Tag Archives: Teaching kids how to fish

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Top picks for this week are fishing nights during this new moon in the desert regions, and luring rainbow trout — all day and night if you like — in the high country. Top-water action will be picking up, too!

Community Fishing Program catfish stockings are on hiatus for the summer. Check out the summer trout stocking schedule, or sign up for an I Support Wildlife membership to get those daily fish stocking updates (and more).

See stockings from the past week.

Fishin’ in the dark: new moon stripers

Night fishing is a great way to escape the desert heat.

OK, we have a new moon and so heading to Lake Pleasant, Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, Lake Powell (the top-water bite has been active anytime during the day) or Lake Havasu are some great options for nighttime striper fishing under lights. Escape the heat and catch some tasty striper. Regulations vary on bag limits (it’s unlimited at Pleasant, where water temperatures are 79-80 degrees).

See our awesome Special Regulations Waters map.

Many anglers will use anchovies on dropshot rigs with fluorocarbon leaders.

Community cats at night

If you’re going to fish at night for catfish in Community Fishing Program waters – still a good option — keep in mind that some parks close at hours designated by its respective city. Be sure to consult the latest CFP  guidebook for closing times at spots such as Steele Indian School Pond, Surprise Lake, Pioneer Lake, Rio Vista Pond, Friendship Pond, Bonsall Pond, and Tempe Town Lake (closes on the marina side).

Some other things to note before you head out this weekend:

  • In the White Mountains, stockings slated for the rest of June were stocked last week in preparation of evacuation of the Tonto National Fish Hatchery due to the Highline Fire.  As of Wednesday, the fire was 91 percent contained.These stockings were stocked late in the week or even during the weekend.  For example, stockings scheduled for this week at Fool Hollow and Show Low were stocked Saturday, June 17.
  • Knoll Lake is closed to access because of the Highline Fire. See more info.
  • Cluff Ranch Pond #3 is temporarily closed to recreational recreational activities so that it may be used by  U.S. Forest Service crews to help suppress the Frye Fire. The Cluff Ranch Ponds are located in the Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area off Cluff Ranch Road at the base of the Pinaleno Mountains.
  • At Patagonia Lake, the panfish bite has been going strong.
  • Trout are still hitting at Woods Canyon Lake.
  • Go to Saguaro Lake in the Tonto National Forest for the monster bass and Bartlett Lake for quantity over size. Bartlett Lake is a good bet for beginners who want to just fish a dropshot rig with a Roboworm. Top-water action is pretty good at Saguaro and Bartlett; get there just before first light. As the sun comes up, fish deep (up to about 40 feet) with dropshots or Texas rigs, and keep a top-water lure such as a Zara Spook  Jr. rigged and ready in case you spot surface boils.

Catch of the Week

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

Paul Deming caught this brown trout on the Black River Monday morning (June 19) that weighed nearly 5 pounds.

See previous 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 — Hatch Toyota Fishing Derby, Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low, 7 a.m. – 11 a.m. See the full schedule.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Homes for fish: habitat improvement project underway at Roosevelt Lake

In first phase of long-term project on Tonto National Forest lakes, AZGFD biologists sink fish habitat structures

Habitat is dropped into Roosevelt Lake Thursday, April 20.

PHOENIX – They are manmade homes for fish, some made of concrete, others of PVC, and like building a neighborhood, provide the architecture for sustainable life.

The first step in placing fish habitat into the  central Arizona reservoirs took place on Thursday, April 20 at Roosevelt Lake with Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists dropping Fishiding HighRise structures made of environmentally-safe PVC  to the bottom of Roosevelt Lake. These recycled items, 8 feet tall and excellent habitat for crappie, became the first fish homes. AZGFD plans to expand them into fish cities.

For anglers, this Tonto National Forest Lakes Habitat Improvement Project will result in better fishing for generations to come in the region’s most popular fishing lakes.

Ongoing improvements to Rosy

Also in April, Roosevelt Lake was stocked with 12,000 crappie fingerlings, as well as 25,000 4-inch Florida-strain largemouth bass for the third consecutive year. Roosevelt Lake also is above 70-percent full for the first time since October of 2011. The higher water level has flooded shoreline brush that provides more cover and habitat for spawning fish. The fish habitat improvement project includes placing multiple types of fish habitat around the lake at varied depths to ensure there is plenty of fish habitat available for when water level fluctuates.

Similar work is planned for other lakes along the Salt River chain and Bartlett Lake. The next planned step involves AZGFD biologists using a 36-foot pontoon boat to transport and lower heavier concrete fish habitat structures — critical to anglers’ fishing opportunities — into Roosevelt Lake.

Working OT for better fishing

This fish habitat project is a cooperative effort with numerous anglers, as well as volunteers from organizations such as Gila Basin Angler Roundtable and Midweek Bass Anglers. Supporting agency partners include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration Program, Tonto National Forest, and the National Fish Habitat Partnership-Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership. Volunteers have been helping build concrete fish balls and Georgia cubes for two years and have donated hundreds of hours to the project.

Fishiding HighRise structures are made of environmentally-safe PVC and are excellent habitat for crappie.

Natural and artificial habitat are critical for fish spawning, recruitment, and growth. The reservoirs of central Arizona lack sufficient hiding and ambush cover and habitat for growth and survival of young fish. The artificial structures provide a surface for microscopic animals to grow, which attracts bait fish and in turn the predatory fish for anglers to target.

Background: a return to glory

Fishing is one of Arizona’s most popular outdoor activities. Providing good places for anglers to fish is one of AZGFD’s primary goals. Five of the biggest and most popular lakes to fish are located in central Arizona and are managed by Salt River Project for the valley’s water supply: Roosevelt Lake, Apache Lake, Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake, and Bartlett Lake.

In 2014 the Department embarked on a program to improve fisheries habitat in the reservoirs of central Arizona and restore the fisheries to their former glory days. All five of these lakes are more than 70 years old, and Roosevelt Lake is more than 100 years old. Over time, reservoirs lose quality fish habitat through decomposition of the natural vegetation that was flooded, particularly where water levels fluctuate wildly, such as at Roosevelt.

Similarly, one of the largest and most successful fish habitat projects in the nation, the Lake Havasu Fishery Improvement Program, has been ongoing since 1993 and is credited with improving sport fish habitat in this Colorado River reservoir.

The Tonto National Forest is the land management agency for five of the biggest and busiest fishing lakes in Arizona. In 2013, the economic value to the state of Arizona associated with these five lakes was estimated to be more than $318 million.

See more about fishing in Arizona.

Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Crappie are spawning and we’re getting some great reports from Roosevelt and San Carlos lakes. Bartlett Lake and Lake Pleasant should be good targets, too.

At Lake Powell, our state’s Yankee Stadium of fishing holes, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and crappie are on beds and reports are that anglers are having field days on striped bass with anchovies.

From trout stockings in the high pines to bass and crappie the lower deserts, fishing is gettin’ gangbusters. Round up the family and friends, stuff camping and fishing tackle in the trunk or cab, grab a fishing license, fill up the tank and take off on a spring fishing adventure.

Some fish bits:

  • Now’s the time to fish in northern Arizona.
  • Bass and sunfish have been stocked in Community fishing waters.
  • Roosevelt Lake is above 70-percent full for the first time in five years. We’ve stocked crappie and more Florida-strain bass into the lake this month, and began a Salt River-chain lakes habitat improvement project Thursday by dropping fish-hiding structures to the bottom of Roosevelt Lake.
  • At Bear Canyon Lake along the Mogollon Rim, Forest Road 300 opened today.  Fish were stocked this week in anticipation of the opening of the road. All roads to White Mountains/Mogollon Rim lakes are now open.
  • Cases of “swimmer’s itch” have been reported from Canyon Lake. See some tips from the Tonto National Forest on some prevention steps.

Catch of the Week

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

Rett of Cambodia with some nice stripers caught in 25 feet of water in northern coves at Lake Pleasant on top water lures and live shad.

See all the Angler Reports

Nets and waders: Working for You

Some of our fisheries biologists began a Salt River chain-lakes habitat improvement project Thursday by dropping Fishiding structures made of recycled garage door panels  to the bottom of Roosevelt Lake.

Habitat is important for fish spawning, recruitment, growth, health and populations. These artificial structures attract bait fish, which then attract predatory fish for sport-fishing anglers to target.

AZGFD also plans to use a 36-foot pontoon boat to sink fish habitat — critical to anglers’ fishing opportunities — into Roosevelt Lake. Similar work is planned for other lakes along the Salt River chain.

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 — 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

Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

April and October can be the best months of the year to fish in Arizona. The water temperatures are ideal for waves of spawns. Continued access to high country lakes will open the way for lunker holdovers (as of Thursday, access is open to Woods Canyon Lake).

The buffet is laid out – bass are spawning, especially with next week’s (April 11) full moon; crappie should be spawning; flathead catfish are making camera lenses struggle to keep fish in frame; trout are being stocked all across the high country and anglers are catching holdovers as well as tasty stockers; channel catfish are abundant in the Community Fishing Program lakes.

It’s supposed to be a pretty windy weekend, so anglers might consider fishing leeside shorelines and coves. Not only will the protection make fishing more comfortable, the fact that you’re fishing downwind can push baitfish and sportfish to your area.

Seems this is the time of the year the big flathead begin to roam the banks, looking for something like a live bluegill or carp (your bait) to munch.

Enjoy this incredible spring weather– and fishing!

Stocking report

Channel catfish

March 30 — Tempe Town Lake, Friendship Park Pond, Bonsall Park, Roadrunner Lake, Eldorado Lake, McQueen Park, Freestone Pond, DIscovery Park, Dave White Pond, Pacana Park, Patterson Ponds.

Rainbow trout

March 28 — Verde River (middle), Salt River,  Lower Lake Mary.

Bluegill

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

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.

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

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.

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:

Lake Pleasant

pleasantflathead

Jim N.: Got a 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-, and a 30-pound flathead catfish. Some are brown/yellow living in sunken brush, some are green/black living in rocks or mud. Got eight channels on corn or shad, eight top-water stripers on Zara puppy, one white bass, 2 largemouth bass on poppers.

Bear Canyon Lake

bearcanyonlaketrouts

Damien B.: The luck keeps hitting (rainbow trout caught Nov. 20), and coming in waves on PowerBait!

Patagonia Lake

Ty S.: Time: 8 am -3 pm; Conditions: Overcast with 10-15 mph gusts.; Temp.: Air – 63, Water – 58; 15-foot Seaswirl boat.

My wife and I fished for Bass for about 7 hrs — 0 fish caught. We used KVD deep (15 foot) crankbaits as well as shallow 3-5-foot bluegill and chartreuse pattern. Used two different whopper plopper 90 size. Carolina rigged 6-inch worms also. Weather front was moving in our fish finder showed fish between 10-15 ft. We focused on bass only. Boat launch was great.

Lake Mead

lakemead

Joe B.:  Caught this walleye in Lake Mead near mile marker 43 on Nov. 23. I have been fishing Lake Mead for 30-plus years and have never seen or heard of one being caught.

See more about fishing in Arizona

Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal

Time to head to the land of bugling elk, rusty leaves and feisty trout.

We’ve recently put some extra loads of rainbow trout into many Mogollon Rim and White Mountains lakes. At many trout creeks, anglers might have their own section of water. Shouldn’t be hard to talk the family into this one.

Here’s a quick rundown of some waters that  have received some extra trout during the past 2 weeks (between 4,000 and 8,000 at each): Bear Canyon Lake; Fool Hollow Lake; Show Low Lake; River Reservoir; Woods Canyon Lake;  Willow Springs Lake; Hawley Lake; Reservation Lake; Silver Creek.

Trout have been stocked once again at Woods Canyon Lake.
Trout have been stocked once again at Woods Canyon Lake.

Also, a bunch of smaller brown trout were stocked into Rose Canyon Lake on Thursday, Sept. 29.

Yuma anglers: catfish are scheduled to return to your area’s community waters (Council Ave Pond in Somerton; West Wetlands Pond, Redondo Lake, Fortuna Lake). See the Community fishing stocking schedule, and a full update in the full report – your “expansion waters” are scheduled to be stocked.

Grab a license online (and help conserve all species of wildlife), get rigged and ready and enjoy the peace and quiet of a  high country hideaway.

Black Canyon Lake road/parking lot closure

The access road and parking areas at Black Canyon Lake will be closed to all vehicle traffic from October 10-19 for a paving project.  Pedestrian access to the lake’s shore is allowed, but parking is not allowed on the adjacent, maintained forest service roads.

Upcoming free fishing events

Tuesday, Nov. 22 – Welcome Back the Trout to Tempe  Town Lake, 4-6 p.m.

Stocking report

Brown trout

Thursday, Sept. 29 — Rose Canyon Lake. Wednesday, Sept. 26 — Lynx Lake.

Rainbow trout

Thursday, Sept. 29 — Rose Canyon Lake,  Frances Short Pond, Hawley Lake, Reservation Lake. Wednesday, Sept. 28 — Bear Canyon Lake. Tuesday, Sept. 27 — Bear Canyon Lake. Monday, Sept. 26 — Kinnikinick Lake, Canyon Creek, Bear Canyon Lake. Sunday, Sept. 25 — Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, Saturday, Sept. 24 — Fool Hollow Lake.

As you can see, winter trout stockings are ramping up. See the schedule.

SEE THE FULL REPORT

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Fall fishing means crankbaits, top-water lures, buzzbaits and jigs are drawing increasingly more bass strikes.

This is the also time for flathead catfish. At Bartlett Lake, in particular, they’re roaming the waters looking for meals to add some winter fat. Check out a video that includes how-to information for flathead newbies:

 

Here are some more highlights:

Brown trout fall spawn

 

Brown trout anglers in AZ target fall as one of the best times of the year for this aggressive-fighting species.
Brown trout anglers in AZ target fall as one of the best times of the year for this aggressive-fighting species.

Keep in mind that brown trout go into their spawning behavior in the fall. Float tubers who are in good shape may want to hike into Chevelon Lake on the Mogollon Rim for the big browns and plentiful ‘bows.

 

A fishing license in AZ

Good to time purchase or renew that fishing license before the fall fishing frenzy — get one online, which helps conserve all species of wildlife, and get ready for fall fishing galore.

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Silver Creek is one of the best winter trout fishing spots in the state.

Catch-and-release Silver Creek trout fishing opens Oct. 1

Fall fishing in Arizona doesn’t really kick off until the catch-and-release season at Silver Creek. This scenic, White Mountains trout fishing classic is great for beginners and experts. On Saturday, the catch-and-release season opens — and that means the upper section also opens to fishing for the first time since early spring. Read more.

Upcoming free fishing clinics

Saturday — Free fishing clinic about fall fishing in northern Arizona, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Kinnikinick Lake.
Saturday — Family Fishing Even at Pena Blanca Lake, off SR 289, Nogales, 8 a.m. – noon.

Stocking report

Catfish

Thursday, Sept. 22 — Lynx Lake, Deadhorse Lake, Surprise Lake, Rio Vista Pond, Pioneer Lake, Cortez Lake, Steele Indian School, Encanto Lake, Desert West Lake, Alvord Lake, Kiwanis Lake, Desert Breeze Lake, Veterans Oasis, Copper Sky, Red Mountain Lake, Riverview Lake, Papago Ponds, Chaparral Lake,  Evelyn Hallman, (TUCSON) Kennedy Lake, Lakeside Lake, SIlverbell Lake, Sahuarita Lake.

Rainbow trout

Friday, Sept. 23 — River Reservoir, Canyon Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Frances Short Pond, Silver Creek; Tuesday, Sept. 20 — Lynx Lake, Woods Canyon Lake; Monday, Sept. 19 — Kinnikinick Lake, Silver Creek, Canyon Creek; Friday, Sept. 16 — Canyon Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Colorado River (Davis Dam); Thursday, Sept. 15 — Tonto Creek.

Our winter trout stockings will be ramping up! See the schedule.

Can’t forget the cats. In our Community Fishing Program waters, channel catfish are back. Check out our CFP stocking schedule.

See all stocking schedules.

Angler Reports

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

cityresCity Reservoir (Williams)

Michael W.: Caught and released 28 rainbow trout, ranging from 7-16 inches, on Sept. 19. Trout are extremely aggressive. Caught all fish on 1.5-inch crappie tubes in 2 hours!

Goldwater Lake (Prescott)

Michael W.: Caught two Gila trout, ranging from 2.5-2.6 pounds, on Sept. 14. Caught fish on 1.5-inch crappie tubes. You can still see an occasional Gila trout darting up to the surface and back down again. They look to be in the 3 -4-pound range.

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 funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

NOTE: Full report will be updated Friday, Sept. 30

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

A tiger trout caught recently from Woods Canyon Lake.
A tiger trout caught recently from Woods Canyon Lake.

 

Making some last-minute Labor Day weekend plans?

Woods Canyon Lake, where the above tiger trout was recently caught, and Willow Springs Lake, are being stocked this week with rainbow trout. Many campgrounds might be full by now, and last week’s report detailed some ideas. Here are a few more.

It’s a new moon and striper fishing will be bonkers at night at waters such as Lake Mead, Lake Powell and Lake Pleasant.

Stream trout fishing is in full swing. Try the East Fork of the Black River, the Little Colorado River in Greer or Silver Creek (but remember that monsoon storms can bring flooding at all these).

Also, C.C. Cragin Reservoir will be closed starting on Sept. 6 to allow for the next phase of the ongoing renovation of boating access facilities. See more details in the full report.

Finally, see a weekend fishing roundup from the Fish AZ blog.

Channel catfish will return to Community Fishing Program waters in late September. Stay tuned.

And thank you for your annual fishing license purchases – they go back into fish stocking and management and help conserve all species of wildlife (we receive NO state tax dollars). Grab a license online and conserve wildlife for future generations.



Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Thursday, Aug. 25 — Tonto Creek, Haigler Creek; Wednesday, Aug. 24 — Show Low Lake; Tuesday, Aug. 23 — Show Low Lake, Rose Canyon Lake; Monday, Aug. 22 — Canyon Creek, Kinnikinick Lake, Silver Creek, Oak Creek, West Fork Little Colorado River-Greer; Friday, Aug. 19 — East Verde River, Silver Creek, East Fork Black River, Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Canyon Creek. Read more.

Angler Reports

 

Lynx Lake
AnglerReportEhett G.: A big rainbow trout caught on garlic PowerBait.

Saguaro Lake
SagBassJim C. A largemouth bass caught Saturday at Saguaro Lake. The fish weighed more than 9 pounds and was caught in the last twilight of day in a main lake cove, next to a stump in about 10 feet of water on a Texas-rigged lizard.

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 funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

 

SEE THE FULL REPORT