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Dec. 20 Fishing Report

Posted in: Fishing Report
Dec 20, 2012
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“Fishing Stories”

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. I hope that you find a new fishing pole under the tree to enjoy. If Santa Claus brought your kids or grandkids a new fishing pole, I would love to see the photos and I will see what I can do to get those published in the upcoming editions of the Fishing Report.  I will be gone from Dec. 20 through Dec. 26 but I plan on getting this report out to those die-hard anglers who are fishing over the holidays. Be careful if you are venturing out in the high country. Hope everyone has a joyous and peaceful rest of the week and keep getting out there to enjoy this beautiful Arizona weather.

Reuben


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Fishing the Salt River Lower Section


12/16/2012

“Fish were all on the bottom despite a large rise here and there from an Olive hatch that came off at around 1:30. Guys using jigs with spinning reels seemed to do the best. I struggled getting a fly deep enough, but I was able to hook up with about 10 rainbows in the lower riffle areas. From talking with a couple of guys when I got there at 11ish in the morning, fishing wasn't that great, and they shared they had been skunked.  I've attached one of the pictures I took of a rainbow under water with the fly in its mouth, then a second of a different rainbow.”
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Ben S.


Fishing News
 
Winter conditions exist for all central mountain lakes. Ice fishing is not recommended due to the unstable conditions of ice present. Please be cautious. 
 
Forest Roads in the Mogollon Rim area are currently open, but may close if additional winter storms drop more snow. These roads are snow covered. All campgrounds are closed for the season. In the White Mountains, ADOT has closed Highways 261 and 273 for the winter.
 
Expect cold mornings and pleasant days in the desert areas this week, frigid mornings and seasonably cold afternoons in the high country.
 
There is a new update from Lees Ferry included in this week's Fishing Report. Fishing has been reported good since the high-flow event back in November.
 
The new 2013 Urban Fishing Program Guidebooks have arrived! Trout stockings at all Urban Fishing Program lakes are scheduled for next week. 
 
For the winter trout stocking schedule for state waters, visit www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/h_f/fishing/stocking/TroutStockingSchedule.pdf.
 
Don't forget to get your fishing license for 2013. They make great holiday gifts. For the different types of licenses and pricing, visit www.azgfd.gov/eservices/licenses.shtml.  

OK, on to the 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.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE –Tempe Town Lake was stocked on November 20th as part of ‘Welcome back the Trout” and will be regularly stocked through March 2013, so the fishing should be great.  Keep in mind that although this fishery in the city, it is not part of the Urban Fishing Program, so you will need the regular state fishing license to fish here.

Here is a report from Ed E. with his recent trip on Tempe Town Lake

"Hey All,

I hit Tempe Town Lake on Tuesday 12/18/2012. It was a brisk morning around 8:00 a.m., but I was dressed 
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appropriately since I was fishing from my kayak.

I started trolling Black and Gold Panther Martins as I headed to the East Dam from the North Boat Release just west of Rural Rd. I managed to catch 5 largemouth bass on the way to the dam. I was the only one on the lake at the time but there were a few people fishing from the shoreline, both on the north and south shores of the lake. It was great to see that. Once I got to the dam, I started trolling along the buoy line going back and forth, north to south, and managed to catch 5 more largemouth bass. It was a nice peaceful morning, listening to the planes fly overhead and the traffic off the 101. It's what I call the Sounds of the Urban Outdoors. LOL!

Around noon, I headed back in and decided to hit the posts with some plastic under the Rural Rd. Bridge. I caught 5 more bass under the bridge, all next to the pilings with Senkos. All the fish posed for my camera and were released unharmed. The bass averaged 12" in length.

Can't wait to hit that lake again among others during this time of year! Remember, a valid State fishing license (not an Urban license) is required for fishing Tempe Town Lake, and if fishing from a boat, a permit is required, which can be obtained from the Tempe City Library on the southwest corner of Rural and Southern".

Thanks Ed!

LAKE PLEASANT - Lake level is at 1,655 feet, 52 percent full, with approximately 6,864 surface acres.  Stripers are still going crazy during the early mornings and late evening now that the outside temperatures are slowly decreasing. Shad boils are being seen in the hallows and coves causing great fishing Try using topwater lures, swim baits, Alabama rigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits or jerkbaits. Fishing from shore has been decent for smallmouth and largemouth bass. Word is that the water temperature is slowly declining, causing the shad to move in towards shore. Small coves and deep holes are the best area. Try using anything that looks like shad, or live baits. Nighttime fishing for catfish, especially from shore, should be good using stink bait. Try stink baits or blood baits, such as chicken liver. Corn can also work for both catfish and carp. Frozen anchovies fished on the bottom are another good choice -- you might even catch a striped bass.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation remains at 2,096 feet and the lake level is 43 percent. Try fishing in the shallows (1 to 4 feet) with surface lures in the backs of coves and over rock piles. Drop shot works pretty well on the outside points, flats and backs of coves in 30 to 10 feet of water but altering the drop shot technique to a Texas nose hook and whacky style setup is productive especially when the typical setup does not hit the mark. The technique of how you reel the drop shot in is real important. Slow and steady or slow with little jerks or jerk and let it fall over and over again are some styles to play around with. Rock piles are typically productive using plastics bouncing along the substrate. This is still a good time to try for channel catfish using sink bait. For flatheads, live bait such as bluegills or small carp work best. For channel catfish, try any stinkbait, chicken liver or blood baits. Although you can catch channels during the day, the prime bite has likely shifted to the nighttime hours.

APACHE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,907 feet (93 percent full). No recent reports. Apache is typically a good fall producer. Regular trout stocking has begun and with that bass fishing should pick up as well.

CANYON LAKE – Canyon Lake- Boulder Rec. Area, back half is closed for season and the floating fishing pier is closed as well.  Regular trout stocking has begun and with that bass fishing should pick up as well. Please send in some reports and pictures of your success here. Lake elevation is still holding at around 1,657 feet, which is 95 percent full. No recent angler reports. If you have been fishing here, send in your report to BFishing@azgfd.gov. Anglers are having good luck fishing along the cliffs and on the ledges. Water temps are declining, so all-day fishing should be good.

SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,525 feet at 94 percent full. Anglers are having better luck using spoons along the ledges close to drop offs. Let the spoon drop then bounce it along the bottom. Bass are feeding heavily on shad, so if you find them in action, topwater would work. Regular trout stocking has begun and with that bass fishing should pick up as well.

BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation has been holding at 1,759 feet, 51 percent full. Should be good topwater action for bass off-and-on throughout the day night now. Some are using the dropshot method over the ledges and adjacent to cliffs. Shad boils have been seen late in the morning that lasted till about 2 p.m. in the southern end of the lake. Clear Zara Puppy and Ice Fluke topwater lures worked like a charm to catch another 12 bass.

HORSESHOE LAKE - Zero-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) – Stocking has begun at the lower end. Stocking at the Phon D Sutton recreation site (confluence of Salt and Verde Rivers), and the Granite Reef day use area. Here is a report from Alvin B. regarding his recent trip to the LSR.

I didn't get a chance to report for my outing on 12/2/12 out at Phon D Sutton. Spent the day getting adjusted to the flow of the river, but once I did, we ended up catching rainbows, a carp and a striper. Didn't know there were stripers in there. Fish from the bottom whereas the current will take your bobber downstream with a quickness. We were using nightcrawlers. The flyfishermen were catching a lot up by the bridge using a variety of flies. Granite Reef Res, not much - too murky and debris.

Again last Sunday, 12/9/12, we got there late in the afternoon and the bite was even better than the week before. A lot of pan size rainbows seen jumping. Caught 3 nice size ones at sunset, 2 on nightcrawlers fished from the bottom and 1 with regular old colored marshmallows. Once the sun disappeared behind the mountain, I must say that I've never seen such a top water attack. We stood there packing up to try and not get caught in the darkness but witnessed the fish just jumping and eating every top water insect in sight.

Will be back this weekend if weather permits...”


CREEKS BELOW THE MOGOLLON RIM - Weekly stockings into the trout streams have ended for most streams.

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 – From Wayne Gustaveson on Nov. 28, 2012, www.wayneswords.com.

Striped bass are now shallow at the edge of brush. We have fished both Warm Creek and Lone Rock areas recently and find all sizes of stripers holding in 8-15 feet of water near brush at the back of the canyon. A Lucky Craft Pointer, Bomber Flat A, Clackin Rap, and other shallow running crank baits have been very effective at catching stripers when trolled at 2.5 MPH (Slow down in cool water).

The deep schools of big stripers are still roaming and resting at 40-80 feet.  Find a school on the graph and immediately drop spoons for instant hookups.  Most fish hit right near the bottom.  Speed reeling is less effective than it was in the Fall. Surprisingly bait fishing is not good even though there are a fair number of thin fish swimming near the edge of the fat healthy fish.  

We are catching a couple of walleye each day when trolling and spooning for stripers. When the lake dropped during the flood event many shad were pulled out of brushy hiding places creating a feeding frenzy in the backs of the canyons. Stripers were active but many birds were enjoying the feats as well. We have recently seen grebes, mergansers, seagulls, loons and great blue herons guarding the active fish locations. Find active birds and catchable fish are near.  

Weather has been flat calm and mild. What’s not to like?

“Remember to “clean, drain and dry your boat” to stop the spread of invasive species.”

LEES FERRY
– Dec. 17 report courtesy of Dean Windham, Lees Ferry Anglers, www.leesferry.com. As another year comes to a close it is the season to begin looking for spawning fish at Lees Ferry; our trout always begin to spawn at a time that most trout are not even starting to think about it. In most waters, rainbow trout typically spawn for a period of a couple of weeks in the spring…here, our spawn begins in December and continues through May. It will be interesting to see if it is a strong spawn season; we are predicting that it will be a moderate to weak effort in response to the healthy trout population that currently inhabits the river. The fishing has been good so far this winter following the high flow event in November and the fish are in good shape. We have not had any winter weather until this week, and have been enjoying the warmer than normal day and nighttime temperatures. The flows are fluctuating from 8,500 cfs to 16,000 cfs on weekdays with slightly lower flows on the weekends. These flows offer the best of both worlds: plenty of water to drift and fish out of the boat, but not so high as to blow out all the wading spots. Drifting is always a good option during the higher flows which allows us to cover lots of water. The pattern that has been working best is wading in the mornings during the lower flows and drifting in the afternoon when the water comes up. .

Good numbers of fish have been caught using dry dropper rigs, light nymph rigs and glo bugs. Of these rigs, the dry dropper has been the choice of our guides the past few weeks. Following the November High Flow Event, you may need to search for fish in areas that you have not traditionally tried. Fish are in the riffles but don’t ignore the slack water; this is where we have been finding good numbers of feeding fish. Be sure to pay attention to the seams; this also has been productive areas where the fish are actively eating. Seams are areas of the river where the fast water meets with a slow water current and food is dropping out of the water column in these areas of mixed currents. Also remember that a good drag free drift is one of the most important skills needed to be successful here at the Ferry.

One of our guides, Natalie Jensen, reports that “to my surprise, the fish will even eat a midge that is suspended and still, in total slack water with no current.” “I have even turned a few with a dry fly.” In addition to the dry dropper she has been fishing the usual nymph rig with a strike indicator and also successfully fishing a streamer (wooly bugger) with or without a weighted line.”

Spin Fishing Report

The spin fishing upriver has improved with the higher flows. Drifting glo bugs has really picked up and is taking some larger fish, and the kastmaster lure has also been a consistent producer of good numbers of fish. Panther Martins and Rapala’s have been working well at times. Customers tell me that Rapala’s have been working really good in the shady areas of the river. Drifting has been the choice of most spin fisherman the past few weeks. Drifting through the deeper holes has produced some nice size fish.

Walk in Fishing Report:

The walk-in area has not been as consistent as the upriver areas. Fishing seems to be good in the morning just before and after the first light hits the water and then dropping off around 11 AM. The fishing then picks up again in the late afternoon and continues until dark. Light nymph rigs and dry dropper have proven to be the most productive this week. The light nymph rig with and indicator have been working in all areas of the walk in. The dry dropper works best in the upper boulder field area or in the slack water above the boulder field. I have not heard any reports about streamers working here but with the higher flows they should be doing well.

Spin Fishing Walk-In Report

Spin fishing in the walk-in has been very good at times, especially in the slack water above the boulder field. With the spinners and the longer distance casting some larger fish have been caught. The advantage to a spinner is that you can fish more water and water where fly fisherman cannot always wade or cast to. Kastmasters and panther martins have been the most productive lures for the last month in the walk in area. On Thanksgiving morning a 22-inch fish was caught above the boulder field on a kastmaster.

COLORADO RIVER NORTHWEST

LAKE MEAD – The current elevation has risen to 1119 feet above msl.  Be careful boating because of fluctuating water levels, structures previously submerged may be at the surface 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 December 13th.   The next new moon will be January 11th.  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.  The bite for largemouth and smallmouth was reported good using plastic worms and crawdads with purple and browns in them.  Several fishermen said that top water lures were working for them.  All the fishermen contacted were hopeful for the coming years with rising water conditions and the abundance of baitfish they have seen this year.    

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

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

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at www.azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level has stabilized at around 635 feet above msl.  The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly especially on grass beds in 20 to 30 feet deep.  Trolling with LONG A BOMBERS has been producing some nice stripers as Norm, his brother Roger and Bill will attest.  They were trolling along the Nevada side north of Katherine’s Landing and caught three healthy stripers weighing 4.7,6.4 and 8.4 pounds. While the number of stripers in Mohave has been decreasing, the quality of the fish caught has increased.  Reports of good bluegill action off the structures mentioned in the paragraph below. Reports of better activity from the stripers with the fall conditions.  The most productive time for stripers is dusk till dark.  The fish being caught are ranging from 3 to 9 pounds.

Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon is January 11th.  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.

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.


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.  A picture of a large striper was sent in and was caught around mile 52.  Willow Beach can be hit or miss bait fishing.  Try different baits including swim baits when nobody seems to be hooking anything.  

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your 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. 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 continue to bite in the casino area with some larger fish in the deep holes.  Rusty from Riviera Marina has sent several pictures of successful trips this week. Justin caught a rainbow trout on night crawlers in the Rotary Park area that weighed 3 pounds.  Jonah, Buddy and Jim came in with a 3.9 pound trout caught with a rooster tail near the Community Park.     

Topock Gorge- Most bass are being taken on minnows and night crawlers. Reports are that stripers are returning to the Gorge.  I haven’t heard any recent reports from the Gorge except that the best bass bite is in the mid-morning.  

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

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

Water levels on the river fluctuate, so be careful. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions 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 MARSH – The action at Topock Marsh has been steady. Reports are that the crappie bite is on. Night crawlers and live minnows have been tempting catfish from North Dyke.  Folks are 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.

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.


SOUTHWESTERN WATERS

Note: If you would like more information on southwestern waters, 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 http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/where_fish_southwest.shtml.

LAKE HAVASU
– Lake Havasu is a 19,300-acre impoundment on the Colorado River, formed by Parker Dam. It is located along the Arizona-California border and is approximately twenty-five miles long, with a shoreline that extends more than one hundred miles. Lake Havasu is best known for its striped bass, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing. It also has good fishing for channel catfish, flathead catfish, and sunfish, including some monster redear sunfish. There are also abundant carp and limited numbers of crappie.
Striper fishing has been challenging in recent years, with easy limits of small fish no longer the rule, as was the case five or six years ago.  However, the average size of the striped bass caught has increased. Using live shad for bait is a good bet any time of the year. During the cooler months stripers are usually found in deeper water, and fishing on the bottom or trolling with live shad or cut anchovies is a good bet. During the warmer months fishing topwater lures that resemble shad near “boils” or where birds are actively feeding is your best bet for some exciting action.

The largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing has been steadily improving over the last several years. Tournament anglers are regularly weighing in bags of 5 fish that weigh over 20 pounds and it is not uncommon to catch bass over 5 pounds and some even approaching 10 pounds. There are many different techniques used for largemouth bass. As a general rule, most people will use topwater lures such as buzzbaits or spinnerbaits in the early morning and then switch to jigs, crankbaits, or swimbaits as the day progresses. Using plastic baits that resemble worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards often work well. It is generally best to fish around structure such as weedbeds, emergent vegetation, boat docks, or artificial habitat. Fishing picks up as the water temperatures warm up in the spring and summer but bucketmouths can be had any time of the year.

Smallmouth bass fishing has really improved in Lake Havasu the last few years, with a new Arizona state record for the Colorado River caught in late 2011 (5.63 pounds). For smallmouth bass it is usually best to fish rocky points, ridges, shorelines, or canyons. Most people use topwater lures, lipless crankbaits or jigs in the mornings and evenings. During the day try crankbaits, plastic worms or “creature” baits such as fake crawdads.

Redear sunfish have grown to trophy size in Lake Havasu, with a new state and world record being caught in 2011 (5.55 pounds). Redear sunfish in the 2-pound range and larger  are regularly caught. Bluegill and redear can be caught around structure such as docks, vegetation, or artificial structure using mealworms, night crawlers, or small crappie jigs.

Channel catfish are widespread in the lake and can be caught using night crawlers, anchovies, chicken liver, stinkbait or about anything that “stinks”. For flathead catfish it is best to use live bait such as bluegill or small carp. Flathead catfish are relatively uncommon in the upper part of the lake, but much more abundant in the lower half, especially in the vicinity of the Bill Williams River arm of the reservoir. Catfish can be caught any time of the year but your best bet is at night during the summer.

Large carp are abundant in the lake and can provide some exciting fishing. Twenty to twenty-five pound carp are not uncommon. Most people use canned corn or dough balls.

ALAMO LAKE – Report by Mark Knapp, Park Manager, Alamo Lake State Park. “Well folks, you’re still not missing much out here. The bass fishing is still very slow. Junior and I went out and threw everything in our tackle boxes for 4 hours the other day and never got a bite. A few anglers are catching 4 to 6 crappies over in front of the first buoy line. They're fishing the north side of the lake and slow trolling with roadrunner jigs with a minnow trailer. Some anglers are not catching anything. It is very much a hit and miss thing. The good news is that finally something is being caught in the lake. A few anglers are doing o.k. cat fishing. Night crawlers seem to work as well as anything. Shore fishing is very slow, although I did have a guy say he caught a couple of bluegills late fishing one night. The lake level is at, and I'm guessing, 1097ish. Cholla ramp is still usable but on borrowed time. The rental boat road still works well as a ramp. That's about it for this week.”
 
Mark

COLORADO RIVER (PARKER STRIP AREA) – With that area along the Colorado River finally cooling down, fishing should start to pick up. The Parker Strip is well known for its smallmouth bass fishing, especially in the area from the dam to several miles downstream. The Parker Strip is also home to some really impressive, dinner-plate-sized redear sunfish of 2 pounds or larger.

COLORADO RIVER (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam, including backwaters and Martinez Lake) - This stretch of the river is best known for its trophy-sized flathead catfish, with some over 70 pounds and largemouth bass, with some over 10 pounds. However, it can also be good for channel catfish, sunfish and carp and to a lesser extent striped bass, crappie and tilapia.
Largemouth bass fishing is generally best in the backwaters or near the mouth of the backwaters. There are many different techniques used for largemouth bass. As a general rule, most people will use topwater lures such as buzzbaits or spinnerbaits in the early morning and then switch to jigs, crankbaits, or swimbaits as the day progresses. Using plastic baits that resemble worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards often work well. It is generally best to fish around structure such as weedbeds, emergent vegetation, tree stumps, brush, or boat docks. Fishing picks up as the water temperatures warm up in the spring and summer but largemouth can be taken any time of the year.

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

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

MITTRY LAKE – Mittry Lake 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 weedbeds, emergent vegetation or where shoreline brush edges the water.

YUMA AREA PONDS – Winter stocking of trout has begun in the Yuma area ponds which should make for some fun fishing.The department has stepped up efforts to encourage the recruitment of new anglers, and retention of existing ones. To this end, the department has increased stocking efforts in a few ponds in the Yuma area that are easily accessed without a boat, within a short distance of the urban center. Those ponds are the Yuma West Wetlands pond, located in the City Park, and Redondo and Fortuna ponds, located about 10 miles northeast of Yuma. Access to Redondo Pond was recently improved with the addition of an ADA-compliant fishing pier, and thick cattail growth was removed at Fortuna Pond this summer, improving shoreline access by many orders of magnitude. All of these waters received multiple stockings of rainbow trout in the winter months. If you need any additional information or assistance, don't hesitate to contact the Yuma regional office at (928) 342-0091, and we will be happy to give you whatever information we have. A resource for local fishing information in the Yuma area is the website and forum at http://www.yumabassman.com/.
 
CENTRAL MOUNTAINS


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. With the cooler fall temperature this is the time of year to fish for trout on the lakes near Flagstaff and Williams. Upper Lake Mary was stocked with trout. Fossil Creek is open to fishing.  Remember, Fossil Creek is managed as a catch and release fishery. Only flies and lures with single barbless hooks are allowed on Fossil Creek.  Most of the lakes have had skim ice on the edges but that should not stop you from getting out there and trying.  This storm moving in over the weekend should be interesting.  If you do go out and play in the snow and happen to take some photos send them in to BFishing@azgfd.gov

Winter conditions exist for all central mountain lakes. ICE Fishing is not recommended due to the unstable conditions of ice present. Please be cautious.

WILLIAMS LAKES:
 
Fossil Creek is open to fishing.  Remember Fossil Creek is managed as a catch and release fishery.  Only flies and lures with single barbless hooks are allowed on Fossil Creek.   

KAIBAB LAKE —  Campground is closed.  No report.

CATARACT LAKE —  Campground is closed.    

CITY RESERVOIR
—  No report.

DOGTOWN LAKE —  Campground is closed.

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

RUSSELL TANK -   The lake is to shallow to stock.

SANTA FE — No report.  

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campground is closed.    

FLAGSTAFF LAKES:

LOWER LAKE MARY —  Dry.

UPPER LAKE MARY —  Upper Lake Mary was stocked with catchable trout  Water quality problems at many of our trout lakes has led to us stocking Upper Lake Mary.   Water levels are dropping and larger boats can only be launched at the second boat ramp.  Boat anglers are doing well fishing for northern pike and walleye.  There have been reports of folks catching trout from shore but in general fishing is fair from the shore.

ASHURST LAKE —   No report.  

FRANCIS SHORT POND –  No report.  

KINNIKINICK LAKE
— Road is open but check prior to your travels on road conditions.  This is the time of year to catch a nice brown trout on the lake.  Brown trout should be feeding preparing for the spawn next month.

OAK CREEK — No report.  

LONG LAKE
— We have had a few reports that the pike fishing has been good on Long Lake.

BEAVER CREEK
–  No report.

WEST CLEAR CREEK
-. No report  Has been stocked.

STONEMAN LAKE
— NO FISH.

BLUE RIDGE —  Winter conditions.

KNOLL LAKE — No report

VERDE VALLEY:

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Catfish were last stocked for the Verde River Days event.  The next trout stocking is tentatively scheduled for this week, the week of December 16th.  The catfish and largemouth bite has been fair.  Catfish are still being caught on night crawlers, chicken liver, and stinkbait.  The bass are being caught on small plastic worms and Gitzit-type plastic grubs, bounced slowly along the bottom. Sunfish have been doing well on worms, salmon eggs, or small piece of Power Bait under a bobber. They bite best in the early morning hours and the evening.

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – The next scheduled stocking is this week, the week of December 16th.  Carp fishing has been good using corn or dough baits. Always check your regulations before fishing this area with live bait. Game and Fish Commission Rule requires anglers to only use live bait that has been caught in the river. No transporting of live baitfish or crayfish is allowed.  

PRESCOTT AREA:

FAIN LAKE — The last scheduled stocking was the week of November 11th.           

The reports from regulars at the lake say the trout are biting, but the morning bite is the best. Anglers are having luck throughout the day using Power Bait and Berkley Gulp. Rainbow and yellow seem to be the popular colors.

Fishermen using their fly rod gear are having the best luck.  Flies are less likely to get swallowed so releasing the fish is much easier.   

GOLDWATER LAKE —Damon sent in a report that he had the most success by the dam using yellow sparkling marshmallows.  He has been catching two – three good size rainbows in an hour.  Travis also reports that he is doing very well and that he caught the largest trout, with a lure, in ten years (3.75 lbs.).  He also caught a 2 pounder an hour earlier.  He reports the morning bite as slow with the hour before sunset the most productive.         

 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
– Robert and Michelle fished from the boat launch at around 10 o’clock and caught fish non-stop for 2 -2 ½ hours.  They were using a bobber with worms and caught 23 bluegills and a black bass.  Robert tried a popper and had a strike but was unsuccessful in landing the fish. Thanks for your report Robert and Michelle!  Rob takes his boys and little girl and has been generally successful catching multiple bluegills on worms/bobber and catch between 3-5 largemouth per hour using soft baits with a Texas rigging.  Thanks Rob for the information.  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 November 11th and will not resume until February 2013. 
       
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 – Stocking resumed the week of Sept. 4 and the last stocking of the winter was the week of October 14th.      

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 stocking was tentatively scheduled for last week, the week of December 10th.  Reports of bass that are plentiful and decent size from the shore should make Watson more attractive for fishing.  David reports that he has had good luck with crank baits, spinners, poppers, night crawlers and flies (basically everything) for the bass. He has been using chicken livers and night crawlers for the catfish with a slip sinker rig on the bottom.  Our Wildlife manager in this area reported one fisherman had 5 nice size rainbow trout caught using small spinners.  

The Wildlife Manager for the Watson area sent me a picture of some nice trout an angler caught from shore. Both of these fish looked like they had been in the lake for a period of time because of the size and condition of the fish.  If you have fished Watson Lake please send me a report of your trip to share with folks.  


Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Watson recently and found the bass, sunfish, and bullhead to be plentiful.  Crappies were also doing well.  Look for the crappie fishing to pick up in a year or two. If you fish Watson and are having luck, please e-mail me at 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 MOGOLLON RIM LAKES

Recommended Waters to Fish
Fishing is fair to good for rainbow trout at Nelson Reservoir, fair for rainbow trout and walleye at Show Low Lake and Fool Hollow Lake, and fair to good for rainbow trout at Woods Canyon and Willow Springs Lakes.  For fly fishing anglers, Becker Lake and Silver Creek are fair to good for large trout.

Trout Stocking Schedule
The trout stocking season in the White Mountains and Rim Lakes areas has ended for the year.

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES:

Note:  All Forest Roads in the Mogollon Rim area are currently open, but may close soon as additional winter storms drop more snow.  These roads are snow-covered.  All campgrounds are closed for the season.

BEAR CANYON LAKE
– Fishing is fair to good for trout.  The lake may have ice along the shoreline, but is still generally ice-free.    

BLACK CANYON LAKE
– Fishing is poor to fair.  The water level is extremely low.

CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good.  The lake should be ice-free.    

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE
– Fishing is fair to good for shore and boat anglers.  Anglers have been catching trout on nightcrawlers and PowerBait.  The lake may have ice along the shoreline, but is still generally ice-free.

WOODS CANYON LAKE
– Fishing is fair to good.  Shore anglers have been catching trout on PowerBait and nightcrawlers.  Boat anglers should try trolling slowly with cowbells with an attached nightcrawler, fly or small lure.  The store is closed for the season.  The lake may have ice along the shoreline, but is still generally ice-free.

WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES:

Note:  ADOT has closed Highways 261 and 273 for the winter.  Most campgrounds are closed for the winter, except for the following:

  • Scott Reservoir is open for day-use only
  • Fool Hollow Lake’s main campground is open year-round and operated by Arizona State Parks, while the north and northeast campgrounds are closed
  • South Fork campground is open for day-use only

BECKER LAKE – Ice.  Fishing is fair to good for trophy-sized rainbow trout.  Rainbows up to 21 inches have been released by experienced fly-fishers.  Large white or black streamers near the bottom have been effective.  Becker Lake is catch-and-release only, with artificial lures and flies only with single, barbless hook.
 
BIG LAKE – Highways 261 and 173 are closed.  The lake has some ice cover around the shoreline.  The store is closed.      

CARNERO LAKE – The lake is ice-covered, but the ice is unsafe.  Forest Roads 117, 117A and 118 are open, but will be snow-covered.

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor for trout and fair for warm-water species.

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor.
 
CRESCENT LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.  The lake is ice-covered, but the ice is unsafe.  The store is closed.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – No ice.  Fishing has been fair for trout and walleye.    

GREER LAKES – Roads to the Greer lakes are open, but snow-covered.  Tunnel Reservoir is ice-covered (unsafe ice), but River and Bunch have some open water.

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

LEE VALLEY LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.  The lake is ice-covered, but the ice is unsafe.  
   
LUNA LAKE – The lake is ice-covered, but the ice is unsafe.  The road to the lake is snow-covered.

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

NELSON RESERVOIR – The lake has some ice at the upper end, but is mostly open water.  Fishing is fair to good for rainbow trout.       
 
RAINBOW LAKE – No ice.  Fishing is poor for trout, but fair for sunfish, bass and bullheads.  The lake level is coming up slowly.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – No ice.  Fishing is fair for trout.  Anglers are catching some trout on nightcrawlers off the bottom.

SHOW LOW LAKE
– No ice.  Fishing is fair for trout and walleye.  Boat anglers are catching trout and walleye on cowbells with worms, flies and lures when trolling slowly.  Shore anglers are catching trout and some walleye on nightcrawlers and lures off the fishing piers.  The upper parking lot is temporarily closed until improvements to the lake access from that lot are completed.  The main parking lot that includes the boat trailer parking is still open to all vehicle parking, but the restrooms are closed for the season.  The concession store is closed for the season, and boat rentals are no longer available through the winter months.  The spillway campground is closed for the season, but the main campground on the west side of Show Low Lake Road will remain open through the winter. The road over the dam is closed due to recent snowstorms.  

WOODLAND LAKE – No ice.  Fishing is poor for trout and fair for largemouth bass and catfish.  The trout bag and possession limit here is four trout.  

WHITE MOUNTAINS STREAMS:

Note:  ADOT has closed Highways 261 and 273 for the winter.  Most high elevation streams are mostly ice-covered with snow-covered banks.

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER
– Highways 261 and 273 are closed.  Forest Roads are snow-covered.

WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed.  Forest Roads are snow-covered.

BLACK RIVER
– Highways 261 and 273 are closed.  Forest Roads are snow-packed.  The Black River likely has open water throughout, but fish populations are still recovering from the Wallow Fire of 2011.  Fishing is poor.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER
– Fishing is fair for wild brown trout and hold-over stocked rainbow trout.  Ice may be present in some slow pools, but most of the stream was still open within the middle portions of Greer.

SHEEPS CROSSING
– Highway 273 is closed for the winter.  The stream is mostly ice-covered with snow-packed banks.

SHOW LOW CREEK – Fishing is poor to fair in the large pool immediately below the outlet of Show Low Lake dam.  It was last stocked in September.  The access road on the dam is closed due to recent snowstorms.

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair to good for large rainbow trout and Apache trout.  Silver Creek is a spring creek and does not freeze during the winter.  Fly fishermen have done well on white or black streamers, egg patterns, and assorted nymphs.  Silver Creek is currently open to catch-and-release, artificial lure and fly with barbless hooks only fishing from October 1 through March 31.  The upper section is open to angling.

SOUTHERN WATERS 

Anglers: We haven't heard from you in a while! Please send me your fishing reports from Southern Arizona!  Fishing reports for southern waters can be sent to Don Mitchell, Regional Fish Program Manager by email at dmitchell@azgfd.gov.  These reports will then be compiled and reported in our weekly fishing reports.

Need ideas on where to go fishing?  Try the department's new interactive Fish and Boat Map at
http://gis.azgfd.gov/fishandboat/.

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. 2012 Winter Stocking Schedule

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.  
2012 Winter Stocking Schedule
 
DANKWORTH POND
— Still closed for renovations.  The lake is taking longer than expected to refill and it now looks like it will be January before it is ready for fish.  

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.  Boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.  Sporadic success is being reported with fish being caught in the early mornings and late evenings.  Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive.  

PENA BLANCA
– Winter stocking has begun at Pena Blanca Lake.  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.    2012 Winter Stocking Schedule.  Send in your reports of success to BFishing@azgfd.gov.

PATAGONIA
— Winter stocking has begun at Patagonia Lake. The lake is nearly full.  Fishing continues to be good with bass anglers having success working the shorelines in shallower water.  Don’t forget that the lake supports a very healthy flathead catfish population as well that can provide some exciting opportunities for anglers.  2012 Winter Stocking Schedule.  Send in your reports of success to BFishing@azgfd.gov.


PARKER CANYON
— Winter stocking has begun at Parker Canyon Lake.  Please make sure  to report back on your success.  Fishing remains fair for all species.  The Department is currently working to establish a breeding population of channel catfish at the lake and is asking anglers to please limit the harvest of catfish at this time to allow larger members of the population the opportunity to spawn.  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.  2012 Winter Stocking Schedule

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.

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