Tag Archives: fishing report az

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


Spring striper bite commences at Lake Pleasant

Time to strip the old line off the reels, get your lucky hat on, and get spring fishing!

The last month the striper bite as not been ideal and very inconsistent. The water temps really did not climb or maintain a warmer temperature for the month of March.  The water temp at Lake Pleasant is finally staying in the 64-67-degree range.

The females are full of fully developed eggs and the males are leaking.

Lake Pleasant striper catch rate on the rise

Anglers have reported catching plenty of shad in the Castle Creek area of Lake Pleasant, then trolling shad starting — and ending — in 20 feet of water, fishing shallower and deeper in between.

The last week the bite has really improved. Whereas last month most anglers reported only catching and average of 3-7 fish  daily, that has now increased to 11-30 (or more)  fish during a trip.

Last month live shad seemed to be the only consistent method producing fish on a slow bite.  Lately anglers are reporting frozen anchovies, silver Kastmasters, plastic swimbaits, and top-water lures as producing good results.

I think the next 2-3 weeks will produce moderate-to-good fishing conditions for striper. Northern coves are still recommended for best results.

Anglers are catching fish in 20-48 feet of total water depth and still having success cast-netting shad in 4-8 feet of water.

Recommended swimbait colors would be sexy shad, white, smoking grey, money shot and baits with some chartreuse color in them. The night bite is slowly picking up and night fishing will become more popular moving into future months.  If using anchovies, don’t forget to chum.

Have fun and enjoy the great spring conditions!

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

Full fishing report has moved to azgfd.gov

The full weekly fishing report, which includes any regional updates, has changed locations. Please visit www.azgfd.gov and look under “News” for the latest reports.

Because of a software upgrade, the reports no longer will be posted here: http://www.azgfd.net/artman/publish/FishingReport/

Also, consider signing up to receive fishing reports via email as soon as they go out.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department also social media channels to follow on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

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

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Flooding has caused closures to roads and many popular Tonto National Forest campgrounds.

Tempe Town Lake reopened to water activities Thursday, March 2 at 4 p.m.

The lake has been closed due to upstream Salt River debris.

In western Arizona, Alamo Lake resembles a chocolate milkshake as the lake has risen 13 feet in two days.

Shore anglers might have a chance to avoid debris — but not stained/muddy water. Boaters might have a difficult time avoiding floating debris — boat with extreme caution. The Salt River at Roosevelt was running at 3,934 cfs on Wednesday afternoon (2,978 at Tonto Creek at Rosy).

Update from Tonto National Forest: Forest Road 19, leading to Bartlett Lake, reopened Wednesday.

The following recreation sites have reopened to the public:

  • Bartlett Flat Campground
  • Yellow Cliffs Boat Launch
  • Rattlesnake Cove Picnic Area
  • SB Cove Shoreline Site
  • Jojoba Boat Launch

Phon D. Sutton, Coon Bluff, and Granite Reef Picnic Sites along the Lower Salt River have also been reopened for day use.

The Horseshoe Dam Road, Forest Road 205, leading to Horseshoe Reservoir and the following recreation sites remain closed:

  • Riverside Campground
  • Ocotillo
  • Fisherman’s Point
  • Horseshoe Campground
  • Mesquite Campground

Both Forest Road 20, leading to Needle Rock and Box Bar, and Lower Sycamore Road, Forest Road 1847/403 remain closed until the water recedes and road conditions improve.

This was the Verde River Wednesday afternoon at the Beeline Highway Bridge (by Fort McDowell):


OK, back to hooking fish. Water temperatures at many desert impoundments are hovering at or above 58 degrees, the mark that typically triggers pre-spawn bass activity.

At Lake Havasu on Thursday, Feb. 23, a smallmouth bass Colorado River waters hook-and-line state record was set. See the story as well as some springtime bass tips.

Other fishing notes:

  • Community fishing. The final scheduled trout stockings of the winter-spring season will take place the week of March 6.  Catfish will return to Community waters  the week of March 20.
  • Repairs at Rio Vista Pond have been completed. We were not able to stock the pond last week as scheduled due to the repairs — those fish went to Pioneer Lake i Peoria — but do plan on stocking it next week.
  • At  Apache Lake this week, we determined a threadfin shad die-off was due to high numbers of golden algae. We continue monitoring the situation.
  • Alamo Lake rose 13 feet in two days and on March 1 was at 1,118 feet in elevation.  Mark Knapp from Alamo Lake State Park said when the lake is done rising the main ramp should open.  Cholla ramp is open, but there are log jams all over and fishing is poor. But in one month, fishing should be incredible. Get ready.
  • White Mountains regional updates. Accessible  lakes as of Feb. 28  include Willow Springs Lake, but it is walk-in only (road is snow packed) and ice is thin and unsafe. The gate is closed. Sardine Point is open, but the road is snow packed.  Fishing at Fool Hollow Lake is fair. There’s no ice and rainbow trout are being caught. Fishing pier and platforms are accessible.  Northern pike should be congregating to spawn this time of year; try throwing Rapala lures or streamers in shallow coves.  Northern pike spawn and congregate in weedy shallow coves.   Also, there’s no ice at Show Low Lake, Woodland Lake, and Becker Lake.   Big Lake is still inaccessible and has extremely thin, unsafe ice.  Best bet in this region remains Silver Creek. See the full report.

Stocking report

Friday, Feb. 24 — Community “core” watersThursday, Feb. 23 — Dankworth Ponds. Wednesday, Feb. 22 — Community expansion watersTuesday, Feb. 21 — Parker Canyon Lake, Dead Horse lakes, Dave White Pond, Roadrunner Pond, Bonsall Pond, Full  schedules

Catch of the Week

(Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov –
one will be featured as Catch of the Week)

Sue Nowak of Lake Havasu City with her Colorado River waters hook-and-line state record smallmouth bass.
Sue Nowak of Lake Havasu City with her Colorado River waters hook-and-line state record smallmouth bass.

Well this one was easy. Sue Nowak caught this 21-inch, 6.28-pound smallmouth bass that is a  Colorado River waters hook-and-line state record. She caught it around noon on Thursday, Feb. 23 with a dropshot-rigged True Image mini shaker lemonade worm. She was fishing with Shaun Bailey’s Guide Service in Lake Havasu City.

Read 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, 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


Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Heavy rains and run-off has Horseshoe Dam flowing, Kaibab Lake spilling and anglers dreaming of spring.

Fishing likely will be unpredictable with  changing conditions. Another heavy storm is predicted statewide for Saturday and Sunday. Fish react to conditions and anglers must react to the fish. Anchor up to this rule: find the bait, find the fish.

Water is being let out of Horseshoe Lake, and Bartlett Lake is now at 95 percent full — up three feet since Tuesday. This featured image is from 2005 at Horseshoe Dam — the last time we had similar high rains and run-off:

Credit Rory Aikens/AZGFD
Credit Rory Aikens/AZGFD

A new moon is coming Feb. 26, so maybe plan to fish at night with submersible lights that weekend. With some stable weather, that weekend could be prime for great striper fishing at lakes such as Pleasant, Mead and Mohave.

Finally, at Pena Blanca Lake, the lake is full and water quality problems have improved — trout stockings are finally underway.  It’s scheduled to be stocked the week of Feb. 27.

Stocking report

Thursday, Feb. 9 — Saguaro Lake, Canyon Lake; Wednesday, Feb. 8 — Fortuna Pond; Tuesday, Feb. 7 — La Paz County Park Lagoon, and Pond, Cluff Res. #3, Roper Lake, Dankworth Ponds; Monday, Feb. 6 — Goldwater (upper), Dead Horse Lake, Verde River (middle).

Next week: We’re scheduled to stock the Dead Horse Lakes, Goldwater Lake, Saguaro Lake, Red Mountain Lake, Cluff Pond, Dankworth Pond, Parker Canyon Lake, and Roper Lake.

Full  schedules

Catch of the Week

(Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov – one will be featured as Catch of the Week)


Rod caught this largemouth bass, weighing approximately 5 pounds, from Parker Canyon Lake in heavy winds with a 2-inch grub on a 1/32-ounce jig and 4-pound monofilament line.

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, Feb. 25 — Just For Kids Fishing Festival, 8 a.m. – noon, Kiwanis Park (5500 S. Mill Ave., Tempe).

See the full schedule



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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):

Verde River (at Camp Verde)


Troy G.: Winter bass fishing is good in the Verde River in Camp Verde this week. Starting to clear up a bit since all the rain a while back. Got this one on a chartreuse/blue crankbait.

Saguaro Lake


Ray B.:  Caught this one on a 3-5 foot brown and yellow crankbait around noon from the reeds at Saguaro Lake. She was 5.51 pounds.

Water conditions couldn’t be better. BIG THANKS to the recent fishing articles in Arizona Wildlife Views Magazine. Great tips lead to an amazing catch. AZ winter bass fishing at it’s best.

Lower Salt River (below Saguaro)


Justin M. fly-fished the Lower Salt River on Friday. The river is scheduled to be stocked with trout next week and was flowing at 13 cfs below Saguaro Mountain Dam on Tuesday.

Try the Phon D. Sutton, Water Users or Granite Reef Recreation Areas.

Justin M. said, “I have been fishing the Salt River the past six weeks or so on every Friday. Most of the time I’m fishing at Water Users and have had success every outing. All I do is fly fish anymore and have caught quite a few bass and lots of bluegill

For the bass, my most productive flies have been AZ simi seal leeches in canadian black, halloween, blood red and olive. Another productive fly pattern has been cheechs low fat minnow. Its a bluegill imitation.

For the bluegill, on warmer days I’ve done fairly well getting them on the surface with a beetle imitation. Other productive flies i’ve had great success with is a hares ear soft hackle pattern I tied up. The only time I tried for trout was a couple of weeks ago when it was raining and cooler.

Fished below the bridge using the hares ear soft hackle and caught and released 14 trout in a matter of a couple of hours. I have talked to other anglers on my outings and have been told that they were having luck with nightcrawlers, small spinners, and one fella was doing well for bass on dropshot with a green Roboworm.”

Canyon Lake


Brian S.: Temps are warming up and in a few areas the bass are moving up, however most are still caught deep. This beauty was caught in 35 feet with a hinged spinnerbait with a zoom fluke trailer.

Utilizing sonar electronics is critical for deep water fishing. Find them, mark a way point and slowly work your baits into the strike zone. Pay attention to your sonar through the entire process because once you entice one to bite, have your angling buddy be ready with a flutter spoon or Kastmaster as you may find you just ignited a school of them. Hopefully your angling buddy is ready with the net as well.


Gila River


Ramon: This was on a Saturday night, Feb. 4, around 9 p.m. at Gila River on right side of bridge! Used chicken lever and caught a channel catfish at 18 pounds and 31 inches!

See more about fishing in Arizona

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Now’s the time make a strategic plan to set that state record. See where we think the next AZ state record might come from.

Snow melt is still finding its way into lakes such as Bartlett Lake, where on Wednesday surface water temperatures ranged from 49-51 degrees — too cold even for crappie to move in shallow.

Waters are muddied and stained at Bartlett Lake. Waters temperatures Monday were 49-51 degrees. The lake is 75% full.
Waters are muddied and stained at Bartlett Lake. Waters temperatures Monday were 49-51 degrees. The lake is 75% full.

But we are on the cusp of some great fishing. Lakes such as Alamo and Bartlett remain stained and muddied, but with a week or two of sunny, calm weather, rods will be bending.

Crappie anglers might have to wait a couple more weeks until action picks up for these panfish delights – they remain deep at most lakes and mostly inactive. Similar deal with bass.

Meanwhile, it’s still trout time in Community waters. Some big trout have been hooked (and hopefully cooked) the past few weeks. Hot spots seem to be Desert Breeze Lake in Chandler, Tempe Kiwanis and Surprise Lake.

Silver Creek in the White Mountains is fishing great for big trout if you can stand the beard-frosting cold and can find the right holes:


See a winter trout stocking schedule, maybe grab a fishing license online — you can get them 24/7 — and go “Fish AZ.” Your purchases support wildlife conservation (we do not receive state tax dollars) — so thanks!

Catch of the Week

(Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov – one will be featured as Catch of the Week)


Karrie R. caught this 22-pound flathead catfish from shore at Lake Pleasant on Thursday, Jan. 26 using a dropshot rig with a worm. “It was definitely cold,” she said, “but worth the catch! Also caught an 8-pound carp and 3-pound channel catfish.”

See all the Angler Reports

Free public fishing events

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

Saturday, Feb. 4 — Youth Family Fishing Day, 9 a.m. – noon, Anthem Community Park (41703, N. Gavilan Peak Pkwy.)

See the full schedule

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.

Our fish biologists conserve wildlife, provide sport-fish opportunities — and sometimes snowmobile! This video shows Jan. 25 surveys to Big, Crescent and Lee Valley lakes in the White Mountains.

Biologists checked dissolved oxygen levels under the ice at Lee Valley and Crescent to predict a fish die-off due to low oxygen. Ice conditions were checked on all lakes, and ice was unsafe, especially at Big Lake.

Stocking report

Rainbow trout
Thursday, Jan. 26 and Friday, Jan. 27 — Canyon Lake,  Saguaro Lake, all “core” waters except Rio Vista, as well as Patterson Ponds, and Green Valley lakes. Tuesday, Jan. 24 — Pena Blanca Lake, Council Ave. Pond, Yuma West Wetlands Pond. Monday, Jan. 23 — Lower Salt River, Verde River (middle).

Next week: We’re scheduled to stock Deadhorse Lakes, Goldwater Lake, Canyon Lake, Cluff Pond, Dankworth Pond, Pena Blanca Lake, Fortuna Pond and Redondo Pond.

See the full schedules.


Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Looks like a fairly calm stretch of sunny weather is ahead for our desert regions. Another week or so of it and the bassin’ activity could pick up.

The top early bird lakes for bass that can have rapidly warming water temperatures are Alamo, Havasu, and Martinez. At Havasu this time of the year, there tends to be some short-lived, pre-spawn activity.

A top pick for bucketmouths is Saguaro. Although it is a little deeper than Alamo Lake and not quite the solar bowl, Saguaro can heat up as well — in more ways than one. Trout and yellow bass are options if the largemouth bass are finicky. It’s also the early bird for channel catfish that like to feed on shad. Plus, Saguaro is just downright gorgeous and was No. 10 last year on Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes in the western region:

Saguaro Lake
Saguaro Lake
Considering Canyon? If you want decent catch rates, avoid it. If you want one or two wall-hangers, you might want to go exercise your swim baits.

Some anglers’ favorite fishing-camping spot is Apache Lake (No. 24 on the same list). The  largemouth bass and yellow bass populations are superb. You might even catch a delectable walleye or two.

We have a new moon this weekend, so using submersible lights at night for striped bass can be effective. For winter fishing, Lake Mohave (No. 16) has been pretty good day and night.

Also notable, Rio Vista Pond was not stocked as scheduled this week since the pond is being lowered for maintenance.

See a winter trout stocking schedule, maybe grab a fishing license online — you can get them 24/7 — and go “Fish AZ.”

Don’t forget that Youth Combo Hunt/Fish Licenses (required for those age 10-17) are just $5, and good for 365 days.  Youth under the age of 10 and blind residents do not need to purchase a state fishing license to fish in Arizona. Check the Arizona Fishing Regulations for additional information.

Catch of the Week

(Send your Angler Reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov — one will be featured as Catch of the Week)

Bryce Marco Permuy had a blast landing this “incentive” rainbow trout with just after a double rainbow appeared in the sky at Desert Breeze Lake.

See all the Angler Reports

Public fishing events

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

Saturday, Jan. 28 — Family Fishing Day, 8 a.m. – noon, Red Mountain Lake (7745 E. Brown Rd., Mesa).

See the full schedule

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.

Ever wondered how we survey fish? Come aboard one of our electrofishing boats and see one way we provide sport-fishing opportunities. In this case, it’s for the elusive tiger trout!


Stocking report

Rainbow trout
Friday, Jan. 20 — Pacana Pond, Dave White Regional Pond, Discovery Ponds, Freestone Pond, McQueen Pond, Eldorado Pond, Roadrunner Pond,  Bonsall Pond, Friendship Pond. Tuesday, Jan. 17 –– Dead Hose Lakes, Apache Lake, Dankworth Ponds, Cluff Reservoir #3, Roper Lake. Monday, Jan. 16 — Fortuna Pond.

Next week: We’re scheduled to stock Lynx Lake, Watson Lake, and Apache Lake.

See the full schedules.