Karrie R.: I thought I’d share this flathead catfish I caught from shore at Pleasant today: 22 pounds on a dropshot with a worm. It was definitely cold, but worth the catch! 🙂 Also caught an 8-pound carp and 3-pound channel catfish. Tight lines!
Max W.: The upper portion of Silver Creek fished great over the weekend. People were doing really well on egg patterns and small midges. One of my buddies even managed to pull out this big guy on a Tenkara Rod– not bad for his first fish on the fly!
Nicholas J.: Decided to spend the day outside at Desert Breeze since it was such an amazing Arizona winter day. All three of the kids caught a fish of their own. (Zac, Nikyah, and Mason Jaurigue).
Pretty sure all three were “incentive” trout. We got out there about 10 a.m., however we didn’t get our first fish until almost 2 p.m. Then all of a sudden the other two fish were caught. All three within 30 minutes of time.
The yellow corn/garlic mixed PowerBait is what finally caught them their first fish — after trying all the others we had in our box. Hope everyone else had as good of a weekend.
For six months, nights were becoming longer, peaking Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 3:44 a.m. The first day of winter.
As we cross that peak and daytime gradually lengthens toward spring, it’s time to focus on what species and waters are best for winter fishing. First, our Community Fishing Program waters are being stocked with trout. See the schedule.
We have some new fishing regulations coming into effect Jan. 1 — see the details.
Also, be sure to check the ADOT website for road conditions before traveling this weekend. Ice fishing is not recommended due to unstable conditions of ice. Please be cautious – we consider all ice unsafe.
I’ll be out of the office until Jan. 3 and there won’t be a fishing report next week. But be sure to check-in here next Wednesday night — we’ll discuss how to beat the winter striper fishing blues.
Nets and waders: working for you
This new section will periodically show what our fisheries biologists have been doing in the field to improve fishing in Arizona.
We recently conducted our annual electrofishing survey on the backwaters of the Imperial Division of the Colorado River to gather data on relative abundance, size, growth of fish and to detect any large-scale changes in the fish population.
The largemouth bass population appears to be doing well – the largest sampled was 23.9 inches and 9.5 pounds. More than 20 percent of the largemouth bass captured during the survey were 15 inches or larger. A high number of young-of-the-year largemouth were sampled as well – possibly an indication for a future robust population in this area.
A total of 2,235 fish were sampled at 17 survey stations — including 206 largemouth bass. Other species collected included bluegill and redear sunfish, black crappie, warmouth sunfish, threadfin shad, gizzard shad, blue tilapia, common carp, striped bass, flathead catfish, and channel catfish.
Give the gift of fishing
Need a last-second gift idea? Buy a license online, 24/7, and get a license for family or friends. (A $5 youth combo hunt/fish license makes for a great stocking stuffer).
Tuesday, Dec. 20 — Cluff Reservoir, Roper Lake, Dankworth Ponds.
Monday, Dec. 19 — Deadhorse Lake, Verde River (middle), Fain Lake, Saguaro Lake, Colorado River (3 spots from Rotary Park to Davis Camp).
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 funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.
Days are getting shorter, air temperatures are cooling, and with the transition into fall, it can be a bit difficult to pinpoint the exact location of fish. In general, keep moving. Cover a lot of water, and try different areas of the water column and various bait presentations.
Or just go get some trout. Winter stockings have already begun for rainbows. We just stocked Davis Dam on the lower Colorado River (Senator McCain helped!). They’re coming to some of the prime Phoenix and Tucson-area lakes beginning the first week of November.
Also, as we head into November, keep an eye on water temperatures in the high country. Each year, trout fishing picks up dramatically in the White Mountains when water temperatures are in the low-to-high 50s (depending on elevation). This is the ideal temperature range for trout and they will be actively trying to add weight before the onset of winter. Because there will be little difference between surface water temperature and water temperature in deep water, trout will be found at any depth.
By the way, let’s remember a reason that supporting conservation of all species of wildlife in Arizona is so crucial. The Arizona Game and Fish Department believes that future generations should have the same recreational opportunities, and the same abundance of memory-etching wildlife, that we do. We do not receive state tax dollars. So we rely on your participation, such as license sales and stuff likeI Support Widlife memberships (includes real-time stocking updates and a great mapping app).
Then all you have to do is fish or engage in shooting sports or get out on a hunt — not a bad deal.
Saturday, Nov. 5 — Chandler Safety Days, 8 a.m. – noon. Veterans Oasis Park, 4050 E. Chandler Heights Rd., Chandler.
AZ stocking report
Friday, Oct. 14 — Friendship Park Pond, Bonsall Park, Roadrunner Lake, Eldorado Lake, Evelyn Hallman Pond, McQueen Pond, Discovery Park, Dave White Pond, Pacana Park, Redondo Lake, Fortuna Pond, Yuma West Wetlands Pond, Council Ave. Pond.
Tuesday, Oct. 4 — Salt River, Mingus Lake; Monday, Oct. 3 — Watson Lake, Lynx Lake, Wet Beaver Creek, West Clear Creek; Saturday, Oct. 1 — Silver Creek.
Black Canyon Lake road/parking lot closure extended
The access road and parking areas at Black Canyon Lake closure to all vehicle traffic for a paving project has been extended to Oct. 29. Pedestrian access to the lake’s shore is allowed, but parking is not allowed on the adjacent, maintained forest service roads.
Bass anglers: some steady weather has finally graced Phoenix-area waters, and this could be a break-out week for largemouth bass fishing at all Salt River-chain lakes, as well as Bartlett Lake.
Try jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and top-water plugs during sun-up and sundown, and go to Texas rigs and dropshots after the sun breaks higher on the horizon. This full moon will only help bass in their nighttime predatory endeavors.
Last week’s reportdetailed just how many fish we’ve been stocking into many Mogollon Rim and White Mountains lakes.
We’re also stocking the lower Colorado River below Davis Dam this week with trout.
Do you have a go-to bait for catfish in Community fishing waters? See our top 5.
Saturday — Fishing clinic, 2 – 6 p.m., sponsored by North Tempe Neighborhood Association. Pond will be socked with catfish prior to the event. No fishing license required for those who register at event. Free poles available for loan. Bait provided.
Tuesday, Nov. 22 – Welcome Back the Trout to Tempe Town Lake, 4-6 p.m.
(Send your reports to BFishing@azgfd.gov)
Robert L.: Caught these guys last weekend.
Largemouth and striped bass bites are getting more frequent. As desert temperatures drop a bit, go to fall fishing techniques such as top-water lures at sun-up and sundown as well as jerkbaits and crankbaits. Look for shad popping on the surface as they’re being pursued by hungry bass, and cast beyond the surface boils and reel back into the frenzy.
Summer trout stockings are coming to an end, but there is some great trout fishing at high elevation lakes such as Kinnikinick Lake (southeast of Flagstaff, where as of Sept. 20 we have stocked about 43,000 rainbow trout and 10,000 brown trout) and Big Lake, where trout having begun to feed on the surface more often.
The weekend also marks the opening of fall small game hunting seasons – quail season begins Friday, Sept. 30. Head toFlagstaff Oct. 1 for a fishing clinic that also will include small game hunting tips.
Good to time renew that fishing license. Get one online, which helps conserve all species of wildlife, and get ready for some fall fishing glory.
Fishing in Arizona hits peak with Oct. 1 opening at Silver Creek
This opening has become a festival of sorts and the public is invited. 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.
Fossil Creek fishery opens Oct. 1
Calling all kids (and adults). Enjoy a unique fishing experience of catching native roundtail and headwater chub. Camping is no longer allowed. See the Coconino National Forest website for more information.
C.C. Cragin (Blue Ridge Reservoir) closed to fishing
Blue Ridge Res/CC Cragin is closed to fishing due to low water levels. All accessible water is in an area closed for the next phase of the ongoing renovation of boating access facilities. Road is closed at Rock Crossing campground.
Friday, Sept. 16 — Colorado River (Davis Dam); Thursday, Sept. 15 — Tonto Creek; Wednesday, Sept. 14 — Kinnikinick Lake, Rose Canyon Lake; Monday, Sept. 12 — Canyon Creek, Mingus Lake; Friday, Sept. 9 — Willow Springs Lake, Canyon Creek.
“That’s a phenomenal catch,” AZGFD Community Fishing Program specialist Joann Hill said. “Considering catfish haven’t been stocked in a little more than 3 months, and that they came out of that little pond — that’s incredible.”
Here’s what the Phoenix resident — and Arizona native — had to say about catching his two catfish limit:
So, Sunday the 18th around 12:30 p.m. I got to the pond and started setting up.
I had been there the Sunday before and caught a smaller cat and a medium cat on chicken liver. There were other fishermen there on adjacent banks the previous Sunday and I had made them jealous because I was getting lots of bites, so much so that one of the other fishermen (who was using hot dogs with no luck) said it was probably just bluegills nibbling at the bait.
I did however have two catfish on my stringer and they had none.
So the 18th I headed back out….I was using two Zebco 33 micro rods with 4-pound test Cajun line and a 6-pound leader rigged Carolina style with I believe a size 4 treble (I would have to check the hooks to be for sure on size). I cast out both lines and almost instantly started getting bites.
They were not the “normal” catfish bites. Except for a few occasions they never took the (bait) and ran. They would just tap the pole basically enough to steal the bait. You would have to catch the right “tap” to actually get a hook-set.
It took about an hour to hook the first big cat. I set the hook then realized — that’s a pretty big fish. I then instantly set the drag so that my 4-pound test wouldn’t break on one of its runs. I then began to play the fish to bring it in by slowly lifting my rod tip to vertical then dropping it and reeling up the slack. Both fish took some pretty good runs … some so big I was afraid I was going to run out of line on my little reel.
Finally after about 5 minutes for each, I tired them out enough that I could bring them in and just pick em up out of the water.
It was a lot of fun and I have not caught catfish that big in awhile.
So go get yours. Grab a license online(helping conserve all species of wildlife in the process) just in time for the fall Community catfish season.
Here’s a quick how-to video to catch Community catfish: