Tag Archives: arizona fishing

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.

Northern Colorado River to receive trout

First stocking south of Davis Dam in nearly a year

BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. –– Trout stocking south of Davis Dam has been on hiatus for nearly a year, but that will change beginning Oct. 1.

Trout from Arizona Game and Fish hatcheries, and raised by the US Fish and Wildlife Service at the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery, are ready for the first stocking south of Davis Dam since late 2013.

“This is great news and a fantastic opportunity for anglers on the Colorado River,” said Matt Chmiel, the Fisheries Program Manager for the Game and Fish Region 3 office in Kingman. “While fishing in the area has remained strong, trout have been recognizably absent for nearly a year.”

On Nov. 21, 2013, the Willow Beach hatchery conducted an emergency stocking of 11,000 rainbow trout when the low lake level made it impossible to draw in water due to a damaged lower-level pipeline. This fact, along with additional federal budget cuts, resulted in the closing of the sport fish part of the hatchery.

In early 2014, Game and Fish provided the national hatchery with 22,000 sub-catchable rainbow trout to raise to a catchable size while lake levels were high enough for the one functioning pipeline to draw in water.

“However, the lake level will soon be dropping and the time has come to stock the fish,” Chmiel said. “The timing is critical. All 22,000 fish must enter the river before water levels drop below the intake valve.”

Chmiel explained stockings will continue for several weeks in October at Rotary Park and Davis Camp.

“But there’s no need to focus on just those two locations,” he said. “Trout disperse quickly and many areas along that stretch of the river will work.”

For rainbow trout, Chmiel said small spinners and PowerBait are often effective, although marshmallows can work.

“Fishing is just a great way to relax and spend some time with the family with few interruptions,” Chmiel said. “Getting kids outside and away from the computers helps create an important connection with the outdoors.”

A fishing license is $37 for in-state residents and $5 for all youth ages 10-17. The license is good for trout and is valid for 12 months.

For a statewide fishing report, log on to the Game and Fish Department’s website at azgfd.gov. Licenses are available at the any of the Game and Fish regional offices or headquarters as well as at license dealers throughout the state and online at www.azgfd.gov/fishing.

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

The window of sunlight that scours our waters is increasingly short-lived. Top-water action is picking up statewide. Elk have been heard bugling in the high country, there’s less boat traffic, fewer anglers, and yet far better fishing – welcome to anglers’ paradise.

First, before we consider conditions and what’s biting, let’s recognize the foundations of wildlife management. Good a time as any with National Hunting and Fishing Day Saturday, Sept. 27.

On May 2, 1972, President Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day, writing: “I urge citizens to join with outdoor sportsmen in the wise use of our natural resources and in ensuring their proper management for the benefit of future generations.”

And with that, we recognize the hunters and anglers who, more than 100 years ago, were the most boisterous supporters of conservation and scientific management. They were led by fellow sportsman, President Theodore Roosevelt. Let’s celebrate with tight line and successful hunts.

It’s a transition phase into fall in many senses. The final summer trout stockings just took place at Woods Canyon Lake and Willow Springs Lake. Bull elk should be calling like crazy. A great fall spot for elk calling is Knoll Lake on the Mogollon Rim, which not only is a nice trout lake, it’s a scenic drive there along the famous Rim Road. Soon, the aspens should be showing off a new, fall wardrobe. Catfish stockings began last week at many Community Fishing Program lakes and ponds. And don’t forget that Oct. 3 marks the opening day of the quail, squirrel and duck hunting season.

Soon, the winter trout stocking schedule will be posted online. The first stockings the week of Oct. 5 will go to Huffer Pond, Beaver Creek (wet), Mingus Lake, West Clear Creek, Fain Lake, Lynx Lake and the Lower Salt River. See our Fish&Boat Arizona map for locations.

This is also a great time of the year to visit Lees Ferry. Fishing’s good, but anglers are few. This is the off-season as many trout anglers are probably off experiencing a good trout bite where the landscape’s clad in autumn colors.

This time last year, crappie fishing really began picking up at Roosevelt Lake. Check your fishing log, if you keep one, and see if that was your experience.

Other good bets this weekend are throwing your favorite top-water baits at Saguaro, Canyon, Apache and Roosevelt. Stripers are still stripping anglers’ line at Lake Pleasant (see the newest Anglers Report.)

Good luck, 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.


Silver Creek seasonal trout fishery opens Oct. 1

SHOW LOW, Ariz. — Get your most festive trout fishing hat ready – the seasonal trout fishery at Silver Creek opens Oct. 1.

“The opening has become a fun fishing get together,” said Hatchery Manager Ken McGown. “The cadre of opening day participants seems to grow each year.”

McGown said the fishing staff from Cabela’s will be on hand to help out, just like in years past. Also once again this year the Phoenix and Sierra Vista South Arizona Chapters of Project Healing Waters will be attending opening day.

“The anglers themselves have turned this into kind of an informal opening day fishing festival of sorts,” McGown said.

There will be both Apache trout and rainbow trout stocked again this year, with some fish tipping the scales at more than 3 pounds or so. A few trout will be around 10 pounds.

However, don’t expect to take anything home but smiles and memories – this 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.

ANGLER REPORTS

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


Colorado River (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam)

Charles S.: After a few weeks off for some surgery, I finally managed to make it back to fishing the river. This particular weekend I guided a family on the river, water temps in the current hovered around 83.5 degrees in the current and 85 to 86 degrees in the lakes. Water quality is still pretty poor, with visibility around 10-12 inches in the areas that have any meaningful water flow. Water levels were low, which is normal for this time of year, though it seemed to have more flow than normal.

After spot-checking a bunch of key areas, we finally decided to go with crankbaits for the bulk of our lure selection, although we did do OK tossing smaller, soft swim baits in select areas. It’s been a while since I have fished with anyone other than my wife Peggy and almost forgot the joy that comes from taking others fishing. Pictured is Justin M. with a nice largemouth, Justin is a big man and his size makes the fish look small, even though it weighed in at 3.5 pounds. We caught a wide range of fish, big and small, and I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that we won’t see any major storms and that the water visibility will improve in a few more weeks.

From what I could tell the fish have pretty much gobbled up most of the baitfish balls, so crankbaits should continue to produce well for the next month or so.

Pena Blanca Lake

Doug L.: My friend Mike and I went to Pena Blanca yesterday, Sept. 20. Dodging a few light rains showers, we arrived at the lake about 8 a.m.

Water was running a small amount down the wash into the lake on its south end. The entire lake was chocolate brown. Getting on the water, we found what I call peat moss floating over a good portion of the lake, including branches and logs that had washed in.

The quarter of the lake in front of the dam was impossible to fish. We heard water going over the spillway. We eventually caught four small bass, which were released. All were caught drop-shotting. We gave up about 1:30 p.m. and headed home.

If you want to fish Pena Blanca for bass, I would recommend waiting a couple of weeks or longer to let the water and debris clear out some.

Patagonia Lake

Cody P.: So we got to Patagonia Lake Saturday morning at around 8 a.m. on Sept. 20. It was raining pretty good but it let up within the hour. We tried fishing during the day but only caught a bluegill. So we decided to wait until about 8 p.m. and went out again with our poles rigged for catfish.

The water was extremely murky from the rain but the catfish must have loved it because they were biting like crazy. I reeled in two large channel cats back to back that were about 5 and 6 pounds, maybe bigger or smaller; we didn’t have a scale. My brother in law reeled in a what felt like a 4-pounder and I caught about five small stockers with in about 2 1/2 hours. So all in all it was a very good night of fishing and I can’t wait to get back out there again.

Fortuna Pond, Yuma

John H.: The evening started off pretty slow for the channel cats, but about two hours after sundown the bite was on. He hit on chicken liver about two hours after sunset.


Bartlett Lake

Paul J.: Went to Bartlett Saturday. Expected to catch the usual one-pound bass — Bartlett is full of so you can understand my surprise when I caught a 5-pound bass on my third cast of the evening. Biggest fish I’ve caught at Bartlett.

Lake Pleasant

Derrick F., Striper Snatcher Guide Service: Despite a wrench in the late-summer fishing pattern with an incredible amount of rainfall and run-off, the fish are still capable of being caught. I’ve been seeing a consistent amount of shad fry, striper fry and full-size shad gradually rising in the water column in most northern creek arms.

It is important to match these baits they are chasing. I prefer reaction baits like the 1/4 and ½-ounce Rat-L-Trap with a chrome/blue pattern being a neutral choice.

During the day, great-sized striper are capable of falling to a one-ounce spoon in the same color as the reaction baits mentioned. At night, the secret to catching big striper is simple: go somewhere where the small striper will not venture — for me that is a minimum of 100 feet of water and off main lake points with structure nearby.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Weekly Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Near-record striper bass from Lake Pleasant -- 28.38 pounds
Near-record striper bass from Lake Pleasant — 28.38 pounds

This week’s report features an all-star striper.

It’s well-known that Lake Pleasant is an excellent spot to target striped bass, but Jason Blauvelt of Peoria nearly set an inland waters, hook-and-line state record for stripers at the lake just northwest of Phoenix on Saturday, Sept. 13.

Read all about the catch.

Striper fishing at Pleasant has been good in 40-70 feet of water using anchovies and spoons.

If you want to catch a giant fish, it helps to use a big fish as bait. It’s one of the reasons anglers use life-sized lures called swim baits.

Please keep in mind that it is not legal to use striped bass or other sport fish as live bait to catch, well, other sportfish. But check the regulations at Lake Pleasant, Alamo Lake and the impoundments along the Verde and Salt rivers — it is OK to use live carp or sunfish as live bait (collected onsite only).

The nights in the deserts are dropping into the seventies and mountain nights are sinking into the chilly 40s — fall fishing conditions are underway.

Those lowering nighttime temperatures, and the shortened daylight hours, combine to drop water temperatures into the prime activity ranges for bass in the warmwater lakes and trout in the mountain waters.

Fishing the Tucson area? Rains pounded those southern Arizona waters, making catfish a primary target because they tend to not be as affected by muddy, stained waters as bass and sunfish.

Catfish stockings have returned to many of the Community Fishing Program lakes. See more details about the stockings in our new-and-improved stocking schedule.

Angler reports

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

Brent G.: Thought I would send a pic from Friday, Sept.12. Went to Lake Mary for pike.. nothing for 2 and a half hours then BOOM, caught this 11-pound, 10-ounce pike. Still looking for the monsters that I know are in there.

Max B. from Thursday, Sept. 11: The trout are hitting on PowerBait floating off the bottom about 3 feet, and on flies in the morning and early evening.

 

 

 

 

 

Silver Creek seasonal trout fishery opens Oct. 1

This festive fishing get-together seems to draw more participants each year. This is the opening of the catch-and-release season (Oct. 1 – March 31.).

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 eat on Hatchery Road 1 mile to the Silver Creek Hatchery, park in the parking lot, and follow the signs to the creek.

Trout from this seasonal fishery must be immediately released unharmed — no trout may be kept. It is artificial fly and lure only with single, barbless hooks.

A seasonal fishery, Silver Creek is spring fed and stays at a constant temperature. Because it is not subject to freezing, it provides anglers ideal wintertime, high-country trout stream angling.

See the full report.

Angler Reports, June 24, 2014

Mogollon Rim/Roosevelt Lake

June 21 abbreviated report from Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods:

IMG_3756Roosevelt Lake water level dropped another 1% this past week and currently stands at 45% full. The Tonto Creek has stopped flowing the Salt River is flowing at 40% of its normal rate for this time of year.

The water temperature is increasing with morning temperatures in the low 80s increasing to the mid-to-high 80s during the afternoon.

The water clarity increased this past week and is now being called clear or slightly stained depending on where you’re fishing on the lake. The Tonto end of the lake is reported to be more clear than the Salt River end.

Bass fishing was called good this past week. Post-spawn bass are still chasing shad on the surface, but that bite clearly slowed this past week. The best success was reported this past week on Texas-rig and Carolina rig 6-inch green lizards.

A dropshot technique using a morning dawn or camo-colored Roboworm and a weightless Senko were also reported successful.

Most anglers reported fishing main lake points in 15-25 feet water.

The best time to fish reported this past week was the late afternoon until dark when the fish begin moving to shallow water. One experienced angler reported a good jerk bait bite in shallow water that lasted from sunset until after dark.

Crappie reported “fair” at Roosevelt

Night time crappie fishing was reported to be fair this past week. The moon phase should make small jigs and small spinnerbaits effective this week, but most anglers prefer to use live minnows for night time crappie fishing.

Rim trout fishing

If you haven’t made a trip onto the Rim for some trout fishing, you need to make plans. The Rim lakes are well stocked and anglers are having great success.

Lots of baits were reported successful this past week. So just about any trout bait you like to fish will catch trout. Fly anglers are gradually switching to dry flies as many insects can now be seen on the surface.

If you’re a fly angler, the old adage of matching the hatch will apply to the rim trout lakes. Now if you are camping this weekend, please read the AZGFD website related to the level II fire restrictions. The forest is extremely dry in most areas so be extremely careful.
Have a great week of fishing and I hope see you on the water.

Saguaro Lake

Jim F. of Tempe had fun with a summer-pattern bass at Saguaro Lake: Looks like the good summer fishing patterns are finally here. My buddy and I hit Saguaro slightly before first light on Saturday (June 21) and caught well over a dozen nice bass within a couple of hours.

All were caught on top-water lures and all attacked the bait voraciously. We mainly used Zara Spooks, but also got a couple of hits using a medium-sized frog.

After the top-water action fell off we went into a cove and threw jerk baits for a while. My buddy hooked up on a good sized bluegill and as he brought it near the boat a really big bass inhaled the bluegill.
Apparently most of the treble hooks were in the bluegill, because as he brought it up to the top of the water the bass opened his mouth and slid away. Maybe we’ll get him next time!
Anyway, the bite is on, so get out there and have a blast like we did.

Canyon Lake

CanyonLakeBiggieI caught this monster bass on a shad about 7am last Thursday. Don’t know how much he weighed but, I’ll get a scale now. Cory Kunselman

Roper Lake

RoperLakefishHi, my name is Mike M. and I took the kids fishing on Roper Lake June 19-21. It was great. We caught 22 largemouth total. The first eight were caught Thursday afternoon ‘till dark. All eight were a pound or less.

On Friday, 12 more were caught, and four of them in the 2-3-pound range, and the other eight were less than that. Fished from 6 a.m. -12, than again after 4:30 p.m. ‘till 7 p.m.

On Saturday morning, we only caught two in the morning from 8 a.m.-9 a.m. from the shore. All the other fish were caught from a 12-foot jon boat. All fish were caught on a shallow crankbait, the same one but two different colors.

Lake Pleasant

PleasantStriperLook at these striper I caught at Lake Pleasant June 17. Do not know how much they weigh, but they were big…. got them on anchovies about 30 feet down.

Tempe Town Lake

Brothers J.C. and Scott always do relatively well on Tempe Town Lake. Key is to get there at first light. We fished the east end of the lake by the small dam Thursday, and caught at least one of every type fish in the lake, except for trout.

Large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, several nice catfish, and a 12-pound carp. All were hitting on Mepps minnow spinners and red/white striped spoons.

JC said. “I must have bounced the red and white spoon right in front of the carp, as it’s unusual for them to hit lures. Had a great 15-minute battle to wear him down and get him in the net. He barely fit! We caught 13 fish, all released, within the first two hours. Then it slowed steadily as the day warmed up. One of the nicer bass is pictured above, by Scott. You don’t need to get out of town to catch fish, just get up early and hit the local lakes.”