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Fishing Report - Aug. 21, 2014

Posted in: Fishing Report
Aug 21, 2014
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It’s the forehead-soaked homestretch of summer. Consider fishing the night, morning or high country. First, though, pick a species.

So what are you looking to catch?

Bass

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The nighttime striper bite at Lake Pleasant still is one of the best bets going. Take anchovies, set out a high-quality submersible light, drop some ‘chovies deep (80-plus feet), and wait for the “zing.”

Looking for bass of the largemouth variety? Try Saguaro Lake. Night fishing has been excellent, and in the morning, bass are chasing bait. Try top-water lures and swim baits in the mornings. As the morning progresses, throw dropshot-rigged Roboworms (morning dawn with a chartreuse tip and red crawler are good colors). Anglers can target humps, points, boulders, reef signs and grass bottoms. Of course, locate the food source (shad, for example) and you’ve found the fish.

Bassin’ is also good at Roosevelt Lake. Try the Salt River end of the lake throwing a dark-colored jig using a flippin’ technique, or a dark-colored worm on a dropshot.

 

 

Trout

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OK, here are some hot spots. In the White Mountains, fishing is good at Show Low Creek (being stocked this week with 1,190 rainbow trout), Woods Canyon Lake (3,030 trout) and Big Lake. Willow Springs Lake also is being supplied with some ‘bows.

In the Flagstaff area, Kinnikinick is a viable option. Escape the crowds, and because it’s spring fed, it often has a nice summer bite. Some decent browns linger here as well. The lake is full, and some anglers last week were fishing worms on small hooks (size 8 or smaller), catching fish around weed beds near the boat ramp. Plan a trip here for Labor Day weekend.

Boaters should stay away from Ashurst Lake – the water level has dropped to the point that launching boats is not allowed.

Catfish

FlatheadRecord2.jpg
How about Bartlett Lake, home of the heaviest recorded fish of all time? Try toppling “Flathead" Ed Wilcoxson’s 76.54-pound flathead catfish landed last year (pictured to the right). Or just take something home that’s good to eat.

It’s prime flathead catfish season. Try live bluegill or small carp as bait. Look for the deeper holes, especially up-lake where there is a little current. For bluegills, try the backs of rocky coves using nightcrawlers or meal worms on light tackle.

Our Fish&Boat Arizona map will show plenty of other options, as well as the locations of those mentioned above.

Also, see a full list of fire restrictions in Arizona.

Buying a license online helps conserve wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations. Help yourself and your future loved ones.


ANGLER REPORTS

(Send your fishing reports and photos to Bfishing@AZGFD.gov.)

Lake Pleasant

John A.: Good morning, I was just writing you to let you know how our trip was at Pleasant this weekend. Me, my buddy Drew, my dad and father-in-law fished just inside the bend at Agua Fria.

The striper bite was non-stop from about 6:30 p.m. until 8 a.m. when we were leaving. All in all we caught striped bass on anchovies, minnows and shrimp with the heads still on them. The shrimp was the ticket that night -- it caught the biggest one for us which was around 2 pounds. Most of the bass that night were one-half to one pound with 104 being caught for the night. The best rig setup for me that night was Carolina rig with shrimp. As far as the catfish go, well, we caught about six and let me say this: I think the anchovies were bigger, haha. So we threw them back in and continued on with our night.

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Barry W.: I have been fishing Pleasant over the last month and it’s kept me busy.  The night fishing has continued to be excellent for stripers.  It’s been an adventure trying to find a good night that does not get interrupted by monsoons so be careful out there. The key is to find the deep water. Fish are being located at 80-100-plus feet deep.

The key is having a great submersible fishing light. The brighter the better when it comes to the light. Frozen anchovies are working great for bait. Keep in mind that that the warm water unthaws them quickly, which means fish get it off the hook quickly. Be ready for a quick hookset. If you’re missing the hooksets, try using worms. They stay on the hook longer and increase your chances for a successful hookset.

The top-water boils have been minimal on average (in my opinion) for the earlier part of August. The great news now is that the boils have picked up greatly throughout the day and also last longer on average.

We hit a boil in a northern cove at sunrise last Saturday morning that lasted 30-40 minutes in length. Every cast we had a striper on and many double headers. The exciting news is most of the stripers hitting our lures were 3-4 pounds in weight. The biggest striper of the morning was a 5 ponder that measured 23 inches.

Silver Kastmaster lures are working fantastically and so are shad jerk baits. Don’t forget about those top-water Spooks also.  The picture I provided are just some of the striper we decided to keep and clean for dinner. Great time of year to be fishing AZ waters.

Good luck fishing everybody.


Saguaro Lake

Steve: I fished Saguaro from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 15. Had some top-water nibbles from 5 a.m. to 5:30 a.m., but nothing hooked. I was using a top-water hard bait. Switched to a Texas rig in all colors from 5-30 feet of water... nothing. Rigged up a 3-inch swim bait for 5-10 feet of water and caught three largemouth bass in the 2-3.5-pound range. The water temp was 85 degrees, no wind and very little traffic. Fished until 9 a.m. with no action after 7:30 a.m.

Colorado River

Backwater in Parker

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Kallee O.: A hog bluegill. :) I had 1/100th jighead with a Berkley trout worm, chartreuse.

 

Picacho State Park to Davis Dam

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Charles S.: Here’s to another weekend of great bass fishing. Peggy and I fished over the weekend and water surface temps were around 88.5 degrees with storms intermittent throughout the weekend.

Water clarity continues to be poor with lots of sediment and debris in the water. And as far as air temps go, it was hotter than “you know what” and topped off with a lot of humidity. I don’t know which time of the day is worse for me, in the morning before my coffee sets in, or after six hours of broiling in the sun.

We jumped right back into last week’s pattern which was fishing in the current, and the bass did not let us down -- in the morning it was almost one bass after another. Weights were ranging anywhere from 4-5-plus pounds (and of course a few dinks here and there) and we took most of the fish on jigs or brush hogs. While the fish were not stacked right on top of each other, I still felt that the poor water clarity aided in keeping the fish in fairly close proximity to each other: 20 feet apart would be a fairly accurate statement.

Since the way we fish usually breaks convention for largemouth bass fishing, I also want to add a little about what fishing in the current means to us. We have a 24v 5-speed trolling motor on an 18-foot bass boat, and when we fish the current, it’s normally set on setting 4 or 5 (5 is max thrust) and if the water is really flowing… it’s not uncommon to see my wife holding us in position with the main engine. So that’s what I mean when I say we are fishing in the current on the Colorado, or an awesome body of water like the Mississippi River for all that matters.

Good luck and remember to practice catch and release.

Anthem Park

AnthemParkCarp.jpg
Carp caught Tuesday, Aug. 19 at 11 a.m. in the rain. My setup was a medium action 6-foot-6 pole, and 12-pound test mono with a barbless circle hook. No weights, and I used bread. The fish was 43 inches. Did not get the exact weight -- think it was like 35 pounds.

 

 

 

 

CENTRAL WATERS

Note: Arizona fishing opportunities wouldn't be possible without the Sport Fish Restoration Program. It was created through the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950 (Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act) and the Wallop-Breaux amendments of 1984.

Through a federal excise tax paid by manufacturers on fishing gear and motorboat fuels, it provides grant funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

New reports:

ROOSEVELT LAKE – (2.089 feet, 38-percent full). Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods with an Aug. 23 report:

Good morning, Rim Country anglers,

A reminder to everyone that the USFWS is in the final days of making the decision to release Mexican Gray Wolves in the Sitgreaves and Tonto National Forests as well as the Payson and Tonto Basin Ranger districts.

There will be no more public meetings and the final day for the public to provide input to the USFWS is Sept. 23. The next step will be the final environmental impact study and the final decision by the USFWS which is expected in January 2015.

Bass fishing was called “good” this past week with most of the positive reports coming from the Salt River end of the lake. This is probably due to the increased flow of water the past couple of weeks.

The best reported bait this past week was a dark colored jig using a flippin technique; the second was a dark-colored worm on a dropshot; and third was a 7-inch curly tail camo worm on the Carolina rig.

The early top-water bite didn't appear to be happening this past week; however, experienced anglers are continuing to report that the gradual transition from the summer pattern to a late summer/early fall pattern is underway. You'll want to keep a top-water bait tied on your rod and ready to cast if you see bass chasing schools of shad on the surface. Fall fishing can be some of the most fun times to be on the water, and I, for one, am looking forward to the cooler weather and being able to spend more time on the water.

The crappie bite was called fair this past week. Crappie are still being caught in brush that is in 20-30 feet of water. A lot of patience is required and you may need to catch a couple from one location, then move to another spot. Ideally, if 4-5 spots are known, you can rotate between them and not put too much fishing pressure on any one spot. Small 2-inch grub tail baits on the 1/16 or 1/8-ounce jighead are required as well as 4-6-pound test line.     

Trout fishing on all of our Rim lakes continues to be reported as good to excellent. Visit http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml for stocking schedules of Rim country lakes and streams. Many successful baits were reported this past week including cicadas, PowerBaits, grubs, and dry flies.
Have a great week of fishing and I hope see you on the water.

LAKE PLEASANT – Night fishing is excellent for stripers. Just make sure you avoid monsoons. Get a bright submersible fishing light and target 80-plus feet of water. Anchovies are a stand-by bait, and one angler had success Carolina-rigging shrimp with the heads still on them.

Top-water boils early in the mornings reportedly have been minimal. Silver Kastmaster lures are working at times, as are shad jerk baits and top-water Zara Spooks.

Previously, Jesse Parks, a guide at the Hook-Up Outfitters, said the stripers are busting on shad in the morning in the northern coves such as Castle Creek and Humbug at the break of day. Anglers have found some good top-water action.

As the day progresses, anglers can switch to a dropshot during the middle of the day, then look for busting fish and schooling stripers as the day progresses.

The best bite continues to be at night with submersible lights and fishing with anchovies.

Although some anglers use weights when fishing with anchovies, but Parks suggests free-lining the baits (weightless). Chum 6-7 anchovies, then following with a baited anchovy, free-lining it so the presentation looks natural like the falling chum.

Also, see the two Lake Pleasant Angler Reports.

COMMUNITY FISHING WATERS – Catfish stockings will resume the week of Sept. 14. See the latest Community Fishing Bulletin.

Previous reports:

(Lake levels updated; please send fishing reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.)

BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,779 feet, 74 % full.

Jeremy Hoffman from the north Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse said anglers are having success on largemouth bass night-fishing using black or black/blue jigs or soft plastics in 5-20 feet of water. Anglers also are having great summer action on flathead and channel catfish.

This is the prime flathead catfish season. Try live bluegill or small carp as bait. Look for the deeper holes, especially up lake where there is a little current. For bluegills, try the backs of rocky coves using nightcrawlers or meal worms on light tackle.

APACHE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,908 feet (94-percent full). Bass fishing remains fair to good.

Bass Pro Gary Senft fished the lake the morning of Aug. 9 from 5:30 a.m. to noon and caught smallmouth bass in the 3-pound range, as well as largemouth bass on dropshot-rigged Roboworms in red crawler and morning dawn in 15-25 feet of water. The morning crankbait and top-water bite was poor, Senft said.

“If I had to pick a magic depth for bass,” Senft said, “I’d say 18 feet.”

The key to locating smallmouth bass was looking to the adjacent shoreline and seeing all the small rocks that crawdads would hide in. Smallmouth bass, as evident by their red-tinted mouths and claws sticking from their throats, were gorging on crawdads. The heavier largemouth and smallmouth bass were caught on Texas-rigged Roboworms and half-ounce football jigs with green pumpkin Yamamoto hula grubs (crawdad imitations).

You still might find bass chasing shad at the surface, especially at first light. Try working the major points using soft plastic crayfish like lures worked along the bottom. Crankbaits can also work well at times. A few good-sized smallies can be caught -- please practice catch-and-release on these fish, which are in the comeback mode. Walleye fishing should be decent at first and last light using night crawler rigs, or jigs tipped with worms. Apache is also full of some really nice yellow bass. Try gold KastMasters or yellow/gold Rooster Tails. Catfishing should be good. Carp fishing can be very good.

LOWER SALT RIVER – On Wednesday they were releasing 975 cfs out of Stewart Mountain Dam from Saguaro. You might still catch some trout, especially in the swifter runs or deeper holes. It's also possible to catch bass and other warmwater fish in the deeper holes. Good time for tubing the Salt -- take along a fishing rod.

SAGUARO LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,525 feet (92-percent full). Jack from Liars Korner in East Mesa said an early or late top-water bite is still viable (it’s top-water time so keep an eye out for surface boils.)
But the dropshot has been the most successful technique for largemouth bass lately.

Some anglers are catching a few fish on 10-12-inch Powerworms, he said.

Bass Pro and semiprofessional angler Gary Senft said that he fished Saguaro Lake more then a week ago on a Saturday, and despite boat and jet ski traffic, finally found a good largemouth bass bite around 8 a.m. in 25-30 feet of water in the middle of coves using dropshot-rigged Roboworms in red crawler and morning dawn.

Find points, locate a shad school, and catch a bass from that school before locating another shad school.

Night fishing has been excellent and bass are chasing bait first thing in the mornings. Anglers have had success with top-water lures and swim baits, and then switching to a dropshot as the morning progresses.

Best bites have been during the middle of the night and at the last light.

Overall, largemouth bass fishing is fair to good when the recreational boating pressure is lower, especially at night. The bite is a little more sporadic right now.

CANYON LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,657 feet (95-percent full). Kyle from Liars Korner said the hot bite lately bass been on dropshot-rigged Roboworms -- try orange crusher or desert craw.

Overall, bass fishing has been decent. The Arizona Fishing Guides previously reported that bass have been caught on flat, grass bottoms throwing slowly-moving rigs such as a dropshot. Poppers also were successful at first light. Best bites have been first thing in the morning and even in the middle of the afternoon when water is pumped back and gets fish chasing baits.

This is also a good time to possibly see or hear desert bighorn sheep in the rut.

While Canyon is the land of the lunkers, it can be tough to fish, especially for novice anglers. Catch rates are typically low and even veteran anglers get skunked here. But the possibility of catching a hog keeps many anglers coming back time and again. This is a pretty good lake for bluegill and yellow bass. Try small crappie-like lures, such as 2-inch curly tails, along the rocky shoreline. Shore fishing for channel catfish and carp can also be viable both day and night right now. As the season progresses, the better fishing for bottom dwellers will transition to the nighttime hours.

HORSESHOE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,959 feet (2-percent full).

When the lake is full, there are a lot pf spawning fish. Lots of smaller fish were released into Bartlett Lake. Salt River Project tends to use Horseshoe as a flood retention reservoir, but steadily releases the water downstream into Bartlett Lake.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – This is a good time to try for channel catfish and carp using corn or dough baits after dark.

PREVIOUS ANGLERS REPORT: Rich S. cracked the code at Tempe Town Lake last week -- I am an avid largemouth bass angler. I am 26 and have been fishing for bass in Arizona since I was 6.

For the past three weeks on my lunch break I go down to Tempe Town Lake between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

For the first two weeks I could not get a bass to even bite my numerous different presentations.

This last week things turned for the better. I have been knocking them dead under the Mill North Bridge and the light rail/train bridge. I have been using a Carolina rig with a short 4-inch leader and a 6-inch green Senko.

Was out there from 12:45-1:30 p.m. on Father’s Day and had six fish on and brought four in. I showed some fellow anglers what I was using and wished them good luck.

My advice is to go slow on the bottom. Texas rig, drop shot, Carolina rig all will probably work, but my success has all come on a Carolina rig. Hope this helps. Good luck.

 

WHITE MOUNTAINS AND RIM LAKES

New reports:

Recommended waters to fish
Fishing is good for trout at Show Low Creek, Woods Canyon Lake, and Big Lake.

Trout stocking schedule

Week of August 11-15
Fool Hollow Lake – 410 large (13 inch) rainbow trout
Show Low Lake – 853 large (13 inch) rainbow trout
Willow Springs Lake – 5,116 rainbow trout
Woods Canyon Lake – 6,257 rainbow trout
Silver Creek - 500 Apache trout

Week of August 18-22
Show Low Creek – 1,190 rainbow trout
Woods Canyon Lake – 3,030 rainbow trout
Willow Springs Lake – 1,895 rainbow trout


MOGOLLON RIM LAKES

BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. The lake was stocked last week.

BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake level is very low, down about 13 feet, and launching boats is extremely difficult.

CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair. Water temperatures are warm, so trout will be deep most of the day. The road to the dam has been improved, but is open only to vehicles 50 inches wide or less (ATVs). The hike into the lake is strenuous.

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. The lake was stocked heavily last week with 5,116 rainbow trout and will be stocked again this week with 1,895 rainbow trout.

WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake was stocked very heavy last week with 6,257 rainbow trout and will be stocked twice this week with 3,030 rainbow trout.  Fish early morning or evening when the fish are most active.  Otherwise the fish congregate just above the thermocline and will be suspended in a narrow band within the water column somewhere between 15-20 feet deep, depending upon where the thermocline is located. Experiment with different depths until you find the fish. The Woods Canyon Lake store is open and boat rentals are available.

WHITE MOUNTAIN LAKES
Note: Forest Road 249 from Alpine to Big Lake is under construction. Access along this road is still open, but expect some delays.

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair. It has been hit or miss, depending upon the day. The bite can be hot on one day then slow the next. Anglers are still picking up several large rainbows on San Juan worms, small midges, dark semi seals, and hoppers or damsels on the surface, with 20-inch rainbows being common. Water temperatures are warm, so please play and release the fish quickly so they can get back to cooler water at the bottom as soon as possible. Unhooking the fish without taking it from the water and not taking photos will help these large trout survive to be caught again later. Becker Lake is open to catch-and-release only, artificial fly and lure only; single barbless hooks only. No trout may be kept.

BIG LAKE – Fishing is good. The fish are deep due to warm temperatures. Shore anglers are having the most success in deep water areas with worms or PowerBait. Boat and kayak rentals are available at the Big Lake Store. Forest Road 249 from Alpine to Big Lake is under construction. Access along this road is still open, but expect some delays.

CARNERO LAKE – Fishing is fair. The lake level is somewhat low and is very weedy. There is some open water in the middle where fly anglers are catching a few 14-15-inch rainbows. It is extremely difficult to launch at the parking area due to the low water and weeds.

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor for trout, and fair for sunfish, bullheads, and bass.

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is extremely weedy with very little open water.
 
CRESCENT LAKE – Fishing is fair. Anglers are catching a few trout on worms and PowerBait, mostly off the rocky points.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair for trout, and good for bass and sunfish. The lake was stocked last week with large (13 inch) rainbow trout. Try fishing on the bottom with PowerBait or nightcrawlers for trout, or small pieces of nightcrawler and tiny hooks for bluegill around the fishing piers and rocky areas. The lake is very low so use caution when launching a boat. The fishing piers on the west side are usable, but the piers on the east side are out of the water. There are canoe and kayak rentals available at the east side boat ramp.

GREER LAKES – Fishing is fair for stocked trout and wild brown trout at all 3 reservoirs. All lakes are very low and launching boats is extremely difficult, particularly at River and Bunch.
 
HULSEY LAKE – The lake was drained following the Wallow Fire to help reduce expected flooding on Escudilla Mountain and has not been stocked since the fire in 2011.

LEE VALLEY LAKE – Fishing is poor for Apache trout and small grayling. The lake is low and launching a boat is difficult. The current regulation requires artificial lures or flies, and a two fish limit.

LUNA LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair for stocked and large carry-over trout. Fish in the evening before dark during the highest oxygen levels for the day.

LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is open. Fishing is fair to good for bass, catfish, and carp.

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair. The water is warm and fish will be deep. Fish with nightcrawlers or PowerBait on the bottom. Large rainbows are occasionally feeding on fathead minnows at the surface near the dam in late evening, thus a shiny spoon or small Rapala lure could be productive at this time.

RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is low and very weedy. White Amur (grass carp) have been stocked under a special permit to address the nuisance weed problems in the lake. All grass carp must be released because they are under the minimum legal size of 30”.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair.

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair. The lake was stocked last week with large (13”) rainbow trout. Water temperatures are warm, so the trout will be deep. Fish on the bottom with PowerBait or nightcrawlers, or troll deep and slow. Boat rentals are available at the concessionaire store.

WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is extremely low and weedy. However, several large channel catfish have been caught recently in the small pool of muddy water remaining at the bottom. The fishing pier is closed for safety reasons.


WHITE MOUNTAIN STREAMS
Note: Forest Road 249 from Alpine to Big Lake is under construction. Access along this road is still open, but expect some delays.

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is fair for stocked Apache trout and wild brown trout. The stream was not stocked last week or this week, and will not be stocked again this season until Labor Day weekend because of a shortage of trout in the hatchery. The water has been very turbid lately.

WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is poor. The West Fork has not been stocked due to low inventory of trout in the hatchery. The campground is still closed following the Wallow Fire.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER in GREER – Fishing is fair for stocked Apache trout and wild brown trout. The stream was not stocked last week or this week, and will not be stocked again this season until Labor Day weekend because of a shortage of trout in the hatchery. The stream has been running high due to monsoon storms.

SHEEPS CROSSING – Fishing is fair for stocked Apache trout. The stream was not stocked last week or this week, and will not be stocked again this season until Labor Day weekend because of a shortage of trout in the hatchery. The stream has been running high due to monsoon storms.

SHOW LOW CREEK – Fishing is good. The large pool below Show Low Lake dam will be stocked this week with 1,190 rainbow trout.

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair. The stream was stocked last week and will not be stocked this week due to a shortage of trout in the hatchery. It will get stocked one last time for the season for Labor Day weekend. Silver Creek is currently open (April 1 to Sept. 30) to statewide regulations, which allows bait and barbed hooks and the limit is 6 trout, but only in the lower section. The upper section is closed to fishing until Oct. 1.

 

CENTRAL MOUNTAINS

New reports:

Ashurst Lake’s water level has dropped to the point that launching boats is not allowed.  In addition, the water quality has deteriorated to the point that trout stocking is no longer possible.  There are still large numbers of trout in the lake so fishing should be OK.

CC Cragin’s (Blue Ridge) water level has dropped to a point that launching trailered boats is not possible.  Hand-carried boats and canoes can still be launched.  Watch for heavy equipment and large trucks on the roads near CC Cragin.

There was a fish kill last weekend on City Reservoir.  Department personnel checking water quality on the lake on Thursday said folks were still catching fish on the lake that day while they were there. 

Stocking in the upper reaches of Oak Creek have been canceled as a result of the Slide Fire.  Stocking locations downstream of Sedona are still being stocked.   

WILLIAMS LAKES:  

KAIBAB LAKE —  Campground is open.   Water levels are really low this year.  The lake is no longer stockable.  Fishing for warmwater species such as bluegill, black crappie and largemouth bass should be picking up with the warmer temperatures.  Fish around the submerged trees.
 
CATARACT LAKE —  Lake is day use only, no camping allowed.  Fishing for warmwater species such as bluegill, black crappie and largemouth bass should be good but the water level is very low.

CITY RESERVOIR —   No report. There was a fish kill on the lake around Aug. 7 but folks were catching a few fish Thursday when our crew checked water quality on the lake.

DOGTOWN LAKE —  Campground is open. Scheduled to be stocked this week.

JD DAM — No report.

SANTA FE —  Open, but water level is very low.

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campground is open. Water level is really low this year.  Stockings for this year have been canceled.

FLAGSTAFF LAKES:

LOWER LAKE MARY-  Lake is very weedy so fishing is difficult. 

UPPER LAKE MARY - Lake is pretty muddy and fishing has been slow.  I did talk to someone who heard that some walleye were being caught on waterdogs.   

ASHURST LAKE —   Campground is open. The boat launch on Ashurst has been closed by the Forest service because of unsafe launching conditions caused by low water levels.  The water quality is no longer acceptable to stock trout so scheduled stockings have been canceled until water quality improves.  I received a call from an angler that stated that he was catching trout, including holdovers, on the “back side” of the lake.  By his description he was talking about the east side of the lake.  He also caught and removed a 25-pound pike on July 1.

FRANCIS SHORT POND – No report.
 
KINNIKINICK LAKE — The lake is full.   Folks fishing worms on small hooks (size 8 or smaller) were catching fish, especially around the weed beds near the boat ramp.  Check the Arizona Game and Fish Flagstaff Region Facebook page for updates.

OAK CREEK — Stocking in the upper reaches of Oak Creek have been canceled as a result of the Slide Fire.  Stocking locations downstream of Sedona are still being stocked.      

LONG LAKE — Water Levels are extremely low and boat launching is extremely difficult.

BEAVER CREEK –    No report. 

WEST CLEAR CREEK -  No report. 

STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.

BLUE RIDGE —  Lake level is extremely low and boat launching trailered boats is not possible. Salt River Project will be working on projects around the reservoir so watch for heavy equipment and truck traffic.    

KNOLL LAKE — No report.

 

LAKE POWELL AND LEES FERRY

New report:

LAKE POWELL – From Wayne Gustaveson: Lake Powell fish are getting fatter.  That is a good thing coming off a difficult year with low water and very little brushy habitat. Our studies show that the shad population is nearing a peak not seen in this decade. Lakewide shad numbers from our first shad trawl in July are well above average from Wahweap to Good Hope with Bullfrog showing the most shad of all stations.
See the full Wayne Gustaveson Aug. 6 report at http://www.wayneswords.com.

Previous report:

LEES FERRY See the Aug. 1 report from Lees Ferry Anglers.

 

COLORADO RIVER

New report:

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 azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

ANGLER REPORT

Picacho State Park to Davis Dam

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Charles S.: Here’s to another weekend of great bass fishing. Peggy and I fished over the weekend and water surface temps were around 88.5 degrees with storms intermittent throughout the weekend.

Water clarity continues to be poor with lots of sediment and debris in the water. And as far as air temps go, it was hotter than “you know what” and topped off with a lot of humidity. I don’t know which time of the day is worse for me, in the morning before my coffee sets in, or after six hours of broiling in the sun.

We jumped right back into last week’s pattern which was fishing in the current, and the bass did not let us down -- in the morning it was almost one bass after another. Weights were ranging anywhere from 4-5-plus pounds (and of course a few dinks here and there) and we took most of the fish on jigs or brush hogs. While the fish were not stacked right on top of each other, I still felt that the poor water clarity aided in keeping the fish in fairly close proximity to each other: 20 feet apart would be a fairly accurate statement.

Since the way we fish usually breaks convention for largemouth bass fishing, I also want to add a little about what fishing in the current means to us. We have a 24v 5-speed trolling motor on an 18-foot bass boat, and when we fish the current, it’s normally set on setting 4 or 5 (5 is max thrust) and if the water is really flowing… it’s not uncommon to see my wife holding us in position with the main engine. So that’s what I mean when I say we are fishing in the current on the Colorado, or an awesome body of water like the Mississippi River for all that matters.

Good luck and remember to practice catch and release.


LAKE MEAD –The elevation will continue to drop over the summer although this week the elevation increased by .16 feet or approximately 1.9 inches.  The current elevation of 1080.49 feet above msl is still in the range of the lowest elevation the lake has been.  The launch ramp at South Cove is becoming tricky due to the low water.  The National Park Service has improved conditions at South Cove launch ramp. Be sure to check out launch area prior to launching.  Be careful boating because of dropping of the water level, many new islands and near surface rocks have appeared.  The striper bite is on in Lake Mead but mainly fishing the boils with rattle traps is probably your best type of lure.  Cut anchovies are still the bait of choice for stripers when anchored at night.  Check the moon phases before you go –last new moon was July 26.

The next new moon will be Aug. 25.  Fishing the striper boils is working well during the daylight.  Dark nights work best when fishing under light.  Fishing for stripers in 40 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 40-60 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 where shad are found and best done in the early mornings and evenings. 

Channel catfish are biting near the inflow area in pretty shallow water (10 feet deep) and the best baits are worms.  Largemouth bass are hitting top-water baits in the mornings and afternoons.  If you are lucky enough to be out on overcast mornings the top-water baits will do well even into late morning. Watch for Monsoon weather.  Waves and lightning can come up quick so be careful. 
 
LAKE MOHAVE –The lake level today is the same level as elevation as last week, 644.7 feet above msl. 

Reports are that smallmouth and largemouth are hitting on the lake in the coves and on the shelves near the dam but that stripers are much harder to find.  The high lake level submerges shoreline vegetation which attracts bass.   Reports of people catching both black bass species are common.  Mixing up your colors with plastics is doing well on largemouth and smallmouth.  Latest report has night crawlers doing the best for bass on Lake Mohave.       

Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon will be Aug. 25.  Cut anchovies usually work the best for stripers.  The power line area has produced some striper action.  Catfish are still being taken in the coves on both sides of the lake.     

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, Princess and Arrowhead.  Prospect Cove (1st cove south of Princess Launch Ramp) is the latest addition on the Arizona side of the lake to get habitat deployed. Fish habitat consists of PVC structures, tamarisk bundles and a new type of habitat we call poly shrubs.   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.

WILLOW BEACH – A temporary solution has been reached between AZGFD and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue stocking rainbow trout.  The USFWS has agreed to rear 21,000 juvenile rainbow trout provided by AZGFD to be stocked by Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery.  Stocking will begin when the trout reach catchable size and follows the protocol for stocking trout.

If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – Trout fishing will continue to dwindle without stocking although some holdovers will continue to be caught occasionally.  The report is that the striper bite is on and lots of quality fish are being caught but most are in the 1-2 pound range.  Brandon caught a 13.8-pound striper shore fishing at the Community Park using anchovies.  The Nature Center and the Sunshine Peninsula area are producing a pretty sustained bite.  Using lures from the Nevada side of the river is catching stripers in the 3-6 pounds range. 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 GORGE- Reports of catfish and some stripers are being taken in the Gorge but the bite is slow. I have not heard much about fishing in the Gorge lately.  Smallmouth has been reported to be doing very well all year long.

TOPOCK MARSH – Fishing has picked up at the marsh with the warm temps.  Bass, catfish and crappie are active and feeding.  Use night crawlers or spin/swim baits for bass.  Catfish are biting on anchovies and chicken livers.  Denny caught several catfish, the largest 8.16 pounds. and another that was 5.1 pounds.  He was fishing for bass but the size was not big enough so he switched to catfish. 

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.

VERDE VALLEY

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Largemouth bass fishing is good. Try using small plastic jigs, plastic worms, or small spinnerbaits near deep-water cover, especially on overcast days or early/late in the day when the sun isn’t so intense.  Channel catfish fishing is good. There have been two summer stockings of catfish into the lagoons already, and two more planned before the end of September. Chicken livers and nightcrawlers work well when fished on the bottom using an egg-sinker/barrel-swivel combo, to allow the fish to pull line out without feeling unnatural resistance from the weight.  If you fish Dead Horse please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.
 

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – Largemouth bass fishing is fair. Best bet is throughout the Camp Verde reach using small plastic jigs and in-line spinners. Channel catfish action is good in the Verde Valley.

Most success on catfish is by using nightcrawlers and chicken liver, fished on the bottom in slow current, after dusk. Rainbow trout stockings do not occur in the summer months because the water temperature is too high for these cold-water fish. These stocking usually resume in mid-November and occur every-other week until about April 1st.

PRESCOTT AREA

FAIN LAKE — Fain was stocked the week June 9th with trout and will resume in September when the weather cools off.  Five hundred pounds of catfish were stocked last Friday, Aug. 1.

GOLDWATER LAKE — Report are that some trout are being caught but it can be hit and miss.  I haven’t received a recent report from Goldwater.  The last stocking was the week of Aug. 11.   The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be the week of Sept. 1.  
     
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 – Bring a variety of baits for largemouth bass, spinner baits, and plastics and always bring night crawlers just in case they don’t bite artificial baits.  Bluegills are usually pretty easy to catch at this lake and are great for kids to have fun.  If you fish Granite Basin Lake and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.


LYNX LAKE –The last scheduled rainbow trout stocking was the week of June 2.  Catchable brown trout were stocked the week of May 12.  Channel catfish were stocked June 12 and one thousand pounds were stocked Aug. 1.  Send your reports in, they are greatly appreciated.  The fishing dock was removed due to the low water levels but shore access is basically unlimited. 
   
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 seasonal gate across the access road has been open since early May and will likely be locked after the first moderate snowfall, usually by early December. Rainbow trout are being caught, but they have not been stocked into the lake for the past month because of annual high temperatures and pH that occur in mid-summer. Trout stocking usually resumes by mid-October. The best bait is white or pink PowerBait, fished under a bobber. Fishermen using nightcrawlers under a bobber or on the bottom are also having some success, but pick up lots of 4-6 inch yellow bullheads.
 
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.  Largemouth bass should be feeding as well as bluegill.

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 –   Largemouth bass are the predominant species in this lake. If you fish Willow and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

 

SOUTHWESTERN WATERS

Previous reports:

LAKE HAVASU – John Galbearth of Bass Tackle Masters reported on Thursday, Aug. 7 that stripers are boiling in the morning and evening – anywhere from 6-9:30 a.m., and then from 4-7 p.m. Most activity is at the main, Winsor basin and on the south side of the island going into California Bay.

Bass fishing for largemouth bass has been fair to good. A lot of choked-out weeds are in coves because of the heat, so anglers will be looking to throw mostly buzz baits, frogs, Senkos or a slowly-falling bait like a Hula grub, working weedlines and weed edges.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been fair. With the unfavorable high water temperatures, smallies are deep on submerged grass in 12-15 feet of water. A lot of times during the early mornings, anglers can see boils and catch smallies on the outlying edges of the striper boils. Otherwise, smallmouth fishing has been pretty dead during the daytime, Galbearth said.

Redear sunfish action has been marginal. The bigger redears are over deeper grass flats. Otherwise, redear in the 1-pound class can be caught in fairly shallow water.

Catfish action is crazy, Galbearth said. Tons of channel catfish are cruising around; even bass anglers are catching mostly catfish in coves. Galbearth reported one angler recently catching a 15-pound channel catfish on a crankbait. Night-fishing for flathead catfish, using bluegill as bait, also has been productive for some anglers.

ALAMO LAKE -- Editor's note: Regular Alamo Lake fishing report writer Mark Knapp has been out of the state and will resume his report soon.

July 29 report from Mark Knapp at Alamo Lake State Park:

Well folks, I just don't have a lot to report this week. High winds and storms have kept me off the lake. We did have a lightning strike that caught a portion of the wildlife area on fire.

I'm happy to report that only about 4-5 acres burned and no wildlife was injured that we are aware of.

My hat goes off to the Game and Fish Dept. and state land department for getting this under control before it could do a lot of damage. If you’re on the lake in a boat, or just out swimming, get out of the water. Wait until the storm is over.

OK, good news for you crappie fishermen. It came from a good source that they’re catching 20-50 a night up in the trees at the east end of the lake. Tie off a tree in about 18 feet of water and drop a minnow down about 8-10 feet. Use submersible lights. The bite starts around 10:30 and goes until around midnight or when the storms blow you off the lake.

Catfishing is still decent. Anglers are still limiting out fishing on the north side of the old rental boat ramp area.

Looking down the roadway, it's the cove to your right. I closed Cholla Ramp down a couple of days ago.

We have signs marked through the park directing you to the old rental boat area. We’re working with the Game and Fish Dept. to move the dock from Cholla over to the barrel area. We found a place that we think will work for awhile.

Both state parks and the Game and Fish Dept. are getting bombarded with calls wondering what we’re going to do for launching as the lake goes down. We are doing our best to find spots that are safe for you to use.

Your safety is our number one priority. Right now, and like I have mentioned, the old rental boat road and area are the best we have.

I have spent a lot of time graphing areas and have a couple of different options in mind. I saw this video on YouTube about using a slingshot. I'm just kidding.

The fire restrictions have been lifted back to a stage one. This means you can have a fire in the campground inside a fire ring. No fires are allowed in the wildlife area or on the BLM lands around the park.

The "No ski, or tow-able devises" will remain in effect until the lake comes up. The lake level is at 1085ish with releases of 25 cfs. The lowest I have ever seen it in my 14 years out here is 1080.

The monsoons have not done squat raising the lake. The COE did their inspection on the bulkhead. It was not as bad as they thought it would be. If we got hit with 20-30 feet of water I don't think they would drain it down.

If we do not get major winter rains then by this time next year we will be at 1075 and they might want to do a more detailed inspection.

Well that's all I got for this week -- Mark

LAKE HAVASU – John Galbearth of Bass Tackle Masters reported on Tuesday, July 1 that for stripers the evening boils are the ticket. From 4 p.m. to sundown, troll of cast Super Spooks, pencil poppers or anything that runs shallow or on the surface. Locating bird activity can help spot the boils.

For bass, most areas are weeded in, so go with weedless lures such as frogs or buzz baits.

Redear sunfish are in deeper waters now -- nightcrawlers still are the best bait.

The morning has been producing the only bite for smallmouth bass. Try top-water plugs first thing in the morning. Smallies are moving deep as the sunrises.

PARKER STRIP - Falling overnight temperatures should start slowing the catfish bite down. The strip is home to both Flatheads and more commonly channel catfish. Channels cats can be found throughout the strip but are typically in the areas with shoreline vegetation. A variety of stink baits can be productive as are goldfish or small bluegills for both species of catfish. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are also found up and down the river. Many anglers have switched to sight fishing as water clarity has significantly increased since the introduction of the aquatic invasive quagga mussel.

Boaters are reminded to clean drain and dry their watercraft before taking them to another body of water.

MITTRY LAKE - No new reports. 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 times, especially for bass fishermen. There are plenty of bass in the lake, with a few in the eight to ten pound range, occasionally larger. However, the bass are sometimes finicky, and it can be challenging to bring any in on some days. Other days, the bite can be wide open. Windy or changing weather often brings on the bite. Techniques for bass fishing vary widely. When fishing for bass in the cooler months, and bass are less active, fish deeper water with jigs, swimbaits, or plastics using a slow retrieve. As the water warms up in the spring and summer, bass become more active and move to shallower water.

During that time most people use plastics, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, or crankbaits with a faster retrieve. Plastic baits resembling worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards can also work well. For best results fish around structure such as weed beds, emergent vegetation or where shoreline brush edges the water.

YUMA AREA PONDS – Beginning the week of April 20, four Yuma-area waters in April joined the Community Fishing Program waters: West Wetlands Pond, Council Avenue Pond (in Somerton), Fortuna Lake and Redondo Lake. These ponds will continue to receive winter trout stockings. They will receive a catfish and bluegill stocking in June, and a catfish stocking in October.

SOUTHERN WATERS

Please send me your fishing reports from Southern Arizona! Fishing reports for southern waters can be sent to Don Mitchell, Regional Fisheries Program Manager by email at dmitchell@azgfd.gov These reports will then be complied and reported in these weekly fishing reports.

Need ideas on where to go fishing? Try the Department's Fish&Boat Arizona map.

Previous reports:

Cluff Ranch Ponds

Ben B.: Bluegill and other panfish are far too easy. We've caught them on meal worms, bits of night crawlers, PowerBaits, etc. The bass have been a bit finicky, but we've had success with crankbaits in shady areas on the west side of the pond.

AZGFD: Anglers are reporting good success catching sunfish in the early evening. 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.

Graham County Fairgrounds pond

Ben B.: We've caught bass on curly-tailed grubs, crankbaits, and jigs. Bright colors seem to do better. Bright yellow, orange, neon green, etc. I think they see it better in that stained water. I often start around 5 a.m. until I have to go to work, but the bite doesn't seem to pick up until around 6 to 6:30 a.m..

ROSE CANYON LAKE – An angler reported a great pan-size trout bite July 2 on any color of PowerBait. This lake is scheduled to be re-opened to vehicular traffic on April 19th. Anglers have been reporting success during the walk in only period with small flies.

RIGGS FLAT LAKE – Anglers reported trout hitting on PowerBait and flies on top. Water levels reportedly are down 5-6 feet and anglers are fishing in muddy, weedy conditions. Yet sherbet PowerBait was reported successful for trout by one angler last week; corn and worms were not as effective. An angler reported catching a nice brown trout caught off the bottom on a nightcrawler just after sunset (7:15 p.m.). He advised anglers to load up the weight so you can launch your line past the seaweed, sit your bait on the bottom, and be patient.

Top water fishing only seemed to only produce smaller fish, the angler said.

Please contact the Forest Service of the latest lake information at (928) 428-4150.

Previously from Arivaca – Construction on the new boat ramp has been completed and anglers can now access the lake without restrictions. Water levels remain low however and anglers should use caution when launching boats from the lake shoreline. No reports of angler success have been received.

PENA BLANCA – Angler's report. Matt M. and a friend were fishing Pena Blanca Lake last weekend. Here's Matt's report: I got blanked for trout and bass, but he managed to pull in five bass. He was using a worm rigged weedless and was casting into the bank. One was about a pound and the others were way less than that.

From AZGFD: Anglers are reporting success fishing for largemouth bass in the shallows along the shoreline using crayfish patterns. Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive.

Additionally all mercury advisories against the eating of warm-water fish caught at Pena Blanca Lake remains in effect. Future testing will determine if and when these advisories will be lifted. Boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.

PATAGONIA — A 56.2-pound flathead catfish was reportedly caught at the lake while fishing for bass with a jig. Anglers are reporting good success with largemouth bass and sunfish.

PARKER CANYON — Anglers are reporting catching only a few trout at the lake, with the most success using power bait. Contact the Store for the latest updates on fishing at (520) 455-5847

ROPER LAKE — No recent reports have been received from this location. For lake information (928) 428-6760.

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