Yet the vernal equinox, or the first day of spring when the Earth is neither inclined toward, nor away, from the sun, isn’t until March 20.
Still, this week’s full moon has coincided with consistent, warm weather. The result? Springtime spawning conditions for largemouth bass have graced the desert impoundments.
What I'm saying is: "Fishing is en fuego!"
So many great options can be at the end of the line. Flathead catfishing is picking up, and Arizona has become a destination for these bruisers. Crappie are active, stripers are stripping line at Lake Powell and Lake Pleasant, trout stockings will transition into those of catfish, and redear sunfish have reached world-class status at Lake Havasu.
Wow. Take a deep breath for a second and appreciate all Arizona has to offer anglers and hunters. From the desert to the mountains, all such sportsmen help conserve our wildlife for future generations because, if you didn’t know, the Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive state tax dollars. We rely heavily on active hunters and anglers who are passionate about our wildlife.
So thank you.
Big redear, by the way, are holding primarily over deep grass beds in 20-30 feet of water at Havasu. Many anglers are using nightcrawlers with dropshots on No. 8 gold Aberdeen hooks.
Any day we should be getting word that the 5-pound, 12.8-ounce redear sunfish caught Feb. 16 by Hector Brito is a certified world record. The National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame’s current all-tackle redear record, caught by Amos Gay in South Carolina in 1998, stands at 5 pounds, 7 ounces. But world records aside …
Saguaro Lake is the hot spot in the state. Bass are in shallow, many are bedding, and they are big and hungry. Check out Andrew W.’s lunker (above), which he said was 9 pounds 11 ounces and was caught with a rubber worm close to the evening. Another angler sent a picture of a 7.2-pound largie to BFishing@AZGFD.gov (see his Angler’s Report below.)
In fact, fishing is excellent all around at Roosevelt, Bartlett, Canyon and Apache, so come on out. Bass finally have moved in shallow at Lake Pleasant, but a big cove may only yield one or two nests, said Bass Pro and semi-professional angler Gary Senft. Sounds like the striper fishing is pretty good at Pleasant, too.
Anglers also can check the winter trout stocking schedule -- we're into the final two weeks of the winter trout stockings.
Beginning the week of March 10, the following lakes are being stocked: (Flagstaff/Williams) Francis Short Pond, Oak Creek and West Clear Creek; (Verde Valley area) Dead Horse Lakes; (Prescott area) Fain Lake, Goldwater Lake, Lynx Lake; (Tucson, Safford area) Parker Canyon Lake.
Beginning March 17, we’re scheduled to stock the following: (Flagstaff, Williams) Ashurst Lake, Cataract Lake, Francis Short Pond, Kaibab Lake; (Verde Valley) Verde River, Clarkdale to Camp Verde; (Phoenix/Mesa) Lower Salt River; (Tucson, Safford) Cluff Pond, Dankworth Pond, Graham County Pond, Roper Lake.
Stockings have ended in the Colorado River/Yuma/Parker area, but look for Community Fishing Program stockings to hit the Yuma Ponds in April – stay tuned (or rigged and ready).
Spring also means Mr. Whiskers returns to the Community Fishing Program lakes March 21! Get ready for the catfish, too.
Also in the CFP scene, the Water Ranch Lake in Gilbert is proposed for catch-and-release only, and Sahuarita Lake repairs are complete, so stockings will resume. See all the details in a Special Edition to the CFP Bulletin.
A quick high-country update – in the Flagstaff area, the roads to Kinnikinick, Ashurst, Long Lake, Blue Ridge and Knoll are still closed.
Finally, don’t forget to check out the grand opening of Maricopa’s Copper Sky Recreation Complex Saturday, March 15. We’ll be there hosting a fishing clinic, and you won’t believe the amenities in this complex. See all the details.
If Maricopa is too far a drive, families will have fun at Bill Luke Bass Days Friday through Sunday at Pleasant Harbor Marina. A fishing tournament, live music and carnival rides await. Yes, once again, you can see all the details by clicking on this link.
OK, that’s all. Nab a license online, and have fun – it'll be hard not to.
Arizona Game & Fish Department Outdoor Expo is March 29-30
Admission and parking are free. Concessionaires will be on site if you would like to purchase food and beverages, plus vendors will be on site selling outdoor-related products.
The event runs 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 29 and 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday, March 30. The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is located at 4044 W. Black Canyon Blvd in Phoenix, which is about ½ mile west of I-17 on Carefree Hwy.
(Send your fishing reports and photos to Bfishing@AZGFD.gov.)
Desiree N. with a report from Silverbell Lake in Tucson: Great fishing conditions, went fishing four different days all over the lake, haven't caught a single fish, and haven't seen anybody else catch a fish! Great weather though.
What's your fish story? In the sixth segment of “Fish Stories” Garrett recalls how he learned to fish. It went something like this: Father's Day, 1997. Lots of fish in the boat ... but a rod in the water. He was 4 years old, and now fishes weekly. See more in our latest video segment of "Fish Stories," shot at Tempe's Kiwanis Lake!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
OK, onto the full report.
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 2,103 feet, 48-percent full. March 8 report from James Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods: Good morning, Rim Country Anglers. Good morning Rim Country Anglers. The talk among Rim Country anglers this past week was the rainfall and the impact it had to fishing on Roosevelt Lake. The lake level raised 1 percent and stands at 49-percent full this week.
The Salt River has doubled its flow rate from last week, going from 250 CFPS to 500 CFPS. The Tonto Creek made a huge jump from 10 CFPS to 1500 CFPS; however, as of today the Tonto is back down to 60 CFPS. The storm slowed the fishing for a couple of days and the ends of the lake are still very stained from the debris washing down.
But by Thursday good fishing reports were coming in again, and this morning (Friday, March 8), fishing is being called good to excellent. Spring time fishing on Roosevelt Lake is officially underway according to our local experts. Anglers reported success on the spider bait, spinner baits, jerk baits, crankbaits, Texas rig worms and the drop shot technique. The storm moved some fish into deeper water but the spawn is what is driving them now, so they will be back into shallow water this week. Also the next full moon will be on March 16, so the spawn should be well underway by the time we meet next week if the weather remains stable.
The next Gila County Roundtable meeting with AZGFD will be on March 27 at 6 p.m. in the Tonto Basin school. Mark your calendars and be sure to attend this meeting. AZGFD will share some significant steps they have taken to support Roosevelt Lake and the fishing community.
I'm sure a lot of Rim Country anglers have heard the Bill Luke Bass Days commercials this past week here on KMOG.
Bill Luke Bass Days will be March 14-16 at Pleasant Harbor Marina. This is the tournament where you can use live bait, so everyone has a good chance of winning hourly prizes. Check out the details and family activities at www.billlukebassdays.com.
Have a great week of fishing and I hope see you on the water.
COMMUNITY FISHING WATERS – See the latest Community Fishing Bulletin.
Report from James Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods: The trout lakes up on the Rim are getting better each week. Things slowed a little this past week with the storm, but if you're favorite trout lake is on the Rim, now is the time to get your fishing equipment checked out.
One more lake to discuss this week is Green Valley Lake here in Payson. The Community Fishing Stocking Program has ended, but there are still some very nice trout being caught. Power baits in a green and yellow color on a small treble hook, could make for a couple of fun fishing hours for the family.
LAKE PLEASANT – Gary Senft, a Bass Pro at the Mesa Bass Pro Shops, said bass are finally starting to pull into the shallows to spawn – but the spawners are few and far between. “If you pull into a cove, you might be able to find a couple nests,” he said.
Experienced tournament anglers have said that the most productive technique by far has been the dropshot. Senft said the best baits have been Roboworms, either a 4.5-inch in morning dawn to a 5.5-inch in ox blood. Senft would throw into trees in 7-8 feet of water and work it out to about 15 feet. Anglers can start fishing shallow, then work the secondary staging points. Some pre-spawning bass have been caught in 25-35 feet of water. No anglers Senft has spoke with have caught bass on any types of reaction baits, although a couple have been caught on swim baits.
Previously, the Arizona Fishing Guides sent in this report: The lake is still going strong this time of year. Look for birds and shad to find the stripers. The morning and late evenings seem to be the best this time of year and look for the activity to be in the back of all the major arms.
Previously, anglers have had decent success with stripers, and some white bass have moved into more shallow waters.
BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,759 feet, 51 % full.
Senft reported that bass fishing is very good. Bass are up in 5-10 feet of water – and they’re hungry. Anglers are catching them on a variety of lures and techniques. Texas rigs, dropshots, crankbaits, spinners and Senkos.
The Arizona Fishing Guides report: The lake is starting to show signs of spring fishing. We are starting to see good numbers of bigger-than-average Bartlett- size fish. You can catch them on reaction type of baits like cranks and spinner baits or slow down and fish in the 5-15 foot range with jigs and a drop shot.
SAGUARO LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,525 feet (93-percent full). The is one of the state’s hot spots. Some huge bass are being caught, and this week two anglers sent in pictures of lunkers weighing a tad more than 9 and 7 pounds, respectively. Senft said one angler reported catching 70 bass in one day, including several 6-7 pounders, using a dropshot rig. Some big bass have just moved into shallow waters – some from their 60-70 feet haunts.
Previously, from the Arizona Fishing Guides: Saguaro Lake can be described in three words: “HOLY BIG BASS!!” The fish are already feeling the need for the spawn and are moving into the shallow water. You can catch them sight fishing or just throwing a senko around the spawning flats.
The lake was stocked with rainbow trout beginning the week of Feb. 17. Senft said that the dropshot technique has produced the best largemouth bass bite, although some anglers had a bit of success on spoons jigged in deep water . The best bet was a Roboworm dropshot in morning dawn and various brown colors. Overall, fishing in slow and anglers must use a slow, winter presentation.
He suggests fishing a dropshot 80 percent of the time from 20-60 feet of water depth.
CANYON LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,657 feet (95-percent full). From the Arizona Fishing Guides: The lake just had its last trout stocking of the year, and the bass seem to know it. You can catch these big bruisers on trout swim baits and big jerk baits.
The last stocking was the week of Feb. 10. Canyon Lake is noted for its lunker bass, and with the stocked trout, anglers can target a doozy largie by throwing a swimbait imitation of the stocked rainbows. But angler run the chance is being skunked at this lake. The Arizona Fishing Guides’ report: Canyon Lake is one of the prettiest lakes we have in our state and the fish that have been coming out of there are just as pretty. Throw those big swim baits for the biggest bass in the lake. Also the dropshot should still entice some nice large mouth.
APACHE LAKE- Lake elevation is 1,909 feet (95-percent full). The Arizona Fishing Guides sent in the following report: The lake is really starting to turn on. We have had a few trips out there over the last 2 weeks and have had some great numbers of both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Inline spinners and jerk baits seem to be the ticket at this point.
The lake was stocked with trout the week of Monday, Feb. 3 – the last stocking of the winter. When the lake is being stocked with trout, swimbait imitations of the stocked trout can produce some trophy bass. The Arizona Fishing
Guides reported Apache Lake has some really nice smallmouth and largemouth bass being caught on big swimbaits, and finesse worms on the tougher days. Always be ready with that medium-diving crankbait this time of year.
TEMPE TOWN LAKE – The last trout stocking of the winter took place March 3. The lake was also stocked with rainbow trout for a week beginning Feb. 17, and have been stocked all winter long. At this point, you may find some larger holdovers as well as the stockers. Due to the warm weather and the shallow nature of this lake, action for warmwater fish such as largemouth bass and yellow bass should decent. Try fishing the shade lines of the bridges. Best fishing will typically be at first and last light.
You can try the usual methods for the rainbows (baits like Power Bait, night crawlers, mealworms or try spinners and spoons such as Panther Martins, KastMasters…) Remember no gas motors are allowed (electric trolling motors are) and you must have a boating permit, which can be obtained at the Town Lake operations center.
This is an excellent lake to learn how to bass fishing using simple rigs like plastic worms and lizards worked along the bottom. Cast out, let the plastic bait sink to the bottom, reel in any slack line to "make contact" with the bait, then lift up your rod tip (lifting the bait off the bottom), reel in a couple of times, then lower your rod tip and let the bait sink to the bottom again. The sport-fish will often hit when the bait is falling back to the bottom, so if your line moves sideways, set the hook.
LOWER SALT RIVER – The Lower Salt is being stocked until March 2.
Check out the stocking schedule and click on the Lower Salt River to see the stocking spots – all spots are stocked except Water Users.
HORSESHOE LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,004 feet, 53-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 fair to good at Luna Lake, Nelson Reservoir, Show Low Lake, Black Canyon Lake, and Willow Springs Lake. Catch and release fishing with artificial lure and fly is good at Becker Lake.
Trout Stocking Schedule
The trout stocking season will begin in the first week of April.
MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
Note: The Rim Road (Forest Road 300) is still closed for the winter, but is scheduled to open on April 15.
BEAR CANYON LAKE – Forest Road 300 is still closed for the winter.
BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. Anglers have been catching hold-over trout on semi seal leeches and hare’s ear nymphs. The lake is ice-free. Forest Roads 300 and 86 to the lake are open. The lake is down about 9 feet and launching a boat is difficult.
CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake is ice-free. Access to the lake from the south (Forest Road 300) is still closed for the winter. Access from the north is open.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. Anglers have been catching a few trout during the late afternoon hours. The lake is ice-free. Forest Road 149 to the lake is open.
WOODS CANYON LAKE – Forest Road 300 and 105 are still closed for the winter. The Woods Canyon Lake store and campgrounds are closed.
WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES
Note: State Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter, but are scheduled to open on April 15.
BECKER LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake is ice-free. Spawning trout are cruising the shallows on the north side near the boat ramp. Anglers are catching large rainbows on egg patterns (several colors have been successful), midge nymphs, and some dry flies (use a hopper or other large dry fly as an indicator). 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 – Fishing is fair. Anglers are catching big rainbows and cutthroat trout in relatively shallow water on lures and brown streamers. The lake is ice-free. State Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter, but anglers are finding their way to the lake on Forest roads from Alpine.
CARNERO LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair. The lake is ice-free. Forest Roads 117 and 117A are open to the lake.
CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair for sunfish and bullheads. The lake is ice-free.
CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free.
CRESCENT LAKE – The lake is ice-free. State Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter.
FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair for holdover trout and bass. The lake is ice-free.
GREER LAKES – Fishing is fair for carry-over rainbows and wild brown trout. All three of the Greer lakes (River, Tunnel, Bunch) are full and ice-free. One angler reported good catches at Bunch on brown semi seal in about 6-10 feet of water (relatively close to the shoreline).
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-free. State Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter.
LUNA LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. The lake is ice-free. Anglers have been catching some trout in the 15-18 inch range.
LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is still closed for the winter, but is scheduled to open to day-use on May 3.
NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair to good. The lake is ice-free.
RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is good for northern pike, but poor for trout. Anglers have been catching pike up to 30” on lures. The lake is ice-free, full, and spilling. Rainbow Lake has been stocked with white Amur (grass carp) under a special permit to address the nuisance weed problems in the lake. The current bag limit for grass carp is 1 fish/day with a minimum size of 30”, but all the carp are smaller than this and must be released.
SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free.
SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for trout and walleye. The lake is ice-free. Shore and boat anglers have been catching 14-15 inch rainbow trout on night crawlers and PowerBait. The concession and boat rental store is still closed, but scheduled to open on May 1.
WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free.
WHITE MOUNTAINS STREAMS
Note: State Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter and are scheduled to open on April 15.
EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is fair for wild brown trout. State Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.
WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is poor for wild brown trout. State Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.
LITTLE COLORADO RIVER in GREER – Fishing is poor to fair for wild brown trout. The flows are moderate and a little discolored. The flows in the late afternoon have been twice as much as the flow in the morning due to snowmelt in the afternoon. State Highway 373 to Greer is open.
SHEEPS CROSSING – State Highway 273 is still closed for the winter.
SHOW LOW CREEK – Fishing is poor.
SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair. Try white bead-headed wooly buggers, orange wooly buggers, brown or olive simi seal leeches, bead-headed prince nymphs, or a shammy worm. Silver Creek is currently (October 1 through March 30) open to artificial lures and flies only, and single barbless hooks (the “single” part of the regulation is new as of January 1, 2014; no treble hooks are allowed), and catch-and-release fishing only. No bait fishing is allowed during this catch-and-release season. Please remember to practice good catch-and-release techniques to help maintain the fishery during this season by playing the fish quickly, keeping the fish in the water as much as possible (don’t lay them on the bank), and revive the fish carefully when releasing them.
LAKE POWELL AND LEES FERRY
LEES FERRY – Feb. 10 report from Lees Ferry Anglers:
The weather has been really great here at the Ferry. With the longer days and more sunlight on the water the fishing is improving every day.
The flows this month are a low of 8,000 cfs and a high of 14,000 cfs.
This lower flow rate has also helped the fishing improve from January.
The spawn is in full swing so Glo Bugs are working most places. Dry droppers have been working with some fish taking the dry in the scum lines in the back eddies. Deep nymph rigs have been working well drifting in the boat. Streamers have also been working in the faster water areas. When looking for good fishing areas look for places that are getting at least some sunlight during the day…these areas are holding lots of fish. The rating for the up- river fishing would be a ‘7’ this week.
Spin Fishing Up River
Spin fishing has been working well the last couple of weeks. Most fishermen are drifting Glo Bugs and getting good numbers of fish. KastMasters and Panther Martins have also been working well at times.
When looking for areas to spin fish look for a seam where fast water meets the slower water and jig the lure through the transition water.
The rating for spin fishing up river for this week would be a ‘7’.
Walk In Area
The walk-in area has not been fishing well at all due to a lack of sunshine. There has been very little food so the fishing has been not productive at all. We are expecting the fishing to improve as we get more sunshine and the lower flows should also help. Fishing above the boat launch area has been much more productive the last few weeks. If you are coming up please give the shop a call and we will give you a current update. The rating for the walk in for this week would be a ‘2.’
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.
LAKE MEAD – The elevation has started to drop again to the present elevation of 1107.7 feet above msl. Be careful boating because of fluctuating water levels and watch for floating debris dislodged from rising water levels. There seems to be an abundance of shad currently which may be the reason for the lack of bite. Cut anchovies are still the bait of choice for stripers. Check the moon phases before you go –last new moon was March 1. The next new moon will be March 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 stayed around 642 feet above msl. Reports are that smallmouth and largemouth are hitting on the lake but that stripers are much harder to find. Last report had dark colored plastic worms working on the shelves in the coves for black bass. Louis, an avid smallmouth fisherman, made his first trip of the season and hooked up six smallies in the 2½-3 lbs. range and lost 3 others at the boat. He said most were females with eggs. Christian, a local angler, landed 4.27 lbs. channel catfish from the fishing dock at Katherine’s Landing using anchovies.
Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon will be March 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – Trout fishing will continue to dwindle without stocking although some holdovers will continue to be caught occasionally. Tout are still being caught occasionally in the Big Bend area and are reported to be in the 2-4 pound range. Most folks are seeing some trout but not hooking up with any. The good news is that the striper bite is on. Blain caught a 13.6 lbs., 33⅞ inches using anchovies in the upper end of Big Bend area. Rex caught his 13.4 lbs. and 33¾ inches above the Community Park in old Bullhead.
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. 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 email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
TOPOCK GORGE- Reports of catfish and some stripers are being taken in the Gorge but the bite is slow.
TOPOCK MARSH – AZGFD completed our annual survey last week and found channel catfish the most abundant sport fish with the largest we caught at just over 10 lbs. Several fishermen caught some healthy largemouth bass which means the marsh is warming up a bit. The bluegills are not active yet but there should be some crappie action if you can find the right spot.
If you notice illegal activities please call the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-352-0700 or online at www.azgfd.gov/thief. Please refer to our regulations booklet on how to be a good witness.
You can access the marsh by boat at the North Dike, Catfish Paradise, and Five-Mile Landing. All three also provide plenty of area for shoreline fishing too. For more information on the marsh, contact the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge at (760) 326-3853 or go to http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/havasu/index.html.
DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Trout stocking has resumed at Deadhorse. The last stocking was the week of Feb. 17. The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be the week of March 10.
VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – Always check your regulations before fishing this area with live bait. Game and Fish Commission Rule requires anglers to only use live bait that has been caught in the river. No transporting of live baitfish or crayfish is allowed.
Stocking has resumed on the river. The last stocking was the week of Feb. 24. The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be the week of March 3.
FAIN LAKE — Trout stocking has resumed at Fain Lake. Fain was stocked the week Feb. 3. The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be the week of March 10.
The cooler temps have helped the trout bite. Nick sent a report of catching 4 nice trout on rainbow colored Powerbait on the bottom. The bite started around ten but no one else were landing fish or getting bites. That goes to show you that bring a variety of baits and one isn’t working try another.
GOLDWATER LAKE — Report are that some trout are being caught but it can be hit and miss. I haven’t received a recent report from Goldwater. The last stocking was the week of Feb. 24. The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be the week of March 10.
If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
GRANITE BASIN LAKE – The Lake is now open. Chad reported that he took his family on the 16th and they threw a drop shot for a while with no success and then switched to spinnerbaits and did entice 2 decent largemouths. Bluegills are usually pretty easy to catch at this lake and are great for kids to have fun. If you fish Granite Basin Lake and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
LYNX LAKE –The last scheduled trout stocking was the week of Feb. 3. The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be the week of March 10.
Reports are that the lake level is extremely low, so be careful if you venture to the lake. The fishing dock was removed due to the low water levels but shore access is basically unlimited.
Cut anchovies, night crawlers or hot dog are your best bet for catfish. Lynx also can be an exciting place to fish for carp. Common carp are very strong fighters and will provide an excellent table fair. A quick search on the internet will produce tasty recipes for these robust fish. Corn and an assortment of other baits will attract these fish. Lynx can be difficult to fish, if you are not catching anything try moving to a new spot. There are some good spots on the north end of the lake that don’t get fished as heavily as the south end does.
MINGUS LAKE – The last stocking was the week of Oct. 21. For trout the best bait is usually orange, pink, or white Power Bait, fished on the bottom with a treble hook and an egg sinker. Fishing can be really good at times, because angler use is lower than other lakes in the area.
Yellow bullhead catfish are active and easy to catch with nightcrawlers on the bottom.
This lake is more remote than the other Prescott area lakes and not very big. The lake is open as weather permits.
Forest Road 104 is relatively impassable when wet. The lake is still open to foot traffic.
Someone illegally stocked yellow bullhead into Mingus several years ago. These fish compete directly with the trout and keep growth rates very low. If you witness anyone, anywhere, moving fish like bass, bluegill, catfish and stocking them, please report it to our Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-352-0700. Illegal stockings cost YOU money!
WATSON – Trout were last stocked the week of Feb. 3. Trout are still being caught and they are nice size. Brian S. saw some bass building nests by the dock and he threw a watermelon green jig and got a hard hit from a 2-3 lbs. largemouth bass but couldn’t land it. He moved about 15 feet and caught a 1-2 lbs. largemouth. He ended up with 1 bass and 2 trout which he released all the fish because his family doesn’t eat fish. He loves the topwater action in the summer.
If you fish Watson and are having luck, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
ALAMO LAKE – March 10 report from Mark Knapp, Park Ranger at Alamo Lake State Park:
Well folks, I’m happy to say things are starting to pick up. Anglers are starting to pick up 5-10 crappie a day. Others are only catching 1-2 and give it a thumbs down. It depends on how you fish it.
Since we did not get any winter rains and the temperatures have been staying in the 80s the fish are already staging to spawn. This means instead of trolling around in 25 feet of water you need to start working the banks. I have had a blast throwing a 1/8-once jig with a white skirt right up onto the bank and slowly work the bait back to the boat. I’ve been catching both bass and crappie. I was going through one of the journals I kept over the years and everything is about three weeks early.
Although I’m doing well throwing a jig, other anglers are picking up some nice sized bass throwing training wheels. (crank baits/spinner baits). I would go with a white or chartreuse color this time of year.
Anglers who are still trolling with minnows have said there picking up more catfish than bass. I have seen a lot of shore fishermen but no one has stopped by and let me know how they’re doing. I think you could you could do alright with everything moving into pre-spawn mode.
OK, a few more things. Snakes are out. Remember, kick it before you pick it up and if it rattles, run. If you do find a snake in the park, please get one of the rangers. We will gladly remove it.
It’s the time of year where you need sunblock and bug spray. For the next few weeks spring break is on so make sure to make a reservation before coming out. You can go to our Arizona State Parks home page and it will walk you through it. Or you can call our reservation center at 520-586-2283.
I’m happy to say you can still launch at Cholla. You’re in the mud but it’s still working. The ramp down by the old rental boats road is working great. Please remember to park out of the way of the ramp so others can launch there, too. The water temp is in the 60s in the back of coves. We have been getting the crap beat out of us with winds. They’re calling for more of it this week. Make sure you have a life jacket on, or at least handy. I have been wearing mine. I fish in the wind and have almost fallen out of the boat twice. Hypothermia can kick in a matter of minutes so having a set of extra clothes on board is very useful. I always carry a set of sweats. They have come in handy more than once.
The lake level is about 1091ish with releases of 25 cfs. I don’t have any news about the CORE working on the bulk head. As far as I know they’re not planning on doing anything at this time. I cannot stress enough this is not the same lake it was last year. There’s all kind of stuff popping up.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is doing an excellent job of trying to mark hazards as they’re reported, or we find them. I don’t even go full blast across the lake anymore.
So, that’s it. If you can fish in the wind in and throw shallow you will catch fish. Or should anyway! It’s that time of year where I get bounced around like a pingpong ball so if you don’t hear from me, there’s a reason for it. I will get reports out as soon as I can. -- Mark
LAKE HAVASU – Anglers are having banner days on the bedding smallmouth bass. Crappie and largemouth bass will follow with their egg protecting endeavors. Smallmouth beds after the rains a week ago went from being in 3 feet of water to about 8.
Big redear are holding primarily over deep grass beds in 20-30 feet of water at Havasu. Many anglers are using nightcrawlers with dropshots on No. 8 gold Aberdeen hooks.
A pending world record, 5.80-pound redear sunfish was caught Sunday, Feb. 16 by the chalk cliffs on a No. 8 Aberdeen hook and a nightcrawler using a dropshot rig.
PARKER STRIP - Falling overnight temperatures should start slowing the catfish bite down. The strip is home to both Flatheads and more commonly channel catfish. Channels cats can be found throughout the strip but are typically in the areas with shoreline vegetation. A variety of stink baits can be productive as are goldfish or small bluegills for both species of catfish. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are also found up and down the river. Many anglers have switched to sight fishing as water clarity has significantly increased since the introduction of the aquatic invasive quagga mussel.
Boaters are reminded to clean drain and dry their watercraft before taking them to another body of water.
No new reports. Mittry Lake offers many fishing opportunities. There are ten man-made jetties on the eastern shore for shoreline anglers, but the lake is most effectively fished by boat. There is a good concrete boat launch near the southern end of the lake, with a courtesy mooring dock. There is also a more primitive gravel ramp toward the northern end of the lake. There are restrooms and trash facilities at the main boat ramp, which also sports a large Ramada for public gatherings.
Mittry Lake can be a bit frustrating at times, especially for bass fishermen. There are plenty of bass in the lake, with a few in the eight to ten pound range, occasionally larger. However, the bass are sometimes finicky, and it can be challenging to bring any in on some days. Other days, the bite can be wide open. Windy or changing weather often brings on the bite. Techniques for bass fishing vary widely. When fishing for bass in the cooler months, and bass are less active, fish deeper water with jigs, swimbaits, or plastics using a slow retrieve. As the water warms up in the spring and summer, bass become more active and move to shallower water.
During that time most people use plastics, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, or crankbaits with a faster retrieve. Plastic baits resembling worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards can also work well. For best results fish around structure such as weed beds, emergent vegetation or where shoreline brush edges the water.
YUMA AREA PONDS – Four Yuma-area waters in April will join the Community Fishing Program waters: West Wetlands Pond, Council Avenue Pond (in Somerton), Fortuna Lake and Redondo Lake. These ponds will continue to receive winter trout stockings, but will now receive catfish stockings in April, June (including bluegill), and October.
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.
Road access update: The roads to Kinnikinick, Ashurst, Long Lake, Blue Ridge and Knoll are still closed.
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.
UPPER LAKE MARY — Campground is closed. There have been two independent reports of decent walleye fishing. Unseasonably warm weather and warmer water temperatures along with sunny days have likely allowed baitfish and predators to become active again. Both shoreline and boat fishing with worms have been effective. Trolling worm harnesses slowly along the bottom is usually the most effective means to collect these wonderful fish. Be mindful of the Mercury warning for these fish in this Lake.
LOWER LAKE MARY — The lake is pretty weedy and no one has been fishing it.
ASHURST LAKE — Campground is closed. No recent reports. One angler caught a Big Fish of the Year nominee pike.
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 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 new interactive Fish and Boat Map: Fish and Boat Arizona.
Parker Canyon Lake is being stocked with rainbow trout until March 17.
Beginning the week of March 17, we’re scheduled to stock Cluff Pond, Dankworth Pond, Graham County Pond, Roper Lake.
ARIVACA — The boat ramp and vehicular access to the lake shore will not be available until construction is completed
on the ramp and other facilities. Beginning March 3, the Arizona Game and Fish Department began these renovations of the Arivaca Lake property. The work is anticipated to last throughout March, with the newly renovated facility being re-opened in early April.
During the construction period, the boat ramp will be closed to vehicular access. Improvements will include a new boat ramp and boat courtesy dock, along with new sidewalks and boat trailer parking spaces designed to provide barrier-free access to the new features. The existing restroom and parking area will remain open to the public throughout the construction period, and the lake shore will remain open to pedestrian access on unimproved trails. No vehicular access directly to the lake shore will be available until the construction is completed.
Anglers have been catching a few largemouth bass lately using jigs. Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive.
ROSE CANYON LAKE — Anglers have reported catching trout, rainbows (4-8 inches) and browns (6 inches). Small flies are having the most luck lately with the most luck in the early morning and dusk. The lake is now closed to vehicle access for the winter. Anglers are still permitted to walk into the lake from the parking lot on the main road.
PATAGONIA — The lake was stocked with rainbow trout for one week beginning Feb. 24. Winter trout stocking is in full swing and the stocking schedule can be seen at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml.
Patagonia Lake can be an excellent lake in March for over-sized largemouth bass. Due to its lower elevation, it warms up sooner than other southern waters such as Parker Canyon and Pena Blanca, and so becomes a great early spring option for experienced anglers. But anglers will have to be adept at flipping into thick cattails where these big bass tend to hang out. A newbie to Patagonia can easily be skunked, but with patience and a willingness to learn and adjust, he or she can reap the benefits of these nutrient-rich waters with excellent forage like shad, bluegill and crayfish that makes Patagonia’s bass fishing good.
CLUFF RANCH — Winter trout stocking is in full swing and the stocking schedule can be seen at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml. The pond is full and there should be no problems with boat launching. Visitors are reminded that it is illegal to obstruct the use of the boat ramp by anglers trying to launch the boats. No parking, standing, sitting, swimming or fishing is allowed on the boat ramp. For lake information call (928) 485-9430.
FRYE MESA RESERVIOR – On June 4th 300 catchable Gila trout were stocked into the reservoir. Anglers have reported success at catching Gila trout since the stocking. Remember that the daily bag and possession limit for Gila trout is 1 fish. Frye Creek above the reservoir remains closed to fishing.
PARKER CANYON —Anglers are reporting catching only a few trout at the lake, with the most success using power bait. Winter stocking is in full swing and the stocking schedule can be viewed at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml .
PENA BLANCA – Anglers have reported catching largemouth bass. Winter trout stocking is in full swing and the trout stocking schedule can be seen at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml . Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive. Additionally all mercury advisories against the eating of warmwater fish caught at Pena Blanca Lake remains in effect. Future testing will determine if and when these advisories will be lifted. Boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.
RIGGS FLAT — Currently the lake is open. No future stocking are scheduled at this time due to poor water quality.
ROPER LAKE — The lake is open to the public. Winter trout stocking is in full swing and the stocking schedule can be seen at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml . For lake information (928) 428-6760.