From AZGFD.gov

Fishing Report - Jan. 26, 2012

Posted in: Fishing Report
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Jan 26, 2012

Rory's Tips:

The fishing report this week begins on a very sad note. Rory’s wife of 33 years, Cindy Joy Winters, passed away Saturday night after a valiant six month battle with spinal cancer. Her memorial service was last night and our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with Rory and their son Josh in this sad time.

Talking with Rory last night he said, “Cindy wouldn’t want us to dwell on the sad, so let’s talk fishing.” So Rory, here we go.

I’m hearing that the fish are practically jumping out of the water up near Lee’s Ferry. Trout limits are being caught on an almost daily basis, so get moving before all the good action is gone. Beautiful scenery, good food at the local restaurants and top notch fishing, you sure can’t beat a trip to the Vermillion Cliffs area!

Speaking of trout, they were stocked into Watson Lake near Prescott last week. Depending on the weather, Granite Dells on the northern edge of Prescott would be a nice place to try for some of these new lake residents.

Trout have been stocked all winter in Tempe Town Lake, so there is still a possibility to hook into a large trout in that lake. Being shallow, and with the recent sun, the water will be warmer than the breeze, so this should make for some good fishing. You can also try for bass in the shadows of the Mill Avenue bridges. Work the edges of the shadows pulling from dark into light and see how that works. Hard to believe a little over a year ago we weren’t sure if we’d ever be able to fish this lake again.

Crappie should be schooling in Alamo Lake west of Wickenburg. This is a very popular winter fishing spot, but it still might be sluggish for a week or two. I hear that anglers are catching crappie, but it’s been hit or miss depending on the day. Come February, if we can keep these warmer temps we’ve been seeing, bass might begin to spawn early in this lake and that could lead to some really good sight-fishing for those critters. Nothing like dropping your line in and actually watching the fish take it and run. Man, do I need to get out there!

All along the Colorado River and into Lake Havasu lie all types of possibilities. Small mouth in the lake or stripers out in the river, good fishing awaits. Wouldn’t it be fun to catch a record, take a picture and send it back to your friends in Iowa who are snowed in right now? Plate-sized redear, up to two pounds or so, are being caught at Havasu, and just upriver in the picturesque Topock Gorge.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to go fishing! While you’re out there don’t forget to take a moment and just look around. Enjoy the sights, smells and feeling of being out in nature. Say a small prayer for Cindy, Rory and Josh, then cast out your line and reel in a memory. I hope to see you out there.


CENTRAL WATERS

URBAN FISHING -- Fishing is good to excellent for anglers using scented dough baits (such as Power Bait), worms or cheese. Small spinners such as Rooster Tails and Panther Martins, or spoons such as KastMasters and Super Dupers work well for trout.

Patience is the key, as the trout bite sporadically throughout the day and often move around in small schools. When the bite is on, anglers are catching limits in an hour.

The annual incentive trout stocking that includes many larger fish occurred Friday the 13th. Action for catfish, bass and bluegill has slowed due to colder water temperatures. Trout fishing is good to excellent at Green Valley lakes in Payson with Power Bait, worms and small spoons working best. Top flies for fly fishermen have been copper Johns, wooly buggers, simi seal leaches and pheasant tail nymphs. Don’t forget to buy your 2012 fishing license to be legal in the New Year.


The 2012 Urban Fishing Program Guidebooks are now available at over 320 license dealers and Game and Fish offices. The free Guidebooks are chock full of helpful tips and information on urban fishing. There are no changes in urban or statewide license costs or fishing regulations for 2012.


Game and Fish biologists have confirmed that quagga mussels have been found in Red Mountain Park Lake in Mesa. These invasive mussels often grow to massive colonies that can block water intakes, affect municipal water delivery, and modify lake ecology. Quagga mussels are listed as an aquatic invasive species in Arizona and are known to exist within the CAP canal system, which supplies water to Red Mountain Lake. Monitoring efforts for this mussel have been in place for both the canal system and the lake. These thumbnail-size mussels do not pose any health risks to humans or wildlife. The City of Mesa and AGFD are asking anglers to avoid transporting water or wet objects from one body of water to another. This will assist in preventing the accidental introduction of invasive mussels to another body of water. The best prevention is to always clean, drain and dry all equipment before use in another lake so you “Don’t Move a Mussel”. For more information about quagga mussels, an unwanted invasive species, visit www.azgfd.gov/ais.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Rainbow trout 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 be picking up. 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 powerbait, nightcrawlers, 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 - As is usual this time of year, the water level is constantly rising as water from the Central Arizona Project is pumped into the lake for later irrigation and domestic use.

According to Mike McFarland of Hook Up Outfitters, the fishing is getting better. The water temperature in the main lake is around 54 degrees, but Mike has found some 60-degree water in the shallow coves in the afternoons. Sport-fish and bait fish can be attracted to the warmer water.

Mike says the fish -- especially striped bass and white bass -- have migrated back into shallow arms of the northern coves and typically the bite is best in the early mornings and afternoons. However, keep a watch on the surface activity (binoculars help) -- stripers and whites can sometimes be found chasing shad at the surface, so keep a topwater lure, casting spoon, or a crankbait handy.

When the bass are shallow, try Little Dippers on jig heads or curly tails on jigs. If the fish aren't active, try in the 15 to 30 foot range in the submerged creek channels. The guides have been catching lots of small white bass, and striped bass running from six inches to 3 pounds. But they have also been catching some largemouth bass as well from young jack bass to nice 3 pounders.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - The lake is 66-percent full at elevation 2,121 feet.  Largemouth bass fishing is good but fish but this is the transition time to winter activity levels. Some of the better fishing right now is in the 20- to 30-foot range, especially off points. Drop-shotting and wired worms are the baits of choice. Crappie fishing is not bad trolling in the Tonto or Salt arms of the lake. Anglers have not been catching large numbers of crappie but the ones that they have been catching have been good size.  Use John Deere grubs or black-blue-chartreuse (BBC) grubs on a 1/16-ounce jighead in about 25 feet of water or try fathead minnows under a slip bobber.

Catfishing for both flatheads and channels has been somewhat slow. Fishing for smallmouth bass can be good, especially on windy days. Try areas where waves are stirring up the rocky shoreline. Use in-line spinners and crayfish imitations especially off rocky points and cliff walls and live night crawlers. Remember the slot is in place for smallmouth as well.
 
APACHE - Lake is 96-percent full at 1,910 feet.  No recent reports but fishing should be good for yellow bass down by the dam. Yellow bass should hit jigs and spoons. Fish for them around balls of shad in 20-60 feet of water. Cut bait also works well for them. All other fish such as crappie, catfish and bluegill harvested from the lake must have a piece of skin attached to the fillets so species can be determined. A reference to a slot limit in last week’s report was an error, we apologize for any inconvenience.
 
CANYON - Lake is 96-percent full at 1,658 feet.  Bass fishing has been slow by most reports.  Guys seem to be having the best luck spooning.  Canyon has been stocked with trout throughout the winter, making swim baits viable.  For trout, try fishing in Boulder Cove with Panther Martins, KastMasters, or bait. A rainbow trout colored swim bait can usually produce a few largemouth after a stocking. You should be able to catch yellow bass spooning this time of year. Try points and drop offs in 30 – 60ft of water.
 
SAGUARO - Lake level is 1,525 feet (94-percent full). Saguaro was scheduled for a trout stocking last week. No recent reports, but like most lakes the bass fishing has been slow and hit or miss. Yellow bass fishing can be good, try using a silver and blue kastmaster or similar. 
 
BARTLETT – The best fishing will likely be at first light, and then in the afternoons. At first light, look for bass off the primary points in 15 to 30 feet of water. Anglers have reported catching bass that have discouraged crayfish. Try crawdad imitations and worm rigs (drop shots and Texas-rigs) for largemouth bass.  A few weeks back crappie fishing was reported to be picking up, although most of the crappie being caught were small.  I have not heard any recent reports on crappie.

HORSESHOE - Lake is empty.

VERDE RIVER – Fishing is poor for largemouth, smallmouth and catfish. Remember that no baitfish can be transported into this part of the river (above Horseshoe). Last week the flow was 297 cfs at Tangle Creek station above Horseshoe Lake. 
 
LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) –The Lower Salt River was flowing at 8 cfs from Stewart Mountain Dam and the Verde River was flowing at 187 cfs out of Bartlett Dam just last week. Trout were stocked at Blue Point Bridge, Phon D Sutton and Granite Reef recreation areas. It looks like the flows will stay this way into February unless precipitation in the watershed changes the outlook.

Power Bait, inline spinners and corn will work.  Fly fishermen may have luck using nymphs or wooly buggers. However, enterprising anglers might try fishing the deeper pools for largemouth bass and other fish along the Salt River between Stewart Mountain and Phon D. Sutton.

CREEKS – This is a great time of year to try some of the streams along the Mogollon Rim.  The crowds are gone and you could have an entire stream to yourself.  The gate to the catch and release section of Canyon Creek has been closed for the winter so you will have to hike in to this section.  Access may be difficult to due to snow.  Warmer days can produce a good midge hatch.  If there is no surface activity try dead drifting nymphs and wooly buggers.


COLORADO RIVER NORTHWEST

Note: If you have a fishing report, send it to "Been Fishing?” at bfishing@azgfd.gov


LAKE POWELL –  Last report for the winter was By Wayne Gustaveson, Lake Powell Fish Report on Nov. 21, 2011

Shad remain in shallow water when temperature is close to 60 and retreat into deep water when temperature is near 55.

Knowing that makes it an easy decision when launching at Hite where fishing is best now.  In warm water, head up stream where water is shallow and murky.  Fish in the brush for bass and stripers.   When water cools into the low 50s then head downstream and fish deeper water for striper schools resting on the bottom. 

Great success has been found recently fishing with plastic baits like walleye assassins in salt and pepper color. An offset worm hook can be turned into the plastic, instead of exposed, to allow it to fish weedless in the treetops.  The assassin is heavy enough to cast without adding extra weight.  Move steadily along the shoreline until a striper is caught and then concentrate on that spot to catch more striped school mates as they feed in the brush on shad and sunfish.  When a striper is hooked and brought to the boat, school mates often follow, hoping for a feeding opportunity.  As your buddy is reeling in a fish, don’t grab the net.  Instead drop a spoon under the boat to catch another striper.

This same pattern works lakewide with some modifications. Fishing is hot for bass and stripers in the tree line surrounding the lake during the last hour of daylight.  Again work steadily along the brushy shoreline in water less than 20 feet deep until a striper is caught. Then concentrate on that location casting rattletraps, flat-raps and/or walleye assassins.  The lure is not as important as the timing. As the suns sets, fish feed voraciously for the last hour of the day.  

During the day trolling along the edge of the brush line in water 15-20 feet deep results in a steady (not fast) catch of stripers along with a few bass.  Rattletraps, X-raps, Bomber flat raps, and other medium divers that hit tree tops without snagging result in an average of 2 fish per hour in the main lake.  Fishing is much faster at Hite upstream from the ramp. 

Crappie can be caught very well now in the San Juan arm and from Good Hope to Hite. Walleye fishing is prime for those slow trolling a night crawler harness behind a bottom bouncer. The trick is to find a brush free bottom near the brush zone where the walleye rig can be used without hanging up.  Look mid channel where water depth is 20 to 40. Check the graph to look for a flat bottom without brush for best results.

Enjoy the late season fishing and wonderful warm days when storm fronts are not forecast.  Air and water temperatures near 60 make a delightful time for fishing at Lake Powell.


LEES FERRY -- Report courtesy Lees Ferry Anglers. Fishing upriver has been good the last few of days. The river is running 9,550 cfs for the majority of the day and increasing to 16,000 cfs in the evening, but dropping back down by the morning. These new flows have really opened up the river creating an abundance of wading opportunities.

Beginning in February the river will be running around 7,000 cfs for the majority of the day and increasing to 13,000 cfs in the evening and dropping back down by the morning. The key to a successful fishing day is to follow the sun. Where ever the sun is hitting on the water should make for better fishing.

Fishing the seams, riffles and drop offs from the gravel bars has been the most productive. We are primarily nymphing using Scuds, San Juan Worms, Zebra midges and Glo-bugs. The fish tend to be right on the edge or in the deeper water just after the drop off. Using a dry fly with a dropper such as a Zebra Midge, Glo-bug or Scud has also had some success depending on the water one is fishing.

There are more actively spawning trout in a few areas on the river. A person may consider fishing a Glo-Bug below a San Juan worm or a Scud. The spawn should only improve as we get later into January and February. However, the location of the spawning beds will change depending on the current river flows.

Although the water has come down another good option is fishing a small streamer or wooly bugger. Stripping the wooly bugger has been successful but the key is to vary your strip retrieve. This particular method may produce some larger fish. When streamer fishing, we highly recommend a Teeny 200 grain sinking tip or a similar line. The reason for the Teeny is that the sinking tip is twenty feet allows the streamer to cover more water effectively especially the deeper drop offs.

If this is your first time fishing at Lees Ferry or if it has been a long time since you last fished the Ferry we strongly recommend hiring a guide for the day. Not only will hiring a guide improve your chances at catching fish they will also give you advice on how to fish, where to fish and help improve your skills and techniques. It is a great way to learn the water.

If you’re contemplating a trip to Lees Ferry, I would say go for it. Fishing has been good. We have had a really mild winter thus far with comfortable temperatures. The crowds have virtually disappeared for the season it is as though you have the whole river to yourself. Weekends tend to have a little more traffic than during the week days. We have rooms available. Our winter rates are fifty dollars a night for one or two people from now until February 23, 2012. If you have any questions please give us a call at 1-800-962-9755.

Walk-In Report: By Dean Windham

Fly Fishing: The glo-bug is still working well in all areas of the walk-in. The fish seem to be getting used to the flow fluctations patterns and are feeding more in the morning and less as the day goes along. Everyone appears to be catching fish with some nice sizes also. Good news for February as the flow will fluctate but be even lower than this month. The predicted low flows will be 7,000 cfs in the morning and 13,000 peak in late afternoon. This will make the fishing even better.

The upper boulder area has been fishing well with glo-bugs, midges, and San Juan worms. A couple of people I spoke with also had some luck with scuds. This, area has some great holding water, so don’t overlook this as a fun place to fish.

The area from the big boulder down to the Paria River has been producing some really nice fat fish. Here also the glo-bug has been doing well. Most use a glo-bug dropper with a San Juan attractor. Some fisherman have also been using streamers, wooly buggers mainly, and having good results. Just remember if using streamers you will need a line with a long sinking tip. We recommend a Teeny T-200 line as it sinks quickly and puts the fly on top if the fish faster than the shorter sinking tip lines. With the lower flows wading is much easier and we can now get to some of the seams that we could not fish during the high flows of December.

The spot where the Paria enters the Colorado river is still fishing very good at all times. This is one area where it seem the fish are always hanging out. Twenty to thirty fish mornings are quite possible here. You can try most anything in this area including drys in the afternoon. Glo-bugs are the most consistent producer but everything works it’s just a matter of getting it down to where the fish are.

Remember when coming up to the Ferry make sure that you have new leader and tippet. The fish here will test your tackle and if it has any weaknesses they will find it.

Spin fishing the walk-in has been good this week. Most of the spin fishing is drifting glo-bugs. This has been the most successful method of taking fish at the walk-in as well as up river. Kastmaster and panther martins have also been working when you can find the fish and get them to drop down on the this. We did have some weather earlier in the week and it seemed that the spin fishing was better during this period. Spin fishing follows the same pattern as fly fishing in that the fish are more active in the morning with the rising flows and less active in the afternoon. This does not mean that you can not catch fish in the afternoon they just need more encouragement. With the lower flows predicted for February fishing should be even better but remember that with the lower flows it will take a while get used to what depth your lure needs to be at. You will be picking up more moss but you should also get more fish and perhaps even more larger fish.

The best area in the walk-in for spin fishing is where the Paria River joins the Colorado river but remember this area demands caution when wading due to all of the muck being deposited. The conditions change constantly so be aware of where you are wading. Also always put new line on your reels before fishing the Ferry as the fish are very strong and if your line is old it will not hold.

At the start of the week the rating was an 8 at the end of the week it was a 7 due to the fish getting used to the fluctuating flows and moving around more than the previous week. All in all the fishing is great and the weather has been awesome. If you have any questions about fishing the Ferry email us or call us at 1-800-962-9755 or stop by the Fly Shop for more tips and to pick up some local fly patterns. We’ll see you then.
Spin Fishing Up River:

Spin fishing is good! It’s all about bouncing Glo bugs, San Juan Worms and Scuds off the bottom.

You can also try fishing with gold Kastmasters, black and gold Panther Martins #5s or Rapalas in Perch or trout.

Also definitely don’t forget about the marabou jig, this one has been working great and has been very reliable.

Report from one of our customers:

I rented a boat from you all and fished the river on Sunday with 2 friends. First off the boat ran great. We had some issues the last time out and we appreciate that they are all resolved.

On to the fishing – 3 words — Best Day Ever. The weather cooperated wonderfully. Our party had 2 experienced Lees Ferry fisherman and one total noob. Our noob got a fish on the third cast and ended up with at least 20 to hand for the day. I got a fish on the first and second casts, missed the fish on the third and had one on the fourth. I had only two casts all day that did not have a strike or a fish and on those I had the flies stuck to the indicator. We each had over 100 fish to hand easily. It was truly and incredible day. I give the up river rating a 10 (maybe an 11).

Fish were hitting eggs, midges and worms with the eggs getting the most fish. We’ll be back soon.

Rusty

If you have some news you would like to report about fishing lees ferry, the walk-in section or up river please e-mail your report to: anglers@leesferry.com Attn. Lees Ferry Fishing Report. We would be happy to have your input, and pass it along.

LAKE MEAD – The current water level is still approximately 1134 feet above msl. Water elevation has risen about 43 feet from this time last year and 13 feet from October’s elevation.  As the water rises more and more vegetation, mostly in the form of small salt cedars, gets flooded and makes habitat for fish.  There seems to be an abundance of shad currently which may be the reason for the lack of bite.  Cut anchovies are still the bait of choice.  Check the moon phases before you go –last new moon was Christmas Eve.  The next new moon will be January 23rd.  Dark nights work best when fishing under light.  Fishing for stripers in 50 plus feet of water will normally find the larger fish.   If you can locate the shad, the stripers are not far behind.  Trolling usually works best in areas were shad are found and best done in the early mornings and evenings.  The bite for largemouth and smallmouth was reported good using plastic worms and crawdads with purple and browns in them.  Several fishermen said that top water lures were working for them.  One boat had been using a white frog and having good success also.  All the fishermen contacted were hopeful for the coming years with rising water conditions and the abundance of baitfish they have seen this year.   

Launching conditions at South Cove have improved as the water level has gone up. There are currently four lanes.  As the water raises logs and other debris can become hazards, so be careful boating.

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 MOHAVE – The lake level has maintained about 639 feet above msl.  The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly especially on grass beds in 20 to 30 feet deep.  Trolling with anchovies in 30-50ft has been producing some stripers, while catfish are on the bottom.  While the number of stripers in Mohave has been decreasing, the quality of the fish caught has increased. A couple recently caught several stripers in the 4 lb. to 10 lb. range using rainbow colored Storm Wildeye Swimbait in the Cottonwood Basin area. Best time to fish is at night for cats and he likes fishing for largemouth and smallmouth in the early morning with blue, black and purple and black grubs and worms. 

Biologists from both Arizona Game and Fish Department and Nevada Division of Wildlife with the help of volunteers, National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation personnel have continued to install fish habitat in Carp Cove, Box Cove, Shoshone, and Arrowhead.  Fish habitat consists of PVC structures, wood pallet structures, tamarisk bundles, and some Christmas trees. The largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill and catfish are really utilizing the new structures. Additional habitat will be added at several locations over the next two years. These structures are fish magnets.

There is a wheelchair accessible fishing pier just south of the main launch ramp at Katherine's Landing. If you fish Mohave and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

WILLOW BEACH – Willow Beach is stocked every Friday with 3,000 13” rainbow trout.  Rainbow, peach, garlic and yellow Power Baits and Powerworms were being used most for trout.  Jakes original and Jakes Juniors, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails are also usually effective.   Fishing is usually best near the fishing pier after the Friday stocking.  Most of the nice stripers and trout are seem to be caught between river mile 49 and 53.  Jenna caught a 23.78 lb striper with a Bomber and last week Jim landed a 38.7 lb striper on an imitation trout swim bait. 

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. 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.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – Trout stocking has resumed at Davis Camp, Rotary Park and Riverside on the second Tuesday of each month starting in October. Trout continue to bite in the casino area with some larger fish in the deep holes.  Several folks have called and spoke of very large trout being caught in the Laughlin area. A recent report from Debby of Orange County, says she drifted from the Laughlin Bridge to Rotary Park in a kayak and caught a beautiful 4 lb. rainbow trout between the Palms and Harris Casinos.  Overall the fishing is great on the river. 

Topock Gorge-The report from the Gorge is that the cold has slowed the bite down.  The reported bright spot is that the bluegill bite is hot and heavy with fish up to 2.25 lbs being taken.  A group from Brighton MI had a blast catching bluegill and redear on small brass crappie hooks baited with very small pieces of night crawler.  Smallmouth and largemouth are being a little harder to catch but that should change with a few warm days. A 3.5 lb largemouth was recently caught on night crawlers.

Rainbow trout are stocked by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service monthly during the winter. The fish are normally stocked in two locations; Davis Camp and near The Riverside. Stocking at Rotary Park has made another access point to the river for fishing and has made many people happy.  Trout fishing at the stocking sites is great immediately following the stockings, then the fish move out and you need to find them.

Rainbow trout are located throughout the river below Davis dam, but anglers typically report catching trout on the Arizona side across from the Riverside, off the shore of Davis Camp and in the big bend area. This year we have received multiple reports of larger holdover trout being caught.  Remember to fish for trout, you need a trout stamp on Class A and Lifetime fishing licenses.

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


Capt. Doyle's Fishing Report:

Winter may be giving way to an early spring–we can only hope such is the case. January has been relatively warm which means fishing in the Topock Gorge has been productive. Striper action remains a little lackluster except for the occasional fish.

Smallmouth bass bite as well as the largemouth bite while not as lively as it will soon be, is still pleasingly entertaining. Sizes have been running between dinks and 2-pounds. One largemouth tipped the scales at 3.5-pounds–night crawlers have been the bait du-jour.

The sunfish action continues to be energetic. Weights have been ranging between pan size and 2.25 -pound! If you think sunfish aren’t worth fishing for; think again. Their meat is firm and white and a fillet makes for a deliciously tasty taco–just add cabbage and salsa.

Like the striper, 2011 was uncharacteristically shy of catfish.  Melancholy fishers of both the striped bass and the whisker fish are longing for a more plentiful 2012. Catfish action may be off in the river, but stringers of them are being taken near North Dyke in the Topock Marsh on live bait–minnows as well as with worms. The marsh is also producing a few largemouth bass, and crappie. Anglers have been spotted dipping their rods into the waters at South Dyke, but no reports have issued forth!

Thanks, 
Georgia

TOPOCK MARSH – The action at Topock Marsh has been steadily improving. Night crawlers and live minnows have been tempting catfish from North Dyke.   Bass can be hit and miss but live bait has been reported to work the best now.  Small crappies are being taken throughout the marsh. 

You can access the marsh by boat at the North Dike, Catfish Paradise, and Five-Mile Landing. All three also provide plenty of area for shoreline fishing too. For more information on the marsh, contact the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge at (760) 326-3853 or go to http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/havasu/index.html.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.


SOUTHWESTERN WATERS

Note: If you have a fishing report, send it to "Been Fishing?" at bfishing@azgfd.gov.


LAKE HAVASU -- Water and fishing is heating up, as you would expect. Nothing spectacular, but this warm weather is changing the equation some. Winter storms can reverse this trend, so.... If this weather pattern continues, it would not be surprising to find some leading-edge bass on beds in February.

PARKER STRIP -- No recent reports.

ALAMO LAKE --  No recent reports. The recent fronts have likely moved most fish deep. However, crappie should be congregating into larger schools. The bite normally picks up in early January, but a week or so of warmer weather might get the crappie bite going sooner.

The Cholla Launch Ramp has been fixed, widened and is now open. But don't expect a dock -- yet. They still have some work to do in December, with another short closure, and will install the dock then. I know a lot of tournaments have been rescheduled to other lakes, so now you have the Alamo green light again.

COLORADO RIVER (PARKER STRIP AREA) -- Fishing for smallmouth bass over two pounds in size is expected to be good to excellent.  In addition, redear sunfish should also be good in the pound-plus sizes.  

The Parker Strip is well known for its smallmouth bass fishing, especially in the area from the dam to several miles downstream.  The Parker Strip is also home to some really impressive, dinner-plate sized redear sunfish of two pounds or larger.

Channel and flathead catfish fishing is always fair in this section of the Colorado River.  Below the dam, striper fishing should also be fair, using live shad or anchovies.  Largemouth bass are abundant, especially in the downstream portions of the Parker Strip.  Channel and flathead catfish fishing will be fair to good in this section of the Colorado River as the weather warms up.

Take precautions to make sure your boat and equipment is clean before leaving the water to make sure you don’t spread quagga mussels to other water by accident.    

COLORADO RIVER (BETWEEN PALO VERDE DIVERSION DAM AND WALTER’S CAMP) -- This area should be fair for both smallmouth bass (in the channel) up river from the I-10 Bridge and largemouth bass (in the backwaters) throughout the entire area.

Channel and flathead catfish are always fair to good in this section of the Colorado River.  Most of the flathead catfish will be in the 2- to 5-pound size range with an occasional fish over 40 pounds.  Flathead catfish surveys last May yielded a handful of fish between 15 and 50 pounds in this section of the river, although the majority of fish were much smaller.

Generally, when fishing for catfish, the hotter the weather, the better the fishing. Lively bait is the key to successful flathead fishing. Using the largest bait fish you can come by will increase the odds of catching a larger flathead.

This section of the Colorado River, all the way down to Yuma, is where the invasive vegetative species known as Giant Salvinia is located.  Quagga mussels are also found here.  If using a boat, make sure that boats, live wells, engines, and trailers are clean before leaving the area.

COLORADO RIVER (BETWEEN WALTER’S CAMP AND PICACHO STATE PARK) -- This section of the Colorado River is relatively remote and can only be accessed by boat from either end.  Fishing is expected to be good to excellent for flathead catfish with sizes over 40 pounds.  The best time will be late spring and on into the summer (the hotter the better).  Backwaters are somewhat limited in this stretch of the river, but the few that are there will be good for largemouth bass and other sunfish (bluegill, redear and occasionally black crappie).  Channel catfish are also very numerous in this section of the river. Smaller numbers of smallmouth bass and striped bass also occur.

The invasive vegetative species, giant Salvinia, as well as quagga mussels, are found in this stretch of the river.  If using a boat, make sure that boats, live wells, engines, and trailers are clean before leaving the area.

COLORADO RIVER (BETWEEN PICACHO STATE PARK AND IMPERIAL DAM) -- This area is expected to be good to excellent for largemouth bass, channel catfish, and flathead catfish.  Bass and channel catfish in excess of 5 pounds are present along with flathead catfish as large as 40 pounds not uncommon, occasionally much larger.  There is definitely a state record or two lurking in these waters.  Only very heavy fishing tackle will suffice for the really large fish.  Bluegills, redear sunfish and black crappie are also present in the various backwaters.  Occasional striped bass will be caught in the channels connecting backwaters and the main river channel. Smallmouth bass seem to be on the increase in the lower river above Imperial Dam. They generally prefer swifter water and rockier substrate than largemouth bass, and certainly aren’t as numerous, but they are very aggressive and very scrappy fighters and well worth seeking out.

The invasive vegetative species, giant Salvinia, as well as quagga mussels, are found in this stretch of the river.  If using a boat, make sure that boats, live wells, engines, and trailers are clean before leaving the area.

COLORADO RIVER (BETWEEN LAGUNA AND MORELOS DAMS) -- This area will be good for largemouth bass and flathead catfish.  Bass in excess of 5 pounds are common and flathead catfish over 20 pounds are a good bet.  In this area, accessibility to the river is dependent on the amount of water being released.  Usually shallow draft boats are a must.  The lower end has had some dredging work done and a larger boat may be able to get on the river in that area.  Be aware that some sections of the river are within Quechan tribal boundaries, and a tribal permit is required to fish there.  Boundaries are not well marked, so doing some research prior to fishing this section may prevent hassles while you are out there.

The invasive vegetative species, giant Salvinia, as well as quagga mussels, are found in this stretch of the river.  If using a boat, make sure that boats, live wells, engines, and trailers are clean before leaving the area.

With the increase in border issues and illegal activity on the lower end of this stretch, we recommend exercising extreme caution, avoiding nighttime use, or even staying away from the area altogether (Pilot Knob to Morelos Dam).

MITTRY LAKE -- Mittry Lake is located just above Laguna Dam, and supports a good population of largemouth bass and channel catfish, and even some good-sized flathead catfish.  There are shoreline fishing opportunities at this lake in the form of about a dozen rock jetties, but you’ll probably have the best success in a small boat.  Mittry Lake can be frustrating, as the bite seems to be real variable, but the fish are there.  It is just a question of getting them to respond to your presentation.  The water tends to be very murky most of the year, except for the upper end of Teal Alley where the lake inflow comes in, so play to the fish’s sense of hearing and smell, rather than sight.  There are also crappie and sunfish to be caught, although they tend to average relatively small in size. Mittry Lake is well-known locally for the quality largemouth bass it produces, and fishing during the spring spawn will increase your chances of success.

YUMA AREA PONDS -- The Department has stepped up efforts to encourage the recruitment of new anglers, and retention of existing ones.  To this end, the Department has increased stocking efforts in a few ponds in the Yuma area that are easily accessed without a boat, within a short distance of the urban center.  Those ponds are the Yuma West Wetlands pond, located in the City Park, and Redondo and Fortuna ponds, located about 10 miles northeast of Yuma.  Access to Redondo Pond was recently improved with the addition of an ADA compliant fishing pier, and thick cattail growth was removed at Fortuna Pond this summer, improving shoreline access by many orders of magnitude.  All of these waters received multiple stockings of rainbow trout in the winter months; Redondo Pond will be stocked with channel catfish during the spring, and the Yuma West Wetlands pond will receive channel catfish and bluegills.  We may be able to stock Fortuna Pond with channel catfish in the future, pending the outcome of the statewide sport-fish stocking consultation with the USFWS that is hopefully nearing completion.  Depending on available funding, we hope to continue regular stockings into all three of these shoreline-accessible waters, and perhaps add additional waters to our stocking schedule.  These ponds provide an ideal place to take the family.  All three waters now are provided with restroom and trash facilities. Special regulations on fish limits are in effect for these waters, so be sure to consult the Regulations before you take fish.

REGIONAL HOT SPOTS -- Alamo Lake will continue to be a hot spot for plentiful largemouth bass and channel catfish, although trophy-sized fish will be uncommon.  Lake Havasu is probably currently the premier lake in our Region (and perhaps the State) for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and redear sunfish.  Numbers caught will likely be lower, but the quality of the fish much higher.  The Parker Strip should remain excellent for smallmouth bass and redear sunfish, and the Colorado River below Walter’s Camp down to Imperial Dam the best bet for large and plentiful flathead catfish.  Our spring surveys indicate that there is a very impressive population of flathead catfish in the lower Imperial Division between Picacho State Park and Imperial Dam.  Expect many in the 5-10 pounds size class, but we know of at least one state record lurking in those waters.  Backwaters in the Imperial Division above Imperial Dam will continue to yield impressive largemouth bass, up to and exceeding 10 pounds.

If you need any additional information or assistance, don't hesitate to contact the Yuma Regional office at (928) 342-0091, and we will be happy to give you whatever information we have. A very good resource for local fishing information in the Yuma area is the website and forum at www.yumabassman.com.


CENTRAL MOUNTAINS

WILLIAMS LAKES:  

KAIBAB LAKE — An angler reported that this lake is iced over. The road is open, but the campground is closed.

CATARACT LAKE — Not accessible. Lake is iced over.

CITY RESERVOIR — No reports.

DOGTOWN LAKE — No recent reports, but likely iced over like the other area lakes.

JD DAM — No report.

RUSSELL TANK -   The lake is too shallow to stock.

SANTA FE — No Report.

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Not accessible.

FLAGSTAFF LAKES:

LOWER LAKE MARY — No recent reports.

UPPER LAKE MARY — No recent reports. Lake is iced over. 

ASHURST LAKE — No recent reports. Check with the Forest Service on road conditions before going.

FRANCIS SHORT POND – No reports.

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Not accessible.

MARSHALL LAKE —  Not accessible.

LONG LAKE — Not accessible.

SOLDIERS & SOLDIERS ANNEX — Not accessible.

STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.


Verde Valley

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Catfish were last stocked for the Verde River Days event.  Trout were last stocked the week of January 9th.  The next stocking is scheduled for this week, the week of January 23rd.  The catfish and largemouth bite has been fair.  Catfish are still being caught on nightcrawlers, chicken liver, and stinkbait.   The bass are being caught on small plastic worms and Gitzit-type plastic grubs, bounced slowly along the bottom.  Sunfish have been doing well on worms, salmon eggs, or small piece of Powerbait under a bobber. They bite best in the early morning hours and the evening.

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – Trout were last stocked the week of January 9th.  The next scheduled stocking is this week, the week of January 23rd.  Carp fishing has been good using corn or dough baits.  Always check your regulations before fishing this area with live bait.  Game and Fish Commission Rule requires anglers to only use live bait that has been caught in the river.  No transporting of live baitfish or crayfish is allowed. 

WET BEAVER CREEK -- Has not been stocked since mid October. Scheduled to be stocked again the first week of March. However, with this milder weather this stream might be worth some exploring upstream along the deeper pools where you might find some holdover trout. It's a rugged area and you need to dress appropriately, including sturdy footwear.

WEST CLEAR CREEK -- Has not been stocked since mid October. Scheduled to be stocked again the first week of March. However, with this milder weather this stream might be worth some exploring upstream along the deeper pools where you might find some holdover trout. It's a rugged area and you need to dress appropriately, including sturdy footwear.

We have released Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep into this area, so it is always possible to see some bighorns in the steeper potions of the West Clear Creek Wilderness.

Prescott Area

FAIN LAKE — The last stocking was the week of December 19th.  The next scheduled stocking will be the week of February 6th.  The reports from regulars at the lake say the trout are biting, but the morning bite is the best.  Anglers are having luck throughout the day using power bait and Berkley Gulp.  Rainbow and yellow seem to be the popular colors.  Not many fish were caught at the Cops and Bobbers event so the lake should be holding lots of good size rainbow trout.

GOLDWATER LAKE — Many anglers have reported doing well.  Power Bait is probably your best bet, although spinners and flies can do well also.  Jimmy C. caught his limit on light colored power bait and reported he gilled them the same day and they were delicious.  Like most fishing areas, one day the bite is great and the next it’s slow.   The last scheduled stocking was the week of November 7th.  The next scheduled stocking will be the week of February 13th.  

Game and Fish has been trying to boost the some of the warm water species in Goldwater.  Bass and catfish have been stocked three times over the last four years.   The bass are being stocked to give a boost to a dwindling population in the lake and to reduce the excessive number of crayfish.  Please practice catch and release with the bass, while the population gets re-established.

Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Goldwater on Sept. 15, 2009 and found bass and catfish populations to be much improved over last year. The number of green sunfish was greatly reduced.  The bass had a successful spawn last year.   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 –Fishing should be slow for the winter.  If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

LYNX LAKE –Rainbow trout were last stocked the week of November 14th.  The next scheduled stocking will be the week of February 13th.The cold has slowed the bite down for all species except trout.   

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 scheduled for the week of October 17th.  This should change the trout bite.  Yellow bullhead catfish are active and easy to catch with nightcrawlers on the bottom. 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.  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 – The last trout stocking was the week of January 16th. The next scheduled stocking will be the week of February 13th.  I have not heard much from anglers about the fishing.

Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Watson last week and found the bass, sunfish, and bullhead to be plentiful.  Crappies were also doing well.  Look for the crappie fishing to pick up in a year or two. 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 –   The fishing should be slow until the water warms up in the spring. If you fish Willow and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.


WHITE MOUNTAINS/MOGOLLON RIM

Recommended Waters to Fish

Several lower elevation lakes have open water, including Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, Rainbow Lake and Scott Reservoir in the Pinetop and Show Low area, and Nelson Reservoir and Becker Lake in the Springerville area.  Silver Creek is also ice-free.  Becker Lake and Silver Creek are catch-and-release special regulation only waters.

Trout Stocking Schedule

No trout are stocked in the White Mountains or Rim Lakes during the winter, but will resume in April 2012


MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
Note
:  All Forest Roads in the Rim Lakes area are closed for the winter, including Forest Roads 300 (Rim Road), 169, 105, 149, 86 and southern portion of 34.  Snowmobile access is allowed.  The higher elevation lakes are ice-covered.  Check ice thickness before venturing out on the ice. 

BEAR CANYON LAKE – Not accessible.  Forest Road 300 is closed for the winter.

BLACK CANYON LAKE – Not accessible.  Forest Roads 300 and 86 are closed for the winter.

CHEVELON LAKE – Not accessible.  Forest Roads 300 and 169 are closed for the winter.

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Accessible by snowmobile or foot only from Hwy 260.  Forest Road 149 is closed for the winter. 

WOODS CANYON LAKE –Not accessible.  Forest Road 300 is closed for the winter.

WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES
Note
: Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicle access for the winter.  Snowmobiles are allowed. The higher elevation lakes are ice-covered. Check ice thickness before venturing out on the ice.

BECKER LAKE –Fishing is fair. The lake is currently ice-free. Try fishing along weed beds with small nymphs and midges. Becker Lake is catch and release only, with artificial lures and flies only with single barbless hooks.

BIG LAKE – Not accessible. Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.  Snowmobiles are allowed. The lake is ice-covered. Check ice thickness before venturing out on the ice.
 
CARNERO LAKE – Not accessible. Forest Roads 117 and 117A are snow-packed.  Snowmobiles are allowed. The lake is ice-covered.

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor. Water levels are low, and the lake is covered with weeds.

CRESCENT LAKE – Not accessible.  Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicle access for the winter.  Snowmobiles are allowed.  The lake is ice-covered.  Check ice thickness before venturing out on the ice.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE –Fishing is fair.  The lake is currently ice-free.  One angler reported catching bluegills on jigs off the fishing piers and another angler caught a 16-inch holdover rainbow trout last week.

GREER LAKES – These lakes are ice-covered.  River Reservoir has some open water, indicating that the ice on the Greer lakes is thin and not safe to walk on.

HULSEY LAKE – The lake was drained immediately following the Wallow Fire to help reduce expected flooding off Escudilla Mountain.

LEE VALLEY LAKE – Not accessible.  Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicle access for the winter.  Snowmobiles are allowed.  The lake is ice-covered.  Check ice thickness before venturing out on the ice.

LUNA LAKE –The lake is ice-covered.  Unsafe ice.  Check ice thickness before venturing out on the ice.

LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is now closed to public entry for the winter and will re-open during the summer of 2012.

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

RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor.  The lake is currently mostly ice-free.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair.  The lake is currently mostly ice-free. 

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair.  The lake is currently mostly ice-free, but may still have some ice in portions of the lake.  The boat ramp and nearest fishing pier were in open water when last checked.  The road over the dam to the far fishing pier is closed for the winter.

WOODLAND LAKE – The lake is partially ice-covered.  Unsafe ice.

WHITE MOUNTAIN STREAMS
Note
: Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicle access for the winter.  Snowmobiles are allowed.  Main Forest roads are snow-packed.

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Not accessible.  The river is snow-packed and ice-covered.

WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Not accessible.  The river is snow-packed and ice-covered. 

BLACK RIVER – Not accessible.  The river is snow-packed and ice-covered.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER – The river flowing through Greer is currently ice free and accessible, but fishing is likely slow.  Trout were last stocked in September 2011, but plenty of wild brown trout are present.  The river banks are snow packed.

SHEEPS CROSSING – Not accessible.  Highway 273 is closed to vehicles.  The river is snow-packed and ice-covered. 

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair to good.  Silver Creek is a spring-fed creek and does not ice over during the winter.  From October 1 through March 31, Silver Creek is open to artificial lures and flies only, barbless hooks, and catch-and-release fishing only.  The upper section is open to angling, but the hatchery area is always closed to fishing (it is well signed).  Try small nymphs, large white or black streamers.


SOUTHERN ARIZONA

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

The trout stocking season is in full swing!  You can see the latest stocking schedule for the entire state at the following link:  2011 Winter Stocking Schedule .  This schedule is updated regularly as changes occur so check back often!

URBAN LAKES --  Incentive-sized rainbows up to 6 pounds are being stocking this week.

RIGGS FLAT — Closed for the winter.    

CLUFF RANCH —No recent reports of success.  The pond is low and boat launching is difficult.  For lake information call (928) 485-9430. For the entire stocking schedule please check here: 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule

ROPER LAKE — For lake information and status of the park call (928) 428-6760.   Due to high pH levels the lake will not be stocked until water conditions improve.

DANKWORTH POND — Remains closed to fishing during renovation. 

FRYE MESA RESERVIOR –Anglers are reporting success in catching Gila trout.  Remember that the daily bag and possession limit for this species is 1 fish.

ARIVACA —  Open to anglers, water levels are up but it will still be difficult to launch larger boats.  Use caution when launching your boat and pay attention for submerged trees and rocks that are near the surface due to low water levels.  Boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.

PENA BLANCA – Conditions have improved and trout stocking will resume this week. For information on future stockings please visit the stocking Schedule at 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule

PATAGONIA —  No recent reports of success.  For the entire winter trout stocking schedule please check here: 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule

PARKER CANYON — The lake has been stocked.  For the entire stocking schedule please check here: 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule  Contact the Parker Canyon Lake Store for up to date information on lake levels and fishing activity at www.parkercanyonlake.com or by phone at (520)455-5847.

ROSE CANYON LAKE — The lake is closed to vehicle access however anglers are still able to walk to the lake.  There have been no recent reports of fishing success but the lake was reported to have lots of ice covering the surface.


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