You've probably seen it before: Every stretch is different. The way the banks wind and present a new portrait of our meadows and trees and mountains changes with each jaunt to another fishing hole. Spring surely is here.
As we hit another stretch of above-average seasonal spring temperatures, the opportunity to hit the White Mountain and Mogollon Rim streams and lakes will broaden. Unfortunately, many lakes and streams remain inaccessible, but any day now …
One lake is raring to go. Willow Springs Lake was ice covered last week, and now is ice free, full and spilling. The lake can be accessed by a dirt road to Sardine Point -- as of April 1, FR 149 was still closed to vehicles, but should open soon. Along with Tunnel Reservoir and Woodland Lake, Willow Springs will be stocked with rainbow trout this week. Concho Lake already has received a rainbow trout load. The summer stocking schedule tells the whole summer stocking story.
The catch and keep season is here at Silver Creek, as about 50 anglers on Saturday lined up along the creek just before sunrise for rainbow trout, some of which went 18-24 inches. Apache trout will be stocked in mid-May. The upper section is closed to angling, but the rest of the creek is open to general fishing regulations from April 1 through Sept. 30.
Of the Williams lakes, Kaibab Lake, Cataract Lake, Dogtown Lake and Sante Fe have been stocked. Of the Flagstaff lakes, Lower Lake Mary has been stocked, Francis Short Pond is being stocked weekly and Oak Creek is scheduled to be stocked this week.
The largemouth bass spawn in shallow waters is turning on statewide, striper fishing reportedly is hot in Lake Powell, and at Lees Ferry, the swallows made their annual return to the canyon, followed a day later by the first primary midge hatchings, which only will intensify as the weather warms.
If you’re headed to the Ferry, take note: On Feb 20, a portion of road on Highway 89, which goes from the Junction of Highway 89A to Page, collapsed. The closure does not affect anyone travelling to Lees Ferry or Marble Canon as long as the driver avoids Page. All north-south travel can be completed by using 89A which is much quicker and shorter that the detour through Page. For more info visit: http://www.azdot.gov/us89/ Thanks to Dean Windham and T.J. Carrington and the folks at Lees Ferry Anglers for that bit of information.
As for this report, expect a redesign in the the coming weeks, as further changes to separate information updated weekly from previous information will be made. There will also be a change in the graphic design of the e-mailed report. Like the opening of the high-elevation lakes, those changes will be slow and steady.
We will continue to gather reports from reliable sources that point you to the fish.
Until next time, keep sending those reports and fish photos to BFishing@AZGFD.gov. This week’s batch is particularly impressive. No need to explain why. Just check them out below. Some true lunkers.
Alvord Lake fish stockings postponed due to golden algae bloom
Alvord Lake catfish stockings scheduled for April have been postponed until further notice. The Arizona Game and Fish Department and Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department have determined that golden alga blooms caused the partial fish kills suffered in the lake April 2-3.
The microscopic golden alga secretes toxins that inhibit the ability of fish to take in oxygen and exchange water across their gills. Some fish have died, others are stressed, and some fish seem unaffected. The Arizona Department of Health Services confirms there are no human health risks associated with exposure to the toxins found in the water or the exposed fish. Common sense should be exercised by not consuming any dead or dying fish.
The City of Phoenix is using a lake management company to treat Alvord Lake with an algaecide to control blooms of the harmful golden alga. This method has been very successful in the past. The lake will continue to be monitored and tested to determine the success of the algae control treatments.
Regular catfish stockings by the AZGFD will resume in the future, but not until testing indicates water conditions are suitable. In the meantime, additional catfish are being stocked in nearby Desert West and Encanto Lakes. Anglers are encouraged to fish at these nearby Urban Fishing Program lakes in April.
We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding and patience. We look forward to resuming fish stockings at Alvord Lake at Cesar Chavez Park as soon as possible.
(Send your recent fish photos and reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)
Wima B. has been targeting Papago Ponds the past few weeks, and said on Friday, March 29 she finally caught the biggest fish of her life: We have been fishing out at the Papago Ponds the last few weeks. We fished all of spring break and caught 19 fish between two of us. I caught two big carp (32 inches, 12 pounds, 13 ounces; and 33 inches, 13 pounds 1 ounce). It was amazing to fight the big fish. Today I got to say "that's the biggest fish I ever caught!" for the third time in two weeks. The monster I caught today was 36 inches long and weighed 17 pounds, 11 ounces. Urban fishing is awesome!! All these big guys were released back into the pond to grow even bigger and give another fisher the thrill of the fight.
We decided to fish near the bridge next to the reeds. On my first cast with a worm, my line shot out, rod stopped in half hook set, and it was on! I hooked this carp (see pic attached) by the bridge, an hour later I was clear on the other side of the lake still fighting it. This was caught on my trout rod (6-foot, Okuma Celilo UL). Thankfully I had put my 8-pound Kanzen braid spool on instead of my 4-pound mono spool, otherwise I would still be fighting it.
As I mentioned, I was trying to catch sunfish. This carp took an incredibly small piece of worm no more than 15 feet from the bank. The scale I was using was straining to hold the weight of the fish but managed to show me 45 pounds (before it broke). Measured 41 inches. It took about 15 minutes to revive the fish and thankfully it swam off under its own strength. Nothing else was biting for the other fisherman at the lake, however, the carp are everywhere and they’re all big! So if you’re looking for some real action and big fish, try fishing your lake for carp. This fish was in a school of about six carp, all roughly this same size.
Somewhere over the “rainbow” was at Pena Blanca Lake for Timothy N.: There is a first time for everything, as the saying goes, and now I think it may apply to me as well, since my day at Pena Blanca Lake in Southern, Ariz. netted me a limit of rainbow trout. I think the last time I caught my limit of trout to be used in a good healthy family meal was..... I don't remember exactly. I had seen on the stocking schedule that this past week, March 24, was the last of the winter/spring stocking of trout for Pena Blanca Lake.
So, since I had some luck there about this time last year, I decided to give it another try. I prefer to fly fish, but I didn't have my float tube or boat, and my chosen spot of luck was with its downfallen branches and brush around that was eating more flies than any fish. So I fell back onto the conventional stuff.
It took awhile to figure out what was going to work, as after about an hour or so I finally got one stocker trout on salmon peach PB, so at least I wasn’t going to be skunked this time.
Then after another lull, and since I didn’t get started till mid-day, I still had faith that more would come, but once I switch over to a garlic PB, it finally started to improve.
I lost a few to the escape efforts, and the underwater brambles they fled into, but by 5 p.m., and time to go, I hit my limit of stocker trout, the largest being about 12 inches.
Alvin B. and his father caught trout on the fly March 23 at Lower Lake Mary using Power Bait, lime green/silver blue Fox spinners, a No. 16 Caddis fly and dillys: Fished baits 18 inches from the bottom, the fly was a slow retrieve. The wind is nasty and unpredictable and caused a lot of people to pack up and leave shortly after arriving. We caught half our limit within the first hour; mind you that we released about just as many due to their size (kept 11 inches or larger and released anything smaller than that).
We were one shy of the bag limit and about 3 p.m. we called it a day since the wind was just insane and nothing was biting. But in between the larger bites, it was fun partaking in a little catch/release action!
OK, on to the full report.
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.
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.
ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,107 feet, 52 percent full). 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.
BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,780 feet (75 percent full). Gary Senft, a bass pro at Bass Pro Shops, reported that not much has changed in the past week. He said the drop hot bite has been excellent with Roboworms and Gary Yamamoto spider jigs and best colors have been morning dawn, ox blood. Square bill crank baits in a shad pattern fished in shallow waters also has been effective, he said. He reported a good bite on largemouth bass from 1-4 pounds from the dam to the river. Bass are in full spawn, he said, in 1-5 feet of water. But murky waters has made sight-fishing difficult. Try chatter baits in murky waters.
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. See Alvin B.’s above report. Try night crawlers, small spinners, KastMasters and flies in this unique desert river trout fishery.
Please send your reports to BFishing@azgfd.gov
LAKE PLEASANT - Lake level is at 1,678 feet, 74 percent full, with approximately 8,160 surface acres.
Dave King, archery manager at the north Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse, reported that bass are on beds in all the northern coves with many still hanging a little deeper ready to move up. Try drop shot rigs or spinner baits for pre-spawners just off the spawning flats in 15-20 feet of water. They've been finicky on color so experiment. Work the baits slow. Crappie are moving up to spawn as well. Tammy W. (see above report) reported fishing on March 21 and got only one bite. Carp were spawning in the northern coves, she said.
TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Anglers still report slow-to-decent action on bass using slowly-retrieved drop-shot worms.
APACHE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,907 feet (92 percent full). A few reports indicate that bass are a good bet.
SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,526 feet (95 percent full): Another report from Dave King: Lots of bass being caught off beds. When bed fishing use jigs or soft plastics in lighter colors so you can see your bait. Remember that the bass on beds aren't feeding, they're moving the "intruder" off their nest so once they pick up your bait set the hook. This lake has been getting tons of pressure. So if bed fishing, admire your catch but consider a quick release. These fish are being caught over and over and the stress is starting to take its toll - especially on the large females. Big bass lay thousands of eggs so we want them to survive and spawn.
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 (Michael S, also above) 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.
LAKE POWELL –Wayne Gustavson’s April 4 report from www.wayneswords.com: Stripers in the southern lake that have been on fire for the past two weeks are still HOT! But there are always subtle changes. The newest hot spots are a bit further up lake. Fishing with bait near the dam is still very good each day. It seems the best time to catch fish at the dam is from first light to 9 a.m. after which it slows down before firing up again in the late afternoon.
That is not bad news though as it seems the channel up lake gets better from 9 a.m. to noon. Recent hot spots include the south wall at Buoy 3 and the first corner inside Antelope Canyon. The downside here is the boat traffic including many early tour boats really stir up the channel making you fish with the boat as your “bobber.” Thankfully the opening of the Antelope Point public boat ramp has reduced up lake boat traffic.
Clear Main Channel water behind 12-yr-old Iyan Ayers
Later in the morning the power plant intake heats up all along the southern wall just upstream from Antelope Point Marina. To find a feeding striper school just pick a random spot on the wall. Throw 2-3 cut up anchovies around the boat followed by a baited hook. Let the bait follow the chum down. It is easy to watch the rate of descent in the very clear water. When chum and baited hooks disappear let them go down deeper (30-70 feet) for another 5 minutes. Any active stripers within range will usually start to eat all the bait within a short time. If there are no takers just move to another spot and try again. It usually takes only a few tries to activate a school of fish.
Surprisingly enough there have been a few striper boils reported in the backs of canyons in the heat of the afternoon. That makes it a tough choice to decide to fish for striper schools on the main channel walls or to head to murky water in the backs of canyons in search of shallow shad chasers of all species. The best water color to select for stripers is lightly stained.
Not to be outdone, north lake stripers are hitting trolled lures in the upper 10 feet of the water column from White to Farleys Canyon where the lake ends. Shad raps (SR9) trolled at 2.5 mph and other 10-12 foot deep runners are working well. Look for a bottom depth of 30-60 feet with the right water color. Trolling near the White Canyon marker buoy was great last week. The northern lake is accessed through Bullfrog or Halls Marinas.
Bass fishing is getting better in the afternoons. Water temperature in murky water may be as warm as 65 degree when main lake temperature is only 57 degrees.
Murky water show in picture of LuAnn Callahan
Crappie are caught occasionally in colored water. The best technique is slow trolling a crappie jig with the electric motor. Bottom depth should be 12-20 feet in darker colored water.
Spring is here! There are lots of fishing options. It’s a different lake without brush but fish are very agreeable in clear water channels and murky backs of canyons.
LEES FERRY – From www.leesfery.com
Fly Fishing Up-River: Spring has arrived and is in full swing at Lees Ferry. We knew this was true when on March 23, the swallows returned to the canyon as they do every year near this date. Their arrival is always timed to meet the first major midge hatch of the year, which coincidentally, (or not), occurred the day before the swallows arrived.
The midge hatches continue to pour off and should build in intensity as the spring progress and the weather continues to warm. Our recent weather has been near perfect, with highs near 80 and lows of 50. The positive news for fishers is that there has been very little wind this spring which is atypical for this time of year, although it is normal for dry springs which this current one has been, at least so far. That is not good news for Lake Powell which will receive little runoff from the Rockies due to the continuing dry conditions.
The fishing has been good, not off-the-charts great, but that should change any day as the midge hatches increase in intensity.
The fish are moving into the shallow riffles to feast on the prolific midge pupae as they slowly emerge and rise to the surface to hatch. The more midges the better the fishing.
An important note: On Feb 20, a portion of road on Hwy 89 collapsed. This is the section of Hwy that goes from the junction of Hwy 89A, up to Page. This road closure in no way affects anyone who is traveling to Lees Ferry/Marble Canyon as long as you do not go through Page. All north-south travel can be completed by using 89A which is much quicker and shorter that the detour through Page. For more info visit: http://www.azdot.gov/us89/
We are catching all sizes of fish from little guys to a few that are nearing 20 inches, which is indicative of a healthy, wild rainbow trout fishery. It has always been an interesting and puzzling phenomenon that some days at the Ferry the larger fish will eat, while other days it is all the smaller guys that are feeding.
On the days that the larger fish are eating it is not uncommon to catch several larger fish. Like a day this week when I had two clients catch several fish that were in the 18-in class and the next day we could not find a fish that was near that size, however, that day, few fish were eating much of anything that we offered them.
We ended up with a near normal spawn that took place almost exclusively in deep water. A normal spawn is to be expected when our current trout population is robust, with lots of health fish of all sizes inhabiting the river. When the trout population is low, the fish compensate by engaging in a massive spawn throughout the river.
Current water flows are perfect for wading and the projected flow forecast call for April and May flows to be near the same flows that we saw in March, with a low of 7,000 cfs occurring in the morning then a slow rise to 13,000 cfs. These are perfect flows for fishing Lees Ferry.
Remember that the flows are lower on Saturday and Sunday and these lower flows are almost always better for the midge hatches and fishing. It is more crowded on weekends but the fishing sure can be good. The projected flows for June will be slightly higher but should still be good for wading and fishing. The flows in July will be much higher and this is the time of year that we get back in the boats and spend most of our time drifting and fishing from the boat. July is the month for cicadas and the biggest fish of the year.
Walk-in Fly Fishing Report By Dean Windham & TJ Carrington: After a slow start, the walk-in fishing is very good. Everyone seems to be getting fish and everyday someone reports an 18-inch-plus fat boy being caught. Just a few weeks ago you had to search to find any fish; now they are everywhere. The weather has been very nice with very few wind days. This has made for some pleasant days on the water.
The water flows have been 6,000 cfs as the low flow and 14,000 cfs as the high flow. The water is lowest in the morning and rising until about one or two in the afternoon. Then it drops and the fish move out farther and wait for the flow to stabilize and then they start feeding again. When it comes to location, the Paria riffle up to the big rock is where you want to be.
The first warm weather run and the spring break crowd has put the pressure on the fish these past few weeks but the fish are there and they’re hungry. Midges have been pouring off the water all day, especially in the afternoon. You will see a lot of fish breaking the surface but they are not feeding on surface bugs. They are feeding on sub-surface midge larvae and breaking the surface with their back and dorsal fins. Although the midges are doing well, you will want to have a few eggs and San Juan’s in your box.
The fish are holding in the seams where the water starts getting depth to it and you can find any slight break in the current. The rigs have been pretty simple: 9 ft. 5x leaders with 2 feet of 6x tippet with your fly on the end. Place your indicator towards the top of your leader with a No. 1 or No. 4 shot about 18 inches above your fly. Dark colored streamers on a good sink tip line have been working well in the boulder field also.
Fishing has been good top to bottom at the walk in with some of the best fishing just above and below the large rock. Fish have been caught just a few feet from the shore so making long casts is not always needed.
The boulder field has also given up some really nice fish especially in the morning hours. The area where the Paria River enters the Colorado River is also doing well, however, keep in mind that wading in this area can be dangerous due to silt buildup and you can get stuck really easily. It is best to approach this area by walking down from the big boulder. It is not recommended to wade across the Paria in any area.
The light nymph rigs are still the ticket with darker zebra midges, San Juan worms and Glo Bugs being the go to flies. Remember when using the nymph rig to make the length about twice the depth of the water. I start at 8 feet and work from there. As the water rises you will have to make some adjustments to keep up with the depth of the fish. Always remember here at the ferry, it’s all about a drag free drift. The key is to get your fly to look just as it would in Mother Nature. With these tactics and a little luck you should be able to land some good fish and take some good memories home with you.
In the afternoon, as the water drops and the fish move farther out, streamers are a great option that should not be over looked. Some real nice larger fish have been taken in the later afternoon.
Spin Fishing Report Walk-in: Spin fishing has not been as good as fly fishing but it can be done and is a lot of fun. Spin fishing works well with the deeper water which is in the late morning and mid-day. Fishing below the Paria riffle has been good and the water is always deep in that area.
KastMasters, Panther Martins, and jigs have been the favorite lures this week. Remember to cast upriver and bring the lure slowly down river. Let the river do the work and you just get to enjoy catching a beautiful Ferry rainbow in spawning colors.
The rating for spin fishing the walk-in would be 4 to 5 at this time.
To help understand why midges are so important to our fishing success it’s good to know more about the life cycle of midges and their importance to the trout diet. The adult midges contribute very little to the trout diet. It is rare that you will see an adult trout rise to feed on an adult midge; the reason is that the amount of energy expended is not worth the food intake. It all begins when adult midges breed then release their eggs into the water.
The eggs sink and hatch into a tiny caterpillar (larvae) that lives on the bottom of the river for an extended period of time. At some point the larvae pupates and forms a chrysalis. By some process that is not understood, the midge pupae will release in mass, and countless pupae will begin slowly drifting to the surface. This in turn flips the feeding switch for the trout and the fish will move into the shallow riffles where the pupae are concentrated by the shallow water.
This is when the trout are feeding so heavily that they get careless and will eat our fly if it has a close resemblance to the midge pupae that they are feeding on.
The bigger the hatch the better the fishing; this is why the best fishing always occurs during big hatches and why the midge hatches are so important to the trout diet. The biggest midge hatches always occur in the lower water flows. During the lower flows trout are not eating worms or scuds because these food items are not available; the only time that worms and scuds are available is during the high water flows when the higher velocity water moves the suds and worms around. If there are no midge hatches in the lower flows the fish will not be feeding and the fishing will be slow. I go into a lot more detail on fish feeding behavior here: http://www.leesferry.com/main/area-information/fishing-101
Be sure to stop by the shop to see the flies that are currently working. The flies change on a daily basis and every day the LFA guides let everyone at the shop know the top producing flies and how to use them.
The streamer fishing has been picking up and will likely get hot when the water flows increase this summer.
The reason for this is that the higher flows move larger food items around (scuds, worms, etc.)
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 live well 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 dropped to 1118.6 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 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 dropped a little to 641 feet above msl. The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly especially on grass beds in 20 to 30 feet deep. 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 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 email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
WILLOW BEACH – Willow Beach is stocked every Friday with 3,000 13” rainbow trout. Rainbow, peach, garlic and yellow Power Baits and Power Worms were being used most for trout. Jakes original and Jakes Juniors, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails are also usually effective. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 a picture of Justin’s full stringer of rainbows caught in the Rotary Park area from shore using night crawlers. 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 Daniel’s smallmouth bass using a Panther Martin from shore in the Rotary Park area. 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 email@example.com 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.
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 - By Mark Knapp, Alamo State Park:
Well folks, Picture this: High winds out of the north and cold. Well, cold to me anyway. For the most part, the average anglers are giving crappie fishing a thumbs down. Now they’re not blaming the fish not biting, they’re blaming us for running out of minnows. Let me take a minute and explain how the minnow business works.
Our vendors go to another state and buy them in bulk. After they get back, they have deliveries all the way to Las Vegas. So when all the bait shops in Arizona and Nevada go from being slow on minnows to fast, it wipes the minnows out.
Now if we could predict every year when things would turn on we would all have minnows and be ready for you. We would also go buy a Powerball ticket and be sitting in the south Pacific. We have had times where we thought we would get slammed and ended up losing 5,000 minnows because they did not sell. That honks me off when that happens because I don't like killing anything I'm not going to eat. You can only eat so many pizzas with shad on them. It's an acquired taste. I think you get the point.
So, we’re starting to have weekly deliveries and hopefully will have them when you get here. Yelling at us does not change a thing. The only thing it does is stop me from telling you what others are doing. The anglers that are catching crappie are averaging eight to 10 a day. Some others, only one. Same goes for bass. I heard anglers got a couple of bass pre-fishing during last week’s tournament. I did not have a chance to hear who won it.
I went out last week and caught one. I threw everything in the box and at least got bites on plastics and jigs. Catfishing is OK. Everyone seems to be catching a couple all over the lake.
Since we got slammed and I'm out of worms until next Monday, try using hot dogs. So minnows should come in Wednesday, I will go get worms next Monday.
The CORE raised their releases back up to 25cfs. This means you will start to see the lake dropping. I still have not heard more about dropping the lake level by 30 feet. When I hear something, you will know. (The old rental boat road still works, but with the new releases we will lose it in the next month or so.)
OK, we have everyone in the world out here quad riding. That's a good thing as long as you stay on trails and wear the proper safety gear. Make sure you’ve got current registration and all that. A few quaders have left in a helicopter. It takes about two minutes to get them up to 50 mph, seconds to wreck, about 30 minutes for me to find you, and another 25 minutes to get the proper medical attention you need when you go through a barbed-wire fence or fly off a cliff. So the point is: have fun but be safe.
I have no clue what the lake is this week but I would guess somewhere around 1,098-ish. Call before you come about getting bait. Also we would like to remind everyone that check-out time is noon in the campsites. Not two. 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 both 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.
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.
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. No report
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.
LONG LAKE — We have had a few reports that the pike fishing has been good.
BEAVER CREEK – No report
WEST CLEAR CREEK - No report
STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.
BLUE RIDGE — No report.
KNOLL LAKE — No report.
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.
FAIN LAKE — The last scheduled trout stocking was the week of March 10th. The next tentative stocking is this week, 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. One of our Wildlife Managers took his daughters to fish and they did extremely well with corn flavor Powerbait and then switched to spinners because it was too easy. 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 latest trout stocking was the week of March 24th.
If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
LYNX LAKE – The last scheduled stocking was the week of March 17th.
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 October 14th. The next stocking is tentatively scheduled for this week, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
WHITE MOUNTAINS AND RIM LAKES
Recommended Waters to Fish
Concho Lake is the first water to be stocked in the area this year and received 2,000 trout two weeks ago. Tunnel Reservoir, Willow Springs Lake and Woodland Lake will be stocked this week (April 1-5) with rainbow trout. Fishing for larger, carry-over trout is good at Silver Creek and fair at 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 March 18-22
Concho Lake – 2,000 rainbow trout
- Week of April 1-5
Tunnel Reservoir – 1,926 rainbow trout
Willow Springs Lake – 1,320 rainbow trout
Woodland Lake – 3,036 rainbow trout
MOGOLLON RIM LAKES:
Note: Some higher elevation lakes are still ice-covered, but will have unsafe ice as it melts. Forest Roads (FR) into Black Canyon, Woods Canyon, Willow Springs and Bear Canyon Lakes are still closed or blocked with snowdrifts.
BEAR CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-covered with unsafe ice. FR 300 and 34 are still closed to vehicles.
BLACK CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-free, but is still inaccessible due to snowdrifts on FR 86.
CHEVELON LAKE – 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. The stream is flowing well, approximately 55 cfs when last checked.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – The lake is ice-free, full and spilling. FR 149 is still closed to vehicles as of April 1, but should open very soon. The lake can be accessed by a dirt road to Sardine Point. Willow Springs will be stocked with 1,320 rainbow trout this week.
WOODS CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-covered with unsafe ice. FR 300 is still closed to vehicles.
WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES:
Note: The higher elevation lakes in the White Mountains are still ice-covered. Highways 261 and 273 are still closed to vehicles for the winter.
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. Becker Lake is open to catch-and-release fishing, with artificial fly and lure only, and single barbless hooks only.
BIG LAKE – Highways 261 and 173 are still closed to vehicles for the winter. Other Forest roads are snow-covered. The lake is ice-covered. The snowpack is now too patchy for snowmobile access. The store is closed.
CARNERO LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. FR 117, 117A and 118 are snow-covered and inaccessible for vehicles. Snowmobile access is allowed. 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 two weeks ago.
CRESCENT LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are still closed to vehicles for the winter. The lake is ice-covered. The store is closed. Recent surveys found low levels of dissolved oxygen in one portion of the lake, but moderate levels in another. There were 20 inches of ice on the lake, so there is still potential for a winter-kill. The snowpack is now too patchy for snowmobile access.
FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair and the lake is ice-free. The campground is run by State Parks and is open.
GREER LAKES – All Greer lakes (River, Tunnel and Bunch Reservoirs) are ice-free. Roads to the lakes are open and clear. Tunnel Reservoir will be stocked this week with 1,426 rainbow trout.
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-covered. 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. The water temperature last week was 46 F.
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. Water temperature last week was 48 F.
RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is fair for illegally-introduced northern pike, but poor for other species. One angler reported catching pike on spoons, spinners and Rapalas. The pike spawn is now over, and they are dispersing throughout the lake. AGFD crews and volunteers recently completed removal efforts on pike to improve fishing for more desirable species like bass, sunfish and stocked trout. Over 250 northern pike were removed from Rainbow Lake during this effort. 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 56 F.
SCOTT RESERVOIR – The lake is ice-free, full and spilling, but fishing is poor.
SHOW LOW LAKE – The lake is ice-free, and fishing is fair. Large, carry-over trout have been caught on Power Bait. The fishing piers were damaged over the winter by ice flows. The concession store is still closed for the season, but should open soon. The spillway campground is still closed but, the road over the dam will open this week. The main campground on the west side of Show Low Lake Road is open.
WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing has been poor, but will improve to good-excellent when the lake is stocked heavily this week with 3,036 rainbow trout. Woodland Lake is ice-free, full and spilling.
WHITE MOUNTAINS STREAMS:
Note: Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicles for the winter. Other Forest roads are snow-covered and generally inaccessible by vehicle.
EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed. Other Forest roads are snow-covered and inaccessible by vehicle.
WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed. Other Forest roads are snow-covered and inaccessible by vehicle.
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 discolored.
SHEEPS CROSSING – Highway 273 is closed for the winter.
SHOW LOW CREEK – The access road across the dam will open this week, but the large pool below the dam is not scheduled to be stocked until June.
SILVER CREEK – Fishing is good 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.
Please send me your fishing reports from Southern Arizona! Fishing reports for southern waters can be sent to Amberle Jones, Region V Sportfish Biologist by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. These reports will then be complied and reported in our weekly fishing reports.
Spring is nearing meaning that warm water fishing is getting ready to take off. Water temps are warming up and the bass have begun to stage for pre-spawn. Trout stockings have begun for the summer stockings and will continue on and off through September. This schedule is updated as changes occur so check the website online for any changes!
Need ideas on where to go fishing? Try the Departments new interactive Fish and Boat Map: Fish and Boat Arizona
RIGGS FLAT — Closed for the winter.
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 — High pH prevented the stocking of Roper Lake. Stockings will remain suspended until conditions improve. Fish slated for Roper have been stocked at Cluff Ranch. 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 began re-stocking this small pond with bluegill sunfish and 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 – Recent reports said anglers were having success catching rainbow trout. 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 is picking with bass anglers having success catching some large bass. Anglers on AZ Bass Zone have reported catching some 6 to 10 lbs bass. It is being reported that the lake level is down and water temperature is in the 60’s. Boater should use caution as obstructions can appear as water levels drop.
PARKER CANYON — Fishing remains fair for trout. 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 — The Lake is now closed to vehicle access for the winter. Anglers are still permitted to walk into the lake from the parking lot on the main road. Anglers that are making the walk in are reporting good fishing!