Think lazy. As a general rule, wintertime fishing means going to a slower-than-normal presentation -- jig with longer pauses, retrieve spinners with ease, strip flies with patience. Wintertime fish tend to be lethargic, and aren't always as willing to chase down a bait, lure or fly. Yeah, they can be lazy.
Present in front of their jaws if possible. Fish deep, where water is typically warmest, before trying other areas of the water column. At the desert impoundments, many of the heftier largemouth bass are particularly deep. With this weekend's chillier weather, expect that to be the case the entire week. Go for a crankbait bite for a hour before light, then throw that trusty dropshot.
Sounds like the striper action can still be pretty good at Lake Powell. Wayne Gustaveson went to Warm Creek on Jan. 27 and dropped spoons in 65 feet of water for 2 hours of non-stop action (most were fat 17-20 inch yearlings, he said.) See more in the full report.
Trout time. Beginning Monday, Feb. 3, we’re scheduled to stock rainbow trout in the following areas – the Verde Valley (Dead Horse Lakes); Prescott (Fain Lake, Lynx Lake and Watson Lake); Phoenix/Mesa (Apache Lake); Tucson/Safford (Cluff Pond, Dankworth Pond, Graham County Pond, and Pena Blanca Lake); and finally, Parker Canyon Lake (La Paz.)
Our Fish&Boat Arizona map will lead you to all these fisheries. Also, see the full details on the winter trout stockings.
Apache Lake is another good spot. The lake was stocked with trout the week of Dec. 30 and will be stocked once again beginning Monday, Feb. 3. When the lake is being stocked with trout, swimbait imitations of the stocked trout can produce some trophy bass. This time of the year, also be rigged and ready with that medium-diving crankbait.
Finally received a good crappie report from Bartlett Lake. Anglers been slaying the crappie on the upper end of Bartlett past the no wake buoys. Try a 1/16 or 1/8-ounce jig with a 2-inch curly tail grub. John Deere green, green and black, and white have been good colors. Remember that as of Jan. 1, some regulations changed and crappie daily bag limits are no longer unlimited. An angler can keep 15 crappie daily.
OK, by now you've probably heard of all the waters we've begun to stock as part of the Community Fishing Program. Well the stockings keep expanding. From Phoenix to Maricopa, eight ponds will receive their first CFP fish stockings during one day between Feb. 10 and 15.
- Gilbert: Discovery Ponds (Discovery Park, 2214 East Pecos Rd.) and McQueen Pond (McQueen Park, 510 N. Home St.).
- Glendale: Bonsall Pond (Bonsall Park, 5840 W. Bethany Home Rd.)
- Phoenix: Granada Ponds (Granada Park, 6505 N. 20th St.) and Roadrunner Pond (Roadrunner Park, 3502 E. Cactus Rd.)
- Scottsdale: Eldorado Pond (Eldorado Park, 2311 N. Miller Rd.), McKellips Pond (Vista Del Camino Park, 7700 E. Roosevelt St.)
- Maricopa: Pacana Pond (Pacana Park, 19000 N. Porter Rd.).
These waters had been stocked by their respective city. Be sure to keep up with the Community Fishing Program by signing up for the Community Fishing Bulletin.
“The more opportunities for friends and families to get outdoors and enjoy the heritage-rich tradition of fishing, the better,” said interim Community Fishing Program Manager Joann Hill. “It’s just an exciting time to be an angler in Arizona.”
Fish stockings are yet to come in March at Maricopa’s Copper Sky Lake. Also, in April, lakes and ponds in Yuma (West Wetlands Pond, Fortuna Lake and Redondo Lake) and Somerton (Council Avenue Pond.) will receive catfish from the CFP. Trout stockings for Yuma area lakes will continue as scheduled in past years.
For more information on the CFP, including maps, fish stocking schedules, regulations and fishing tips, pick up a new and expanded 2014 Community Fishing Guidebook that is available at more than 300 license dealer locations and Game and Fish offices. The guidebooks are free.
Resident anglers can get the Community Fishing Program license included with the $37 General Fishing license, or by itself for $24. Licenses are now good for 365 days from the date of purchase. Go online to review the full details of this new and simplified license structure and purchase any license. Truth is, the purchase of a license does far more than allow you to fish or hunt. It supports the ability of all of us to conserve this invaluable natural resource -- our one escape into freedom in these ultra-busy times -- for future generations.
OK, onto the full report.
Q & A
Q: (From the Arizona Game & Fish Facebook page) Rick B., a first-time angler, asked what he needed to get started fishing at Community Fishing Program water.
- A: Rick: You can try fishing your nearest CFP lake/water for the stocked rainbow trout. Make sure to fish during the week the trout are stocked -- it's much harder after the first three days the fish are stocked. I'd suggest simply fishing with a bobber and hook, with PowerBait, salmon eggs (two Pautzke eggs on a small hook work great) or a worm a couple feet under the bobber (trout tend to stay near the top of the water right after they're stocked.) Also try just using sinkers to put the bait on the bottom. It's always a good idea to target different areas of the water column to see where the fish are biting. Check out this "Fishing Basics" page from our new EasyAZ Fishing For Kids blog for some diagrams and tips to get started. Hope that helps! -- Nick
In the third video segment of “Fish Stories,” Vince says he had to learn the hard way some things are more slippery than a fish -- like rocks in the under-fished Lower Salt River. 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 email@example.com, 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.
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.
(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. Jan. 22 report from James Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods:
Good morning Rim Country Anglers. Fishing on Roosevelt Lake was called fair to good this past week. The water level of the lake remained at 47 percent full, and the flows into the lake continue to fall. The Salt River is flowing at just over 50 percent of its normal rate for this time of year and the Tonto Creek is flowing at 25 percent.
The calm winds and sunshine are contributing to slightly warmer water in shallow areas. This water temperature increase is enough to make some good bass action, albiet for a short duration. The drop shot technique in 15 feet water or less, using a dark color 6-inch worm (that we discussed last week) was still the bait of choice this week. A lot of anglers express frustration this time of year and question their fishing skills. My advice is to hang in there, in another month things will pick up.
Crappie anglers reported poor fishing this week on Roosevelt. Experienced anglers are slow trolling a 3/16-ounce jig with a 2-inch grub or live minnows in. Crappie are mostly in about 25 feet of water. If you happen to see a school of crappie on your graph, try to follow it and keep your bait close to the school.
Also some great news from the AZGFD. The Department has earmarked $356,000 over the next two years to spend on improving Roosevelt Lake. This money will support restocking the lake with Florida strain bass. It will also add habitat to the lake and continue the gizzard shad studies. This is a huge success for Gila County, Tonto Basin and Payson. I know a lot of our listeners got involved by attending meetings and providing inputs related to fishing experiences and recommendations on how to improve the fishery. All of you who contributed can take credit for helping AZGFD reach this decision. The next roundtable meeting will be in late February and we'll get the word out as soon as it is scheduled.
Recently there have been reports of wolf sightings around Rim Country and as far south as Jakes Corner. AZGFD is trying to confirm these sightings to compare it to the wolf monitoring program currently in place. If you have seen a wolf around Rim Country, or if you're a hunter, and have a picture of one on your trail camera. Please contact Rim Country Custom Rods.
Have a great week of fishing and I hope see you on the water.
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 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.
BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,773 feet, 67 % full. 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. One angler reported that crappie fishing was slow last weekend on the south end.
Gary Senft, a Bass Pro at the Mesa Bass Pro Shops, said fishing has been slow overall, but the early morning crankbait bite has been good across the whole lake. Small shad representations have been working, he said.
Senft said the dropshot has been outperforming Texas rigs. Be sure to fish deep, and remember fishing get much tougher after the sun comes up.
Crappie have been biting at the north end of the lake by the no wake buoys using 1/8- and 1/16-ounce curly tail jigs (try small grubs in green and black, red and black, or white.)
"Flathead" Ed Wilcoxson said action at prime flathead catfish fisheries such as Lake Pleasant and Bartlett has slowed. Flathead weighing more than 20 pounds get lethargic as the night get colder. Still, anglers can catch 15-18 pound flatheads with better consistency by locating bluegill in 30-35 feet of water. Find the bluegill, and you'll often find feeding flatheads looking for dinner.
SAGUARO LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,526 feet (96-percent full). The lake was just stocked the week of Jan. 13. Senft said he fished the lake on Thursday, Jan. 24 and Sunday, Jan. 19. Fishing was slow using dropshots on Thursday. Spoons jigged in deep water produced a decent bite. Senft said crankbaits, swimbaits and spinners produced nothing either day. 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.
Previously from the Arizona Fishing Guides: Saguaro Lake has been fun fishing with lots of yellow bass being caught deep on spoons, with the mixture of big trophy bass and some really nice catfish that make it fun for kids and adults alike. We are also starting to catch them on some slow moving plastics.
APACHE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,908 feet (94-percent full). The lake was stocked with trout the week of Dec. 30 and will be stocked once again beginning Monday, Feb. 3. When the lake is being stocked with trout, swimbait imitations of the stocked trout can produce some trophy bass. The Arizona Fishing Guides reported Apache Lake has some really nice smallmouth and largemouth bass being caught on big swimbaits, and finesse worms on the tougher days. Always be ready with that medium-diving crankbait this time of year.
LOWER SALT RIVER – The Lower Salt is being stocked from Jan. 27 – Feb. 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.
Previously, Jeremy Hoffman, the north Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse fishing manager, sent in the following report -- Fly fishing for trout at all stocking locations is good right now. Copper johns, prince nymphs, and egg patterns are working well for your sub-surface flies, and for dries try stimulators and elk hair caddis. A dry/dropper rig would be a great way to start out and get a feeler for what they are looking for that day. If you are spin fishing try small Rooster Tails with a gold blade in the slower moving water. Also a fly and float rig is a great way to pick up trout on the Salt.
Put a casting bubble about 2-4 feet up from a wooly worm (brown, olive, or purple) or simi seal leech (brown or olive) and retrieve it very slowly.
COMMUNITY FISHING WATERS – See the latest Community Fishing Bulletin.
CANYON LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,657 feet (95-percent full). The was stocked with trout for one week, beginning Jan. 6. The next stocking is Feb. 10. 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.
LAKE PLEASANT – New report from The Arizona Fishing Guides: Lake Pleasant is PLEASANT this time of year -- we have had a handful of days out there the past few weeks with 20-30 fish days. One thing about this place is that it is a crap-shoot as far as morning or afternoon trips. You never know which one is going to be the best so pick the time and just go for it.
Previously, Kyle from Pleasant Harbor Marina said there has been a pretty good striper bite both shallow with just about any type of shad imitation, jerk bait or top-water plug, and deep with anchovies. Largemouth bass have been mixed in with them in shallow waters, he said.
The backs of Humbug and Cole bays have been reported to be consistent areas for stripers and largies.
Previously, Derrick Franks a.k.a "Striper Snatcher" had been fishing the cold and windy nights on Lake Pleasant with moderate success rate: The water temp at night was in the mid-50s with strong north winds. Underwater video footage still shows thousands of striper attracted to the boat in the 30-foot mark.
"I think the colder water temps has flushed them out of deeper water and are now on the shallow side of the structure I fish, which are mainly points on the north and south side of the lake," Franks said. "I still see the most fish, including baitfish, in the Humbug Creek arm -- they are concentrated there all year. That area has a really sandy bottom with trees displaced about every 50 square feet."
Barry W.'s previous anglers report: Good morning. Just got back from Lake Pleasant and thought I would share my fishing report. The striper, white, and largemouth bass action was consistent first thing in the morning.
The bite is good in the coves around the lake and the fish are suspended around 23-32 feet eating shad. Some fishermen were also catching fish nearshore in 10-15 feet of water but it was a little slower. The key was using spoons that were silver or gold and jigging them slowly up and down where the fish were.
The key is being on the water before sunrise and finding the birds that are feeding on the shad. The action only lasted about an hour but it was fun.
Previously, the Arizona Fishing Guides reported that Lake Pleasant is also doing very well. This is the time of the year that the water is rising and all the fish like to eat shad shallow. Keep your eyes open for boils and always be looking for the birds.
HORSESHOE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,985 feet, 24-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
Recommended Waters to Fish
Fishing is good at Silver Creek and fair at Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, and Nelson Reservoir. The trout stocking season will resume in the spring of 2014.
MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
BEAR CANYON LAKE – The lake is partially ice-covered with unsafe ice. Forest Road 300 is closed for the winter.
BLACK CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-free. Forest Roads 300 and 84 to the lake are currently open, but may close with any heavy snowfall.
CHEVELON LAKE – The lake is ice-free. Access to the lake from the south (Forest Road 300) is closed for the winter. Access from the north may be open, unless heavy snowfall closes those roads.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along some shorelines and coves early in the morning. Forest Road 149 to the lake is currently open, but may close with any heavy snowfall.
WOODS CANYON LAKE – The lake is partially ice-covered with unsafe ice. Forest Road 300 is closed for the winter. The Woods Canyon Lake store and campgrounds are closed.
WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES
Note: The higher elevation lakes are ice-covered. State Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.
BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along the shorelines and back cove in the mornings. Trout appear to be feeding on tiny midge larvae and scuds. Becker Lake is open to catch-and-release only, artificial fly and lure only; single barbless hooks only. No trout may be kept.
BIG LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. State Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.
CARNERO LAKE – The lake is ice-covered with thin ice. Forest Roads 117 and 117A are open to the lake but are snow packed and will require a 4X4 vehicle.
CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free.
CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free
CRESCENT LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. State Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.
FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair. The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along some shorelines and coves in the mornings. Shore anglers have been catching a few trout, up to 16 inches, on night crawlers and PowerBait. Boat anglers have been catching smallmouth bass on lures.
GREER LAKES – Tunnel Reservoir is partially ice-covered, with open water on the north side. River Reservoir is mostly ice-covered, but has small areas of open water near the dam. Bunch Reservoir is currently ice-covered. All ice on the Greer lakes should be considered unsafe at this time. All reservoirs are full or nearly full.
HULSEY LAKE – The lake was drained following the Wallow Fire to help reduce expected flooding on Escudilla Mountain and has not been stocked since the fire in 2011.
LEE VALLEY LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. State Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.
LUNA LAKE – The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along some shorelines and coves in the morning.
LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is closed for the winter.
NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair. The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along some shorelines and coves in the morning.
RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along some shorelines and coves in the morning.
SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along some shorelines and coves in the morning.
SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair for trout. The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along some shorelines and coves in the morning. Shore and boat anglers have been catching 14-15 inch rainbow trout on night crawlers and PowerBait. The concession and boat rental store is closed for the winter.
WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free, but may have some skim ice along some shorelines and coves in the morning.
WHITE MOUNTAINS STREAMS
Note: State Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.
EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is 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 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. The large pool below the dam is ice covered.
SILVER CREEK – Fishing is good. Anglers have been catching larger rainbows and Apache trout on flies. Trout are getting a little harder to catch after being caught several times. Try white bead-headed wooly buggers, brown or olive simi seal leeches, bead-headed prince nymphs, or a shammy worm. Be sure to bring a few of your favorite patterns in white, which can be the right color some days. 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
LEES FERRY – Wendy from Lees Ferry Anglers said fishing reportedly has been “OK,” and that anglers should be moving from spot to spot in order to catch fish. It’s been hard to get to fish with higher flows, but flows are supposed to decrease in February, when the sun also will be out longer to enhance fishing. That said, it’s been unseasonably warm at the Ferry lately, some highs reached 54 degrees. The most recent full report is Nov. 7 from Lees Ferry Anglers.
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 hear again in the southern lake.
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 risen again this week to around 1108.6 feet above msl for the last 4 weeks. 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. 1. The next new moon will be this Thursday, Jan. 30. 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 risen to today’s 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. Mike, a local angler, landed 2.08 lbs. largemouth bass from the fishing dock at Katherine’s Landing using night crawlers.
Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon will be Jan. 30. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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. Wayne from Fort Mohave caught a beautiful channel catfish out of the Sunshine Peninsula area and some stripers and catfish have been caught in the old Community Park area as well.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
TOPOCK GORGE- Reports of catfish and some stripers are being taken in the Gorge but the bite is slow.
TOPOCK MARSH –Some good news from the Marsh, Montana snowbird Soby caught some nice largemouth bass on plastics from his rubber pontoon boat. Soby’s biggest was 4.08 lbs. and 19½ inches long.
If you notice illegal activities please call the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-352-0700 or online at www.azgfd.gov/thief. Please refer to our regulations booklet on how to be a good witness.
You can access the marsh by boat at the North Dike, Catfish Paradise, and Five-Mile Landing. All three also provide plenty of area for shoreline fishing too. For more information on the marsh, contact the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge at (760) 326-3853 or go to http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/havasu/index.html.
DEAD HORSE STATE PARK –Trout stocking has resumed at Dead Horse. The last stocking was the week of Jan. 20. The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be this week, the week of Feb. 3.
VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – Always check your regulations before fishing this area with live bait. Game and Fish Commission Rule requires anglers to only use live bait that has been caught in the river. No transporting of live baitfish or crayfish is allowed.
Stocking has resumed on the river. The last stocking was the week of Jan. 13. The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be the week of Jan. 27.
FAIN LAKE — Trout stocking has resumed at Fain Lake. Fain was stocked the week of Jan. 13. The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be the week of Feb. 3.
The cooler temps have helped the trout bite. Nick sent a report of catching 4 nice trout on rainbow colored PowerBait on the bottom. The bite started around ten but no one else were landing fish or getting bites. That goes to show you that bring a variety of baits and one isn’t working try another.
GOLDWATER LAKE — Report are that some trout are being caught but it can be hit and miss. I haven’t received a recent report from Goldwater. The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be the week of Feb. 10.
If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
GRANITE BASIN LAKE – The Lake is now open. Chad reported that he caught several big (5, 3, 2 lbs.) largemouth bass using spinners. Bluegills are usually pretty easy to catch at this lake and are great for kids to have fun. If you fish Granite Basin Lake and are having luck, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
LYNX LAKE – The last scheduled trout stocking was the week of Nov. 11. The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be the week of Feb. 3.
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 Jan. 6. The next tentatively scheduled trout stocking will be the week of Feb. 3. Trout are still being caught and they are nice size. James, his son and wife caught one rainbow trout each using PowerBait suspended about 5 feet deep. He said all 3 were in the 15-20 inch range, nice fish!
If you fish Watson and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
ALAMO LAKE – Jan. 29 report from Mark Knapp, Park Ranger at Alamo Lake State Park:
Well folks, nothing has changed out here. I was hoping the burst into the 70s for the week would turn something on. But, so far, nothing. I went out for a few hours a couple of days ago and never got a bite. Same with crappie. Nothing to report. Even catfishing has slowed way down.
About the only good news I have is that Cholla ramp is still operational. Once they raise the releases back up to 20 cfs in mid-Feb. the Cholla ramp will become unusable in a matter of weeks. We’re still launching off the old rental boat area and have had no problems at all. We had our BWSC meeting last week. I think they’re planning on using an under-water camera and see if they can determine any damage to the bulkhead that way.
No plans were made to drain the lake down any time soon. If we don't get any rains in the next couple of months/years then I think I we’ll be able to drive my quad right up to the gate.
I hope that day never comes. Well, that's about it. -- Mark
LAKE HAVASU – Elevation 444.98 feet. Beginning Dec 8, the Bureau of Reclamation began lowering the water level of Lake Havasu for approximately eight weeks to repair the trash racks at Parker Dam, according to the Bureau of Reclamation’s website.. The drawdown will result in the lake reaching an elevation of 445 feet by mid-December 2013. The lake will remain at this level until mid-February 2014. See more details.
PARKER STRIP - Falling overnight temperatures should start slowing the catfish bite down. The strip is home to both Flatheads and more commonly channel catfish. Channels cats can be found throughout the strip but are typically in the areas with shoreline vegetation. A variety of stink baits can be productive as are goldfish or small bluegills for both species of catfish. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are also found up and down the river. Many anglers have switched to sight fishing as water clarity has significantly increased since the introduction of the aquatic invasive quagga mussel.
Boaters are reminded to clean drain and dry their watercraft before taking them to another body of water.
No new reports. Mittry Lake offers many fishing opportunities. There are ten man-made jetties on the eastern shore for shoreline anglers, but the lake is most effectively fished by boat. There is a good concrete boat launch near the southern end of the lake, with a courtesy mooring dock. There is also a more primitive gravel ramp toward the northern end of the lake. There are restrooms and trash facilities at the main boat ramp, which also sports a large Ramada for public gatherings.
Mittry Lake can be a bit frustrating at time, especially for bass fishermen. There are plenty of bass in the lake, with a few in the eight to ten pound range, occasionally larger. However, the bass are sometimes finicky, and it can be challenging to bring any in on some days. Other days, the bite can be wide open. Windy or changing weather often brings on the bite. Techniques for bass fishing vary widely. When fishing for bass in the cooler months, and bass are less active, fish deeper water with jigs, swimbaits, or plastics using a slow retrieve. As the water warms up in the spring and summer, bass become more active and move to shallower water.
During that time most people use plastics, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, or crankbaits with a faster retrieve. Plastic baits resembling worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards can also work well. For best results fish around structure such as 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.
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.
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.
LOWER LAKE MARY — The lake is pretty weedy and no one has been fishing it.
UPPER LAKE MARY — Campground is closed. No recent reports, but this is a good time to fish on Upper Lake.
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.
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 email@example.com. These reports will then be complied and reported in our weekly fishing reports.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. These reports will then be complied and reported in our weekly fishing reports.
Need ideas on where to go fishing? Try the Departments interactive Fish and Boat Map: Fish and Boat Arizona.
Winter trout stocking update: On Jan. 3, for one week, the Department is stocking rainbow trout into the following waters: Cluff Pond, Dankworth Pond, Graham County Pond, and Pena Blanca Lake; in the Colorado River/Yuma/Parker, Parker (La Paz.). See the full stocking schedule.
ARIVACA — Anglers have been catching largemouth bass using drop shot. Water levels have risen since the last few storms, and the level is up. The old ramp has been removed and construction on the new ramp is tentatively scheduled for December. All boat launching is at the risk of the owner. Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive.
ROSE CANYON LAKE — Anglers are having luck using a bead head hare’s ear flashback nymph with a fly rod seven feet under a strike indicator. Anglers have reported catching trout, rainbows (6-8 inches) and browns (6 inches). The lake is now closed to vehicle access for the winter. Anglers are still permitted to walk into the lake from the parking lot on the main road.
CLUFF RANCH — 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. The lake is being stocked.
PATAGONIA —Winter trout stocking is in full swing.
PENA BLANCA – Anglers have reported catching largemouth bass. 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 — 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. For lake information (928) 428-6760.