Tag Archives: arizona fishing

South meets the South with bourbon-glazed catfish recipe

So you’ve taken advantage of Mr. Whiskers’ return to community fishing waters,  caught some line-ripping cats, and bragged to some buddies.

Good. Ready to cook ’em? (The catfish.)

Here’s an alcohol-infused creation to turn your community catfish into some fine Southern dining.

View a printable recipe

 

Fare Afield’s Bourbon-Glazed Catfish

By Johnathan O’Dell

Serves 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

  • Four 6-ounce catfish fillets
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup bourbon whiskey
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Place oil in a large skillet or sauté pan on medium heat. In a shallow dish, combine cornmeal and Cajun seasoning and mix well. Coat catfish fillets in seasoned cornmeal, shake off any excess and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add bourbon and brown sugar and stir until sugar has dissolved. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3.  When the oil is hot, carefully add fillets and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until done. Remove fillets to individual serving dishes, then spoon the bourbon glaze onto each fillet.

Originally published in the May-June 2015 issue of Arizona Wildlife Views magazine, this recipe was included in the “Drink With a Fish” article that was just awarded an Award of Merit in the Food Feature category from the International Regional Magazine Association.

Subscribe to Arizona Wildlife Views magazine online

 

Haven’t caught community catfish yet? See how to create community and catch some AZ catfish.

Fall fishing is official with Saturday’s Silver Creek opener

Sun-up at Silver Creek can be a fishing adventure of a lifetime.
Sun-up at Silver Creek can be a fishing adventure of a lifetime.

 

Fall fishing in Arizona doesn’t really kick off until the catch-and-release season at Silver Creek. This scenic, White Mountains trout fishing classic is great for beginners and experts. On Saturday, the catch-and-release season opens — and that means the upper section also opens to fishing for the first time since early spring.

Silver Creek is also one of the best winter fishing options in AZ.

This catch-and-release section of Silver Creek requires trout to be immediately released unharmed, and is artificial flies and lures only with single  barbless hooks. This segment of Silver Creek is open for fishing from Oct. 1 through March 31 of each year. See more fishing regulations.

Silver Creek is located east of Show Low about 5 miles on Highway 60. Turn north off 60 onto Bourdon Ranch Road for five miles to Hatchery Way Road. Turn east on Hatchery Way Road for 1 mile to where you can park at the Silver Creek Hatchery. Then simply follow the signs.

A salute to wounded veterans

This day also includes a wounded veterans fly fishing event through Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. Although Silver Creek is open to the public, the event is a for closed group.

 

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The upper section of Silver Creek opens Saturday, Oct. 1, and that means some big trout that haven’t seen a fly or lure since spring.

 

How to fish Silver Creek

Try small lures such as Mepps, Rooster Tails, and Panther Martin spinners.  Fly-fishers may want to try wooly worms, wooly buggers, peacock ladies, prince nymphs, zug bugs, shrimp patterns, midge patterns, and small bead head nymphs.

Again, hooks must be barbless.

Don’t forget a fishing license that helps conserve wildlife.

See more information about fishing in Arizona.

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Anglers are slogging down the home stretch of summer, water temperatures are peaking (90 degrees at Bartlett Lake last weekend), and that means fishing can get a bit trickier.

Trout are generally deep. The summer trout stocking season is starting to wind down, so get ’em while you can. If the weather holds, we will have stocked about 25,000 rainbow trout in Kinnikinick Lake, located southeast of Flagstaff, by the end of this week. Try lures to catch these fresh stockers.

Largemouth bass at many desert lakes are not always in the mood for reaction baits. See about how to beat the summertime bass blues.

Taking the family fishing? Try heading to Show Low and putting the kids on crawdads and sunfish. See a how-to video on catching both.

Hot desert nights are made for bottom dwelling catfish and carp. Relax on the shoreline, wet a line with some stink bait, corn or both, watch the sky for meteor showers, and hook into Mr. Whiskers at the same time.

Don’t forget to send your angler reports and photos to BFishingAZGFD.gov.

Grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go.

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Wednesday, Aug. 17 — Show Low Creek.; Tuesday, Aug. 16 — Dogtown Reservoir.; Monday, Aug. 15 — Kinnikinick Lake, Dogtown Reservoir, City Reservoir, Silver Creek, West Fork Little Colorado River-Greer, Canyon Creek, Kinnikinick Lake.

Channel catfish

Thursday, Aug. 18 — Dead Horse Lake, Lynx Lake.

Read more.

 

READ THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Let’s get right to some weekend Reel Deal hot spots (click on the lake for Google map directions):

Wet Beaver Creek is a bit off the "beaten trail" but an outdoors paradise for trout anglers.
Wet Beaver Creek is a bit off the “beaten trail” but an outdoors paradise for trout anglers.

Rainbow trout

Kinnikinick Lake. It’s being stocked with thousands of rainbow trout. This excellent fishery 38 miles southeast of Flagstaff is usually just stocked with brown trout in the fall. So far this week, thousands of rainbows have been stocked. More are coming next week.

Wet Beaver Creek. An angler reported fishing to be “unbelievably good” with consistent action on smaller bass.

Show Low Lake/Show Low Creek. Families can get some crayfish and stocked trout from the creek, just downstream of the lake, and then some of the large “supercatchable” trout from the lake that will be stocked this week.  Fish 10-15 feet below the surface.

Striped bass

Lake Mead, Lake Powell and Lake Pleasant. It’s still a decent moon  phase (first quarter, headed toward full) to drop submersible lights (and anchovies) at night. At Powell, an angler reported dropping spoons for shad in 40-80 feet of depth and hooking up with smallmouth bass, walleye and catfish, too. Top-water boil action is good, too. Read how to fish striper boils.

Largemouth bass

Saguaro, Apache, Canyon lakes. Go get some big bass. Marissa Mandigo this week caught the above 7-pound, 15-ounce bass at Saguaro on a nightcrawler. Most angler try deep diving crankbaits, or plastic worms Texas-rigged or with a dropshot.

Crappie

Roosevelt Lake. Additional water has boosted action for these speckled beauties. Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods reported: “ … most crappie anglers are fishing vertically using a John-Deere colored 2″ grub-tail in 20 to 25 feet deep water. A 1/8 ounce jig-head hook creates a slow fall rate which crappie like. Crappie will be in schools during this time of year near brush or rock structure. The size of the schools can very, so anglers may need to find another school if the bite in one area begins to slow.”

Mr. Flattie
Mr. Flattie

Flathead catfish

Bartlett Lake. For flatties, it’s hard to beat Bartlett this time of the year. Try live bluegill or small carp as bait. Look for the deeper holes, especially up-lake where there is a little current. For bluegills, try the backs of rocky coves using nightcrawlers or meal worms on light tackle.

Bluegill

Parker Canyon Lake. Bluegill, anybody? Reports on this tasty sunfish are excellent.  The lake is 6.06 feet below the spillway so .boaters should use caution on the ramp.

There’s a few. Maybe you’ll stake out your own hot spot this weekend.

Grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go.

Catch of the week

 

Here’s what’s new with your fellow adventurers:

photo by @Chrisbilley
photo by @Chrisbilley

Use #ADVENTURERENEWED for your chance to get featured on the Catch of the Week

Editor’s note: This Instagram photo of a largemouth bass was reportedly caught at a Phoenix-area canal.

Angler Reports

(Send fishing photos and reports to BFishing@AZGFD)

WetBvrCrkTroutWet Beaver Creek
A little off the beaten path, but I fished Wet Beaver Creek Saturday and it was unbelievably good. Mostly small (4-8 inches) bass, but constant fish all morning.

Thanks for keeping up the reports!

Lake Mead (south cove)
MeadStripersRay P.: Ray and Dave caught over 175 Stripers Monday, Aug 8 under a quarter-moon. We actually ran out of anchovies before the fish stopped biting! Great fun!

 

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Tuesday, Aug. 9 — Rose Canyon Lake, Silver Creek, Kinnikinick Lake.; Monday, Aug. 8 — Kinnikinick Lake,  Goldwater Lake (upper), West Fork Little Colorado River-Greer, Oak Creek; Friday, Aug. 5 — East Verde River, East Fork Black River, Canyon Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake; Thursday, Aug. 4 — Tonto Creek, Haigler Creek. Read the full stocking report.

 

SEE THE FULL REPORT

A great AZ fishing guide: 8 characteristics

Many anglers can benefit from an educational trip with a professional guide.

So what makes for a “Great Guide”? There are many in Arizona, and they can make you a better angler with one trip on the water.

Do your research, ask around, and check out these eight characteristics of a Great Guide:

Great guides are safe guides

You can’t enjoy yourself if you don’t feel safe. A Great Guide will keep track of weather patterns and not take you out on the water during a bad monsoon.

Last year an angler told me about a guide who took them on a trip where he felt uncomfortable with the waves and weather. The more time a guide has spent on the lakes and rivers in Arizona, the safer the customer will be.

Pro Staff guides have the necessary experience for keeping you safe.

Boating6830010_6830010-R6-E098
A great AZ fishing guide considers conditions — and the well-being of the client — before risking heading out into the water.

Attention, hut: conditions, fish, angler

Concentration is the hallmark of a Great Guide. He’ll be sitting on the edge of his seat, focused on every aspect of the fishing conditions in front of him. He will not be kicked back with his feet propped up like he is on vacation.

A Great Guide watches your rod tip. How it moves tells him what is happening to your bait or lure. How fish react, or don’t react, to lures and baits tells him even more.

A Great Guide treats his clients like royalty. He rigs their tackle, baits their hooks, nets their fish, takes the fish off the hook, and maneuvers the boat into optimum position over each fishing hole. The reason a Great Guide does all of these things for his clients is because he can do it faster and better. This results in more quality fishing time for the client in a day’s time.

Pro Staff guides also frequently cast for the client because they get the bait in the optimum zone for any condition.

Get an attentive guide.

A water-wise guide

There are many levels of fishing experience. The test of a Great Guide is whether or not he can fish any time of year in any weather and water condition. A Great Guide can typically catch fish in low water, high water, or muddy water.

A guide will explore and map out many spots on a lake and expose the client to various locations/options on a trip. A guide should never start up the motor, move 100-200 yards, and fish from the marina all day. I’ve seen guides who turn their motor over for 1 minute, then turn it off — just so they could move to a different marina and tie off to a public dock and fish. Meanwhile, the client is fishing next to unpaid anglers on the dock and never seeing the lake at all.

If anglers wanted that experience they can do it for free and park the truck at the marina … and save money.

BarryWPleasantBass
Barry Worman, moderator of Arizona Striper Fishing Facebook page, with a largemouth bass from Lake Pleasant.

Spare the “celly”

Great Guides always give their undivided attention to the clients in their boats at all times. This means not talking on cell phones unless it is absolutely necessary. A Great Guide saves his business and personal calls for when your fishing trip has ended.

There are times Pro Staff guides might call each other for hot fishing tips.

A Great Guide is focused on the elements — not the voice in the phone.

A positive, fun atmosphere

Fishing is fun and the atmosphere on the boat should always be positive — no matter how many fish you’re catching.

CCCragin
Fishing is fun — it should stay that way on a guided trip.

Fish in the net: a strategy

You can’t say you caught it until it’s in the net. A Great Guide is a good coach — not a drill sergeant. He’ll talk you through the moves you need to make when you’ve hooked a big one.

He’ll coach you through rod position, tell you when to let the fish run, when to fight it with line pressure, and how to steer the fish away from obstacles.

By paying close attention, and by using the boat motor and current to his advantage, a Great Guide can increase or lighten your line pressure. Once the fish is close enough to net, a Great Guide knows how to dip the net into the water without spooking the fish or knocking it off your line. They make it look easy.

Boat positioning

Getting you on the right spot means you’ll get the best possible fishing action.

A Great Guide can do this all day. When drifting in high water, the challenge is getting bait down to the fish. As you drift across the river bed, the depth of the water changes from shallow to deep, and back to shallow. A Great Guide knows the lakes and rivers well. And so can follow constant changes in water levels.

Lake Pleasant, for example, by the end of summer, will be 100 feet lower as compared to mid-spring. That has a huge impact on the fish and a guide will understand the pumping and releasing of water in these waterways.

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Boat positioning is one of the most underrated aspects of successful fishing. Find a guide who is experienced at maneuvering a boat.

Your fishing money’s worth

Just like anything else in this world, you get what you pay for (in most cases). Do your homework. What’s the guide’s reputation? Will the guide clean the fish after a catch and give you fresh dinner in a bag? Are there any amenities on the boat that you require?

Do the math, shop and compare – all that common sense smart-shopping.

The main goal of Arizona Striper Fishing is to educate and provide the knowledge to empower anglers to have success on their own.

So get out there and turn your money into fishing memories — the smart way.

Tight Lines!

Barry Worman is the moderator of the Arizona Striper Fishing Facebook page.

Arizona fishing report: Top-5 Reel Deal weekend spots

MeadMain.jpg
Largemouth bass fishing has been good at Lake Mead early in the morning. Try summertime go-to bass techniques: dropshots, Texas rigs, and, if you see top-water boils, a top-water plug such as a Zara Spook.

 

School’s about to be back in session – time for a final fishing excursion.

Sporadic rain is predicted for high country areas this weekend, and desert regions don’t look like they’ll get some much-needed saturation until early next week. Hit the high country and catch trout just before a storm creeps through. Here’s some good bets:

Top-5 AZ weekend fishing spots

  1. Big Lake. Cutthroats have been biting on and off, there are plenty excellent campground amenities, but you’ll want a boat because trout are deep. It was just stocked this week with rainbow trout.
  2. Lake Powell. Looking to really get away? Powell, spanning southern Utah and northern Arizona,  has around 1,700 miles of shoreline.  An angler can catch striped bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and walleye. As Wayne Gustaveson pointed out, go north for top-water bites.

    Lake Powell is one of the country's most scenic lakes.
    Lake Powell is one of the country’s most scenic lakes.
  3. Woods Canyon Lake. A family fishing mecca. Woods has been stocked with tiger trout. For a novice angler – or for a kid’s first fish – try putting a small piece of a worm on a small hook (No. 12 or smaller) and dangle it in shallow water between rocks.
  4. Dogtown Reservoir near Williams. Fishing is still good at Dogtown and there are plenty of shaded areas on the north side of the lake.
  5. Lake Mead. Fish at night. Mead (at top) has been “en fuego” for striper fishing. See some striper fishing tips for boils. Anglers also have been catching some healthy bass early in the morning.

Grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go.

Catch of the week

Here’s what’s new with your fellow adventurers:

Npike.jpg
photo by Mitchell Mahone3

Use #ADVENTURERENEWED for your chance to get featured on the Catch of the Week

Editor’s note: On Twitter, the angler said this pike was 17.9 pounds and was taken July 9  from Ashurst Lake. Please remove all northern pike. In some cases, fish like northern pike have been illegally stocked and have had detrimental impacts to trout fishing and native fish populations.  Remember: do not transport live fish or bait. Illegal stocking is a big problem and impacts the department’s efforts to manage the state’s fisheries.

Angler Reports

 

Trail Side Park (Phoenix)

tilapias_1.jpg

Manny M.: July 20 — my nephew Mario (using a worm lure) caught these tilapia.

Lake Mead

Mead_1.jpgRay P. & Leon E. had a great night of striper fishing July 26 landing 120 of the Silversides in about 6 hours!

Lake Pleasant

PlezAnglerReport_1.jpegDan R.: Striper fishing was excellent Saturday night at Lake Pleasant — lost count of how many fish we caught. Here is a picture of the biggest of the night.

Greenfield Park, Mesa

MesaBass_1.jpg

Dan G.: Holden Gurka, 9, of Mesa, Arizona has caught many fish on worms, bread and hot dogs — but never on a lure. That all changed the other day while fishing in Mesa, when he reeled in two bass on the same lure!?! Talk about 1st times!! He will remember this day for the rest of his life! Way to go Holden!

AZ stocking report

Rainbow trout

Wednesday, July 27 Chevelon Canyon Lake; Tuesday, July 26 — Big Lake, River Reservoir, Tunnel Reservoir; Monday, July 25 — Canyon Creek, Big Lake. Silver Creek, West Fork Little Colorado River-Greer; Friday, July 22 –– East Verde River,  Canyon Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Silver Creek, East Fork Black River, Chevelon Canyon Lake; Thursday, July 21 — Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek, Haigler Creek, Bear Canyon Lake; Wednesday, July 20 — Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Rose Canyon Lake, Show Low Creek, Lynx Lake.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal on July 4 spots

Get on the water as the sun goes down this weekend. Night fishing will pick up this weekend at spots such as Lake Pleasant during a new moon. Use submersible lights.
Get on the water as the sun goes down this weekend. Night fishing will pick up this weekend at spots such as Lake Pleasant during a new moon. Use submersible lights.

Night fishing is a prime option statewide – not only is it cooler, a new moon will make fishing with submersible lights more effective. Lake Pleasant is one of the best options for nighttime striper fishing under lights.

Here are some other July 4 weekend fishing suggestions:

Fishing the July 4 weekend is as much about scenery and fireworks as fish.
Big Lake


  • Fish Crescent Lake and/or Big Lake before heading to the scheduled fireworks show at Sunrise Park Resort. Cuttroat trout are hitting at Big Lake, and fishing is fair at Crescent. The fireworks show at the nearby resort is scheduled to begin at around 8 p.m.
  • Wet a hook at Show Low lake and/or creek, then attend the city of Show Low’s fireworks show at approximately 9 p.m. See more information.
  • Greer lakes. Greer is being stocked this week.
  • West Fork of the Little Colorado River-Greer was stocked on Monday.
  • City Reservoir in Williams. Fishing has been good on green garlic PowerBait and corn PowerBait.
  • Dogtown Reservoir near Williams. The lake continues to produce good fishing on garlic PowerBait. Folks are also catching bigger trout at Dogtown fishing off of boats using woolly buggers and spinners fished slow and deep.

ashurst

  • Ashurst Lake. Anglers last weekend had good luck on garlic and corn PowerBait early in the morning and late in the evening. They were still catching some holdover trout. A campground host also said meal worms were working under a bobber.
  • Goldwater Lake in Prescott. We stocked rainbow trout, and some monster Gila trout are still being caught — plus there are trees around there to get out of the sun.

Tagged walleye contest begins July 1 at Lake Powell

The Utah DNR, Wayneswords.com, and several generous corporate sponsors have teamed up to present the first official Lake Powell Tagged Walleye Contest, July 1-June 20, 2017. Read more. 

Anglers hooked on Arizona Trout Challenge

Don’t forget to take our Arizona Trout Challenge. Perfect way to invite a buddy to get outdoors. Any angler completing the Challenge will receive a certificate featuring the species caught along with dates and locations. See more information.

Big Fish of the Year

 

RonaldNussBuffalo

On June 21, Ronald Nuss bow-fished for this new catch-and-keep BFOY leader, a black buffalo, weighing 36 pounds, 2.88 ounces, and measuring 39 inches, from Apache Lake. See all the BFOY leaders.

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Monday, June 27 — Silver Creek, West Fork Little Colorado River-Greer,  Bear Creek, Canyon Creek, Show Low Lake.

Friday, June 24 – Willow Springs Lake, Silver Creek, East Fork Black River.

Thursday, June 23 – Tonto Creek, Cristopher Creek, Haigler Creek, Show Low Lake, Knoll Lake,

Wednesday, June 22 – Fool Hollow Lake.

Thursday, June 21 – Woods Canyon Lake.

Catch of the week

Here’s what’s new with your fellow adventurers!

bowtrout
Photo by @stinkydog480
Use #ADVENTURERENEWED for your chance to get featured on the Catch of the Week.

AZGFD investigating ongoing fish kill on Verde River

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is investigating an ongoing fish kill on the Verde River below Horseshoe Dam.

On Thursday, the Department will be collecting water quality samples and analyzing fish for bacteria, viruses and parasites.

The fish kill is in an area from the dam to approximately 100 meters downstream.

In the meantime, it is important for anglers to remember they should not be taking these dead or dying fish.

 

Angler Reports

(Send reports and pictures to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)

KinnikinickTroutKinnikinick Lake
Mike G.: Most people fish Kinnikinick for trout. And I never do well for trout. However, it is my favorite catfish lake. During the summer months, especially when monsoon is going on. It’s great for cats. The pic I sent shows a 16 pounder, and a couple 4 pounders.

During my trip i caught 11 cats total … the 16 pounder was my best, but I have caught two 13 pounders and two 10-pounders before. I ONLY USE MACKEREL. The pic I sent shows the catfish hanging from the front of my quad, to show some size perspective….
Have a good day.

Pena Blanca Lake
PenaBlancaLakeJohn and Perri: We read the fishing report every week and wanted to report on Pena Blanca Lake.

My 13-year-old son Jonathan caught this channel catfish, fishing for bass in the shallows on a nightcrawler.

 

SEE THE FULL REPORT

New blog banner celebrates high country trout

Notice the new banner at the top of the blog?

That’s a bunch of fishermen earlier this month spread out along the Woods Canyon Lake shoreline, fishing for tiger trout.

In Arizona, we’re lucky to have such incredible scenery and passionate anglers.

Tiger trout have colors that make them worth the catch -- and the AZGFD stocking them for the first time in Arizona.
Tiger trout have colors that make them worth the catch — and the AZGFD stocking them for the first time in Arizona.

 

And we welcome the tiger trout to Willow Springs, Woods Canyon Lake, Becker Lake and Carnero Lake. By all accounts of their fighting capabilities these tiger trout living up to their name.

The tiger trout pictured above was caught Sunday, June 5 on a Kastmaster at Woods Canyon Lake.

Here’s to plenty of high country trout adventures!

Arizona’s Free Fishing Day means family fun

Arizona's Free Fishing Day allows anyone to fish state public waters for free on June 4.
Arizona’s Free Fishing Day allows anyone to fish state public waters for free on June 4.

 

Several free fishing clinics to be held during National Fishing and Boating week June 4-12

 

You can fish Arizona waters for free this Saturday, making this an ideal time to take the family out for some fun and relaxing outdoor recreation.

Arizona’s Free Fishing Day will be celebrated on June 4 this year as part of National Fishing and Boating Week, which runs June 4-12. This Saturday, no fishing licenses are required for persons fishing any public waters in Arizona.

“Whether you’re an experienced angler who wants to introduce a newcomer to the sport, or someone who’s always been interested but never took that next step, this is an ideal time to gather up some friends and family members and head out to your nearest community lake, or head up to the cooler country to fish a lake or stream,” said Nick Walter, editor of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Weekly Fishing Report.

Remember that bag limits and other fishing regulations are in full effect and must be observed on Free Fishing Days. Kids under the age of 10 can fish for free all year long in Arizona, so this special fishing license exemption day means that the older kids and parents get a free pass for the day.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department will also sponsor some free fishing day clinics/events to give people the opportunity to try out this fun, family-oriented pastime. Loaner fishing rods, bait and instruction are provided for free at most of these venues.

Bait is provided and loaner rods are available for fishing events.

See the full events schedule and complete information. Times and locations of the events are:

Saturday, June 4:

  • Lake Pleasant Regional Park, 41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Rd., Morristown, 7-10 a.m.
  • Goldwater Lake, 2900 S. Goldwater Lake Rd., Prescott, 9 a.m. 1- p.m. The Mora National Fish Hatchery in New Mexico will be providing retired broodstock for the clinic, and there is potential to catch a world record Gila trout. The record is 3 pounds, 7 ounces caught by Bo Nelson from Frye Mesa Reservoir on March 19, 2011.
  • Deadhorse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood, middle lagoon, 8 a.m.-noon. Entrance fees for participants are waived during this time period only. Channel catfish will be stocked prior to the event.
  • Garrett Tank, approximately 12 miles east of Seligman off of Crookton Road, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to public. No signups.
  • Dogtown Lake, 1250 Pine Top Dr., Williams, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.


Saturday, June 11:

Get catfishing tips from “Flathead” Ed at this weekend’s AZGFD Expo

The heaviest recorded fish in Arizona state history was this 76.54-pound flathead catfish taken from Bartlett Lake in April of 2013.
“Flathead” Ed Wilcoxson with his Arizona state record flathead catfish that weighed 76.54 pounds and was caught in April 2013 out of Bartlett Lake.

 

The flathead catfish is probably the biggest, baddest fish in Arizona waters, and anglers can get tips on flathead fishing at the free Arizona Game and Fish Outdoor Expo Saturday and Sunday, April 2 and 3.

This is the best time of the year to experience a flathead fishing adventure, and “Flathead” Ed Wilcoxson, who in April of 2013 caught the heaviest recorded fish in Arizona history — a 76.54-pound flathead catfish out of Bartlett Lake — will be telling stories and tossing tips from the Arizona Catfish Conservation Association (ACCA) booth.

Look for Flathead Ed at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility both days (Sat. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sun. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.) in the Outdoor Groups and Experts tent, west of the food court, located in the main area (tan portion of the map; click to enlarge):

AZGFDexpomap

 

His replica of the state record flathead catfish will be on display as well.

“I’m happy to talk catfish to anybody who comes out,” said Wilcoxson, who resides in Surprise. “I’ll give them some tips and get them on some of these big guys.”

Wilcoxson said flathead at Bartlett Lake have moved into 25 feet of water, and carp — a primary flathead bait — are easy to catch using corn.

But he thinks the next state record flathead will come out of Lake Pleasant.

Flathead facial
Flathead facial

“ACCA has  a (permit) with Game and Fish to tag flatheads and we’ve been noticing about 5 pounds a year in growth out of Pleasant,” Wilcoxson said. “I’ve been catching some monsters out there. The Castle Creek arm is good and Fireman’s Cove, too.”

It's "fish on!" at the Family Fishing booth at the Arizona Game and Fish Outdoor Expo.
It’s “fish on!” at the Family Fishing booth at the Arizona Game and Fish Outdoor Expo.

 

While you’re at the Expo, take the kids fishing in the Family Adventure area. When the bluegill bite and bounce the rod tips, the kids’ facial expressions range from shock and excitement to joy and laughter.

Two big bubbling tanks full of catch-and-release bluegill will be lined with kids — and all ages will have an opportunity to try their hand at fishing.

See more information on the Expo, and while you’re there, be sure to post with #AZGFDexpo.