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Fishing Report – Sept. 19, 2013

Posted in: Fishing Report
Sep 19, 2013
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Nick is on leave this week, but we’ve got a few fishing updates for you.

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The Arizona Game and Fish Commission approved 12 amendments to Commission Order 40 (the fishing regulations) at its Sept. 7 meeting in Show Low. The changes will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014. Read a summary of the amendments.

The Silver Creek seasonal trout fishery near Show Low opens up Oct. 1. The catch-and-release season runs from Oct. 1 through March 31. Trout from this fishery must be immediately released unharmed -- no trout may be kept. It is artificial fly and lure only with single, barbless hooks. Silver Creek is spring fed and stays at a constant temperature. Because it is not subject to freezing, it provides anglers ideal wintertime, high-country trout stream angling. It is located five miles east of Show Low on U.S. Route 60. Turn north off Highway 60 onto Bourdon Ranch Road for five miles to Hatchery Road. Then head eat on Hatchery Road 1 mile to the Silver Creek Hatchery, park in the parking lot, and follow the signs to the creek.

Lake Powell is a great place to go this time of year. Be sure to read the new report in the Lake Powell section, courtesy of Wayne Gustaveson, which includes a story about angler Roger Hensler’s 32.5-pound striper. 

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Catfish stockings in the Phoenix and Tucson Urban Fishing Program waters are resuming this week. The fall catfish stockings represent the “second half” of the spring/fall catfish delivery season that included a two-month summer “halftime” break from stockings. Nearly 7 tons of catfish will be transported by our fish contractor from Arkansas in specially designed hauling trucks. The farm-raised catfish have had a good summer growing season and most fish should be close to two pounds. Lakes will be stocked at rates of 38-85 catfish per acre every two weeks through early November. Trout stockings at Green Valley Lakes in Payson are anticipated to resume on Oct. 19.

If you are heading up to fish the streams in the White Mountains area, please be aware that recent monsoon rains were causing high-flow conditions in some streams. Use caution when crossing a stream.

A new fishing and hunting license structure and fees will go into effect in 2014. The new licenses will be available for purchase beginning Jan. 1, 2014. The new fishing license includes bundled privileges. For more information, visit www.azgfd.gov/LicenseSimplification.

 

ANGLERS' REPORTS

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(Send your fishing reports and photos to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.)

Chad sent a picture of his son’s first sunfish: Zahkcory caught his first sunfish at Evelyn pond about four weeks ago and has been fishing almost weekend since. Great job, son.
 
Jo S. of Phoenix brought home dinner during a Sept. 6-9 trip to Ashurst Lake: My son and I spent Sept. 6-9 at Ashurst Lake. On Friday, we were next to a couple who had been fishing catch-and-release all day, getting about one trout per hour, which they thought was quite slow. They ended up giving us their last trout, which measured just less than 14 inches. Then 45 minutes later, I caught one that was a bit larger, just over 14 inches.

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We cooked both that evening but could only eat one -- these guys were big! The next day, we didn’t catch anything in the morning. Then the rains set in and fishing was done. Both the other fellow and I were fishing with an egg sinker rig, using rainbow PowerBait on a size No. 12 treble hook. My son tried fishing with a bobber and PowerBait or worms, to no success.

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Steve A. sent us a story and photos from his children catching rainbow trout for the first time: We fished at Willow Springs Lake using worms over Labor Day weekend, and the kids were catching trout averaging from 10-15 inches. They had so much fun and asked if you could possibly post the photos (see at right and in the Willow Spring entry later in this report). Thank you kindly for your time and the amazing job you all do. Amazing memories.

Speaking of Willow Springs, Mike M. reports: We had a great day on Sept. 14. Caught our limit in about 2 hours trolling baby bells with a crawler from kayaks. Very slow troll, almost a drift. (Photo from their trip is up near the top of this report).

Jeff B. of Marana visited Rose Canyon Lake on Sept. 13: I got several bites on Kastmasters, but the best technique was red salmon eggs about 3 feet under a bobber. I caught 3 that way but they were very small. I know they are supposed to be "catchable" size but I have used anchovies for bait deep sea fishing that were bigger than these trout. I was hoping to catch some at least big enough to make it worth smoking but these fish were so small they had trouble getting a #16 treble hook in their mouths. I hope some larger ones are stocked soon.

 

CENTRAL WATERS

Note: If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to our "Been Fishing" site at BFishing@azgfd.gov.

Updated reports:

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,098 feet, 45-percent full. Sept. 13 report from James Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods. Congratulations to Payson's professional bassmaster Elite angler, Clifford Pirch. Clifford fished the WON U.S. Open on Lake Mead this past week and finished in second place by less than 1 pound. This was Clifford's third, second place finish to go with his two championship wins at the U.S Open. From all of us, congratulations Clifford.

The water level in Roosevelt Lake this week increased 1% due to the heavy monsoon rains last week. Currently the lake stands at 45% full. The Salt River is flowing at over 2000 CFPS which is over 700% of its rate for this time of year while the Tonto Creek flow increased to 50 CFPS this past week. Fresh water coming into the lake, and the nutrients this water brings, are essential to the improving the fishery. The water temperature is continuing to drop and is in the low 80’s in the morning, increasing to the mid 80’s in the afternoon. So, if you're one of those Roosevelt Lake fall season anglers we've been talking about for the past few weeks, who likes to spend 10 hours plus on the water, your time is officially here.

Bass fishing activity continued to improve this past week. Overall, fishing was called good. The crankbaits we've been talking about continue to catch good numbers around main lake points, in 20-30 ft water. Some topwater activity was again reported this past week, so always keep a topwater bait ready to cast. Soft plastic swimbaits and topwater baits such as a Rio Rico or Baby Zara Spook were reported successful. As the sun gets higher and the water gets flatter, most anglers switch to a drop shot or Carolina rig techniques during the hottest times of the day. I received one report that a Senko worm rigged Texas style was working very well just before dark off main lake points. A hot spot reported was off Bass Point.

Several of the trout stockings in our local streams have ended while others will continue through this month. Visit www.azgfd.gov to get the latest stocking information and reports for your favorite Rim country lake or stream.

The Crappie bite was called fair again this past week. Some success continues to be reported fishing in brush that is in 25-30 feet of water. A small 2-inch grub tail bait on the 1/16 or 1/8 oz. jig head is an excellent summertime bait for crappie, and live minnows always work well. The black, blue and chartreuse color and a John Deere, which is a green and yellow color, were reported successful.
       
Have a great week of fishing and I hope see you on the water.

Previous reports:

URBAN WATERS – See the latest Urban Fishing Bulletin here.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Anglers are catching glass carp, largemouth bass, crappie and even some rainbow trout. The best bite has been in the early morning. Top baits have been salmon eggs and worms (worms being the best), fished not far from the shoreline.

LAKE PLEASANT - Brian Senick of the Hook-Up Outfitters said the striper bite has been consistent. The key is getting on the water for striper boils at first light -- if you have lights, try being on the water just before first light, which has been at about 5:10 a.m. Throw topwater lures, jerkbaits or flies. Anglers had been catching dinks, but now are getting into some decent 14- to 18-inch stripers. Once the sun comes up, fish cut anchovies in 40-60 feet of water for stripers and, for a hit-and-miss largemouth bass bite, go to dropshots and Texas-rigged plastic worms. The top-water striper bite should continue to improve until the first cold snap.

SAGUARO LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,526 feet (95 percent full). Gary Senft, a fishing pro at Bass Pro Shops, said Saguaro is a hot spot for big bass, and many anglers are having success with 4.5-inch dropshot Roboworms in red crawler and morning dawn with a chartreuse tip. Target humps, points and boulders, as well as reef signs and grass. Previously, Skyler Clark, the Mesa Sportsman’s Warehouse fishing manager, said he had been receiving more reports of fish chasing shad in the mornings by no-wake buoys -- many boaters have been targeting these pods of bait, so you may have to deal with heavy boat traffic. Try spoons such as KastMasters as well, which are effective, but Clark said many anglers have not reported using. Spoons work well this time of year when fish are keying on shad. Still, the most consistent bite has been off dropshots, but not over grass, as had been the case in early summer. Fish apparently took quite a pounding in those areas.

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – Reports indicate the river is excellent for suckers, but not so much for trout. Try night crawlers, small spinners, KastMasters and flies in this unique desert river trout fishery. You might be able to catch some bass or sunfish in the deeper holes. Good time for tubing the Salt -- take along a fishing rod.

BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,796 feet, 98 % full. Water temperatures range from 80 to high 80s. Recent report was that night fishing is fair. Football head jigs, Texas-rigged 7-inch worms in black, and other large-profiled baits should produce fish. It’s definitely not uncommon to catch flatheads at night while fishing for bass.

CANYON LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,659 feet (97-percent full). Action has slowed in general as a once great cliff-wall bite with dropshots has slowed considerably. Canyon is still giving up bigger fish than at Saguaro, with a lot of 5-10-pound largemouth bass being caught. Don’t forget that the summer-to-fall transition in September can produce some of the best night fishing of the year.

HORSESHOE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,951 feet, 0-percent full.

APACHE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,907 feet (92 percent full). Water temperature 80-81 degrees. On a recent trip, pro Gary Senft reported that in the first four hours, fishing was poor throwing crankbaits, spinner baits, top-water lures and even frogs. But from 9:30 a.m. to noon, a dropshot-rigged Roboworm produced a dozen largemouth bass from 1-3.5 pounds. Shad balls at Apache (and Roosevelt) averaged to be in 15-30 feet of water depth. Apache has been good for high numbers of bass lately, but Canyon and Saguaro have reportedly been better for size. Try working the major points using soft plastic crayfish like lures worked along the bottom. Crankbaits can also work well at times. You might catch a few good-sized smallies -- please practice catch-and-release on these fish, which are in the comeback mode. Walleye fishing should be decent at first and last light using night crawler rigs, or jigs tipped with worms. Apache is also full of some really nice yellow bass. Try gold KastMasters or yellow/gold Rooster Tails. Catfishing should be good.

CREEKS BELOW THE MOGOLLON RIM – One angler reported that Pautzke eggs (two on a No. 12 hook) continue worked great fishing the ripples. Tonto Creek and the East Verde River are great bets. Tonto Creek is due to be stocked this week. When fishing these creeks, it’s not necessary to bring too much tackle. Fish with grubs or grasshoppers if you can find them and float them through the ripples with no weights on a small hook (No. 10 or 12) and light lines (around 6-pound test: fluorocarbon if you can afford it).

 

WHITE MOUNTAINS AND RIM LAKES

Updated reports:

Recommended Waters to Fish:
Fishing is good at Silver Creek, Woods Canyon Lake and Willow Springs Lake. 

Trout Stocking Schedule:

Week of September 9-13
Bear Canyon Lake - 306 rainbow trout
Willow Springs Lake - 1,404 rainbow trout
Woods Canyon Lake - 2,500 rainbow trout
Silver Creek - 1,000 Apache trout

Week of September 16-20
Bear Canyon Lake - 275 rainbow trout
Willow Springs Lake - 1,500 rainbow trout
Silver Creek - 500 Apache trout

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES:

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BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. The lake will be stocked this week with rainbow trout.

BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair for trout. Anglers have been catching a few rainbow trout and bass. Sunfish are numerous in the shallows. They can be easily caught with a small hook and nightcrawler. The water level is low, and launching trailered boats will be difficult.

CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair.

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WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake will be stocked this week with rainbow trout.

WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake will be stocked this week with rainbow trout. The store is open, and boat rentals are available.

WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES:

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair. During mid-day, fish deep with an indicator rig with a chironomid or egg-sucking leech. There is some surface action in the evenings. Water temperatures are still warm, so please play and release the fish quickly without taking them from the water to minimize stress and reduce mortalities. Try not to keep them at the surface too long, as that is where the warmest water is located. Becker Lake is open to catch-and-release fishing, with artificial fly and lure only, and single barbless hooks only.

BIG LAKE – Fishing is fair. The algae bloom is slowly disappearing. Water temperatures are still a little warm, so continue to fish deep. The best action has been in early morning and late evening with nightcrawlers and PowerBait. Shore anglers should try fishing off outer rocky points adjacent to deep water. The store is open, and boat rentals are available. The lake level is somewhat low, but boat ramps near the store and at South Cove are accessible. The boat ramp at Railroad Cove is very low, and launching trailered boats here will be difficult.

CARNERO LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is very weedy.

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor for trout, but fair to good for bullheads, bass and catfish. Boats can be launched at the official boat ramp, but will have difficulty reaching the canyon above the highway bridge due to shallow water and vegetation.

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is very low and weedy.
 
CRESCENT LAKE – Fishing is fair. Anglers have been catching some rainbow trout on PowerBait and nightcrawlers. The store is closed. Access to the boat ramps on the west and south sides is good.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair. Anglers are catching catfish at night on worms and prepared catfish baits. Sunfish are numerous around the fishing piers. Use a very small hook and a tiny piece of worm to catch sunfish. Boat anglers are catching smallmouth bass on lures around the dam area.  

GREER LAKES – The water level at River Reservoir has come up dramatically in the last several weeks and is almost full. Boats can now be launched at the boat ramp. However, the water is turbid due to high flows coming into the lake, and fishing may be slow. Bunch and Tunnel reservoirs are still very low, and fishing is poor to fair. The fill season starts this week, so lake levels at Bunch and Tunnel should come up slowly.

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.

LEE VALLEY LAKE – Fishing is poor. The pH is high. There is a strong algae bloom on the lake. The lake is still low, and launching a trailered boat is difficult.
  
LUNA LAKE – Fishing is fair. Some anglers are catching trout on PowerBait, lures and flies in the early morning and late evening hours. The lake is full and spilling.

LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is open to overnight camping, which will be allowed through November 4. Fishing is poor for bass and fair to good for catfish. 

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor to fair. The lake is turbid and spilling heavily due to heavy monsoon flooding into the lake. Use bait (PowerBait or nightcrawlers) instead of lures since the water is turbid. From September 1 through March 31, the bag limits on trout at Nelson are unlimited; it will change back to six trout limit on April 1.

RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor for trout and fair for catfish and bullheads. Weed conditions at Rainbow Lake are much improved over what they normally are this time of year. White Amur (grass carp) were stocked into the lake under a special permit to control the nuisance aquatic weeds. Please release these fish if incidentally caught so they can do their job at eating weeds. The water level is good, up from where it was in mid-summer, which helps when launching and operating boats in the lake.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor to fair for trout. Try catfishing at night with worms, chicken livers and prepared baits. The water is turbid, but the lake level is good.

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair for trout. Anglers are catching some catfish on chicken livers and prepared baits, and some bass on lures. Fishing for large walleye with large crankbaits at night should be picking up soon. The concession store is open, and boat rentals are available.

WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is poor for trout, but fair for bass and catfish. The lake is weedy around the shoreline areas.

WHITE MOUNTAINS STREAMS:

Note: Heavy monsoon rains are causing high flow conditions in many streams across the Forest. Use caution when camping near or crossing a stream.

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is poor to fair. The river is flowing high and muddy from heavy monsoon rains. The stocking season has ended for the year.

WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing poor to fair. The river is flowing high and muddy from heavy monsoon rains. The stocking season has ended for the year. Vehicle access to the West Fork Campground will remain closed through this year.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER in GREER – Fishing is poor to fair. The stream is flowing high and muddy from heavy monsoon rains. The stocking season has ended for the year.

SHEEPS CROSSING – Fishing is fair to good. The stream is running high due to heavy monsoon rains, but is still fairly clear. The stocking season has ended for the year.

SHOW LOW CREEK – Fishing is poor in the large pool below the dam. The stream was last stocked in late August, which was the last stocking scheduled for the year.

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is good. The flows are still moderately high and a little turbid, but have come down from the high flows that occurred in August. Silver creek will be stocked this week with Apache trout. The stream is open to general fishing regulations (bait, lures and flies are legal, with a six-fish daily bag limit) through September 30, then it changes to the catch-and-release season on October 1. The upper section is closed to angling during the general regulation season. 

 

LAKE POWELL AND LEES FERRY

Updated reports:

LAKE POWELL - Sept. 17 report from Wayne Gustaveson at www.wayneswords.com. Lake elevation: 3,591 feet. Water temperature: 76-80 F.

Two big events happened this week. First, big runoff from recent storms actually allowed the lake to rise 2 feet during the current drought. Second, the biggest striper of the year was caught.   

Record rainfall caused the lake to go up as water from floods in Colorado came downstream and rain over Lake Powell helped the lake level increase. The immediate impact of water level increase may prevent the public launch ramp at Antelope Point from closing. The ramp will likely stay open for an extra week but be careful when launching as only 2 launch lanes remain open due to low water.    

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The other big event happened when Roger Hensler, from Scottsdale AZ, left camp in Balanced Rock Canyon and began trolling a blue and chrome rattletrap across the main channel heading toward Mountain Sheep Canyon. Here is his story in his own words.

“Saturday morning, still dark and my buddy Scott had the coffee going. We unwrapped some homemade rhubarb bread my wife made. As usual Scott was anxious to get to fishing. This was our last day of fishing before heading back to Scottsdale. I always like to troll for stripers, so I was in the back of the boat on the fishing seat. I was letting out the 50-lb. supper braid from my quantum sixty spinning reel. In the past I have caught salmon in Alaska and blue fin tuna off San Diego. Scott always thinks I’m nuts using it on Lake Powell, but today I would make him a believer.

We were camping in the back of the bay in Balanced Rock and decided to head across the bay to Mountain Sheep Bay. It was 5:30 a.m. and the light was gray and getting brighter. We were clearing the mouth of the bay, just starting to get into the big water, when suddenly my pole nearly bent in half and the drag started singing on my reel. I screamed “Houston, we have a problem”. Scott shut down the boat speed looking back to see what was happening. He saw he had to stay with the fish or it was going to spool me. Mayhem broke loose. He kept yelling, “Don’t horse it”. The big bass went deep. “Don’t lose it, don’t lose it!” After several runs the big guy started to tire. When we finally saw color and the size, we shrieked with anticipation “OMG!” We circled with the fish as it was starting to surface on one side of the boat. We tried to reach out for the fish and it went down under the boat towards the front, so I followed it around the bow. Got it next to the boat and grabbed it with the fish lipper. I got my hand under one of its gills and Scott the other as we lifted Mr. Bass into the boat. Adrenaline was up and we were so happy. I think we both had tears of joy. High fives and breakfast beer was a celebration toast.

We decided to go to Dangling Rope Marina to get it weighed and recorded. By now it was 7:30 and the deserted marina wasn’t opening till 8. There was no way to properly weigh it here so, it was put it into the freezer truck to keep it until the next morning. We picked it up as we left the next morning so someone could verify it. We ended up at Stix Sporting Goods in Page. The word must have gotten out and Wayne called in as we were standing there. He graciously met us at his office to officially weigh and record it. The fish weighed 32.5 lbs., 27” girth & 44” long. When we cleaned it that afternoon we found that nothing was in its stomach except a crawdad. Obviously it was on the prowl for breakfast when we came along. This fish of a lifetime is getting a fiberglass mount. Lake Powell is where it’s happening. – Roger Hensler

In other news, the second week of UDWR electrofishing survey to determine young fish production and survival was completed. Smallmouth bass were the most abundant sport fish species caught. This was expected, as smallmouth bass prefer rocky habitat. Largemouth bass and crappie were missing in action, since they need brushy nursery cover to survive in good numbers. These low water conditions favor smallmouth bass, striped bass and bluegill. Shad abundance will be determined next spring by the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that is biologically available in spring runoff.

Stripers are still boiling and chasing spoons in the San Juan. Spooning is working in Good Hope Bay. Smallmouth bass fishing is excellent now lake wide. The catfish bite is on. September on Lake Powell is awesome.

Previous reports:
 
LEES FERRY – Most recent report is the Aug. 25 report from Lees Ferry Anglers

 

COLORADO RIVER

Previous reports:

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders.  Please drain and dry your live well 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/.

LAKE MEAD – The elevation has actually risen a little to 1,106.9 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 Sept. 5. The next new moon will be Oct. 4. 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 were shad are found and best done in the early mornings and evenings. Topwater plugs or lures are doing well for largemouth. 

LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level has risen to around 644 feet above msl. The latest report states that the lake bite is picking up a bit. Report is that smallmouth and largemouth are hitting on the lake but that stripers are much harder to find. Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon will be Oct. 4. 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.  Fish habitat consists of PVC structures, wood pallet structures, tamarisk bundles, and some Christmas trees. The largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill and catfish are really utilizing the new structures. Additional habitat will be added at several locations over the next two years. These structures are fish magnets.

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

WILLOW BEACH – Willow Beach is stocked every Friday with 3,000 13-inch rainbow trout.  Rainbow, peach, garlic and yellow Power Baits and Powerworms were being used most for trout. Jakes original and Jakes Juniors, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails are also usually effective. Willow Beach can be hit or miss bait fishing. Try different baits including swim baits when nobody seems to be hooking anything. Haven’t heard much from the area. If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – The striper bite has picked up along the river in the Big Bend area. The occasional large stripers are still being caught from the dam down to the Gorge. Many of these fish are in the 3- to 12-pound range. Anchovies seem to the bait of choice for stripers. Reports are that pencil poppers are working well for stripers in the mornings from the casinos to the Big Bend area. Catfish are being caught in the Big Bend area and are reported to average 3-5 pounds. Water levels on the river fluctuate, so be careful. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions (http://www.usbr.gov/lc/riverops.html) before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

TOPOCK GORGE – No recent report. In a previous report, Captain Doyle’s Fun Fishing service sent in a report of catfish being caught in the Monsoon rain caused muddy water. Mark and Laura from California hooked two stout channels that weighed in at 12 and 8??? pounds. They were using night crawlers flipped into the tulles. The Williams clan landed 4 exceptional cats weighing 11.5, 7, 5 and 4 pounds each. Thanks again to Capt. Doyle’s Fishing Service for the report.

TOPOCK MARSH – Topock is producing some largemouth and stripers. In a previous report, Dayton and Gene brought in to Rusty’s a couple of just under 2-pound largemouth and a whopping 10.14-pound. Remember, the minimum of 13 inches for largemouth bass in the Marsh. If you notice illegal activities please call the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-352-0700 or online at www.azgfd.gov/thief.  Please refer to our regulations booklet on how to be a good witness. You can access the marsh by boat at the North Dike, Catfish Paradise, and Five-Mile Landing. All three also provide plenty of area for shoreline fishing too. For more information on the marsh, contact the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge at (760) 326-3853 or go to http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/havasu/index.html.

 

VERDE VALLEY

Previous reports:

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Catfish were stocked for the Verde River Days event and were last stocked for Free Fishing Day on June 1. Catfish and bass bite should increase because of warmer temperatures. 

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. 

 

PRESCOTT AREA

Updated reports:

FAIN LAKE — The lake is due to be stocked with trout this week (week of Sept. 16). High water temperatures and low oxygen levels will make the bite less than what it should be. Cooler temps will help this.

GOLDWATER LAKE — The lake was stocked last week. Reports are that some trout are being caught but it can be hit and miss. If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

MINGUS LAKE – The lake is scheduled to be stocked with trout this week (week of Sept. 16). 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!

Previous reports:

GRANITE BASIN LAKE – Reports of bluegill and largemouth being caught. 

LYNX LAKE – The last scheduled trout stocking was the week of Sept. 2. 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.

WATSON – Trout were last stocked the week of March 18. If you fish Watson and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR –   Arizona Game and Fish Department completed a fish survey using gillnets and Electrofishing on April 17, with the help of Prescott Parks and Recreation personnel. We caught several largemouth bass in the 2-3 pound range. Largemouth bass are the predominant species in this lake. If you fish Willow and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

 

SOUTHWESTERN WATERS

New reports:

COLORADO RIVER (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam, including backwaters and Martinez Lake) – Sept. 18 report from Charles S.: It was another hot week on the river, though water surface temps dropped a bit, I observed some areas that were as low as 83.5 degrees. Water quality was probably one of the most important fishing factors over the weekend.

Much of the river and backwaters were dirtied up with storm runoff, making visibility a challenge for me and the fish. Peggy and I fished the muddied bank lines for a few hours with little success, we inevitability headed upriver where we found much better water. It must have been my lucky day because I apparently stopped on a bank that must have held a dozen or so quality fish, they were all stacked up in one little brush pile and were slamming the California 420 Brush hogs almost as soon as they hit the water. I would add that this phenomenon occurred around 1:30 in the afternoon, which was sort of interesting. I would have been interested in knowing how that correlated the fishing forecast / moon phase for that day (the forecast I failed to look at before heading out for the weekend). But it was nice to be able to stay in one place and not burn a lot of boat fuel for once. Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come this fall.

I also want to remind fisherman that flash floods often wash rattlesnakes off the mountains and into the river, and they are probably none too happy about it. Be careful when reaching into brush or floating debris after a flash flood, they can bite you just as well in the water as they do on land. I have to mention that I have been reminded that I have all sorts of chores around my house that I have neglected, so I will probably have to miss a weekend of fishing. See you at the end of the month, and happy fishing! - Charles S.

ALAMO LAKE – Sept. 17 report from Mark Knapp, Park Ranger at Alamo Lake State Park:
Well folks, all said and done, the lake rose approx 2 feet. This brought the lake level to 1,093 with releases of 25 cfs. We have already watched the lake drop a few inches due to evaporation and releases. It was fun while it lasted. This will also help keep Cholla Ramp in operation for a couple of more months. I did go out the night it was rising and caught 3 bass over 4 pounds and quit counting the dinks. These were caught on a white crank bait working points. I went out the following day and could not buy a bite on a crank bait. Once I switched back to plastics (baby brush hogs ), I started catching fish. No reports on catfish or crappie at this time. With the weather starting to change, things should continue to get better. That's all I got. - Mark

Previous reports:

PARKER STRIP - Falling overnight temperatures should start slowing the catfish bite down. The strip is home to both Flatheads and more commonly Channel Catfish. Channels cats can be found throughout the strip but are typically in the areas with shoreline vegetation. A variety of stink baits can be productive as are goldfish or small bluegills for both species of catfish. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are also found up and down the river. Many anglers have switched to sight fishing as water clarity has significantly increased since the introduction of the aquatic invasive quagga mussel. Boaters are reminded to clean drain and dry their watercraft before taking them to another body of water.

MITTRY LAKE - No new reports. Mittry Lake offers many fishing opportunities. There are ten man-made jetties on the eastern shore for shoreline anglers, but the lake is most effectively fished by boat. There is a good concrete boat launch near the southern end of the lake, with a courtesy mooring dock. There is also a more primitive gravel ramp toward the northern end of the lake. There are restrooms and trash facilities at the main boat ramp, which also sports a large Ramada for public gatherings.

Mittry Lake can be a bit frustrating at time, especially for bass fishermen. There are plenty of bass in the lake, with a few in the eight to ten pound range, occasionally larger. However, the bass are sometimes finicky, and it can be challenging to bring any in on some days. Other days, the bite can be wide open. Windy or changing weather often brings on the bite. Techniques for bass fishing vary widely. When fishing for bass in the cooler months, and bass are less active, fish deeper water with jigs, swimbaits, or plastics using a slow retrieve. As the water warms up in the spring and summer, bass become more active and move to shallower water. During that time most people use plastics, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, or crankbaits with a faster retrieve. Plastic baits resembling worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards can also work well. For best results fish around structure such as weed beds, emergent vegetation or where shoreline brush edges the water.

YUMA AREA PONDS – No new report.

LAKE HAVASU – No new report.

 

CENTRAL MOUNTAINS

The heavy rains last week have caused some muddy runoff into some of the lakes, but with the cooler weather, trout fishing should stay decent. Warmwater fish such as bass and yellow perch, bluegill and crappie are still active on the lakes around Williams and are being caught on microjigs, small bead-head flies and worms fished under a bobber or on a fly rod. Fossil Creek is closed to fishing.

WILLIAMS LAKES:  

Updated reports:

KAIBAB LAKE — Scheduled to be stocked this week (week of Sept. 16). The campground is open. Fish with worms and powerbait on the bottom to catch trout. They were also catching fish on micro jigs fished under a bobber. Some crappie, bluegill and bass were being caught on worms fished about 3 feet under a bobber.

Previous reports:

CATARACT LAKE —  Campground is closed. Try bead headed flies or microjigs for the crappie and bluegill in the lake. 

CITY RESERVOIR — Open. No report.

DOGTOWN LAKE — Campground is open. Was scheduled to be stocked last week.

JD DAM — No report. The lake is full. Remember, the lake is managed as a catch and release fishery.

SANTA FE — Fishing is good on the upper end of the lake for yellow perch and crappie. Most of the fish were being caught on worms fished about 3 feet under a bobber

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campground is open. Lake Level is low. No report. Scheduled stocking was cancelled.

FLAGSTAFF LAKES:

New reports:

OAK CREEK — Scheduled to be stocked this week. Anglers were reporting catching stocked trout over the weekend.

Previous reports:

LOWER LAKE MARY —  Lower Lake Mary is pretty weedy and no one has been fishing it. 

UPPER LAKE MARY —  No recent reports but this is a good time to fish on Upper Lake Mary.      

ASHURST LAKE — Campground is open. No recent reports. Stocked two weeks ago.

FRANCIS SHORT POND – There has been a fish kill on Frances Short Pond caused by recent runoff from rain storms. Last week’s scheduled stocking has been postponed due to wet weather.

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Fishing for catfish can be good this time of year as the water warms.  The lake has a good-sized population of brown trout with some being very large. Try using small crawdad colored crankbaits fished deep or nightcrawlers early in the morning or just about dusk for brown trout. A grasshopper kicking around on the surface in the evening might also work   

LONG LAKE — We have had a few reports that the pike fishing has been good on Long Lake,

BEAVER CREEK –  Trout stocking has stopped for the summer season. No report.

WEST CLEAR CREEK - Trout stocking has stopped for the summer season. No report.

STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.

BLUE RIDGE —  Road is open and SRP has begun to draw the lake down for necessary repairs to the dam and associated piping. We’ve heard reports of a some nice holdover trout being caught. Will not be stocked this year due to plans to draw down the lake for repairs to the dam.

KNOLL LAKE — The road is open. No report.

 

SOUTHERN WATERS

Please send me your fishing reports from Southern Arizona! Fishing reports for southern waters can be sent to Amberle Jones, Regional Sportfish Biologist by email at akjones@azgfd.gov. These reports will then be complied and reported in our weekly fishing reports.

Need ideas on where to go fishing? Try the Departments new interactive Fish and Boat Map: Fish and Boat Arizona

New Reports:

PATAGONIA — Anglers have been having success catching largemouth bass. The lake level is back to normal from some great monsoon rains. 

Previous Reports:

ARIVACA — Open to anglers, water levels continue to be severely low and the lake continues to drop. Anglers have reported that access from the boat ramp to the water is close to 200 yards and the area is covered with 5- to 6-foot high weeds. There is a very narrow path to the water on the west side of the lake. All boat launching is at the risk of the owner. Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive. 

DANKWORTH POND — The park is currently open and anglers have been catching channel catfish. The Department already began the restocking process with the introduction of bluegill sunfish and channel catfish. The stocked fish were in good condition. Largemouth bass will be stocked once the sunfish population has become established.

CLUFF RANCH — No recent reports of success. A recent fish survey showed a good population of sunfish and largemouth bass in the lake. 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 4, 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 — Fishing is poor to fair for bluegill fishing. One angler said the bluegill were spooky and kept spitting out the bait. Anglers have been reporting good success catching largemouth bass. Water quality is fair with aquatic weeds covering a good portion of the shoreline. Anglers are reminded that the bag/possession limit for channel catfish is now 4 fish. Contact the Parker Canyon Lake Store for up to date information on lake levels and fishing activity at www.parkercanyonlake.com or by phone at (520)455-5847. 

PENA BLANCA – Anglers have had luck catching 8- to 13-inch largemouth bass from boat and shore. Water quality is poor but the bite is definitely on. 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 remain 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 — Water was fairly clear and the bite was on last week. One angler caught two rainbow trout before lunch time fishing in the middle of the lake on a kayak. No future stockings are scheduled at this time.

ROPER LAKE — A recent AZGFD gill netting survey confirmed the presence of common carp in the lake. Illegal stocking of carp into Roper Lake is suspected as the source. Water temperature was 80 F. For lake information, call (928) 428-6760. 

ROSE CANYON LAKE — Anglers have reported that the bite is on for rainbow trout. Summer trout stocking is coming to a close. There is a stocking scheduled for next week. To view the entire summer stocking schedule go here: 2013 Summer Stocking Schedule.

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