Reuben is out attending his son's graduation from U.S. Army basic training this week, so we've put together the following items for this week's Fishing Report.
Don't miss the International Sportsmen's Exposition, Feb. 21-24
The Arizona Game and Fish Department will again have a significant presence at the show. Department personnel and volunteers from angling groups are teaming up with ISE to operate the kids fishing pond, and the department will conduct its annual wildlife assets sale that includes everything from huge antlers and mounts to supple soft rabbit skins. The Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center will have live wildlife on display, and the department’s Operation Game Thief and OHV programs will bring their educational trailers and program information. You can also learn about California condor reintroduction and how hunters are helping condor conservation through their voluntary participation in the non-lead ammunition program. Several Game and Fish representatives will be speaking at the Adventure Theater over the four-day show, giving presentations on such topics as quail hunting, improving your big game draw odds, urban fishing, and turkey hunting.
Other attractions at ISE will include a giant casting pond, a 3D pop-up archery range and contest presented by Eastman’s Bowhunting Journal, seminars on hunting, fishing and off-roading at the Adventure Theater, the RMEF great elk display, Eastman’s trophy deer display, and the DockDogs pool and national contest. New this year will be the Valleywide Scout-O-Rama conducted by the Boy Scouts of America, Grand Canyon Council, outside of the stadium on Saturday, Feb. 23. For more information, including hours and admission fees, visit http://www.sportsexpos.com.
Help clean up Alamo Lake on March 2
Volunteers are encouraged to come out for the annual Alamo Lake cleancup. Registration begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 1 at the Alamo Lake Group Use Area Cholla Campground. Cleanup work is from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, so bring a pair of gloves. Arizona State Parks will waive the camping and boat launch fees for registered cleanup participants staying at the Cholla Group Use Area. Other facilities are available at the regular rates. If you have a boat, bring it along. The Arizona Game and Fish Department will operate a boat for the collection of large shoreline litter. Dinner and a raffle will be held Saturday night for the participants. Bring your camping gear and join the fun. If you can help with the raffle door prizes, please notify the event contact, Stewart Kohnke, Wildlife Manager, (928) 856-0706.
We started fishing at around 4:30 p.m. and after a few minutes my son caught a very nice trout. A few minutes later he hooked what seemed like a 3-pound bass but broke his line right as he was going to put him on land. Later I caught a small trout. About 15 minutes before we were going to leave, my son hooked another nice trout. He became very excited.
A very special day... It was his first time out-fishing daddy. Final score: Son 2, Dad 1. Thank you Reuben. Hope this makes your top fishing stories for the week." - David L.
In the early afternoon, swimming jigs on points worked well for us, also caught one 2-pound bass on the Alabama rig off the main lake. Extremely windy on the lake today but we made out pretty good. Thanks!" - Steve S.
Editor's note: This is a great time to get out and fish the lakes in our Urban Fishing Program. There are 21 lakes in the program in metro Phoenix, metro Tucson, and in Payson. The next stocking of trout into Urban Fishing Program lakes will occur the week of Feb. 18-23. A Class U urban fishing license is required to fish the urban lakes. For more information, visit http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/urban_fishing.shtml.
OK, on to the full report.
Note: If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to our "Been Fishing" site at BFishing@azgfd.gov.
URBAN WATERS - Trout stocking for Urban Fishing Program waters is scheduled for next week.
TEMPE TOWN LAKE – No report.
LAKE PLEASANT - Lake level is at 1,674 feet, 69.7 percent full, with approximately 8,002 surface acres. Good fishing in the shallows, use topwater lures, crankbait or spinners.
ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,099 feet 46 percent full). 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. Word is that crappie have been hitting and lots of people have been having a lot of success.
APACHE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,907 feet (93 percent full). Is scheduled to be stocked with trout the week of February 3rd.
CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,658 feet (97 percent full). The lake was scheduled to be stocked with trout this week. If you have been fishing here, send in your report to BFishing@azgfd.gov.
SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,526 feet (96 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.
BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,777 feet (71 percent full). No report.
HORSESHOE LAKE - 51-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) – No report. Was scheduled to be stocked with trout this week.
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 – See Feb. 1 report by Wayne Gustaveson at www.wayneswords.com.
LEES FERRY – Feb. 5 report by Dean Windham, Lees Ferry Anglers, www.leesferry.com. We are seeing some changes this week as the flows recently dropped to 8,000 cfs for a low and 14,000 cfs for a high. When we get a flow change the fish take a while to adjust to the new flows. These flows offer the best of both worlds; plenty of water to drift and fish out of the boat but also lots of areas to wade. There is more sun on the water now that the sun is moving higher in the sky and this also will produce more prolific insect hatches as the days continue to get longer.
By the middle of February most areas of the river will be getting some sunlight, so spring is in the air. Midges and black flies are hatching almost every day now. Black flies are difficult to match but a very small parachute adams (cut the tail off) fished below a dry fly and just under the surface, in the scum line, suggests the emergers of the black fly and can take some nice fish. Midges are still the best fly with scuds and San Juan worms close behind. Dry dropper rigs are really working in the slack water upriver on most days. There has been very little fishing pressure during the weekdays but weekends are starting to see a little more action now with the longer days and warmer weather. Last week several fish were caught that were over 20 inches, so the big boys are starting to show up.
The fish population looks really good and most all the fish we are seeing are in remarkably good shape. It appears that the high flow event had little effect on the trout population or the health of the fish. With the days getting longer, more sunlight in the canyon, and more prolific hatches as we move into the spring, the health and size of the fish should continue to improve. There are a few spawning fish upriver, however, this will be a weak year for spawning trout at Lees Ferry. The reason for the poor spawn is that Lees Ferry trout have an instinct to compensate and have weak spawns when the river’s trout population is healthy and abundant.
Spin Fishing Upriver:
Spin fishing has been good with some really nice fish being caught. Drifting glo bugs has been really popular the past few weeks. Panther Martin spinners have also been very popular, with the Kastmaster close behind. Spin fisherman have been drifting more that wading, although that is an option with the lower flows.
Most everyone has been catching fish here but it has been up and down with the flows. Mid mornings have been the best, with late afternoon also being a great time wet a line. Midge hatches have been observed almost every day, so the zebra midge has really been working well. Glo bugs have also been working most days, with San Juan worms working well. The light nymph rig is the setup to use here in the walk-in, as the dry dropper is not as easy to work with in the faster water.
Walk-in Spin Fishing:
Spin fishing in the upper boulder field area has been good using Kastmasters and Panther Martins. There were reports that some bucktail spinners were working well below the large boulder last week. Spin fishing really is best in the afternoon after the water comes up.
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 MEAD – The elevation has maintained at 1122 feet above msl. Be careful boating because of fluctuating water levels and watch for floating debris dislodged from rising water levels. There seems to be an abundance of shad currently which may be the reason for the lack of bite. Cut anchovies are still the bait of choice. Check the moon phases before you go – last new moon was Feb. 10. The next new moon will be March 11. 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 topwater 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.
LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level has risen to 642 feet above msl. The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly especially on grass beds in 20 to 30 feet deep. Reports of using artificial crawfish jerked through the weed beds have worked well. Trolling with LONG A BOMBERS has been producing some nice stripers. While the number of stripers in Mohave has been decreasing, the quality of the fish caught has increased. Stripers have become more active with the cold conditions on the lake. 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 March 11. Cut anchovies usually work the best.
Biologists from both Arizona Game and Fish Department and Nevada Division of Wildlife with the help of volunteers, National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation personnel have continued to install fish habitat in Carp Cove, Box Cove, Shoshone, and Arrowhead. Fish habitat consists of PVC structures, wood pallet structures, tamarisk bundles, and some Christmas trees. The largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill and catfish are really utilizing the new structures. Additional habitat will be added at several locations over the next two years. These structures are fish magnets.
There is a wheelchair accessible fishing pier just south of the main launch ramp at Katherine's Landing. If you fish Mohave and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
WILLOW BEACH – Willow Beach is stocked every Friday with 3,000 13” rainbow trout. Rainbow, peach, garlic and yellow Power Baits and Powerworms were being used most for trout. Jakes original and Jakes Juniors, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails are also usually effective. Willow Beach can be hit or miss bait fishing. Try different baits including swim baits when nobody seems to be hooking anything.
If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – Trout bite in the casino area is doing well from the casino area to below the Rio Lomas Beach. Larger stripers are still being caught from the dam down to the Gorge. Many of these fish are in the 4-12 pound range.
Rainbow trout are located throughout the river below Davis dam, but anglers typically report catching trout on the Arizona side across from the Riverside, off the shore of Davis Camp and in the Big Bend area. Rusty at the Riviera Marina sent a report of Mike Z’s large stripers he continues to catch from shore in the upper Big Bend area with his favorite pencil popper. Remember to fish for trout, you need a trout stamp on Class A and Lifetime fishing licenses.
Water levels on the river fluctuate, so be careful. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions http://www.usbr.gov/lc/riverops.html before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
TOPOCK GORGE - Most bass are being taken on minnows and night crawlers. Reports are that stripers are returning to the Gorge.
TOPOCK MARSH – The action at Topock Marsh has been slowing. Reports are that the crappie bite is on. Night crawlers and live minnows have been tempting catfish and largemouth bass from North Dyke. Folks 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.
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.
LAKE HAVASU – Lake Level is 88.87 percent 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 – By Mark Knapp. Well folks, once again I don't have any really encouraging news to report. I think a total of 4 crappie have been caught this week. I know of 2 bass being caught. Cat fishing is still pretty decent. I have no clue as to why everything has lock jaw. I went out and threw everything from training wheels ( crank baits) to blades and never got a bite. After 4 1/2 hours of that I threw down my poles and went home and drank a couple of beers to swallow the agony of defeat. I'm going to try and get out Friday afternoon and try again.
The lake level is at 1198ish (I think) with releases of 10 cfs. The couple of feet of water we got bought us some more time on Cholla ramp, so that's good news. Game & Fish is fixing to have their annual lake cleanup the first weekend in March. If you stay in the group use area, the camping fees are waived. If you stay in a regular campsite, you will have to pay the camping fee and we would highly suggest making a reservation. Every year we get a pretty good turnout and the department throws in a dinner to boot. Reuben has been throwing out details on his web page, or you can call the park for more information. We really appreciate all the hard work everyone puts in to help keep the lake and shorelines clean. Right now the weather is perfect for quad riding. Just remember to have all the proper documentation and current registration with you. I have not gone out riding as much as I would like to. Every time I look up, I'm off to another meeting or conference. Well that's about it.
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.
Cold weather conditions, snow and ice present on all lakes and waterways. We have received runoff into the lakes with the last big storm, so things are looking up for at least the spring and early summer trout season, but nothing can be stocked until March.
Note: Ice fishing is not recommended due to the unstable conditions of ice present. Please be cautious. If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to our "Been Fishing" site at BFishing@azgfd.gov.
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.
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 — No report.
BEAVER CREEK – No report.
WEST CLEAR CREEK - No report.
STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.
BLUE RIDGE — Winter conditions.
KNOLL LAKE — No report.
DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Catfish were last stocked for the Verde River Days event. The last trout stocking was scheduled the week of Feb. 3 and the next stocking is tentatively scheduled for the week of Feb. 17. Catfish and bass bite has slowed due to the cold temperatures. The trout bite should be very excellent considering the recent stockings.
VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – The last scheduled stocking was the week of Jan. 20. The next trout stocking was tentatively scheduled for this week, the week of Feb. 10. 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.
FAIN LAKE — The last scheduled trout stocking was the week of Feb. 3. I have not heard any reports from Fain in a while.
GOLDWATER LAKE — Report are that some trout are being caught but it can be hit and miss. Trout were scheduled to be stocked this week, the week of February 10. If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
GRANITE BASIN LAKE – Bluegill and some catfish are still being caught. If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
LYNX LAKE – The last scheduled stocking was the week of Feb. 3. The next stocking is tentatively scheduled for the week of March 17.
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 Oct. 14. For trout the best bait is usually orange, pink, or white Power Bait, fished on the bottom with a treble hook and an egg sinker. Fishing can be really good at times, because angler use is lower than other lakes in the area. Yellow bullhead catfish are active and easy to catch with nightcrawlers on the bottom. This lake is more remote than the other Prescott area lakes and not very big. The lake is open as weather permits. Forest Road 104 is relatively impassable when wet. The lake is still open to foot traffic.
Someone illegally stocked yellow bullhead into Mingus several years ago. These fish compete directly with the trout and keep growth rates very low. If you witness anyone, anywhere, moving fish like bass, bluegill, catfish and stocking them, please report it to our Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-352-0700. Illegal stockings cost YOU money!
WATSON – Trout were last stocked the week of Feb. 3 and the next trout stocking is tentatively scheduled for the week of March 3. If you fish Watson and are having luck, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR – The challenge with this lake is finding access to the shore and fighting the aquatic vegetation. If you fish Willow and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
WHITE MOUNTAINS AND MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
Recommended Waters to Fish:
Becker Lake, Nelson, Fool Hollow, Woodland, Rainbow, Scotts and Show Low Lakes are currently ice-free. Silver Creek is also ice-free and fair for large trout. Many other lakes and streams in the White Mountains are currently ice-covered or mostly ice-covered, some with unsafe ice.
Trout Stocking Schedule:
The trout stocking season in the White Mountains and Rim Lakes areas will begin in April.
MOGOLLON RIM LAKES:
Note: Most lakes are ice-covered. Forest Roads (FR) in the Mogollon Rim area are currently closed due to snow-covered conditions. Snow-packed berms along Highway 260 have blocked FR 300 and 149 to Black Canyon, Woods Canyon and Willow Springs Lakes. FR 169 north into Chevelon Canyon Lake is snow-covered. Snowmobile access is allowed.
BEAR CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. FR 300 and 34 are closed to vehicles for the winter. Snowmobile access is allowed.
BLACK CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. FR 300 and 86 are closed to vehicles for the winter. Snowmobile access is allowed.
CHEVELON LAKE – The lake is likely ice-free, but is inaccessible. Forest roads are snow-covered.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. FR 149 is closed to vehicles for the winter. Snowmobile access is allowed.
WOODS CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. FR 300 is closed to vehicles for the winter. Snowmobile access is allowed.
WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES:
Note: Most high elevation lakes in the White Mountains are currently ice-covered. Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicles for the winter. Most other Forest roads are snow-covered. Snowmobile access is allowed.
BECKER LAKE – No reports. The lake is ice-free. Fishing will likely be fair. Becker Lake is open to catch-and-release fishing, with artificial fly and lure only, and single barbless hooks only.
BIG LAKE – Highways 261 and 173 are closed to vehicles for the winter. Other Forest roads are snow-covered. Snowmobile access is allowed. The lake is ice-covered. The store is closed.
CARNERO LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. FR 117, 117A and 118 are snow-covered and inaccessible for vehicles. Snowmobile access is allowed.
CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – The lake is ice-free, but fishing is poor.
CONCHO LAKE – The lake is ice-free, but fishing is poor.
CRESCENT LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicles for the winter. The lake is ice-covered. The store is closed. Snowmobile access is allowed.
FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair. Anglers have been catching trout and bluegills on nightcrawlers. The lake is ice-free. One fishing pier on the east side of the lake is closed for repairs, but other piers are available on the east and west sides. The main campground is open.
GREER LAKES – All Greer lakes are ice-covered. Roads to the lakes are open, but snow-covered.
HULSEY LAKE – The lake was drained immediately following the Wallow Fire to help reduce expected flooding on Escudilla Mountain and has not been stocked since the fire.
LEE VALLEY LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicles for the winter. The lake is ice-covered. Snowmobile access is allowed.
LUNA LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. The road to the lake is snow-covered, but accessible by vehicle.
LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is closed for the season.
NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair. The lake is ice-free.
RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free.
SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free.
SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free. The fishing pier near the boat ramp was recently damaged by ice and is not usable. It will be reinstalled when conditions are suitable. The concession store is closed for the season, and boat rentals are not 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 – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free.
WHITE MOUNTAINS STREAMS:
Note: Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicles for the winter. Other Forest roads are snow-covered and generally inaccessible by vehicle. Most high elevation streams are ice-covered with snow-covered banks.
EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed. Other Forest roads are snow-covered and inaccessible by vehicle.
WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed. Other Forest roads are snow-covered and inaccessible by vehicle.
BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed. Other Forest roads are snow-covered and inaccessible by vehicle.
LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER – The roads are accessible into Greer, but the stream is mostly ice-covered with snow-covered banks.
SHEEPS CROSSING – Highway 273 is closed for the winter.
SHOW LOW CREEK – The access road on the dam is closed, and the large pool below the dam is ice-covered with unsafe ice.
SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair for large rainbow trout and Apache trout. The stream is still running clear, despite recent snows. Fly fishermen are catching trout on white or black streamers and assorted bead head 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.
Please send your fishing reports from southern Arizona to Don Mitchell, Regional Fish Program Manager, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. These reports will then be compiled and reported in our weekly fishing reports.
See the winter trout stocking schedule at www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/h_f/fishing/stocking/TroutStockingSchedule.pdf. 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.
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 continues to fill and State Parks is wrapping up a couple of improvement projects. It now looks like it will be early spring before the small pond is ready to be opened to the public.
FRYE MESA RESERVIOR – Anglers continue to report success in catching Gila trout. Remember that the daily bag and possession limit for this species is 1 fish. Frye Creek above the reservoir remains closed to fishing.
ARIVACA — Open to anglers, water levels continue to be severely low and the lake continues to drop. All boat launching is at the risk of the owner. Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive.
PENA BLANCA – No recent reports of success. Stockings are occurring as scheduled (view schedule). Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive. Additionall, 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 — No reports of trout angler success. Fishing continues to be good with bass anglers having some success. Send in your reports of success to BFishing@azgfd.gov.
PARKER CANYON — Fishing remains fair for all species. Anglers are reminded that the bag/possession limit for channel catfish is now 4 fish. Contact the Parker Canyon Lake Store for up-to-date information on lake levels and fishing activity at www.parkercanyonlake.com or by phone at (520) 455-5847.
ROSE CANYON LAKE — The lake is closed to vehicle access for the winter. Anglers are still permitted to walk into the lake from the parking lot on the main road. Anglers that are making the walk in are reporting good fishing!