Urban Fishing Report
Fishing for trout continues to be good to excellent at all Urban Fishing Program waters. Lakes are being stocked every two weeks. Many reports have come in from anglers catching some of the 15-20 inch “incentive” trout delivered to all lakes in early January. Urban angler Daniel Sanderson hauled in a 21-inch, 3.7-pound rainbow trout from Red Mountain Lake on Jan. 23. Anglers using scented dough baits (such as Power Bait), worms fished near the bottom, or small trout lures have been successful.
Power Bait in white or chartreuse colors are appealing to the trout. For lure anglers, try spinners such as Rooster Tails and Panther Martins, or spoons such as Super Dupers. Mix up your lure retrieve to cover shallow and deep zones of the lakes. Good trout baits can also be found at your local grocery store: corn, mini marshmallows or Velveeta cheese.
Fly fishermen are bringing in trout using copper johns, Simi seal leaches and zebra midges retrieved very slowly. With cold lake temperatures, the bite for catfish, bass and bluegill is slow. Trout fishing is consistently good to excellent at Green Valley lakes in Payson with Power Bait, Super Dupers and Trout Magnets working best. More trout are being stocked this week (week of Feb. 4-9).
Trout Catching Tips – Part 1
Everybody can fish, but not everybody can catch fish. Why is it that some anglers seem to always have luck and others just drown worms? Often, the difference is in the equipment, the bait, and the way the bait is rigged and presented. For trout, the best equipment is a light to medium-light action rod from 5½ to 6½ feet in length coupled with a spin-casting (push button) reel or spinning reel.
Next is the line. Successful trout anglers will use 2, 4 or 6 pound test line, never heavier. The lighter the line, the more invisible it is to the sight-dependent trout. Many anglers are now using 2-4 lb fluorocarbon lines to avoid any chance of arousing suspicion in an interested fish. In clear water, any line heavier than 8 pounds looks like a rope to a trout!
The bait that is responsible for more urban trout caught than any other is the scented dough bait, such as Power Bait. Available in many color options, a small ball of Power Bait formed carefully to barely cover a #10 baitholder hook or #14 treble hook is very effective. Top colors that work in urban waters include chartreuse, orange, rainbow, and white.
Also important when fishing with Power Bait is to use minimal weight—either a small split shot or a 1/8 to 1/4 ounce sliding egg sinker positioned 12-24 inches above the hook. Power Bait floats. This property means that the bite-size, colorful, scented morsel is suspended off the bottom directly in the path of trout that love cruising near the lake bottom. A smooth cast to deeper water will get your bait out to where the trout are. Once the weight has settled on the bottom, hold the rod still in your hand or set it on the ground or in a rod holder. Slowly reel in the slack line until you can feel the sinker resistance. Now keep the rod very still and wait and watch carefully for a bite
Trout will hit Power Bait in one of three ways: a hard strike (rare), a soft pick-up away from you (line pulls slightly or with just a tic), or a soft pick-up towards you (line suddenly goes limp). Most often it is best to set the hook immediately at the first indication of a strike. Sweep the rod up quickly and begin to reel. However, there are times when the trout like to pick at the bait for awhile before fully taking it into their mouths. On these occasions, the angler will need to be patient and wait for a second bite, or pause for 2-3 seconds before setting the hook.
Fishing Reports, to submit your fishing photos or to send us your latest fishing report. We are also on Facebook.
This Saturday: Parker AZ , Take a Kid Fishing event (Feb. 9)
The 34th annual Parker Take a Kid Fishing event is coming up this Saturday, Feb 9, at La Paz County Park. This free family friendly event is open to the public. AZGFD will be stocking several thousand rainbow trout in two lagoons at the park prior to the event. Rods, reels, bait and tackle are all available to borrow. Children who register are eligible for door prizes drawn at the end of the day. There will be free hotdogs and soda on hand, too. The idea is to get kids and their families out enjoying a super activity like fishing, together. Registration starts at 10 a.m., fishing begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. with the drawing right afterwards.
International Sportsmen's Exposition (ISE), Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 21-24
Make plans to attend the International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) held Feb. 21-24 at the University of Phoenix Stadium. ISE is a superb expo with exciting exhibitors from around the globe gathered indoors under the huge domed stadium in Glendale. The Arizona Game and Fish Department will again have a significant presence at the show. Department personnel are teaming up with ISE to operate the kids fishing pond, and the department will conduct its annual 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.
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.
Clean up Alamo Lake, March 2
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.
NASCAR deal for hunting and fishing license holders, March 3
What do NASCAR and the Arizona Game and Fish Department have in common? We both offer exciting and great deals in family entertainment. Do you have an Arizona hunting or fishing license? If so, here’s a deal you won’t want to miss out on. Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) is offering special discounted ticket prices to Arizona hunting and fishing license holders for the upcoming “SUBWAY fresh fit 500” on March 3, 2013. You won't want to miss Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and defending Sprint Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski battle the rest of the field for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Tickets are likely to sell out in advance of the race, so order soon. This offer expires Feb. 28, 2013 and is valid only while supplies last. To order your discounted tickets (20 percent discount for Arizona hunting and fishing license holders for select areas), visit www.phoenixraceway.com/azgfd and follow the instructions. For discounted pre-race pit passes and accessible seating options, please contact Chris Reaves at PIR at (623) 463-5635.
20th annual "Just for Kids Fishing Festival", Tempe Kiwanis Park, March 16
Free event conducted by Anglers United in partnership with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Kids can register the day of the event and will receive a goodie bag and complimentary lunch. Fishing starts at 7 a.m. and stops at noon. Anglers United is an organization that promotes the development of fishing habitat in Arizona and works to increase public participation in fishing for both adults and youth. For more information or to register, visit www.anglersunited.org/kid_s_fishing_festival.html.
Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo, Ben Avery Shooting Facility, Phoenix, March 23-24
Visit Arizona's largest hands-on outdoor expo, which offers kids' fishing, tips from local experts, and a lot of other outdoor activities, including archery, shooting sports, off-highway vehicle exhibits, a field course, wildlife displays and presentations, and the chance to visit with more than 150 exhibitors. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 23 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 24. Free admission and parking. Visit www.azgfd.gov/expo.
Here are some angler reports and questions that were submitted this past week:
“Hi, I'd like to share a picture of a catfish my cousin and I caught at Apache Lake.”
Thanks. - Blake H.
“How do I add a report on Roosevelt Lake in the fishing report or can I?” - Dave D.
Dave, yes you can submit a report by sending it to the BFishing@azgfd.gov e-mail box. Please include any information about your success, what you used as bait, ideas or anything that might help other anglers. Please include any photos that you have taken. - Reuben
“I was out at Tempe Town Lake on Friday. Fished for a couple hours, nothing going except all the dead carp floating around. Hundreds... Just wondering what the cause of this is, and if it is also stressing the other species in the water. Thanks.” - Ben M.
Ben, the issue at Tempe Town Lake and the dead fish were a result of the recent cold snap that affected mostly the Tilapia in the lake. The City of Tempe is aware of this issue and has a consultant that works on the lake. The City is working to clean up the dead fish as quickly as they can. Recently the AZGFD did issue a flyer regarding this and I have included it as follows below. - Reuben
Attention Park Visitors and Anglers:
COLD KILLS TILAPIA
COLD KILLS TILAPIA. The fish illustrated in the pictures above are TILAPIA. These warm water fish, native to Africa, cannot tolerate cold water temperatures below 55 degrees. When lake temperatures fall below 55 F, then TILAPIA most often die. This situation occurs during normal or cold winters and generally lasts a few weeks to a month. TILAPIA are found in this lake.
LAKE WATER IS SAFE. There is nothing wrong with this lake water; the death of TILAPIA is due to cold water temperatures only. A small or a large proportion of the TILAPIA population will die each year, depending on winter climate patterns. This phenomenon occurs each winter throughout Arizona in ponds, lakes, rivers and canals.
NO PUBLIC HEALTH RISK. Cold water temperatures cause the immune system of TILAPIA to fail, consequently dying TILAPIA are commonly found covered with a cottony fungus that other, healthy fish can resist. We recommend NOT keeping and eating any TILAPIA during this stress period. The fungus found on dead TILAPIA CANNOT be spread to humans.
OTHER FISH SAFE. All other fish such as trout, bass, bluegill and catfish are not affected and are safe to keep and eat from this lake. These other fish are healthy and are fully capable of adjusting to seasonal changes in water temperatures.
MORE INFO. Park staffs are working to remove all dead and dying TILAPIA on a daily basis. For more information contact your local parks and recreation office or the Arizona Game and Fish Department at (602) 942-3000.
“16" Rainbow Trout caught by Jack M. at Lee's Ferry on Sunday February 3rd, 2013” - Jon U.
Thanks for the questions, reports and the tips!
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 was the week of January 21-26 in all Urban Fishing Program waters. The 2013 Urban Fishing Program guidebooks are now available at all Game and Fish Department offices and at fishing license dealers around the state.
TEMPE TOWN LAKE – See recent flyer regarding Tilapia.
LAKE PLEASANT - Lake level is at 1,670 feet, 66.41 percent full, with approximately 7,788 surface acres. Good fishing in the shallows, use topwater lures, crankbait or spinners.
ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,098 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 (92 percent full). Is scheduled to be stocked with trout the week of February 3rd.
CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,658 feet (98 percent full). The lake has been stocked with trout. If you have been fishing here, send in your report to BFishing@azgfd.gov.
SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,525 feet (97 percent full). Scheduled to be stocked with trout the week of Feb 13th. 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 1,774 feet (68 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
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 –By Wayne Gustaveson at www.wayneswords.com. February 1st, 2013
It’s been a cold winter at Lake Powell. Water surface temperature bottomed out at 44 F and presently fluctuates between 45 at night and 47 during the ‘heat’ of the day. Water level continues to decrease resulting in the closure of the Castle Rock Cut and the primitive launch ramps at Hite. Luckily the last cold spell featured an increase in the snow pack in Colorado which means there will be some runoff this spring.
On the bright side, those anglers that continue to bundle up and venture out have had some very positive success. Bass fishing is slow but occasional bites in the backs of canyons near brush produce some very nice largemouth weighing from 3 to 7 pounds. Water level decline strands more and more brush each day so the best bass canyons are those that have long flat flood plains with ample brush. Examples of canyons with long flood plains are Wahweap, Warm Creek and Navajo on the southern end. Midlake canyons include, Halls Creek, Escalante, San Juan and Red Canyon. Find submerged brush and largemouth are close by.
Striped bass schools remain in the backs of the canyons roaming from 70 foot depths into 25 foot shallows. At Bullfrog the closest reliable fishing spot is near Dome Rock on the west end of the Bullfrog houseboat field. At Wahweap the closest spot is near Lone Rock. There are some shad left in the backs of the canyons so stripers remain there and continue to search for food each day.
When fishing for schooling stripers the best strategy is to troll with a deep diving lure or with down riggers or leaded line. Watch the graph to locate schools while trolling. When a school is observed, mark the spot by tossing a floating marker over the side but continue to troll hoping that the school fish will take the trolled lure. If there are no takers return to the marker and jig vertically near bottom with spoons. The goal is to hook the first fish which triggers the whole school into feeding mode.
A troll hooked fish is often followed by school mates. As that fish is being netted, drop spoons to the bottom to light up the school of trailing fish. Spooning may result in many stripers being caught in short order. When the school moves on troll to relocate them, hook one and then repeat the process by dropping spoons once more. This combination of trolling and spooning is very effective and has resulted in big catches of stripers during January over the length of Lake Powell.
Using this procedure was very good for me on January 31. We trolled deep Thundersticks near Lone Rock and found stripers holding at 35 feet. We caught one fish trolling and another 12 using spoons. We caught another fish trolling and then 10 more with spoons from the second school. When those fish moved on we trolled for the 3rd time. This time a big striper hit the clear/white Deep Thunderstick. It took 10 minutes to subdue the 15-pound striper that was 34 inches long and 20 inches around.
Bigger stripers are more often found in deep main channel water. On January 20, Jesse Pond was trolling with his Dad Sean from Denver CO. They began trolling a perch colored Deep Thunderstick on leaded line at the mouth of Forgotten Canyon and hooked a big fish after trolling for only 15 minutes. It took 13-year-old Jesse an hour to subdue his 28.3-pound striper.
Despite the cold weather fishing is still good at Lake Powell. It may be the best time to catch a trophy fish. We guarantee that you will have the big beautiful lake almost to yourself. You are all invited to experience Lake Powell in the winter.
LEES FERRY – See most recent report (Dec. 17, 2012) from Lees Ferry Anglers at www.leesferry.com.
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 1122.6 feet above msl. Be careful boating because of fluctuating water levels and watch for floating debris dislodged from rising water levels. There seems to be an abundance of shad currently which may be the reason for the lack of bite. Cut anchovies are still the bait of choice. Check the moon phases before you go –last new moon was January 11th. The next new moon will be February 10th. Dark nights work best when fishing under light. Fishing for stripers in 50 plus feet of water will normally find the larger fish. If they are not taking the anchovies try swimming baits and see if you can get them to bite. Jigging in 50-60 feet deep has been doing well on Mead. If you can locate the shad, the stripers are not far behind. Trolling usually works best in areas were shad are found and best done in the early mornings and evenings. 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.
LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level has risen to 641 feet above msl. The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly especially on grass beds in 20 to 30 feet deep. Reports of using artificial crawfish jerked through the weed beds have worked well. 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 February 10th. Cut anchovies usually work the best.
Biologists from both Arizona Game and Fish Department and Nevada Division of Wildlife with the help of volunteers, National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation personnel have continued to install fish habitat in Carp Cove, Box Cove, Shoshone, and Arrowhead. Fish habitat consists of PVC structures, wood pallet structures, tamarisk bundles, and some Christmas trees. The largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill and catfish are really utilizing the new structures. Additional habitat will be added at several locations over the next two years. These structures are fish magnets.
There is a wheelchair accessible fishing pier just south of the main launch ramp at Katherine's Landing. If you fish Mohave and are having luck, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 – No report.
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 January 13th and the next stocking is tentatively scheduled for this week, the week of February 3rd. 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 January 20th. The next trout stocking is tentatively scheduled for the week of February 10th. 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 November 11th. 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.
If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
LYNX LAKE –The last scheduled stocking was the week of November 11th. The next stocking is tentatively scheduled for this week, the week of February 3rd. So if you have fished here recently, let us know of your success!
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.
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 January 20th and the next trout stocking is tentatively scheduled for this week, the week of February 3rd.
If you fish Watson and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
WHITE MOUNTAINS AND MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
Recommended Waters to Fish
Becker Lake and Fool Hollow Lake 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 – 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 are 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 others 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 – The lake is mostly ice-covered with unsafe ice, with some areas of open water.
RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is mostly ice-covered with unsafe ice with some areas of open water.
SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor. The lake is mostly ice-covered with unsafe ice with some areas of open water.
SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair. The lake is mostly ice-covered with unsafe ice. 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 mostly ice-covered with unsafe ice with some areas of open water.
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 mostly 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 rain. 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 email@example.com. 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 is taking longer than expected to refill and it now looks like it will be sometime in 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 the week of February 10th. 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 scheduled to be stocked the week of February 10th. 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 — Fishing remains fair for all species. Scheduled to be stocked the week of February 10th.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.
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.