Tag Archives: Teaching kids how to fish

Catching fish, keeping cool in Arizona: some tips

If you’re the type of angler who likes sweat-soaked, year-round fishing opportunities in Arizona, here’s a few simple tips to stay safe — and cool:

  • Go early or go late.
  • Don’t go at all (is that an option?)
  • Drink water every 15-20 minutes.
  • Drink something with electrolytes to prevent muscle cramps.
  • Bring your own shade (wide-brimmed hats, shade shelters, etc)
  • Plan a trip to a cooler part of the state. White Mountains, anybody?
  • Get wet. Soaking a handkerchief in the water and keeping it on your head, and under your hat, is a great way to keep your body temperature stable. Anglers also could wrap an evaporative cooling towel around their neck.
  • Know your limits: Summertime might not be the time to try for a personal best.
  • Leave detailed plans with someone (float plan).
  • Sign up for a boating safety class.

We are moving into a new moon, so expect better night fishing than last week.

During the Aug. 29 first quarter moon, there will be just enough moonlight for good visibility, but submersible lights can still do their plankton-attracting jobs. This time also means shooting stars will be highly visible.

Remember to verify the weather conditions before launching and check for updates while fishing during these particularly dark nights.

There are several mobile phone apps available with live weather conditions and emergency weather information. Monsoon storms can happen suddenly and without much warning.

Onto some more tips:

How to fish in Arizona during summer: some tips

Largemouth bass


Bartlett Lake bass, like this largemouth, are plentiful.
  • Methods of fishing on the summer heat differs. For desert bass fishing, all methods of tackle must be lightweight — light lines, small hooks and sinkers, etc.  Bites from these lethargic fish will be light, so be patient before setting the hook.
  • Across all statewide desert bass fisheries the next few weeks, plastic worms rigged on Texas rigs, Carolina rigs and dropshots will be the most reliable tactic. Make your leader small – you only want your bait about 5 inches above the weight on a dropshot. During the daytime, make that a bit longer, say, 10-12 inches.

Striped bass

Striped bass bag limits are unlimited at Lake Pleasant. Be sure to check special regulations at other waters.
  • Nighttime fishing gets really good in August with many boats catching anywhere from 50-100 fish a night. This information applies to day fishing also: fish deeper water and don’t forget to chum and have a great light in the water to attract baitfish.
  • If possible, use live bait. Live shad is the ultimate bait and will greatly increase your chances.  When fishing these lakes at night, be sure to think safety all the time. Have lights, a first aid kit, spotlight, cell phone, and also monitor monsoon activity.

Catfish and carp

Some big carp can be caught at night — try corn, which can be used for chum
  • Sticky desert nights are made for bottom-dwelling catfish and carp. Relax on the shoreline, wet a line with some stink bait, corn or both, watch the sky for meteor showers, and hook into Mr. Whiskers at the same time.


Silver Creek is a great summer, cool-water fishery
  • Best bet is in the White Mountains region, including Silver Creek, East Fork of the Black River, Little Colorado River in Greer or Show Low Creek just downstream of Show Low Lake. Fishing in these streams should be good because of better water quality — as long as the flows are not high due to monsoon rains.

See more about fishing in Arizona

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

Night fishing during cooler nights is still a great option (our Catch of the Week came after 2 a.m. at Lake Mead). We’re headed into a full moon, and predatory fish will be on the move for food. The key is selecting the right spots.

Try for locations such as major lake points that might get good fish traffic at night such as reefs along submerged river beds, submerged humps, rivers, creeks, and vegetation, or in the mouth of a major cove.

Bass highlights

Some anglers have reported that striped bass boils are picking up at Lake Pleasant, where the daily bag is unlimited for tasty stripers. This could be a great time to put some kids on a bunch of smaller stripers. See some tips for fishing striper boils.

Fishing for largemouth bass is good at Saguaro Lake with many fish coming via a dropshot rig in 10-15 feet of water.  A key to an active bite is moving water early in the morning when the dam pushes water.

Bartlett Lake remains good for high numbers of largemouth bass using crankbaits and some top-water lures  during the early morning and slow-moving baits, such as Texas-rigged brush hogs and crawdad imitations, as the sun rises.  Our water quality monitoring this week showed there was no oxygen below 26 feet deep.

Trout rundown

This week, by Saturday, we’re scheduled to have stocked Silver Creek, East Fork Black River, Canyon Creek, Christopher Creek, East Verde River, Haigler Creek, Tonto Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Oak Creek, and Riggs Flat Lake.

Don’t forget to check out our top-5 family camping and fishing spots for August. Not surprisingly, four of the five spots are in the White Mountains.

Save time, buy online

Grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go.

Catch of the Week

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

Lake Mead


Photo by Don Martin

Jacob Jacoby  (right), with Russ Jacoby onboard (left), caught this 17-inch walleye on a one-inch piece of anchovy in Virgin Canyon at 2:34 a.m. on Tuesday, July 25.

See previous Angler Reports

Stocking reports

By  Saturday, we’re scheduled to have stocked the following this week (sign up for I Support Wildlife for real-time and confirmed stocking reports):

Rainbow trout

Silver Creek, East Fork Black River, Canyon Creek, Christopher Creek, East Verde River, Haigler Creek, Tonto Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Oak Creek, Riggs Flat Lake.

Previous stockings
Rainbow trout

Friday, July 28 — East Verde River, East Fork Black River, Silver Creek, Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake. Thursday, July 27 — Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek, Haigler Creek. Monday, July 24 — West Fork Little Colorado River-Greer, Silver Creek, Canyon Creek. Friday, July 21 — Silver Creek, East Fork Black River, Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake, Bear Canyon Lake, Canyon Creek.

See all the stocking schedules


Top-5 AZ family camping and fishing spots for August

A campfire burns Saturday night, July 22, 2017, at a Woods Canyon Lake Recreation Area campground site off Forest Road 300.

Family fishing and camping during summers in Arizona can produce some of the best memories life can spawn.

What makes for good camping and fishing during triple-digit months of desert sweat? Escaping to the high country for a ton of stocked or self-sustaining fish, quality camping amenities, and scenery that’s as cool as the air temps.

Many fire restrictions have been lifted, allowing campfires and gooey s’mores for kids.

Be safe with summer monsoon storms — get off the water when you hear lightning, watch out for flash flooding, and don’t forget to bring a few extra layers and a rain jacket to stay comfortable in the mountain cold.

OK, here is our top-5 list of family camping and fishing spots. Do you agree?

5. Kaibab Lake

Kaibab Lake is usually the jump off to the Grand Canyon, and has been stocked with some of the quarter-million more trout.

This family-friendly camping area is a few miles from Williams and an hour’s drive from the Grand Canyon to the north.

Anglers are still catching a few trout on a variety of colors of PowerBait with the best fishing being early in the morning.  Try taking kids to catch crappie around the fishing dock on yellow or orange mini-jigs.

Directions: From Flagstaff, take I-40 west to Exit 165; turn north onto AZ 64 and go about 2 miles to the campground entrance on your left. Paved and all-weather gravel roads are suitable for passenger cars (but in winter may be closed at times because of snow).  See a Google map.

4. Show Low Lake (and Show Low Creek)

Show Low Lake is scenic and just an hour from the town of Show Low.

Possibly the state’s premier walleye fishery. Has a year-round concession with 75 campsites (seven have electric hook-ups). New facility improvements, including a new fish cleaning station, restrooms, stairs from the upper parking lot down to the boat launch, and ADA boat trailer parking are now open.

Like Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low lake and creek are great for putting the family on trout, sunfish and crawdads. In addition to the premier walleye, the lake also has smallmouth and largemouth bass, channel catfish, and bluegill, and is stocked regularly through the summer with 12-inch rainbow trout.  Kids can catch sunfish from the fishing piers or among the rocks along the dam with a small hook and piece of worm.

Directions: From Show Low, take Show Low Road southeast one mile from Highway 260.  See a Google map.

3. Fool Hollow Lake

AZGFD biologists regularly stock Fool Hollow Lake with trout.

An excellent fishery for getting the family into the outdoors and onto sunfish and mudbugs (crawdads). Has excellent family-fishing amenities such as clean and spacious campgrounds, picnic areas and fishing piers.

Kids can catch sunfish off piers and over rocky shoreline areas using No. 12 hooks and small pieces of worms. Crawdads can be trapped here as well.  Read more about how to catch both.

The lake has self-sustaining populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass, sunfish, walleye, carp, catfish, black crappie and black bullhead that are easy for kids to catch (try a simple worm on the bottom). Fishing also is good for 12-inch stocked rainbow trout — try fishing at least 10 feet deep.

Directions: Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area is located in east-central Arizona, two miles north of US 60 off Highway 260 in Show Low. See a Google map.

2. Woods Canyon Lake

Woods Canyon Lake has been stocked with aggressive tiger trout.

A family fishing mecca. Woods has been stocked with tiger trout, and along with nearby Willow Springs Lake, is scheduled to be loaded with rainbow trout weekly.

For families who aren’t in to camping in a tent or camper during the summer monsoon storms, the closest lodging is at Forest Lakes Lodge, just 11 1/2 miles away on Highway 260.

A little tip: refuel your automobile at the Rim Resort Filling Station, just a mile east of the Forest Lakes Lodge on Hwy 260. Call 928-535-9682 to ensure it’s open.

At this small town station,  the pumps are “old school”:

Back to fishing. For a novice angler – or for a kid’s first fish – try putting a small piece of a worm on a small hook (No. 12 or smaller) and dangle it in shallow water between rocks for sunfish. Don’t forget about catching crawdads, too.

The best bet for anglers with boats or kayaks (the Woods Canyon Lake Store has boat and canoe/kayak rentals and necessary camping amenities) is to hit the water just before sunrise and troll, or slowly work, small in-line spinners 15 feet deep. Any deeper, and you’re typically fishing below the thermocline where during the summer there is no oxygen.

Anglers could have no problems getting a six trout daily bag limit or hooking into a rod-rattling tiger trout.

Directions: From Phoenix, take Highway 87 (Beeline Highway) northeast to Payson and then Highway 260 east to Forest Road 300 (Rim Road). Then turn north onto paved Forest Road 105 and proceed about a mile to the lake. The lake is about 30 miles east of Payson. See a Google map.

1. Big Lake

An Arizona summertime family staple.

Cutthroats have been biting on and off, and there are plenty of rainbow trout along with lots of crawdads for kids if the trout are not biting. The best part may be the excellent and plentiful campground amenities.

Shore-angling is still an option, but as the summer goes along, you might want a boat (rentals are available at the store) because most trout will be deep.

Trolling from a boat is the most productive method during the summer.  If shore fishing, get out early or late in the day, and take cover in your vehicle or camp during monsoon/lightning storms.

Directions: Big Lake is accessed via state routes 260 and 273 (Forest Road 113).  See a Google map.


Remember to check fire restrictions, as well as any special regulations, that are in place.

So grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go.

You won’t regret the memories.

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

The Coconino National Forest has dropped to Stage I fire restrictions. Time to camp at Ashurst Lake (one of the spots where we’ve stocked some of the quarter-million more fish) or Forked Pine Campgrounds, and grill up some fresh trout like these:

This week, some other hot spots that have received trout are:

  • Dogtown Lake, Kaibab Lake, Lower Lake Mary and Kinnikinick Lake in the Flagstaff/Williams area. With the warmer weather, the fishing is starting to slow down but is still good early in the morning and late in the evening on Ashurst, Kaibab and Dogtown.  Folks are catching big trout on Lower Lake Mary early in the morning and late in the evening out of boats and float tubes;
  • Goldwater Lake and scenic Oak Creek in the Prescott/Sedona region;
  • White Mountains/Mogollon Rim region: Silver Creek, West Fork of the Little Colorado River in Greer, Silver Creek, Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake and all the family-friendly creeks below the Mogollon Rim.

Striped bass story

Striped bass fishing is excellent at Lake Powell. Some of the best top-water boils have been at Lake  Mead, and striper fishing is also good at Willow Beach on the Colorado River and Lake Mohave. The top-water striper bite at Lake Pleasant has been slow. Look for striper fishing to pick up through the summer and fall.

Bass battle at the Alamo

At Alamo Lake, things are getting back to normal with bass fishing.  There’s a decent top-water bite going from 4:30 a.m. until around 6 a.m.  Then switch to crankbaits or plastics.

By the way, Bartlett Lake has had the most consistent bass fishing in the Phoenix area.  See the full report for details.

A Big deal

At Big Lake, anglers are catching some big rainbow trout to 4 pounds primarily on PowerBait. Fish are moving deeper but anglers still can reach them from shore. It’s quality over quantity right now at Big Lake.

Gateway to AZ adventure

Save time and buy online. Grab your gear and that fishing license24/7, and get ready for a pine-scented (or maybe bass-busting) weekend!

Catch of the Week

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

Craig A. caught some big rainbow trout Wednesday morning under clear skies trolling blue cowbells deep. Another successful technique was dropping nightcrawlers right off the bottom.

See previous Angler Reports

Notable wildfire openings/closures

  • Access to Black Canyon Lake has been reopened (Gentry Fire).
  • Access to Riggs Flat Lake, Frye Mesa Reservoir and Ash Creek is closed due to the Frye Fire.
  • The popular Lynx Lake North Shore and South Shore Day Use Sites have re-opened (Goodwin Fire).  The bald eagle closure at Lynx has been lifted.

Stocking report

Rainbow trout

Friday, July 7 — East Verde River, East Fork Black River, Show Low Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake.

Thursday, July 6 — Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek, Haigler Creek.

Monday, July 3 — West Fork Little Colorado River-Greer, Silver Creek, Canyon Creek, Cataract Lake, Goldwater Lake, Oak Creek.


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.


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


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.


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


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.