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April 11 Fishing Report

Posted in: Fishing Report
Apr 10, 2013
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Hello, anglers!

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Some big bass have reportedly been biting in Apache Lake.

Rain and winds that reportedly gusted to 60 mph in some areas of the state sent dust rolling, water rippling and fish, presumably, hunkering down. A brief setback in the bite last week.

Still not enough to hinder some ideal spring fishing this week.

As air temperatures in some areas are forecasted to reach 90 degrees this weekend, fishing options continue to unfold, and snow that accumulated in the higher elevations during the recent storms should begin to melt away.

(For those of you receiving the e-mailed version of this report, you likely noticed something new with the design. More later.)

All the Mogollon Rim and White Mountain Lakes are ice free, but access is blocked to Woods Canyon Lake and Bear Canyon Lake. Yet anglers can drown hooks in the following suggested White Mountains fisheries (click on the lake for details and directions) that are being stocked from Monday until Friday, April 12, with rainbow trout: Rainbow Lake, Scott Reservoir, Show Low Lake and Woodland Lake. Last week, Black Canyon Lake and Willow Springs Lake also had been stocked with rainbows. Somewhere, Judy Garland sings ...

For more information,visit our summer stocking schedule and find any of our fisheries at our Fish&Boat Arizona map.

Bass are spawning in ideal bass fisheries Roosevelt Lake and Bartlett Lake, and the majority of bass reportedly are in pre-spawn mode at Alamo Lake. At Roosevelt and Alamo, flipping and pitching is suggested around submerged trees. Also, some of the professional anglers who spoke at Tuesday's fishing seminars at the Mesa Bass Pro Shops said some particularly big bass have been reported out of Apache Lake. Apparently a surplus of largemouths around 3.5 pounds.

Finally, for another heavy spawn wave, look forward to the April 25 full moon.

Now from bass to catfish: At all Phoenix and Tucson Urban lakes, the second catfish stocking of the season took place. For tons of information on the Urban Fishing Program that brings the fish to you, visit http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/urban_fishing.shtml. Fish outside your doorstep.

For stripers, try Lake Powell. Wayne Gustavson said these pound-for-pound scrappers are cruising along the canyon walls in the southern lake and, three weeks ago, had spilled into the main channel. See Gustavson’s report below.

But back to Alamo for a second. On April 7, Arizona Game and Fish Department Wildlife Manager Stewart Kohnke and fisheries program personnel conducted a spring electrofishing survey at Alamo Lake.

The survey showed, among many things, that in the previous year, there has been an upward spike in the population and size of largemouth bass. Our catch rate of 29.7 “catch per unit effort” was the highest we’ve recorded since instituting this standardized survey protocol. The bass ranged in size from 3.5 inches to 21.3 inches, with an average length of 21.9 inches. The average weight was 1.2 pounds.

Also, the fish were in better condition in relation to their mean relative weight since 2005. Some good news and great work from the Game and Fish personnel.

If you’ve read this far, and you’re seeing this in an email, you’ve probably noticed the redesign. Let us know what you think. Send your thoughts and suggestions about the design, as well as the fishing information you’d like to see, to BFishing@AZGFD.gov. This, of course, is the same email address used to send your fish photos and stories. Your stories make us proud.

Need a fishing license? Licenses can be purchased at any of the 320 license dealers, Game and Fish offices, or online at www.azgfd.gov/eservices/licenses.shtml.

To fish state waters, resident anglers age 14 and over must purchase a Class A general fishing license for $23.50. If you want to fish for trout, a resident trout stamp is $15.75. To fish Urban Fishing Program waters, a Class U urban license is required ($18.50 for residents or nonresidents, no trout stamp required for urban waters). Or, you can buy the Class L super conservation license, which includes a general Class A license, an urban Class U license, and a trout stamp (cost is $53 for residents, $63 for nonresidents.

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Verde River Watershed Fish Management Plan process beginning


COTTONWOOD, Ariz. - The Arizona Game and Fish Department has begun creating a watershed-based fisheries management plan for the Verde River and is accepting public input on the development process.

The plan, when ultimately finished, will provide the department's fisheries personnel with a practical tool to help guide decisions regarding both sport fish and native fish management.

"This is the first time Game and Fish will be using the Watershed-based Fish Management Process (WFMP)," said Matt Chmiel, fisheries program manager at the Game and Fish Region 3 office in Kingman. "The process was developed through the efforts of the multi-agency Statewide Fish Management Team, which examined best fisheries management practices to balance the dual mandates for sport fish opportunities and native fish conservation."

The team's mission now is to apply that process to the Verde River watershed.

The public is invited to view the Watershed-based Fish Management Process at www.azgfd.gov/VerdeWatershed and provide comment to VerdeWatershed@azgfd.gov. Comments will be accepted through May 9, 2013.

Comments may also be submitted by U.S. mail to Arizona Game and Fish Department, Verde Watershed Fish Management Process, Attn: Matt Chmiel, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road, Kingman, AZ 86409.

"It can be a complicated process, but we believe the benefits of having this plan in place to use as a guide when making decisions will be worth it," Chmiel said. "This will be a good thing for the Verde River watershed."

Bald eagle breeding closure areas lifted on some Arizona lakes and rivers

PHOENIX —  The Arizona Game and Fish Department and its partners are lifting some of the closures at lakes and rivers statewide that are put into place annually to help bald eagles during the breeding season.
The closures at the following four sites were removed effective March 31, 2013 because the bald eagles in these areas failed to produce young and will not breed this late in the spring:

• Lake Pleasant
• Verde River near Chasm Creek
• Tonto Creek Inlet to Roosevelt LakeTonto Creek from Gisela to 76 Ranch

All other previously announced closures remain in effect because bald eagle breeding activities are still continuing in those areas. The public should contact the local land management agency to ensure the area they are visiting is open for recreational use.


Each year, land and wildlife management agencies close bald eagle breeding areas for part of the year, beginning in December, to protect the state’s bald eagles. Outdoor recreationists are asked to help protect these important breeding areas by honoring the closures.


Bald eagles are particularly sensitive to human disturbance during the breeding season and public cooperation with the closures is an important part of helping to conserve the species. Human activity near active bald eagle nests can cause a breeding pair to leave its eggs uncovered, leading to a failed breeding attempt. Human presence can also cause a young bird to prematurely leave the nest.


Management of the bald eagle falls under the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s program to recover species that are declining or that have been extirpated from the state.


Through its partnerships with other public agencies, non-profit organizations and the science community, the department’s wildlife recovery program aims to prevent species from becoming endangered and conserve them in a more cost-effective manner. State-level involvement provides closer oversight of wildlife species on a day-to-day basis. Specific emphasis is placed on identifying and managing the wildlife and habitat of greatest conservation need, or those species that are no longer abundant and facing increasing threats from habitat degradation, disease, introduction of non-native species and climate change.


Adaptive management of these species helps ensure their continued presence in Arizona and protects the delicate balance of the ecosystem for future generations.  

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Gila trout
Free Native Trout Conference set for April 18


Registration is open for the Fourth annual Native Trout Conference on April 18 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters on 5000 W. Carefree Highway in Phoenix.  Registration must be completed by April 15 for this free event and can be made at www.az-tu.org.

The event provides a free educational workshop for those interested to meet, network, and develop future plans to promote restoration and management of watersheds and native fish species in Arizona. 

During the conference, the Arizona Game & Fish Department will receive an award for its involvement in last year’s evacuation and stocking of the endangered Gila trout during the New Mexico Whitewater-Baldy fire.

Some of the fish were rescued by helicopter and taken either to a hatchery in N.M.  or stocked in Arizona’s Ash Creek.

Other award recipients are: FWS Albuquerque, Pinetop, and Mora; USFS Gila National Forest and Coronado National Forest; and New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish.  Robin Knox, a representative from the Western Native Trout Initiative, will be at the conference to present the award.

“Once the fish came out of the stream, there was a very quick timeline to get them back in a stream,” said Arizona Game and Fish Department Conservation and Mitigation Program Supervisor Julie Carter, “so everyone had to be on standby from seven agencies.”

The success and educational value received by attendees at prior workshops has resulted in: an increased number and rank of attending governmental representatives; an increase in the communication and working relationships between conservation organizations and governmental agencies; increased communication between state and federal governmental agencies; and a more focused approach in indentifying issues and options to accelerate implementation of solutions. 

The 2013 conference will have over 100 attendees from 30 various organizations and agencies from the southwest.  Opening the conference will be keynote speeches by Arizona Game and Fish Director Larry Voyles and Trout Unlimited Chief Executive Officer Chris Wood. The agenda will include the issues of:

  • Apache, Gila, and Rio Grande cutthroat trout restoration and habitat projects.
  • Wallow Fire impacts on trout habitat
  • Forest management approaches that benefit native fish
  • Research on native trout habitat and climate change implications
  • Colorado River Fishery: Long-term management plan
  • Restoration and partnership opportunities in Arizona and New Mexico
  • AZGFD compliance policy for rotenone projects

Presentations and materials from prior conferences can be found at www.az-tu.org.

The conference has become a model in developing relationships for conservation organizations with state and federal agencies for habitat and conservation projects that reach beyond native fish to restoration and management of watersheds for the benefit of all wildlife.

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Wade Miley garden gnome
Come on out for “Outdoor Rec Night” at Chase Field on April 27

If you’re an outdoors enthusiast and a Major League Baseball fan, Chase Field is the place to be on Saturday, April 27.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, along with many partners and sportsman’s/conservation groups, will host the second “Outdoor Rec Night” in connection with the Arizona Diamondbacks-Colorado Rockies game at 5:10 p.m.
Come early for the interactive street fair from 1-5 p.m. at 4th Street and Jackson, just west of the ballpark. The fair will offer lots of hands-on activities, including a kids fishing tank (loaner poles and bait provided), self-contained archery and airsoft ranges, an ATV track, fly-casting and more. There also will be exhibits on outdoor recreation.

As part of the Outdoor Rec Night, the Diamondbacks are offering special discounted ticket pricing for the game. Discount prices range from $13 for infield reserve seating (a $6 savings) to $40 for infield box seats (a $13 savings). The first 20,000 to the gate will receive a Wade Miley garden gnome.

To see the full range of discounted ticket pricing and to order tickets, visit http://mlb.mlb.com/ari/ticketing/ticket_dugout.jsp?loc=outdoors and follow the instructions.

ANGLER REPORTS:

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Todd B. Fished Red Mountain on Wednesday, April 3 and had a good day: I fished all day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.  First fish was on the west end around noon, about a 5-pound catfish on 2-inch white power grub.  Then was fairly slow until the truck arrived.  The best part of the day for me was the 3.5-pound White Amur hooked on my 6-foot light action rod spooled with 4-pound Berkley Trilene  XL.  It slipped my mind that these fish are around. I'm new from Washington State and most western lakes don't have big goldfish in them.

Anyhow, I dipped my white grub in my secret dipping sauce and in all of 10 seconds in the water 'BAMMM' fish on. It stripped all of my 100 yards of line before I knew it and jumped out of the water twice while doing it.  Anyhow, I just let it run, gave it some slack, and it threw the hook.  I didn't want to give two-plus hours to the fish since the cats were just stocked.  It was fun to witness though, and I caught a few more cats before the night was over.  Thanks for the good fishing AZ! 

Will C. hit a trout bite at Ashurst Lake: Took my son and nephew fishing on Friday the 5th.  Just north of the boat ramp we caught 15 by 1 o’clock, including a 20 German Brown.  Also caught two fat 14-inch rainbow, the rest 10-12 inches.  We were using worms about four feet below bobbers and a Silver Z-rays caught the first 14 inch rainbow.  Others around us were catching equally well on white Power Bait.

Yet another Ashurst Lake report, as well as one from Upper Mary, this one from Christopher G.: Went out to Ashurst for a couple of hours on Thursday April 4 starting at 10 p.m. and caught my limit of trout and then some. The bite is very good on small gold spoons and blue foxes at slow to medium speed. I was also catching trout on F-5 and F-7 Rapala rainbow trout lures using a stop-and-go retrieval. I caught four holdover trout from last year that average about 3-4 pounds (they were HUGE!). Also was catching a lot of this year’s stock trout, most too small to keep in my opinion. I did see a few big pike chasing trout around in the big middle cove on the east side of the lake.

After fishing at Ashurst I decided to stop by Upper Lake Mary at the "Narrows" on the way home to see what the bite was like. Using a 1/8-ounce silver lipless crankbait at a slow retrieval near the boat ramp, I was able to catch two medium-size walleye and two medium pike. It's to be noted the walleye are moving up to shallow underwater structures getting ready to spawn and should be released back into the water.

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For the second consecutive week, a fat flathead catfish was boated, this one by David S.: I caught this huge flathead while I was trolling for bass with a shad-colored rattle trap at Bartlett Lake on March 21 in the late afternoon. It took 15 min to bring it in. It was a whooping 36 inch, 32-pound flathead catfish.

Brian S. submitted several quality reports:
Willow Springs Lake:
Fishing is excellent.  The lake is full and the water is relatively clear.  Was using my float tube to work the lake about 35 yards from shore.  Was fly fishing using wooley buggers (brown and olive) and Joe's flies.  Ended up with almost 20 trout in about 8 hrs. at the lake.  Most were stockers and in the 8 inch to 12 inch range.  Did manage to catch one nice holdover at 16 inches.  The biggest surprise was catching this 20-inch six-pound smallmouth bass.  She about snapped me off.  She hit a wooley bugger and was spiting up crawdads.  I released her for someone else to enjoy. I did see a lot of people shore fishing and most of them I talked to were not having much luck.  I did talk to several boat anglers that were having luck trolling with various lures and cowbells.  The main road into the lake is open.
Canyon Creek: The gate is still locked to the catch and release section.  I did hike in and had limited success. The water level is relatively low and the water is milky.  I did manage to catch one 16-inch brown and several 8 to 10 inch fish on streamer patterns.  I had no luck with a dry dropper or nymph patterns.  I would rate the fishing fair.

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Chevelon Lake: The lake is full and spilling pretty heavily.  The water quality is very poor. The water is milky brown and full of silt from run off at Chevelon Creek.  I fished for six hours and only caught one fish. I landed one brown on a streamer that was 19 inches.  I saw no fish rising and had no luck with dries.  I would not recommend this lake for a few weeks until the water clears up. I did talk to several spin fishermen that had no luck either.  They were using spinners and spoons.
Lees Ferry: Fished the walk in section for two full days.  My buddy was spin fishing and had some luck using pistol petes under a cast bobber.  He had limited luck on Kastmasters or spinners.  I was using the normal Lees Ferry stuff (midges, scuds, glow bugs, San Juan worms) and had pretty good luck.  The upper boulder field was slower. The best fishing was near the Paria bar and the lower boulder field.  We both ended up with 25 fish a day.  Slow for Lee's Ferry standards but still a good day. When you're used to 50 fish days it is a letdown.  LOL. The fish are spawning still.  Several were spilling eggs.  Regardless the fishing is good.  The biggest one we caught was 17 inches.  Most were in the 12 to 13 inch range, Let’s hope all this snowmelt runoff gets the lakes and streams loaded full of nutrients and fattens up all the trout and bass.

Frank W. spent a couple of days on Lake Mohave last week: Smallmouths are in full spawn and aggressively guarding, making them easy to catch. Caught over 20 SM's over the two days with the smallest at 14 inches and the largest at 18. The largemouths were moving into the spawning areas but not yet on beds. Only caught about a half-dozen over the two days but did manage 2 in the five-pound range. One comment: Ran into another angler at the dock and he showed me his eight smallies including one that went about 18 inches. I asked if he took them off beds and he said "yup". I said, “And you kept them? Seriously? Come on, bed fishing is fun but you have to put them back if we want the population to continue to grow.”

Sherry W. used a No. 6 hook and beef liver on 30-pound test line for this “catnap” carp April 6 on Hallman Pond: Vegetarian? I think not! Just before 10 a.m., I threw my last cast of the day and prepared to "catnap" - to my surprise, this baby bit and hard! We measured him at 28 inches and weighed him at 8 pounds but I think our scale is off…
 

Dave H. fished Lower Salt last Friday and Sunday evening, targeting Sonora sucker: Friday was very good catching several good size 18-inch suckers on crawlers. Sunday was noticeably slower catching only a single 16-inch Sonora sucker.

Q & A

Q: I have always wanted to know roughly how much weight does each urban lake get per catfish stocking? (I know it will depend on depth of the lake/pond). Garrett S.

  • A: Garrett: Catfish were stocked on April 3 into Urban Fishing Program lakes and ponds. We stock approximately 90 pounds (or 50 catfish) per lake acre.  So a 5-acre lake would get about 450 pounds.  Rates vary a bit depending on how heavy the fishing pressure is. - Nick

Q: Desert West – We noticed several dead catfish. We saw 7 at 10 a.m. and by 11:45 when we left, we counted 17! They were coming to the surface at a rate of 10 fish between 10 and 11 a.m. on Fri morning. Should we not eat the fish we caught and cleaned ?? Let me know. Thanks Maurice R.

  • A: Maurice: Desert West Lake was stocked on April 3 with a double load of catfish.  There are times, not too often, when the catfish don’t adapt well to their new lake environments after their 30 hour journey from Arkansas.  Over 600 catfish were delivered to Desert West and while 17 is a troubling number of dead fish, it is only a fraction of what was delivered.  As for the safety and fitness of the fish to eat, the fact that some fish did not survive the stocking in no way affects the quality of the fish that were caught alive.  As long as the catfish you caught were strong and did not have any sores or discoloration of the flesh, those fish will be good to eat.  Just cook ‘em up and enjoy them.  We have contacted the City of Phoenix staff to pay better attention to removing any dead fish from the lake.
    Thank you for your question. - Nick

OK, on to the full report.

CENTRAL WATERS

Note: If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to our "Been Fishing" site at BFishing@azgfd.gov.

Updated reports:

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Catfish from Tempe's Evelyn Hallman Pond.

URBAN WATERS - The second catfish stocking of the spring season takes place the week of April 1-6 at all Phoenix and Tucson area Urban waters. Cats from the March 21 season-opening date have been biting well on worms, stink baits, hot dogs or shrimp fished on the bottom.

Reports of 3-6 pound channel catfish have come in from a variety of lakes in Tucson, Phoenix, and Tempe. Catfish actively prowl for food in the evenings and early morning periods, and often move into shallower waters under the cover of darkness.

Fishing for bluegill is good at all Phoenix and Tucson area waters that were stocked March 11-12. Best baits for the feisty, 5-8 inch sunfish are worms and mealworms fished under a small bobber in 3-6 foot depths. At Green Valley lakes (Payson) fishing is good to excellent for trout. Trout will continue to be stocked in Green Valley through mid May. Try Power Bait, worms or salmon eggs off the bottom.

LAKE PLEASANT - Stripers reportedly are hard to find. However, Jeremy Hoffman, fishing manager at the north Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse, reported that channel cats are becoming more active and many people night fishing are having excellent success. Chicken livers, anchovies and cut bait is getting the job done.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,107 feet, 52 percent full). Crappie are scattered, but bass fishing is quality. Bass pro Gary Senft, of Bass Pro Shops, fished both ends of the lake on Sunday and Monday. He reported that fishing for largemouth bass on Monday was good using weightless Gary Yamamoto Senkos in watermelon with black fleck as well as white. He fished 1-5 feet of water. Other effective methods were small crankbaits in a shad pattern, a drop shot using ox blood or morning dawn-colored worms, or a Texas rig with red crawler Roboworms.

He said fishing at the Salt River end of the lake was a little slower as the water was dirtier.

Finally, he reported watching some anglers catching crappie in the back of Sally Mae cove, and that the anglers said one crappie weighed two pounds and a John Deer-colored crappie jig had done the trick.

James Goughnour, owner of Rim Country Custom Rods in Payson, reported that bass fishing was called excellent this past week. The spawn is in full swing, he said, and bass are being caught on many different types of bait. Roboworms and Senko baits were reported very successful. But spinner baits, Alabama rig, crank baits, lizards and jigs also produced large numbers of bass.

The lake rose another 1 percent this past week. This equates to the water level rising another foot and currently stands at 53-percent full and has risen 7.5 feet since the beginning of March. The Salt River flow has slowed to 50 percent of its normal flow for this time of year and the Tonto Creek continues to flow at 110 percent of its normal flows. The Salt end of the lake is reported more stained than the Tonto end but the water entering the lake at both ends is clear so those are hot spots on the lake right now. The water temperature is in the mid 60s and can reach 70 degrees in the afternoons. Most bass are being caught in 20 feet water or less.

He added that the Crappie fishing reports improved dramatically over the past couple of weeks. Experienced crappie anglers reported 20-plus crappie being caught. Several boats were also seen trolling on the Tonto or Salt ends and those black males can be seen on spawning beds to an experienced angler. A 1/32 or 1/16-ounce jig hook with a 1-inch John Deere or pumpkin/chartreuse color grub tail were reported successful.

BARTLETT LAKE - Fishing for crappie is reportedly slow; Roosevelt is a better bet of your targeting these panfish.

Gary Senft, a Bass Pro at the BassPro Shops in Mesa, reported fishing the lake on Saturday. He reported getting reaction strikes from largemouth bass the first two hours in the morning, fishing a small crankbait in a shad pattern close to the banks.

There were no clouds, and so the quickly-heating water seemed to slow the bite. So Senft reported switching to a Shaky head jig with a red crawler, ox blood or watermelon red worms.

He also reported fishing in 15-20 feet of water, mixing in Carolina-rigged watermelon flake and green pumpkin worms, fishing off points successfully.

Hoffman also reported that crappie fishing in the river portion of the lake has been good, but more hit or miss than Alamo Lake. Try trolling with 2-inch grubs tipped with live minnows.

HORSESHOE LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,005 feet, 55-percent full. Salt River Project tends to use Horseshoe as a flood retention reservoir, but steadily releases the water downstream into Bartlett Lake.

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) -  Recently received a large, unplanned stocking of rainbow trout. Reports indicate the river is excellent for suckers, but not so much for trout. Try night crawlers, small spinners, KastMasters and flies in this unique desert river trout fishery.

APACHE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,907 feet (92 percent full). There have been reports of some great sized bass that have been sitting on ledges with access to deep water, such a one that goes immediately from 10 to 100 feet of depth. The reports indicate the fish are spread out from the marina to the dam. Try dropshots with ox blood Roboworms.

SAGUARO LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,526 feet (95 percent full): Phoenix-based professional bass angler Josh Bertrand  reported that large bass are chasing whacky-wormed Gary Yamamoto Senkos. For more information on whacky-worming a Senko,  visit: http://www.insideline.net/1999/xiques-0910-99.html. Swim baits also have been catching the big bass’s curiosity, whether the bass want to eat it or not.

When bed fishing, use jigs or soft plastics in lighter colors so you can see your bait. But consider releasing the spawning bass to preserve their populations.

Previous reports:

Please send your reports to BFishing@azgfd.gov

TEMPE TOWN LAKE - Anglers still report slow-to-decent action on bass using slowly-retrieved drop-shot worms.

CANYON LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,658 feet (97 percent full). An angler reported a great bass bite on Sunday morning around 9 a.m. on bass to 8.3 pounds. Another anglers report indicated visible, shoreline bass to 4 pounds finally bit around 4:30 p.m

CREEKS BELOW THE MOGOLLON RIM - Weekly stockings into the trout streams have ended for most species.
 
LAKE POWELL AND LEES FERRY

Note: If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to our "Been Fishing" site at BFishing@azgfd.gov.

Updated reports:

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LAKE POWELL - Wayne Gustavson’s April 10 report from www.wayneswords.com: Stripers are still running along the canyon walls in the southern lake.  They spilled into the main channel 3 weeks ago and have been eager to hit bait offered by anglers ever since.   I have heard they are chasing boats begging for anchovies.  Well that may be a bit much but if you pass over some hungry stripers please stop and feed them! 

Glen Canyon Dam still holds the majority of the fish but many are behind the barricade out of casting range. The Chains parking area offers good shore fishing near the dam.  It may be easier to consistently find willing stripers by looking further up lake near Buoy 3 on the corner before arriving at Antelope Canyon.   After passing through Antelope Marina the next spot is the south wall near the Power Plan intake.  Striper schools are spread randomly for a mile along the wall. There are other good main channel locations but these are all that is needed to catch a cooler full of fish. Immediately put harvested fish on ice to preserve eating quality.

Northern lake stripers are being caught trolling near the mouth of White and Farleys with good fishing all the way to Red Canyon.  These stripers are fatter than southern cousins because of the resilient shad population at the Colorado River inflow area.   Trolling is the best way to find a school but casting jerk baits and spoons right after a trolled fish is caught is extremely productive. Bait does not work on stripers that have shad to eat.  Troll or cast jerk baits for striper schools in the muddy water at the back of major canyons that have a long flood plain to catch stripers anywhere on Lake Powell. 

With water temperature now on the rise many other species are ready and willing as well. Cover is lacking now that brush is out of the water. This current generation of bass does not remember how to live and feed without brush and they are struggling to find a niche.  They have congregated in cloudy water near the backs of canyons.  Many reside in very shallow water near shore and can be taken by casting to the shallow bank area when water warms in the evening. Others are randomly suspended in open water for no apparent reason.

Crappie and walleye prefer brush but are now being caught trolling in open water.  They may be over a 50-foot deep bottom or right next to shore.  It is wise to slow troll up a shoreline at each new location to see what fish are hanging out. Small jerk baits may be the best tool but drifting a crappie jig is worth the effort as well.

Smallmouth bass are collecting on rocky structure and can be caught on secondary points in coves with light weight jigs that fall slowly.  Jerk baits are working well for patient anglers who can use an extended pause after each jerk.  Most hits are coming while the lure is motionless. 

Largemouth bass are hiding near any obstacle they can find. It takes a very long cast to prevent spooking flighty largemouth.  Try casting your lure up on the sandy shore and then pulling it back into the water to create interest from largemouth instead of scaring them away with the boat or a noisy cast.    

Catfish and sunfish have started to hit. Looks like its spring at Lake Powell! We are expecting another high striper harvest weekend between Wahweap and Antelope Point Marinas

LEES FERRY  - Angler's report: Fished the walk in section for two full days.  My buddy was spin fishing and had some luck using Pistol Petes under a cast bobber.  He had limited luck on Kastmasters or spinners.  I was using the normal Lee's Ferry stuff (midges, scuds, glow bugs, San Juan worms) and had pretty good luck.  The upper boulder field was slower. The best fishing was near the Paria bar and the lower boulder field.  We both ended up with 25 fish a day.  Slow for Lee's Ferry standards but still a good day. When you’re used to 50 fish days it is a letdown.  LOL. The fish are spawning still.  Several were spilling eggs.  Regardless the fishing is good.  The biggest one we caught was 17 inches.  Most were in the 12 to 13 inch range, Let’s hope all this snowmelt runoff gets the lakes and streams loaded full of nutrients and fattens up all the trout and bass.

Also read the previous April 1 fishing report from www.leesferry.com.
 
COLORADO RIVER

Updated reports:

COLOADO RIVER - 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 azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

LAKE MEAD -  The elevation has continued to drop to 1116.9 feet above msl.  Be careful boating because of fluctuating water levels and watch for floating debris dislodged from rising water levels. There seems to be an abundance of shad currently which may be the reason for the lack of bite.  Cut anchovies are still the bait of choice.  Check the moon phases before you go –last new moon was March 11th.   The next new moon will be tonight, April 10th.  Dark nights work best when fishing under light.  Fishing for stripers in 50 plus feet of water will normally find the larger fish.  If they are not taking the anchovies try swimming baits and see if you can get them to bite.  Jigging in 50-60 feet deep has been doing well on Mead.  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.  A recent report I received said the fishing was tough due to the cool water but they managed to catch a few largemouth, one smallmouth and several stripers.    All the fishermen contacted were hopeful for the coming years with rising water conditions and the abundance of baitfish they have seen this year.   

LAKE MOHAVE -  The lake level has risen a little to 642.7 feet above msl.  The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly especially on grass beds in 20 to 30 feet deep.  Ed and his grandson Jacob caught 4 nice largemouths on brown colored spinner baits.  Their largest was 4.48 pounds at 21 ⅞ inches long.  Reports of using artificial crawfish jerked through the weed beds have worked well.  The reports from my black bass fishing contacts say that the numbers of smallmouth bass are overtaking the largemouth in tournaments recently and that the smallmouth and just as big as the largemouth. Trolling with LONG A BOMBERS has been producing some nice stripers. I received a report that the striper fishing is picking up a little.  While the number of stripers in Mohave has been decreasing, the quality of the fish caught has increased. 
Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon is tonight, April 10th.  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 gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

Angler’s report: Smallmouths are in full spawn and aggressively guarding, making them easy to catch. Caught over 20 SM's over the two days with the smallest at 14 inches and the largest at 18. The largemouths were moving into the spawning areas but not yet on beds. Only caught about a half-dozen over the two days but did manage 2 in the five-pound range. One comment: ran into another angler at the dock and he showed me his eight smallies including one that went about 18 inches. I asked if he took them off beds and he said "yup". I said, “And you kept them? Seriously? Come on, bed fishing is fun but you have to put them back if we want the population to continue to grow.”


WILLOW BEACH -  Willow Beach is stocked every Friday with 3,000 13” rainbow trout.  Rainbow, peach, garlic and yellow Power Baits and Powerworms were being used most for trout.  Jakes original and Jakes Juniors, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails are also usually effective.  Willow Beach can be hit or miss bait fishing.  Try different baits including swim baits when nobody seems to be hooking anything. 

If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM -  Trout bite in the casino area is doing well from the casino area to below the Rio Lomas Beach.  The accessional large stripers are still being caught from the dam down to the Gorge.  Many of these fish are in the 4-12 pound range.  Justin and Bill weighed in a 9.38 pound striper at 29 ⅛ inches caught at the Rotary Park area.

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.  Rusty at the Riviera Marina sent pictures of several successful trips to the river.   Night crawlers, mouse tails, rooster tails and Panther Martin’s are the reported best bait for these beauties but power bait has also been successful. He also sent a picture of Willie’s 2.64 pound smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass that weighed 3.02 lbs. and 2.32 lbs.  All three of these fish were caught from shore using night crawlers at Sunshine Cove.  Also from the Sunshine Cove area Kyle landed a nice 2.92 lbs. 17 ⅞ inches smallmouth bass using his favorite blue colored lure. Rusty is sponsoring a fishing tournament to benefit the local senior nutrition program if you are interested stop by his shop.  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 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 gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

Topock Gorge- Most bass are being taken on minnows and night crawlers. Reports are that stripers are returning to the Gorge.
 
TOPOCK MARSH -  The action at Topock Marsh has been slowing.  Reports are that the crappie bite is on. Night crawlers and live minnows have been tempting catfish and largemouth bass from North Dyke.  Folks were catching their limits of largemouth on spinner baits mostly.  Remember the minimum of 13 inches for largemouth bass in 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 http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/havasu/index.html.


SOUTHWESTERN WATERS

Updated reports:

Note: If you would like more information on southwestern waters, visit http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/where_fish_southwest.shtml. Our Yuma Regional office has recently updated all the information to provide you more insight into these fisheries. If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to our "Been Fishing" site at BFishing@azgfd.gov. For more information, visit the "Where to Fish" pages at www.azgfd.gov/h_f/where_fish.shtml.

ALAMO LAKE -  Report from Mark Knapp, Park Ranger at Alamo Lake State Park: Well folks, once again time slips by and I have not had a chance to write anything.  Before the next crisis occurs, I want to get something out to you.

We have had several bass tournaments here over the last two weeks.   A lot of anglers got skunked and left very discouraged.  I think the winning weight in last week’s tournament was around 16 pounds. That's not bad considering bass fishing is pretty much hit and miss right now.  

Junior and I have been going out and doing battle with the winds.  We’re picking up a couple of bass a night, and he is enjoying his one fish lead for the year.  We’re throwing plastics of all colors but keep going back to watermelon-colored green.  We’re Texas rigging them with 1/4 ounce weights with a No. 1 hook.

For the next several weeks I will start throwing a ¼-ounce jig with a John Deer colored tail.  I pick up a lot of crappie and bass this way.  This is the only time of year that I crappie fish.  The males are up close to the shore and the females are moving to about 10 feet of water.  Other anglers are catching 5 to 15 a day using minnows and trolling up around the buoy lines.  I'm hoping things really turn on soon.  This last year was the worst fishing I have ever seen during my 10 years of living out here.

Catfishing is excellent right now.  They’re eating anything put in front of them.  I was messing around in the back of a cove up by the dam and decided to throw a model A bomber and hooked into a monster cat.  I fought with him for about 15 minutes before getting the fish up to the side of the boat.  I could not even get my hand around his head. I've caught a lot of fish in this lake over the years and am pretty good at guessing their weight.  I figure this cat had to go at least 15 pounds, maybe more.  This was a time where I wish I did have a net.  I really would have liked to have weighted it.

Other than this, you’re not missing much except for a lot of wind.  We are aware when the courtesy dock at Cholla gets blown out of position.  We wait until the winds calm down or the first chance we get and move it back into position.

Lately the winds are coming straight out of the North so it’s not worth moving it back until the wind direction changes.  More than once I have taken a tractor over and moved the dock back, and before I got back to the main park the dock has moved again.

We have minnows. This week we have the Highway Patrol tournament during the week,   followed by the couples All Stars tournament this weekend.  I have no clue what the lake level is but I'm guessing 1097ish.
The CORE cranked up there releases to 25 cfs so you will start to see the lake drop a little faster than in the last two months.  I still have not heard anything else about the CORE dropping the lake level to due maintenance of the dam.  I'm hoping to have an update on that in the next couple of weeks.  We're encouraging everyone to use the Cholla ramp, but you still can launch off the old rental boat road.
Well that's it for this week. - Mark

LAKE HAVASU -  Some larger-than-average redear sunfish have been caught, including one that unofficially weighed about 5 pounds and nearly challenged a world record. Biologists think the presence of quagga mussels, which the redear feed off of, has caused an upswing of redear sizes. Fishermen are still reporting catching very low numbers of striped bass, although a couple of anglers have commented that the ones they do catch have been much larger than is usual for Lake Havasu, in the 6 to 8-pound range.

COLORADO RIVER (PARKER STRIP AREA) -  Falling over night temperatures should start slowing the catfish bite down.  The strip is home to bot flatheads, and more commonly, channel catfish.  Channels cats can be found throughout the strip but are typically in the areas with shoreline vegetation.  A variety of stink baits can be productive as are goldfish or small bluegills for both species of catfish Small mouth and largemouth bass are also found up and down the river.  Many anglers have switched to sight fishing as water clarity has significantly increased since the introduction of the aquatic invasive quagga mussel.  Boaters are reminded to clean drain and dry their watercraft before taking them to another body of water. 

COLORADO RIVER -  (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam, including backwaters and Martinez Lake) – No new reports. From last week: A 7.75-pound bass was recently taken from a backwater spot (see photo). 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 weed beds, 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, stink bait, 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 slack water areas. Bluegill will bite on meal worms, night crawlers or small crappie jigs.

MITTRY LAKE -  No new reports. From last week: Mittry Lake offers many fishing opportunities. There are ten man-made jetties on the eastern shore for shoreline anglers, but the lake is most effectively fished by boat. There is a good concrete boat launch near the southern end of the lake, with a courtesy mooring dock. There is also a more primitive gravel ramp toward the northern end of the lake. There are restrooms and trash facilities at the main boat ramp, which also sports a large ramada for public gatherings.

Mittry Lake can be a bit frustrating at time, especially for bass fishermen. There are plenty of bass in the lake, with a few in the eight to ten pound range, occasionally larger. However, the bass are sometimes finicky, and it can be challenging to bring any in on some days. Other days, the bite can be wide open. Windy, or changing weather often brings on the bite. Techniques for bass fishing vary widely. When fishing for bass in the cooler months, and bass are less active, fish deeper water with jigs, swimbaits, or plastics using a slow retrieve. As the water warms up in the spring and summer, bass become more active and move to shallower water.

During that time most people use plastics, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, or crankbaits with a faster retrieve. Plastic baits resembling worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards can also work well. For best results fish around structure such as weed beds, emergent vegetation or where shoreline brush edges the water.

YUMA AREA PONDS - Final stockings of trout have been made in Yuma area ponds for the season. Fortuna and Redondo ponds were stocked on Feb. 16, and the Yuma West Wetlands and Council Park (Somerton) ponds were stocked on Feb. 23.

CENTRAL MOUNTAINS

This is the time of year to fish for trout and pike in the northland.   

WILLIAMS LAKES:  


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

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

CITY RESERVOIR —  No report

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

JD DAM — No Report.  Remember the lake is managed as a catch and release fishery.

SANTA FE — No report  Has been stocked

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campground is closed.   

FLAGSTAFF LAKES:

LOWER LAKE MARY —  Lower Lake Mary has been stocked with 20,000 Rainbow trout.  Fishing has been excellent using small black roostertails and other spinners.  Folks fishing with small spoons are also doing well.  There have been fly anglers who have had 100 fish days on the lake.  Bait fishermen have been catching trout on rainbow Power Bait but at a slower rate than folks fishing with lures or flies.

UPPER LAKE MARY —   This is a good time to fish for pike on Upper Lake.  Try the standard pike lures or anchovies under a bobber.

ASHURST LAKE —   The road opened last week.  The lake was stocked last week and fishing for holdover trout and fresh stockers was excellent over the weekend.  Folks using small gold spoons and spinners were doing well.  Fly fishermen were also catching fish.  Power Bait was also working.

Angler’s reports: Took my son and nephew fishing on Friday the 5th.  Just north of the boat ramp we caught 15 by 1 o’clock, including a 20 German Brown.  Also caught two fat 14-inch rainbow, the rest 10-12 inches.  We were using worms about four feet below bobbers and a Silver Z-rays caught the first 14 inch rainbow.  Others around us were catching equally well on white Power Bait.

Went out to Ashurst for a couple of hours on Thursday April 4 starting at 10 p.m. and caught my limit of trout and then some. The bite is very good on small gold spoons and blue foxes at slow to medium speed. I was also catching trout on F-5 and F-7 Rapala rainbow trout lures using a stop-and-go retrieval. I caught four holdover trout from last year that average about 3-4 pounds (they were HUGE!). Also was catching a lot of this year’s stock trout, most too small to keep in my opinion. I did see a few big pike chasing trout around in the big middle cove on the east side of the lake.

After fishing at Ashurst I decided to stop by Upper Lake Mary at the "Narrows" on the way home to see what the bite was like. Using a 1/8-ounce silver lipless crankbait at a slow retrieval near the boat ramp, I was able to catch two medium-size walleye and two medium pike. It's to be noted the walleye are moving up to shallow underwater structures getting ready to spawn and should be released back into the water.


FRANCIS SHORT POND –  Fishing has been good.  The Lake is being stocked weekly.
 
KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road is open.  This is the time of year to catch a nice brown trout on the lake. 

OAK CREEK — No report. Scheduled to be stocked this week. 

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LONG LAKE — A 38-inch, 14-pounds northern pike was caught by Justtin R. this week.

BEAVER CREEK –  No report 

WEST CLEAR CREEK- No report 

STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.

BLUE RIDGE —  Road is open and the lake is full and spilling.

KNOLL LAKE — road is still closed

VERDE VALLEY:

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Catfish were last stocked for the Verde River Days event.  The last trout stocking was scheduled the week of March 10th.   Catfish and bass bite has slowed due to the cold temperatures. The trout bite should be excellent considering the recent stockings. 

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – The last scheduled stocking was the week of March 17th.  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. 

PRESCOTT AREA:

FAIN LAKE — The last scheduled trout stocking was the week of April 1st.  I have not heard any reports from Fain in a while.          

GOLDWATER LAKE — Report are that some trout are being caught but it can be hit and miss.  Damon sent a report that he has been doing very well fishing by the dam using yellow sparkling marshmallows several feet from his sinker. The next trout stocking is tentatively scheduled for this week, the week of April 7th.         

If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

GRANITE BASIN LAKE – Bluegill and some catfish are still being caught.  If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others. 

LYNX LAKE –The last scheduled stocking was the week of March 17th and the next tentatively scheduled stocking is this week, the week of April 7th.                
    
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 of the winter was the week of April 1st.    

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.

Yellow bullhead catfish are active and easy to catch with nightcrawlers on the bottom.

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 – Trout were last stocked the week of March 18th.,
   
If you fish Watson and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR –   The challenge with this lake is finding access to the shore and fighting the aquatic vegetation.  If you fish Willow and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

WHITE MOUNTAINS AND RIM LAKES

Updated reports:

Recommended Waters to Fish
Concho Lake is the first water to be stocked in the area this year and received 2,000 trout in March. Willow Springs Lake and Black Canyon Lake were stocked last week and several lakes in Pinetop-Show Low area will be stocked this week (April 8-12) including Woodland Lake, Show Low Lake, Rainbow Lake and Scott Reservoir. Fishing for larger, carry-over trout is fair at Silver Creek, Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake and Nelson Reservoir. Becker Lake is good for large rainbows, but is open to artificial lure and fly only catch-and-release fishing only.

Trout Stocking Schedule
Week of April 1-5
Black Canyon Lake – 2,673 rainbow trout
Willow Springs Lake – 1,320 rainbow trout

Week of April 8-12
Rainbow Lake – rainbow trout
Scott Reservoir – 1,237 rainbow trout
Show Low Lake – 1,940 rainbow trout
Woodland Lake – 3,036 rainbow trout

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES:
Note: All lakes are now ice-free, but access is still blocked to Woods Canyon Lake and Bear Canyon Lake due to lingering snowdrifts. The storm this week dropped more snow in the high elevations.

BEAR CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-free, but access to the lake is still blocked. FR 300 and 34 are still closed to vehicles due to lingering snowdrifts. 

BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good.  The lake was stocked with 2,673 rainbow trout last week and there are also some larger carryover trout present.  Black Canyon Lake is ice-free and Forest Roads are open and clear to the lake.

CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is good.  The lake is ice-free, full and spilling. Chevelon Lake is accessible by Hwy 99 and FR 169 from Winslow or by FR 504 and 169 from Heber. Access from Forest Road 300 is still blocked. The stream in and out of the lake is flowing well, approximately 20 cfs when last checked.
Angler report: The lake is full and spilling pretty heavily.  The water quality is very poor. The water is milky brown and full of silt from run off at Chevelon Creek.  I fished for six hours and only caught one fish. I landed one brown on a streamer that was 19 inches.  I saw no fish rising and had no luck with dries.  I would not recommend this lake for a few weeks until the water clears up. I did talk to several spin fishermen that had no luck either.  They were using spinners and spoons.


WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is good.  The lake was stocked with 1,320 rainbow trout last week.  Willow Springs Lake is ice-free, full and spilling. Forest Road 149 to the boat ramp is now open. The boat dock is not usable at this time but will be re-installed soon.

Angler report: Fishing is excellent.  The lake is full and the water is relatively clear.  Was using my float tube to work the lake about 35 yards from shore.  Were fly fishing using wooley buggers (brown and olive) and Joe's flies.  Ended up with almost 20 trout in about 8 hrs. at the lake.  Most were stockers and in the 8 inch to 12 inch range.  Did manage to catch one nice holdover at 16 inches.  The biggest surprise was catching this 20-inch six-pound smallmouth bass.  She about snapped me off.  She hit a wooley bugger and was spiting up crawdads.  I released her for someone else to enjoy. I did see a lot of people shore fishing and most of them I talked to were not having much luck.  I did talk to several boat anglers that were having luck trolling with various lures and cowbells.  The main road into the lake is open.


WOODS CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-free, but access to the lake is still blocked. FR 300 and 105 are closed to vehicles, but should open soon. This week’s snowstorm may delay this opening.

WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES:

Note: All lakes are now ice free. Highways 261 and 273 are still closed to vehicles for the winter due to persisting snowdrifts. This week’s storm dropped more snow in the high elevations.

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is good. Anglers have been catching fat rainbow trout on zebra midges, egg patterns and leaches in the shallows around the boat ramp. The lake is ice-free but the water level is low. Becker Lake is open to catch-and-release fishing, with artificial fly and lure only, and single barbless hooks only. The water temperature was 50 F when last checked.
 
BIG LAKE – Highways 261 and 173 are still closed to vehicles, but access to the lake on Forest Road 249 and from Buffalo Crossing is open. The lake is now ice-free. The store is closed.

CARNERO LAKE – The lake is ice-free but Forest Roads 117, 117A and 118 may still have snow drifts blocking access. Recent surveys through the ice found very little dissolved oxygen, and the lake has likely experienced a winter-kill.

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – The lake is ice-free, but has not yet been stocked and fishing is poor.

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. Concho was stocked with 2,000 rainbow trout in March. The water temperature was 55 F when last checked.
 
CRESCENT LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are still closed to vehicles. The lake is now ice-free. The store is closed. Access to the north and middle boat ramps is still blocked by a large snowdrift. The south boat ramp is blocked by a boat dock that was pulled up last fall.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair and the lake is ice-free. The water temperature was 53 F and the water is clear. The campground is run by State Parks and is open.

GREER LAKES – All Greer lakes (River, Tunnel and Bunch Reservoirs) are ice-free and full. Roads to the lakes are open and clear. There are likely some larger carryover trout present, but the lakes won’t be stocked until the week of April 15-19.
 
HULSEY LAKE – The lake was drained immediately following the Wallow Fire to help reduce expected flooding on Escudilla Mountain and has not been stocked since the fire.

LEE VALLEY LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are still closed to vehicles for the winter. The lake is ice-free. Recent surveys through the ice found very little dissolved oxygen, and the lake has likely experienced a winter-kill.
  
LUNA LAKE – The lake is ice-free, but fishing is poor. A recent fish survey found no fish, indicating a winter-kill. The road to the lake is open and clear.

LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is closed for the season. 

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair for large, carry-over trout. Anglers have been catching trout on PowerBait and worms. The lake is ice-free, full and spilling. Nelson will be stocked when the lake stops spilling. The water temperature last week was 50 F.
 
RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing will be good for trout when the lake is stocked this week with rainbow trout. Angling for illegally stocked northern pike may be fair, but over 250 pike were removed in March in an effort to improve fishing for bass, sunfish, and trout. The lake is ice-free, full and spilling. The weeds have not yet started to grow, so boating conditions are good. Water temperature last week was 54 F.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing will be good for trout when the lake is stocked this week with rainbow trout. The lake is ice-free and full. The water temperature was 52 F and the water was slightly turbid last week.

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing will be good when the lake is stocked this week with rainbow trout. The lake is ice-free and almost full. Large, carry-over trout have also been caught recently. The fishing piers were damaged over the winter by ice flows and are currently not usable. Plans to re-install the fishing pier near the boat ramp are being developed. The concession store is open and boat rentals are available. The spillway campground and the road over the dam are still closed. The main campground on the west side of Show Low Lake Road is open. The water temperature was 51 F and the water is fairly clear.

WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing will be good when the lake is stocked this week with rainbow trout. Woodland Lake is ice-free and full. The water temperature was 54 F and the water is clear.

WHITE MOUNTAINS STREAMS:


Note: Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicles for the winter.

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed, but the East Fork Black is accessible by Forest Roads 249 to 276, and by FR 26 to 24. The river is flowing a little high but very clear. Trout stocking will begin in May, but fishing for wild brown trout is currently fair.

WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed, but the West Fork Black is accessible by Forest Roads 249 or 26 to FR 24, then to FR 25. The river is flowing moderately high but fairly clear. Trout stocking will begin in May, but fishing for wild brown trout is currently fair.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER – The roads and stream are accessible in Greer, but fishing is slow. Water temperatures are cold, and the stream is running a little high, but is clear.

SHEEPS CROSSING – Highway 273 is still closed for the winter due to persisting snow drifts.

SHOW LOW CREEK – The access road across the dam are still closed and the large pool below the dam is not scheduled to be stocked until June.

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair for large rainbow trout and Apache trout. The stream is now open to general fishing regulations from April 1 through September 30. The upper section is now closed to angling during the general regulation season. Flies and lures will continue to work well until many of the carry-over trout have been harvested, and nightcrawlers will also be effective. The stream is running clear and has not been affected by snowmelt.

SOUTHERN WATERS

New reports:

Please send me your fishing reports from Southern Arizona!  Fishing reports for southern waters can be sent to Amberle Jones, Regional Sportfish Biologist by email at akjones@azgfd.gov.  These reports will then be complied and reported in our weekly fishing reports.

Spring is here and with it comes increasing water temperatures meaning that fish are becoming more active.  Anglers can expect to see increased activity in the largemouth bass as they prepare to spawn.  Followed closely behind the largemouth bass will be the spawning of the sunfish species.  Anglers should concentrate their efforts in areas of likely spawning habitat near shore.

Trout stockings are all but over for the southern half of the state but anglers can still expect to find trout fishing opportunities up until water temperatures reach the mid 70’s

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

RIGGS FLAT — No opening date has been scheduled.  Trout stocking will again this year be dependent on water quality. To view the entire summer stocking schedule go here: 2013 Summer Stocking Schedule


CLUFF RANCH —No recent reports of success.  The pond is full and there should be no problems with boat launching.  Visitors are reminded that it is illegal to obstruct the use of the boat ramp by anglers trying to launch the boats.  No parking, standing, sitting, swimming or fishing is allowed on the boat ramp.  For lake information call (928) 485-9430.

ROPER LAKE —  No recent reports of success.  For lake information (928) 428-6760. 
  
DANKWORTH POND — Still closed for renovations as State Parks puts the final touches on several construction projects.  The Department already began the restocking process with the introduction of bluegill sunfish.  The stocked fish were in good condition and should be ready to spawn as water temperatures rise.  Largemouth bass will be stocked once the sunfish population has become established.  Additionally there are several catchable channel catfish stockings planned through the summer so stay tuned for more information!

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. Frye Creek above the reservoir remains closed to fishing. 

ARIVACA — Open to anglers, water levels continue to be severely low and the lake continues to drop.  All boat launching is at the risk of the owner.  Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive. 

PENA BLANCA –  Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive.  Additionally all mercury advisories against the eating of warmwater fish caught at Pena Blanca Lake remains in effect.  Future testing will determine if and when these advisories will be lifted.  Boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.   

PATAGONIA —  Fishing for warm water species such as sunfish, bass and catfish will slowly pick up as temperatures continue to rise . The lake level is down and boaters should use caution as obstructions can appear as water levels drop.

PARKER CANYON — Fishing has picked up for trout.  Anglers have reported catching their nice 12 inch rainbow trout on power eggs and pink power bait.  Anglers are reminded that the bag/possession limit for channel catfish is now 4 fish.  Contact the Parker Canyon Lake Store for up to date information on lake levels and fishing activity at www.parkercanyonlake.com or by phone at (520)455-5847. 

 ROSE CANYON LAKE — Rose Canyon is expected to be re-opened April 14th.  Summer trout stockings will begin the week of April 15th not April 8th as reported in the stocking schedule.  To view the entire summer stocking schedule go here: 2013 Summer Stocking Schedule

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