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Dec. 27 Fishing Report

Posted in: Fishing Report
Dec 27, 2012
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"FISHING STORIES"

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Christimas spending time with family and friends. I had my fill of elk tamales and albondigas soup to eat. We had the grandkids running around like crazy, enjoying themselves and putting a smile on my wife and me. We were able to have our youngest son home on leave from the U.S. Army. I have my health and good friends...what could be better than that? 

How did everyone else spend their time? If you went fishing or spent any time in the outdoors, I would love to hear about it. Send me some pictures and stories and we will get them into the Fishing Report. We have some folks out on holiday leave this week, but I will try and get you the most updated information from each of the regions. Thanks for your patience.

FISHING NEWS

Free bumper stickers

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Pick up the latest "FISH AZ, I DO" bumper sticker from your local Game and Fish office and display your badge of honor proudly. Department offices are in Phoenix, Mesa, Flagstaff, Pinetop, Kingman, Yuma and Tucson. This cool sticker not only proclaims that you are an angler, but it shows your support for outdoor recreation that supports fisheries and wildlife conservation. To learn more about how fishing recreation supports conservation and the economy (the "cycle of success"), read the article below.

Fishing recreation produces significant economic benefits annually to the State of Arizona

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Did you know that the Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive general funds (Arizona tax dollars) from the State of Arizona?

Most Game and Fish funding results from "user-pay user-benefit" sources of funding, including the sale of fishing and hunting licenses, stamps and tags, as well as from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) program. Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funds are derived from a federal excise tax on certain types of fishing gear, firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, and motor boat fuel. The taxes are collected by the federal government and apportioned to the states for programs that benefit fisheries and wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation. So if you purchase a fishing or hunting license or buy fishing or hunting gear, you are contributing to the "cycle of success" that provides conservation benefits as well as economic benefits to state and local communities. 

In Arizona, anglers and hunters spend more than a billion dollars a year in fishing and hunting equipment and trip-related expenditures.

To learn more about the WSFR program, visit www.azgfd.gov/h_f/federal-aid-cycle.shtml. To learn more about the economic benefits of fishing and hunting, visit www.azgfd.gov/w_c/survey_results.shtml.

Stop aquatic hitchhikers - it's the law

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Quagga mussels were first found in Arizona in Lake Mead in January of 2007. These prolific invaders damage pumps, equipment, and our water ecosystems. The following waters are known to have invasive quagga/zebra mussels:

  • Lake Pleasant
  • Lake Mead
  • Lake Mohave
  • Lake Havasu
  • Lower Colorado River below Havasu

Boaters and anglers can help prevent the spread of quagga mussels and other aquatic invasive speces by taking these simple steps:

  • CLEAN - the hull of your boat and your gear, remove all plant and animal material.
  • DRAIN - the water from the boat, livewell and the lower unit.
  • DRY - the boat, fishing gear, and equipment.

Remember, cleaning, draining and drying your boat is not only the right thing to do, but now it's the law!

Urban fishing update

Rainbow trout are scheduled to be stocked at all Urban Fishing Program waters this week (week of Dec. 24-29). Trout range in size from 11-12 inches in length, with some fish up to 16 inches. Fishing is good to excellent for anglers using scented dough baits (such as Power Bait), worms or corn on the bottom. Tip: Anglers using 2- to 4-pound test line are getting 2-3 times more bites than anglers using 8- to 12-pound line. Small spinners such as Roostertails and Panther Martins, or spoons such as Kastmasters and Super Dupers work well for trout. The morning bite is the best, but trout will bite sporadically throughout the day. When the bite is on, anglers are catching limits in an hour or two. Action for catfish, bluegill and bass has slowed due to colder water temperatures. Trout fishing is good to excellent at Green Valley lakes in Payson with Power Bait, worms and small spoons or jigs working best.


Winter trout stocking schedule for state waters
 
Ladies and gentlemen, here is the link to the latest trout stocking schedule for the state. Be sure to report back on your success: www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/h_f/fishing/stocking/TroutStockingSchedule.pdf.
 
2013 fishing licenses make great gifts
 
In the midst of the holiday rush, don’t forget to buy your 2013 fishing license for the new year. Class A licenses (general fishing license for state waters) cost $23.50 for residents and $70.25 for non-residents. Trout stamps (which are required in addition to a Class A license for the taking of trout) are $15.75 for residents and $57.75 for nonresidents. Class U (Urban) fishing licenses cost $18.50 for residents and nonresidents. The Class U license is valid only at the 21 designated Urban Fishing Program waters and is good for all fish species (including trout). If you want one fishing license that covers all waters in the state, then the Class L, Super Conservation Fishing license is the way to go. At $53 for residents and only $63 for non-residents, this super license includes the state fishing license, trout stamp and urban license—all in one package deal. Fishing licenses are sold at more than 320 license dealers statewide, at any Game and Fish office, or online at www.azgfd.gov/eservices/licenses.shtml. For those of you who are getting a friend or loved one a belated Christmas gift, you can buy them a license as long as you know the personal information that needs to go on the license. All anglers age 14 and over must purchase a license to fish in Arizona..
 
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 another tip from Ed E. who is becoming a regular contributor to the BFishing@azgfd.gov email drop site.

“Hey Reuben,
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I hit Tempe Town Lake today and did not do as good as I did last week, but I did manage to catch Tilapia on the lake for the first time. We started out at the Mill Avenue Bridge area got a few hits but no catches. We worked our way to the east and that is when the catching started. 10 bass and 3 Tilapia! I caught the trhee Tilapia using Senko worms. I included a picture of one of them.

Thanks for the tip, Ed, and that’s a great looking fish!

LAKE PLEASANT - Lake level is at 1,663 feet, 59 percent full, with approximately 7,333 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. “A friend of mine caught 3 good size large mouth bass in about 45 minutes last weekend using bright colored grubs along the shoreline.”

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation remains at 2,093 feet and the lake level is 42 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 1,763 feet, 56 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 - 1-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.

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’s words by Wayne Gustaveson last updated November 28th, 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 – Last report was submitted Dec 17th, 2012. See www.leesferry.com

COLORADO RIVER NORTHWEST

LAKE MEAD – The current elevation has risen to 1219 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 647 feet above msl or 85% full.  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.

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

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

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – 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.

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

SOUTHWESTERN WATERS

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

I need your tips and stories for Southwestern waters! please send in some pictures to Bfishing@azgfd.gov

LAKE HAVASU – Lake Level is 88.87% full with average temperature of 56 degrees. 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, once again I'm sad to report that the fishing has not picked up out here. I don't know of any bass being caught. A few anglers have been beating the brush for a few hours a day with no bites. About the same with crappie fishing. I know of 2 crappies being caught in the last week. They're up by the first buoy line on the north side of the lake. The anglers were using road runners with a minnow trailer. They were caught in 30 feet of water. Anglers are catching a few catfish in the upper end of the lake. They're using night crawlers and hot dogs for bait. In the next few weeks campers will start rolling in and I should get some better reports. I'm getting the boat ready to go and will start going out in the next couple of weeks. 

I have been spending some time out quad riding. One thing I will say is to make sure you know the AZ laws and have everything up to date. We're finding the fines are very expensive. If you have any questions, stop by the ranger station and we can make sure you know what proper documents and gear to have before going out. As the season goes, I will throw out some stuff on ATV's. Lesson one is to make sure you have a registered bike and and OHV sticker if registered in AZ. If you're a winter visitor and not going to be in the state for more than 30 days, you don't have to get one at this time. Another thing we have learned is that if the bike says one person, it means just that. One person. If you go and buy one of those nice attach packs with the arm rest, that does not mean a thing. You still cannot ride double if the bike manufacturer says one person. We see a lot of confusion with this. Again, very expensive citation. So for grins and giggles, let's say you get pulled over and you have an expired registration, no OHV sticker, and are riding double. You can expect to pay about $500 to $600 in fines. Once again, if you have any doubts, stop by and see us. We're here to make sure you have fun and will go out of our way to get you to the right place to purchase what you need to be legal.

Cholla ramp is still in operation at this time. You can also use the old rental boat road to launch. All the construction is winding down and completely done by the end of next week. Once again, Cholla ramp has been stabilized and should be good to go if we ever get any rain. I'm not sure what the lake level is, but I'm guessing 1097ish. It's going be a very interesting year if we do not get any rains soon. I will do everything possible to make sure we have somewhere to launch. That's about it for this week. Have a safe New Year."

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/. “This website is jampacked with GREAT information.”
 
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 EXSISTS FOR ALL CENTRAL MOUNTAIN LAKES.  ICE Fishing is not recommended due to the unstable conditions of ice present. Please be cautious. COLD, COLD, COLD!

WILLIAMS LAKES:

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 too shallow to stock.

SANTA FE — No report.  

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campground is closed.

FLAGSTAFF LAKES:

LOWER LAKE MARY — Dry.

UPPER LAKE MARY — No report.

ASHURST LAKE —   No report. 

FRANCIS SHORT POND –  No report.  

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road is open. 

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. 

STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.

BLUE RIDGE — Winter conditions.

KNOLL LAKE — No report.

VERDE VALLEY:

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – The next trout stocking is tentatively scheduled for next week (the week of December 30th). 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 trout stocking is tentatively scheduled for the week of January 6th. 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 and the next stocking is scheduled for February 3rd, 2013.         

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. Next stocking is scheduled for February 10th, 2013.   

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 – No report from Granite Basin. 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 – Stocking is scheduled for February 3rd, 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 –The last stocking of the winter was the week of October 14th. No schedule date. 

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 is tentatively scheduled for January 20th. 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
Fool Hollow Lake and Show Low Lake are ice-free. Nelson Reservoir has some ice in the upper end, but is mostly ice free.  Becker Lake and Silver Creek are also ice-free. Note that Becker and Silver Creek are artificial lure and fly only and catch-and-release.

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 closed due to snow conditions.  Snowmobile access is allowed.

BEAR CANYON LAKE –  No vehicle access.  Forest Roads 300 and 34 are closed to vehicles due to snow conditions.  The lake is ice-covered with unsafe ice.  Snowmobile access is allowed.  

BLACK CANYON LAKE –  No vehicle access.  Forest Road 300 is closed to vehicles due to snow conditions.  The lake is ice-covered with unsafe ice.  Snowmobile access is allowed.

CHEVELON LAKE – No vehicle access.  Forest Roads 300 and 169 are closed to vehicles due to snow conditions.  The lake likely has some open water.    

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – No vehicle access.  Forest Road 149 is closed to vehicles due to snow conditions.  The lake is ice-covered with unsafe ice.

WOODS CANYON LAKE – No vehicle access.  Forest Road 300 is closed to vehicles due to snow conditions.  The lake is ice-covered with unsafe ice.
 
 
WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES:

Note:  Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.  Most forest roads are snow covered. Snowmobile access is allowed.  Most high elevation lakes are ice-covered.

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for trophy-sized rainbow trout.  The lake is currently ice-free.  Becker Lake is catch-and-release only, with artificial lures and flies only with single, barbless hook.
 
BIG LAKE – No vehicle access.  Highways 261 and 173 are closed for the winter.  The lake is ice-covered.  The store is closed.  Snowmobiles access is allowed.      

CARNERO LAKE – No vehicle access.  Forest Roads 117, 117A and 118 are technically open, but are snow packed, which prevents vehicle access to the lake.  Snowmobiles access is allowed.  The lake is ice-covered.  The ice thickness was ~6 inches when last checked, which should be considered unsafe.

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

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor.
 
CRESCENT LAKE – No vehicle access.  Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter. Snowmobile access is allowed.  The lake is ice-covered.  The ice thickness was ~10 inches when last checked, but test the ice before venturing out to ice fish.  The store is closed.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair.  The lake is currently ice-free, but may freeze partially during cold mornings.  The campground is open. 
  
GREER LAKES – Roads to the Greer lakes are open, but snow covered.  All Greer lakes are ice-covered but expect unsafe ice conditions.  

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 – No vehicle access.  Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.  The lake is ice-covered with about 8.5 inches of ice when last checked.
   
LUNA LAKE – The road to the lake is open.  The lake is ice-covered.

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

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair to good for rainbow trout.  The lake has some ice-cover in the upper end, but is mostly open water.  
 
RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor.  The lake is currently mostly open, but does have some ice cover near the dam, limiting shoreline angling.  Unsafe ice conditions.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair.  The lake is currently partially open water, but does have some ice cover.  Unsafe ice conditions.

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair.  The lake is currently ice-free, but may experience some freezing along the shorelines on cold mornings.  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.   

WOODLAND LAKE – The lake is mostly ice-covered, but there is some open water near the fishing pier.  Fishing is poor.  Unsafe ice conditions.  

WHITE MOUNTAINS STREAMS:
Note:  Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter. High elevation streams are mostly ice-covered with snow-covered banks.

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed.

WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed.

BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed.  

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER – Ice is likely present on the pools and slower water, making it difficult to fish.  The banks are snow-packed.

SHEEPS CROSSING – No vehicle access.  Highway 273 is closed for the winter. Forest roads are snow covered. The stream is mostly ice-covered with snow-packed banks.

SHOW LOW CREEK – No vehicle access.  The access road on the dam is closed.  The pool below Show Low Lake dam is likely ice-covered.

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

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 complied and reported in our weekly fishing reports.

See the winter trout stocking schedule at  http://www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/h_f/fishing/stocking/TroutStockingSchedule.pdf

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

WE HAVE NOT HEARD FROM YOU IN A WHILE!!!  Send in some reports of fishing successes!

RIGGS FLAT — Closed for the winter.

CLUFF RANCH — No recent reports of success. Scheduled for the week of January 6th for stocking. 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.  
 
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. Still pending.

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. Next stocking is scheduled for the week of January 6th, 2013. Additionally all mercury advisories against the eating of warmwater fish caught at Pena Blanca Lake remain 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. Send in your reports of success to BFishing@azgfd.gov.

PATAGONIA — Patagonia Lake stocking is scheduled for the week of January 13th, 2013. 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. Send in your reports of success to BFishing@azgfd.gov.

PARKER CANYON — Parker Canyon Lake is scheduled for stocking on the week of January 13th, 2013. 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. 

Here is a fishing report from Scott L. on his recent trip to Parker Canyon Lake:

My dad and I got to Parker Canyon Lake on Dec. 22 and went down the Marina Road and unloaded my gear: a fishing rod, the net, a bucket, food and my tackle bag. When I got to my fishing spot, I saw 3 men fishing there. They brought over their fish stringer and I saw at least 9 fish on there.

I tied on a new lure I bought at Wal-Mart. It was called the Norman® Crickhopper. I cast it out and I started to retrieve it and the men were trying to see what I was using. It floated to the surface and SPLASH!!!! A fish attacked it. I set the hook only to find the fish got off. Then, I asked the men politely what they used to catch the fish. They said worms and Berkley® PowerBait®. I asked one of the men to rig me up with the rig they were using. He rigged my rod up and said, "Try a piece of worm."

I put a half of a worm on the hook and cast it out as far as I could. One of the other 3 men got a fish. It was a rainbow trout. The angler put it on the stringer and continued to fish. They caught 4 more and then I reeled in my line and unhooked my worm and threw it into the lake. A duck ate it. I ask them what color PowerBait® I should use. The older man said any color will work. I had bought some PowerBait® in Red/Blue/White all mixed together in one container and took a chunk of it out of the container and balled it up. I put it on the hook and cast it out. The sinker went to the bottom carrying the PowerBait® down with it. The sinker hit the bottom and the PowerBait® floated up above all the gunk on the bottom. I layed my rod against the railing and watched the other men's rods to see it they got any bites.

Then I got up from my chair and told the older man "Why are you getting bites and I'm not"? Then he said "What do you mean, you have a bite right now." I grabbed my rod and attempted to set the hook. The fish had taken my bait and ran away. Then I knew that I was getting bites and baited my hook with another piece of PowerBait®. By then the fishermen had caught 2 more and had them on their stringer. They had to attach 3 stringers together to be able to reach the water and preserve the fish. While I was waiting, I heard a SNAP! And a SPLASH! I said, "What on heavenly earth was that?" The older man said "Gosh darn it" (edited)! Their stringer had so much weight from fish on it that it had broken.

Then I went over to see if they had lost their fish and I was now steaming mad that I lost yet another fish. Then I realized that I had to hold my rod in my hand. I put another ball of PowerBait® on the hook and cast it out. I held the rod in my hand and felt a tap, tap, tap. I set the hook and fought the fish. I had a younger man net it for me and I was able to unhook it. I put it in my bucket and cast out again with yet another ball of PowerBait®.
Between 9 a.m. and 12 noon, I had caught 9 fish and released 6 of them. My dad caught 7 and released 1. We together took home 9 fish. I personally think when one of the younger men said, "Wow! We each have caught our limit and it is only 10 a.m.," that he cursed the fish because I was catching fish rapidly before he said that and then I didn't catch another fish until 11 a.m.

Overall, you should really go there. I caught my 1st place fish on Garlic flavored PowerBait®, my 2nd place fish on salmon egg flavored PowerBait® and my 3rd place fish on Red/Blue/White PowerBait®. Try, obviously, PowerBait® and worms. I didn't catch any fish on worms but the other men did. Parker Canyon Lake is trout-land. If you want to catch your limit, go to Parker.”

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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