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A9 Fishing Report

Posted in: Fishing Report
Apr 9, 2012
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News Flash:

Forest Road 300 into Woods Canyon Lake opened late Wednesday afternoon and the store/marina is open for business. Fishing should be decent for larger holdover trout.

Rory's tips:

Trout stockings in the mountain lakes and streams are kicking into high gear this week, plus lots of lakes are now accessible. In fact, all lakes are ice free. Our new stocking schedule is even high tech -- if you click on the water, it will give you a map of the lake and where applicable, also show the exact spots where we stock.

The road is now open into Willow Springs and Woods Canyon lakes along the Mogollon Rim.

The road from Alpine into Big Lake and Crescent Lake is open and the fishing last weekend for fesity holdover trout was excellent at BIG. The Arizona Department of Transportation plans to open the two primary roads into Big and Crescent around April 16 (see news release below). Remember, the road from Sunrise is paved all the way, making it an easy jaunt once the road opens.


Keep in mind that due to the Wallow Fire, last year Big Lake and most others didn't get the fishing pressure they normally do, which increases the likelihood of finding some larger holdover trout this season.

It also looks like we were wrong about the East Fork of the Black -- it wasn't as impacted by the Wallow Fire as we originally thought. That makes me smile -- some of my favorite fishing pics are of my youngest son with beautiful Apache trout caught from the East Fork during our many camping trips there over the years. At least one of those pics made it into our Arizona Fishing Guide we did with Arizona Highways magazine.

Blue Ridge and Long Lake are both accessible, as is Ashurst Lake. The lakes in the Williams area (Kaibab, Dogtown and Whitehorse) are all accessible via vehicle, and Cataract is accessible by foot (short walk). Or by the time you read this, Cataract might be open as well.  

The fun streams that help make us feel young were stocked with trout last week, including Christopher, Tonto, Haigler, the East Verde River, West Clear Creek, Wet Beaver Creek and of course, scenic Oak Creek.

In the warmer elevations, the Palo Verde trees are blooming, which typically coincides with topwater time -- you can expect to either find post-spawn bass chasing shad at or near the surface on occasion. There are also spawning bass. Plus, there are bass in the post-spawn mode and likely some still lingering in their winter activity patterns. It's like a four-ring aquatic fishing circus that should bring a smile to your face.

Alamo Lake is not only on fire for bass and crappie, at a tournament last weekend an 8- and a 10-pound bass were caught. Stewart Kohnke, our wildlife manager at Alamo, says those are the biggest bass he has seen weighed in at Alamo in 23 years.

Remember the Alamo -- you won't find recreational boaters there very often because there is no marina, and no gas. I call Alamo "a pure fishing lake."

By the way, Alamo now has some cool solar lights in the main and Cholla launch ramps thanks to the Friends of Alamo Committee raising $24,000. That is the same group that raised $30,000 last year to keep Alamo Lake State Park open. Now that's dedication to a great fishin' hole. Great going folks!

This past weekend, I was privileged to be at the Arizona High School Bass Fishing State Finals at Lake Pleasant. These young anglers are absolutely remarkable. The new state champions for 2012 are Christian Borucki and Brandon Koon of the Bad Bass Fishing Club (see them in all three photos here). They weighed in 12.08 pounds of bass on what started out as a pretty windy day on Pleasant last Saturday.

Both Christian and Brandon are not only great anglers, they helped us out doing fishing demonstrations on Sunday, April 1 during the Arizona Game and Fish Department Expo. They are impressive young anglers who not only know their stuff, but are adept at explaining the finer points of fishing in an engaging manner. I learned a lot from each of them. It wouldn't surprise me if they have their own TV fishing show in the future.

Brandon is no stranger to winning -- he and his former partner won the 2011 High School National Championship. This young angler is definitely making a name for himself.

Their boat captain and mentor was my old friend Mike McFarland. Mike is another one of those individuals who is terrific at explaining fishing in simple, easy-to-understand terms the rest of us can understand. Atta boy Mike!

Our Game and Fish TV crew has actually filmed some "how-to" bass fishing segments with Mike last year that will be appearing in this year's show package of "Arizona Wildlife Views" on PBS.

Right now each of the four prime desert lakes seem to be taking turns "being on fire," so just pick your favorite and go. I think the only bad fishing choice right now is missing out on the great spring bite. I've received some great reports from Saguaro, Bartlett, Roosevelt, Havasu and Martinez. No doubt Canyon and Apache are going great as well.

Don't forget we also have a new interactive fishing map on our web site at That's great for anglers like myself who are slightly high tech but very low budget. I've even accessed this great information off my smart phone.


Fishing News


Highways to White Mountains lakes reopening for summer

PHOENIX — Traveling to the White Mountains, a popular summer destination for Phoenix residents and fishing enthusiasts, will get a little easier as several highways that were partially closed during the winter season will reopen on April 16, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Four state highways are closed each winter due to the significant amount of snowfall and are reopened in the spring. State Route 67 between Jacob Lake (U.S. 89A) and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon will remain closed until mid-May. 

The following highways will reopen on April 16:

  • State Route 261 between Eagar and Big Lake
  • State Route 273 between Sunrise Park and Big Lake
  • State Route 473 between State Route 260 and Hawley Lake

Arizona has 2 new high school state champion anglers

LAKE PLEASANT – Christian Borucki and Brandon Koon of the Bad Bass Fishing Club in Phoenix won the second-ever Arizona High School Fishing State Championship at Lake Pleasant on Saturday, April 6 by weighing in five bass totaling 12.08 pounds.

These two talented high school anglers targeted mostly post-spawn bass on what started out as a windy day at Lake Pleasant. Their coach and mentor for the event was Mike McFarland, a veteran tournament angler and guide.

Borucki and Koon will advance to the FLW Outdoors/Bass Federation High School Fishing Conference Championship that will be held in conjunction with the National Guard FLW College Fishing Conference Championship.

Ironically, these two champion teammates attend rival schools, at least when it comes to traditional sports. Borucki goes to Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek and Koon goes to Mountain Shadows High School in Phoenix.

Koon is rapidly making a name for himself – he and his former teammate, Thomas Chambers, won the 2011 National High School Fishing Championship.

For the Arizona championship last weekend, there were 16 two-person high school teams (grades 9-12) from throughout Arizona participating in this major state championship, which was conducted by the Bass Federation in partnership with FLW Outdoors and the Arizona Bass Federation.

Sponsors for the event included the Bass Pro Shop, Cabela’s, Wave Worms and the Arizona National Guard.

“The tournament was awesome and went without a hitch,” said Tournament Director Keith Espe, who is the director of Arizona High School Fishing for The Bass Federation.

The second place team was Hunter Konecny and Tayler Kreuzer of Apache Junction High School and Desert Ridge High School. They weighed in five bass totaling 9.84 pounds.

Third place went to Douglas Lavigne and Joshua Carman of the Dobson High School Mustangs.  They weighed in five bass totaling 9.67 pounds.

Fourth place went to last year’s popular high school state champions, Michael Nugent and Cody Nugent of Peoria High School. The Nugent brothers also weighed in the largest fish of the tournament, a 3.68-pound largemouth bass.

There were also teams from high schools in Payson, Gilbert, Marana, and Paradise Valley. “Next year we fully expect to have 40 or 50 teams involved in the state championship. This sport is growing rapidly,” Espe said.

All state championship participants qualify for the largest event in high school fishing, the 2012 High School Fishing World Finals where they can compete for thousands of dollars in college scholarship and prizes. Each team that qualifies for a conference and/or national championship will receive a travel allowance to help offset expenses.

Ultimately, the national champions will each receive a $5,000 scholarship to use at whatever university they choose.

“High school fishing clubs are one of the fastest growing youth related movements across the country! These young anglers and their families have opportunities unlike anything the industry has ever seen,” said Alex Craw, the national Student Angler Federation program manager.

A major objective of the Student Angler Federation is to promote fishing, ethics and conservation through education.

“Also, the Student Angler Federation is aimed at getting students off the couch and back into the great outdoors by promoting the formation of fishing clubs and outdoor activities within the school,” Craw said.

Espe pointed out that these young anglers have an excellent chance of making a college team and really making something of their lives.

“These high school students are getting in on the ground floor of a rapidly growing sport associated with a billion-dollar industry. In fact, these young anglers have a better chance at getting a bass fishing scholarship than most student athletes do for a football, baseball or basketball scholarship,” Espe said.

Espe said that besides the education component of this fishing program, he and others who work with these enthusiastic young anglers operate from a simple philosophy. “If we can get them on the water, we can keep them off the streets,” said Espe.

Launched in 2011 by FLW and The Bass Federation Student Angler Federation, High School Fishing is the largest student-angler initiative in history. It offers students at more than 23,000 high schools across the United States and Canada the opportunity to compete in club, state, conference and national bass tournaments for the chance to earn college scholarships. Visit for additional information.


Suns offer discount tickets to anglers and hunters

If you are an Arizona hunting or fishing license holder and a professional basketball fan, the Phoenix Suns have a deal for you as they continue their push to make the playoffs.

Hunting or fishing license holders can buy tickets at discounted prices for two upcoming games. If you haven’t already obtained your license for 2012, this is a great incentive to purchase one.

Those who take advantage of this deal will ALSO receive a free Suns camo hat and drawstring backpack with each ticket purchase.

Discounted tickets will be available for the following games:

  • Saturday, April 21, 2:30 p.m. vs. Denver Nuggets
    200 level curve (regularly 44.75) for only $27
    100 level baseline (regularly $119.75) for only $92

  • Wednesday, April 25, 7:30 p.m. vs. San Antonio Spurs
    200 level curve (regularly $28.75) for only $22
    100 level baseline (regularly $104.75) for only $57

Tickets can be ordered online at (use Promo Code: AZGFD).

For an informational flyer, visit

If you have questions, please contact Kyle Pottinger at the Phoenix Suns at or call (602) 379-7506.




URBAN LAKES --  All Urban Program lakes and ponds in the Phoenix and Tucson areas will be stocked with channel catfish this week. There were last stocked with 1.5-pound average channel catfish on March 23. All Urban Program waters were also stocked with feisty, 5- to 8-inch bluegill the week of March 26-31.

Beginning with the spring season kick-off stocking, catfish will be stocked seven times through mid-June at rates averaging from 40 to 60 fish per acre. Over 13,000 pounds of Arkansas farm-raised catfish will be delivered and stocked into 20 Urban Fishing Program lakes every two weeks.

Daily limits are four catfish per person at Urban Lakes or two catfish per person at Urban Ponds (note    regulations and park signage for Lake and Pond designations).

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Trout fishing is most likely done for the year, but now it's bass, bluegill and catfish time. Anglers are catching bass close to structure such as the bridges. There are some bass on beds, but it's mostly post-spawn bass action time. Try working plastic worms or drop shots along the shade lines beneath the bridges.

Angler Report:

My wife and I fished Sunday night 3 hours at sundown.
No bite. It was dead. North side. Spoke with 12 other anglers same report.

Roosevelt fished two weekends ago. I caught 2 small and 4 large mouth bass. The other 6 in my group caught nothing. Spoke to handful of anglers and the report was either some or none. Carolina rig/Texas rig.

San Carlos my neighbor went up last weekend and caught 20 crappie.

Hoping to go to canyon and saguaro this weekend will let you know.

Michael Hammer


LAKE PLEASANT - Bass are in pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn modes right now; take your pick. small stripers are also up and feeding toward the top of the water column, but most big stripers appear to be holding deep, or possibly making brief appearances to forage shallow. Live shad trolled or still fished are the top choice, but frozen anchovies are a good second choice.

Mike McFarland, a guide with Hook Up Outfitters, said stripers are in 60 to 100 depending on time of day, however they are migrating all over the lake and spreading about so some small schools can be found shallow.

Mike said stripers will stack up on the underwater islands and reefs to finish spawning in 20 to 40 feet. Anchovies are best.

He added that the largemouth bass are pre-spawn in some areas, spawning in most parts of the lake and post spawn in some parts. Soft plastics best bet!! This time of year is great fishing I love it.

Thanks Mike

Scuba report:

Hi Rory,

Got a chance to dive the lake this past weekend and the largemouth are up on their beds and some have spawned and they are really shallow this year.  Last year they were in 25-35 feet, this year the lake is colder (I went back and looked at my dive logs from last year) and they are 15-20 feet this year.  Small stripers are up shallow as well looking for a quick meal hanging out around 20-30 feet, coming up to the largemouth beds and going back but the large stripers are below 60’ somewhere because we didn’t see any of them.  There was a cold thermocline at about 55’.  Speared a 1 lb. striper which was the biggest one we saw.

Jim Willert

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,122 feet and the lake level is 67 percent. Inflows from the Salt are down to 518 cfs, so the prime runoff is over unless a significant storm hits late in the mountains.

You can expect to find bass in pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn modes right now, or even find some bass still holding deep in their winter patterns. You might even find some topwater action right now.

Haven't received a crappie report in a week, so not sure what is happening on that front.

Also haven't heard any smallmouth bass reports. April is quite often smallmouth spawning time at Rosy, but this has been a strange year. Let us know if you have any current information (


Angler report:

Hi Rory,

Its' been a while since I sent you a fishing report. I took my best friend & his grandson to Rosy last week (two weeks ago now). We fished under the lights on the Salt end. We got 43 crappies & 34 bass on minnows & jigs in 2 nights. We don't care much for bass but the crappie are in the freezer.

The picture is a couple of 2 plus pounders We had 11 over 2 lbs. biggest was 2.5 Nothing ready to spawn yet but getting close.

I will be spending a lot of time up there now thru July so I'll get back to you from time to time.

I couldn't figure where to send the picture. I found a place for Urban waters pictures maybe that was it.

That’s all for today. We'll keep you in our prayers to the fish God also.

Don Stich   


APACHE - Lake elevation is 1,906 feet (92 percent full). As with the other desert lakes, you can expect to find largemouth bass in pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn modes right now. Haven't heard anything on the smallmouth bass front recently -- they should either be on beds in rocky shelves or possible be in post-spawn mode. You might find smallies in both modes right now.

Please practice catch-and-release on spawners, especially smallmouth bass, to help this lake on the comeback trail.

This can be a great month for walleye. Walleye are light sensitive, so try at first and last light. Worms rigs can work, but another strategy is to tips any of your lures with pieces of night cralwer, even while fishing for bass, and you might also get a walleye surprise.

Apache is also full of some really nice yellow bass. Try gold Kastmasters or yellow/gold Rooster Tails.

CANYON - Lake elevation is 1,657 feet, which is 95 percent full. This is a tough lake to fish, especially for novice anglers, and even veteran anglers can expect low catch rates, but it is the land of the lunkers, especially during the bass spawn.

This is, however, a great place to catch channel catfish from shore. Catfishing will still be a little slow right now. Try using stink bait.

SAGUARO - Lake elevation is 1,525 feet at 93 percent full. Expect to find bass in the pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn mode. Some anglers are experiencing good catch rates, others aren't.

If you can't find largemouth bass, try some gold KastMasters for yellow bass. They are fun to catch on lightweight tackle, and pretty good eating as well.

Saguaro is an early-bird lake for channel catfish. In fact, bass anglers sometimes catch them while working shad-like lures. Water releases are around 850 cfs.

BARTLETTThe Jojoba Boat Ramp reopened on April 2.

Lake elevation is 1,748 feet and it is 41-percent full. Good timing, because the bass and crappie fishing has really turned on here, although many of the crappie are small. You can still hook into some slabbers (see report below).

Angler report:

Hi Rory;

A buddy and I got to Bartlett around 11 a.m. and fished until 9 p.m.  The fishing was great.   We immediately hit a 2-3 lb. largemouth trolling with shad swim bait.   We hooked another with a Roboworm around the sunken trees by the flats.

Around 3:30 p.m. the shad boils were EVERYWHERE and bass jumping after them. We caught another 10 bass and crappie using lipless crankbait (shad) and casting in and around the boils. I couldn't believe the crappie were hitting these lures. One of the crappies was a giant. This was my second time fishing specifically for bass and crappie and had a great time.  Next time I'm going to have a scale and tape measure.

Take care and thank you for the great work :)


HORSESHOE - Lake is empty. Water is being released at 200 cfs.

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 178 cubic feet per second. The spring runoff is over unless a major storm pummels the watershed. 
LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – They are releasing 1,000 cfs out of Stewart Mountain Dam from Saguaro. Scheduled to be stocked this week. If the increased flows hold, this will likely make the fishing even better. So if you can't make the high country, this is a superb opportunity to catch some trout close to home if you live in the Valley of the Sun.

Trout fishing should be decent on night crawlers, small spinners, casting spoons such as KastMasters and flies. This is a unique desert river trout fishery in the Upper Sonoran Desert. It's a great place to catch some excellent memories.

CREEKS – Our new interactive stocking schedule will actually provide you maps of the creeks, along with the locations we stock along those creeks.

Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek, Haigler Creek and the East Verde River are were all stocked last week for the first time this year. Plus, there may be some larger hold-over trout lingering in the deeper pools. Try night crawlers, Power Bait, or small spinners, such as Mepps and Rooster Tails. Cane poles can be a lot of fun, especially for youngsters. Have them dig worms in the garden to get their own bait.

Angler report:


I spent the weekend at Canyon Creek. I fished the quality waters.  The creek is flowing pretty good still with snow melt. The water is a little murky. I had a lot of luck with large wooley buggers in green, pistol Pete's in black, and Joe's flys.

I was also messing around with a dry dropper combo and caught a few. I did better with the large flashier stuff. 

Both days I landed around 20 fish. Attached is a nice 17 incher.  My labs Harlow and Blue got in on the fun too.  It was pretty windy Sunday and made for difficult casting.  I caught fish anywhere from 5 to 17 inches.  Most were in the 10- to 12-inch range.  

Thank You,
Brian V. Savoy


Note: If you have a fishing report, send it to "Been Fishing?” at

LAKE POWELL – By: Wayne Gustaveson. March 29. Water Temperature 52-60 F

Bass are moving up to Spawn

Water temperature is still a cool 52 F in the early morning. But on calm sunny days water temperature escalates to over 60 degrees in the shallows by late afternoon. Weather is expected to be calm and sunny for the weekend.  Expect both large and smallmouth bass to move into the shallows and begin building nests.  Wind and cold will then return early next week so spawning may not occur but bass fishing will be great right up until the air and water temperature drops.

If fishing this weekend, look for bass along the shoreline in murky and clear water. Largemouth will be in trees often very visible adorning branches in crystal clear water. Look for fish and then return later to throw a long cast at the tree where the bass was seen. If nests are found commit these spots to memory as bass will return to their selected nest site with the next warming period. Remember that bass can spawn as many as 6 different times during April and May. That nest will be in use for a long time even when it is no longer visible after the lake level shoots up with spring runoff.

This weekend it is more likely to find bass holding on the deep water edge of a spawning flat usually toward the back of major canyons but at the mouth of a cove instead of in the very back. Bass stage on primary and secondary points before spawning and then move shallower to actually spawn.  Search deep access routes or migration lanes that lead quickly from deeper water onto a shallow brushy flat.  

It is still necessary to fish very slowly giving semi-active or tree-hanging bass time to investigate a bulky plastic grub crawling along the bottom under their bush.  Often the longer pause in movement will result in more bass investigating the lure and then being caught. Long casts with silent entry into clear water will result in more bass.  Learn to control the splash!
Stripers are still holding in 15-25 feet of water within the tree line at the back of major canyons. Trolling over tree tops with shallow running lures is a good way to locate a resting school or find the general location of a loose aggregation of stripers.

Always try to catch another striper as the first troll caught victim is being reeled in.  Followers often accompany the hooked fish. The goal is to finally get a school of fish to stay within casting distance so fish can be caught at will by casting shallow running crankbaits or spoons in deeper water without thick brush. The catch rate climbs dramatically when this occurs. It is common to catch 20 stripers trolling but when a school of fish stays near the boat the catch soars to 40 or 60 in short order.  
Effective trolling lures include Lucky Craft Pointers and Bevy Shad, Rapala Shad Raps and Flat Raps, and many different kinds of lipless vibrators. All of these lures can be trolled and then cast over tree tops. 

It is always a good idea to have a slab spoon handy to drop quickly into a school of fish passing under the boat.  It is my nature to be looking for the next fish to catch even while playing a hooked fish. Stay in tune with the school instead of just concentrating on the one to increase the catch at the end of the day.

Crappie are holding in dense brush thickets as they wait for water to warm a few more degrees which will then result in nest building.

Walleye are completing their spawn which will lead to better fishing success starting in mid-April. Fishing will be awesome for the next 4 day

LEES FERRY -- Report courtesy Lees Ferry Anglers, By Terry Gunn, at  (You can sign up to have their report sent to your e-mail address).

By: Terry Gunn, March 30, 2012. Today’s Weather: Sunny, Low 56  High 84. The weather this past week has been near perfect. Spring has arrived at Lees. The migrating birds are passing through and the midges are really starting to hatch.

Fly Fishing Up-River

The river is running 7,000cfs to 13,000 cfs and the same exact flows are forecast for April and May. The key will be the ramp rate and when the water rises and falls. The recent ramp rates have been inconsistent and we will just have to wait and see what they give us the next two months. The water flows will be lower on the weekends and holidays. To help put the current flow levels into perspective; our current high flow is approximately four vertical feet lower than the flows that we saw last year…the river is finally back to normal. It is really good to be back in the river, wading and sight casting.

The midge hatches are just now beginning which means that they are really late this year. I’m not sure why they are so late but I would imagine it has something to do with the high water flows of last year and likely our warmer than normal water temperatures that occurred from June-December 2011, when the river water temps were 10-degrees above normal due to the huge water inflow into Lake Powell last spring. The good news is that the midge hatches nave really picked up the last few days and should continue to grow in intensity and duration the next few months.

To help understand why midges are so important to our fishing success it’s good to know more about the lifecycle of midges and their importance to the trout diet. The adult midges contribute very little to the trout diet. It is rare that you will see an adult trout rise to feed on an adult midge; the reason is that the amount of energy expended is not worth the food intake.

The adult midges breed then release their eggs into the water. The eggs sink and hatch into a tiny caterpillar (larvae) that lives on the bottom of the river for an extended period of time. At some point the larvae pupates and forms a chrysalis. The midge pupae will release in mass, and countless pupae will begin slowly drifting to the surface. This in turn flips the feeding switch for the trout and the fish will move into the shallow riffles where the pupae are concentrated by the shallow water. This is when the trout are feeding so heavily that they get careless and will eat our fly if it has a close resemblance to the midge pupae that they are feeding on.

The bigger the hatch the better the fishing; this is why the best fishing always occurs during big hatches and why the midge hatches are so important to the trout diet. The biggest midge hatches always occur in the lower water flows.

During the lower flows trout are not eating worms or scuds because these food items are not available; the only time that worms and scuds are available is during the high water flows when the higher velocity water moves the suds and worms around. If there are no midge hatches in the lower flows the fish will not be feeding and the fishing will be slow. I go into a lot more detail on fish feeding behavior here:

Be sure to stop by the shop to see the flies that are currently working. The flies change on a daily basis and the LFA guides let everyone at the shop know every day the top producing flies and how to use them.

The spawn is very weak this year. I figure that this is a “compensatory response” due to the fact that the spawn and recruitment has been so successful the past couple of years. This is a natural response by the fish and I have seen it many times over the years and next year will likely be different.

The streamer fishing has just been so-so and will likely not pick up until the water flows increase this summer. The reason for this is that the higher flows move larger food items around (scuds, worms, etc.).

Walk-In Fly Fishing Report: by Andy Vincent

The Walk-in continues to fish well with the lower flows allowing anglers much more access to the river. Zebra midges are still the best choice with San Juan worms and scuds working as well. Fish are hitting the dry fly sporadically now so the dry dropper is a viable set-up for fishing different columns in the water.

When all else fails fishing a black or olive wooly bugger in the deeper, slower water will work. We are starting to see fish in the shallower water of the upper boulder field so this could be a good place for the dry dropper rig. The area above and below the “big rock” is always a good area to find fish as they have quick access to deep water when spooked. The lower flows are making for much more fishable water around the confluence of the Paria with the Colorado.

Be careful when wading this area as the shifting sands and fast water make this a treacherous place to fish. Remember that the water flows will be lower on weekends and holidays and higher on weekdays. As the midge hatches increase expect the fishing in this section of river to get better every day.

Spin fishing the walk-in:

Spin fishing has not been as good as fly fishing the past few weeks. The river flows are fluctuating and these flow changes appear to make the fish take the spinner only at certain times of the days. The feeding habits have been changing on a daily basis so I can’t give a specific time but mid-day has been when I have had the best luck. Gold is the color and it works with KastMasters or Panther Martin size 1/4 oz. or size 6. Jigs and bouncing Glo-Bugs works has been working well at times if you can get the lure down to where the fish are. There is a lot of moss in the water due to the fluctuating flows so you will have to clean off the moss every other cast or so..

Spin Fishing Up River:

Spin fishing is good! It’s all about bouncing Glo bugs, San Juan Worms and Scuds off the bottom. You can also try fishing with gold KastMasters, black and gold Panther Martins #5s or Rapalas in perch or trout.

Also definitely don’t forget about the marabou jig; this one has been working great and has been very reliable. When spin fishing up river look for the seams that are out where the fast and slow water meet. This is where you will find some nice fish holding. Don’t be afraid to make long cast but accuracy is important.

If you have some news you would like to report about fishing lees ferry, the walk-in section or up river please e-mail your report to:  Attn. Lees Ferry Fishing Report
We would be happy to have your input, and pass it along.

Here is a report form one of our customers.

Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Son Scott and I decided to fish Lee’s Ferry as a “last minute” hey lets go fishing trip. The walk in on Saturday was crowded and a bit slow, but worth the effort. On Sunday we fished with Guide Jeff English from your shop. Again a last minute booking so we were fortunate to get him. Jeff put us on fish all day and needless to say we caught a boat load. Dry-dropper was the ticket. I have been fortunate to fish some A+ and blue ribbon fisheries with great success. Sunday was as good if not the best day as any I ever had on the Big Horn, Madison or Yellowstone!!! Thanks Jeff!!! AND your teaching moment was a success—I now understand that if you don’t land the fish, it is never the fishes fault…;} Thanks to the shop staff and kitchen for great treatment! We’ll see you in July/!!!

For details on Lake Powell conditions and snow-pack, go here:

For a real time graphic view of water releases and ramp rates go here:

LAKE MEAD – In the last week the water level has dropped almost 1 foot to approximately 1,128 feet above msl.  It looks like the water elevation has stabilized compared to the November 2010 elevation of 1,082 feet above msl, which marked the lowest level in decades.

There seems to be an abundance of shad currently which may be the reason for the lack of a bite.  Cut anchovies are still the bait of choice. Check the moon phases before you go – last new moon was March 22.   The next new moon will be April 21.  Dark nights work best when fishing under light.

Fishing for stripers in 50 plus feet of water will normally find the larger fish.  If you can locate the shad, the stripers are not far behind. Trolling usually works best in areas were shad are found and best done in the early mornings and evenings.

The bite for largemouth and smallmouth was reported good using plastic worms and crawdads with purple and browns in them.  Several fishermen said that topwater lures were working for them.  All the fishermen contacted were hopeful for the coming years with rising water conditions and the abundance of baitfish they have seen this year.   

Launching conditions at South Cove have improved as the water level has gone up. There are currently four lanes.  As the water raises logs and other debris can become hazards, so be careful boating.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders.  Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at or visit

LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level has maintained about 641 feet above msl.  The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly especially on grass beds in 20 to 30 feet deep.  Trolling with anchovies in 30-50 feet has been producing some stripers, while catfish are on the bottom.  While the number of stripers in Mohave has been decreasing, the quality of the fish caught has increased. Best time to fish is at night for cats and he likes fishing for largemouth and smallmouth in the early morning with blue, black and purple and black grubs and worms. 

Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon is April 21.  Cut anchovies usually work the best. 

Biologists from both Arizona Game and Fish Department and Nevada Division of Wildlife with the help of volunteers, National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation personnel have continued to install fish habitat in Carp Cove, Box Cove, Shoshone, and Arrowhead.  Fish habitat consists of PVC structures, wood pallet structures, tamarisk bundles, and some Christmas trees. The largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill and catfish are really utilizing the new structures. Additional habitat will be added at several locations over the next two years. These structures are fish magnets.

There is a wheelchair accessible fishing pier just south of the main launch ramp at Katherine's Landing. If you fish Mohave and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at  or visit

WILLOW BEACH – Willow Beach is stocked every Friday with 3,000 13-inch rainbow trout.  Rainbow, peach, garlic and yellow Power Baits and Power Worms were being used most for trout.  Jakes original and Jakes Juniors, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails are also usually effective.

Fishing is usually best near the fishing pier after the Friday stocking.  Most of the nice stripers and trout are seem to be caught between river mile 49 and 53.  A picture of a large striper was sent in and was caught around mile 52.  Willow Beach can be hit-or-miss bait fishing.  Try different baits including swim baits when nobody seems to be hooking anything. 

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see. If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at  or visit

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – Trout continue to bite in the casino area with some larger fish in the deep holes.  Several folks have called and spoke of very large trout being caught in the Laughlin area.  Rusty from Riviera Marina sent a picture of a beautiful 17-pound striper caught in the Rotary Park area.   Overall the fishing is great on the river with large rainbow trout still being caught.  Rusty sent a picture in of a beautiful rainbow trout and a nice fillet size striper.

Rainbow trout are stocked by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service monthly during the winter. The fish are normally stocked in two locations; Davis Camp and near The Riverside. Stocking at Rotary Park has made another access point to the river for fishing and has made many people happy.  Trout fishing at the stocking sites is great immediately following the stockings, then the fish move out and you need to find them.

Rainbow trout are located throughout the river below Davis Dam, but anglers typically report catching trout on the Arizona side across from the Riverside, off the shore of Davis Camp and in the big bend area. This year we have received multiple reports of larger holdover trout being caught.  Remember to fish for trout, you need a trout stamp on Class A and Lifetime fishing licenses.

Water levels on the river fluctuate, so be careful. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

TOPOCK MARSH – The action at Topock Marsh has been steadily improving. Night crawlers and live minnows have been tempting catfish from North Dyke.   Bass can be hit and miss but live bait has been reported to work the best now.  Stripers appear abundant from the February AZGFD survey. Small crappies are being taken throughout the marsh. 

You can access the marsh by boat at the North Dike, Catfish Paradise, and Five-Mile Landing. All three also provide plenty of area for shoreline fishing too. For more information on the marsh, contact the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge at (760) 326-3853 or go to

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at  or visit

Topock Gorge -

The spawn is still on!  Bass action in the Topock Gorge started out slow, but escalated with the change in weather conditions. Arizona residents, Andrew Nooris from Chandler and Mike Widerski from Glendale boated a limit of smallies and a limit of largemouth bass–one plump smallmouth weighed 3-pounds. Nooris gleaned another limit of smallmouth the next day with one tipping the scales at 3.5-pounds.

Seven- and 10-year-old Abigail and Colby Gustafson from Topock, AZ also scored some respectable smallies in the 3-poind range. Bernie Hirman from Elk River, Minisota and his buddies Jim Hamm and Joe Havlik cleaned up on the sunfish.

The Gorge is producing plenty of robust sunfish activity and although none have been as weighty as the 2.25-pounder taken in January, they are still stout for pan fish. Night crawlers remain the food favorite for sunfish while live bait has been the better choice for bass. Striper action remains sluggish and no catfish have been reported. Fishers of both striped bass and whisker fish are hopeful 2012 will be more plentiful than 2011.  

News from the Topock Marsh has been slow to surface. I know the fish are there, but I don’t know where the fishermen are!

See you on the river. Until the next time, Keep your sinker in the water and the plug in your boat, and remember no matter what time of day or year it's always FunFishing on the Colorado!

Capt. Doyle 


Note: If you would like more information on southwestern waters, visit Our Yuma Regional office has recently updated all the information to provide you more insight into these fisheries.

For more information, visit the updated "Where to Fish" pages at

LAKE HAVASU -- Report courtesy John Galbraith of, Lake Havasu City, Az.

Lake Havasu City. Lake Level 447.58. Stripers hitting on slow trolled cut anchovies rigged with 1.5 to 2 oz. banana sinkers with a 2- to 4-foot leader. Anchovy rig should be skipping along the bottom for best results. Main basin north of Winsor, Havasu Landing and Calif Bay have been the best trolling areas.

Best Bait fishing action on anchor has been south of Devils Elbow to Castle Rock in the main river current where stripers are schooling up to spawn.

First couple hours of the morning have produced the best quality stripers. Topwater action staring now with surface temps rising into the mid/upper 60s.

Largemouth and Smallmouth spawn continues. Good bass action on chartreuse-tailed finesse worms no longer than 4.5 inches. Small crawdad type plastics have been working good too. Please practice catch and release during this spawning time to give our bass a chance to reproduce.

-- No recent reports.

ALAMO LAKE -- Well folks,  Junior and I had the boat in the water at 4:06 ( Alamo time ) yesterday and did really well on crappie and bass. We started out by the dam and picked up a couple of bass.   I was throwing a 2-inch grub with an1/8-ounce jig head. Junior was throwing a Texas-rigged Robo Worm.  At that point the wind was only blowing 20 miles an hour.

We got a wild hair and headed up to the east side of the lake and fished the north shoreline.  Four cast and four fish. I smiled and told him we had it figured out and it was going to be a good day.  As soon as I said that the winds picked up to about 30 miles an hour and we were dealing with three foot swells.  The waves were crashing into the shoreline and stirred up all kinds of muddy water.  That turned the bass fishing on big time.  I hooked into a four pounder and Junior caught a couple of two's.

After about a 1/2 hour of getting the crap beat out of us we had to call it quits in that area. As I brought the boat up on plane I glanced over and noticed Junior looked kinda pale. I told him to hold on and punched it. After eating a couple of waves we had the old ranger boat dancing across the lake and went up to the dam.  My first cast and I boated a nice sized crappie. We let the wind blow us down the shore line and the bite was on.  I ended up with four crappie and missed six.

Right at dark we sat off a point and caught  a bunch of bass. It was great. I was still throwing a grub and going for crappies. All you had to do was throw right up to the shore, let the weight hit the bottom, count to three and set the hook.  I was laughing so hard I almost fell out of the boat.  The bite was still on when we called it quits and put the boat on the trailer.

Neither one of us can see worth a crap at night so it's always interesting and entertaining to get the boat out.  At one point Junior backed the boat down the ramp, thought he had the trailer in the water and got out of the truck.  He was kind of embarrassed when he saw that he was 5 feet from the waters edge.

Anyway, if you can hang with the wind fishing is excellent right now.  We plan on doing it again tonight.  It's hard to go wrong throwing a two-inch grub with a 1/8-ounce jig head.  Junior thinks he is onto something throwing a blood colored Robo Worm.  If we would have boated everything we hooked into we would have easily caught 20 to 30 fish.

Cat fishing is fair. Anglers are catching them all over the lake using night crawlers and anchovies.  

Other anglers are giving the crappie fishing a thumbs up trolling Roadrunners with a minnow trailer.  The friends group of Wickenburg donated a couple of solar lights to the park.  They were installed this week.  One at Cholla, and one at the main ramp.  There really cool.  Now you can pull out at night and see what your doing while putting stuff away.

Our store hours are now 8 a.m. till 4:30 p.m.  I almost forgot to mention.  Wickenburg had a tournament out here this last weekend. Winning weight was 20ish pounds and big fish was a 10 pounder.   Here's a picture of the toad.  Like I mentioned last week the main ramp is pretty bad so your encouraged to use Cholla ramp.  Well that's it for now.

COLORADO RIVER (PARKER STRIP AREA) -- Fishing for smallmouth bass over two pounds in size is expected to be good to excellent. In addition, redear sunfish should also be good in the pound-plus sizes.  

The Parker Strip is well known for its smallmouth bass fishing, especially in the area from the dam to several miles downstream. The Parker Strip is also home to some really impressive, dinner-plate sized redear sunfish of two pounds or larger.

Channel and flathead catfish fishing is always fair in this section of the Colorado River. Below the dam, striper fishing should also be fair, using live shad or anchovies. Largemouth bass are abundant, especially in the downstream portions of the Parker Strip. Channel and flathead catfish fishing will be fair to good in this section of the Colorado River as the weather warms up.

Take precautions to make sure your boat and equipment are clean before leaving the water to make sure you don’t spread quagga mussels to other water by accident.  

COLORADO RIVER (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam, including backwaters and Martinez Lake) 

This stretch of the river is best known for its trophy-sized flathead catfish, with some over 70 pounds and largemouth bass, with some over 10 pounds. However, it can also be good for channel catfish, sunfish and carp and to a lesser extent striped bass, crappie and tilapia.

Largemouth bass fishing is generally best in the backwaters or near the mouth of the backwaters. There are many different techniques used for largemouth bass. As a general rule, most people will use topwater lures such as buzzbaits or spinnerbaits in the early morning and then switch to jigs, crankbaits, or swimbaits as the day progresses.

Using plastic baits that resemble worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards often work well. It is generally best to fish around structure such as weedbeds, emergent vegetation, tree stumps, brush, or boat docks. Fishing picks up as the water temperatures warm up in the spring and summer but largemouth can be taken any time of the year.

Flathead fishing is generally best in slack water areas, deep holes, or near overhanging vegetation along the main channel of the river. Flatheads prefer live bait such as bluegill or small carp and fishing is best at night during the summer months. Channel catfish are wide spread in the main river channel and backwaters and will bite on night crawlers, chicken liver, stinkbait, or about any other “smelly” bait. They can be caught year-round but probably bite best at night.

Bluegill are also widespread but are most likely to be found around structure in the backwaters or slackwater areas. Bluegill will bite on meal worms, night crawlers or small crappie jigs.

MITTRY LAKE -- Mittry Lake is located just above Laguna Dam, and supports a good population of largemouth bass and channel catfish, and even some good-sized flathead catfish. There are shoreline fishing opportunities at this lake in the form of about a dozen rock jetties, but you’ll probably have the best success in a small boat. Mittry Lake can be frustrating, as the bite seems to be real variable, but the fish are there. It is just a question of getting them to respond to your presentation. The water tends to be very murky most of the year, except for the upper end of Teal Alley where the lake inflow comes in, so play to the fish’s sense of hearing and smell, rather than sight. There are also crappie and sunfish to be caught, although they tend to average relatively small in size. Mittry Lake is well-known locally for the quality largemouth bass it produces, and fishing during the spring spawn will increase your chances of success.

YUMA AREA PONDS -- The Department has stepped up efforts to encourage the recruitment of new anglers, and retention of existing ones. To this end, the Department has increased stocking efforts in a few ponds in the Yuma area that are easily accessed without a boat, within a short distance of the urban center. Those ponds are the Yuma West Wetlands pond, located in the City Park, and Redondo and Fortuna ponds, located about 10 miles northeast of Yuma. Access to Redondo Pond was recently improved with the addition of an ADA-compliant fishing pier, and thick cattail growth was removed at Fortuna Pond this summer, improving shoreline access by many orders of magnitude. All of these waters received multiple stockings of rainbow trout in the winter months; Redondo Pond will be stocked with channel catfish during the spring, and the Yuma West Wetlands pond will receive channel catfish and bluegills. We may be able to stock Fortuna Pond with channel catfish in the future, pending the outcome of the statewide sport-fish stocking consultation with the USFWS that is hopefully nearing completion. Depending on available funding, we hope to continue regular stockings into all three of these shoreline-accessible waters, and perhaps add additional waters to our stocking schedule. These ponds provide an ideal place to take the family. All three waters now are provided with restroom and trash facilities. Special regulations on fish limits are in effect for these waters, so be sure to consult the Regulations before you take fish.

REGIONAL HOT SPOTS -- Alamo Lake will continue to be a hot spot for plentiful largemouth bass and channel catfish, although trophy-sized fish will be uncommon. Lake Havasu is probably currently the premier lake in our Region (and perhaps the State) for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and redear sunfish. Numbers caught will likely be lower, but the quality of the fish much higher. The Parker Strip should remain excellent for smallmouth bass and redear sunfish, and the Colorado River below Walter’s Camp down to Imperial Dam the best bet for large and plentiful flathead catfish. Our spring surveys indicate that there is a very impressive population of flathead catfish in the lower Imperial Division between Picacho State Park and Imperial Dam. Expect many in the 5- to 10-pound size class, but we know of at least one state record lurking in those waters. Backwaters in the Imperial Division above Imperial Dam will continue to yield impressive largemouth bass, up to and exceeding 10 pounds.

If you need any additional information or assistance, don't hesitate to contact the Yuma Regional office at (928) 342-0091, and we will be happy to give you whatever information we have. A very good resource for local fishing information in the Yuma area is the website and forum at



KAIBAB LAKE — Campground is closed. No report. Was stocked with 4,000 rainbow trout last week.

CATARACT LAKE — Campground is closed.  No report.  Has been stocked

CITY RESERVOIR — No report.  Scheduled to be stocked this week.

DOGTOWN LAKE — Lake is accessible. Campground is closed.

JD DAM — No reports.

RUSSELL TANK - The lake is too shallow to stock.

SANTA FE — No Report. Scheduled to be stocked this week. 

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campground is closed. Stocked last week


LOWER LAKE MARY —  Very low water. No report

UPPER LAKE MARY —   No report but anglers should be catching northern pike right now. This lake also has yellow perch and walleye.

ASHURST LAKE — No report but the road was opened last Thursday. The lake was sampled a couple of weeks ago and lots of holdover rainbow trout were found.  Smaller pike were also common in our nets; please remove all of the pike you catch.   About 16,000 rainbows were stocked last week.
FRANCIS SHORT POND – Fishing was fair last week according to the report I received from a fly angler.  Stocked last week

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road is closed.

MARSHALL LAKE —  No report; low water

OAK CREEK — No reports. Stocked last week with 1,600 rainbows and the water temperatures ranged from 51 F in the upper stretches to 58 F in the lower ones. This picturesque creek is scheduled to be stocked again this week. Fishing should be decent for stockers and some of the more remote or less accessible pools might harbor some holdovers, or even some brown trout.

LONG LAKE — The lake is accessible. No report. Not scheduled for stocking until later this month. However, this lake has northern pike and walleye as well.




DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Catfish were last stocked for the Verde River Days event.  Trout were last stocked the week of March 19.  The catfish and largemouth bite has been fair.  Catfish are still being caught on nightcrawlers, chicken liver, and stinkbait.   The bass are being caught on small plastic worms and Gitzit-type plastic grubs, bounced slowly along the bottom.  Sunfish have been doing well on worms, salmon eggs, or small piece of Power Bait under a bobber.    They bite best in the early morning hours and the evening.

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – Trout were last stocked the week March 26.  Carp fishing has been good using corn or dough baits.  Always check your regulations before fishing this area with live bait.  Game and Fish Commission Rule requires anglers to only use live bait that has been caught in the river.  No transporting of live baitfish or crayfish is allowed. 

BEAVER CREEK – Stocked last week with 900 rainbow trout and the water temperature was 57F.

WEST CLEAR CREEK- Stocked last week with 450 trout and the water temperature was 58 F.

Prescott Area

FAIN LAKE  — The last stocking was the week of April 2.  The reports from regulars at the lake say the trout are biting, but the morning bite is best. Anglers are having luck throughout the day using Power Bait and Berkley Gulp. Rainbow and yellow seem to be the popular colors.

Fishermen using their fly rod gear are having the best luck. Brown trout and rainbows are hitting the flies very well with one fisherman catching 47 fish (all browns) off the same fly.  Flies are less likely to get swallowed so releasing the fish is much easier.  

GOLDWATER LAKE — Many anglers have reported doing well.  Power Bait is probably your best bet, although spinners and flies can do well also.

Jimmy C. caught his limit on light colored Power Bait and reported he gilled them the same day and they were delicious.  Like most fishing areas, one day the bite is great and the next it’s slow.

The last stocking was the week of March 26.  Scheduled to be stocked this week.

Game and Fish has been trying to boost the some of the warm water species in Goldwater.  Bass and catfish have been stocked three times over the last four years.   The bass are being stocked to give a boost to a dwindling population in the lake and to reduce the excessive number of crayfish.  Please practice catch and release with the bass, while the population gets re-established.

Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Goldwater on Sept. 15, 2009 and found bass and catfish populations to be much improved over last year. The number of green sunfish was greatly reduced.  The bass had a successful spawn last year.   If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

GRANITE BASIN LAKE –Fishing should be slow for the winter.  If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

LYNX LAKE –Rainbow trout were last stocked the week of March 12.  Scheduled to be stocked this week.  The cold has slowed the bite down for all species except trout.   

Cut anchovies, night crawlers or hot dog are your best bet for catfish. Lynx also can be an exciting place to fish for carp.  Common carp are very strong fighters and will provide an excellent table fair. A quick search on the internet will produce tasty recipes for these robust fish. Corn and an assortment of other baits will attract these fish. Lynx can be difficult to fish, if you are not catching anything try moving to a new spot. There are some good spots on the north end of the lake that don’t get fished as heavily as the south end does.

MINGUS LAKE – The last stocking was scheduled for the week of April 2.  This should change the trout bite.  Yellow bullhead catfish are active and easy to catch with night crawlers on the bottom.

For trout the best bait is usually orange, pink, or white Power Bait, fished on the bottom with a treble hook and an egg sinker.  Fishing can be really good at times, because angler use is lower than other lakes in the area.

This lake is more remote than the other Prescott area lakes and not very big.  The lake is open as weather permits.  Forest Road 104 is relatively impassable when wet.  The lake is still open to foot traffic.

Someone illegally stocked yellow bullhead into Mingus several years ago. These fish compete directly with the trout and keep growth rates very low. If you witness anyone, anywhere, moving fish like bass, bluegill, catfish and stocking them, please report it to our Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-352-0700.  Illegal stockings cost YOU money!

WATSON – The last trout stocking was the week of Feb. 13.   Folks have caught 16- to 17-inch holdover trout from the shore near the new boat launch.

Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Watson last week and found the bass, sunfish, and bullhead to be plentiful.  Crappies were also doing well.  Look for the crappie fishing to pick up in a year or two.

If you fish Watson and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR – The fishing should be slow until the water warms up I the spring. 
If you fish Willow and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.


Recommended Waters to Fish


Holdover trout fishing is excellent at Big Lake, and good at Nelson Reservoir, Black Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake and Woods Canyon Lake.  Trout stocking has begun for the season and fishing will be good at Concho Lake, Bunch Reservoir, Tunnel Reservoir, Show Low Lake, Scott Reservoir, and Woodland Lake, and for 1-pound hatchery trout at Rainbow Lake.  For fly anglers, Becker Lake is good, with reports of 24-25 inch hard fighting rainbow trout.

Trout Stocking Schedules

Trout stockings the week of April 2

*Concho Lake – 2,200 rainbow trout
*Rainbow Lake – 375 large rainbow trout (1-pound each)
*Willow Springs Lake – 1,620 rainbow trout
*Woodland Lake – 1,750 rainbow trout

Trout stocking for the week of April 9
*Black Canyon Lake – 1,641 rainbow trout
*Bunch Reservoir – 3,715 rainbow trout
*Fool Hollow Lake – 2,583 rainbow trout
*Rainbow Lake – 1,500 rainbow trout
*Rainbow Lake – 500 1-pound rainbow trout
*Scott Reservoir – 2,214 rainbow trout
*Show Low Lake – 2,952 rainbow trout
*Tunnel Reservoir – 2,763 rainbow trout
*Woodland Lake - 1,750 rainbow trout
*Woods Canyon Lake – 2,201 rainbow trout


Note:  All Rim Lakes are ice-free, however, some remain inaccessible.  Forest Road 300 on the north side of Hwy 260 is still closed, but should open in mid-April.

BEAR CANYON LAKE – Not accessible.  Forest Road 300 is still closed for the winter, but should open in mid-April.

BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good.  Forest Roads 300 and 86 are now open.  The lake is ice-free, but is very low.  Launching a boat will be very difficult.  Recent fish population surveys found a few carryover rainbow trout from 14 to 17 inches long, and a few big largemouth bass.

BLUE RIDGE (CC CRAGIN) -- Accessible and ice free. No reports from anglers. This steep-sided canyon lake is best fished from a canoe, kayak, float tube or small boat.

CHEVELON LAKE – Currently accessible only from the north.  Forest Road 504 is open from Heber to Forest Road 169.  Access from the south on Forest Road 300 is still closed for the winter, but should open in mid-April.  The lake is ice-free.  Recent fish population surveys revealed numerous rainbow trout from 11 to 14 inches, and a few brown trout ranging from 12 to 29 inches.

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is good.  Forest Road 149 is open.  The lake is ice-free and full.  Rainbow trout (1,620) were stocked last week.  The boat dock was damaged by ice over the winter and is not accessible, but it is still okay to launch boats. Besides the stockers, this is a good time to catch larger holdover trout.

WOODS CANYON LAKE – The road is open into Woods. It is also scheduled to be stocked this week, plus it should have a good population of larger holdover trout. The store and marina are also open. There are boat rentals.


Woods Canyon

I fished Woods Canyon this last weekend. The fishing was off the charts on Friday before the storm.  I was averaging 10 fish per hour. I was using a float tube to work the main body of the lake.  I was stripping green wooley buggers on a full sinking line. The fish were mostly standard stickers 7 to 11 inchers.

On Saturday the wind and snow were coming down.  The fishing was still great.  I called it a day after a few hours as it was just too cold. I would recommend this lake if you have kids as the trout are really bitting.  

Bear Canyon

I fished this for about an hour on Saturday.  Attached is a picture of the North end of the lake.  I drove in the back way on FR84.  There was about 8 inches of snow and white out conditions.  I had no luck fishing. The wind was very strong and snow was really coming down.

It will probably be a week before it is dry enough to get back to the lake. I assumed another 8 inches of snow fell all day Saturday.

I did see a few stranded vehicles. One group had no choice but to leave their truck and get it when the weather is better. I would not recommend going up until two weeks from now until the snow melts and mud dries up.  If you have 4-wheel you should be good.  If pulling a trailer definitely not.  

Thank You,
Brian V. Savoy

– Our new interactive stocking schedule will actually provide you maps of the creeks, along with the locations we stock along those creeks.

Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek, Haigler Creek and the East Verde River are were all stocked last week for the first time this year. Plus, there may be some larger hold-over trout lingering in the deeper pools. Try night crawlers, Power Bait, or small spinners, such as Mepps and Rooster Tails. Cane poles can be a lot of fun, especially for youngsters. Have them dig worms in the garden to get their own bait.

Note:  Highways 261 and 273 are still closed to vehicle access for the winter but should open in mid-April.  There is not enough snow for snowmobile access, but snowdrifts are still blocking some Forest roads.  All lakes are ice-free. 

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is good.  The lake is ice-free.  Some fly fishermen are catching trout on nymphs (midges and black woolly buggers).  Anglers have been consistently catching rainbows over 20 inches.  Becker Lake is catch-and-release only, with artificial lures and flies only with single barbless hooks.

BIG LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter but should open in mid-April.  Forest Road 249 from Alpine is open and clear to Big Lake.  The lake is ice-free and the fishing was excellent over the Easter weekend.
CARNERO LAKE – The lake is ice-free and accessible by taking Forest Road 118, then FR 117A.  There are still large snowdrifts blocking access by way of FR 117.  Carnero Lake will be surveyed this week to determine if there was a winterkill.  The lake level is about 1.5 feet down.

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is good.  The lake is almost full and was stocked last week with 2,200 rainbow trout.

CRESCENT LAKE –Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter, but should open in mid-April.  Forest Road 249 from Alpine is open and clear to Big and Crescent lakes.  The lake is ice-free.  Fish population surveys will be conducted this week to determine if the lake winterkilled.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair.  The lake will be stocked with over 2,500 rainbow trout this week.   Fool Hollow is ice-free.  Recent fish population surveys found walleye, some large northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, channel catfish, black crappie and some holdover rainbow trout.

GREER LAKES – Fishing is fair for holdover rainbow trout and wild brown trout.  River Reservoir, Bunch Reservoir, and Tunnel Reservoir are full and ice-free.  Bunch and Tunnel will both be stocked with rainbow trout this week.

HULSEY LAKE – The lake was drained immediately following the Wallow Fire to help reduce expected flooding off Escudilla Mountain and will not be stocked this year.

LEE VALLEY LAKE – Not accessible.  Highway273 is still closed for the winter, but should open by mid-April.  There is not enough snow for snowmobile access.  The lake may still have some ice cover.

LUNA LAKE – Fishing is poor.  The lake is full and ice-free.  Recent fish population surveys showed few trout are present in the lake.  Rainbow trout will be stocked soon to improve the fishing at Luna.

LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is closed to public entry and will re-open during the summer of 2012.

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair.  The lake is full and ice-free.  Anglers are catching a few holdover trout.  Recent fish population surveys found holdover rainbow trout from 13 to 18 inches long and black crappie from 7 to 14 inches.  Try fishing night crawlers or Power Bait in deep water or trolling lures or flies.

RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is fair.  The lake was stocked last week with 375 1-pound rainbow trout and will be stocked again this week with 1,500 catchable size rainbow trout and more 1-pound rainbow trout.  The lake is full and ice-free.  Recent fish population surveys revealed numerous small northern pike, bullheads, largemouth bass and sunfish, but no carryover trout.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair.  The lake will be stocked with 2,214 rainbow trout.  Scott is full and ice-free. 

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair.  The lake will be stocked with 2,952 rainbow trout this week.  Show Low is ice-free and about 6 feet down, but the boat ramp is still usable.  The road over the dam to the far fishing pier is still closed.  Boat rentals will be available soon, see the campground host.  Some of the campgrounds are open.  Walleye anglers should try fishing lures such as Rapala’s early in the morning or late evening.

WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is fair.  The lake was stocked last week with 1,750 rainbow trout and will be stocked again this week.  Woodland is full and ice-free. The trout bag and possession limit is 4 trout.

Note: Highways 261 and 273 are still closed to vehicle access for the winter, but should open by mid-April.  There is not enough snow remaining for snowmobile access.  Some Forest roads are accessible, however, some may still be blocked by snowdrifts.  

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Buffalo Crossing is accessible by way of Forest Road 26, then FR 24, from Highway 191.  The East Fork survived the Wallow Fire of 2011 much better than expected and fishing is currently good for wild brown trout.  The stream is scheduled to be stocked with hatchery trout at Buffalo Crossing in May.

WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – The lower West Fork Black River is accessible along Forest Road 25 and Forest Road 68.  This area can be reached from Buffalo Crossing (Forest Road 26 and 24 from Highway 191).  Fishing is currently poor in the lower reaches due to moderate impacts on fish populations from the Wallow Fire last year.  Wild brown trout still exist in the lower reaches, but in low numbers.  Hatchery trout are scheduled to be stocked at the Forest Road 68 crossing in May.  The upper reaches of the West Fork were not impacted by the fire.

BLACK RIVER – Fishing is poor.  The mainstem of the Black River was heavily impacted by the Wallow Fire last year.  Very few fish were found during intensive surveys last fall.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER – Fishing is fair for wild brown trout.  The mainstem Little Colorado River and West Fork LCR (Government Springs) were not impacted by the Wallow Fire last year.  Stream surveys in the fall of 2011 found numerous wild brown trout.  Hatchery trout are scheduled to be stocked in May.

SHEEPS CROSSING – Not accessible.  Highway 273 is still closed to vehicles, but should open by mid-April.  There is not enough snow for snowmobile access.  Sheeps Crossing is scheduled to be stocked in May.

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is good for holdover trout.   Silver Creek is now open to bait, artificial lures and flies with a bag and possession limit is 6 trout (April 1 through September 30).  The upper section is now closed to angling.  The closed area is well signed.  The stream is scheduled to be stocked in May.



Note: Please send me your fishing reports from Southern Arizona!  Fishing reports can be sent to Don Mitchell, Regional Fish Program Manager by email at  These reports will then be complied and reported in our weekly fishing reports.

The winter trout stocking season is pretty much over here in southern Arizona. Warm temperatures have begun to raise water temperatures and anglers can expect to start catching bass and sunfish as these become more active with the increasing temperatures.

Summer trout stocking will begin soon at Rose Canyon Lake and Riggs Flat provided water quality parameters are favorable. The summer stocking schedule for the entire state can be found here:  This schedule is updated as changes occur so check back often! The stocking schedule is now interactive, so check it out.

Need ideas on where to go fishing?  Try the Department's new interactive Fish and Boat Map: Fish and Boat Arizona

URBAN LAKES --  All Urban Program lakes and ponds in the Phoenix and Tucson were stocked with channel catfish last week. They were last stocked with 1.5-pound average channel catfish on March 23. All Urban Program waters also were stocked with feisty, 5- to 8-inch bluegill the week of March 26-31.

Fishing should be pretty good.

Catfish sizes this spring are expected to be smaller than usual, according to our Arkansas-based contractor. Catfish will run from 14 to 18 inches in length, about 1 to 2 inches shorter than usual.

Catfish will be stocked seven times through mid-June at rates averaging from 40 to 60 fish per acre. Over 13,000 pounds of Arkansas farm-raised catfish will be delivered and stocked into 20 Urban Fishing Program lakes every two weeks.

Daily limits are four catfish per person at Urban Lakes or two catfish per person at Urban Ponds (note    regulations and park signage for Lake and Pond designations).

RIGGS FLAT — Closed for the winter.     2012 Summer Stocking Schedule

CLUFF RANCH —No recent reports of success however, the pond received its last trout stocking of the winter last week.  The pond is close to being full and there should be no problems with boat launching.  For lake information call (928) 485-9430.

ROPER LAKE — The lake received its final trout stocking of the season last week.  For lake information (928) 428-6760.
DANKWORTH POND — Remains closed to access during renovation. 

FRYE MESA RESERVIOR –Anglers continue to report success in catching Gila trout.  Remember that the daily bag and possession limit for this species is 1 fish.

ARIVACA — Open to anglers, water levels are continuing to drop and it will be difficult to launch larger boats.  Use caution when launching your boat and pay attention for submerged trees and rocks that are near the surface due to low water levels.  Boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.

PENA BLANCA – Pena Blanca will receive its last trout stocking of the season this week.  Warm water fish stockings are scheduled to begin the end of April with largemouth bass, bluegill sunfish redear sunfish and channel catfish all planned to be stocked. 

PATAGONIA — Fishing is picking up with a few bass being caught in shallower water.  The spawn is close so anglers can expect to see more activity. 

PARKER CANYON — Fly anglers are reporting success as are anglers that are trolling.  Parker Canyon will received its last trout stocking for the season the week of April 2.  Contact the Parker Canyon Lake Store for up to date information on lake levels and fishing activity at or by phone at (520)455-5847.

ROSE CANYON LAKE — The gate is scheduled to open on April 13.  Currently the lake is closed to vehicle access however anglers are still able to walk to the lake.  Recent reports are that fly anglers are catching fish. The summer trout stocking schedule can be found here:  2012 Summer Stocking Schedule. 



































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