In the high country, warm-water temperatures are pushing trout into deeper water. Drop down to the desert lakes, and you'll find largemouth bass feeding more actively on shad in the mornings. Days are getting shorter, night fishing is a prime option, and the top-water bite is picking up.
Here’s a tip for this weekend: Tonto Creek and the East Verde River below the Mogollon Rim are great bets. Tonto Creek has been stocked with a bunch of 10-16-inch rainbow trout and the East Verde is receiving a huge stocking. When fishing these creeks, it’s not necessary to bring the master tackle box. 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 possible).
Despite the fishing pressure, Woods Canyon Lake continues to be a hot spot. It’s no wonder. The Arizona Game and Fish Department stocks about 55,000 fish per year into Woods. We just stocked another 3,094 rainbow trout into this department-built fishery on the edge of the Mogollon Rim. Nearby Willow Springs is another great bet, although probably crowded as well. Get to both early for a camping spot. Fish deep in the early morning or lake evenings.
If you want to leave the crowds, try Kinnikinick. This spring-fed fishery typically produces a good summer bite, including some nice browns. Float tubes, canoes and kayaks are ideal when fishing here during the summer.
The washboard dirt road across Anderson Mesa usually keeps crowds sparse. Concrete tables and fire rings at campsites are surrounded by pinions and junipers. If you don’t get dinner, just head down to Mormon Lake Lodge.
Also just got a report from Jeremy Hoffman, the fishing manager at the north Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse, who said the fishing is good at Ashurst Lake. Power Bait and salmon eggs are helping anglers get limits. See the details in the full report.
If you’re looking for big bass, reports of plenty of 5-10 pounders are coming from Canyon Lake. The recent hot bite off the cliff walls is about over. Try reaction strikes with top-water lures and jerk baits when fish are active.
Also, the striper night-fishing bonanza has been "spotty" at Lake Mead. Capt. Don Mitchell of Striper Hunters said 1-2 pound stripers are gobbling cut gizzard shad, while cut anchovies and sardines are producing stripers and catfish. (See more in his full report.)
Oh, the full moon is Aug. 21.
Let’s not forget that this report is possible each week thanks to a giant collaboration of folks from area tackle shops, anglers like you who send photos and reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov, and the regional report editors: Richard Dreyer in Pinetop, Chuck Benedict in Flagstaff, Gregg Cummins in Kingman, Russ Engel in Yuma and Amberle Jones in Tucson.
These department editors keep their ears open for the latest fishing tips even though seasonal techniques and patterns change minimally. A big thank you to all the contributors and especially you recreational anglers – your participation and contributions to wildlife conservation helps perpetuate and protect our outdoor heritage.
So consider these options when making Labor Days plans. Before heading to the high country, check out the summer trout stocking schedule, and our Fish&Boat Arizona map.
If you didn’t know there were some big flatheads in Pleasant, as well as Bartlett Lake and the lower Colorado River, it’s time to get out and see what the latest catfish craze is all about.
Good luck, and put safety first.
(Send your fishing reports and photos to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.)
Jim F. witnessed first hand on Sunday, Aug. 11, the good largemouth bass bite that's been going at at Saguaro Lake: The wife and I hit Saguaro Lake yesterday at first light and did pretty good, catching a nice handful of largemouth bass and a scrappy 5-pound channel cat -- all on small to medium-sized crank baits.
Looking around at some of the other fishermen in the area we noticed that almost everyone was catching fish in good numbers. One man not too far from us hooped and hollered and loudly announced that he had just caught a 9-pounder.
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.
LAKE PLEASANT - Jeremy Hoffman, fishing manager at the north Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse, reported that top-water action in the morning is sporadic for stripers. He said some mornings you’ll be on them for hours, others you’re lucky to find a bite. He’s hearing there’s not much for size, except for a few reports of 4-6 pounders, and the occasional largemouth, coming out of the large boils.
BARTLETT LAKE (85 degree surface high temp.) – Lake elevation is 1,796 feet, 98 % full.: Water temperature range from 80 to high 80s. – Hoffman of the north Phoenix Sportman’s Warehouse had the following report: Night fishing is fair. Football head jigs, Texas-rigged 7-inch worms in black, and other large-profiled baits should produce fish. Had a report from a gentleman who was fishing a ½-ounce football head jig the other night, got a bite, set the hook, and was spooled within a matter of seconds. Can you say FLATHEAD! It’s definitely not uncommon to catch flatheads at night while fishing for bass so hang on!!
ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,098 feet, 45-percent full, water temperature 80-87 degrees). Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods submitted this report: Starting off this week is an update on our Payson bass fishing pro Clifford Pirch. After two days of fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series on the St. Lawrence River, Clifford is in 2nd place. After today, the field will be cut to the top 12 anglers who will fish for the championship on Sunday. You can watch the weigh-in live this afternoon at Bassmaster.com
Also, in the news, the second meeting of the Gila County Round Table and AZGFD was held this past week. There is a concern about the growing number of gizzard shad in Roosevelt Lake and they appear to be having an impact on bass, crappie and other sport fish. The AZGFD acknowledges this concern and is working with local anglers to understand the issues and implement a solution. If you would like a copy of the minutes from this meeting contact me at 928-468-0263 or www.rimcountrycustomrods.com
Now to the fishing report. It won’t be long until the fall patterns start for bass anglers. I know it doesn’t feel like it this week, but the early morning top water bite on Roosevelt Lake we talked about a couple of weeks ago is getting slightly longer each week. This trend will continue as the temperatures begin to fall. So if you don't like summertime fishing, and early fall is the time of year you like to hit the water, it’s time to get ready.
After the sunlight hits the water, it’s time to switch to a drop shot, senkos or Carolina rig. Translucent baits and a watermelon color are popular baits this time of year. Most reports are that fish are being caught on islands or main lake points. Another angler reported fishing flats right next to deeper water. On calm, flat days, when there isn't much wave action, baits in the 4-6-inch size are being used.
The water level dropped one percent this past week and is currently at 45-percent full. This is due to less monsoon rains and lower inflow into the lake this past week. The Salt River is flowing at about 398 CFPS and the Tonto Creek is slightly flowing; however, this is not enough to offset the amount of water being taken for downstream usage. Let’s hope we get a few more storms to keep water level from dropping further. The temperature is in the mid-80s in the morning and increasing to the high-80s in the afternoon.
Previously, Gary Senft, a Bass Pro at Bass Pro Shops, fished the lake from Friday night to Sunday. Dropshots and Texas rigs produced the best bites. The top-water action was slow at times, as was jig fishing. Each day, Senft fished beginning at 6 p.m. and fish were hitting dropshots of 4.5- and 6-inch morning dawn Roboworms. Powerworms of 7 inches in dark colors also produced at night.
The key to fishing here is finding the shad. If anglers found shad in 15-20 feet of water, bass were within 10-15 feet away. If anglers didn't locate shad, fishing was quite slow. Curly tail worms worked better than straight tail worms.
Shad have not just been holding on points and islands. They also stuck to regular, rocky banks.
In general, fish were in 15-35 feet of water, with the best bites on largemouth bass being 15-20 feet.
If you want top-water action, try fishing the first hour of daylightg with Ricos.
SAGUARO LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,525 feet (93 percent full): , Skyler Clark, the Mesa Sportsman’s Warehouse fishing manager, said he’s 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.
Angler’s report: Jim F. at Saguaro The wife and I hit Saguaro Lake yesterday at first light and did pretty good, catching a nice handful of largemouth bass and a scrappy 5 pound channel cat- all on small to medium sized crank baits. Looking around at some of the other fishermen in the area we noticed that almost everyone was catching fish in good numbers. One man not too far from us hooped and hollered and loudly announced that he had just caught a 9 pounder.
Previously, Mike McFarland of the Hook Up Outfitters said Saguaro has been proving excellent largemouth bass fishing opportunities. Try jigs, crankbaits, and top-water lures early and late.
CANYON LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,658 feet (95-percent full). Clark said 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, Clark said, with a lot of 5-10-pound largemouth bass being caught. In the “dog days” of Aug., anglers can also try drawing reaction strikes with top-water lures and jerk baits when fish are active.
Don’t forget that Aug.-Sept. can produce some of the best night-fishing of the year.
APACHE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,909 feet (95 percent full). 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.
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.
CREEKS BELOW THE MOGOLLON RIM – Tonto Creek and the East Verde River are great bets. Tonto Creek has been stocked with 10-16-inch rainbow trout and the East Verde is simply receiving a huge stocking. 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).
Tonto Creek Hatchery stocking report
July 28-Aug. 3
Tonto Creek – 360 rainbow trout
Haigler Creek – 360 rainbow trout
East Verde River – 1,228 rainbow trout
Woods Canyon Lake – 1,519 rainbow trout
Aug. 4-Aug. 10
Tonto Creek – 360 rainbow trout
Haigler Creek – 360 rainbow trout
East Verde River – 1,200 rainbow trout
Woods Canyon Lake – 3,094 rainbow trout
Previous week's reports:
Please send your reports to BFishing@azgfd.gov.
URBAN WATERS – Fishing for catfish is slow at all Urban Fishing waters statewide through the summer (no stocking period). For holdover catfish, try the larger lakes of more than 5 acres. Some catfish and bass are being caught, but it takes persistence and some good timing in the early morning and evening hours.
Fishing has been good all summer for the plentiful bluegill that frequent the shoreline areas in search of food. Mealworms fished on the bottom or a few feet under a bobber can catch sunfish throughout the day, especially if anglers use smaller bobbers and light line in the 2-4 pound range.
Cloud cover, rain and falling temperatures from monsoon storms can trigger some good fishing periods. At Green Valley lakes (Payson), anglers are having some success for crappie, bluegill and bass, but the weeds are making fishing difficult. Smaller nightcrawlers (Dillys) and mealworms are working 4-6 feet below a small bobber. At all lakes, remember to release any of the weed-eating white amur (grass carp) right away so they can go back out and munch on the weeds.
Catfish stockings will resume at all Phoenix and Tucson area Urban waters the week of September 16-21. Green Valley Lakes stockings (trout) will resume in October.
Catfish stockings to resume week of Sept. 16-21
Deliveries of 1.5- to 2-pound catfish are scheduled to restart the week of Sept. 16-21. During the hot summer months from June 25 through Sept. 15, there are no scheduled catfish stockings at Urban Fishing Program waters. Once lake temperatures begin to drop entering the fall season, then catfish stockings can resume again.
Every fall, a total of four catfish stockings are scheduled at two week intervals before fish stockings switch over to rainbow trout in mid-November. Fishing at Urban Program waters will remain slow throughout the summer. Catfish can still be caught, especially from the larger lakes, with bluegill and bass providing some fun for patient anglers.
HORSESHOE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,964 feet, 3-percent full.
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.
WHITE MOUNTAINS AND RIM LAKES
Fishing is good at Show Low Creek, fair to good at Little Colorado River in Greer, Sheeps Crossing, Woods Canyon Lake and Willow Springs Lake, and fair at Big Lake and Nelson Reservoir.
Trout Stocking Schedule
Week of August 5 - 9
Bear Canyon Lake - 225 rainbow trout
Willow Springs Lake - 1,200 rainbow trout
Woods Canyon Lake - 2,926 rainbow trout
East Fork Black River - 1,567 Apache trout
West Fork black River - 50 Apache trout
Little Colorado River in Greer - 605 Apache trout
Sheeps Crossing - 517 Apache trout
Show Low Creek - 250 rainbow trout
Week of August 12 - 16
Bear Canyon Lake - 225 rainbow trout
Willow Springs Lake - 1,200 rainbow trout
Woods Canyon Lake - 2,926 rainbow trout
East Fork Black River - 1,567 Apache trout
West Fork Black River - 50 Apache trout
Little Colorado River in Greer - 605 Apache trout
Sheeps Crossing - 517 Apache trout
MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
Note: Warm water temperatures are pushing trout into deeper water. Fish deep and target the early morning or evening hours.
BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair. The lake will be stocked this week with 225 rainbow trout.
BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair. Anglers have been catching some rainbow trout and bass. The water level is low and launching trailered boats will be difficult.
CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair for boat anglers using lures and fair for shore anglers.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. The lake will be stocked this week with 1,200 rainbow trout.
WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. The lake will be stocked this week with 2,926 rainbow trout. The store is open, and boat rentals are available.
WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES
Note: Warm water temperatures are pushing trout into deeper water. Fish deep and target the early morning or evening hours.
BECKER LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair. Fish early or late in the day for best results. With warm water temperatures, please play and release the fish quickly without taking them from the water to minimize stress and reduce mortalities. 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. Warm water temperatures are pushing the fish into deep water, so anglers should be fishing deep. The best action has been in early morning and late evening with nightcrawlers and Power Bait. Shore anglers should try fishing off outer rocky points adjacent to deep water. Avoid fishing small coves since they are shallower and will have warmer water. An algae bloom is present on the lake, plus some larger algae that is clumping together. This algae is getting caught up on trolled lures, so boat anglers should try anchoring or drift fishing in 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 great 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 rainbows on bait, lures (Crickhoppers and KastMasters) and flies (peacock ladies and crystal buggers). Fish early and late in the evening. The store is closed. Access to the boat ramps on the west and south sides is good.
FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is poor for trout and good for catfish. Trout fishing has slowed as warm water has pushed them into deeper water. Anglers are catching catfish at night on worms and prepared catfish baits.
GREER LAKES – All Greer lakes (River, Tunnel and Bunch Reservoirs) are low and fishing is poor to fair. Water levels at River and Bunch are below the concrete curb at the end of each boat ramp. Boats will have to be carried to the water. Boat launching at Tunnel Reservoir is still accessible, but the lake is low.
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. Recent surveys caught Arctic grayling averaging eight inches, but also found the pH to be very high. There is a strong algae bloom on the lake that appears to have killed the Apache trout and are likely stressing the grayling. The lake is low, and launching a trailered boat is difficult.
LUNA LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair. Some anglers are catching some trout on Power Bait in the early morning and late evening hours. Recent surveys caught rainbow trout ranging from 13 to 14 inches.
LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is now open to overnight camping, which will be allowed through Nov. 4. Fishing is poor for bass and fair to good for catfish.
NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair. Anglers are catching rainbow trout on Power Bait and worms. Fish early in the morning and late in the evening.
RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor for trout and fair for catfish and bullheads. The lake is very weedy and boating is difficult. White Amur (grass carp) were stocked into the lake under a special permit to control the nuisance aquatic weeds that plague Rainbow Lake every year. Please release these fish if incidentally caught so they can do their job at eating weeds.
SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor to fair. Fish early in the morning or late in the evening for trout. The water is turbid, but the lake level is good. Try catfishing at night with worms, chicken livers and prepared baits.
SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair. Anglers are catching some trout on worms and some catfish on chicken livers and prepared baits. The concession store is open, and boat rentals are available. The spillway campground and the road over the dam are open.
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: All campgrounds along the East Fork Black River have reopened, along with the entire length of Forest Road (FR) 276.
EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is fair to good. Heavy thunderstorms have caused slightly muddy and moderately high water conditions, but anglers are still catching Apache and brown trout on worms and corn. The stream will be stocked this week with 1,567 Apache trout if water conditions remain suitable. All campgrounds along the East Fork are now open, and FR 276 has reopened along its entire length. The East Fork Black River is now accessible from Buffalo Crossing and from the north.
WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is fair. The stream will be stocked this week with 50 Apache trout at the FR 68 road crossing. The water is clear with moderate flows. Fishing has been poor below and above this crossing due to previous fish kills following the Wallow Fire. Vehicle access to the West Fork Campground will remain closed through this year.
LITTLE COLORADO RIVER in GREER – Fishing is fair to good. The stream will be stocked this week with 605 Apache trout. The stream has seen some spikes in flow following heavy thunderstorms, but they usually come down fairly quickly.
SHEEPS CROSSING – Fishing is fair to good. The stream will be stocked this week with 517 Apache trout. Monsoon rains have caused some spikes in flows, but they usually come down fairly quickly.
SHOW LOW CREEK – Fishing is good in the large pool below the dam. The stream was stocked last week with 250 rainbow trout.
SILVER CREEK – Fishing is poor due to heavy monsoon rains. The stream has not been stocked the last two weeks due to muddy conditions in the meadow where the fish are normally stocked. Silver Creek may be stocked later this week if water conditions improve and the meadow dries out. The stream is open to general fishing regulations (bait, lures and flies are legal, with a six-fish daily bag limit) from April 1 through September 30. The upper section is closed to angling during the general regulation season.
LAKE POWELL AND LEES FERRY
Lake elevation: 3,594 feet.
Water temperature: 78-82 degrees
We ran to Gunsight to check out a recent fishing report of slurping stripers that stayed up for four hours. Of course, when we arrived the breeze was keeping the fish down in Gunsight Bay close to the main channel. The lake surface near Gunsight Butte was flat calm at 6:30 a.m. We trolled without success until 7 a.m. when the first slurpers hit the top in the back of the canyon.
Proudly we were able to catch the 9-12 inch stripers because we had tied on small Clouser flies behind a trout casting bubble. When the slurpers were up long enough to put a cast right in the middle of the 10 fish action zone, two small stripers were caught.
At 7:30 a.m. we had 10 stripers and they had enough of us and quit. That was my first surface action on the southern end during Aug. The fish were small, healthy and easy to fillet. I really enjoyed seeing stripers on top again. The shad they were chasing were tiny, resulting from a recent spawn in Gunsight Canyon. Slurps can happen anywhere now as gizzard shad are still spawning in random canyons. These small shad are attacked as soon as they are big enough for small stripers to see.
Bigger stripers are trapped in deeper water by the blanket of warm water near the surface and therefore separated from any shallow foraging opportunities. But adult stripers are still numerous, hungry and ready to eat bait at 30 feet along the shade line of most canyon walls. Try the dam, Power Plant intake, points in Navajo, Buoy 25, Last Chance and Rock Creek shade lines. At mid-lake bait fishing is just as good at the mouth of Lake Canyon, and Halls Creek.
Other mid-lake options include trolling deep with down riggers. Stripers were caught recently in Halls Creek with Shad Raps trolled at 40 feet over a 60 foot bottom. Spoons worked well on striper schools graphed directly across from the Bullfrog Bay launch ramp. Lipless vibrator (LV) lures were allowed to sink and then yo-yoed in deep striper schools graphed near Tapestry Wall. More stripers were caught deep on LVs than on spoons from these schools. Bait fishing results in more fish caught, but trolling, casting and spooning targets healthier fish.
The northern lake has sporadic boils of all size stripers because more shad are present. Here stripers can brave the warm where they grab a couple of shad and quickly dive back to the cooler depths. There are no consistent boils happening now but random boils can be encountered anytime.
Largemouth bass are found in shallow water where aquatic weeds have grown up now that sunlight can penetrate to the bottom and stimulate weed growth in sandy habitat. Any submerged tumbleweed may house bass, bluegill and crappie. A combination of aquatic weeds and tumbleweeds is the best bass habitat now available.
Channel catfish are still feeding well all over the lake. A 9-pound cat was recently caught and released near Bullfrog off the back of the houseboat. He is still swimming out here for someone else to catch.
Summer temperatures are fading as nights are cooler making camping on Lake Powell heavenly. Water temperature is still warm for water sports and fishing is very successful with many different techniques. There is still time for one more trip to Lake Powell.
LEES FERRY – Dale Gauthier of Lees Ferry anglers said the cicadas have hatched and, although their numbers aren’t as strong as the previous two years, they’re buzzing pretty good. The big fish are being caught on scuds and worms, and Gauthier said the Ferry is giving up some of the fattest trout that he can remember in his 10 years of fishing the river.
High flows are knocking big bugs loose from the bottom of the river, and trout are gorging themselves.
He added that the midge hatch is “annoyingly good.” Although the midges are too tiny to replicate with a fly, they’re keeping the trout chewing.
(WALK IN - previous report from June): High water flows started this month so there have been a few changes in the fishing. Early morning, when the flows are down, around 9,000 cfs, dry droppers have been the way to go. Large luna negras with a midge dropper have been the ticket. The upper boulder field to the Paria Riffle is still fishing well.
Mid-morning and early afternoon you will have to wade deeper for the fish. Deep nymphing with a double midge or double San Juan has been working great.
Remember when the flows are on the rise an abundance of worms and other food washed into the water. Long leaders of 14 feet, and several weights have been great when the water is up. Take caution when the water is high or rising. Wading can be difficult. If you fish early, mark a spot where the water level is, and check it frequently. Be aware of rising water.
The dry fly bite is picking up. Griffeths gnat, hoppers, and cicada patterns are starting to work. The dry bite is a lower percentage but will be picking up as the days go on.
Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.
LAKE MEAD – The elevation has actually risen to 1106 feet above msl from 1105 three weeks ago. 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 Aug. 6. The next new moon will be Sept. 5. 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. Top water plugs or lures are doing well for largemouth.
Most stripers are between 1-2- lbs. Best bait is cut up gizzard shad; while cut up anchovies and sardines are also producing stripers and catfish. Fish in coves along steep canyon walls in 50-80 feet of water.
There are very few anglers on the water at night, which is when we fish. We generally fish from 9-10 p.m. till 5 a.m. Weather has cooled down, great time to go fishing!
LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level has maintained around 642 feet above msl. The latest report states that fish are biting on the southern end of the lake. Smallmouths are hitting off the shelves/cliffs and the largemouth and bluegill are pretty active in the coves. If you find a grass bed in the 20-40 depth range work the grass with soft crayfish or worms. The striper bite has been picking up a little on the lake. Catfish have been taken near in the coves near Katherine’s Landing.
Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon will be Sept. 5. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
WILLOW BEACH – Willow Beach is stocked every Friday with 3,000 13” rainbow trout. Rainbow, peach, garlic and yellow Power Baits and Power Worms 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 email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – The occasional large stripers are still being caught from the dam down to the Gorge. Many of these fish are in the 4-12 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. Rusty at Riviera Marina sent in pictures of some nice fish caught in the river. Kim and Lee caught some nice table fare stripers. They caught the fish drifting over a hole and lasted until 6:00 p.m. and then the bite shut down. Riah showed the perfect size striper for the dinner table and we won’t tell anyone it was one of Lee’s fish.
Water levels on the river fluctuate, so be careful. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions http://www.usbr.gov/lc/riverops.html before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
TOPOCK GORGE - Most bass are being taken on minnows and night crawlers. Reports are that stripers are returning to the Gorge.
TOPOCK MARSH –Topock is producing some largemouth and stripers. Dayton and Gene brought in to Rusty’s a couple of just under 2 lbs. largemouth and a whopping 10.14 lbs. striper. 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.
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.
FAIN LAKE — Fain Lake experienced a flood that brought in large amounts of sediment and woody debris. Several catfish were observed dead and others struggling at the surface. The town officials are working very hard to clean up the debris from the flooding.
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 trout stocking was June 8.
If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
GRANITE BASIN LAKE – The lake is closed due to Doce Fire and the rehabilitation of the damaged area.
LYNX LAKE – The last scheduled trout stocking was the week of June 3. Catfish were stocked the Friday before Free Fishing Day (June 1st). Reports are that the lake level is extremely low, so be careful if you venture to the lake.
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 scheduled stocking was the week of June 10.
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 March 18.
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 – 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 email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
Note: If you would like more information on southwestern waters, visit http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/where_fish_southwest.shtml. Our Yuma Regional office has recently updated all the information to provide you more insight into these fisheries. If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to our "Been Fishing" site at BFishing@azgfd.gov. For more information, visit the "Where to Fish" pages at www.azgfd.gov/h_f/where_fish.shtml.
ALAMO LAKE – Aug. 6 report from Mark Knapp, Park Ranger at Alamo Lake State Park:
Well folks, after a brutalizing couple of weeks called a vacation, I'm happy to be back at the lake doing some quality fishing.
Before I go into fishing I want to take a minute and apologize for not following up and giving the updated information concerning the bulkhead and lowering off the lake. I guess I had my mind on pine trees or something like that. Anyway, no decisions were made at that time to lower the lake. It's going to happen, but not this month. Our next meeting is in Oct. and everyone is going to sit down and try to determine the best time to do this with least amount of damage to concerned partners and parties.
The way things are going now is, if we do not receive winter rains, and the lake drops low enough, it only makes sense to do it and get it over with. If by chance we get a ton of rain before this process begins then I will be the first one at the table fighting to save it.
O.K. -- it's a matter of time before we loose cholla ramp. When that happens, I'm not going to put that big monster portable boat launch back in. I have been doing some research on the “net” about portable snap-together mats that should work. We’re going to place this on the right side of the old rental boat road.
Once the lake hits a certain level, it has the best drop to launch a boat. Junior and I went out fishing a couple of nights ago. He boated four, with one going over 3 pounds. Needless to say he was strutting around like a peacock in heat after beating me that night. I think I boated two, but was too entertained to pay much attention to hook-sets. I know we missed a lot of fish.
As usual the bite turns on about one-half hour before dark. All my friends are saying the early morning bite is
nothing to write home about. A lot of our Vegas friends came out and crappie fished for the night. They gave it a “thumbs down” with only three crappie being caught. They fished in the upper end of the lake by the trees.
At this point, the dam is the only area they should be hiding at. Cat fishing is OK. We seem to catch one a night on a crankbait or plastic lizard.
Well that's all I go for this week -- Mark
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.
Small mouth 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.
COLORADO RIVER - Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam, including backwaters and Martinez Lake) – No new reports. From last week: A 7.75-pound bass was recently taken from a backwater spot (see photo). This stretch of the river is best known for its trophy-sized flathead catfish, with some over 70 pounds and largemouth bass, with some over 10 pounds. However, it can also be good for channel catfish, sunfish and carp and to a lesser extent striped bass, crappie and tilapia.
Largemouth bass fishing is generally best in the backwaters or near the mouth of the backwaters. There are many different techniques used for largemouth bass. As a general rule, most people will use topwater lures such as buzzbaits or spinnerbaits in the early morning and then switch to jigs, crankbaits, or swimbaits as the day progresses. Using plastic baits that resemble worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards often work well. It is generally best to fish around structure such as weed beds, emergent vegetation, tree stumps, brush, or boat docks. Fishing picks up as the water temperatures warm up in the spring and summer but largemouth can be taken any time of the year.
Flathead fishing is generally best in slack water areas, deep holes, or near overhanging vegetation along the main channel of the river. Flatheads prefer live bait such as bluegill or small carp and fishing is best at night during the summer months. Channel catfish are wide spread in the main river channel and backwaters and will bite on night crawlers, chicken liver, stink bait, or about any other "smelly" bait. They can be caught year-round but probably bite best at night.
Bluegill are also widespread, but are most likely to be found around structure in the backwaters or slack water areas.
Bluegill will bite on meal worms, night crawlers or small crappie jigs.
MITTRY LAKE - No new reports. From last week: 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 - Final stockings of trout have been made in Yuma area ponds for the season. Fortuna and Redondo ponds were stocked on Feb. 16, and the Yuma West Wetlands and Council Park (Somerton) ponds were stocked on Feb. 23.
LAKE HAVASU - Lake Level: 449.15. June 12 report from John Galbraith of BassTackleMaster.com in Lake Havasu City:
Lake level: 448.95
The striper bite is good with some morning top-water action (5 a.m.-7:30 a.m.) from the north end of the main basin south to black rock/Calif. bay.
LuckyCraft Pointer 100/128s or pencil poppers are good choices now. Trolling and Casting has been effective.
Cut-bait fishing using anchovies or sardines is producing smaller limits than using artificial lures.
Evening/night fishing for bigger channel and flathead catfish has been excellent. The best time is 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Use live sunfish or bluegills from 2.5-4 inches long rigged on a Carolina rig with 3/4 to one-ounce sinkers with 12-15-pound test with a 24-36 inch leader.
Redear fishing with night crawlers around submerged grass beds has been producing some quality redears of more than two pounds.
With the recent rains fishing has picked up. Trout were being caught on Dogtown lake on Power Bait, and Ashurst is still good for trout on Power Bait Warm water fish such as bass and yellow perch, bluegill and crappie are starting to get more active on the lakes around Williams with microjigs, small bead-head flies and worms fished under a bobber or on a fly rod working well. Fossil Creek is closed to fishing.
KAIBAB LAKE — Campground is open. Fishing was good for bluegill and crappie on worms fished about 3 feet under a bobber. Anglers were also catching crappie and bluegill on small bead headed flies. We sampled the lake late last month and caught large numbers of largemouth bass near the submerged trees. Scheduled to be stocked this week
CATARACT LAKE — Campground is closed. One angler reported catching a large catfish on a crayfish-colored crankbait. Try bead headed flies or microjigs for the crappie and bluegill in the lake. We sampled the lake late last month and caught quite a few largemouth bass along with one relatively large brown trout.
CITY RESERVOIR — Open. No Report
DOGTOWN LAKE — Campground is open. Trout fishing was good during the morning on Chartreuse Power Bait. Crappie fishing was excellent on worms under a bobber and micro jigs some larger than normal crappie were checked by the creel clerk. Stocked last week.
JD DAM — No Report. 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
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.
ASHURST LAKE — Campground is open. No recent reports. Scheduled to be stocked this week.
Report from Jeremy Hoffman, fishing manager a the north Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse: Fishing is good. Lots of people limiting out in a matter of hours. Best bet would be to pinch a few split shots on your line about 18 inches above your hook and let that soak on the bottom with Power Bait. Use a size 10 bait holder hook or size 16 treble, and just put on enough to cover the hook. Putting on too much will make the bait sink and subject it to being quickly thieved by crawdads. Also salmon eggs 3 feet under a bobber prove to be effective for stocker trout, regardless of what water you’re fishing.
FRANCIS SHORT POND – There has been a fish kill on Frances Short Pond caused by recent runoff from rain storms.
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.
OAK CREEK — Anglers were reporting catching stocked trout over the weekend. Scheduled to be stocked this week.
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.
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
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 weeds 5-6 feet high. 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.
PARKER CANYON — Anglers have reported catching huge largemouth bass this past week. Anglers are reminded that the bag/possession limit for channel catfish is now 4 fish. The lake level is down and boaters should use caution as obstructions can appear as water levels drop. 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.
PATAGONIA — Anglers have been having success catching largemouth bass. The largest bass weighed 8.4 pounds. The lake level is back to normal from some great monsoon rains.
PENA BLANCA – Anglers have had luck catching 8-13 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 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.
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 degrees. For lake information (928) 428-6760.
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 stocking are scheduled at this time. View the entire summer stocking schedule.
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.
ROSE CANYON LAKE — Anglers have recently been catching rainbow trout at the lake. Summer trout stockings has begun and will continue throughout the summer. View the entire summer stocking schedule.
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 one fish. Frye Creek above the reservoir remains closed to fishing.