Tag Archives: fishing

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

With the steady rain or snow in many regions, predicted to continue through Saturday, the best bets might be catching a dry window at your local Community fishing water for some “incentive” trout, or plan something for next weekend. This time of year fishing can be fruitful if anglers remember one general key: slow your presentations. See more tips in the full report.

If we get a milder spat of sunny winter weather (maybe next weekend), we have two fairly shallow lakes that tend to heat up fast because they are like two big solar bowls in the desert. The first is Alamo Lake west of Wickenberg. The other is Lake Havasu. Havasu has a larger mass than Alamo, but also a larger variety of sport-fish species as well. Alamo has something that draws a lot of winter visitors — crappie.

This influx of rains could boost spring fishing action (and be advantageous for quail hunting next year). At high run-off lakes such as Roosevelt, boaters at both ends of the lake much go slowly and watch for debris.

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

Catch of the Week

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


Richard J.’s son caught this 16-inch rainbow trout at Red Mountain Lake, a Community Fishing Program water in Mesa, on green PowerBait.  “My 4-year-old son literally asks me every day if we can go fishing,” Richard said. “Of course the answer is ‘yes.'”

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).

The lake will be stocked prior to the event with 420 pounds of trout.

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.

Despite low water level,
Alamo Lake fish populations thriving
Largemouth bass from a fall survey.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has completed its annual fall electrofishing trend survey of Alamo Lake in December. Despite some of the lowest water levels since Alamo Lake was constructed in 1968, the fish population is doing well.  The physical condition of largemouth bass appears to have improved during the past several years.

A large number of young-of-year and age-1 largemouth bass were captured in the 2016 survey – we hope these fish will provide a bright future for the lake’s largemouth bass fishery.

All of the fish were collected, weighed, measured, and released unharmed.  A total of 2,891 were captured in 16 survey stations, of which 255 were largemouth bass.  The largest sampled was 19.9 inches and 4.6 pounds.  Forage fish (threadfin shad, blue tilapia, and bluegill) comprised 89 percent of the total catch and should provide abundant food for the lake’s sportfish.

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Thursday, Jan. 12 — Colorado River (Willow Beach). Read more. Wednesday, Jan. 11 and Thursday, Jan. 12 — All Community waters scheduled to be stocked with trout this week (marked with a “T” on the schedule) were stocked with larger-than-average trout. Thursday, Jan. 5 — Dankworth Ponds, Roper Lake, Cluff Reservoir # 3. Wednesday, Jan. 4 — Parker Canyon Lake.

Next week: we’re scheduled to stock the Verde River (Clarkdale to Camp Verde), Somerton Ponds, Yuma West Wetlands Pond, Pena Blanca Lake, Lower Salt River, Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake. (Stockings at Canyon and Saguaro scheduled for this week have been moved to next week.)

See the full schedule.



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):

Desert Breeze Park Lake

rm-troutRichard J.:  My 4-year-old son literally asks me every day if we can go fishing. Of course the answer is” yes.”

In the first week of this year, he caught his first trout at Desert Breeze Park (hanging on the stringer) on a piece of leftover English muffin with cheese on it from McDonald’s.

Then a couple days later caught a nice 16-inch rainbow at Red Mountain Ranch Park on green PowerBait.

Willow Springs Lake

Went Thursday to get in ahead of the weather. Cold, windy, sunny until late afternoon. Clouds moved in fish biting. Lost three. Tried it Friday. Clouds, warmer, zero wind. Zero bites. Enjoyed both days. The main body of the lake is ice-free.  The East arm iced over. I couldn’t see the West arm.

Red Mountain Lake


Jim E.: I caught another largemouth on Jan. 12 at Red Mt. Lake when another fisherman (Tom) accidentally snagged a shad while fly fishing and gave it to me.

On the first cast I caught it.  I was so excited I didn’t weigh or measure it I just had a few pictures taken and released it. The first one I ever caught was on Dec. 12  and a bit bigger than this one — what a thrill. I also owe my catches to Shaun who gave me the tip to use the shad as bait after he caught a beautiful largemouth with shad.

Shaun is there a lot and maybe the best fisherman there. He tows a cart on the back of his bicycle with about a dozen poles and knows how to use them.

Fain Lake

Michael W.: Tuesday, Jan. 17 — Fishing remains HOT!  In 3 1/2 hours of fishing, I caught and released 70 beautiful rainbow trout, ranging from 9 -13 inches.  Fish caught on south side of bridge at a depth of 18 inches, on 1.5-inch crappie tubes.  Weather conditions: cool and cloudy. Water conditions: stained.

Jan. 12 — Non-Stop Action At Fain Lake! In 2 hours of fishing, I caught and released 29 beautiful rainbow trout, ranging from 8-13 inches.  Fish caught on south side of bridge at a depth of 2-4 feet, on 1 1/2-inch crappie tubes.

Note: Lake was stocked with fish this week! Weather Conditions: cold and cloudy. Water conditions: stained.

Surprise Park Lake


Brandon G.: Caught this 18 1/2-inch rainbow trout — possibly 4.5 pounds.

See more about fishing in Arizona

Get catfishing tips from “Flathead” Ed at this weekend’s AZGFD Expo

The heaviest recorded fish in Arizona state history was this 76.54-pound flathead catfish taken from Bartlett Lake in April of 2013.
“Flathead” Ed Wilcoxson with his Arizona state record flathead catfish that weighed 76.54 pounds and was caught in April 2013 out of Bartlett Lake.


The flathead catfish is probably the biggest, baddest fish in Arizona waters, and anglers can get tips on flathead fishing at the free Arizona Game and Fish Outdoor Expo Saturday and Sunday, April 2 and 3.

This is the best time of the year to experience a flathead fishing adventure, and “Flathead” Ed Wilcoxson, who in April of 2013 caught the heaviest recorded fish in Arizona history — a 76.54-pound flathead catfish out of Bartlett Lake — will be telling stories and tossing tips from the Arizona Catfish Conservation Association (ACCA) booth.

Look for Flathead Ed at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility both days (Sat. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sun. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.) in the Outdoor Groups and Experts tent, west of the food court, located in the main area (tan portion of the map; click to enlarge):



His replica of the state record flathead catfish will be on display as well.

“I’m happy to talk catfish to anybody who comes out,” said Wilcoxson, who resides in Surprise. “I’ll give them some tips and get them on some of these big guys.”

Wilcoxson said flathead at Bartlett Lake have moved into 25 feet of water, and carp — a primary flathead bait — are easy to catch using corn.

But he thinks the next state record flathead will come out of Lake Pleasant.

Flathead facial
Flathead facial

“ACCA has  a (permit) with Game and Fish to tag flatheads and we’ve been noticing about 5 pounds a year in growth out of Pleasant,” Wilcoxson said. “I’ve been catching some monsters out there. The Castle Creek arm is good and Fireman’s Cove, too.”

It's "fish on!" at the Family Fishing booth at the Arizona Game and Fish Outdoor Expo.
It’s “fish on!” at the Family Fishing booth at the Arizona Game and Fish Outdoor Expo.


While you’re at the Expo, take the kids fishing in the Family Adventure area. When the bluegill bite and bounce the rod tips, the kids’ facial expressions range from shock and excitement to joy and laughter.

Two big bubbling tanks full of catch-and-release bluegill will be lined with kids — and all ages will have an opportunity to try their hand at fishing.

See more information on the Expo, and while you’re there, be sure to post with #AZGFDexpo.


This week, we are stocking Dead Horse lakes, the Lower Salt River, Saguaro Lake, and, once again, Tempe Town Lake.

Try the Lower Salt River in the morning around the Phon D. Sutton or Granite Reef recreation areas, then switch to Saguaro Lake and try for trout and yellow bass using small spinners and gold KastMasters.

Don’t expect high catch rates at Tempe Town Lake — yet. Because it’s such a large lake, the rainbows could be spread out. For higher catch rates, try the Urban Fishing Program waters during stocking weeks.

Other rainbow trout loads are being dumped into Cluff Pond, Dankworth Pond, Graham County Pond, Parker Canyon Lake and Roper Lake.