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Fishing Report - Feb. 13, 2014

Posted in: Fishing Report
Feb 13, 2014
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Hello, anglers,


Lake_Mary_troll.jpg
Ahh, sunlight. Unseasonably warm temperatures, coupled with the full moon that began Thursday, Feb. 13, should trigger more largemouth bass to move into shallow waters to spawn (or stage up to spawn.) In doing so, they should feed better. That's not all.

The weather has also helped walleye to cooperate at Upper Lake Mary in Flagstaff, based on a couple reports that Scott Rogers, our Fisheries Program Manager out of Flagstaff, was able to gather. He said the warmer water temperatures and sunny days likely have allowed baitfish and predators to become active again. Both shoreline and boat fishing with worms have been effective. Trolling worm harnesses slowly along the bottom is usually the most effective means to collect these wonderful fish. Be mindful of the mercury warning for these fish in this lake.

Over in the White Mountains, keep in mind that Highway 149 to Willow Springs Lake and Forest Roads 300 and 86 to Black Canyon Lake are still open.


Now to the desert impoundments. Anglers are still having success at Bartlett Lake, especially using crankbaits and dropshot techniques. Some anglers reported recently fishing crankbaits all day in 2-6 feet of water for biting bass.


Winter bass had generally been lethargic feeders, but this warm spat could get some of them biting more aggressively. Bass in the desert impoundments were mostly biting in deep water (up to 60 feet deep!). Bass usually feed better in shallow water than in deep water. Some of the big females might move into the shallows to build nests. But if you catch a spawning bass, please release it quickly to help future bass populations be robust. Big bass spawn in February --heavier spawning periods traditionally come in March and April.


The warm weather unfortunately doesn’t help Community Fishing Program trout fishing too much. In many of the Phoenix area lakes and ponds, for example, water temperatures had been 58-60 degrees. By Wednesday, they were in the mid-60s, and they’ll warm up again just as easily this weekend. As a rule of thumb, many of those lakes/ponds will be about the same temperature as your backyard swimming pool (if in the same region, of course.)


That said, some anglers, such as the one who caught his limit in 30 minutes at Discovery Ponds this week (and who submitted the below Angler Report to BFishing@AZGFD.gov) are having plenty of success. Take your shots and be sure to keep up with the community fishing stocking schedule. We just stocked trout into eight new ponds!


Beginning Feb. 17, and for a week, we’ll be stocking rainbow trout into Dead Horse Lakes, Tempe Town Lake, Saguaro Lake, Cluff Pond, Dankworth Pond, Graham County Pond and Roper Lake.


Because it’s being stocked this week, Saguaro Lake should be a decent place to try for some combo fishing. The lake has lots of fishing piers, and so it’s pretty shore-fishing friendly. Bring along some nightcrawlers and meal worms – not only are they good baits for trout, the yellow bass also like to chew up some worms.


See the winter trout stocking schedule.

Need a fishing license? Just click here and you're on your way.

OK, onto the full report.

ANGLER REPORTS


Please send your reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.


DiscoeryTrout.jpeg
Matt managed to get to Discovery Ponds on the morning they were first stocked last week and caught his limit in 30 minutes in the lower pond!

Charles S. with a recent Colorado River report, from Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam: Water surface temps are sitting around 58 degrees in the current and I noticed some backwaters that were over 60 degrees. Water levels on the Colorado are slightly higher than they were in December and January, but the ever shifting sandbars still pose a threat to boaters.

On Feb. 8 we fished the current all day; at 2 p.m. we had not yet had a single bite. But between 2 p.m. and 2:10 p.m. we boated four keeper smallmouth and one dink, then the bite just stopped. We set out fishing the current for largemouth using stick worms and fished that pattern into the evening. I stuck it out with that pattern mainly because we know the area can, and has, produced some very nice bass.

On Feb. 9 we did nothing but fish the underwater structure in the lakes. We rotated shallow diving crankbaits and worms. Our largest fish weighed 3.5 (pictured), though all of the bass we caught that day were keepers. The areas we fished had not been producing fish for a few months now, so it’s nice to see the bass on structure and pushing closer to the shallower waters. With temps on the rise like they are, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some fish on beds in as early as three weeks. With trips planed for every weekend this month I pan on keeping a close eye on their movement.

I would like to add that while you can fish the river year round, people can and do run aground on the sandbars. We were the only boat on the river and we found one couple had run aground late Saturday evening above Picacho State Park, and because of the size and weight of the boat, we were barely able to assist them. There is not a lot of boat traffic this time of year (or police patrols) and some areas may not have a boat pass through for days. It’s a good idea to let someone know when you plan on returning, that way they can keep an eye out for trouble.


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Sherry W. of Phoenix with a carp tale from Roadrunner Park:  We've been doing some fishing at Roadrunner Park lately because it's cold out and hadn't had much luck with trout at any other local lakes/ponds.


I use a Shakespeare rod and a Zebco Hawg reel with 30-pound test because Roadrunner is KNOWN to have some very large carp in it. AND I SNAGGED ONE! This big guy (Jan. 19) was 34 inches, but alas, our scale wouldn't work so we're only guessing his weight at about 15 pounds. I brought him in by myself, with some coaching from my hubby on how to adjust my drag. By the time we got him out, we had a crowd of about 15-20 people cheering me on. Since taking up local fishing a little over three years ago, this IS the largest fish I've caught and he's quite a catch, no?

Thanks for all you do for us anglers!

 

FISH STORIES


What's your fish story? In the fourth segment of “Fish Stories” Tyson Warren, a Lees Ferry Anglers fishing guide, remembers growing up in Flagstaff, fishing almost every weekend with his dad, campfires always crackling at night.

Enjoy this Fish Stories video from the "AZGFD" YouTube site!

Have a fond memory? An exciting experience? A funny situation? Or, just a special day on the water with family and friends enjoying Arizona’s amazing outdoors? Email your story to bfishing@azgfd.gov, and we may share it with others online, in print, or on television.


Stay tuned for future additions of “Fish Stories,” which will frequently appear here in print, online or on television.

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:


(If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to our "Been Fishing" site at BFishing@azgfd.gov.)

BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,777 feet, 60 % full. Gary Senft, a Bass Pro at the Mesa Bass Pro Shops, said Bartlett is still going strong for largemouth bass. Fish shallow during mornings with crankbaits and spinners. As the sun comes up, fish a bit deeper and throw dropshot Roboworms (morning dawn has been effective). Senft said he recently had success throwing Shad Raps in shallow water (2-6 feet) throughout the day. Look for bass to move up into shallow water to feed with rising water temperature and for some bigger bass to spawn.

Crappie had been biting at the north end of the lake by the no wake buoys using 1/8- and 1/16-ounce curly tail jigs (try small grubs in green and black, red and black, or white.)


"Flathead" Ed Wilcoxson said action at prime flathead catfish fisheries such as Lake Pleasant and Bartlett has slowed. Flathead weighing more than 20 pounds get lethargic as the night get colder. Still, anglers can catch 15-18 pound flatheads with better consistency by locating bluegill in 30-35 feet of water. Find the bluegill, and you'll often find feeding flatheads looking for dinner.


ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,101 feet, 48-percent full. Feb. 8 report from James Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods:  Good morning Rim Country Anglers.  Fishing on Roosevelt Lake was call slow this past week by experienced anglers. Most  blamed the cold front that brought colder temperatures to Rim Country. The water level remained at 48 percent full.  The Salt River is flowing at 80 percent which is the same as last week; however, the Tonto Creek has increased to 20 percent CFPS.

With the colder temperatures anglers all reported fishing slower and deeper.


Carolina rigs and jig were somewhat successful in 40-50 foot depths. A few reported success using a dropshot technique in 25 feet. Surprisingly, no reports of crankbait or jerkbait success was reported. Bites were very sporadic and no specific patterns or hot spots were reported. But the good news is that we got a little moisture in Rim Country and there is snow on the mountain tops which is badly needed even if it slows the fishing down for a week or two.

Experienced crappie anglers are catching a few crappie by slow-trolling a 3/16-ounce jig with a 2-inch grub or live minnows. Crappie are mostly in about 25 feet of water near structure or cover.

The professional bass fishing circuit is about to get the 2014 season started. Four anglers from Arizona will be competing in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Guntersville located in Birmingham, Ala., Feb.  21-23. All Arizona anglers wish the best to Clifford Pirch, John Murray, Josh Bertrand, and Dean Rojas.

Have a great week of fishing and I hope see you on the water. 


COMMUNITY FISHING WATERS See the latest Community Fishing Bulletin.

New report from James Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods: Trout fishing at Green Valley Lake in Payson continues to be called excellent and another stocking of rainbows is scheduled for this week. Trout love the colder temperatures and will feed actively even when it’s snowing. Power Baits and small spinners were reported successful this past week. And remember you no longer need a special license to fish the Community Fishing Program. Your Class A fishing license includes fishing at Green Valley Lake.  

Sherry W. of Phoenix with a carp tale from Roadrunner Park: We've been doing some fishing at Roadrunner Park lately because it's cold out and hadn't had much luck with trout at any other local lakes/ponds.


I use a Shakespeare rod and a Zebco Hawg reel with 30-pound test because Roadrunner is KNOWN to have some very large carp in it. AND I SNAGGED ONE! This big guy (Jan. 19) was 34 inches, but alas, our scale wouldn't work so we're only guessing his weight at about 15 pounds. I brought him in by myself, with some coaching from my hubby on how to adjust my drag. By the time we got him out, we had a crowd of about 15-20 people cheering me on. Since taking up local fishing a little over three years ago, this IS the largest fish I've caught and he's quite a catch, no?

Thanks for all you do for us anglers!


TEMPE TOWN LAKE – The lake is being stocked with rainbow trout for a week beginning Feb. 17, and have been stocked all winter long. At this point, you may find some larger holdovers as well as the stockers. Due to the warm weather and the shallow nature of this lake, action for warmwater fish such as largemouth bass and yellow bass should decent. Try fishing the shade lines of the bridges. Best fishing will typically be at first and last light.

You can try the usual methods for the rainbows (baits like Power Bait, night crawlers, mealworms or try spinners and spoons such as Panther Martins, KastMasters…) Remember no gas motors are allowed (electric trolling motors are) and you must have a boating permit, which can be obtained at the Town Lake operations center.


This is an excellent lake to learn how to bass fishing using simple rigs like plastic worms and lizards worked along the bottom. Cast out, let the plastic bait sink to the bottom, reel in any slack line to "make contact" with the bait, then lift up your rod tip (lifting the bait off the bottom), reel in a couple of times, then lower your rod tip and let the bait sink to the bottom again. The sport-fish will often hit when the bait is falling back to the bottom, so if your line moves sideways, set the hook.  

LAKE PLEASANT – Anglers have had decent success with stripers, and some white bass have moved into mroe shallow waters.

A previous report from The Arizona Fishing Guides: Lake Pleasant is PLEASANT this time of year -- we have had a handful of days out there the past few weeks with 20-30 fish days. One thing about this place is that it is a crap-shoot as far as morning or afternoon trips. You never know which one is going to be the best so pick the time and just go for it.

Previously, Kyle from Pleasant Harbor Marina said there has been a pretty good striper bite both shallow with just about any type of shad imitation, jerk bait or top-water plug, and deep with anchovies. Largemouth bass have been mixed in with them in shallow waters, he said.


The backs of Humbug and Cole bays have been reported to be consistent areas for stripers and largies.
Previously, Derrick Franks a.k.a "Striper Snatcher" had been fishing the cold and windy nights on Lake Pleasant with moderate success rate: The water temp at night was in the mid-50s with strong north winds. Underwater video footage still shows thousands of striper attracted to the boat in the 30-foot mark.


"I think the colder water temps has flushed them out of deeper water and are now on the shallow side of the structure I fish, which are mainly points on the north and south side of the lake," Franks said. "I still see the most fish, including baitfish, in the Humbug Creek arm -- they are concentrated there all year. That area has a really sandy bottom with trees displaced about every 50 square feet."


Barry W.'s previous anglers report: Good morning. Just got back from Lake Pleasant and thought I would share my fishing report. The striper, white, and largemouth bass action was consistent first thing in the morning.


The bite is good in the coves around the lake and the fish are suspended around 23-32 feet eating shad. Some fishermen were also catching fish nearshore in 10-15 feet of water but it was a little slower. The key was using spoons that were silver or gold and jigging them slowly up and down where the fish were.


The key is being on the water before sunrise and finding the birds that are feeding on the shad. The action only lasted about an hour but it was fun.


Previously, the Arizona Fishing Guides reported that Lake Pleasant is also doing very well. This is the time of the year that the water is rising and all the fish like to eat shad shallow. Keep your eyes open for boils and always be looking for the birds.


SAGUARO LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,526 feet (94-percent full). The lake is being stocked with rainbow trout beginning the week of Feb. 17. Senft said that the dropshot technique has produced the best largemouth bass bite, although some anglers had a bit of success on spoons jigged in deep water . The best bet was a Roboworm dropshot in morning dawn and various brown colors. Overall, fishing in slow and anglers must use a slow, winter presentation.

He suggests fishing a dropshot 80 percent of the time from 20-60 feet of water depth.

Previously from the Arizona Fishing Guides: Saguaro Lake has been fun fishing with lots of yellow bass being caught deep on spoons, with the mixture of big trophy bass and some really nice catfish that make it fun for kids and adults alike. We are also starting to catch them on some slow moving plastics.


Previous reports:

LOWER SALT RIVER – The Lower Salt was being stocked again from Feb. 10-17.

Check out the stocking schedule and click on the Lower Salt River to see the stocking spots – all spots are stocked except Water Users.

Previously, Jeremy Hoffman, the north Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse fishing manager, sent in the following report -- Fly fishing for trout at all stocking locations is good right now. Copper johns, prince nymphs, and egg patterns are working well for your sub-surface flies, and for dries try stimulators and elk hair caddis. A dry/dropper rig would be a great way to start out and get a feeler for what they are looking for that day. If you are spin fishing try small Rooster Tails with a gold blade in the slower moving water. Also a fly and float rig is a great way to pick up trout on the Salt.
Put a casting bubble about 2-4 feet up from a wooly worm (brown, olive, or purple) or simi seal leech (brown or olive) and retrieve it very slowly.

CANYON LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,657 feet (95-percent full). The lake is being stocked beginning the week of Feb. 10. Canyon Lake is noted for its lunker bass, and with the stocked trout, anglers can target a doozy largie by throwing a swimbait imitation of the stocked rainbows. But angler run the chance is being skunked at this lake. The Arizona Fishing Guides’ report: Canyon Lake is one of the prettiest lakes we have in our state and the fish that have been coming out of there are just as pretty. Throw those big swim baits for the biggest bass in the lake. Also the dropshot should still entice some nice large mouth.

APACHE LAKE-  Lake elevation is 1,909 feet (94-percent full). The lake was stocked with trout the week of Dec. 30 and will be stocked once again beginning Monday, Feb. 3. When the lake is being stocked with trout, swimbait imitations of the stocked trout can produce some trophy bass. The Arizona Fishing Guides reported Apache Lake has some really nice smallmouth and largemouth bass being caught on big swimbaits, and finesse worms on the tougher days. Always be ready with that medium-diving crankbait this time of year.

HORSESHOE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,991 feet, 32-percent full. Salt River Project tends to use Horseshoe as a flood retention reservoir, but steadily releases the water downstream into Bartlett Lake.

CREEKS BELOW THE MOGOLLON RIM – Weekly stockings into the trout streams have ended for most streams. No recent reports.

 

WHITE MOUNTAINS AND RIM LAKES


New report:


Recommended Waters to Fish
Fishing is fair to good at Silver Creek and fair at Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, and Nelson Reservoir.
The trout stocking season will resume in the spring of 2014.

 

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
Highway 149 to Willow Springs Lake and Forest Roads 300 and 86 to Black Canyon Lake are still open.

BEAR CANYON LAKE – The lake is partially ice-covered with unsafe ice. Forest Road 300 is closed for the winter.

BLACK CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-free. Forest Roads 300 and 86 to the lake are currently open, but may close with any heavy snowfall.

CHEVELON LAKE – The lake is ice-free. Access to the lake from the south (Forest Road 300) is closed for the winter. Access from the north may be open, unless heavy snowfall closes those roads.

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along some shorelines and coves early in the morning. Forest Road 149 to the lake is currently open, but may close with any heavy snowfall.

WOODS CANYON LAKE – The lake is partially ice-covered with unsafe ice. Forest Road 300 is closed for the winter. The Woods Canyon Lake store and campgrounds are closed.

 

WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES
Note: The higher elevation lakes have some open water with some unsafe ice-cover. State Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along the shorelines and back coves in the mornings. Trout appear to be feeding on tiny midge larvae and scuds. 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 – The lake is partially ice-covered with unsafe ice. State Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.

CARNERO LAKE – The lake is partially ice-covered with unsafe ice. Forest Roads 117 and 117A are open to the lake but are snow packed and will require a 4X4 vehicle.

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free.

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free.
 
CRESCENT LAKE – The lake is partially ice-covered with unsafe ice. State Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along some shorelines and coves in the mornings. Shore anglers have been catching a few trout, up to 16 inches, on night crawlers and PowerBait. Boat anglers have been catching smallmouth bass on lures.

GREER LAKES – All three of the Greer lakes are partially ice-covered with unsafe ice. All reservoirs are full or nearly full.
 
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 – The lake is ice-covered, but the ice should be considered unsafe. State Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.

LUNA LAKE – The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along some shorelines and coves in the morning.

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

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair. The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along some shorelines and coves in the morning.

RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free, full, and spilling. The lake may have some skim ice along some shorelines and coves in the morning.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along some shorelines and coves in the morning.

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair for trout. The lake is ice-free. Shore and boat anglers have been catching 14-15 inch rainbow trout on night crawlers and PowerBait. The concession and boat rental store is closed for the winter.

WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along some shorelines and coves in the morning.

 

WHITE MOUNTAINS STREAMS


Note: State Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is poor to fair for wild brown trout. State Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter, but Forest Roads 26 and 24 are open.

WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is poor for wild brown trout. State Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter, but Forest Roads 26, 24, and 25 are open.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER in GREER – Fishing is poor to fair for wild brown trout. State Highway 373 to Greer is open.

SHEEPS CROSSING – State Highway 273 is closed for the winter. 

SHOW LOW CREEK – Fishing is poor.

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair to good. Anglers have been catching large rainbows and Apache trout on flies. Try white bead-headed wooly buggers, brown or olive simi seal leeches, bead-headed prince nymphs, or a shammy worm. Silver Creek is currently (October 1 through March 30) open to artificial lures and flies only, and single barbless hooks (the “single” part of the regulation is new as of January 1, 2014; no treble hooks are allowed), and catch-and-release fishing only. No bait fishing is allowed during this catch-and-release season. Please remember to practice good catch-and-release techniques to help maintain the fishery during this season by playing the fish quickly, keeping the fish in the water as much as possible (don’t lay them on the bank), and revive the fish carefully when releasing them.

 

LAKE POWELL AND LEES FERRY


New report:


LEES FERRY – Feb. 9 report from Lees Ferry Anglers:


Up River Fishing Report


The weather has been really great here at the Ferry. With the longer days and more sunlight on the water the fishing is improving every day.


The flows this month are a low of 8,000 cfs and a high of 14,000 cfs.

This lower flow rate has also helped the fishing improve from January.


The spawn is in full swing so Glo Bugs are working most places. Dry droppers have been working with some fish taking the dry in the scum lines in the back eddies. Deep nymph rigs have been working well drifting in the boat. Streamers have also been working in the faster water areas. When looking for good fishing areas look for places that are getting at least some sunlight during the day…these areas are holding lots of fish. The rating for the up- river fishing would be a ‘7’ this week.


Spin Fishing Up River


Spin fishing has been working well the last couple of weeks. Most fishermen are drifting Glo Bugs and getting good numbers of fish. KastMasters and Panther Martins have also been working well at times.


When looking for areas to spin fish look for a seam where fast water meets the slower water and jig the lure through the transition water.


The rating for spin fishing up river for this week would be a ‘7’.


Walk In Area


The walk-in area has not been fishing well at all due to a lack of sunshine. There has been very little food so the fishing has been not productive at all. We are expecting the fishing to improve as we get more sunshine and the lower flows should also help. Fishing above the boat launch area has been much more productive the last few weeks. If you are coming up please give the shop a call and we will give you a current update. The rating for the walk in for this week would be a ‘2.’

Previous report:


LAKE POWELL – See the Jan. 16 report from Wayne Gustaveson at www.wayneswords.com.


Wayne Gustaveson's Jan. 27 report from the site's Anglers Corner: Went to Warm Creek looking for stripers and some warm weather. Started fishing in the Cottonwood Arm but marked no fish and caught the same while trolling and graphing. Next went to main Warm Creek headed to the back of the canyon but right out in the middle of the bay a large school of grebes caught my eye. Grebes eat shad too, so why not look for fish in the same area?


Stopped at the edge of the grebe flock and graphed for maybe 25 yards before a promising target appeared on the bottom at 65 feet. Immediately dropped the spoon on the target. Spoon hit bottom and then swam off in a stripers mouth. The school followed that fish to the boat and my fishing partner and I caught stripers on almost every drop for the next 2 hours. We got 30 fish in the first hour and only 27 in the second hour. But we had a long way to go and lots of fish to clean so we left while the school was still biting.


Most fish were the 17-20 inch yearlings but I did get one fat six-pound fish and we lost another big one that came unbuttoned near the boat. The best news was every fish was fat. Good times are heat again in the southern lake.

COLORADO RIVER

New reports:

Charles S. with a recent Colorado River report, from Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam: Water surface temps are sitting around 58 degrees in the current and I noticed some backwaters that were over 60 degrees. Water levels on the Colorado are slightly higher than they were in December and January, but the ever shifting sandbars still pose a threat to boaters.

On Feb. 8 we fished the current all day; at 2 p.m. we had not yet had a single bite. But between 2 p.m. and 2:10 p.m. we boated four keeper smallmouth and one dink, then the bite just stopped. We set out fishing the current for largemouth using stick worms and fished that pattern into the evening. I stuck it out with that pattern mainly because we know the area can, and has, produced some very nice bass.

On Feb. 9 we did nothing but fish the underwater structure in the lakes. We rotated shallow diving crankbaits and worms. Our largest fish weighed 3.5 (pictured), though all of the bass we caught that day were keepers. The areas we fished had not been producing fish for a few months now, so it’s nice to see the bass on structure and pushing closer to the shallower waters. With temps on the rise like they are, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some fish on beds in as early as three weeks. With trips planed for every weekend this month I pan on keeping a close eye on their movement.

I would like to add that while you can fish the river year round, people can and do run aground on the sandbars. We were the only boat on the river and we found one couple had run aground late Saturday evening above Picacho State Park, and because of the size and weight of the boat, we were barely able to assist them. There is not a lot of boat traffic this time of year (or police patrols) and some areas may not have a boat pass through for days. It’s a good idea to let someone know when you plan on returning, that way they can keep an eye out for trouble.


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/.


LAKE MEAD –The elevation has dropped .6 feet this week to around 1108.3 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 for stripers.  Check the moon phases before you go –last new moon was, Jan. 30.  The next new moon will be March 1.  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 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.
 
LAKE MOHAVE –The lake level has stayed around 641 feet above msl.  Reports are that smallmouth and largemouth are hitting on the lake but that stripers are much harder to find.  Last report had dark colored plastic worms working on the shelves in the coves for black bass.  Christian, a local angler, landed 4.27 pounds channel catfish from the fishing dock at Katherine’s Landing using anchovies.


Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon will be March 1.  Cut anchovies usually work the best for stripers.     

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.  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 – Due to the Federal Budget and infrastructure problems at the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery, rainbow trout will no longer be produced or stocked from this facility.  This will affect trout fishing at Willow Beach and locations below Davis Dam like Davis Camp and Rotary Park.

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.  Tout are still being caught occasionally in the Big Bend area and are reported to be in the 2-4 pound range.  

Another fish that is exciting to catch are carp, and they are a great fish to eat.  Carp out of the river and Lake Mohave are really good because of the clean water.  Ed caught a large carp in the Sunshine Peninsula area on bread dough balls.  You can search online for recipes for carp.  


Water levels on the river fluctuate, so be careful. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions http://www.usbr.gov/lc/riverops.html before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

TOPOCK GORGE- Reports of catfish and some stripers are being taken in the Gorge but the bite is slow.

TOPOCK MARSH –Some good news from the Marsh, Montana snowbird Soby caught some nice largemouth bass on plastics from his rubber pontoon boat.  Soby’s biggest was 4.08 lbs. and 19½ inches long.
If you notice illegal activities please call the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-352-0700 or online at www.azgfd.gov/thief.  Please refer to our regulations booklet on how to be a good witness.  

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 – Trout stocking has resumed at Deadhorse.  The last stocking was the week of Feb. 3. The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be next week, the week of Feb. 17.

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – 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.


Stocking has resumed on the river.  The last stocking was the week of Jan. 13.  The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be this week, the week of Feb. 10.

PRESCOTT AREA

FAIN LAKE — Trout stocking has resumed at Fain Lake.  Fain was stocked the week Feb. 3. The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be the week of March 10.


The cooler temps have helped the trout bite.  Nick sent a report of catching 4 nice trout on rainbow colored PowerBait on the bottom.  The bite started around ten but no one else were landing fish or getting bites.  That goes to show you that bring a variety of baits and one isn’t working try another.

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 next tentatively scheduled stocking will be this week, the week of Feb. 10. 
      
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 – The Lake is now open.  Chad reported that he caught several big (5, 3, 2 lbs.) largemouth bass using spinners.  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 trout stocking was the week of Feb. 3. The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be the week of March 10. 


Reports are that the lake level is extremely low, so be careful if you venture to the lake.  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 last stocking was the week of Oct. 21.  

For trout the best bait is usually orange, pink, or white Power Bait, fished on the bottom with a treble hook and an egg sinker.  Fishing can be really good at times, because angler use is lower than other lakes in the area.

Yellow bullhead catfish are active and easy to catch with nightcrawlers on the bottom.

This lake is more remote than the other Prescott area lakes and not very big.  The lake is open as weather permits.  Forest Road 104 is relatively impassable when wet.  The lake is still open to foot traffic.

Someone illegally stocked yellow bullhead into Mingus several years ago. These fish compete directly with the trout and keep growth rates very low. If you witness anyone, anywhere, moving fish like bass, bluegill, catfish and stocking them, please report it to our Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-352-0700.  Illegal stockings cost YOU money!

WATSON – Trout were last stocked the week of Feb. 3.  Trout are still being caught and they are nice size.  James, his son and wife caught one rainbow trout each using PowerBait suspended about 5 feet deep.  He said all 3 were in the 15-20 inch range, nice fish!     

  
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


New report:


ALAMO LAKE – Feb. 13 report from Mark Knapp, Park Ranger at Alamo Lake State Park:

Well folks, in a nut shell you’re not missing much out here.  A couple told me this morning that things were looking up.  They caught two crappie.  Both cat and bass fishing is a bummer.


We’re going in to the 80s so that might turn everything on.  With the nice weather, the park is going to get slammed this weekend.  Make sure and make a reservation before coming out.  We have a lot of open dry camping, so you’re OK there.


Cholla ramp is still operational.  For best results, load out of the left side of the ramp looking down the ramp.  I will see how this weekend goes and have a much better aspect of the launching situation then.  We’re going to lose the ramp.  It's just a matter of time.  Both agencies are doing everything possible to keep it open, but safely.  A good rule of thumb ‘till further report is: anything more than 17 feet I would launch off the old rental boat road on the right between the barrels.  No one who I know of has had a problem there.


I'm trying to meet a deadline here so I will do more on ramps next week.  So, that's it.  If nothing else, the weather is going to be nice.  You might want to get out of the city and breathe some fresh air.  Now that, I have plenty of! -- Mark


Previous reports:


LAKE HAVASU – Elevation 444.98 feet. Beginning Dec 8, the Bureau of Reclamation began lowering the water level of Lake Havasu for approximately eight weeks to repair the trash racks at Parker Dam, according to the Bureau of Reclamation’s website.. The drawdown will result in the lake reaching an elevation of 445 feet by mid-December 2013. The lake will remain at this level until mid-February 2014. See more details.


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.
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 – Four Yuma-area waters in April will join 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, but will now receive catfish stockings in April, June (including bluegill), and October.


CENTRAL MOUNTAINS


Note: We always consider all ice-fishing in Flagstaff and Williams area unsafe. Because of the variants in temperatures the ice may get thick enough for ice-fish, but it may not be thick enough across the entire lake – there are always some soft pockets.

New report:

UPPER LAKE MARY — Campground is closed. There have been two independent reports of decent walleye fishing. Unseasonably warm weather and warmer water temperatures along with sunny days have likely allowed baitfish and predators to become active again. Both shoreline and boat fishing with worms have been effective. Trolling worm harnesses slowly along the bottom is usually the most effective means to collect these wonderful fish. Be mindful of the Mercury warning for these fish in this Lake.


Previous reports:


WILLIAMS LAKES:

KAIBAB LAKE — Campground is closed. Trout fishing should be good with the cooler weather.

CATARACT LAKE — Campground is closed. Trout fishing should be good with the cooler weather.

CITY RESERVOIR — Open. Trout fishing should be good with the cooler weather.

DOGTOWN LAKE — Campground is closed. Trout fishing should be good with the cooler weather

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

SANTA FE — Trout fishing should be good with the cooler weather.

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campground is closed. Walk in access only.

FLAGSTAFF LAKES:

LOWER LAKE MARY — The lake is pretty weedy and no one has been fishing it.

ASHURST LAKE — Campground is closed. No recent reports.

FRANCIS SHORT POND – Trout were stocked last week

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Roads were muddy over the weekend.

OAK CREEK — No report.

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

BEAVER CREEK – No report.

WEST CLEAR CREEK - No report.

STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.

BLUE RIDGE — Road is closed.

KNOLL LAKE — The road is open. No report.

 

SOUTHERN WATERS

Please send me your fishing reports from Southern Arizona!  Fishing reports for southern waters can be sent to Amberle Jones, Regional Sportfish Biologist by email at akjones@azgfd.gov.  These reports will then be complied and reported in our weekly fishing reports.

Need ideas on where to go fishing?  Try the Departments new interactive Fish and Boat Map: Fish and Boat Arizona

Previous report:

ARIVACA — Anglers have been catching a few largemouth bass lately. Water levels have risen since the last few storms, and the level is up.  The old ramp has been removed and construction on the new ramp is tentatively scheduled for December.  All boat launching is at the risk of the owner.  Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive. 


CLUFF RANCH — Winter trout stocking is in full swing and the stocking schedule can be seen at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml.  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.

FRYE MESA RESERVIOR – On June 4th 300 catchable Gila trout were stocked into the reservoir.  Anglers have reported success at catching Gila trout since the stocking.  Remember that the daily bag and possession limit for Gila trout is 1 fish. Frye Creek above the reservoir remains closed to fishing. 

PARKER CANYON —Anglers are reporting catching only a few trout at the lake, with the most success using power bait.  Winter stocking is in full swing and the stocking schedule can be viewed at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml .

PATAGONIA —Winter trout stocking is in full swing and the stocking schedule can be seen at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml

PENA BLANCA –  Anglers have reported catching largemouth bass.  Winter trout stocking is in full swing and the trout stocking schedule can be seen at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml .  Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive.  Additionally all mercury advisories against the eating of warmwater fish caught at Pena Blanca Lake remains in effect.  Future testing will determine if and when these advisories will be lifted.  Boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.   

RIGGS FLAT —  Currently the lake is open.  No future stocking are scheduled at this time due to poor water quality. 

ROSE CANYON LAKE —  Anglers have reported catching trout, rainbows (6-8 inches) and browns (6 inches).  The lake is now closed to vehicle access for the winter.  Anglers are still permitted to walk into the lake from the parking lot on the main road.

ROPER LAKE —  The lake is open to the public.  Winter trout stocking is in full swing and the stocking schedule can be seen at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml .  For lake information (928) 428-6760. 

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