 Also caught an 8-pound carp and 3-pound channel catfish. Tight lines!
Max W.: The upper portion of Silver Creek fished great over the weekend. People were doing really well on egg patterns and small midges. One of my buddies even managed to pull out this big guy on a Tenkara Rod– not bad for his first fish on the fly!
Nicholas J.: Decided to spend the day outside at Desert Breeze since it was such an amazing Arizona winter day. All three of the kids caught a fish of their own. (Zac, Nikyah, and Mason Jaurigue).
Pretty sure all three were “incentive” trout. We got out there about 10 a.m., however we didn’t get our first fish until almost 2 p.m. Then all of a sudden the other two fish were caught. All three within 30 minutes of time.
The yellow corn/garlic mixed PowerBait is what finally caught them their first fish — after trying all the others we had in our box. Hope everyone else had as good of a weekend.
Seeing the Special Regulations that are in place for certain waters just got easier.
We set these special regulations to maintain the long-term welfare of our fishing waters and provide you some great sport-fishing opportunities.
This map has species-specific tabs for maps of Special Regulation waters and seasons, daily bag and possession limits, and length limits that differ from General Statewide Regulations or Statewide Daily Bag and Possession Limits.