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Fishing Report M31

Posted in: Fishing Report
Mar 31, 2011
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Rory's tips


As of April 1, Willow Springs Lake is open and accessible, although the campground is still closed.


Page Springs Hatchery Stocking Update for Friday, April 1
Cataract Lake (4,140) 48*F pH 8.75;
Kaibab (13844) 51*F pH 7.5
Santa Fe Lake (2,001) 42*F pH 7.75
Long Lake (3,999) 50 *F pH 8.0
Oak Creek (1,500) 45-58*F
Frances Short (300) 48*F pH 7.5
Deadhorse (1,000) 60*F pH 8.0
Lynx Lake (3,822) 54*F pH 8.0
Verde River (500)
Watson Lake (8,168) 56*F pH 8.5
Goldwater Lake (2,376) 55*F pH 8.25


First I want to thank the pros from Bass Pro and Cabelas, along with the great anglers from the Bass Federation Nation, for providing the public so many valuable fishing tips while doing talks on the fish demonstration tank during the Game and Fish Outdoor Expo. Everyone learned a lot of great fishing tips, including me.

Here's something I think is way cool. During the Game and Fish Expo (and our youth day Friday), we had 4,270 youngsters visit the two fishing ponds full of hybrid sunfish and we estimate that 95 percent of them caught those fish. You have to love anything that creates thousands of smiles on kids faces.

Okay, onto fishing. With the warmer weather, things are changing fairly quickly, especially in the high country. Always check before you go. Blue Ridge and Long Lake are now accessible. I just talked to the Black Canyon Ranger District (Heber/Overgaard), and as of Wednesday, they were hoping to open the gate into Willow Springs on Friday. Check with them first -- plans can change. Might still be mid month before Woods Canyon etc. becomes accessible.

Even though we may show other lakes as not accessible, that is a point-in-time report -- most of that was as of Monday when our regions collected the information. I try to update as I hear something new and can verify it. If you find something open that we say is closed, let me know at raikens@azgfd.gov and I'll do my best to pass it along.

Also, the Agua Fria Arm of Lake Pleasant (the eagle closure area) is now open. See the news release below.

In the lower elevations, the weather this week is shooting into the 90s, so the bass spawning action will continue heating up in our desert impoundments, and the crappie fishing (see the report below) will bust loose as well.

All in all, it gives you lots of tough choices to make, or simply go to your favorite water (unless it is still inaccessible behind melting snow drifts).

Since this is the spawning time, I won't get into the arguments about whether or not to fish bedding fish, that is a personal and ethical choice for each angler, but would ask that if you elect to catch bedding fish that you immediately release them so they can continue their valuable biological function.

Just heard from Mike McFarland, who is now guiding for Hook Up Outfitters, with some great information on Lake Pleasant.  He's seeing a fair amount of largemouth bass on beds, with lots of bass staging for the spawn as well. For striped bass, some may have spawned, others haven't. For stripers, focus the main lake points, islands and reefs in 25 to 60 feet of water. I'll plug more details from Mike into the Pleasant report below. Thanks Mike, always good to hear from an expert who is on the water every day.

Hearing good reports from Alamo, Apache, Roosevelt, Saguaro, and Havasu as well. Bartlett for some reason has been a little challenging at times, but it is still one of my favorite lakes this time of year.

For the high country, the mighty Rim Road (FR 300) is still not open, but Chevelon Lake is accessible via the FR 504 from Heber, but keep in mind it's a steep but short hike into the lake (and a tough hike out), and there isn't much in the way of shoreline access. The gate is still closed into Willow Springs Lake on the Mogollon Rim, but one angler hiked in and fished it, although with no success. The was probably too cold, but that too could change rapidly.

This past week we did liberally stocked Kabiab Lake near Williams and will stock it again this week, so it should provide some good fishing opportunities. The road is open into the lake, but the campgrounds are still closed. We are also stocking Cataract Lake near Williams with trout this week, so you might want to give it a try.

The road is apparently open to Dogtown Reservoir near Williams, although the campground is still closed. Fishing might be slow, but you might just catch some larger hold-over trout, especially browns.

In the White Mountains, Becker Lake, Luna Lake, the Greer Lakes, and Nelson Reservoir in the Springerville and Alpine areas are ice-free with anglers beginning to catch some rainbow trout. Fools Hollow Lake and Show Low Lake have open water and decent fishing.

At the Greer Lakes, fishing for wild brown trout and carryover rainbows is fair.  All of the Greer lakes (River, Tunnel, and Bunch) are ice-free.  The paved roads to these lakes are clear and dry (easy access).  Tunnel Reservoir is full, and River and Bunch are nearly full.  A 24-inch 5-pound brown trout was recently caught at Bunch Reservoir. 

This is also a good time to catch some cool water fish. Try for walleye at Fool Hollow and Show Low lakes. A woman caught a 23-pound northern pike at Upper Lake Mary near Flagstaff recently on a frozen anchovy. Upper Lake Mary also has lots of 1-plus-pound yellow perch, and this is a good time to start trying for them as well.

You can't hardly beat a trip to Lees Ferry right now (picture on the left). The fishing and the weather are both terrific and the scenery is spectacular. To me, it's the cathedral of trout fishing.

Also, check out the Lake Powell fishing report. If Wayne Gustaveson says it could be great fishing this weekend, it's sure worth a lot of consideration. Personally, what I would love is a day or two on Powell followed by a day on two on Lees Ferry, then I would be walking around smiling for the next month or so (dreams can come true).

It's time to go catch some great memories. Maybe I'll see you out there.

 




Crappie Report

Sorry but this is my first report in 20 days. Between work, my son turning
16 (ouch!) and everything going on with the Crappie Association, Billy has
been a busy little boy. But the next month (weather permitting) looks to be
very promising.

Saturday I had the privilege of doing a couple of Crappie Fishing Seminars
for the Game and Fish Outdoor Expo at the Ben Avery Shooting Range. It was
an incredible event with more to see than you could in a day. If you missed
the expo make sure not to next year. I would like to thank Rory and the crew
at GNF and the management at Bass Pro Shops for allowing me to be part of
such an awesome event.

The story the last couple of weeks has been the wind. Although this is
typical for the spring it seems to be a little worse this year. Pleasant,
Roosevelt and San Carlos can be real monsters when the wind kicks so be
careful out there. Alamo can get rocking as well. If the wind picks up try
to get off the water before it white caps or you'll have a very rough ride
in.


Alamo- Most anglers are still focused on San Carlos and probably missing out
on some great fishing at Alamo. Many Crappie are on beds on the rest are
ready to pop! Hit the shoreline on the west side of the north end of the
lake. Cast small grubs and cranks at the shore and slowly bring them back
out. Remember that if you find bedded males, the larger females should be
just out from them in about 10' of water.


Bartlett- There are some slabs being caught but it is tough. I took my son
out for a few hours 2 week ago during his spring break and we managed only
2. And wouldn't you know it, he caught them both! SRP is drawing water out
of Bartlett for the city and water levels are dropping daily. Unfortunately,
this will have a very negative effect on the spawn.

Pleasant- Crappie are being caught in the back of Humbug and Castle working
grubs and minnows around flooded brush and the shoreline.

Roosevelt- The schools have broken up and Crappie are heading into spawning
areas. 3 weeks ago we found Crappie in the Salt River spread out over the
channel and very close to the trees. Unfortunately they were also right next
to giant schools of shad. Although catch rates have still been pretty small,
that should change this week. Look for jet black males in shallow water
along the shoreline in the back of coves and in both river ends. Just
remember that since the water came up about 90' in 2005, Rosey has been a
new lake. And although all that flooded timber and tons of shad have made
fishing tough, it has been amazing for the Crappie population. We should
have another big time spawn this year and Rosey will be a world class
Crappie lake for many, many years to come.

San Carlos- I'm still getting tons of good reports. Many anglers have been
catching limits or close to it while a few have struggled. What can I say
folks, that's fishing. It all about technique and timing at SC this year,
for me that has meant fishing shallow and avoiding the wind. 2 trips ago we
hammered them but the last trip, we got 3 then the wind had its way with us.
As long as the water doesn't drop too much fishing should be great all the
way to the dog days of summer and the spawn should be fantastic.

I am working a short week at Bass Pro Shops. I'll be in from 10 am to 7 pm
on Monday and from 9 am to 4 pm on Tuesday. Please stop in if you want to
share a report or need any help getting geared up for an awesome April of
chasing slabs.

Upcoming events: Spring Crappie-Fest, the AZCA's big spring event is this
weekend at Roosevelt Lake.

To protect the future of our sport the Arizona Crappie Association practices
and promotes the immediate release of all Crappie under 10" in length. For
more information on the Arizona Crappie Association including tips, reports,
membership and Spring Crappie-Fest, go to www.azcrappie.com.

Bill (Piscolli) Eveland
AZCA/ BPS



Fishing News

Arizona Wildlife Views magazine wants your fishing tips

Got a Fishing Tip?

Arizona Wildlife Views magazine wants to publish “Arizona’s best fishing tips” and they need to hear from the experts — readers of the Weekly Fishing Report. The first 50 people to send in a qualifying entry get a free copy of “Arizona Fishin’ Holes” for their trouble.

The magazine’s editor wants nuggets of wisdom gleaned from your years on Arizona waters, words of advice you would share with your best fishing buddy. The idea is to keep it brief: Three sentences or fewer should cover it. Also, be specific: Focus your tip on a particular species, situation, location, time of year or other fact. And yes, it’s OK to identify gear you swear by.

The best tips received by April 21 will be published — along with the author’s first name, last initial and hometown — in an upcoming issue of Arizona Wildlife Views magazine. Everyone whose tip is published gets a free copy of that issue. And remember, the first 50 people who submit a complete entry will receive “Arizona Fishin’ Holes,” recently updated with GPS coordinates for each lake — an $8 value!

Ready to share your best fishing tip? Send it by e-mail to topfishingtips@azgfd.gov before April 21. Be sure to include your full name and mailing address in the body of your message to be eligible to receive your free gift. Limit one tip per person, please.

Bald eagle breeding closure areas lifted on some Arizona lakes and rivers

PHOENIX —  The Arizona Game and Fish Department and its partners are lifting some of the closures at lakes and rivers statewide that are put into place annually to help bald eagles during the breeding season.
The closures at the following five sites will be removed effective March 31, 2011 because the bald eagles in these areas failed to produce young and will not breed this late in the spring:

• Lake Pleasant
• Verde River below Horseshoe Dam
• Verde River below Sycamore Canyon Wilderness
• Salt River below Stewart Mountain Dam downstream of the Bush Highway Bridge
• Salt River near Meddler Point

All other previously announced closures remain in effect because bald eagle breeding activities are still continuing in those areas. The public should contact the local land management agency to ensure the area they are visiting is open for recreational use.

Comment period extended on sportfish stocking environmental assessment

PHOENIX – The comment period on a draft environmental assessment of Arizona’s sportfish stocking program has been extended for 30 days to May 11.

On March 10, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Arizona Game and Fish Department made available for review a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) on FWS’s proposal to continue providing Sport Fish Restoration funds to continue the state’s long-standing stocking fish program and for hatchery operations and maintenance.

The public is encouraged to review and comment on the draft EA, as it has ramifications for the future of both sport-fish angling and native fish conservation in Arizona.  The deadline to submit comments is now May 11, 2011.

The draft EA is available online at www.azgfd.gov/fishea or at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/federal_assistance/. Hard copies of the draft EA may be viewed at the AGFD Phoenix Headquarters or regional field offices across the state. For a list of addresses, visit www.azgfd.gov/offices.

Comments or requests for copies of the draft EA on CD may be submitted by e-mail to fw2fa@fws.gov or fishaz@azgfd.gov or to: Ms. Brie Darr, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 1306, 500 Gold Ave. SW, Ste 9019, Albuquerque, NM 87103. Telephone: (505) 248-7457, Fax: (505) 248-7471; or Mr. Dave Weedman, Habitat Branch, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086. Telephone: (623) 236-7607, Fax (623) 236-7366.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), federal agencies are required to analyze potential environmental effects of any action they propose to implement, approve, or fund. Because AGFD receives federal funds used to support its stocking program (along with state funds from the sale of licenses and trout stamps), the agency is required to complete an environmental assessment process to allow it to continue receiving those federal funds. 

This draft EA is a part of the federally required NEPA compliance.



National forests release draft proposal and host open houses about future management of Fossil Creek


Phoenix/Flagstaff, Ariz. (March 29, 2011) – Coconino and Tonto national forest officials have released a draft proposed action for managing Fossil Creek and it is now available for public review and comments.  An alternate proposal developed by some stakeholders is also available for comment.

Details can be found on the Forest Service Fossil Creek project website at http://redrockcountry.org/fossil/

There will be opportunity to learn more about the proposal and offer feedback during four open houses each scheduled from 4:30 - 7:30 p.m. in the following locations:

Monday, April 11 - Payson

Payson Public Library, 328 North McLane Road, Payson.

Tuesday, April 12 – Flagstaff

Radisson Woodlands Hotel, 1175 W. Route 66, Flagstaff.

Wednesday, April 13 – Camp Verde

Verde Ranger Station, 300 East Highway 260, Camp Verde.

Thursday, April 14 – Phoenix

Tonto National Forest Office, 2324 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix.

For more information, call Lynn Humphrey, Fossil Creek planning team leader, 541-750-7158.  Visit http://redrockcountry.org/fossil/ (note updated url) for more information about the project.




CENTRAL WATERS

URBAN --  Trout stocking has come to an end in our desert lakes and ponds but our first catfish stocking was delivered to all Program waters March 24 with 15- to 20-inch channel catfish.

More than 14,000 pounds of Arkansas farm raised catfish will be delivered and stocked into Urban Fishing Program Lakes every two weeks from now through early July.  Effective baits are worms, stink baits, and shrimp fished off the bottom.  Daily limits are four catfish per person at Urban Lakes or two catfish per person at Urban Ponds (note regulations and park signage for Lake and Pond designations). 

This week (week of March 28)22,000 5- to 8-inch sunfish will be divvied up and stocked into all Phoenix and Tucson Urban waters.  This will be one of the two yearly bluegill stockings the Department stocks to replenish populations.

Top bluegill baits include meal worms, worms or doughballs fished under small bobbers along the shorelines.  Daily bag limits for bluegill are 10 per day at Urban Lakes or 5 per day at Urban Ponds.  Trout stocking will continue at Green Valley lakes in Payson until mid May. 

Lakes will continue to be stocked with channel catfish every two weeks through early July.

Best baits for the big cats are worms, stink baits, hot dogs or shrimp fished on the bottom.

Rising lake temperatures in recent weeks have heated up the catfish bite already. Many catfish anglers have caught limits of catfish from the larger urban waters using stink baits and dough baits.

All Urban Program waters will be stocked with feisty, 5-8 inch bluegill the week of March 28 – April 2, just in time for kids to fish during spring break. Best baits for bluegill are worms and mealworms fished under a small bobber in 3-6 foot depths. Largemouth bass have been moving into the shallows for spawning off and on over the past few weeks. Please exercise catch and release for spawning bass and remember the minimum keep able size for bass is 13 inches.

Trout fishing is slowing after the final winter season stocking on March 8. However, at Green Valley lakes (Payson) fishing is good to excellent for trout. Try Power Bait, worms or salmon eggs off the bottom. Trout stockings at this higher elevation Urban lake will continue every two weeks until mid May.


Angler report:

Hi Rory!

My husband Will and I love to trout fish and we like to take advantage of AZGFD’s winter trout stocking program at all the urban lakes. It is kind of sad when trout season ends down here in the valley so then it is time to head for the high country! This past weekend we headed to Green Valley Lake in Payson. We took my sister and her fiancé from Nebraska with us. Neither one of them has ever been there and they were both impressed. I caught a very nice rainbow that probably weighted in around 2 lbs. Beautiful healthy fish. Next my stepson Austyn hauled in another beautiful healthy 2 pounder! We had several bites the rest of the morning and early afternoon, but that was all we could get to shore. We were told by some fellow anglers that those were incentive trout stocked this past week. We were thrilled to catch them and they were lucky as they got to go right back in the water! We practice catch and release with all of our catches. Here are a couple of pictures my husband took with his cell phone. I think the Game and Fish Department is doing an outstanding job with their stocking program at these lakes! Keep up the great work!

Debra Hover


LAKE PLEASANT
– Lake elevation 1,695 feet (92 percent full). Some largemouth bass are spawning, others are staging for the spawn, yet some are still holding deep.

Some anglers are catching quite a few bass but not divulging many specifics.  One angler caught a 23 inch bass and another couple fished Humbug from 1pm to 7 pm and caught a couple bass over 2 pounds.

Mike McFarland with Hook Up Outfitters said white and chartreuse are good colors right now for spawning bass. He recommends the Eye Shad, white Mission Fish, the Fat Ika or a the Sweet Beaver for bedding bass.

He said stripers are in the main basin and can often be found off main lake points, islands and reefs in anywhere from 25 to 60 feet of water. When stripers are more shallow, try jerkbaits and crankbaits -- white is the best color. For the deeper stripers, frozen anchovies are best, and he recommends the simple Bougan rig, which is available at the Hook Up store on the water at Pleasant.





Angler report:

Hi Rory,
 
Fished Lake Pleasant on Friday night April 1. Fished from around midnight till 7 am. Caught 27 nice stripers in about 50 feet near the mouth of the Agua Fria arm. The bite was slow and steady all night but really picked up from 5 am till 7. I used a submersible light and for the first time in several trips I had a big school of large shad circling the boat. Caught most of the fish on anchovies within 2 to 6 feet of the bottom, caught a couple using Gulp 3" minnow on a jig. Also caught some small white bass higher up.

April 3
Bill Koontz

Hey Rory

Went out to Pleasant last Saturday from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and have a pleasant story about Pleasant (yea go figure!!!). Not fishing beds but outside tree line in 10 to 15 foot boated a limit by 10 a.m. and culled till 1 p.m. Caught 13 in a 100-yard stretch. No scale but the 5 biggest were all 16 to 18 inches and fat… nice to see the lake producing again.

Paul

Hello Fisherman
 
My report for Lake Pleasant 3/20/2011   "overcast weather"
 
Largemouth bass are spawning 2 to 4ft of water and visible in some spots up to 10ft easy with bass holding in the 8 to 10ft range.  Live night crawlers with a small split shot weight and # eagle claw snell hooks dragging it into the bed and even hitting the fish on the head until you can get a "reaction strike".  Plastic crawfish called Huddle Bug its very "life like" and effective w/built in weight system that allows the crawfish to land on its belly every time for a superb presentation.  Caught 2 of the fish seen here just on this artificial alone!
Drop shot 4" Robo Worm "Orange Crush" flavor was also used in catching 2 of these.
 
All fish here caught in Castle Creek in the coves and off points.  Take your time as most of the fish have been fished by other fisherman before you.. be patient !!
 
Tight Lines !!

Warren


ROOSEVELT LAKE -- Lake Elevation is 2,145 ft (93 percent full).  Tonto Creek runoff is 67 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 366 cfs. You can find largmeouth bass on spawning beds, staging for the spawn, or still holding deep. With the warmer wather this week, fish activity levels should continue to increase. 

A fishing duo hit the Salt end from about 7:30 a.m. to about 4 p.m.  They caught 6 bass and one was estimated over 4 pounds. 

Another angler used dark Senkos with flakes and caught 2 good sized bass.  One angler caught 4 bass using Texas rigged brush hogs.  

On fisherman fought the wind at Roosevelt and caught several nice bass using crankbaits.

A tournament was held at Roosevelt and the winner pulled in two 9 pound bass and a nice smallie.  

Angler report:

Rory,

Three of my friends and I went fishing at Roosevelt Lake March 16th. We started fishing at 7:15 around Windy Hill. After about an hour with no bites we moved to Salome Cove. There were several boats in there fishing but we saw no one catching fish. We used minnows at different depths and crank baits. We caught one bass on a white jig. At about 12:30 we moved up toward the river and fished till 3 p.m. The water temperature was 62 and the water was very clear, you could see 12 foot deep. I stopped at the cleaning station and ask the angler that was there how he did. He was fishing for bass and had four. There was one other angler that showed up he had about the same. They said it was real slow today. We are going to San Carlos next week for crappie; I will give you an update when I get back. 

Thanks Tim 


Good Afternoon,
We took the kids to Roosevelt for the first weekend of their spring break.  My mom and dad, sisters, and a couple of nieces/nephews joined us making a mini family reunion out of the trip.  The weather was beautiful but the fish not so accommodating. We hit the water at daylight on Saturday and after a quick run from the Bobcat Boat Ramp started working secondary points around Windy Hill.  I had high hopes after catching three nice bass in the first hour.  Unfortunately things went dead after that.  Only three more bites, two thrown hooks and one bass to show for another couple days of fishing.  I am sure that we could have managed a couple more with hard work but we were there for some relaxing family time.  Can't wait to go back, hopefully for a little more catching next time but the fishing's always good this time of year.

Eric Savage


APACHE -
Lake elevation is 1,910 feet (96 percent full).  Fishing is good by Turtle Island; anglers are easily catching quite a few largemouth over 2 pounds as reported by anglers talking to the folks at the marina, restaurant and hotel. 

Crappie are also hitting jigs trolled along the shoreline.  Don’t forget the trophy yellow bass in that lake.  They are taking spoons bounced off the bottom of shelves and live bait such as meal worms and pieces of worms. 

CANYON -- Lake Lake elevation is 1,657 feet, which is 94 percent full.

A shore angler fished the boulder area and caught 3 largemouth bass between 2 and 3 pounds.  One bass fell for a jig and the other two liked the Rapala X-rap. 

Two other reports from anglers fishing from their boats had similar success.

 

Angler report:

 

Went kayak fishing on 3-19-2011, the wife and i have only been here 2 times, fishing was slow, no bites for first 3 hours, then we paddled to the back of the canyon were no boats are allowed and i caught a real nice 2 pound bass, it was really fat. saw two guys on the main lake pitching jigs in to cat tails and they caught a real nice bass. they sure made pitching jigs into cover look easy, that's a skill i would like to have. note i was using a drop shot robo worn, just a torn off  peace of a whole worm,  about 2 inches. its was blue gill color. i will post pic. a soon as i can figure it out. thanks for having this  feature of adding pictures.


Kevin Wilson

SAGUARO - Lake elevation 1,524 feet at 91 percent full. Largemouth bass are on beds, some bass are staging for the spawn, other bass are still holding deep. You might even some a small cadre of post-spawn bass. We've been getting some really nice reports so far this spring -- it looks like Saguaro is way down the comeback trail.

 A father son duo caught 20 bass using the drop shot technique. 
success.

BARTLETT -- Lake elevation is 1,777 eeft, which is 71 percent full.  Reservoir release is 950 cfs.
An angling duo fished from 11 a.m. till sundown; they found a cove with busting shad.  The shad played in that cove all day and one angler caught 8 bass and the other caught 6 using floating flukes.  They caught 4 catfish after the sun went down.  It was real windy but fishing was still pretty good.  The temperature in the cove was about 60 degrees.

A solo fishermen arrived at the lake about noon.  He caught a couple here and there in the Yellow Cliffs area, but all were pretty small.  He used crankbait in the river section and landed about 5 but all were still small.  He switched to rocky areas and threw some Texas Rigged worms and caught a nice 2 pound bass.  The wind was a challenge.  
 
     
HORSESHOE - Lake elevation is at 1,989 feet 30 percent full.  They are releasing water at 400 cfs.

VERDE RIVER - Verde River flow at Tangle is 483 cubic feet per second.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 950 cfs.

SALT RIVER -  Salt River into Roosevelt is 366 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 258 cfs.  They are releasing 8 cfs out of Stewart Mountain dam from Saguaro.

LOWER SALT RIVER – Stocked last week, primarily at Phon D. Sutton, Granite Reef and Blue Point Bridge. The crew is also exploring putting some in the deeper pools at the Water Users area just below Stewart Mountain Dam.

CREEKS (Haigler, Canyon, Tonto, Christopher, East Verde, Workman) - April is when trout stocking is expected to resume for Haigler, Canyon, Tonto, Christopher, and East Verde.  It should begin the first week in April.

COLORADO RIVER NORTHWEST

LAKE POWELL – Lake elevation: 3,611, Water temperature,  50 - 56 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson, March 31

Good fishing in March happens when weather warms but that is often followed by a cold spell with wind which dims fishing success. That was the case this past week as fishing success declined. Looking forward, weather is forecast to be warm for the next few days and into the weekend. When planning springtime fishing trips it is best to look at the weather as perhaps the best indicator of fishing success. With that in mind expect great fishing this weekend at Lake Powell.

Base water temperature slipped back near 48F in the mornings and warmed only to 55 in the warmest spots during the day.  This morning the base temperature was 50 at dawn and will increase to possible 58 in the afternoon. A few degrees of warming have a dramatic impact on fish behavior and activity.

The good news with the cold weather set back is that fish have not moved. Striped bass are still split between the back of some canyons where shad are present while stripers in forage poor areas have migrated to the main channel in the lower lake. Main channel stripers can be caught on bait near the Dam and in the forebay.  Stripers run the walls so they can be caught sporadically near Buoy 1 or at the Chains or at any spot along the walls. At all these locations a passing school will provide quick fishing followed by a lull until the school makes a return pass.  Use frozen anchovies or sardine bait cut in one inch chunks on a jig head or size 2-4 bait hook.  Chum steadily with finely cut bait. Since there is no 60 foot bottom for fish or chum to rest on near the dam it may be best to chum 2-3 pieces of bait every 10 minutes to attract attention of a passing school. When the school arrives put out more chum to keep the school under your boat as long as possible.

Stripers remain in the backs of the canyons where shad have over wintered. Navajo, Last Chance, Rock Creek, Oak, San Juan, and Escalante have shad and will harbor stripers susceptible to trolling and spooning. From Red Canyon to Hite forage is abundant allowing great fishing success at times. Forage rich areas are prone to lulls when fish choose not to feed.  The best conditioned fish are in the backs of the canyons while the easiest fish to catch are in the channels near the dam. There have been no reports yet that stripers have been caught at Moki Wall near Bullfrog. That usually happens in April so we have something to look forward to in the mid lake area.

Largemouth bass remain in the brush where water depth is 10-20 feet.  Declining lake level has exposed much of the  thickest brush making fishing with exposed hook lures somewhat easier.  Brush is brittle so wiggling a snagged lure usually allows it to pull free. It also allowed me to catch a 3-pound largemouth yesterday on a single tail smoke-sparkle grub on a regular jig head. Tubes, grubs, spinnerbaits and bulky jig and pig baits are good largemouth fare.  Smallmouth will respond this week as well with water temperature beginning to climb.  Find 57-60 degree water in the afternoon for best smallmouth results.
.   



LEES FERRY -- Report courtesy Lees Ferry Anglers anglers@leesferry.com.

March 26, by Scott Sargent

Today’s Fish rating
Upriver: 6.00
Walk-In: 6.00
Key: 1 = Go fish somewhere else
10 = Rent a helicopter and get here now!
Today’s Weather: High of 66, partly cloudy
Crowd Rating
Upriver: 2.0 No Crowds
Walk In: 2.0 No Crowds
Key: 1 = Sleep late and fish where you want.
10 = Very crowded, get up early

Fly Fishing:
The fishing has been great this week; however it has been a bit windy. There was little to no wind today, which was great. A little rain, but it didn’t affect the fishing because, fortunately, the fish were already wet. According to recent weather reports, the rest of the week should yield better weather than this past week.
We’ve been nymphing with Zebra Midges, San Juan Worms (natural colors, like brown), and Glow Bugs.

Streamers have been effective in the back eddies. There’s been a lot of success with fishing in the riffles and inside seams. If possible, I would recommend sight fishing over spawning beds, if you’re able to find them. Back eddies have also proven to be very effective, many fish could be seen sipping the surface on the shore of eddies. As for the long drift, try egg patterns, like a glow bug, and a dropper midge – fish deep and heavy.

The flow rate currently adjusts throughout the day. Expect about 14,000cfs in the mornings and a gradual increase to 18,836 by 11 AM. On April 4th, the flow will stabilize at 16,000cfs.

This is a great time to book a guide because the fishing has been…Well, excellent, and absolutely perfect. Our guides are extremely familiar with the river and are guaranteed to show you a fun time.

Walk in:

The walk-in has been yielding steady results. Using midges as a dropper and San Juan worms as the first fly has proven to be productive, but of course it depends on the fishing conditions for the day. There are some rumors of streamers being effective in the walk-in.

Spin Fishing: Reports of good spin fishing, the lure of choice is still the Panther Martin in gold and black.
Anglers are also using large glow bugs, and bouncing them off the bottom. The jig has been a fun one too, seems the black ones are working best when the cast is toward the shore

LAKE MEAD – The current water level is around 1,096 feet above msl. Lake levels have been rising slightly over the winter.  Striper fishing has been slow, even at night under lights. Cut anchovies are still the bait of choice.  Check the moon phases before you go.  Dark nights work best when fishing under light.  Fish for strippers in 50 plus feet of water to 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. 

Launching conditions at South Cove have improved as the water level has gone up. There are currently four lanes.  Launching conditions in general are better at Temple Bar than South Cove.

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 is around 642 feet above msl.  Black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly.  Trolling with anchovies in 30-50ft has been producing some stripers, while catfish are on the bottom.  In general the fishing is slow.  While the number of stripers in Mohave has been decreasing, the quality of the fish caught has increased.

Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers.  Cut anchovies usually work the best.  The next new moon is 4/3/2011.

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 mchmiel@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.  Fishing for trout has been slow.  While the weather has been beautiful, the fishing has not been.  Garlic and salmon peach powerbaits were being used most for trout.  Power worms, jakes, panther martin and roostertails are also usually effective.   Construction near the river is mostly complete and the new store and parking lots are open.

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 mchmiel@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 were last stocked the week of March 8th.  This was the last stocking at Davis Camp until October of 2011. In addition to the stockers multiple anglers have been reporting catching trout in the 20-22 inch range 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. 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.

Topock Gorge has seen up to 2 lb. smallmouth but not very many taken.  Strippers are not biting but the trout are moving down and being caught on night crawlers.  A 3 ¼ pound catfish was taken recently but in general it has taken a variety of baits to catch the few fish that have been caught.  

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 mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

TOPOCK MARSH – Bass, crappie and catfish are all biting, but the bite can be hit and miss.  Several crappie have tipped the scale a just over 2 pounds. Minnows and small road runners are the preferred bait. Bass are also being taken. Pumpkin colored crankbait and six inch watermelon trick worms are working in shallow water. In deeper water it is deep diving crank baits in a fire tiger color that is producing.  Catfish ranging between 2-6 pounds, with a stout 10 lb, 12 oz, are being caught off North Dyke.
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

LAKE HAVASU -- Lake Level 449.02. Striper bite good using cut anchovies, still fishing from the North Winsor Ramp to the Entrance to the River/Sandbar. Be sure to throw out extra chum to attract these schools of prespawn stripers.

Trolling pointer 100s or 128s during the first hour of light producing some quality stripers from 4 to 6lbs.
Topwater action will start soon as overnight water temps hit 65 degrees when Stripers start feeding overnight on shallow rocky or gravel flats where they feed on crawdads.

Largemouth & smallmouth bass are in full spawn now. Any small dropshotted worm like the Roboworm.
Gitzits or small plastic craw like the Huddlebug will also work well on these aggressive bass which are defending their bedding areas. The key is the bait must contact the bottom to trigger the bass to strike.
Please practice catch and release
during this time to give our Bass a chance to reproduce and make our fishery even better.
 
This Report was provided by John Galbraith of BassTackleMaster.com, Lake Havasu City, Az.

Hi Rory,

I went out on the lake late last week. I talked to numerous fishermen. It seems spring has started and love is in the air. Most fishermen seemed to be catching gravid females on beds. Mostly smallies and some largemouth. A variety of baits/lures were working. I  witnessed one guy catch a smallmouth on a surface minnow lure.  Green and also brown plastics were also working (worms/crayfish). One guy caught a nice striper on an anchovy while I was talking to him. Another person I talked to had caught a nice red-ear and 2 smallmouth on night crawlers.

Suzanne Ehret
Wildlife Manager

 

Angler report:

On March 16th I was on the lake in the in the channel in enjoying a great day, when a young boy started to fish next too me. Within about 30 seconds he hooked up with a fish, he beached his fish and asked his dad what kind of fish was this. Well that got me up to see an to my surprise it was a very heathy looking rainbow trout. I have fished in the lake for 15 years an never have seen one in the lake this far out of the river.

Bill

Sandpoint Fish Report for March 17, 2011
Courtesy Karen Coats, Sandpoint Marina

As winter comes to a close at Sandpoint the fish report will get smaller.
 
3-15 Jack L. got a 14 pound 14 ounce catfish, he was using anchovies and was in the Marina on A-Dock.
3-16 Carl K. got a 3 pound 7 ounce large mouth bass, he was using shad at the pump station.
Others are going up just before the I 40 to get blue gill. They are hoping to get some night time catfishing in before they have to leave for the summer.

March
Lunker: Carl K. 7 lb. 2 oz.
Striper: Van 6 lb. 8 oz.
Bass: Carl K. 3 lb. 7 oz.
Catfish: Jack L. 14 lb. 14 oz.
Carp:

February
Lunker: Carl K. 7 lb. 2 oz.
Striper: Gale L. 7 lb. 1 oz.
Bass: Bob C. 3 lb. 1 oz.
Catfish: Leonard  P. 7 lb. 6 oz.

January Winners
Lunker: Carl K. 7 lb. 2 oz.
Striper: Clyde C. 8 lb. 1 oz.
Bass: Robert P. 4 lb. 8 oz.
Catfish: Gale L. 8 lb. 10 oz.

December Winners
Lunker: Carl K. 7 lb. 2 oz.
Striper: Carl K. 7 lb. 2 oz.
Bass: Lori K. 4 lb. 9 oz.
Catfish: Terry D. 8 lbs.

November Winners
Striper: Leonard P. 6 lb. 2 oz.   
Bass: Rick S. 4 lb. 1 oz
Catfish: Tenny P. 18 lb. 9 oz
Happy fishing

Spring Outlook for Lower Colorado River and Alamo Lake

ALAMO LAKE - Lake has received no significant runoff this winter, but the lake elevation remains at a pretty respectable level, around 1118 feet. This means that both launch ramps at Alamo Lake State Park should remain usable for the foreseeable future. Inflow events are still a possibility as we go into the spring, but for the past three years our major inflow events have occurred prior to March. Regardless, the flows in the past three winters have provided an influx of nutrients into the system, so the fish populations in the reservoir should be in very good shape.

Largemouth bass surveys conducted by AZGFD in October indicate that bass are still very abundant, although a large proportion of the population remains in the protected slot.  We continue to see a gradual increase in numbers of bass that are greater than 16 inches, but slot-sized fish are still the most numerous.  This past fall, the bass were in average physical condition for Alamo Lake, but the decent shad and small sunfish numbers hopefully has allowed them to fatten, over the winter. Bass fishing should be good to excellent, as is usual for Alamo, into the summer.  Be aware that heavy runoff inflows, if they occur, can dump a lot of debris into the lake, which effects water clarity, and can turn off the bite.  There is also the chance of larger floating debris, which can present a boating hazard. The upper end of Alamo Lake has a lot of dead standing vegetation and debris, often just below the water surface. This is great cover for fish, but presents a hazard to boating. Be aware that there are no navigational hazard markers at the upper portion of the lake, once you pass the second buoy line. For bass, as the weather warms, shift from slowly working plastics in deeper water to crank baits, spinner baits, and top-water lures.

Fishing for channel catfish will be good to excellent this spring, and throughout the summer.  There is a very healthy population of channel catfish in Alamo Lake. There are lots of very small catfish, but plenty in the 2-4 pound range that provide fun fishing. You may also run into the occasional 8-10 pound catfish. The best concentrations of channel catfish seem to be found along the upper two thirds of the shoreline, on the western side of the lake. For channel catfish any of the prepared catfish baits will work, as well as chicken livers, or your own secret concoctions. Channel catfish will occasionally take artificial lures and plastics, but if you are targeting catfish, bait is probably the way to go. Crappie fishing has been pretty decent through the winter, and may pick up a bit as the weather warms. Large bags have not been common, but the fish are of high quality, in the 1½- to 2-pound range. There are other fish present such as bluegill, redear sunfish and carp that are a lot of fun to catch.  When Alamo Lake was first formed, it was well known for its excellent pan-fishing.  In the past couple of years we have been noticing that decent-sized sunfish are on the increase.  Increased harvest on these species would actually result in larger average sizes, and you cannot beat sunfish for edibility.  We have been seeing an abundance of decent-sized redear sunfish, up to a pound.  This species commonly reaches sizes of over two pounds, although we have not yet observed redear sunfish of this size in Alamo Lake.  All types of bait should work.  Large tilapia in the 5-6 pound range are abundant, and are an unexploited resource.

The State Park, and all of its facilities, is open, and we expect all amenities to remain available. Because of the State’s budget woes, which have severely impacted operation of Arizona State Parks, some change in operation could occur in the future, but for now the operation of the Park has not changed.  The store at the lake is open, where you can get ice, snacks, fishing tackle and bait, as well as information on the fishing.  A certified scale is located at the store.  No fuel is available at Alamo Lake, it is sold at Wenden, and nearby Wayside.

LAKE HAVASU & TOPOCK GORGE - Lake Havasu and the river upstream of the lake is becoming an excellent destination for largemouth and smallmouth bass. Fishing for largemouth bass, as well as smallmouth bass, is expected to be good to excellent this spring. There is a 13-inch minimum size limit for bass on the lower Colorado River. Largemouth bass in the four to six pound range are becoming very common on Lake Havasu, with occasional fish exceeding 10 pounds.  Smallmouth bass are becoming more and more common, and bags at bass tournaments are now showing close to a 50/50 mix of largemouth and smallmouth bass.  If you are unfamiliar with smallmouth bass, they are very aggressive and scrappy, and will give you a much more exciting battle than a similarly-sized largemouth.  Smallmouth bass generally do not grow as large as largemouth, but four and five-pound smallmouth are becoming common. Both bass species tend to be in very good condition in this water body.  Perhaps because of the exceptionally clear water in Lake Havasu, they are also some of the most strikingly colored fish in the Region.  The warmer weather should cause the bite to improve, making crankbaits and topwater lures a good choice as the water warms.

Striped bass fishing will likely continue to be fair to poor, with catch rates far below what have been experienced in past years.  Striped bass are very dependent on threadfin shad for forage.  Shad numbers appear to be on the increase, but all reports indicate that striper-fishing has not seen a dramatic comeback, nor do we have terribly high expectations that it will.  Remember, schools of shad move around, and populations tend to fluctuate, so spots that have been “hot” in the past may no longer be so if the shad have moved elsewhere, or are in lower numbers.  Historically, the majority of striped bass in Lake Havasu tend to be smaller fish of 1 to 2 pounds, with an occasional 20-30 pound fish.  It seems that the smaller fish are much more uncommon than they were several years ago.  The jury is still out on the effects the quagga mussel infestation in Lake Havasu may have on the fish community in Lake Havasu, but the arrival of the mussel has seemed to coincide with a decrease in the catch rates for striped bass. Live shad seems to be the most productive bait for stripers, with cut anchovies not seeming to work as well as they did in years past.
 
Angling for bluegill and redear sunfish will be good to excellent.  Lake Havasu is well known for large (2-3 pound) redear sunfish, and with the proliferation of the quagga mussel in the lake, we are seeing large redears becoming more common.  Redear sunfish are also known as “shellcrackers,” due to their preference, and morphological adaptation, for eating clams and mussels, so they may actually benefit from the presence of the invasive quagga mussel.  Bluegills will also eat quagga mussels, although they are not as well adapted for capitalizing on this suddenly abundant food source.  Redear sunfish up to four pounds (or even larger) are found in the lake.  Decent crappie numbers can be found, primarily in the lower end of the lake (Bill Williams River Arm), but fishing for crappie is likely to be only fair. Threadfin shad are also an important food source for crappie, and the abundance of this species hinges on the size of the shad population. Flathead catfish can be found throughout the lake, but the larger individual, up to 40 pounds, or greater, can be found in the lower portion of the lake, especially in the Bill Williams River arm. Fishing for flatheads should improve as the water warms this spring. Live bait is the key for flatheads, as they are extremely predatory and are unlikely to strike much other than a lively baitfish. Channel catfish are also found throughout the lake, and they will take a variety of live bait, cut bait and commercial preparations.

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 waters by accident.  This invasive species certainly has profound effects on water delivery and control structures, boat engines, and likely on fish populations.  Quagga mussels are abundant and widely distributed in Lake Havasu, but are absent from many of our interior lakes, and lakes in California.  Help keep those lakes quagga-free.  Do the right thing, and make sure your boat and trailer are free of the mussels; drain your bilge and livewell before leaving the area, and most importantly, let your boat bake in the sun before you launch it at another lake. New regulations pertaining to the quagga mussel are now in effect for Lake Havasu and other infected waters, so make sure you follow those rules if you are transporting your boat. See Director’s Order 3, below, for specific requirements about moving your boat from Lake Havasu, or any other quagga infested waters in Arizona. http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/documents/DirectorsOrder3_2011A.pdf.

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.  The time for fishing for both species of catfish will be late spring and throughout the summer.  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 baitfish 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 sportfish 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

Note:Fossil Creek is open for fishing until the end of April.  The creek is managed as a catch-and-release fishery using flies and lures with single barbless hooks; no bait is allowed. 
 
WILLIAMS LAKES:  
KAIBAB LAKE —  Campground is closed. No report.  Liberally stocked last week with rainbow trout.  Scheduled to be stocked this week.

CATARACT LAKE —  Campground is closed.  Scheduled to be stocked this week.

CITY RESERVOIR —   No report, 

DOGTOWN LAKE —  Campground is closed. The road from the Williams side (Perkinsville road) was in good shape and passable when we checked the lakes.  No Report    

JD DAM — Had an angler report that he did well on wooly buggers.

RUSSELL TANK -   The lake is to shallow to stock.

SANTA FE — No Report. 

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campground is closed.  

FLAGSTAFF LAKES:

LOWER LAKE MARY —  Anglers have been catching some nice size hold-over rainbows and quite a few small pike late in the day. Small spoons in silver or gold fished slow seem to be working best.  Some trout are also being caught on power bait fished on the bottom.

Angler report:

Fished lower lake Mary (near Flagstaff) Sunday 3/27/11 for about 3hrs caught one nice rainbow (13”),
on powerbait. I also missed a few others, the I caught was full of what looked like mosquito larvae and other assorted bugs. The lake looks great!

The lake is completely ice free and ready for some more Trout!  I hope it will be stocked again soon….

Glen Preston
Flagstaff, AZ. 

UPPER LAKE MARY — Northern pike and yellow perch should be active right now. A 23-pound pike was caught recent on anchovies.

ASHURST LAKE —  Road closed

FRANCIS SHORT POND –  Stocked last week.  Scheduled to be stocked this week.

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road closed. No report. 

MARSHALL LAKE —  Road Closed No report

OAK CREEK — No report.  Stocked last week.  

LONG LAKE — No report. 

SOLDIERS & SOLDIERS ANNEX — No report

STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.

BLUE RIDGE —  Is now open and accessible. 

Angler report:

Blue Ridge is open!

Water level is high and the water is clear.  The road in is muddy in spots and there is still some snow.  The boat launch looks to be in good shape, no major ruts or rocks.

I caught and released 6 rainbow trout (8"-14") in 4 hours.  Caught 3 in 20 minutes!

Rapala Countdown Minnow (silver) provided outstanding results (5 of the 6 fish).   Three inch (white) Power Grub six feet under slip bobber provided the other trout.

If you love Blue Ridge as much as we do, please take a bag to pick up trash and discarded line.

Good luck and have fun!

Greg
(Flagstaff)


KNOLL LAKE —No report. .

Verde Valley

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK
– Has been liberally stocked with rainbow trout.  Fishing is usually great following the stocking.  Powerbait or homemade doe baits are your best bet this time of year.

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) –  Stocked last week with rainbow trout.  Stocking sites are at Tuzigoot Bridge outside of Clarkdale, The bridge that leads to the Deadhorse State Park, at Deadhorse State Parks access point called the Jacks, at the White Bridge in Camp Verde, and at Bignotti Beach. 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.

BEAVER CREEK – Stocked in early March. With the mild weather this weekend, hiking and fishing in the Beaver Creek Wilderness might be worthwhile to consider.

WEST CLEAR CREEK —  Stocked in early March. For those looking for a hiking fishing adventure, you might want to try the West Clear Creek Wilderness, but be prepared to hike, climb a little, and possible have to wade or swim through pools.

FOSSIL CREEK -- This unique catch-and-release, artificial lure with barbless hook only fishing for roundtail chub fishery will come to an end April 30. If you go, please help out and take an extra trash bag; some folks aren't as respectful of the land as anglers are.

Prescott Area

FAIN LAKEFain Lake is closed while it is being dredged.  Stocking will be canceled until the dredging is completed.  The surplus fish that would normally be going into Fain will be stocked in Watson Lake at the new boat launch.  Try Watson while Fain is closed.  Fain will likely be finished around the end of April, beginning of May.

GOLDWATER LAKE — Trout have been recently stocked. The handicap parking area and boat launch or open for now.  Some anglers reported catching 6 fish between two of them in just 1 hour.  Others have not been as lucky.  The fishing can be really good at Goldwater this time of year.  Hold over’s are not uncommon.  Look for the fishing to pick up following the stocking.

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 three 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 mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

GRANITE BASIN LAKE – The fishing has shut down for the winter.   If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

LYNX LAKE – Trout were last stocked the week of March 7th.  Trout can be caught on power bait, corn, power worms, jakes, panther martin and roostertails, just to name a few.

MINGUS LAKE – Trout were last stocked in October. The gate to Mingus Lake is locked. If you choose to walk in, the water level is up and fishing should be fair. 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. Trout stocking will resume in the spring.

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 – Watson Lake was stocked with 2,332 Rainbow on Jan. 13.  This was the first time Game and Fish has stocked trout here since 1962.   The last stocking occurred the week of Feb. 14.  Try fishing near the new boat ramp.  Power bait, spinners, and flies will be your best bet.  Watson is surrounded by large boulders limiting shore access to less agile anglers.  Fishing from a boat may improve your odds of success.  Remember, while Watson lake has no motor restrictions, it is flat wake only.

Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Watson last fall 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 mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.


WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR – The fishing is still shut down for the winter.

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


Mogollon Rim and White Mountains

Recommended waters to fish:
Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, and Scott Reservoir are the best opportunities in the Show Low/Pinetop-Lakeside area.  Pike are staging for the spawn at Rainbow Lake.

Becker Lake, Luna Lake, the Greer Lakes, and Nelson Reservoir in the Springerville and Alpine areas are ice-free with anglers beginning to catch some rainbow trout.

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
Note:
Most Recommended waters to fish:
Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, and Scott Reservoir are the best opportunities in the Show Low/Pinetop-Lakeside area. 

Becker Lake, Luna Lake, the Greer Lakes, and Nelson Reservoir in the Springerville and Alpine areas are ice-free with anglers beginning to catch rainbow trout.

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
Note: All of the Rim Lakes are now ice-free, however, the Rim Road (FR 300) to Woods Canyon Lake and Bear Canyon Lake is still closed due to snowdrifts and muddy conditions and is expected to open April 15.

BEAR CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-free and full.  Forest Road 300 is still closed due to snow drifts. It is expected to be open by mid April.

BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair. Forest Roads 300 and 86 are open to the lake. The lake is ice-free.

BLUE RIDGE -- Open and accessible. No reports from anglers yet.

CHEVELON LAKE – The lake is ice-free, full and spilling.  Forest Road 300 is still closed due to snowdrifts, but the lake can be accessed from Forest Road 504 from Heber, then north on Forest Road 169.

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – The lake is ice-free. Fishing is fair.  Forest Road 149 is open  to the lake. The campground is not open yet.

WOODS CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice- free.  Forest Road 300 is still closed, but is expected to be open around mid April.

WHITE MOUNTAIN LAKES
Note:  High elevation lakes still have some ice-cover. All lower and middle elevation lakes are ice-free.  Some interior Forest Roads are still closed or inaccessible due to snowdrifts and muddy conditions.  Highways 261 and 273 are still closed due to snowdrifts. 

BECKER LAKE – The lake is ice-free.  Fishing is fair to good.  One angler recently reported catching some nice sized trout (up to 22 inches) on black and orange woolly buggers.  Small midge imitations are also working.  New fishing regulations took effect on Becker Lake Jan. 1, 2011.  The new regulations are catch-and-release fishing for trout with artificial lure and fly with a single barbless hook only.  All trout must be released immediately.

BIG LAKE – The lake should be mostly ice-free.  Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter because of lingering snowdrifts.  The store is still closed for the season.

CARNERO LAKE – The lake  is ice-free. Forest Roads 117 and 117A are still inaccessible because of lingering snowdrifts.

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

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor, but the lake will be stocked this week or next week.  The lake is ice-free.

CRESCENT LAKE – The lake has some ice-cover.  Unsafe ice.  Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter because of lingering snow drifts.  The store is closed for the season.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair to good.  The lake is ice-free and full.  Anglers have been catching  smallmouth bass, walleyes, and channel catfish on night crawlers and lures. Black crappies should be staging around the west side fishing piers. Try small crappie jigs, worms, and mealworms. Recent netting surveys revealed lots of nice sized channel catfish, walleyes, bass, and northern pike. Some nice sized black crappies were also taken.

GREER LAKES – Fishing for wild brown trout and carryover rainbows is fair.  All of the Greer lakes (River, Tunnel, and Bunch) are ice-free and full.  The paved roads to these lakes are clear and dry (easy access).  A 24-inch 5-pound brown trout was recently caught at Bunch Reservoir The Greer Lakes will be stocked with rainbow trout this week.

HULSEY LAKE – Fishing is fair.  Anglers have been catching some carryover rainbow trout on night crawlers.  The lake is ice-free.  Forest Road 56 is clear and dry.

LEE VALLEY RESERVOIR – The lake may have some ice-cover.  Unsafe ice.  Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter due to lingering snowdrifts.

LUNA LAKE – The lake is ice-free and full.  Fishing is fair to good.  Anglers are catching trout on lures such as spinners and spoons (KastMasters and Z-Rays), woolly worms, woolly buggers, Power Bait (pink), salmon eggs, corn, and night crawlers.    The concession store is   open on weekends. They are renting canoes and paddleboats, but not motorboats until May.

LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is currently closed.  Local authorities are working to re-open the park this summer, but nothing is definite.NELSON RESERVOIR – The lake is ice-free full, and slightly spilling  Fishing is fair to good.  Anglers have been catching rainbow trout on night crawlers, corn, and green Power Bait.     The current bag and possession limit at Nelson is 6 trout.

RAINBOW LAKE – The lake is ice-free, full, and spilling.  Fishing is poor, but the lake will be stocked with rainbow trout this week or next.         Recent netting in March revealed nice sized northern pike, largemouth bass, and channel catfish, but no carryover trout.  The pike are no longer spawning and will be found anywhere in the lake.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – The lake is ice-free,full, and spilling.  Fishing is fair.  A couple of anglers recently caught several large holdover trout from the boat ramp. Recent netting revealed lots of nice sized channel catfish, bass, and rainbow trout.  The lake will be stocked with rainbow trout this week or next week.

SHOW LOW LAKE – The lake is ice-free.  Fishing is poor to fair, but the lake will be stocked with rainbow trout this week or next week.  The store is still closed for the winter. Recent netting revealed nice sized walleyes, channel catfish, and rainbow trout.

WOODLAND LAKE – The lake is ice-free, full, and spilling.  Fishing is poor, but the lake will be stocked with rainbow trout this week or next week.
WHITE MOUNTAIN STREAMS
Note: Some interior Forest Roads are still closed or inaccessible due to snowdrifts, especially at the highest elevations.  Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter.

EAST FORK BLACK RIVER – This is the best stream fishing opportunity for wild trout in the White Mountains.  Fishing is fair for wild browns.  The stream is accessible by way of Forest Road 26 from Highway 191, then north on Forest Road 24.  The East Fork did not get much of a snowmelt runoff and is already fairly clear and near base flow.  Stocking is scheduled to begin in May. 

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER – GREER – The stream is accessible in and upstream from Greer.  Spring runoff was poor and has appeared to have ended over a week ago.  The flows are near base flow.  Fishing is fair until the stream is stocked in May. 

SHEEPS CROSSING – The stream is inaccessible.  Highway 273 is closed for the season.

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is good.   Fishing regulations changed on April 1. Anglers  can use flies, lures, and bait, and the bag and possession limit is 6 trout.  Anglers have been catching trout on worms, Power Bait, lures (spinners), and flies. The upper section is closed to fishing. 
WEST FORK BLACK RIVER – The lower reaches of the stream are accessible from Buffalo Crossing on Forest Road 25.  The flow is likely near base flow.  The spring runoff was very poor and appears to have ended over a week ago.  Fishing is fair until the stream is stocked in May. 

 


SOUTHERN ARIZONA

Please send fishing reports from this region 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.

No new reports this week. The fall/winter trout stocking schedule can be found at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml.

As air temperatures begin to warm anglers can expect the sunfish and bass to become more active.  Anglers should focus their efforts to areas along the shoreline as fish move into shallower water to begin preparing for the upcoming spawn.  Trout stocking for the winter months is coming to a close and there are only a couple of stockings left at the lower elevation lakes for this year.  2010 - 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule

 


URBAN WATERS
-- Trout stocking has come to an end in our desert lakes and ponds but our first catfish stocking was delivered to all Program waters March 24 with 15- to 20-inch channel catfish.

More than 14,000 pounds of Arkansas farm raised catfish will be delivered and stocked into Urban Fishing Program Lakes every two weeks from now through early July.  Effective baits are worms, stink baits, and shrimp fished off the bottom.  Daily limits are four catfish per person at Urban Lakes or two catfish per person at Urban Ponds (note regulations and park signage for Lake and Pond designations). 

 

This week (week of March 28)22,000 5- to 8-inch sunfish will be divvied up and stocked into all Phoenix and Tucson Urban waters.  This will be one of the two yearly bluegill stockings the Department stocks to replenish populations.

Top bluegill baits include meal worms, worms or doughballs fished under small bobbers along the shorelines.  Daily bag limits for bluegill are 10 per day at Urban Lakes or 5 per day at Urban Ponds. 

Lakes will continue to be stocked with channel catfish every two weeks through early July.

Best baits for the big cats are worms, stink baits, hot dogs or shrimp fished on the bottom.

Rising lake temperatures in recent weeks have heated up the catfish bite already. Many catfish anglers have caught limits of catfish from the larger urban waters using stink baits and dough baits.

Angler report:


RIGGS FLAT — Riggs Flat is now closed for the winter. 

CLUFF RANCH — No recent reports of success.  The pond is full and there are no issues with boat launching.  The fall/winter trout stocking schedule can be found here: 2010 - 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule.  For lake information call (928) 485-9430.

ROPER LAKE — For lake information and status of the park call (928) 428-6760. The fall/winter trout stocking schedule can be found here:
2010 - 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule

DANKWORTH POND — Due to severe aquatic vegetation at this lake the lake will not be stocked this winter.  Plans are underway for a complete renovation of this facility.

FRYE MESA RESERVIOR –The lake has been stocked with Gila trout.  The limit is 1 Gila trout in bag or possession.  All other trout species limits remain unchanged.  Anglers are strongly encouraged to know the differences in the 4 species of trout they will encounter at the lake before keeping fish to avoid legal problems.

KEARNY LAKES — This small lake remains fishless due to impacts of golden algae.
 
ARIVACA —Crankbaits have always been the go to choice during this time of the year at Arivaca.  The new restrooms are now completed and open at the lake.  No recent reports of success.  Remember that all bass must be immediately released back to the water. Anglers are asked to please be aware of your wake so as not to disrupt other anglers fishing from other boats and the shore. 

PENA BLANCA –The new boat ramp is open at Pena Blanca Lake and anglers should have no problems launching their boats.  Anglers are reporting some success with Power Bait from a boat but noted that the bite is very light and hard to detect.  The full stocking schedule can be viewed here:  2010 - 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule.

Angler report:

Hi Don.
I understand we should share southern Az reports with you so here is our. Report on Pena Blanca.
I went with my 2 friends you see in the picture and we fished from the fishing dock by the ramp. In 3 hours we caught 18 fish that were all fat and good fighters. The catch included 1 that was about 2 lbs. Great fun and a terrific place for Scott and his wheel chair.

You definitely need to keep using whoever is supplying these winter trout!

Ray

 
PATAGONIA —  This lake is full.  No recent reports of success.  You can keep track of the stocking schedule here:  2010 - 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule 

PARKER CANYON —  Trout fishing is reported to be fair with few anglers reporting success.  The full schedule can be viewed here:  2010 - 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule.  The store at the lake is open and information on the store and current conditions can be found at www.parkercanyonlake.com.
 
ROSE CANYON LAKE —Road Access remains closed for the winter.  Anglers can contact the Catalina Ranger District of the Forest Service for the official opening date.  Their phone number is (520) 749-8700. 

Angler Report:

To Don Mitchell
 
We are still catching some very nice BROWN TROUT  & some over 20 inch RAINBOWS at Rose Canyon. Around 25 people fish their on the weekends. The fishing for most - has really slowed down,  being that it has not been stocked for the last 5 months. But the big smart fish are still available. I was at Lakeside today . Several people had caught their limit of nice big Rainbows.  The Catfish are becoming active.  We have caught six recently on  silver spinners .
 
The older Outdoorsman

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