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Fishing Report - Feb. 27, 2014

Posted in: Fishing Report
Feb 27, 2014
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Hello, anglers,

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Get ready for an early spring. The Vernal Equinox, or first day of spring, is March 20, but with an unseasonably warm winter, bass will be spawning ahead of schedule. Even the rainbow trout fishing will get a boost with this weekend’s rain and wind that's expected to whip and sop the state's water and soil.

Regardless, after last week’s pending world record redear sunfish that was caught at Lake Havasu (5.80 pounds), we have another big fish. Don't let anyone tell you there are no lunkers in Arizona. You can’t always have pending world records, but this one’s impressive.

An angler brought in a 24.7-pound pike (right) he caught at Ashurst Lake yesterday to the Arizona Game and Fish Department Flagstaff regional office. He was using a rainbow trout swim bait about 4 inches long. Hats off.

And get this -- we’re almost a month away from celebrating the one-year anniversary of the flathead catfish that weighed 76.54 pounds and became the heaviest recorded fish in state history. “Flathead” Ed Wilcoxson caught the record on April 12, 2013 out of Bartlett Lake, and since Arizona has become known for its destination-worthy flathead fishery. Look for flathead fishing to pick up through March.

The rainy, windy weather this weekend will help trout fishing in our desert lakes and ponds. With the warmer-than-average winter, trout fishing has suffered. Check our winter stocking schedule because we’re about to be down to our final stocking weeks of the season, so consider targeting trout just after the cold front coasts through. This week (Feb. 24-March 2) we’re scheduled to stock the Verde River (Clarkdale to Camp Verde), Goldwater Lake, The Lower Salt River, Patagonia Lake, and Fortuna Pond.

And don’t forget to keep up with the 2014 Community Fishing Program stocking schedule.

Bass statewide are staging up to spawn, and in some cases, already are on beds. The problem this weekend is that the winds will at times make spotting the beds difficult. There’s a full moon March 16 and that should help induce a second wave of bass to spawn. If you do bed fish, use light colored jigs so you can see your bait. Remember that bass are not on their beds to feed, but to fend off intruders – once the bass picks up the bait, set the hook. Admire your catch, but please quickly release the fish to reduce stress on the fish and help them survive and spawn.

Patagonia Lake is being stocked with trout until March 2 and can be an excellent lake in March for over-sized largemouth bass. Due to its relatively low elevation, it warms up sooner than other southern waters such as Parker Canyon and Pena Blanca, and so becomes a great early spring option for experienced anglers. But anglers will have to be adept at flipping into thick cattails where these big bass tend to hang out. A newbie to Patagonia can easily be skunked, but with patience and a willingness to learn and adjust, he or she can reap the benefits of these nutrient-rich waters with the excellent forage like shad, bluegill and crayfish that makes Patagonia’s bass fishing a good spring option.

Expect Alamo Lake to be phenomenal in the spring for bass and crappie. Already the fishing for both has skyrocketed after a slow month or two. Anglers can prepare for this great fishing by fishing for trash and help one of the state’s most productive fishing holes. The 15th annual Alamo Lake Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, March 1 from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. During the past 14 events, volunteers have picked up more than 25 dump trucks full of trash in and around the lake.  See more information.


Some other quick-hit fish news:

Have fun, and don't forget to bring your fishing license. Need one? We have plenty -- stay online to buy.

I'm headed to Lake Havasu for a few days of working, camping, and a little bit of fishing next week. I hear there are some big redear and plenty of smallmouth bass up there ... follow me on Twitter @NickFishAZ for updates.

OK, onto the full report.

ANGLER REPORTS


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

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Erland has been slaying the smallmouth bass at Apache Lake the past two weeks, including a 4-pounder on Thursday, Feb. 20: I started taking my family out to Apache this time last year and discovered what an amazing desert jewel this lake is. Last spring my father and I caught many personal-best bass, including a 6-pound largemouth and 4-pound smallmouth.

Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get back out there this year.  In the past 2 weeks we have been slaying the smallmouth, all “cpr” of course. I've attached a few pics, including a 4-pound smallmouth pops caught yesterday. These fish are not only beautiful, they are amazing fighters.

Thanks again for the great reports.

R. Gomez with a report from Roadrunner Lake: They probably won’t post this but if you are planning to fish the new community lake in Roadrunner Park -- it is a waste of time and money. Visibility in the lake is probably 2 inches (maybe) it is probably 75-percent full and not a soul is catching a thing. This lake is nothing but a dumping ground for people’s overgrown redear turtle pets that have out-grown their owner’s size capacity.


Capt. Noland with a great report from Thursday, Feb. 20 at Cortez Lake: Thank you, AZGFD. This community fishing is awesome. This morning I grand slammed at Cortez Lake!!! I started with catching a 4-pound, 3-once rainbow trout, on a hot dog; a short wait later I landed a 17-inch largemouth bass, on a hot dog; another short wait, and I landed a fat 20-inch catfish, on hot dog. Fishing is surprisingly good in the urban lakes. Keep up the good work, AZGFD.

Orrin with a bass spawning report, and some advice, from Bartlett Lake: Attached is a pic of two fish I caught at Bartlett Lake. These fish are a product of a successful spawn. Last year,,, there WAS NO SPAWN!! The water fluctuated so much the fish did NOT spawn. There are NO mid-sized fish in the lake -- just big ones. When they are gone Bartlett will turn into another San Carlos… NO FISH!! PLEASE leave the water alone here until mid-April.

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Finally -- 4-year-old Mason and his grandparents with his first fish ever, a largemouth bass (right), and Kujat and Alpert  with some big stripers (left) -- all were from the Colorado River.
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Q & A

  • Q: Fished for two days Feb. 15-16 (at Parker Canyon Lake) and only caught one trout.  Was told by camp host that the last two stockings had not taken place. … did catch a small bass with a Rapala. Would like to know when Parker actually gets stocked. – Christopher S.


A: Hi, Christopher. The last rainbow trout stocking did take place Feb. 10-17. The next and final trout stocking of the winter at Parker will take place the week of March 10-17. See the entire stocking schedule, which still applies. Here’s the problem: as with most of the desert lakes and ponds that are being stocked with trout throughout the winter, water temperatures are higher than average, which has made the trout sluggish to bite. For the most part, the trout fishing will not be as good as last year, so don’t fish in the same spots or with the same baits. Fish deeper, for one, and switch up your presentations.

That said, bass will be spawning earlier this year, so they’re a better target if  you’re looking for high catch rates. Thanks for your question, and good luck! -- Nick


FISH STORIES

What's your fish story? In the fifth segment of “Fish Stories” Kristen gets after the smaller fish that are plentiful. For her, it's about the little things in life.


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

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McKellips Pond in Scottsdale from Friday, Feb. 21
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.)


ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,101 feet, 48-percent full. Feb. 22 report from James Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods:  Fishing on Roosevelt Lake improved this past week and was called “good” by experienced anglers. The stable weather and warmer days has resulted in bass beginning to move into a pre-spawn stage. Anglers are talking a lot about the spawn starting ¬early this year and in mid-March, when we have the next full moon, we could have a second wave of spawning. The water level remains at 48 percent full.  The Salt River is flowing at 38 percent; however, the Tonto Creek has nearly stopped flowing. The surface temperature is 50 degrees in the morning, increasing to 55 degrees in the afternoons. 

Anglers reported success on spinner baits and dropshot techniques using large blood-red Roboworms. Jerk baits were again successful as the water warms in the afternoon, followed by Carolina rigs and jigs in deeper depths. Hot spots mentioned this week included Bass Point and the back of Salome Cove. 

Lakes and roads on the Rim continue to open, albeit slowly and hold over trout are being caught by some hearty anglers. If you want to fish a Rim Lake this week, be sure to check the AZGFD website or call a local business near the Rim Lake you want to fish to get the latest travel and fishing updates.

The AZGFD will host additional public meetings to discuss the current and proposed management of Haigler Creek and receive public comment.  


The Department manages portions of Haigler Creek as a wild rainbow trout and brown trout fishery. The proposal calls for the Department to reintroduce native Gila trout into Upper Haigler Creek with the goal of developing a catch-and-release fishery for this unique trout species. Meetings will be held in Payson on Monday Feb. 24, 6 p.m. at the Payson Public Library on N. McLane Road. A second meeting will be held the following day, Tuesday Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. at the Pleasant Valley Community Center, 72000 N. Highway 288.

A reminder to Rim Country anglers to get registered for the Bill Luke Bass Days on March 14,15 &16 at Pleasant Harbor Marina. Last year several Payson anglers won some serious cash prizes during this tournament and all reported having a great time. Bill Luke Bass Days is a great family event, so check out the details and activities on www.billlukebassdays.com.


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

The Arizona Fishing Guides reported that Roosevelt lake should really hit its stride here in the next few weeks or maybe around the next full moon. The water temps are starting to rise and that should help the spring fishing. Until then use spoons and jigs off of long pre-spawn points.


BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,777 feet, 60 % full. The Arizona Fishing Guides report: The lake is starting to show signs of spring fishing. We are starting to see good numbers of bigger-than-average Bartlett- size fish. You can catch them on reaction type of baits like cranks and spinner baits or slow down and fish in the 5-15 foot range with jigs and a drop shot.

Previously, Gary Senft, a Bass Pro at the Mesa Bass Pro Shops, said Bartlett was 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 had success a couple weeks ago 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.

 


CANYON LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,657 feet (95-percent full). From the Arizona Fishing Guides: The lake just had its last trout stocking of the year,  and the bass seem to know it. You can catch these big bruisers on trout swim baits and big jerk baits.

The last stocking was 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.


SAGUARO LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,526 feet (94-percent full). From the Arizona Fishing Guides: Saguaro Lake can be described in three words: “HOLY BIG BASS!!” The fish are already feeling the need for the spawn and are moving into the shallow water. You can catch them sight fishing or just throwing a senko around the spawning flats.


The lake was 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.


APACHE LAKE- Lake elevation is 1,909 feet (94-percent full). The Arizona Fishing Guides sent in the following report: The lake is really starting to turn on. We have had a few trips out there over the last 2 weeks and have had some great numbers of both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Inline spinners and jerk baits seem to be the ticket at this point.

The lake was stocked with trout the week of Monday, Feb. 3 – the last stocking of the winter. 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.


COMMUNITY FISHING WATERSSee the latest Community Fishing Bulletin.


LAKE PLEASANT – The Arizona Fishing Guides sent in this report: The lake is still going strong this time of year. Look for birds and shad to find the stripers. The morning and late evenings seem to be the best this time of year and look for the activity to be in the back of all the major arms.

Previously, anglers have had decent success with stripers, and some white bass have moved into more shallow waters.


Previous angler’s report: Jeff L. of Tonopah reported about some great striper Sunday, Feb. 16 beginning at 1:30 p.m. action on Lake Pleasant: We went directly to Humbug and saw a lot of fish on the sonar in deep water (60-70 feet.).  We anchored immediately and began fishing with nightcrawlers on the bottom. Within about 10 minutes, we boated the first striper. Before we were able to release the first fish, one of our other poles was also hooked up. The action continued for three more hours, slowing at times. We probably caught and released 35-40 striped bass as well as two channel catfish. This hot spot was within 40 yards of a group of seven boats all tied together with loud music booming. Surface water temp was 56 degrees. It was also overcast all day. I would recommend this area right now, unless you don't enjoy catching a lot of fish in a short time. 


TEMPE TOWN LAKE – The last trout stocking of the winter will take place March 3. The lake was also 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.


LOWER SALT RIVER – The Lower Salt is being stocked until March 2.

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

Previous reports:

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 Luna Lake, Nelson Reservoir, Show Low Lake, Black Canyon Lake, and Willow Springs Lake.  Catch and release fishing with artificial lure and fly is also fair to good at Silver Creek and Becker Lake. The trout stocking season will resume in the spring of 2014.

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES

BEAR CANYON LAKE – Forest Road 300 is still closed for the winter.

BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. Anglers have been catching hold-over trout on semi seal leeches and hare’s ear nymphs. 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 is open, unless heavy snowfall closes those roads.

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. Anglers have been catching a few trout on worms, flies, and lures during the late afternoon hours. The lake is ice-free. Forest Road 149 to the lake is currently open, but may close with any heavy snowfall.

WOODS CANYON LAKE – Forest Road 300 is still closed for the winter. The Woods Canyon Lake store and campgrounds are closed.

WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES


Note: State Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter and are scheduled to open on April 15.

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. The lake is ice-free. Spawning trout are beginning to cruise the shallows on the north side near the boat ramp and anglers. 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 ice-free. State Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter.

CARNERO LAKE – The lake is partially ice-covered. Forest Roads 117 and 117A are open to the lake.

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair for sunfish and bullheads. The lake is ice-free.

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

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair. The lake is ice-free.

GREER LAKES – Fishing is fair for carry-over rainbows and wild brown trout. All three of the Greer lakes (River, Tunnel, Bunch) are full and ice-free.
 
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 partially ice-covered.  State Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter.

LUNA LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. The lake is ice-free. Anglers have been catching some trout in the 15”-18” range.

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

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair to good. The lake is ice-free.

RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is good for northern pike, but poor for trout. Anglers have been catching pike up to 30” on lures. The lake is ice-free, full, and spilling. Rainbow Lake has been stocked with white Amur (grass carp) under a special permit to address the nuisance weed problems in the lake. The current bag limit for grass carp is 1 fish/day with a minimum size of 30”, but all the carp are smaller than this and must be released.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free.

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair to good 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.

WHITE MOUNTAINS STREAMS
Note: State Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter.

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is 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

Previous reports:

LEES FERRY – Feb. 10 report from Lees Ferry Anglers:

Up River

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.’

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


Charles S. with a previous 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.


New reports:


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 started to drop again to the present elevation of 1108.2 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.  Louis, an avid smallmouth fisherman, made his first trip of the season and hooked up six smallies in the 2½-3 lbs. range and lost 3 others at the boat.  He said most were females with eggs.  Christian, a local angler, landed 4.27 lbs. 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.  Most folks are seeing some trout but not hooking up with any.  Mason, a four year old visiting his grandparents, caught his first fish (largemouth bass) in the Sunshine Peninsula area.  Kujet and son Alpert caught two beautiful stripers fishing from shore in the Community Park area.  Good news that a few large stripers are still being caught. 


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 – AZGFD completed our annual survey last week and found channel catfish the most abundant sport fish with the largest we caught at just over 10 pounds. Several fishermen caught some healthy largemouth bass which means the marsh is warming up a bit.  The bluegills are not active yet but there should be some crappie action if you can find the right spot.


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. 17.The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be the week of Feb. 24.

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 Feb. 10. The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be the week of Feb. 24.

Prescott Area

FAIN LAKE — Trout stocking has resumed at Fain Lake.  Fain was stocked the week February 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 is the week of Feb. 24.

      
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 took his family on the 16th and they threw a drop shot for a while with no success and then switched to spinnerbaits and did entice 2 decent largemouths.  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.  Brian S. saw some bass building nests by the dock and he threw a watermelon green jig and got a hard hit from a 2-3 lbs. largemouth bass but couldn’t land it.  He moved about 15 feet and caught a 1-2 lbs. largemouth.  He ended up with 1 bass and 2 trout which he released all the fish because his family doesn’t eat fish.  He loves the topwater action in the summer.       


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:

ALAMO LAKE – Feb. 18 report from Mark Knapp, Park Ranger at Alamo Lake State Park:


Well folks, finally some good news for you.  We had a pretty good crowd out here this weekend.  Anglers were catching 5-7 crappies per boat using the ol’ minnows and road runner trick.  Start at the first bouy line and go from there.


Bass fishing is also picking up.  A couple of anglers got six nice-sized bass throwing the ol’ Texas-rigged brush hog in approximately 5-10 feet of water.


I will put it to you this way:  My golf clubs are going in the closet and the batteries on the boat are being charged as I write this.  Now I'm not saying fishing is good.  I'm just saying things are starting to turn on.


Cholla ramp is working.  Like I mentioned, a good rule of thumb is for boats 17 feet and over to use the old rental boat area.   I will give weekly updates on the ramps.


I don't know what the lake level is this week but they’re releasing 25cfs.  You can see the lake go down daily.  It's kinda sad to watch.  I saw this in ‘02 when I moved out here.  It went down about 15 more feet before the flood of ‘05.  The buzzards are back, so I don't see any good rains coming our way. Anyway, if were me I would come out and give it a try.  That’s it --  Mark


RecordCrappieoutdoor_1.jpg
Pending world record 5.80-pound redear sunfish from Lake Havasu, caught Feb. 16
LAKE HAVASU – A world record, 5.80-pound redear sunfish was caught Sunday, Feb. 16 by the chalk cliffs on a No. 8 Aberdeen hook and a nightcrawler using a dropshot rig. Bass already are beginning to spawn in water temperatures that are finally in the upper 50s.


Also, a report from www.fishound.com: The water level is very low and will be that way through February. The striper bite has been tougher as the level fell, but the fish are following the shad. The shad have been moving south with the biggest concentrations in the Black Meadow Landing to Standard Wash stretch of the lake. Live shad had been the best bet for stripers. The largemouth and smallmouth bass are also keying on the baitfish. Also a pretty decent bite on rocky structure with crawdad-like plastics, mostly for the smallmouth. The redear are mostly in 20 to 50 feet of water with little angling pressure. No catfish reports.

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.


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:

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.

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.

New reports:

Patagonia Lake can be an excellent lake in March for over-sized largemouth bass. Due to its lower elevation, it warms up sooner than other southern waters such as Parker Canyon and Pena Blanca, and so becomes a great early spring option for experienced anglers. But anglers will have to be adept at flipping into thick cattails where these big bass tend to hang out. A newbie to Patagonia can easily be skunked, but with patience and a willingness to learn and adjust, he or she can reap the benefits of these nutrient-rich waters with excellent forage like shad, bluegill and crayfish that makes Patagonia’s bass fishing good.

Previous reports:

ARIVACA — Anglers have been catching a few largemouth bass lately using jigs.  The old ramp has been removed and construction on the new ramp is tentatively scheduled for March.  All boat launching is at the risk of the owner.  Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive. 

ROSE CANYON LAKE —  Anglers have reported catching trout, rainbows (4-8 inches) and browns (6 inches).  Small flies are having the most luck lately with the most luck in the early morning and dusk.  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.

PATAGONIA — The lake is being stocked with rainbow trout for one week beginning Feb. 24. Winter trout stocking is in full swing and the stocking schedule can be seen at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml


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 .


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. 

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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