Tag Archives: Arizona Game and fish fishing report

Spring fishing has arrived in northern Arizona

Now is the time to get the tackle box ready, grab the fishing rods, and explore northern Arizona for some spring fishing.

Typically by late May or early June, as temperatures warm up and lake levels drop, water quality diminishes and conditions will be unsuitable for stocking fish.

Bass, pike, catfish, and crappie fishing are the best during the summer — but now is the ideal time for trout fishing. Get up there while you can.

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

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

Top 5 spots to fish near Flagstaff and Williams

(All are being stocked with trout):

  1. Upper and Lower Mary lakes. A state record channel catfish was caught from Upper Lake Mary, and trout fishing can be good at Lower Lake Mary.  Upper Lake Mary is full.  Lower lake Mary is half full and has more water in it than has been seen in 7 years. See more information from Coconino County on fees and hours of operation at Lower Mary.
  2. Ashurst Lake. Ashurst  is full and the road is open. The water in the lake is relatively clear so try fishing with lures for the fresh stockers. With the low water level of the lake prior to the spring runoff many fish may not have survived the winter.
  3. Frances Short Pond. Anglers have been catching fish using flies and lures.  Some have also been caught using corn and worms.  A recent load of trout included some trout measuring more than 14 inches.
  4. Kaibab Lake. The lake is full and spilling for the first time in years. When muddy, try small silver or gold lures for trout.
  5. Dogtown Reservoir. This 50-acre lake in the Kaibab National Forest can be one of the best bets for a high country Arizona trout fishing adventure. Some experienced anglers can catch plump winter holdovers. Effective baits are PowerBait, small spinners, and wet flies such as bead-headed prince nymphs and zug bugs. Make sure the spinners are small — no heavier than 1/8 of an ounce. Some anglers can have success slow-trolling spinners. (There are special regulations at Dogtown: the limit is six trout, two bass at a minimum size of 13 inches, and a limit of four channel catfish). Electric-only motors are allowed.

 

Grab your gear and your fishing license and get ready for a pine-scented weekend!

A bass story: Community Fishing Program stocks first largemouth since 2011

PHOENIX — A long, black figurine of a fish cruised out of the underwater drainage pipe. My flutter spoon dropped — and of course fluttered — right in front of the fish’s mouth.

“There are fish like this in Alvord Lake?” I thought, eyes no doubt bulging and bobbing like frying egg yolks.

I’d come for the crappie. Read on my I Support Wildlife report they had just been stocked. Little did I know … we had made a surprise stocking into Alvord before this Saturday morning.

We had stocked bass.

Largemouth bass.

Whomp!

A big bass took the No. 10 flutter spoon and yanked out the 3x leader and tippet from my 5-weight fly rod.

After a few long runs, I grabbed this guy by the mouth:

A bass maybe around 4 pounds, probably between 19-21 inches. Not that it matters — it was a fun fish. Still not sure it was a stocker.

Regardless, it had been the first stocking of largemouth bass into Community Fishing Program lakes since 2011.  This week,  we stocked more largemouth bass into “core” Community waters. Before more are stocked, our biologists will monitor if — and where — these bass manage to survive and develop a quality population structure.

After a quick photo, this lunker was released:

Go get ’em.

Minutes later, another bass cruised out of the same structure — a large chunk of a two-way drainage pipe that looked like an excellent place for bass to hide until unsuspecting quarry passed by.

This bass measured 16 inches and probably weighed about 2 1/4 pounds. Likely a stocker:

With apologies to all the catch-and-release bass purists, this one came home to a sizzling skillet.

Recipe for the above:

  • Coat fillets in egg wash and roll in white flour. Re-coat in egg wash, roll in Panko bread crumbs, and saute in hot coconut oil for about 5 minutes on each side. Dry on  paper towel and add salt/pepper.

That side is just homemade mac ‘n’ cheese — corn, garlic salt, pepper, a bit of sour cream, butter, milk, elbow macaroni and shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Note that daily bag limits for largemouth bass at Community Lakes are two bass at a minimum of 13 inches in total length.

Best part about Alvord Lake, located in Cesar Chavez Park at 7858 S. 35th Ave. in south Phoenix? It’s a 10-minute drive to the world’s largest city park — South Mountain Park.

So afterward …

Mountain biking and fishing makes for a prime Saturday.

Tips on fishing a flutter spoon

Many sport fish like largemouth bass rely on sight and vibration to identify prey. A flutter spoon allows for the flash and action to attract attention.

Make a few strips if  fly fishing (or reels if spin fishing) and stop. Let the flutter spoon drop and do its fluttering magic. Typically, a fish will hit as the lure is falling (like with jigging). This was exactly the case.

Even a No. 10 flutter spoon can catch big fish.
Hope this helps get you out to Community waters and onto some fish.

In case you need a license, you can get ’em easily online, 24/7. A Community fishing license is $24, and like all licenses, good for 365 days. Funds go back into wildlife conservation, as well as other efforts such as fish stockings.  A General License is $37, and Hunt/Fish Combo License $57.

Read more information about the Community Fishing Program.

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

The transition to spring fishing conditions is finally setting in — time to get out and fish!

Let’s get to some highlights:

  • It’s crappie time! The spawn at San Carlos has been underway for the past few weeks and there have been excellent reports.  The crappie spawn is just getting underway at Roosevelt Lake. Male crappie are in shallow areas of the lake; some females are moving onto spawning flats.
  • Striped bass catch rates are picking up at Lake Pleasant. Check out a report from guest contributor Barry Worman of the Arizona Striper Fishing Facebook page.
  • The Arizona Department of Transportation planned to open State Highways 261 and 273 on Thursday, April 13. ADOT was working to clear the last of the snow drifts off of the highways before opening. The roads were closed during winter months for public safety. Opening the state highways allows access to Big Lake and Crescent and Sunrise lakes. See an Arizona Traveler Information map that shows only minimal delays on these roads.
  • The 300 road is open to the Woods Canyon Lake turnoff.  Store and boat rentals are open. Campgrounds won’t open until May.  A recent survey found lots of rainbow and tiger trout winter carry-overs averaging around 11-12 inches , and rainbow trout are being stocked this week.  We saw full stringers this week before it was even stocked —  fish are hungry and biting hooks.

    A 4- or 5-pound largemouth bass caught recently from Alvord Lake in Phoenix on a No. 10 silver flutter spoon.
  • We stocked bass (yes — bass!) and crappie this week into “core” Community waters. See the schedule.
  • Recently-stocked brown trout have been hitting at Lynx Lake. One angler hooked a bunch of ’em on 1.5 inch-crappie tubes on the southern shore of the lake.
  • A monster 5-pound redear sunfish was caught from Lake Havasu — see the Angler Reports.

Grab a license online 24/7, and go — your purchase helps conserve wildlife for future generations.

Stocking report

Channel catfish

Wednesday, April 5 — Chaparral Lake, Riverview Lake, Red Mountain Lake, Veterans Oasis Lake, Copper Sky Lake, Silverbell Lake, Kennedy Lake, Sahuarita Lake, Lakeside Lake, Surprise Lake,  Rio Vista Pond, Pioneer Lake, Steele Indian School Pond, Encanto Lake, Desert West Lake, Alvord Lake, Papago Ponds, Evelyn Hallman Pond, Desert Breeze Lake, Tempe Kiwanis Lake,  Bonsall Park.

Rainbow trout

Friday, April 7 — Tonto Creek,  East Verde River, Canyon Creek.

Thursday, April 6 — Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek, Haigler Creek, Russell Tank, Lower Lake Mary, Dogtown Reservoir.

Tuesday, April 4 — Becker Lake, Scott Reservoir, Rainbow Lake,  Fool Hollow Lake, Goldwater Lake, Rose Canyon Lake, Dogtown Reservoir.

Brook trout

Tuesday, April 4 — Lynx Lake, Fain Lake.

See the full schedule.

 

Catch of the Week

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

Dave P. caught this Big Fish of the Year, catch-and-release smallmouth bass from Roosevelt Lake on March 21 that measured  23 1/2 inches and weighed 5.96 pounds. Caught on a Kalin’s triple threat grub (John Deere color).

See all the Angler Reports

Public fishing events

At these free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required for those who register during event hours.

Saturday, April 22 — Fishing for Sustainability-Family and Community Fishing Event, 8 a.m – noon, Silverbell Lake at Christopher Columbus Park (3600 N. Silverbell Rd., Tucson).

See more details and the full schedule

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Weekend Roundup: Angler Reports

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

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

Rose Canyon Lake

Andrew A.: Fished sunrise to 11 a.m. before the lake closed due to the fire on Mt. Lemmon. Caught trout steadily the whole morning with trout-colored rooster tails. A friend and I took our limit.

Woods Canyon Lake


Jeff H.: Caught this 17-inch rainbow trout April 8 at Woods Canyon Lake. The fish were biting and we caught three!

Lake Havasu

Ashley G.: Just wanted to submit a monster (redear sunfish) I caught this weekend on Lake Havasu!! 🎣 16 1/2 inches and 5.02 pounds!

Chaparral Lake (Scottsdale)

Matthew D.: Big fan of the blog and articles. My brother and I caught these channel cats at Chaparral Lake on a simple bobber-and-nightcrawlers.  We were fishing about 15-20 feet from the shore. We started at sunrise but the fishing really started biting around 9-10 as it was warming up.

Red Mountain Lake (Mesa)

Anthony G.: I just happened to catch this guy at Red Mountain Park on April 4. Used 40-pound spider wire line. Bent the net in half taking it out of the water. My shoe size is 13 for comparison.

Roosevelt Lake

Dave P. caught this Big Fish of the Year, catch-and-release smallmouth bass  that measured  23 1/2 inches.

Saguaro Lake

Dan G.: Holden Gurka reelin’ em in a Saguaro Lake!

See more about fishing in Arizona

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

Bonsall Park

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

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

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

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

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

Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Channel catfish stockings have returned to the Community fishing waters – grab some stink baits, shrimp or hot dogs and go.

But Mr. Whiskers returned in a way we could barely imagine: not as a stocker into a pond, but as a state record from Upper Lake Mary near Flagstaff.  See the story, or Catch of the Week below, for more about this 33.36-pound channel catfish caught in 2 feet of water on anchovies.

Fishing’s good at Lower Lake Mary, too. The gate will be open weekends from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, some anglers are still catching trout, like this 4-pounder Jean P. just caught from Chaparral Lake in Scottsdale:

In desert regions, bass are in all three phases of spawn. Fishing for spawning bass has been somewhat difficult because of lack of visibility in shallow areas of many lakes. We’re still waiting on stable weather to make bass fishing bust loose.

Silver Creek catch-and-keep season opens Saturday

Headed to the high country? At Silver Creek, the catch-and-keep season will begin Saturday, April 1 and run through Sept. 30 as bait and barbless hooks may be used and the limit is six trout.  The upper section will close to fishing when this regulation changes for the summer season.  Harvest of trout in the lower section during the first week of April should be fair.

Before Saturday, regulations are catch-and-release with artificial flies and lures with single barbless hooks only.

Check out our Special Regulations waters map.

See the full report for more high country options. Hot spots during April and early May tend to be in the Flagstaff and Williams area at the Mary lakes, Kinnikinick Lake, Kaibab Lake, and Dogtown Lake. Get there before it’s too hot.

 

Stocking report

Catfish

Friday, March 24 — Community “core” waters.

Bluegill

Monday, March 27 — Eldorado Lake, Papago Ponds, Steele Indian School, Encanto Lake, Roadrunner Lake, Ashurst Lake.

Rainbow trout

Thursday, March 16 — Lower Salt River, Oak Creek, Frances Short Pond. Tuesday, March 14 — Patagonia Lake, Wet Beaver Creek, West Clear Creek. Monday, March 13 – Verde River (middle), Lynx Lake, Frances Short Pond, Lower Lake Mary. Sunday, March 9 — Concho Lake, Cluff Res. 3, Roper Lake, Lower Lake Mary.

See the full schedule.

 

Nets and Waders: Working For You

Channel catfish caught at Show Low Lake

Pinetop fisheries biologists last week surveyed Fool Hollow and Show Low lakes. At both, the walleye were spawning, which is good for future recruitment in the lakes and also makes for good fishing. Use a Rapala lure or any other fish-like lure. The temperatures in the lakes were up to about 55 degrees.

At both Fool Hollow and Show Low Lakes, we caught large smallmouth bass and channel catfish. Northern pike are at the end of the spawn in Fool Hollow Lake, so try fishing the shallow, weedy coves. We recommend that you keep these fish — they are a delicious white meat fish. At Show Low Lake, the survey found a lot of 8-inch cutthroat trout.

Catch of the Week

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


Carson Pete of Flagstaff on Sunday, March 26 caught a 33.36-pound, 39 ½-inch channel catfish that broke an inland waters hook-and-line state record for the species. See the full story.

Public fishing events

At these free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required for those who register during event hours.

Saturday, April 8 — Youth Fishing Day, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Bonsall Pond (5840 W. Bethany Home Rd., Glendale). The AZGFD and city of Glendale will give out up to 1,000 free youth license on a first-come, first-serve basis.

See the full schedule

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Some erratic weather is making fishing hit-and-miss in general across the state, but, no doubt, this is the time to be ready for break-out fishing. Watersheds across the state are receiving record moisture — Roosevelt Lake will likely exceed 70-percent full during the next two weeks.

Let’s get right to some Fish AZ news:

  • Channel catfish are back in core Community waters. See the stocking schedule through the summer.  They were stocked Thursday, March 23 and word is the fish are large and healthy.
  • The gate to Willow Springs Lake is open and reports are that fish are biting. There are tiger trout here — go see how much they may have grown during the winter …

    Willow Springs Lake on Tuesday, March 21.
  • All of the Williams-area lakes are full.  Since all of the lakes are full this year, we don’t have enough trout to stock all of the lakes (if you don’t stock enough fish in a lake, folks can’t catch them).  This year we are only planning on stocking Kaibab Lake and Dogtown Lake with rainbow trout.  As soon as the lakes stop spilling we will start stocking Kaibab and Dogtown.
  • Most Flagstaff area lakes are full and spilling.  Ashurst Lake, Lower Lake Mary, and Frances Short Pond will be stocked with trout this year. Lower Lake Mary has had about 16,000 larger (10-inch plus) rainbow trout stocked during the past couple of weeks along with about 8,600 smaller (6-8 inch) rainbows.
  • Ashurst Lake is full. The road is open and the first load of 2,700 rainbow trout was stocked last week.
  • Bartlett Lake is full and the water is clearing up. Bass fishing is good in 2-12 feet from the dam to the river using crankbaits, spinner baits (white or chartreuse) and baby brush hogs.

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Thursday, March 23 — Channel catfish in “core” Community waters. Thursday, March 16 — Lower Salt River, Oak Creek, Frances Short Pond. Tuesday, March 14 — Patagonia Lake, Wet Beaver Creek, West Clear Creek. Monday, March 13 – Verde River (middle), Lynx Lake, Frances Short Pond, Lower Lake Mary. Sunday, March 9 — Concho Lake, Cluff Res. 3, Roper Lake, Lower Lake Mary.

 

See the full schedule.

Catch of the Week

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

Jack caught this monster 48-pound, 13-ounce striper in about 10 feet of water in the flats across from South Cove.

See all the Angler Reports

Public fishing events

At these free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required for those who register during event hours.

Saturday, April 8 — Youth Fishing Day, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Bonsall Pond (5840 W. Bethany Home Rd., Glendale). The AZGFD and city of Glendale will give out up to 1,000 free youth license on a first-come, first-serve basis.

See the full schedule

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Weekend Roundup: Angler Reports

 

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

Apache Lake

Gunny C.: Finally a quality bass. 8-pounds, 2 ounces on March 15. Thanks to Johnny Johnson for the great informational videos!

Lake Mead

Jack caught this monster 48-pound, 13-ounce striper in about 10 feet of water in the flats across from South Cove. He also caught another lunker on the fishing trip.

Pena Blanca Lake

 

Andrew: Fished the shore this last Sunday evening. Didn’t get any bites using small jigs. Caught sunfish and bass on nightcrawlers during sundown.

 Roosevelt Lake

Jeff P.: Working the shallows between Grapevine and Schoolhouse, put 12 in the boat (catch and release), mostly on the smaller side, but also picked up a couple of good ones including the 19 incher in the photo. All were caught on clear/red hula grubs, Texas-rigged.

Desert Breeze Park (Chandler)

Anonymous: Viviana and her dad caught these two catfish late afternoon on Monday. Using chicken liver and are so excited for some spring fishing!

Fossil Creek

Max W.: Just wanted to let you know, chub fishing at Fossil Creek was on fire over the weekend. 5-6 fish an hour in the morning, all on dark simi-seals and wooly buggers. Things slowed down around 9:30 or so.

Dead Horse lagoons

Debbie A.: Taylor Allen (of Flagstaff) caught this largemouth bass on a drop shot. Sunday, March 19.

See more about fishing in Arizona

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Winter fishing is OVER. Highs for the next week are predicted to be in the mid-to-high 80s in desert regions and 60s in the high country.

Spring perfume is in the air, we have a full moon this weekend, and trout stockings are kicking off again in the Flagstaff/Williams region. (Friday update: from Thursday to Friday we stocked a total of about 12,000 rainbow trout into Lower Lake Mary. )

Anglers braved a tough winter of erratic weather and now it’s time to hook, and  maybe cook, some fish. Warm water temps plus a full moon Sunday means there could be some great bass fishing in shallow water this weekend, and next week, and maybe through May. With all the rains and increased ground cover, those shallow spots will likely be in new areas. Explore away.

Be sure to send your reports and photos to BFishing@AZGFD.gov — one will be selected as Catch of the Week.

Poppies along Bush Highway north of Saguaro Lake

Some highlights:

  • Lake Powell. Walleye and largemouth bass fishing is raring to go at Lake Powell. Water temperatures will reach the mid-50s by the weekend. Largemouth bass are the first to respond to this warming, followed by smallmouth bass. Wayne Gustaveson’s report will give you all the Powell tips you need.
  • Bartlett Lake. The lake is 99-percent full and water temperatures on Wednesday were 54 degrees and warming to 58.
  • Flagstaff/Williams area. Fish stockings have resumed, including at Lower Lake Mary, which is around half-full for the first time since 2010. Read more.
  • First major wave of spring bass spawning. It’s the first full moon in March — more bass will be moving in  shallow to spawn. It’s already been a banner spring bass fishing season. See some springtime bassin’ tips. 
  • Saguaro Lake levels are down. The lake levels dropped 11% in 3 days. The levels were decreased to accommodate maintenance at Mormon Flat Dam. The dam outage is expected to last until around mid-March. But some bass already are spawning.
  • Tonto National Forest campground openings. As water has receded, many campgrounds have reopened. Keep up with the latest updates.
  • Community fishing stocking transition. The final scheduled trout stockings of the winter season took place this week.  Catfish will return to Community waters  the week of March 20. See the latest Community news.

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Monday, March 6 — Frances Short Pond, Goldwater Lake, Oak Creek, Dead Horse lagoons; Tuesday, Feb. 28 — Patagonia Lake, Pena Blanca Lake; Monday, Feb. 27 — Verde River (middle), Salt River. See the full schedule.

Public fishing events

At these free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required for those who register during event hours.

Anglers wetting lines at the last clinic, the Just For Kids Fishing Festival at Kiwanis Lake on Feb. 25.

Saturday, March 11 — Family and Community Fishing Event, 8 a.m. – noon, Roper Lake State Park (101 E. Roper Lake Rd., Safford). For more information please contact Kelly Wright at Roper Lake State Park at (928) 428-6760 or the Sport Fishing Education Program at (623) 236-7240.

See the full schedule

SEE THE FULL REPORT

High country reports: fish stockings resume, Lower Lake Mary rejuvenated

The new fish stocking season has begun in the Flagstaff and Williams region. That will include Lower Lake Mary, which has the highest water levels since 2010. Having been partially replenished, this 450-acre lake in Flagstaff is basically a new fishery.

We’ll be stocking some large rainbow trout into Lower Mary on Thursday, March 9 to kick things off.

And  Lower Mary will grow ’em quickly.

This is Lower Mary on Monday after our fisheries biologists checked water quality:

Lower Lake Mary is as full as it’s been since 2010.

 

The lake’s no more than half full, and with possible snow in this region through May, the lake levels likely will continue rising.

Your bait of choice? Make sure you have some worms in your arsenal. Earthworms tend to flee from their underground dwellings during heavy rains.

“There’s a lot of nutrients when Lower Mary fills, but this time of year they’re feeding on earthworms,” said AZGFD Wildlife Specialist Chuck Benedict. “You’re going from 30 acres of ground cover (before the winter) to a full 950 acres of cover if it fills. That’s a lot of earthworms that are coming out.”

Upper Lake Mary is still spilling.

Regular trout stockings for the White Mountains and Rim Lakes typically resume in April/May.

Some other updates:

Goldwater Lake, Fain Lake, Deadhorse lagoons

All are scheduled to be stocked this week.

Frances Short Pond, Oak Creek, Kaibab Lake

Our Page Springs Hatchery stocked Frances Short and Oak Creek this week. When Kaibab Lake stops spilling over, it will be stocked as well.

Ashurst Lake

The road is not open and it has not yet been stocked.

Dogtown Lake

Rob T. said, “Bite is non-existent!  Not for a lack of fish nor a lack of anglers.  Not even a bite.  Nobody I saw or talked to fishing from shore had a bite either.  I saw plenty of nice sized fish on the sonar deep but lock-jaw has set in.   Water temp running 40-41 degrees and the lake is full and going down the spillway nicely.   Here are a few shots from the launch ramp and then next email will have some sonar shots.”

See more about fishing in Arizona