Tag Archives: arizona fishing

Take your family fishing on Arizona’s free fishing day

 

Several free fishing clinics also to be held during National Fishing and Boating week June 6-14

 

PHOENIX — 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 6 this year as part of National Fishing and Boating Week, which runs June 6-14. 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. Try fishing — you’ll like it!

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.

In addition, as part of National Get Outdoors Day on June 13, the Coronado National Forest will waive the day-use fees associated with many recreation sites or amenities on the forest in celebration of this day.

Day-use fees in the Red Rock Ranger District in the Coconino National Forest also are waved June 13, with the exception of the following sites: Grasshopper Point, Crescent Moon and the West Fork of Oak Creek Trail.

Bait is provided and loaner rods are available for fishing events. Times and locations of the events are:

Saturday, June 6:

  • Deadhorse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood, 8 a.m.-noon. Entrance fees for participants are waived during this time period only.
  • Garret Tank, Seligman, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to public. No signups.
  • Goldwater Lake First Fish Fishing Clinic, Prescott, 9 a.m.-noon.
  • Fishing for Smiles clinic at Dunton Ranch pond, Kingman area, 7 a.m.-11 a.m. For kids ages 5-15. Sign-ups were Saturday, May 30.

Saturday, June 13:

  • Family Fun Fishing Clinic at Lake Pleasant, 7-10 a.m. Bring the family and come try some fishing. This Arizona Game and Fish Department partnership fishing clinic supplies all equipment and some bait. People who register for the fishing clinic and fish during clinic hours in the designated area do not need fishing license while they are with the ranger. Once inside Lake Pleasant Regional Park, follow the “Family Fun Fishing” signs to the fishing area. Bring shade tents, chairs, water, snacks and bait of your choice. Registration is not required: There is a $6 per vehicle park entry fee. For more information, contact Terry Gerber, Interpretive Ranger, at 602-372-7470 ext. 211. Take Highway 74 to mile post 19, turn onto Castle Hot Springs Rd., then turn right into park and follow signs to program.
  • Parker Canyon Lake, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The AZGFD will be conducting a free fishing clinic as part of a National Get Outdoors Day celebration organized by the Coronado National Forest, Sierra Vista Ranger District. Arizona Game and Fish Department personnel will provide free fishing tackle, bait and instruction. Fish in Parker Canyon Lake include rainbow trout, largemouth bass, sunfish and channel catfish. Parker Canyon Lake Marina will offer a discount on fishing tackle. From Tucson, travel east on I-10 to SR 83 and turn right. Continue south on SR 83 through Sonoita approximately 68 miles and follow signs to the lake.

Cholla Ramp closed at Alamo Lake until at least Aug. 31

Alamo6_JFRCholla Ramp at Alamo Lake, which Alamo Lake State Park ranger Mark Knapp  said is unsafe, will be closed until at least Aug. 31.

Also, beginning June 15, the campground by Cholla Ramp will be closed as well until Aug. 31.

Lower water levels have exposed prop washes and a few boaters during Memorial Day weekend reportedly busted their props.

Alamo Lake is a 3,500-acre impoundment created by Alamo Dam. It is located on the Bill Williams River below the confluence of the Big Sandy, Santa Maria, and Date Creek tributaries.It was created with the completion of Alamo Dam in 1968. The earthen dam is approximately 39 miles upstream of the Colorado River at Lake Havasu.

Fishing Alamo Lake

Alamo7_JFRFluctuating water levels are common in the reservoir and increases of water level up to 7 vertical feet in twenty-four hours is possible.   The current water elevation for Alamo Lake is updated regularly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The “target” lake elevation of 1125 feet (subject to the vagaries of nature) creates an impoundment of 3683 acres.

Alamo Lake is popular for its good to excellent largemouth bass, crappie, and channel catfish fishing. However, sunfish, tilapia, and carp fishing can also be good.

Bass fishing at Alamo Lake can be some of the best in Arizona.

Techniques for bass fishing vary widely. However in general, when fishing for bass in the cooler months, when bass are less active, fish deeper water with jigs, swimbaits, or plastics, using a slow retrieve.

As the water warms up in the spring and summer, bass become more active and move to shallower water. During thus time most people use plastics, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, or crankbaits with a faster retrieve. Plastic baits resembling worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards can also work well. For best results, fish around structure such as weedbeds, emergent vegetation, brush, or tree stumps.

Channel catfish, sunfish, tilapia and carp fishing can also be good at Alamo Lake. For channel catfish use nightcrawlers, chicken liver, stinkbait or some other form of “smelly” bait. Catfishing is usually best at night. Sunfish can be caught on meal worms, night crawlers, or small crappie jigs. Tilapia and carp fishing is often overlooked but Alamo Lake can produce some real trophies.

The upper end of Alamo Lake has a lot of dead standing vegetation and debris, often just below the water surface. This is great cover for fish, but presents a hazard to boating. Be aware that there are no navigational hazard markers at the upper portion of the lake, once you pass the second buoy line.

Alamo Lake State Park, located on the southwest end of Alamo Lake, provides both primitive and improved camping, and paved boat launches.

There is a small store in the Park, where you can get ice, snacks, fishing tackle and bait, as well as information on current fishing. A certified scale is located at the store. No fuel is available at Alamo Lake. It is sold at Wenden, and nearby Wayside.

“Striper Snatcher” scores with swimbaits May 7 at Lake Pleasant

Sunset

LAKE PLEASANT — For predators such as schooling striped bass, a recent hatch of shad means the groceries are in the ‘fridge.

Flying through the water column  and chasing fry Thursday, May 7 at Lake Pleasant, these stripers cause fleeing fry to intermittently pop and boil on the rippling surface.

A south wind of around 10-15 mph is folding and shoving flaps of water northbound.

That’s where Derrick Franks the “Striper Snatcher” is headed — the windblown, northern coves of this 9,500-acre lake  just northwest of Phoenix.

Many stripers had likely fed during a full moon on masses of creeping crawdads. But trolling choppy water that had ideal temperatures of 72-75 degrees, the Striper Snatcher still targeted schooling fish with 3 1/2-inch paddletail swimbaits on 1/4-ounce darterheads with 10-pound fluorocarbon line on ultralight spinning outfits:

PadlTail

Franks, a licensed professional fishing guide, dyes his clear paddle tail baits with these pink/purple/green hues to mimic the purple the shad fry have been glowing. That said, for the next 2-3 months, he recommends throwing 2-inch swimbaits on 1/8-ounce jigheads — the fry we spotted were around that size.

Derrick Franks
Derrick Franks

We trolled at about 2 mph.

FullSizeRender

The schools of stripers cooperated. In this video, Franks lands an average-size striper of about 12 inches — a perfect eating size. The daily bag limit of stripers is unlimited at Lake Pleasant.


“The water temperature is starting to warm up,” Franks said. “This lake has changed so much depth-wise this year. We’re actually 8 feet higher than this time last year and that affects the water temperature significantly. So that delayed the spring-time pattern a bit.”

Anglers also can target the big stripers, largemouth bass and white bass on points, ledges and brush off windblown shorelines.

Striper1

All told, a party of three caught about 15 stripers — keeping 11 — weighing up  to 3 pounds. We fished from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (the full moon had not yet taken a peek at the lake.)

TheCatch

Anglers who need a license can purchase one online and help conserve wildlife for future generations.

See more information on how to “Fish AZ.”

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

 

Spring is sprinting through the state, including consistent 80-degree daytime highs in the desert regions. Bass will soon be guarding beds en masse. Crappie may be following suit, as this full moon can be key to a spawn of these speckled beauties.

Daytime surface water temperatures in the desert lakes have been in the high-50s to low-60s. But of course they are on the rise.

The final trout stocking in the Phoenix/Tucson Community Fishing Program waters is taking place (until Saturday, March 7) and the first channel catfish stocking in the community waters will be March 19.

See the Community fishing stocking schedule.

If you’re headed to Bartlett Lake, keep this in mind: the Salt River Project has advised it began releasing water from Horseshoe Lake on March 3. Already the lake elevation has increased 8 feet and water flow in the Verde River between Horseshoe and Bartlett may reach 3,000 cubic feet per second. Campers are advised to camp at least 20-30 feet above the shoreline.

In the Agua Fria Conservation Area, motorized vehicular access will be closed to this weekend. Read more.

Great news from Willow Beach on the Colorado RIver (and for all Arizona anglers.) An agreement has been executed to ensure trout stockings will continue in the Colorado River. Check out the details.

Also, we’re getting modern with our stocking schedules. See what the hype is about.

Bill Luke Bass Days March 13-15

OK, we’ve got some pretty big events coming up. The biggest is Bill Luke Bass Days, March 13-15, at Pleasant Harbor Marina. Bill Luke Bass Days is the Southwest’s largest family fishing tournament and festival. Everyone can partake in day and nighttime festivals featuring a Cornhole Tournament, food, vendors, carnival rides, wildlife exhibits and live music. See all the information.


Arizona Game and Fish Department Expo is coming in late March

The Department will be hosting its annual Outdoor Expo, Saturday and Sunday, March 28-29

The event is FREE and will have tons of events for the whole family to enjoy.

Last year’s Expo and Youth Day drew a total of 48,000 attendees, the highest three-day total in the event’s history.

Check out the kids fishing tanks and take home a free photo, a NEW OHV track, see all sorts of live wildlife, learn target archery and try other shooting sports in a safe, supervised, controlled environment on the range.

Get a feel for specialty shooting disciplines like clay target, cowboy action, practical pistol, black powder, and air gun. Check out the many firearms manufacturers, or see our new side-by-side OHV track!

Concessionaires will have food and beverages available for purchase, and many accept only cash — ATMs will be on site.

Expo hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Outdoor Expo is easy to find, located on Carefree Highway, about 1/2 mile west of I-17 in Phoenix.

Also, visit our Fish AZ blog for the latest free public fishing events, as well as timely fishing reports, fish stories and more.

ANGLER REPORTS

(Please send your fishing reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)

Tempe Kiwanis

Phan N.: 9.5-pound catfish (Saturday, Feb. 28) 35-pound white armor (at left, Sunday, Feb. 29).











Lower Salt River

Dave H.: Went fly fishing this week on the Lower Salt. The Sonora suckers are really active. I caught several of them in larger pools using a beaded woolly bugger. All were in the 2-3 pound range and put up a great fight.

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 grant funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Free Family Fishing Event Jan. 17 in Phoenix

Biscuit Tank
Biscuit Tank

Break in your new year’s fishing equipment!

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is holding a free fishing seminar on Saturday, Jan. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hirsch Conservation Education Area (Biscuit Tank). The area is located in the Ben Avery Shooting Facility on 4044 W. Black Canyon Blvd. in Phoenix.

See a map of the facility.

The event will allow the opportunity for you and your family to break in your new fishing tackle and equipment. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to help you set up and tune your rod and reel for a new year of fishing.  Come on out even if you don’t have your own equipment.  We will have loaner rods, and bait to entice the fish.

This is a “catch-and-release only” activity, and we’ll show how to safely handle the finned and whiskered fish and let them go for another day.  The entire event, including the use of loaner equipment, is free of charge!

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

FISH IN FRIENDSHIP?
FISH IN AVONDALE’S FRIENDSHIP PARK?

With cooler temperatures, bass are chasing down crankbaits, buzzbaits and top-water lures in some of our desert impoundments. Rainbow trout stockings are coming from Phoenix to Yuma. If you didn’t know, it’s absolutely one of the best times to “Fish AZ.”

The Salt River chain lakes Saguaro, Apache and Canyon will be stocked with trout next week. The lower Salt River and the “core” Community Fishing Program waters in Phoenix, Tucson and Payson will get their trout loads the following week (Nov. 9-15), followed by Tempe Town Lake and Yuma waters Fortuna, Redondo, Somerton and Yuma West (Nov. 16-22).

Get out for trout. If you happen to wet a hook just after fish are stocked, try fishing near the surface (and on the surface), especially around first light.

BartlettBassOr go for some good ol’ “Bartlett bass.” Bartlett Lake remains a hot spot for these smaller largies. although some lately have been reported up to 2.5 pounds. Best bites are on top-water lures (such as Ricos), crankbaits, buzzbaits, and Berkley Powerworms on Texas rigs and shaky-head rigs. Many bass are in 2-10 feet of water. Shoreline anglers can go to Rattlesnake Cove and fish some of the points (tip: try casting parallel to the shore inside of just outward). Surprised we aren’t getting more Angler Reports from Bartlett. Send your photos and reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

Speaking of Angler Reports, follow our new Fish AZ blog for more updated information and occasional from-the-water articles and videos, such as those from a recent kayak, fly-fishing excursion for trout, bluegill and crappie at Payson’s Green Valley lakes (which were recently stocked).

Or follow me on Twitter @NickFishAZ.

Get out while the bass bite is hot. With upcoming desert-region nights in the 50s, it probably won’t be long until fish will be in more lethargic winter feeding patterns. In essence, their metabolism slows down and they might only have to eat a single shad every day or two to maintain their body condition.

On the other hand, during the prime fall bite, a bass might gobble up lots of shad and feed four, five or six times each day. That’s why catch rates can increase in the fall, and decrease significantly in winter. Right now, we could be in that in-between stage with bass not quite in winter patterns, but not really in full autumn feeding patterns.

Go prepared to fish at 15-30 feet deep, but also be prepared with your top-water arsenal just in case you discover fishing gold — bass chasing shad at the surface.

See our Fish&Boat Arizona map for directions to these waters and other top fisheries.

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 grant funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

Catch a license

Good luck fishing, and remember that buying a license online helps conserve wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations. Help yourself and your future loved ones.

ANGLER REPORTS

(Send your fishing reports and photos to Bfishing@AZGFD.gov.)

Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

Here’s what anglers said was biting over the weekend across Arizona:

BigLakecuttroatBig Lake
Dennis D./James T. of Sierra Vista: Hello, my son-in-law and I camped at Big Lake Oct. 17 – Oct. 22 and it was a great week of fishing and relaxing. We managed to catch three cutthroat trout (one pictured above), the biggest weighing in at nearly 4 pounds. In one day we caught 11 fish, lost four, and on another day we caught around 10. The weather is turning to cold, we had nightly rain, cold temps (lowest was 32) and in the daytime temps were in the 60s. Happy Fishing!

Long Lake
Steve C.:
Went to Long Lake on Oct. 24 with five guys in party. Fished all day with no luck. Water VERY low, ramp out at least 30 feet. We were hoping for pike and were not sure if Game and Fish removed pike like they did at Ashurst. Any feedback would be helpful to avoid spending money and time chasing fish that are not there.

  • Steve: We’ve only removed pike from Ashurst Lake. Because the water level at Long Lake is so low, there may not be many pike remaining. Likely, the big pike have eaten the smaller ones. Consider trying nearby Soldier Lake. Lake levels are higher, and there’s pike, walleye, largemouth bass, and some giant bluegill – if you can get them to bite. Good luck. — Nick

Davis Dam, Colorado River
Bob S. from Orange, Calif.: Caught at Davis Dam, No. 12 hook, on cut anchovies (left).

BearCanyonTroutBear Canyon Lake
Ryan W.: Caught this rainbow (22-inch, 5- pound) at Bear Canyon Lake on Oct. 18 at 11:30 a.m. using a small Kastmaster with 6-pound test and a ultralight rod. What a fight.

Colorado River (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam)
Charles S.: Water temp. in the current was 75.5 degrees,and 78 degrees near the back end of the lakes. Peggy and I primarily fished the upper reaches of Picacho State Park and fishing was fair at best.

Most of the fish we caught in the current were smallmouth, with a few largemouth here and there. We really didn’t catch many bass that were much more than 2 pounds, though we did boat one largemouth that was 3.5 pounds. All of the fish were caught with creature baits; they didn’t hit crankbaits at all for us.

If you’re planning on fishing in the upcoming weeks, plan on moving around because the fish don’t appear to be bunched up, nor do they appear to be very hungry. We also didn’t hear any reports of anyone catching any big fish, not even in the Saturday bass tournament.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

One of the state’s hot spots might be the lower Colorado River below Davis Dam, where this month we’re dumping 22,000 trout. It’s the first stocking reared by the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery in nearly a year!

There is a huge fishing pier at Willow Beach. You might even see some desert bighorn sheep. It’s also a great place to rent a kayak and explore the Black Canyon area below Hoover Dam.

Thinking of heading to the White Mountains for a final fall excursion? The best fishing is currently at Big Lake, where large cutthroat and some rainbows are coming into the shallow water. Most are still being caught on bait, but fly and lure fishing should get better from here on out.

Other good fishing spots are Silver Creek (catch-and-release only, artificial lure and fly only), Woods Canyon Lake, and Willow Springs Lake.


Also, the lower Salt River is scheduled to be stocked this week. See the full winter trout stocking schedule.

Welcome Back the Trout to Green Valley Lake in Payson

PHOENIX – After a four month wait, Payson residents and visitors can welcome back the rainbow trout to beautiful Green Valley Park this week.

“Fall is a wonderful time to visit the rim country, see the colors and relax and fish along the grassy shorelines of this popular urban fishery,” said Scott Gurtin, Community Fishing Program manager at the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The Green Valley lakes are located a mile west of Highway 87 on Main Street.

About 340 pounds of rainbow trout, averaging ¾ pounds, are arriving this week to kick off a trout season that features 11- to 14-inch fish delivered every two weeks until early May. Some 2-3 pound lunkers will be included.

No other fish species is stocked at Green Valley; however, good populations of bass, crappie, catfish and sunfish can be found in this productive lake ecosystem.

Trout can be caught on small spinners and spoons and with baits such as scented dough balls, worms or salmon eggs. Popular flies for trout are peacock lady and zebra midges fished slowly, 4-6 feet below the surface.

To catch more trout, use lighter line in the 2-6 pound range, smaller hooks and a minimal amount of weight. Limits on trout are four per day for licensed anglers.

Anglers age 10 and over must have a General Fishing, Combination Hunt and Fishing (ages 10-17), Combination Hunt and Fish or Community Fishing license to fish Green Valley Lakes. The Community Fishing license is $24, and like all licenses, is now valid 365 days from the date of purchase

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 grant funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

Catch a license

Good luck fishing, and remember that buying a license online helps conserve wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations. Help yourself and your future loved ones.

ANGLER REPORTS

(Send your fishing reports and photos to Bfishing@AZGFD.gov.)

Bartlett Lake

Bill S.: So I took my son (Beckett) and daughter (Sienna) out fishing yesterday off the pier in Rattlesnake Cove at Bartlett.

My daughter caught her first fish (bluegill) which was quite entertaining. I snapped a few photos from the day. I think the pictures are super cute, but I am biased. 🙂

Grant A.: My name is Grant A., 60 years old, Mesa resident 30 years, have fished Bartlett off and on for about 25 years. Had one of my best mornings ever Wednesday, Oct. 15. I was on the lake just before dawn — you could see to drive the boat, but the sun had not appeared. I launched at the ramp near the marina and caught my first bass about 200 yards out.

I fished the mouth of coves trolling shad-type diving lures. In early morning the wind was intense enough, so I put my life jacket on. But I kept getting strikes, so I kept fishing. Trolling shad deep-diving lures I caught 12 largemouth bass before 10 a.m. Only two were dinks, the others were more than 14 inches, nice and fat. I fished catch-and-release that day. I had constant hits and I think it was little bass hitting the lure and being shook free. I was trolling using the gasoline motor to control the boat in the waves and was moving faster than normal.

I’m a regular fisher guy and if it is this good for me you will slay them. I would suggest fishing more than just the shore area; I saw a lot of guys doing that and I’m pretty sure the bass were in 35-75 feet of water.

Lees Ferry

Darren W.: Just wanted to send in these pics from a huge Lees Ferry brown! Caught and released on Sunday, October 12, using panther martin.

As this is my first reporting of this fish, is there any way to see if it holds up to a record, only using the supplied photographs? Just wondering.

Fool Hollow Lake

Jim: Fishing here is poor to nothing. Been fishing here for three days with out a bite. Have talked to everyone I’ve seen all say they’ve caught nothing.

Lake Mohave

Russ L.: Oct. 13, Caught these on top waters, several more strikes and sightings from the shore at Lake Mohave. They seem to be all around the lake. We were using Zara Spooks and silver Pop Its between 4:30 p.m. and dark, all in one cove out of the wind!


Freestone Pond (Gilbert)

Aaron J.: Wonderful Saturday morning on Freestone pond in Gilbert. Thanks for stocking!!

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Angler Reports: Oct. 15, 2014

BigBrownLeesFerryLees Ferry

Just wanted to send in these pics from a huge Lees Ferry brown! Caught and released on Sunday, October 12, using panther martin.

As this is my first reporting of this fish, is there any way to see if it holds up to a record, only using the supplied photographs? Just wondering.

TopWaterMohaveLake Mohave

Russ L.: Oct. 13, Caught these on top waters, several more strikes and sightings from the shore at Lake Mohave. They seem to be all around the lake. We were using Zara Spooks and silver Pop Its between 4:30 p.m. and dark, all in one cove out of the wind!

Fool Hollow Lake

Jim: Fishing here is poor to nothing. Been fishing here for three days with out a bite. Have talked to everyone I’ve seen all say they’ve caught nothing.

FreestoneCatfishFreestone Pond (Gilbert)

Aaron J.: Wonderful Saturday morning on Freestone pond in Gilbert. Thanks for stocking!!

Roosevelt Lake/Mogollon RIm lakes/streams

Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods with an Oct. 11 report:

The talk around Rim Country continues to be the water flow into Roosevelt Lake. This past week, the rain has been hard at times and even flooded some roads in the area. This has resulted in big increases to the water flowing into the lake.

Both the Salt River and the Tonto Creek are flowing at well over 100 percent of what is normal for this time of year. The water coming into the lake continues to be a chocolate brown color and the closer you get to the ends of the lake, the worse the water conditions get. Not only is the water chocolate colored, the temperature of the water entering the lake is significantly colder than the main lake water temperature.

Anglers I spoke with this past week stated that they are only fishing the main lake areas from the Windy Hill ramp to the Cholla ramp. The good news is that bass fishing was called excellent this past week. I spoke with Ted Morton of Tonto Basin who reported catching 30-plus bass on two guide trips this week as well as other anglers who reported good numbers. Points and drop-off areas were identified as prime locations.

Top-water baits such as a Rio-Rico and a Zara Spook are working for schooling bass. Deep diving crankbaits were reported successful this past week and lots of fish are still being caught on a drop-shot technique using almost any color 4- to 6-inch worm and fishing in 10-20 feet depths. One other technique discussed was using a spinner-bait to to fish areas where the rising water level has covered grass along the shoreline.

Crappie fishing was called poor this past week. However, with the stable weather outlook for this coming week, the crappie bite is expected to improve. Look for crappie in 25-35 feet water, near rock piles or brush. Traditionally, November is the best crappie fishing on Roosevelt Lake due to the stable weather that month. So you crappie anglers, hang in there, your time is coming.

The winter trout stockings have been announced by AZGFD. Due to the cold weather on the Rim, those lakes and streams traditionally are not included in the winter stockings. You can see a complete list of all the planned stockings on the AZGFD website. Great news for the Community trout stocking program. Green Valley Lake, right here in Payson, will be stocked with trout for three consecutive weeks beginning this week. So if this is your favorite lake, it’s time to get ready. There are different regulations and bag limits for the Community Fishing Program so be sure to review the pamphlet you received with your license or review the Community Fishing Program rules online, before you fish.

Rim Country Custom Rods builds and repairs all kinds of fishing rods. If you have a treasured fishing rod that you would like to have restored to near new condition, give Rim Country Custom Rods a call to get a free quote. Rim Country Custom Rods is located in Payson and can be reached at 928-468-0263 or http://www.rimcountrycustomrods.com.

Have a great week of fishing and I hope see you on the water.

AZ Angler Reports: Avoid debris in Roosevelt Lake; catch cats in Tucson

Roosevelt Lake

Roosevelt Lake
Roosevelt Lake

From Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods:

I have major updates on Roosevelt Lake this week, so let’s get right to them.

First, the lake level remained constant this past week at 38-percent full but you’ll recall last week the water level increased for the first time in a long time. The water level has come up about a foot of the past two weeks.

More good news is that the Salt River is flowing at about 500 cpfs and the Tonto Creek is flowing at about 50 cfps. The water coming into the lake is a chocolate brown color at both ends of the lake. On the Tonto end the discolored water is down to Rock Creek and on the Salt River end it’s as far as the Grapevine ramp. Along with the dark brown water, there is a lot of debris that has been pushed into the lake. Be extremely careful it you’re boating this week especially where water is flowing into the lake.

The water flowing into the lake is also impacting the water temperature. The freshwater entering the lake is in the low 70s while the clearer water in the main portion of the lake near the dam, is in the high 70s to low 80s.  The increased water level and the nutrients the freshwater brings to the lake are vital to the success of the fishery.

The water changes in the lake didn’t seem to have much impact on fishing reports. Fishing overall was called “good” this past week. For the first time this fall, I received reports that jigging spoons was catching good numbers of fish in 30 feet water.

Bass are feeding heavily right now on shad, and bass that are being caught have full bellies. These schools of bass chasing shad can be seen in the backs of coves, main lake points or along cuts on the shoreline. This time of year, you should always have a clear or silver color Rio Rico tied on a rod and ready to go.

Crankbaits were reported successful this past week and lots of fish are still being caught on a dropshot technique using almost any colored 4-6-inch worm and fishing in 10-20 feet depths.

Crappie fishing was called “pretty tough” this past week. With all the changes to the water condition this past week, crappie just seemed to be nowhere. If you’re planning to crappie fish this week, look to the mid lake areas. Experienced crappie anglers are using a vertical technique and fishing in 25-35 feet of water and always in brush or trees.

A 5-foot-6 to 6-foot ultra or light power and an extra-fast action rod is required to feel the bait through the brush. When fishing vertically for crappie, 95 percent of the time the hook will be in the roof of the mouth, so don’t be afraid to set that hook when you feel the bite.

Mogllon Rim lakes and streams

Trout stockings of the Rim lakes and streams has ended but there are lots of good trout still in Rim Country waters. Fall has arrived on the Rim, so if you’re planning a fishing trip, be sure to dress in layers. It will be around 40 degrees in the mornings and a very pleasant 65 degrees in the afternoons.

Green Valley Lake

Also, the Community trout stocking program is about start stocking trout into Green Valley Lake right here in Payson. The first stocking will occur the week of Oct. 13-17. You’ll recall that AZGFD changed the rules earlier this year so the Community Fishing Program is now included as part of your standard Arizona fishing license, no special tag is required.

Call Rim Country Custom Rods if you have any fishing rod questions or would like to know how a custom built rod will make you a better angler. Rim Country Custom Rods can be reached at 928-468-0263.

Have a great week of fishing and I hope see you on the water.

Willow Springs Lake

Shane V.: Saturday, Oct. 4 — Fishing from shore was hit and miss.  Seems yellow/green PowerBait was the ticket.  Got the boat out about 1 p.m.  Trolling where the main part of the lake enters the two arms and we’re catching pretty regular up until around 5 p.m.  While trolling, we caught fish on all of the following: bright green rooster tails; dark green and silver rooster tails; trout pattern rooster tails; yellow and red panther martins; rainbow trout pattern floating Rapalas.

WhtMtnTroutCrescent Lake/Big Lake

Ann M.: I took my family to the White Mountains … we fished four days at Crescent Lake and a couple days at Big Lake. My wife caught this 20-inch rainbow trout on Oct. 1 at Big Lake. A friend we fished with also caught an 18-inch rainbow trout the same day. Overall the fishing was slow. They were both caught using mice tails fished off bottom.

Rose Canyon Lake, Tucson

Mary S.: My son, daughter, and I went fishing at Rose Canyon Lake yesterday.   I talked with the forest ranger.  It closes on October 26.  We ended up catching 5 fish, but we saw others catching much more.  Considering it was stocked last week, we were not surprised.  It was a beautiful day there yesterday.  Couldn’t have asked for better!

Catfish from Silverbell Lake in TucsonSilverbell Lake, Tucson

Jared H.: Spent Saturday and Sunday morning (Oct. 4-5) at Silverbell Lake in Tucson.  The stocked cats were biting both mornings, especially Saturday.  All four fish caught Saturday were pushing, or more than, 2 pounds.  Sunday was the kicker with a 24-inch channel cat.  It was most likely more than 5 pounds and was a big surprise — so much fun to fight and land.  Included a couple pictures.  Really appreciate the urban stocking system.

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Fall fishing is here, so let’s get right to it. Here’s a rundown of what’s changed since last week.

Kinnikinick Lake turns “brown”

Great news for Kinnikinick Lake — we just completed stocking about 10,000 brown trout. The fish averaged 5-14 inches. Fishing should be excellent this fall. If you’re on Facebook, see more details from our Flagstaff Regional Facebook page.

Oak Creek Canyon near Sedona reopens

See the story from fox10phoenix.com.

On Tuesday, however, the upper reach of Oak Creek didn’t look good. Our biologists didn’t see any fish, but they didn’t electrofish the creek so some fish could remain. There was a lot of gray silt on the bottom of the creek and biologists didn’t find many bugs under the rocks they turned over for fish to eat. The creek was also pretty murky. Because of this, the Department decided not to stock the upper part of the creek. The hatchery will continue stocking the portion down from Sedona.


Seasonal trout fishery at Silver Creek reopens

On Wednesday, the Silver Creek catch-and-release season reopened.

The fishing staff from Cabela’s was on hand, just like in years past. Also once again this year the Phoenix and Sierra Vista South Arizona Chapters of Project Healing Waters attended opening day.

Both Apache trout and rainbow trout were stocked again this year, with some fish tipping the scales at more than 3 pounds or so. A few trout are around 10 pounds.

The seasonal fishery is catch-and-release only.

Silver Creek is five miles east of Show Low on U.S. Route 60. Turn north off Highway 60 onto Bourdon Ranch Road for five miles to Hatchery Road. Then head east on Hatchery Road 1 mile to the Silver Creek Hatchery, park in the parking lot, and follow the signs to the creek.

Remember that trout from this seasonal fishery must be immediately released unharmed – no trout may be kept. It is artificial lure and fly only with barbless hooks. The catch-and-release season is Oct. 1 to March 31.

Besides being a seasonal fishery, Silver Creek does have another unique quality – because the creek is spring fed and stays at a constant temperature it is not subject to freezing, which provides anglers a nice high country trout fishery to visit during winter.



Fossil Creek will open to fishing this Saturday, Oct. 4

Remember Fossil Creek is a catch and release chub fishery with a fly and lure single barbless hook regulation.
In case you missed it, our fall/winter trout stocking schedule is out. See the schedule and plan out some trout-fishing excursions.

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 grant funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

Catch a license

Good luck fishing, and remember that buying a license online helps conserve wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations. Help yourself and your future loved ones.

ANGLER REPORTS

(Send your fishing reports and photos to Bfishing@AZGFD.gov.)

Tempe Town Lake
Richard S.: I went bass fishing on the early morning of Friday, Aug. 26. I caught nine bass and one channel catfish in about three hours. Drop-shotting was the ticket, though one bass and the cat came trolling a Rooster Tail in white and red color.

I fished mostly the east end, by the buoys that protect the dam. Best color was a light blue, funny enough morning down did not work at all! Second best color was “holographic shad” from roboworm. One advice: get there early, by 8 AM the byte really slows down. And remember to use navigation lights if you launch the boat at 5 AM as I did, it’s still dark but row boats with their lights are around.


Chevelon Canyon Lake
Travis D. and Joel C. fished on Monday: Other than an underwater dam repair crew, we had the whole lake to ourselves, not another soul. The spillway was flowing fast and fairly deep. We hit the water late at about 7:30 a.m. but within 30 minutes we were getting strikes
.

Using a canoe we went upstream towards the inlet of the creek, only hitting a 20-minute stretch of nasty headwind. About a quarter-mile downstream of the inlet we started picking up some nice ones, including a fat 3.13-pound brown and several rainbows between 2-3 pounds. Their colors were beautiful and they put up some awesome fights on light tackle. Except for a couple smaller ones caught on spinners, most, including the larger ones, were caught on spoons while we trolled.

Total tally for day was 21, with only a few being less than ten inches. We got off the lake at 5 p.m. and debated hiking down to the pool below the spillway to try our luck there, but we knew we had a long trek ahead of us, pulling the canoe up the road by foot.

Though the difficulty of getting a larger boat to the lake and then back up again was an extreme obstacle, it was completely worth it and will be done again.

SEE THE FULL REPORT.