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Fishing report, July 17

Posted in: Fishing Report
Jul 17, 2013
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Beginning around Sunday, anglers can take advantage of one of the better night bites this summer in statewide lakes. The amount of sunlight we see being cast on the moon has been stretching, and on Monday, the moon will be a full glow. Fill up a Thermos with piping hot coffee and make it a late one.

Feel like targeting high country trout? The following lakes will have just been stocked: Bear Canyon, Show Low Lake, Willow Springs, and Woods Canyon. Also, native Apache trout have just been dumped into the east and west forks of the Black River, Little Colorado River, Sheeps Crossing, and Silver Creek.

Chasing a bass bite? There’s a decent top-water bite at Bartlett and Roosevelt, where shad schools reportedly are growing. Make sure there’s bait in the area, and don’t stay in a spot too long. If there are fish on your finder and they’re not biting after 10 minutes, move on. There’s too much bait in lakes such as Bartlett to be missing out on a potential bite window.

For catfish, it’s prime time for fishing at night from a shore or boat. Channel catfish are a robust fishing resource, excellent fighters and superb table fare.

Remember that in pine country, as cumulonimbus clouds form, the barometer drops and flying insects begin to frantically skirt the ground and water. "Match the hatch" – find out what the fish are naturally feeding on, and match the foragers. Spin and fly anglers can use flies such as wooly buggers when fish are feeding actively on insects. With a spin rod, that means using a casting float and running a small leader to a fly.  

Last week’s reports from anglers: Fishing on Lynx Lake is poor; Red Mountain Lake in Mesa on Tuesday was good for top-feeding bass following rains. Crawdads were enticing bass and stinkbaits and crawdads were drawing catfish to the hook; Ashurst Lake was slow on Wednesday, one angler reported, in cool, cloudy, light sprinkling morning conditions (5-11 a.m.) – rooster tails, spoons, garlic Power Bait, jigs and flies with small bobbers tied off at about three feet weren’t getting bites.

But as the angler continued: “Tomorrow is another day.”

Be persistent, target all areas of the water column, change spots frequently, and have fun.

By the way, I’m on Twitter. Follow me at @NickFishAZ for fishing reports, up-to-the-second news, tips and more. Any questions likely can’t be answered immediately, but could be answered and featured in the ‘Q&A’ section of this report. Welcome to the future of fishing information.

Good luck on the water! As usual, you can send your fishing reports, photos and questions to

And don’t forget to check out our Fish&Boat Arizona map before planning your trips.

Q & A

I took my grandchildren up the the White Mountains to fish last week and as usual one our first stops was Big Lake. Arriving at the lake we were shocked by two features that immediately caught our attention. First was the very low water level in the lake. However, the most surprising was the huge, thick algae bloom that covered the entire lake. We fished until noon and did catch a few fish, but our catch was much less than we are used to. Can you tell us what this means for Big Lake fishing for the remainder of the summer? Our next stop was Nelson Reservoir and fishing there was great. Jim P. -- Tucson, AZ

  • Jim: Our Pinetop region fishing program manager Mike Lopez said there is a strong algae bloom, but the water quality is still good and fish are biting. Nothing to worry about. We looked at Big Lake and don’t think this is a big issue.  People are reporting that it looks weird, but those same folks are still catching fish. Thanks for your question! - Nick

OK, on to the full report.


Updated reports:

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

BARTLETT LAKE (85 degree surface high temp.) – Lake elevation is 1,796 feet, 98 % full.: Water temperature range from 80 to high 80s. Gary Senft, a local professional an BassPro at Bass Pro Shops in Mesa, said that on Wednesday the top-water bite was decent -- not good enough to throw top-water plugs anywhere on the lake. But he said a high number of anglers that day found a good top-water bite on Ricos. Others found a good bite on small crankbaits in shallow water. Senft also caught bass on 4.5-inch Roboworm red crawler dropshots.

Other good Roboworm colors that day were ox blood and morning dawn. Texas baby brush hogs in watermelon also produced for Senft.

Shad schools are growing. Make sure to move after 10 minutes if fish are present and you’re not getting a good bite. Hit islands and long points.

Previously, Mike McFarland of Hook Up Outfitters fished the lake, catching fish on jigs, shallow-running crank baits and Rat-L-Traps in 5-10 feet of water.

Fish had been chasing shad balls up and down the banks in 8-12 feet of water.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,103 feet, 50 percent full, water temperature 80-88 degrees).  James Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods submitted this week’s report:  Good morning rim country anglers. Starting off this morning by letting everyone know there is a very good article on the AZGFD website about the largemouth bass virus that is impacting the bass in Arizona lakes. I encourage everyone to read this article to understand this topic.

Roosevelt Lake water level dropped another 1 percent this past week and currently stands at 47 percent full. As we reported last week, the Tonto Creek has stopped flowing. However the Salt River actually increased this past week to 70 percent of its normal rate for this time of year. The water temperature in the mornings is in the low 80s, increasing to the mid to high 80s during the afternoon. The water clarity is good; however, due to some afternoon wind the water can become stained in some areas of the lake.
The bass are in a summer pattern, meaning they will be in deeper water during the brightest part of the day. I received several reports this week of good catches on Texas rig and Carolina rigs. A lot of our local anglers like using a large 10-inch worm or lizard in a dark color such as green pumpkin.
Jigs, which are also fished on the bottom, were reported successful in a watermelon candy color. Be alert as your jig is falling: bass like to attack the bait as it falls, which can go undetected by the angler if he or she is not paying attention. Also, the shad schools are forming and getting larger. Sometimes these schools are near the surface during the summer and can make for some exciting top water action. Watch for bass breaking the surface and birds diving into the schools.

Crappie fishing was reported to be fair this past week. This coming week will be a great time to use the crappie lights for night time crappie fishing. Live minnows fished about 2 feet below a bobber is the best bait for night time crappie fishing. The gizzard shad are reducing the numbers of crappie being caught, and the AZGFD is currently developing a plan to help this situation. The second Gila County Roundtable Meeting which was planned for July 16 has been rescheduled to Monday, August 5 at the request of AZGFD. They are still working to develop their plan for dealing with gizzard shad and developing responses to action items from the last roundtable meeting. 

Have a great week of fishing and I hope see you on the water.

CANYON LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,659 feet (97 percent full). Skyler Clark said there continues to be good fishing to be had off vertical walls during the day with dropshots or Senkos. If you’re choosing between Canyon and Saguaro for daytime fishing, try Canyon. The same technique is holding true: Fish as close to the wall as possible and look for shade pockets to target. Try dropshots and shaky head worms. Clark is seeing more fish chasing shad at Canyon than at Saguaro. Try Zara Spooks or Ricos. The night fishing is still tough, however.

Reports are that dropshots have produced the best bite and there have been reports of some bass being caught up to 7 pounds.

SAGUARO LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,526 feet (93 percent full):  Skyler Clark, the Mesa Sportsman’s Warehouse fishing manager, said this is a better nighttime fishing spot than at Canyon. As he previously reported, it’s been hard this year to get bites anywhere unless you are fishing around some grass. So it’s still a good option to try going down a bank, dragging and slowly popping dropshots or Texas-rigged Roboworms through some grass on any deeper flats of 10-20 feet. 

Previously, Mike McFarland of Hook-Up Outfitters said getting an early-morning top-water bite followed by midday dropshots in 2-30 feet of water is a reliable pattern.

McFarland said the trick to remember at Saguaro is that the fish are not eating big baits. Use small baits and small dropshots.

APACHE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,906 feet (94 percent full). Has been good for high numbers of bass lately, but Canyon and Saguaro have reportedly been better for size.

Three weeks ago, anglers had reported the largemouth bass more 3 pounds continued to be productive. The dropshot reportedly produced the best bite off rocky banks and points. Westy Worms and to-water lures in the morning also were productive. Try top water lures in the morning and as bass do deeper as the water warms, switch to crankbaits and spinner baits.

HORSESHOE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,949 feet, 0-percent full.

Previous reports:

Please send your reports to .

URBAN WATERS – With catfish stockings at all Phoenix and Tucson urban waters on hold during the summer months, fishing becomes more challenging, requiring anglers to be adaptable, patient and persistent.
Plenty of wily catfish still lurk the depths of the lakes, especially larger lakes of more than 4 acres.

Catfishing is fair for anglers using worms, stink baits, or shrimp fished on the bottom. Catfish can be caught throughout the day, but are most active when the sun goes down. Most catfish are from 14-18 inches, but some lunkers over three pounds are being hauled out of the lakes.

The many catfish, bass and bluegill remaining in the lakes have been around for awhile and have seen a lot of the same baits, presented in the same way. Successful summer anglers have learned to change it up and experiment with new baits and new presentations. Try combining a piece of shrimp with a worm, or try using a “worm blower” to inflate the worm and elevate it above the bottom. Do a web search for “secret catfish baits” and discover an amazing selection of concoctions likely to increase your fishing success.

This is the time to make some rigging changes and try out some of the fluorocarbon fishing lines in lighter test weights to make your line practically invisible; or try fishing without weights and let your bait flutter to the bottom. For more bites, fish with 4-6 pound test line and keep your weights to a minimum. Keep trying new things, keep at it and have fun learning more about fishing this summer.

Bluegill fishing is fair for anglers using worms and mealworms fished under a small bobber set at 4-6 foot depths or fished on the bottom. For more bluegill success, use 2 pound line, size No. 12 hooks, and just enough bait to cover the hook. Action for largemouth bass is fair with the best baits finesse plastics fished in the early morning hours.

At Green Valley lakes (Payson) fishing is best for bass, bluegill and crappie. Anglers using worms and meal worms under a small slip bobber are enjoying plenty of action, especially when fishing the outside edge of the weed-lines. Also try small curly tail grubs, marabou jigs or Trout Magnets for crappie. Fishing is poor for trout and catfish.

LAKE PLEASANT – Mike McFarland of Hook Up Outfitters said the deep jerk bait bite has been hot. He recommends starting early in the morning with top-water lures and swim baits. If that's not working, go to deep jerk bait bites. Also, find surface boils and throw deep water baits below the boils for striper, white bass and largemouth bass.

The nighttime striper bite is picking up. Try a cut anchovy at the mouth of coves in 40-60 feet of water. Also try fishing under lights at night with anchovies or lve shad in the same areas.

Ideal times are early morning and late for top water.

If you want largemouth bass, you'll need a small drop shot. THe smaller the better. Try a tiny shakyhead, or slick shake (whacky style). Worms or curly tail Roboworms of less than 3 inches have been best.

Anglers continue to catch large flathead catfish in large numbers.

A prime option for catfishing in the past months, some big cats have been landed in the daytime and at night. The prime bite has been at night near bank with live bluegill or carp fished under a float on circle hooks. Target any type of underwater structure. In the summer, catfish move close to the banks at night (5-15 feet of water in general).

Angler Bobby Wright reported that on Father’s Day weekend, his oldest daughter, Kylie Wright, caught a 10-pound flathead catfish and his youngest, Tatum Wright, caught a 7-pound flat. All were caught and released.

Wright also reported on the monster catch of Phillip Smith, who boated a 50-inch flathead that also caught and released and bit a bluegill with 30-pound monofilament and a 10/0 Big River sickle hook at 1:30 a.m. on July 13.


HORSESHOE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,949 feet, 0-percent full.


LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – Flow of 1,160 cfs  on June 18 - 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.

CREEKS BELOW THE MOGOLLON RIM - Weekly stockings into the trout streams have ended for most species.

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.



Updated reports:

Recommended Waters to Fish
Fishing is fair to good at Big Lake, Nelson Reservoir and the Greer lakes in the Springerville and Greer areas; good at Woods Canyon Lake in the Rim Lakes area; fair at Show Low Lake, and good at Show Low Creek and Silver Creek in the Pinetop-Lakeside and Show Low areas.

Trout Stocking Schedule
Week of July 8-12
Bear Canyon Lake – 280 rainbow trout
Becker Lake – 750 rainbow trout
East Fork Black River – 1,567 Apache trout
Little Colorado River in Greer – 605 Apache trout
Sheeps Crossing – 517 Apache trout
Show Low Creek – 500 rainbow trout
Show Low Lake – 620 rainbow trout
Silver Creek – 528 Apache trout
West Fork Black River – 50 Apache trout
Willow Springs Lake – 3,750 rainbow trout
Woods Canyon Lake – 3,000 rainbow trout

Week of July 15-19
Bear Canyon Lake - 280 rainbow trout
East Fork Black River - 1,567 Apache trout
Little Colorado River in Greer - 605 Apache trout
Sheeps Crossing - 517 Apache trout
Show Low Lake - 620 rainbow trout
Silver Creek - 528 Apache trout
West Fork Black River - 50 Apache trout
Willow Springs Lake - 1,500 rainbow trout
Woods Canyon Lake - 3,500 rainbow trout


Note: There are no fire restrictions currently in effect on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. 

BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake will be stocked this week with 280 rainbow trout. 

BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair. Anglers have been catching some stocked rainbows. The water level is very low, well below the boat ramp level. Launching boats will be very difficult.

CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is good for boat anglers using lures and fair for shore anglers.

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is fair. The lake will be stocked this week with 1,500 rainbow trout. 

WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake will be stocked this week with 3,500 rainbow trout. The store is open, and boat rentals are available.

James Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods said the rim lakes and streams continue to produce some great fishing trips. Stocked trout are plentiful. Power Bait, salmon eggs, Super-Dupers, Z-Rays, crank bait and dry flies were all reported successful this past week. There were also several anglers seen at Green Valley Lake here in Payson the past few days. Although the trout stockings have ended the lake, there were still several nice trout caught along with crappie and bluegill. 


Note: There are no fire restrictions currently in effect on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair. Dry flies, including hoppers and damsel flies, have been successful lately, although action is slow. Fish early or late in the day when the fish are most active. 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 to good. The best action has been in early morning. There is a strong algae bloom, but the water quality is still good and fish are biting. Shore anglers have been doing well on worms, garlic and red, white and blue PowerBait. Boat anglers have been successful with spinners and lures (Panther Martin, Crickhoppers in black, gold or fire-tiger colors). The store is open, and boat rentals are available.

CARNERO LAKE – Fishing is good. Anglers are catching stocker-sized rainbows. There won’t be any larger fish until this fall.  The lake is very weedy.

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor for trout. Fishing is good for bullheads, bass and catfish.

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair. Anglers have been catching some trout on worms. The lake is low.
Fishing is fair. Anglers have been catching rainbows up to 19 inches on bait, lures (Crickhoppers and Kastmasters) and flies (peacock ladies and crystal buggers). The store is closed. Access to all boat ramps is good.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing for trout is poor to fair. The bite is slowing down as warm water has driven trout into deeper water. Anglers are catching some bass and bluegill off the fishing piers.

GREER LAKES – All Greer lakes (River, Tunnel and Bunch Reservoirs) are low, but fishing is fair to good. Water levels at River and Bunch are below the concrete curb at the end of each boat ramp, so launching a boat will be difficult. Boats will have to be carried to the water. Boat launching at Tunnel Reservoir is still accessible, but still launching into shallow water. 

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 to fair. The lake has Apache trout and Arctic grayling. Fish very early or very late in the day when the fish are most active. Recent surveys revealed grayling from 5- to 10-inches and Apache trout from 7- to 10-inches. The lake is almost six feet low, and launching a boat is difficult.
LUNA LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair. Some anglers are catching 14- to 15-inch trout on PowerBait in the early morning. Recent surveys revealed rainbows ranging from 7- inches to 14-inches.

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

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is good. The lake was heavily stocked in May, and there are also a few larger, carry-over trout from last year. Anglers are catching stocker rainbows on PowerBait and worms.

RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair. Trout fishing is poor, but catfishing has been good. The lake is very weedy. 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 fair. The water is turbid, but the lake level is good.

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair. Anglers are catching trout on worms, PowerBait and lures. The lake will be stocked this week with 620 rainbow trout. 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 and fair for bass and catfish. The lake is weedy around the shoreline areas.


Note: There are no fire restrictions currently in effect on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is poor to fair. This watershed was hit with a very large thunderstorm on July 14 and the river is currently running high and very muddy. FR 249 was washed out near the Deer Creek confluence and may be blocked off until the road can be fixed. Trout stocking may or may not occur this week, depending upon how quickly the road is fixed and the stream clears somewhat.

WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is fair at the FR 68 Crossing. The stream may be stocked this week with 50 Apache trout at this crossing only, depending upon if the East Fork gets stocked. Fishing is poor below and immediately above this crossing due to impacts from the Wallow Fire. Vehicle access to the West Fork Campground will remain closed through this year. Wild brown trout are also present in the lower end.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER in GREER – Fishing is fair to good. The stream will be stocked this week with 605 Apache trout. The stream is currently flowing at base flows, approximately 7 cfs, but can briefly double in flow following a heavy monsoon rain. Wild brown trout are also present.

SHEEPS CROSSING – Fishing is fair to good. The stream will be stocked this week with 517 Apache trout.

SHOW LOW CREEK – Fishing is good in the large pool below the dam. The stream was stocked last week with 500 rainbow trout.

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is good. Silver Creek will be stocked this week with 528 Apache trout. 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.


Updated reports:

LAKE POWELL- July 17 report from Wayne Gustaveson at

Lake elevation: 3,596

Water temperature: 79-84 F

Fishing techniques and results have not changed much in the summer heat. A morning or evening fishing trip still provides a healthy number of fish caught that would make anglers in other lakes jealous. But this is Lake Powell where fishing success is expected with every trip.

Yesterday, to check current trends, I sent two young anglers down to the dam and told them to fish for one hour and report back. They eagerly obeyed. Another boat was there when they arrived on the west side of the Glen Canyon Forebay about 100 yards from the barricade. The first boat was catching stripers so my crew joined in. They used anchovy bait fished at 20-30 feet on quarter-ounce lead head jigs. The bait worked best when still frozen as it stayed on the hook when stripers bumped it trying to get it to fall off. After the bait thawed stripers stole more bait and were hooked less often than when bait was solid. When the 60 minutes were up the count was 25 stripers in the cooler. That is a catch rate of 12.5 fish per hour – amazing!

It was a good hour, but the report included the fact that stripers stopped hitting at 10 a.m.. Timing plays an important part in successful fishing now. Bait fishing at the dam is good morning and evening. Midday, fishing along the main canyon walls (Power Plant Intake) is good but boat traffic makes the experience less enjoyable. A better choice midday would be in the open bays such as Padre Bay Canyons, Last Chance or Buoy 25 coves. Here fish are still active on bait but the seas are usually calm. Find a spot where a ledge slopes into the main channel at a depth of 20-40 feet. Chum the spot and fish bait for 10 minutes. Stripers will come quickly to the bait – if not choose another spot and try again.

Striper fishing is more of a visual sport from the San Juan to Trachyte canyon. Look for boiling fish each morning and evening but also at random times during the day. More shad of larger size in the mid and northern lake make the difference in fishing results. Stripers are chasing shad on top in the north while the first crop of shad has already been consumed in the southern lake. That may change soon as our sampling indicates the second crop of shad has been recently spawned in the south.

Hot spots for surface feeding stripers include the San Juan arm, Escalante Arm, Rincon, and Good Hope Bay to Trachyte. KastMasters or other small spoons may be the best lures to use as shad size is still small and long casts are needed to reach quick feeding schools as they pop to the top.

Smallmouth fishing is steady at 25 foot depths with drop-shot or Carolina rigged baits. Get the bait down in deeper water to reach the larger bass feeding on crayfish near sloping rocky structure.

Catfish are plentiful and offer some really great fishing in the evening near camp. The catfish bait-fishing catch rate will rival the 12 fish per hour found for stripers in some spots in the backs of canyons and bays. Summer is here but fishing is still tops at Lake Powell.


Previous report:

LEES FERRY  - June 22 report from  Lees Ferry Anglers is proud to announce we now have a walk-in guide. TJ Carrington will be guiding half day trips. This is ideal for the angler looking for special one-on-one fishing, where you will learn strategy and technique. Contact us today for availability and rates.

Up River                                                              Rating 6.5 to 8.5

With the new flows and the hot temperatures, it is best to hit the river early and wade before the water rises.  As the water flow increases, it’s mainly anchoring up on the edge of riffles or drifting with long nymph rigs. You can also try stripping with sink tip lines with bead head streamers.

We are starting to hear the buzz of the cicadas but the responsive bite is still a ways out. If dry fly fishing is your passion, we have been using dry droppers along the seams and seeing a little action. As the fish get used to the high flows the fishing will get better day by day.

Remember to dress appropriately, lightweight sun-protectant clothing and drink plenty of water. We recommend 1 gallon per person, per day. Beer does not count as a hydrant.
Walk In                                                                        Rating 6

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.


Updated report:

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 or visit

LAKE MEAD – The elevation has continued to drop about 1 foot per week to the current elevation of 1105.7 feet above msl.  Be careful boating because of fluctuating water levels and watch for floating debris dislodged from rising water levels. There seems to be an abundance of shad currently which may be the reason for the lack of bite.  Cut anchovies are still the bait of choice for stripers. 

Check the moon phases before you go –last new moon was June 8th.  The next new moon will be tonight,  July 8th.  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.  Josh J. caught a nice 28 lbs. striper jigging over some humps in 40 feet deep water.  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.  All the fishermen contacted were hopeful for the coming years with rising water conditions and the abundance of baitfish they have seen this year.   

LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level has maintained around 642 feet above msl.  The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly especially on grass beds in 20 to 30 feet deep.  Large bluegills have been reported in the 1-2 pound range.  The striper bite has been slow 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 tonight, July 8th.  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 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 Powerworms were being used most for trout.  Jakes original and Jakes Juniors, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails are also usually effective.  Billy sent a report of his 7 pound striper and a bigger fish that he lost after a 2 minute fight.  He was using a Bomber Long A.  Willow Beach can be hit or miss bait fishing.  Try different baits including swim baits when nobody seems to be hooking anything. 

If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at 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. Ken caught a 6.5 lbs. striper in the lower casino area.  The word is that the stripers are in the Big Bend area and the trout have moved from there to the casino area.     

Rusty sent in some pictures of some beautiful fish. Eleven year old Isaac caught a nice 1.94 lbs. bluegill or redear on a mousetail in the Sunshine Cove area. Remember to fish for trout, you need a trout stamp on Class A and Lifetime fishing licenses.

Water levels on the river fluctuate, so be careful. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at 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 reported to be picking up for largemouth and an occasional striper.  Send me your fishing report if you go to the Marsh.   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  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



DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Catfish were stocked for the Verde River Days event and were last stocked for Free Fishing Day on June 1st.  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 — The last tentative scheduled trout stocking, and the last till September, was the week of June 24th.  Catfish were stocked before Free Fishing Day.  Reports are that a lot of people are fishing but not many are catching which means the catfish could be fished out from the last stocking.          

GOLDWATER LAKE — Reports 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 8th.     

If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

GRANITE BASIN LAKE – Last report was the lake was closed due to Doce fire.  If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others. 

LYNX LAKE – The last scheduled trout stocking was the week of June 3rd.  Catfish were stocked the Friday before Free Fishing Day (June 1st). 
Cameron sent a report from May 5th about his group’s success catching 10 good sized rainbow trout using night crawlers with a single green power-egg on a number 8 hook about 18 inches off a sliding sinker.  He reported that 4 of the 10 were over 20 inches.  He prefers the morning bite over the evening bite and he thinks the larger fish stay at the northern end of 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 10th.  

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 18th.
If you fish Watson and are having luck, please e-mail me at 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 17th, 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.  Dwight sent a picture and a report of his successful day at Willow.  He caught a nice bass that put up a fight of over 4 minutes on the opposite side of the dam.  He was using a green weighted Woolley Booger.  If you fish Willow and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.


Updated reports:

Note: If you would like more information on southwestern waters, visit 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 For more information, visit the "Where to Fish" pages at

ALAMO LAKE -  July 18  report from Mark Knapp, Park Ranger at Alamo Lake State Park:

Well folks, I would like to start by taking a minute to thank the guy who takes your input, my input, and somehow turns it into the neat thing we get to read each week called a fishing report.   It's not an easy task.  He has to take all the information everyone sends each week and decide what it means and where to put it.

For example:  I sent Nick an e-mail (Wednesday) that was pretty much in broken English.  It went something like this: “Nick, sorry, it late, can you.  Thanx Mark."  What Nick configured out of this was, "Nick, sorry I missed the deadline (set for Tuesdays by 5) I'm going out fishing tonight and will have something for you in the morning."

So, here I sit on Wed night writing this, so Nick can take the time to get this out to you this week.  I think I'm speaking for all of us by saying, thanx Nick.

O.K. after dumping the monkey suit and being on the water by 4:48 (Alamo time on Thursday) Junior and I headed across the lake and tried to get in some fishing before the winds and storms set in.  I'm baby-sitting a friend’s boat for the summer, and I throw Junior in front when we use it.  That means he is "the guide" so to speak.  I keep my mouth shut and tell him to put us on fish.  He decided to head across the lake and hit the points that are still sticking out.  Good choice.

We get to point A and throw down the trolling motor.  I make a couple of casts and miss my first fish. The next thing I know we’re cruising at mock 10 with the trolling motor on high.  I managed to get in another cast and missed another fish before were into deep water and heading to the next point.  I grit my teeth but don't say anything.  We do the same thing on point number two.  Again I missed a couple of fish.  So what this means is: if you slow down, take the time, and throw plastics in my case, you will probably catch four to five bass off of each point.

I did take note in the blur of things that the fish hit in about 10 feet of water.  Somewhere in all of this we did see our first boil of the year.  As usual the boils were just out of casting range.  Junior was determined to go chase them.  At the same time the water turned a dark color and the winds kicked up.  It was determined at that time that maybe we should head up to the dam and head to a safe area (cove).

While bucking the winds and going nowhere quick, Junior caught a catfish.  Followed by a bluegill.  Determined that we were going to fish the dam area, heading into the winds, I was surprised that Junior was surprised that we had drained the trolling motor battery.

As we pulled into the cove next to the old rental boat road I caught my first bass.  As I have mentioned before.  We fish together, in the same boat -- nothing counts but bass.  We keep score and add it up at the end of the year.  Another cast and I land my second bass. I mention something like," just one more and it's a skunk"...  Now Junior is honked off and managed to catch a cliff.  He snaps off and says he's done.  Boat goes on trailer.

So, here's the deal.  Bass fishing is pretty good right now.  Fish the leeward side of the points and go with 4-inch plastics.  Catfishing is excellent.  When the cats are eating plastics, you cannot go wrong tossing out night crawlers or a piece of hot dog.  No reports of any crappie being caught.

The lake level is at 1093ish and dropping fast.  Cholla is the safest and your best bet for launching.  If you’re on a lake this time of year, keep an eye towards the sky.  If you see a storm coming, do like we did and head to a safe area, or just trailer your boat.  If you get caught up in a storm just stay put in a cove and let it pass.  Put on your life vest.

Now in closing picture this:  You’re sitting on a porch high in the pine trees somewhere around Reserve, N.M.  I think it's around 8,500 feet there.  The high is in the 80s.  It rains every day around three. The rains last for about an hour.  After that you jump on a quad and go into the forest and see more elk, deer, and rabbits than you can count.  That's where I'm heading sometime next week for a few days.  There is nothing like firing off the wood burning stove in the nippy 80s.  I will have more for you next month.

That's it for now.  Mark

PARKER STRIP - Falling over night 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.


Previous report:

LAKE HAVASU - Lake Level: 449.15. June 12 report from John Galbraith of 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 lures and 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. 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 of microjigs for the crappie and bluegill in the lake.  Bass can also be caught. 

CITY RESERVOIR —  No report.

DOGTOWN LAKE —  Campground is open. Trout were being caught early in the day on rainbow Power Bait and worms.  Crappie fishing was good on worms under a bobber and micro jigs.. 

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

SANTA FE — Fishing was 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.  Fishing was slow.



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.      A lot of pike were being caught on anchovies and fly anglers were also catching pike.  A few nice crappie were also caught.

ASHURST LAKE —   Campground is open. Anglers were catching trout up to 14 inches on Power Bait and worms.  We had a report from an angler that he was catching trout up to 18 inches last week, but didn’t give any details on the techniques that were working.  Scheduled to be stocked this week.

FRANCIS SHORT POND –  There has been a partial 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.


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 drain the lake for repairs to the dam.

KNOLL LAKE — the road is open.  Lake is full.  Stocked last week.    Fishing was good over the weekend using powerbait. 



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  These reports will then be complied and reported in our weekly fishing reports.

Spring is here and with it comes increasing water temperatures meaning that fish are becoming more active.  Anglers can expect to see increased activity in the largemouth bass as they prepare to spawn.  Followed closely behind the largemouth bass will be the spawning of the sunfish species.  Anglers should concentrate their efforts in areas of likely spawning habitat near shore.

Trout stockings are all but over for the southern half of the state but anglers can still expect to find trout fishing opportunities up until water temperatures reach the mid 70’s

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

Previous reports

PATAGONIA — The Department successfully excavated a channel to deeper water and the lake caught significant water overnight.  It is currently about 22" down from the normal high water level, and all boats should be able to launch with no problem. The lake level is still low and boaters should use caution as obstructions can appear as water levels continue to drop. 

PARKER CANYON — Anglers have reported catching 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 or by phone at (520)455-5847. 

PENA BLANCA – Anglers have recently reported catching few fish, with the most success at first light.  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.   

ROSE CANYON LAKE — Anglers have recently been catching rainbow trout at the lake.  Summer trout stockings has begun and will continue throughout the summer.  To view the entire summer stocking schedule go here: 2013 Summer Stocking Schedule

DANKWORTH POND — The Park is set to reopen in July.  For more details on the reopening of Dankworth visit the State Parks website at The Department already began the restocking process with the introduction of bluegill sunfish and channel catfish.  The stocked fish were in good condition and should be ready to spawn as water temperatures rise.  Largemouth bass will be stocked once the sunfish population has become established. 

ROPER LAKE —  No recent reports of success.  For lake information (928) 428-6760. 

ARIVACA — Open to anglers, water levels continue to be severely low and the lake continues to drop. Water quality has been reported to be in bad condition however anglers are catching smaller fish in good condition.  All boat launching is at the risk of the owner.  Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive. 

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 4th 300 catchable Gila trout were stocked into the reservoir.  Anglers have reported success at catching Gila trout since the stocking.  Remember that the daily bag and possession limit for Gila trout is 1 fish. Frye Creek above the reservoir remains closed to fishing. 

RIGGS FLAT — Recently anglers have reported success fishing at Riggs Flat.  No future stockings are scheduled until August.  To view the entire summer stocking schedule go here: 2013 Summer Stocking Schedule


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