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AZGFD Fishing Report

Posted in: Fishing Report
Feb 4, 2009
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Rory’s tips;

The desert is getting ready to burst forth in colorful blooms any time now and a little extra rain from the three fronts heading our way might turn the lowlands a lush Irish green well before St. Patty's day!

Last weekend, we explored the desert and foothills surrounding Phoenix to discover that most desert washes and perennial streams had sweet clear water running, stock tanks were brimming full, and there were deep carpets of thick, lush green grass growing in the bottoms to accompany a nice green buzz on the uplands.

It looks like spring already. Keep in mind that we are gaining almost two minutes of daylight per day (the Vernal equinox is March 20).

I talked to a couple of ranchers who said they have springs flowing this year that haven’t seen much in the way of flows since the early 1990s. Things are looking up.

With back-to-back years of near record winter rainfall, anglers and hunters can expect to reap a windfall this year. The timing couldn’t’ be better.

The record rainfall and runoff of 2005 produced a strong age class of sport-fish in our central lakes, and if you count on your fingers (like me), that was four years ago. You can expect lots of 4- to 6-pound bass at places like Roosevelt, Bartlett, Alamo, and Pleasant, but it will be tough getting your lures past the vast legions of yearling bass.

Also, we have very good numbers of Gambel’s quail on the ground this year, so we might just experience a bumper crop of quail if we get a couple of more strategically timed rains and no surprise cold storms right after the prime hatching time. The Tonto Basin (a Gambel’s stronghold this year) received almost six inches of precipitation in December.

Keep your fingers (or shotguns) crossed. I can just about guarantee a bunny bonanza -- again. By the way, rabbit green chili can make you re-evaluate any preconceptions about wild game fare. Plus, you can hunt lagomorphs all year long. Just ask any of the kids from the Junior Jack Kamp in southern Arizona recently.

Okay, so much for the future.

With rain/snow expected this weekend, it’s time to exercise your trout fishing gear. The Lower Salt should be almost irresistible. Tempe Town Lake should be superb for trout, and probably not bad for largemouth bass or yellow bass. A place I love on rainy days is Oak Creek Canyon. The rains keep the tourists in their cars, and watery rivulets and waterfalls coursing over the red sandstone can create excellent photographs.

For those not afraid of heights, narrow roads, and steep drop offs, a drive up the Apache trail to fish Apache Lake might be worthwhile if we get good runoff and Fish Creek Falls gets going at the bottom of Fish Creek Hill.

Keep in mind that the National Weather Service is expecting a very cold front early next week with the possibility of snow levels dropping to around 3,000 feet in some areas, so plan your trips accordingly.

Also, I suspect that the forecasted rains will cause the Agua Fria River to flow into Lake Pleasant. If so, we can expect vast legions of staging striped bass to gravitate into the those flows. I have had some anglers say they have caught stripers with maturing eggs sacs already. Remember, the gate to Pleasant is still closed to vehicular traffic off Table Mesa Road, but you can park and hike into this great spring fishing area.

A great place to fish via boat when rains visit is Canyon Lake. A decent rain can prompt a waterfalls galore along this narrow cliff-sided reservoir. Bring rain gear and your camera. By the way, we stock Canyon with trout this time of year and it is also the land of the lunker bass.

Another rainy weekend special is fishing Roosevelt for smallmouth bass. Try along rocky islands or the rocky areas near the dam.

Farther south, I have had some nice rainy day fishing expeditions to Parker Canyon Lake. Patagonia Lake might be worth a try, and if it’s too wet to fish, stop by the local wineries for satisfying samples from the vine.

Once the three back-to-back fronts pass, expect the warmwater fish to get a little lock jaw for a day or possibly two, and then places like Alamo Lake, Roosevelt and Bartlett could fire up big time for bass and crappie.

By the way, this coming week the National Muzzleloader shoot will begin at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility (Feb. 11-15). There will be folks in coonskin caps shooting Kentucky Rifles, and even some living in Teepees – it’s way cool. Kids love it (or folks like me with an active inner child). They will also have plenty of vendors on hand so you can outfit yourself. I’ve always wanted a buckskin coat with fringe.

So get out and catch some memories. Maybe I’ll see you out there.

 

CENTRAL WATERS

URBAN LAKES -- Trout will be stocked at all Phoenix, Tucson and Payson Urban Program Lakes and Ponds this week. Trout stocking will resume at Desert West due the pH dropping within the acceptable range. 

Where:Gilbert Water Ranch Lake
When:01/27/09
Caught:trout, sunfish, and bass
Technique:shore fishing w/lures
Comments:Caught 2 trout (one at 1.35lbs), 1 small sunfish, and a very small largemouth...all put back in for others to catch. Thanks for the great stocking program!
Name:minipuz

Where:Gilbert Water Ranch Lake
When:01/27/09
Caught:trout, sunfish, and bass
Technique:shore fishing w/lures
Comments:caught 2 trout (one at 1.35lbs), 1 small sunfish, and a very small largemouth...all put back in for others to catch. thanks for the great stocking program!
Name:minipuz

 

Where:Veteran's Oasis
When:01/24/09
Caught:10 Largemouth, 1 Trout
Technique:Fly-fishing with a cone head purple wooly bugger, and a Dave's Cricket imitation at a 6" steady retrieve.
Comments:

Name:Emerson Yazzie

 

Where:Rio Vista
When:01/19/09
Caught:1 trout
Technique:worm 3 inches under bobber about a foot away from first waterfall .
Name:justin Hillis-Walthers


Where:Papago Pond #1
When:01/12/09
Caught:2 small Largemouths + 4-12'' Rainbows
Technique:Silver 1/12th oz KastMaster and 1/8th oz Blue and silver KastMaster. Green Power Bait off the bottom for an hour.
Comments:Two Largemouths bit the silver KastMaster while the trout wanted the blue/silver. They all started hitting around 9:30 a.m. and abruptly stopped at 10:45 or so. They seem to start biting again around 5 p.m. Tried the Green Power Bait but lost patience after an hour without a single nibble.

 


TEMPE TOWN LAKE – This is a trout fishing hot spot right now. Is being stocked with trout again this week. You can try the usual methods for the rainbows (baits like Power Bait, night crawlers, mealworms or try spinners and spoons such as panther martins, KastMasters…)  Remember no gas motors are allowed (electric trolling motors are) and you must have a boating permit, which can be obtained at the Town Lake operations center.

You can try the usual methods for the rainbows (baits like Power Bait, night crawlers, mealworms or try spinners and spoons such as panther martins, KastMasters…)  Remember no gas motors are allowed (electric trolling motors are) and you must have a boating permit, which can be obtained at the Town Lake operations center.

Where:Tempe Town Lake
When:01/30/09
Caught:2 Carp, wanted trout though.
Technique:Corn w/ slip sinker.
Comments:One carp was 24 inches long; the other was a little smaller. They were caught on the south side of the lake east of Scottsdale Road. The fun part; I caught them on a 4 pound test ultra lite rig.
Name:Paul


Where:Tempe Town Lake
When:01/19/09
Caught:one trout
Technique:
Everything in my bag of tricks!!!
Comments:Lots of algae!!! Water very dark.


Where:Tempe Town Lake
When:01/28/09
Caught:Nothing but a nice nap!!!
Technique:Power bait, many different lures, and red worms
Comments:But still had fun fishing with my best buddy: Walt Babnski
Name:Paul

 

Where:Tempe Town Lake
When:01/19/09
Caught:1 Largemouth, Limit of Rainbows
Technique:Rooster Tail of the bottom, Corn/Power Bait on a slip sinker rig with a short fluorocarbon leader.
Comments:The big guy, a 14-inch Bass that was released, ate a Worden's Vibric Rooster Tail in the green/frog pattern. Yo-yo it off the bottom. The Rainbows, (fast action) are eating your classics, corn and Power Bait. GOOD FISHING!
Name:Blue, Todd


Where:Tempe Town Lake
When:01/19/09
Caught:1 Trout
Technique:Bottom feed 2 hooks with red worms. Also used Power Bait but no bites
Comments:Very windy and no bits after 10:00 a.m.
Name:Paul

 


Where:Tempe Town Lake
When:01/19/09
Caught:Trout
Technique:Power Bait corn & Power Bait rainbow corn color / pink w/sparkel
Comments:
Fished East of Rural Rd on ASU side of lake. Started at 8:20 a.m. and by 10:15 a.m. Limited out!! Fished bottom 10 ft away from the wall w/ heavy weight as it was very windy. Fish are near the wall and not out in the middle of the lake. They come by in schools! Fished with my buddy Kurt Khacherian
Name:Warren Risberg

 

Where:Tempe Town Lake
When:01/16/09
Caught:2 rainbow trout
Technique:Split shot 5 inches from hook and corn for bait Fished from 2 to 4 p.m.
Comments:Looked at your Jan 14 post about Tempe Town Lake, went there and limited out in less then 2 hours. Fished off Rural Rd East side of the bridge. Lots of bites and non-stop action. No Power Bait needed!
Name:Warren Risberg


Where: Tempe Town Lake - East Dam
When:01/11/09
Caught: Lots of fish!
Technique: Diving head first into the water
Comments:2 brown pelicans were having a hay day with the trout stocked in Tempe Town Lake!

Where: Tempe Town Lake
When:01/03/09
Caught:4 trout/ 3 big carp
Technique: Corn off the bottom
Comments:  I was quick to catch the trout, first the carp hit and the fight was on good fight carp was about 10-15 lbs and it was fun. then the trout hit and that’s what I came for.
Name:pat

Where: Tempe Town Lake
When: 01/01/09
Caught: rout
Technique: corn, Power Bait
Comments: Fished for about 2 hours.....caught limit....doubled productivity of fishing partner! He had lots of trouble setting hook!
Name: Julie Smith


LAKE PLEASANT - Water elevation is 1,674 ft, which is 70-percent full. 
The northern coves are producing white and striped bass with live shad, anchovies and minnows in shallow water.

Fishermen trolling jigs, grubs and minnows in the same areas and catching a few crappies.  White lures and spinnerbaits seem to get the attention of the whites. Largemouth are susceptible back there when the shad boil.  Stripers are also in the coves and Aqua Fria chasing shad in the evenings.


Where:Lake Pleasant
When:01/24/09
Caught:Not a single thing
Technique:Rat-L-Traps, Rapalas, other various cranks... As well as some plastics and other odds and ends
Comments:Conditions were terrible to start off with since it was raining at sun up, but to top it off the water was around 55 degrees and there was a huge algae bloom across the whole lake. Fished for a solid 5 hours and didn't get a single thing. Talked to other people out there who were reporting the same. Don't waste your time right now, gotta wait for that water to get warmer!
Name:Jeremy H

 


Where:Lake Pleasant
When:01/16/09
Caught:9-pound striper
Technique:anchovie chunks from shore
Comments:that was the only fish I caught but a buddy caught 3 catfish about 2-3 lbs
Name:Brian Davis

 


ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake Elevation is 2,150 ft (99-percent full).  Tonto Creek runoff is at 74 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 773 cfs.

All boaters take heed anglers have witnessed the big dirt wall in Why cove sloughing off into the water.  That wall is unstable and could swamp your boat or worse if you have the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Anglers are catching crappie while trolling with minnows and jigs.  Water temperature is in the mid 50’s. 

One bass angler had a great day on the Tonto end using 1/2oz white blades.  Fish the points.

 

Where:Roosevelt
When:01/28/09
Caught:1 bass, multiple trees
Technique:Everything. Crankbait finally did it
Comments:There from sunup to sundown. Rough day for catching fish.
Name:gb


Where:Roosevelt
When:01/26/09
Caught:6 largemouth 1 smallmouth
Technique:I’ve fished Pleasant, Bartlett, and Roosevelt.  Roosevelt is the place to use ROBOWORMS on a "Carolina Rig"; you can’t go wrong.  I just sat with a beer and flipped it every few minutes don’t reel it in just let it sit and remember fish are slow this time of year....good luck
Comments:Went to Pleasant the other day and no results but Bartlett is not bad. The best lake to fish is Roosevelt, just go and let the bass prove it.
Name:Ryan


Where:Roosevelt Lake
When:01/24/09
Caught:2 Crappie 3 Largemouth
Technique:Both crappie and one bass were caught slow trolling minnows. The other two bass were caught on white and chartreuse spinnerbaits.
Comments:The bass caught on a minnow was under the slot and the two caught on spinner baits were in the slot. Saw a good bass caught on another boat with a red Senko on a drop shot.
Name:Joe Freye

Where:Roosevelt
When:01/30/09
Caught:10 crappies 1.5 to 2.75 lbs.
Technique:Trolling 1/8 oz. jigs in 30 to 40 feet of water.
Comments:Weather was windy, had to troll with the wind. fished from 11:00am to 6:00pm
Name:David L. Taylor


A couple anglers fished the Tonto end and caught 3 largemouth bass on spinnerbaits and plastic worms.

 

APACHE - Lake elevation is 1911 ft (97 percent full).

An angler caught a nice bass shore fishing near the main boat launch using worms.  Bluegills are also taking worms near the marina. The lakes are beginning to warm up a bit so fish will be looking for tasty treats as their metabolism ramps up.  Try shallow points and if you have a thermometer look for the warmest water. 

Fishing should be good for yellow bass down by the dam. Yellow bass should hit jigs and spoons. Fish for them around balls of shad in 20-60 feet of water. Cut bait also works well for them.

Remember, as of Jan. 1, you are only allowed to possess one largemouth or smallmouth bass between 13 and 16 inches and all bass harvested (caught and kept) must be gutted only so the legal length can be determined.  All other fish such as crappie, catfish and bluegill harvested from the lake must have a piece of skin attached to the fillets so species can be determined.

 

CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,658 ft, which is 96-percent full.
Shore anglers are catching largemouth bass, bluegill and yellow bass on the fishing dock at Boulder Recreation area.  Don’t forget the new slot limit where you can keep one largemouth in the 13 to 16 inch slot.  Mormon Flat is good for boat anglers along with Teddy Bear and Beaver Landing. 

Where:Canyon Lake
When:01/28/09
Caught:2 Catfish 5lbs. each (channels)
Technique:Generic processed cheese.
Comments:We forgot our net, so we had to bring them up on the boat with our hands (thankfully we had gloves)
Name:Adam Combs


Where:Canyon
When:01/08/09
Caught:One teeny weeny bass
Technique:Robo worm (green) tough day on the lake, no-one we talked to had any luck at all. The lake remains beautiful with lots of debris on the surface.
Comments:Thing are going to improve soon.
Name:Charles Greco


SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation 1526 feet at 94% full. 
Anglers seem to be happy with the fish coming back at Saguaro.  There are some real nice decent sized largemouth, but don’t forget the new slot limit where you can keep one largemouth in the 13 to 16 inch slot, and big bluegill are readily taking worms and the yellow bass bite is good as well.   Catfish are a bit lethargic but not impossible to catch.
One angler reported water temperature of 56 degrees with 3-4 foot visibility.  He caught 5 largemouth bass in four hours using skirted jigs, and c-rigged plastic worms.  Fish were 12 to 14 feet in depth along cliffs in the main lake. 
 
Where:Saguaro
When:01/23/09
Caught:twenty five blue gills large size
Technique:drop shot with live worms
Comments:Bluegills were really huge was wondering why?
Name:Bill Howard

Where:Saguaro Lake
When:01/25/09
Caught:1 largemouth, 1 yellow, 12 bluegill
Technique:Jigging live worms and minnows off the bottom (and under bobbers) about 20 feet down.
Comments:Bite was ok from 9am to 10am. Most were caught from 3-5pm. Near Butcher Jones. No luck with plastics or crankbaits
Name:Andy E

Where:Saguaro Lake
When:01/31/09
Caught:1 Largemouth Bass, 1 Bluegill, 2 Rainbow Trout
Technique:Bass: Size 2 hook and worms; bluegill: bobber, size 6, worms; Trout: size 6 and worms off the bottom with drop shot. We had a catfish line out with a size 2 and liver, but no joy.
Comments:Rainbows swallowed the hooks, both about 10" fish. We were fishing off the fishing docks by the marina (1st dock). Try for a size 8 hook or larger on the trout, they seem to be swallowing everything!
Name:Catherine

Where:Saguaro
When:01/29/09
Caught:LM Bass
Technique:Partner and I used Robo worms on the drop shot to produced 28 fish, some in the 1 1/2 2 lb range. Finally
Comments:Searched for balls of bait fish away from the shore and found them in thirty to forty ft of water, dropped the bait down and wallah! All fish returned to their moms for another day.
Name:CJ Greco

Where:Saguaro Lake
When:01/30/09
Caught:one smallmouth bass
Technique:Bomber crankbait
Comments:not many fish on the fish finder; windy
Name:John C. Davis

 

Where:
saguaroWhen:
01/23/09Caught:
twenty five blue gills large size
Technique:drop shot with live worms
Comments:blue gills were really huge was wondering why?
Name:bill howard

Where:Saguaro Lake
When:01/25/09
Caught:1 largemouth, 1 yellow, 12 bluegill
Technique:Jigging live worms and minnows off the bottom (and under bobbers) about 20 feet down.
Comments:Bite was ok from 9am to 10am. Most were caught from 3-5pm. Near Butcher Jones. No luck with plastics or crankbaits
Name:Andy E

 

Where:Saguaro
When:01/22/09
Caught:Fourteen LM bass
Technique:Drop shots with a purple Robo Worm, still catching small little guys but soon to improve.
Comments:Fished in the rain most of the day and had a wonderful day. Caught lots more fish than of late and sent them all home to their moms.
Name:CJ Greco

 


Where:Saguaro
When:01/13/09
Caught:LM Bass
Technique:Net
Comments:Two LM Bass were stuck together. One (11 inch) bass tried to eat the other (9 inch) bass. The smaller bass was stuck up to its gills in the larger bass mouth. They were flopping around on the surface. I netted the fish and when they were in the boat they fell to the bottom and broke apart. I put the one that had its mouth wide open back into the water and it swam away. They other bass didn't look as lively, but when I put it into the water, it swam away. I have never seen a fish that tried to eat one about its own size. I have a couple pictures; tell me where to send them.
Name:Rick Karpinske

Where:Saguaro - Near Butcher Jones
When:01/11/09
Caught:1 White 3 Largemouth and 7 blue gill
Technique:We (5 of us) went old school with worms and minnows under bobbers or jigging the live bait right off the bottom.
Comments:The bass were 9-10 inches. The bluegill was mixed. We were all just happy to finally catch a few fish!!! Next time we plan to try dropshots in the same area.
Name:Andy E


When:01/10/09
Caught:Largemouth
Technique:Drop Shot and Carolina Rig
Comments:We caught 9 fish in 6 hours. Most after 3 PM. One was an over (17"). Most were caught on drop shot.
Name:Michael Rathgeber

A couple experienced anglers fished from 10 to 3:30 and caught 9 yellow bass between 9 and 8 inches, 2 bluegill and 8 largemouth bass.  All fish were caught on KastMaster spoons.  Two good sites were Teddy Bear and Bagley flat.  The fish were all around 25 to 30 feet in depth. 


BARTLETT LAKE –  The runoff slowed significantly this past week, but could pick up again if we get more moisture in the watershed.
Lake elevation is 1,774 ft, which is 67-percent full.  Reservoir release is 100 cfs.


Where:Bartlett Lake
When:01/31/09
Caught:nothing
Technique:spinners and plastics
Comments:Didn't see any fish but did see what appeared as a fairly large otter; it got within just a few feet of my line. Another shore angler said his dog chased it a bit earlier.
Name:Tony

Where:BARTLETT
When:01/24/09
Caught:2 LARGEMOUTHS
Technique:WORM 2-3 FT UNDER A SLIP BOBBER OFF A ROCKY POINT IN RATTLESNAKE COVE. ALSO USED A SPINNERBAIT
Comments:LATE AFTERNOON BITE WAS DECENT. WATCH FOR SHAD BOILS AND THE BASS ARE CHASING RIGHT BEHIND THEM IN THE LATE AFTERNOON.
Name:LEWIS HUNT

 

Where:Bartlett
When:01/21/09
Caught:1 blue gill,2 small bass,1 catfish and 1 crappie
Technique:1/64th ounce jig that I tie myself w/ a minnow trolling
Comments:very tough fishing at Bartlett
Name:Brian Davis

Where:bartlett
When:01/19/09
Caught:nothing but rock,stick & moss
Technique:everything but dynamite& shock therapy
Comments:nice day, but everyone on the lake said & had the same resaults

Where:bartlett
When:01/21/09
Caught:1 bluegill,2 small bass,1 catfish and 1 crappie
Technique:1/64th ounce jig that i tie myself w/ a minnow trolling
Comments:very tough fishing at bartlett
Name:Brian Davis


HORSESHOE LAKE -- Lake elevation is at 1,988 feet, 28-percent full.  They are releasing water at 400 cfs.

VERDE RIVER – It looks like the snow melt and runoff has come early. The Verde River flow at Tangle is has dwindled to 367 feet per second, which is still a little above normal for this time of year.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 100 cfs.

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake)  -- Flows are currently 375 cfs. For the first time this year, the entire 14-mile length of the Lower Salt is available for fishing. We stocked the Water Users Area (just below the dam where the tubers put in) and the Blue Point Bridge (the only Verde River crossing for Bush Highway) with rainbow trout two weeks ago and it will be stocked again this week. If the expected weather front comes, expect very good fishing there this weekend – bring your slicker and waders.

Some anglers have caught largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and even channel catfish while targeting trout. The Lower Salt can be a smorgasbord of fishing opportunities – think inside and outside the trout fishing tackle box. Night crawlers and/or corn might get you trout and other fish (such as cats and carp). Keep in mind that because of the food source and their diet, trout can feed heavily on insect-like offerings.

We will stock every two weeks from now through the end of spring when water temperatures increase and dissolved oxygen levels decrease. This is shaping up to be our best trout fishing season here since 2005.

Because of the overly-abundant food supply (lots of insect larvae etc.), the trout will grow super fast here. The hold-over trout not readily caught will look like small footballs in a month or so, so keep this fishery close to Phoenix on you’re a-list.

With the increased popularity of fishing pontoons, float tubes, kayaks and other self-propelled fishing devices, lots of anglers should be able to take advantage of this primo opportunity to fish from the Water Users to Blue Point Bridge. Obviously, two vehicles or some creative transportation efforts are needed.

According to AZ Fly Fishing  - Fly fishermen are having good luck using egg patterns, San Juan worms, green weenies, nymph patterns and there are some mayfly hatches in midday so try mayflies in the afternoons. 
For spin anglers, try night crawlers or meal worms with little or no weight cast slightly upstream into the riffles, then let the worm float naturally downstream, mending your line as it moves. Also, small spinners (Mepps, Rooster Tails and Vibrex) cast slightly downstream can work well. Some anglers are adept at catching trout in the river using Power Bait, but most find it difficult to use. Plus, Power Bait might not get you action from bass and other sport fish.

Where:Lower Salt River - Water Users
When:02/01/09
Caught:3 Trout
Technique:Fished a Panther Martin where the current meets calmer water.
Comments:Got nothing to bite on any flies but saw another fly fisherman catch at least 3 on stoneflies.
Name:Joe Freye


Where:Lower Salt River - water users area
When:01/23/09
Caught:1 rainbow trout
Technique:Fly fishing with an olive wooly booger.
Comments:Had a second fish hooked on the wooly booger but failed to land it. I tried a caddis fly but had no bites. Before dusk I moved to Blue Point and had no luck.
Name:Joe Freye

Where:Lower Salt
When:01/23/09
Caught:4 rainbows
Technique:I used a small wet fly, a "spider" with gold body that resembled a nymph when wet. 4wt TFO fly rod. Largest trout 11.5"
Name:Steve Rubicam


Where:Salt River - main bridge area just below Lake Saguaro
When:01/24/09
Caught:1 (very) small largemouth bass
Technique:x5 fly line setup w/ size 2 ghost silver/red minnow pattern w/ medium tempo stip.
Comments:Fished 6:45-2:30 with only one other hit. Used every imaginable technique, pattern, etc... Saw many fish jumping up approx 1mi from the main area. Not a big fish catching day, but none less beautiful day to be on out in the amazing Arizona outdoors!
Name:Brandon


CREEKS – The snow melt and early runoff has tapered off quite a bite, and most streams are running a little more clear right now but the roads can be muddy. Anticipated precipitation can change this equation – we’ll have to wait and see.

Haigler Creek – Access could be tough. Flows are up. No report from anglers.

Canyon Creek – Could be worth a visit, but four-wheel drive and decent mud and snow tires might be wise. There should be some hatches as a result of the warmer weather; try nymphs and mayflies. Not impossible though as many experienced anglers will attest.  There are browns and rainbows.

Tonto Creek – Still Fishing pretty good right now – use nymphs on a dry dropper rig with a beadhead. 

Christopher Creek – Still Fishing pretty good right now – use nymphs on a dry dropper rig with a beadhead. The flows have increased, expect the water to be a little turbid, but it may be possible for experienced anglers to catch some wily hold-over trout. It could be a fun challenge.

East Verde - No reports. Flows are up.

Workman Creek – No reports. Flows are up.

HORSETHIEF BASIN LAKE – Probably not worth driving to just for fishing, but it might be worth a visit if you are prowling the Bradshaw Mountains and want to wet a line for some small sunfish or bass.

COLORADO RIVER NORTHWEST
LAKE POWELL -- By Wayne Gustaveson, Utah Division of Wildlife: The yearly summary is very bright. Shad made a tremendous comeback in 2008. They fed the rising generation of game fish left over after the old generation passed out of the picture in shad-poor 2007. Young stripers grew rapidly, doubling in weight from 1.5 to 3 pounds from spring to fall. Some trophy stripers remain and continue to pack on pounds but the bulk of the population weighs in at 3-4 pounds and is primed to produce a bumper crop of stripers in 2009.
 
Striped bass hatched in 2009 will survive on plankton early in the year and may eat some shad in summer and fall if shad are abundant. The main predatory impact of the new striped bass overpopulation will not be felt until 2010. Striped bass fishing in 2009 will be great for large numbers of 4-pound fish. If shad are scarce, bait fishing will be excellent. If shad are abundant in 2009, then stripers will grow to 6-pounds before the predation induced forage crash occurs in 2010.


LEES FERRY – Fishing report courtesy Lees Ferry Anglers. Today’s Fly Fishing: The last report I received was on 1-22-09 by Natalie Jensen. She reported the fishing as great! They caught fish all day bouncing glo-bugs. Every now and again the fish would get wise to the glo-bug so she would switch over to a San Juan worm and pick up a few more fish then switch back to the glo- bug.

They caught a lot of fish in the 17-inch range, some larger and a few smaller as well. All in all she reported one of her best days guiding. Along with the fish they caught they had a very fun day.

Walk in: I have not received any new reports for this section in the last few days. Last I heard fishing was good. Early morning is best for this area, once the water peaks it will slow down until evening. San Juan worms, glo –bugs, and black and silver zebra midges are the flies of choice. If you have fished this section please e- mail a report to us and I will gladly pass it along to the others.

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: anglers@leesferry.com Attn. Lees Ferry Fishing Report. We would be happy to have your input, and pass it along !!!

Spin Fishing: Had one guide out a few days ago. She reported having a great day, using mostly glo bugs and san juan worms. Also, black and olive jigs are very effective. Stop by and check out the rig for bottom bouncing and we will fill you in on whatever else is happening.
Ted Welling, Lees Ferry Anglers & Cliff Dwellers Lodge

Fishing Synopsis and Forecast by Terry Gunn 11/12/08
Recent Fishing Conditions: At a time when just about everything you read is bearing bad news, it gives me great pleasure to bring you some good news: The fishing at Lees Ferry is not just good, it’s great!

The fish are in the best shape and size that I have seen in several years and everything points to this being a trend that I expect to continue. Fishing is just going to get better and better as 2009 arrives….  Isn’t it great to hear some good news for a change!

Not only is the fishing upriver great but rumor has it that the Walk-in area is fishing extremely well. One other thing; there has been no one here…come up (you can probably book a guide for tomorrow) and see the best fishing in years and you will likely have the river to yourself. Read on for the full story.    

LAKE MEAD – Lake Mead water levels continue to creep up to around 1,112 feet above msl.  Fishing remains on the slow side from Temple Bar up through Greggs Basin.  An occasional striper is being caught down below 40-feet on anchovies. 

Launching conditions at South Cove have remained nearly the same for the last three months.  The new concrete ramp the National Park Service just completed is two lanes with cones marking the edges. Use caution not to go off the sides of the metal extensions at either side. National Park Service is working to keep the ramp open. 

Important notice: With the recent 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 azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level is around 641 feet above msl is the current elevation.  Fishing has been slow here as well as at Mead but the stripers that do get caught are fat and happy.

The fish cleaning station at Katherine’s landing is not working. National Park service is repairing it, but it will be several weeks before it is up and running.

Lots of bass and bluegill located on fish habitat in 10-15 ft.  As the aquatic vegetation has died off, the fish have consolidated around submerged trees and brush. 

Biologists from both Arizona Game and Fish Department and Nevada Division of Wildlife have continued to install fish habitat in both Carp Cove and Box Cove.  The largemouth, 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 mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

Important notice: With the recent 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 www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

WILLOW BEACH - Trout are stocked every Friday.  Fishing has been pretty good for trout.    Most of the success has been coming from or around the new pier. Try using green Power Worms, or salmon eggs. 

Important notice: With the recent 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 mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

TOPOCK MARSH – Water level should be down for the winter, so be careful while launching.  The fishing has been slow. 
Golden shores and Game and Fish held a kids fishing clinic at five mile landing on Saturday  October  11th.  This is the second year this event has been held.  The kids had fun.  Some catfish and bass were caught.

Game and Fish biologists surveyed the Marsh starting on the week of Jan. 15.  The largemouth bass population was observed to be very healthy, as well as channel catfish.  Crappie were also present, but in smaller numbers.

You can access the marsh by boat at 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 http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/havasu/index.html.

Important notice: With the recent 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 www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM –The striper bite has been slow. Trout are stocked once a month at both Davis camp and the Riverside. Look for the trout fishing to be good immediately following the stocking.
 
Water levels on the river fluctuate, so be careful. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions http://www.usbr.gov/lc/riverops.html before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

Important notice: With the recent 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 www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

 

 

SOUTHWESTERN ARIZONA
LAKE HAVASU -- Lake Level 446.80

Report courtesy John Galbraith of Anglers Pro Shop, Lake Havasu City: Striped bass bite continues to be good during dark pre dawn hours using stump jumpers, white Rat-L-Traps and Sassy Shads.  Shad continue to school up near Thompson Bay & Havasu Springs.  Daylight bite slower with limits coming on trolled anchovies using 1.5 to 3oz. banana sinkers, jigging strata spoons in suspended schools of stripers chasing
shad.

Smallmouth bass hitting wacky-rigged (hook in the center) soft plastics, LV500 Rat-L-Traps and 8 to 12 foot diving crankbaits.  Fish SLOWLY as the strike zone of a bass this time of year is about 12 inches.

Fishing report for courtesy Karen Coats, Sandpoint Bait and Tackle Shop: Anglers have been hunting but the javelina seasons are winding down, so I expect them to get back out on the water this week. Fishermen aren’t the only ones absent on the river. Very few fish of any species have even been spotted. However, the weather is warming which should inspire the fish to bite and anglers to fish.  I’ve heard the crappie bite in the Topock Marsh is winding down. The other day only three crappies for two fishermen where seen exiting Five Mile Landing. 


ALAMO LAKE – Report Courtesy Mark Knapp, Alamo Lake State Park.

Well folks, I'm happy to say it looks like it's going to be a good year of fishing.  Bass fishing is starting to pick up. I went out last week, boated 16 and missed about 5 or 6.  I was using a Texas-rigged lizard. Any dark color will work. The bass are in 2 to 15 foot of water.  Other anglers are reporting some decent catches using training wheels. ( crankbaits and spinnerbaits)   Color does not seem to matter. When they‘re on they-re on.

CRAPPIE fishing is decent.  Anglers are averaging 10 to 20 a day.  Same old drill from now until May; load up on some minnows and roadrunner jigs and head up to the far end of the lake.  Look for the giant cluster and try to fit in.

Cat fishing by boat is o.k. way up in the river bed area. Night crawlers, live minnows, shrimp or hot dogs should do the trick.

Shore fishing is slow.  One angler did manage to catch a blue gill and a cat fish using night crawlers off the main ramp area.

Well it saddens me to say someone has gone through Cholla campground during the wee hours of the night and have been stealing fishing poles and tackle boxes right out of boats.  This has happened twice in the last couple of weeks.  Until I can catch them you need to make sure and put everything away at night.  Lock your generator to your rig or something.   If you camp out here and see or hear something suspicious,  please let me know at the Ranger Station.  Any information will be helpful.  This really honks me off when this happens and hopefully I can put an end to this fairly quickly.

Like I have mentioned, the store is up and running.  We’re starting to get our orders in and have every thing from some cool Alamo Lake State Park T-shirts to ice cream. We have limited boating supplies like life jackets, throw cushions, boat plugs, and boat oil.  We also sell some microwavable stuff like mini pizzas and burritos.  And we have a few selections of spinnerbaits and plastics.  Fishing supplies are limited though so bring your favorites with yah.  I will say though that the stuff we’re selling works well on this lake.  I no longer go home and have bad dreams about cash registers, so I have either gone completely numb, or I'm starting to get it together.  Maybe a little of both.

The lake level is at 1m123 with releases of 25 cfs.  Both ramps work just fine.  That's all I got.  Mark

Where:Alamo Lake
When:01/17/09
Caught:3 - 2lb - 3lb Largemouth Bass and more.
Technique:Drifted past north lake points approaching into the sun and into the breeze...15-20 feet of water...using smoke colored 6 in. Lizard by Zoom. Also hooked good numbers on a bluegill colored 6 in worm by Zoom.
Comments:Arrived on main spot at 10AM - off the lake by 2:30PM- too windy
Name:Jason Whitaker


Where:Alamo
When:01/02/09
Caught:Catfish
Technique:Worm on Red and Green Jig heads
Comments:My son and I got on the lake about 11 a.m. fished in a bay with no luck, we went to a tree at the mouth of the bay. Dropped the jig head with worm down into the tree. My son caught 17 and I caught 21 we missed about 20 they hit like Bluegil real light. All were 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pound. We let them all go back to grow to 5 & 6 pounders
Name:Bob Zvara

Where:Alamo
When:01/03/09
Caught:Afternoon
Technique:Junebug colored Berkley worms.
Comments:Cove on North side of lake. Caught 3 large mouth bass. Caught 1 catfish on live worm.
Name:Monty


SOUTHWESTERN WATERS (Winter Outlook 2008-2009):

Winter Outlook 2009:

Alamo Lake:

The lake level rose six feet in December due to tremendous runoff that also filled the lake with nutrients. The lake elevation continues to be good, at 1120-1125 feet, and both the main and Cholla ramps will be usable.

Largemouth bass are present in all sizes and fishing is expected to be good to excellent throughout the winter.  Fall surveys showed a significant number of bass growing out of the slot, and there are many smaller fish below the slot.  Apparently we have had very good spawns the past two years, as there are plenty of young bass in the population.

Crappies are also doing OK and should be good throughout the winter.

There are an impressive number of channel catfish in Alamo Lake, especially in the upper portion of the lake.  Many of these are on the small side, but there are significant numbers in the 2 to 3-pound size range, as well as occasional individuals of 7 to 8 pounds, and larger.

There are other fish present such as bluegill, redear sunfish, tilapia and carp that are a lot of fun to catch.  During the fall surveys we noted an abundance of decent-sized redear sunfish, up to a pound. This species commonly reaches sizes of over two pounds, although we have not yet observed redear sunfish of this size in Alamo Lake. 

All types of bait, plastics, spinnerbaits and topwater lures should work.  As the weather cools off, try slowly working plastics in deeper water for bass.  For channel catfish any of the prepared catfish baits will work, as well as chicken livers or your own secret concoctions. 

Although the store at Alamo Lake is still closed at this point, the Alamo Lake State Park is planning on having it open by the first of the calendar year.  The store will be operated by the Park.

Gas, bait, ice and limited supplies and tackle will be available.  You should plan on bringing with you any supplies you will need, in case the store does not open as planned, or does not carry what you need.  If you run short of anything, you might be able to pick it up at the Wayside Inn in Wayside, or in Wenden. The certified scale is presently located at the Alamo Lake State Park office, but will likely be moved to the store (which is located in the same location as the old store), once that facility is open.

Lake Havasu & Topock Gorge:

Fishing for largemouth bass, as well as smallmouth bass, is expected to be fair. The size will range from 13 inches and up with an occasional fish greater than 4 pounds.  Striped bass will continue to be excellent for small fish (12-18 inches) with occasional fish over 8 pounds.

The lake is also full of smaller stripers, which will make it challenging to catch the larger fish.

Channel catfish as well as bluegill & redear sunfish will be fair to good. Flathead catfish fishing should be fair at the lower end of the lake (Bill Williams River Arm) through the fall. Sizes of flathead catfish can reach as high as 40 pounds. When fishing for them select the interior points in the coves and the areas where artificial structure has been placed.

The cooler weather causes the bite to slow down so it is important to work your lures more slowly and in deeper water.  Put away your topwater lures and switch to plastics, crank baits, spinner baits, jigs, cut fish, live shad, etc.  

Colorado River (Parker Strip Area):

Smallmouth bass with fish over two pounds in size are expected to be fair this winter.  In addition, redear sunfish should also be fair 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 are always fair in this section of the Colorado River.  Below the dam, striper fishing should also be fair, using live shad or anchovies this winter.

This stretch of the river will be low during the month of January so access will be limited.  The good news is that the fish will be concentrated during that time period.

Colorado River (between Palo Verde Diversion Dam and Walter's Camp):

This area should be fair for both smallmouth bass (in the channel) and largemouth bass (in the backwaters) throughout the entire area. Channel and flathead catfish are always fair to good in this section of the Colorado River. Most of the flathead catfish will be in the 2 to 5 pound size range with an occasional fish over 30 pounds. The time for fishing for both species of catfish is in the evening to midnight.  

Colorado River (between Walter's Camp and Picacho State Park):

This section of the Colorado River is relatively remote and can only be accessed by boat from either end. Fishing is expected to be fair to good for flathead catfish with sizes over 40 pounds. The best time for fishing for both species of catfish will be in the evening to midnight.  Largemouth bass and bluegill are also present in the various backwaters and slack water areas. Other species available in the main river are smallmouth bass and striped bass.

Colorado River (between Picacho State Park and Imperial Dam):

This area is expected to be fair to good for largemouth bass, channel catfish, and flathead catfish. Bass and channel catfish in excess of 5 pounds are present along with flathead catfish as large as 40 pounds. Bluegill are also present in the various backwaters and an occasional striped bass will be caught in the main river channel.

Colorado River (between Laguna and Morelos dams):

This area will be fair for largemouth bass and flathead catfish. Bass in excess of 5 pounds are common and flathead catfish over 20 pounds are a good bet. In this area accessibility to the river is dependent on the amount of water being released. Usually shallow draft boats work the best. The lower end has had some dredging work done and larger boats may be able to get on the river in that area.

With the increase in border issues and illegal activity on the lower end of this stretch, we recommend exercising extreme caution, avoiding nighttime use, or even staying away from the area altogether (Pilot Knob to Moreles Dam).


Regional Hot Spots:

Alamo Lake will be the hot spot for largemouth bass and channel catfish.  There are many fish in the lake at the present time (especially channel catfish), and keeping some to eat will not impact the population in the slightest, and will perhaps even enhance it.  Next choice would be Lake Havasu for striped bass, Lake Havasu and the Parker Strip for smallmouth bass, and Martinez Lake and Imperial Division backwaters for largemouth bass.   For the die-hard flathead catfish angler, large catfish can still be caught from Walter’s Camp down to Imperial Dam, although fishing likely won’t be as effective as in the warmer months.

If you need any additional information or assistance don't hesitate to contact the Yuma Regional office at (928) 341-4052 and we will be happy to give you whatever information we have.

 


CENTRAL MOUNTAINS
Note: Snow and rain, with more snow and rain. Access is likely difficult. Expect ice on the lakes, even if just around the rims.
Williams Lakes:  

KAIBAB LAKE — Campground area is closed. 

CATARACT LAKE — Campgrounds are closed. Must walk in to fish 

CITY RESERVOIR — No report.  

DOGTOWN LAKE — Campground area is closed.

JD DAM — Road is open. 

RUSSEL TANK - No reports.

SANTA FE — Lake is full.       

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campgrounds are closed.
Flagstaff Lakes:

LOWER LAKE MARY — Dry, but with more precipitation, might fill again this coming season.

UPPER LAKE MARY — The lake is full but expect ice cover.
 
ASHURST LAKE — The lake is full. Access is apparently closed. Probably ice covered.

FRANCIS SHORT POND – No report. Likely ice covered.

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Access conditions unknown.  Road is likely closed.

MARSHALL LAKE — Access conditions unknown.  Road is likely closed.

OAK CREEK — Was running clear earlier this week. A storm front is expected by the weekend. A few small rainbow trout are being caught on flies. 

LONG LAKE — Lake is open but access may be questionable.  Water level is good.  Lake has been stocked.  This lake was producing some nice trout and pike last fall, so might be worth a try this spring.

Where:Long Lake, Lake Mary, Ashurst
When:01/20/09
Caught:Not fishable
Technique:Imagination!!
Comments:Forest Service said the road to long lake was closed. Lake Mary is frozen over and Ashurst road is closed and snow covered. Good thing we live in Sedona.
Name:Chuck


SOLDIERS & SOLDIERS ANNEX — No reports.

BEAVER CREEK — No report. Scheduled for stocking the week of March 9. It is possible to pick up some holdover trout in the creek well upstream from the crossing.

WEST CLEAR CREEK — No report. Was last stocked in the fall and won’t be stocked again until the week of March 9. However, this stream can have some nice holdover fish in the deeper pools upstream in the rugged canyon..

STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.

Verde Valley

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – These ponds were stocked last week and will be stocked again this week. Fishing in general has been very good.  Some anglers are catching their limit in as little as 15 minutes. If you are willing to fish all day you should be able to get a limit.  Trout were stocked last week.  The stockings have been so frequent that any day is a good day to fish, even the day before the stockings.  Try using white Power Bait or small spinners. 


VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – Trout are scheduled to be stocked this week, the week of Feb 2nd.; 2,400 rainbows will be stocked into all four sites.  Those sites are Tuzigoot Bridge, just down from the Dead Horse Bridge or “Jacks”, Bignotti Beach or the Thousand Trails site, and the bridge out of Camp Verde.  

Prescott Area

FAIN LAKE — Trout were last stocked the week of Jan. 20; 1,325 rainbow trout went in without a hitch.  Trout  are scheduled to be stocked again the week of Feb 9.

Anglers targeting trout were successful. Trout fishing is best immediately following the stocking.  Power Bait is usually the hot ticket.  Catfish and sunfish were stocked the week of June 23.  For trout try using spinners or bright colored Power Bait. 

GOLDWATER LAKE —Trout are scheduled to be stocked the week of Feb. 16. The last trout stocking was Nov. 11.  You may want to try using KastMasters.  If that does not work, try worms or Power Bait.  Some days the fishing seems to be better than other days as well. Catfish and bass were stocked the week of Sept. 15th. 

Where:Goldwater Lake
When:01/29/09
Caught:7 Chubby Trout
Technique:Split shot bounced off the bottom with half a night crawler. Also,Wollybugger, black sparkled, slow reel and twitch, light split shot.
Comments:Started about 10:30 am, slow till 11:30, only one taker. From noon to 2:30 had 2 to 3 flurries of multiple strikes. Afternoons seem best at this serene lake.
Name:Ron Gioia


Game and Fish biologists weighed a 22-pound channel catfish that was caught at Goldwater in March.  On July 11, a 26-pound catfish was caught on a hotdog and an 11-pound catfish was caught since then.  While the number of catfish is low, the quality is exceptional.  Bluegills were stocked Feb 25. 

Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Goldwater on Sept. 16, 2008  and found the trout and sunfish plentiful. While the number of catfish was low, the quality was exceptional. One 19lbs and a 14lbs catfish was sampled and released. No bass were sampled this year. If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

Granite Basin - Bluegill and bass are plentiful in this lake.  The aquatic vegetation has not been bad this year making fishing this lake easier than normal. The bite should be pretty slow all winter.  If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.


LYNX LAKE — Rainbow trout are scheduled for stocking this week. Some of the brook trout stocked during winter last year are still showing up.  Try using chartreuse Power Bait on the bottom for these pretty little fish.  Catfish were stocked June 9 and again on June 25.  Try using night crawlers or hot dogs for the catfish. 

Game and Fish Biologists installed PVC fish structures on Jan. 3.  These structures should protect small fishes from predation.  Some 7-inch brook trout were in February and 5-inchers in September. Game and Fish stocked catfish the week of June 4. There were 200 pounds of bluegill stocked on March 29. Game and Fish biologists surveyed Lynx in May and found that the brook trout stocked in September 2006 were still present.

MINGUS LAKE – Mingus was stocked the week of Oct. 20.  This was the last scheduled stocking until spring.  The best bait has been orange or pink Power Bait, fished on the bottom with a treble hook and an egg sinker. Fishermen using night crawlers grass hoppers and flies have also reported doing well.

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 – NO NEW REPORTS: Bass, Bluegill and catfish are common in this lake. One angler reported seeing several 5lb catfish recently.  Another angler reported catching 3-8 nice bass per evening on green or chartreuse “woolly bugers.”  As the water begins to cool this will slow, so get them while you can.  Crappies are found in low numbers. Bullheads are easily caught using a small piece of worm. 

Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Watson on Sept. 17, 2008  and found the bass,  sunfish, and bullhead to be plentiful.  Crappie are 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 mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.


WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR – NO NEW REPORTS: Bass, bluegill, and bullhead are plentiful.  Most of the bluegills are on the small side, but the bullhead are thick.  If you fish Willow and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.


MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
Note: Ice cover can be expected on most higher mountain lakes and streams. Ice should be considered unsafe at this time of the year. The gates on interior forest roads are closed at this time. Contact the US Forest Service’s Black Mesa Ranger District office at 928-535-7300 for up to date information about road conditions.   

CHEVELON LAKE — The lake is ice-covered. Check ice thickness before venturing out on the lake.  Forest roads from the south are closed. Forest road 169 north is open to Forest road 169B but Forest road 169B to the lake is snow packed and inaccessible to vehicles, except snowmobiles. This lake should fill and spill this year, providing good early spring fishing at the inflows and also in the creek below the dam.

BEAR CANYON LAKE — The lake is ice-covered. Check ice thickness before venturing out on the lake.  The lake is inaccessible by motor vehicle, except snowmobiles.  Forest Road 300 is closed.  

BLACK CANYON LAKE — The lake is ice-covered. Check ice thickness before venturing out on the lake. The lake is inaccessible by vehicle, except for snowmobiles.  Forest Road 300 is closed.   
  
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE — The lake is ice-covered. Check ice thickness before venturing out on the lake. The lake is inaccessible by vehicle, except for snowmobiles.  Forest Road 149 is closed. 

WOODS CANYON LAKE — The lake is ice-covered. Check ice thickness before venturing out on the lake.  The lake is inaccessible by vehicle, except for snowmobiles.  Forest Road 300 is closed.


WHITE MOUNTAIN LAKES
Note: Most high mountain lakes as well as streams are ice covered. Check ice thickness before venturing out on lakes.  State Highway 261 is closed to Big Lake and Crescent Lake.  State Highway 273 on the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest is undergoing reconstruction and realignment and the following closures are in effect. State Highway 273 from the Forest and Fort Apache Indian Reservation boundary is open only to Forest Road 87, but is closed south of the junction of Forest roads 273/87 to Crescent Lake, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will remain closed until the road construction project is complete.  Most interior Forest Roads are closed or inaccessible to vehicles.

BECKER LAKE — Fishing is fair.  The lake is likely is ice-free.  The lake is open to artificial lure and fly only, barbless hooks only, and a 2 trout limit. Try small lures such as Super Dupers, spinners (Panther Martin, Rooster tail, and Mepps), Kast Masters (gold or silver), and Z- Rays.  Try small nymphs such as Zebra midges, scuds, pheasant tails, hares ear, zug bugs, prince nymphs, wooly worms and wooly buggers, brown and gray semi-seal leeches. Also try dragon fly patterns, peacock ladies, and brown Montana stone nymphs.

Fish off the bottom along weed beds and retrieve your fly slowly. The lake is open to electric trolling motors and/or up to 10 hp. gas motors. There is a new fishing pier with a handicap walkway located at the northwestern part of the lake
   
BIG LAKE — Fishing is fair to good. The lake is ice-covered. Check ice thickness before venturing out on the lake. This lake is accessible by vehicle except by snowmobile. Try worms, Power Bait, and salmon eggs, and lures such as small spoons and jigs.

State Highway 261 from Eager/Springerville is closed.  State Highway 273 from the Forest and Fort Apache Indian Reservation boundary to the junction of Forest roads 273/87 is open but is closed beyond the junction of Forest road 273/87to Crescent Lake 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will remain closed until the road construction project is completed. The store is closed for the winter. 

CARNERO LAKE -- The lake is ice-covered Check ice thickness before venturing out on the lake.  Forest roads to the lake are inaccessible by vehicle, except for snowmobiles.       .     

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR — The lake is ice-free. Fishing for warm water fish such as bass, sunfish and catfish is poor to fair. Try fishing with a bobber, split shot and worms near rocky shoreline areas for sunfish and bass.  The old boat ramp has been re-opened. The new boat ramp near the dam is blocked off because of very low water levels and thick weeds near this ramp. Try worms, Power Bait, Salmon eggs, and lures such as spinners (Panther Martin, Rooster tail, and Mepps), Z-Rays, crank baits, spinner baits, and Rapalas, and flies such as woolly worms or woolly buggers, Yeager buggers, and peacock ladies. There are no motor restrictions on Clear Creek Reservoir. The gate on the north side of the lake is usually closed during the winter months, while the road on the south side of the lake is open.

CONCHO LAKE — The lake is ice-free, the water level low and it is weedy. There is practically no water at the boat ramp. If you choose to fish at Concho Lake, target the small areas of open water between the weeds off the dam. The rest of the lake is not fishable. 

CRESCENT LAKE — Fishing is good. The lake is ice-covered. Check ice thickness before venturing out on the lake. Anglers are catching rainbow and brook trout on worms. Try worms, salmon eggs, Power Bait, and small spoons.

State Highway 261 from Eager/Springerville to Crescent-Big Lakes is closed to vehicles but open to snowmobiles. State Highway 273 from the Forest and Fort Apache Indian Reservation to Crescent Lake is closed 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, due to continuing road construction. Snowmobile access is permitted
    
FOOL HOLLOW LAKE — The lake may be ice covered on colder days, but may melt off a little on warmer afternoons.  Unsafe ice conditions.

GREER LAKES — The Greer lakes are ice-covered. Unsafe ice conditions.    
     
HULSEY LAKE — The lake is ice-covered. Unsafe ice conditions.
 
LEE VALLEY RESERVOIR — An angler recently asked about possible access – via foot – to Lee Valley this spring. Other anglers might find the answer valuable.


If you have a snowmobile, you can access Lee Valley Lake right now, but it is iced over.  Our limnological surveys through the ice this winter show that Lee Valley Lake will likely NOT winterkill, but we still have at least a couple months of ice cover to go.  We will be checking Lee Valley, Crescent and Carnero lakes weekly as part of a winterkill study we are doing, hopefully to gather information that will help us reduce the occurrence of winterkill in the future.
 
There have not been many grayling in Lee Valley Lake because they are so difficult to come by, we have to drive a hatchery truck to Wyoming to pick them up. However, we did stock several thousand subcatchable size grayling in Lee Valley in May 2008. They should be doing okay and put on some size by the time the lake opens in the spring.

Normally I would recommend fishing near the creek inlet in late April and May because they will often congregate there in an attempt to spawn in the creek, but these fish will likely not be reproductively active yet, so they could be anywhere in the lake.

However, we have surveyed some very large Apache trout over the last few years during the road closure, up to 4.5 pounds. We caught them all in one net at the creek inlet one year, then right off the dam the next year. Go figure.
 
The road from Sunrise was officially open this last summer up to the junction with Forest Road 87 (back road to Greer), then closed from there to Crescent Lake. The Forest had set up a temporary trailhead at that junction that tied into the west baldy trail.  Some anglers would take this trail to the West Baldy Trail, then take the crossover trail towards the East Baldy Trail.

This crossover trail crosses Lee Valley Creek about 1/2 mile upstream of Lee Valley Lake.  Folks were not allowed to bike or hike along the closed road because of safety reasons, plus the Forest had an official closure on the road and the Sheep's Crossing area (eliminating hiking access from Greer).  Technically folks could not set foot into this closure without permission from the National Highways folks.

Anglers/hikers could also reach the crossover trail from another temporary trailhead that accessed the East Baldy Trail from the Burro Mountain area, but I did not know the details of how to get there (I found it once on the Apache-Sitgreaves Forest web-site).
 
As of today, the road is still officially closed, mostly for winter conditions, as they are not doing construction on it right now.  It is open to snowmobiles though. The road will still be closed initially when things thaw out in the spring.

However, they tell us they are mostly complete, they just need to add a sealant.I don't yet know when the Forest's closure will be lifted. As long as that closure is in place, folks will not be able to step foot onto the closed road (the exception is for snowmobiles this winter).

As we get closer to spring, we will coordinate with the Forest and provide information to anglers as we get it.  Then the road should be open for good sometime in early summer.
 
Keep checking back with us and we'll pass on that information when we get it.  Whatever happens though, you should be able to hike into the lake via the crossover trail from the West Baldy Trail.
 
Mike Lopez

The roads to Lee Valley Lake are closed.  The lake is ice-covered. State Highway 261 from Eager/Springerville to Crescent-Big Lakes is closed. Highway 273 from the Forest and Fort Apache Indian Reservation to Forest road 87 is open but is closed beyond the Forest road 273/87 junction road to Crescent Lake 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, due to continuing road construction but is open to snowmobiles.

LUNA LAKE —The lake is ice-covered.  Check ice thickness before venturing out on the lake. Roads are open to the lake. Anglers have been catching rainbow trout on worms off the dam. Try worms, salmon eggs, Power Bait, and small spoons. The store is closed for the winter

LYMAN LAKE — The lake is ice-free. The lake has some ice-cover along the shoreline areas.  No reports from anglers. Try worms, Power Bait, catfish stink baits, and lures such as spinners (Panther Martin, Rooster tail, and Mepps), crankbaits, and Rapalas. The Lyman Lake recreation area is managed by Lyman Lake State Park and camping is available.  The Lyman Lake recreation area is managed by Lyman Lake State Park and camping is available. There are also some new cabins for rent. There is fish consumption advisory here, so check with the State Parks Office at the lake for details. Also contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Region 1 Office at (928) 367-4281. There are no motor restrictions on Lyman Lake. The store is closed for the winter.    
 
NELSON RESERVOIR — The lake is mostly ice-covered with some open water areas at the eastern end of the lake. Check ice thickness before venturing out on the lake. The lake is full and spilling. Fishing bag limits are now unlimited for rainbow and brown trout from September 1 through March 31. The water temperature two weeks ago was 38 degrees. 

RAINBOW LAKE — The lake is mostly ice-covered, with some open water areas, due to warm weather days. Unsafe ice conditions. The lake is full and spilling. The water temperature two weeks ago was 36 degrees.

SCOTTS RESERVOIR — The lake is ice-covered, except around shoreline areas. Unsafe ice conditions. The lake is full and spilling. The water temperature two weeks ago was 38 degrees.

SHOW LOW LAKE — The lake may be ice-covered on colder days, but may melt off a little on warmer afternoons.  Unsafe ice conditions.

WOODLAND LAKE — The lake is ice-covered.  Unsafe ice conditions. The lake is full and spilling. The fishing pier is unsafe and is not straight out from the shore.       
White Mountain Streams: 

Ice is forming on some headwater streams since nighttime temperatures are cold.  Lower elevation streams have some ice-cover but have been opening up late morning on warm weather days.  Most interior Forest Roads are closed or inaccessible to vehicles.

WEST FORK BLACK RIVER — Forest roads are closed to the Black River.  Ice is present on the stream. The stocking season has ended and no trout are being stocked.   

EAST FORK BLACK RIVER — Forest roads are closed to the Black River.  Ice is present on the stream. The stocking season has ended and no trout are being stocked.   

SHEEP’S CROSSING — Highway 273 is closed for the year due to road construction and an area closure is still in effect around Sheep Crossing, 24 hours and 7 days a week.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER GREER — The stream has some ice, along the shoreline areas during morning hours, but may open up on warm weather days. The stocking season has ended and no trout are being stocked.  

SILVER CREEK — Fishing is fair. Silver creek does not ice over during the winter because it is a spring creek with a more constant water temperature.  Nice sized Apache and rainbow trout were stocked in October at Silver Creek. Silver Creek on the Arizona Game and Fish Department property is now open to artificial lure and fly only, barbless hooks, and catch and release only. The upper section is open to fishing.  The catch and release season is from Oct. 1 through March 31. Try small lures such as Mepps, Rooster tails, and Panther Martin spinners. Fly-fishers may want to try woolly worms, woolly buggers, peacock ladies, Prince nymphs, Zug bugs, shrimp patterns, midge patterns, and small bead head nymphs. Try small dry flies such as Adams, Parachute Adams, midge and caddis fly patterns.

 

SOUTHERN WATERS
TUCSON URBAN — Urban fisheries will be stocked with trout this week. There may also be some of the incentive-sized fish remaining from a few weeks ago.

Fishing should be good to excellent for anglers using scented dough baits (such as Power Bait), worms or corn.  Small spinners such as Rooster Tails and Panther Martins, or spoons such as KastMasters and Super Dupers work well for trout in the early morning.

Fishing for catfish, bass and bluegill is poor due to colder water temperatures that slow down the

RIGGS FLAT — The lake is closed for the winter.  

CLUFF RANCH — No recent reports of success.  A new fishing pier has been installed which should provide a large increase in access for shore anglers.  For lake information call (928) 485-9430.

ROPER LAKE — No recent reports of success. For lake information call (928) 428-6760.

DANKWORTH POND — No recent reports of success. Due to the lack of open water and poor angler access the Department has decided not to stock this lake until conditions can be improved.  For lake information call (928) 428-6760.

FRYE MESA RESERVIOR – Poor road conditions are preventing any further stockings.  Plans are underway to get the road repaired.  Although the lake has been stocked, no reports of success have been received.  Early morning and late evenings should produce fish though.  

KEARNY LAKES — Conditions at this lake have taken a turn for the worse and golden algae has caused a fish kill.  The Department and the town of Kearny continue to work on the problem.
 
ARIVACA —  Please use caution on the sides of the ramp.  Erosion has caused some problems and we are working to repair it as quickly as possible.  The fishing remains slow but a few anglers are catching some bass on crankbaits.  Anglers are asked to please be aware of your wake so as not to disrupt other anglers fishing from other boats and the shore.  Remember that all bass must be immediately released back to the water.

PENA BLANCA – Pena Blanca Lake is closed.
 
PATAGONIA —No reports of angler success have been received.  Warmwater species are slow but anglers are reporting a few bass on rubber worms.  Some anglers are catching bass as well while flipping the cattails.   

PARKER CANYON — The store at Parker Canyon is closed and currently there are no plans by the Forest Service to re-open it.  Anglers needing a license will need to purchase that prior to arriving at the lake.  The fishing has been fair with some angler success coming in the early morning just after sunrise.  Anglers are reporting that worms and powerbait are working the best currently.

Where:Parker Canyon Lake
When:01/12/09
Caught:Rainbow Trout
Technique:Used orange/glitter power bait on the bottom.
Comments:Caught my limit in 2 hours. There were several folks catching way over their limits!
Name:Ricky Fletcher

 
ROSE CANYON LAKE —  Fishing is reported to be slow with a few fish being caught on spinners.  The road is closed for the winter and anglers wishing to fish this lake will have to hike in. 

The road is closed for the winter and anglers wishing to fish this lake will have to hike in. 

Where:Rose Canyon Lake
When:01/17/09
Caught:Rainbow and brown trout
Technique:Caught 8-9 small rainbows on a worm about 18" below a bobber. Caught 2 nice browns (1.5 - 2 lbs.)on panther martin down deep.
Comments:Lake was about 60% ice covered a couple weeks ago, but is now free of ice.


 

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