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Fishing report, May 16, 2013

Posted in: Fishing Report
May 16, 2013
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Hello, anglers!

One month ago, the record for the heaviest recorded fish in state history went, “timber.”  This week, another record nearly dropped.

If you were to walk through the front door to the home of Joshua Blackson, you’d see a striped bass, mounted and shining. On May 10, Arizona Game & Fish Department officials verified Blackson, 41, of Glendale, had caught a 28-pound, 15.68-ounce striper from Lake Pleasant.

Nearly another inland waters, hook-and-line state record. Bob Liddington of Phoenix holds the record with his 29-pound, 13.76-ounce striper from Lake Pleasant in 2010.

Blackson said his striper weighed just more than 30 pounds on a hand-held scale before he brought it to Game and Fish headquarters.

“It’s strange to catch a 30-pound striper in Arizona,” Blackson said. “It’s unique because we’re not known for stripers in inland lakes, anyway. I never expected a 30-pound striper.”

This after a record-setter in April. Eddie “Flathead Ed’” Wilcoxson boated a 76.52-pound flathead catfish, which became the heaviest recorded fish of any species in state history.

Blackson’s was special, especially considering it was a windy, cruddy fishing morning and he was using 6-pound test line. Blackson was about to end his fishing day and head back to the dock on his 18-foot Bass Tracker when something gulped his live shad. The striper bolted from 50 feet of water into the channel, nearly yanking all the line from the spool. “He was peeling drag,” Blackson said, “I actually put my hand on the spool to turn him. When I turned him, he was pooped out.”

Surely this was a catfish, Blackson thought. The fish came to the side of the boat – monster striper.

During the 20-minute fight at the Agua Fria end of the lake, Blackson’s 73-year-old father, Gene Blackson, cut four lines that were in the water. To end the fray, Gene netted the fish. “I couldn’t have done it without him,” Joshua Blackson said of his dad.

In many desert lakes such as Lake Pleasant, shad are spawning. Anglers can grab a four-foot throw net and snatch shad that tend to race along the shoreline. One accurate netting can scoop up enough bait for the day.

Overall, water temperatures in desert lakes such as Lake Pleasant range from 70-77 degrees, depending on water depth.  This is about six weeks behind the seasonal average, changing the relied upon fishing patterns. For example, carp already are in a heavy spawn, and stripers reportedly have yet to spawn.

With air temperatures in desert lakes consistency hitting, or near, 100 degrees, the pine country is the place to be. Crescent Lake reportedly is a hot spot, as are Chevelon, Woods Canyon, and Willow Springs lakes. Last week, Tonto Creek Hatchery stocked Tonto Creek, Haigler Creek, Christopher Creek, the East Verde River, Lower Salt River and Crescent Lake. See more details in the full report.

You might need your summer stocking schedule.

Also, catfish are being stocked at all Urban Fishing Program lakes and ponds through May 18. Bluegill and other sunfish species are spawning. Check out the latest Urban Fishing Bulletin.

And don’t forget to send your fishing stories and photos to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.


Game and Fish Officers Nab Urban Fishing Violators

Game and Fish officers recently conducted law enforcement sweeps at six east valley and five west valley Urban Fishing lakes, resulting in 18 citations.

On May 3, the same day as catfish stockings, two Wildlife Manager teams checked licenses and bag limits of more than 200 anglers. Violation rates at the eleven lakes ranged from 0 percent to more than 35 percent. Tickets were written for fishing without a license, exceeding the bag limit (four catfish), fishing with two poles without a two pole stamp, and giving false information to a police officer.

A patient and persistent officer monitored fishermen at Kiwanis Lake and nabbed an angler taking an overlimit of catfish and hiding extra fish in a vehicle. Court fines will be determined in the weeks ahead, but they generally run $80 for fishing without a license and at least $60 and up for overlimit violations, depending on the number of excess fish. If you observe ongoing fishing violations, please call Operation Game Thief (OGT) 24/7 at 1-800-352-0700. The phone number is printed on all hunting and fishing licenses. Dispatchers will notify local Wildlife Managers to respond to the situation. Reward money is available and callers can remain anonymous.


ANGLER REPORTS:


Ben H. finally took the Woods Canyon leap: I have lived in Phoenix for about three years now and after no fishing for 3 years I couldn't take it anymore! I finally broke down and got into it this summer.

Being used to walleye, northern, and lake trout fishing in Northwest Ontario since I was 3 years old, I am told that I am hard to please when it comes to catching fish!

I had heard a lot of good things about Woods Canyon in talking to people this spring and finally got time to make the trip today. Took home 10 nice rainbows (between my wife and I) after fishing for just three hours!

Wow. What a GREAT time! This lake is a gem. We caught them trolling along the bank with a floating jig and white "GULP" salmon eggs above a sinker.

I can't wait to get these in the smoker! What a great time!

Thanks AZGFD for all your hard work!

Jim F. of Tempe brought his wife to Saguaro Lake at first light on Saturday, May 11: My wife and I hit Saguaro Lake right at first light Saturday morning. First we hit several coves using a variety of baits: jerks, cranks and soft plastics of various sizes and colors. But we had no luck. We then got out the night crawlers and hit a few coves, placing the bait about 2.5 feet under a bobber and quickly realizing the bluegill bite was in full bloom. We quickly caught as many as we could use for a good meal or two. Some were huge!

We were careful to examine them and threw back any that looked like they were in spawning mode. We continued to catch and release panfish for the next few hours and had a blast. I know a lot of guys who will strike out on the bass bite and then pack up and go home rather than fish for pan fish. They don't know what fun they're missing!

At about 4 p.m. we tried for some bass again. We caught a few on jerk baits and soft plastics near the reeds across from the snags. All in all it was a nearly perfect day. Caught lots of fish, saw a lot of wildlife and soaked up the sun and picturesque scenery. If your wife likes to fish as much as mine does, you are truly living the dream!


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From Woods to Willow at Green Valley, Matt G. did a bunch of fishing on Monday, May 13 near Payson: Started at Woods Canyon Lake at 8 a.m. and caught three trout. Then headed to Willow Springs Lake at 12 and only caught one. Finished the day off at Green Valley Lake and caught two rainbows, one bluegill and a yellow bullhead catfish in 20 minutes!

Vinson from Tucson fished Arivaca on Sunday, May 5 with a friend from about 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: It was very windy. The water is extremely low and water clarity is quite bad.  We estimate that water is 15-20 feet below spill level.  Fishing from float tubes, the bite was not bad midday.  I was using a Carolina rig and Roboworms (Margarita Mutilator, Ox Blood w/ red flake, and Aaron's Magic) and my friend was using Texas rig black Zoom curly tail worms.  We caught 24 fish combined; I lost 3.  Fish were in the 1.5- to 3-pound range. Good fighters.

The quality of the bass was very good; however, we did not catch any big fish.  This was our third trip this year and it seems that the large fish are non-existent. There was one very large dead bass on the shore that probably would have been 8-9 pounds if alive. Not sure what killed it, but it had been dead for some time.  The turkey vultures made quick meal of it.

We are both concerned that a fish kill will occur if significant rainfall does not occur soon.  Should this occur, it will be a sad day for this great fishery.

Lots of watchable wildlife around the lake. Besides the wind, it was a good day.

Do your rain dance - I will.

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Brennik M. caught urban carp: I work in Tempe, so I take advantage of the proximity of the lakes and ponds in the area and fish on my lunch breaks. My fishing buddies/coworkers make fun of me because I always hook into lures that other people lose in the water so I'm always getting free tackle.
Well, today was a little different.

I cast my drop-shot worm out into the middle of the pond under some trees and as soon as it hit the water my line took off. I couldn't feel the fine tugs you get when you have a fish on the hook and it felt more like I was reeling in a garbage bag that kept fighting back and testing my drag. When I got the fish in close enough to see it was a carp, I saw my hook and sinker were out of the water and they were connected to another line that had the fish.

Some friendly onlookers were watching and capturing this on their phones as the battle ensued until I finally got the fish to the shore.

They took a couple pictures of me with the fish and I removed the knotted line from its mouth before releasing the 30-33 inch beast back into the water.


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Ed. E. brown bagged this fishing trip: Hi, Nick. No Tempe Town Lake report today, but Mike White and I drove up to Kinnikinick Lake this morning (May 10) to try and catch some big browns.

We got there a little after 6 a.m. after leaving the valley around 4 a.m.

The fishing was slow but we both managed to catch and release a total of four German brown trout. They seemed to be hitting anything with gold and retrieved fast. That's how I caught my three anyways. We left around 2 p.m. as it was getting breezy and the storm clouds were coming in. I have attached a picture of the size of browns we were catching.


Some fly-fishing updates from Brennik M.:  I would encourage other fly anglers to share the love on the weekly update.

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    Chevelon Lake: Fishing is fair.  I ended up with three nice browns and two rainbows, all on streamer fly patterns. None of the browns I caught was under 18 inches. I would recommend flashier and large flies. I had no luck on dries. The trout are starting to rise but the water does not allow them to see your fly unless they are right there. You have to work hard to find the fish in this lake. It can frustrate the best anglers but reward those who fish it hard. The lake is full. The issue is the water clarity. It has improved since I was up there two weeks ago. It still is off color and the trout are having a hard time spotting your lure or flies. The browns seem to be more active toward the shoreline feeding on minnows and flies. The lake is just about impossible to fish from shore with the water level it is at. The growth around the edge of the lake is thick and makes it hard to cast. I would recommend a float tube or canoe. Also, if you are not willing to hike down and up 1000 feet in elevation this is not the lake for you.  

 

  • Crescent Lake: Fishing is excellent.  I could not keep them off my line.  I caught several nice holdover rainbows pushing 19 inches.  The fish were rising actively in the morning to midges.  I tried some size 20 or 18 parachute Adams with no takers.  I had luck on sub-surface with green buggers trailed by a hares ear.  

 

  • Big Lake: I rate this as slow.  I hate to put a poor rating on Big Lake but the four hours I fished it I did not get a bite.  I talked to a few shore anglers who had no luck either.  Hopefully it will pick up soon. The water level is down quite a bit and boat launching may be hard.

 

  • Lee Valley Lake: Fishing is below poor.  The water clarity is very bad.  The water is beyond murky.  The water is low and the lake is very shallow. I saw one the report that 3,000 Apaches were dumped in, figuring it would be easy pickings.  I stayed an hour and decided this was a lost cause. Don't waste your time here.  Hit Big or Crescent.  

 

  • Sheep's Crossing: Little Colorado River -- Fishing is good. Creek is still slightly off color. I went up river from road and found most of the fish.  When I went down river it did have its fair share of stockers.  If you have never caught an Apache trout this is one of your best places to catch one.  This little creek is deceptive.  It has undercut banks and can hold many trout.  Some of the pools are several feet deep.  My recommendation is a piece of nightcrawler on a small hook with a little split shot only.  You can slay them up here.  The fish I caught are small at 8 inches but sure are fun to catch. Our state fish is very pretty. In some of the pools you can see a dozen fish swimming around.  If you have kids this is a great spot to have them catch some trout and an easy walk from the road.  


                                                                              
Q & A

  • Hi. Does AZGFD stock golf course ponds in Tucson? The reason I ask is the urban fishing here in Tucson is terrible. The stocked fish are all caught in couple days and there is very little if any holdover or breeding. All the golf courses are full of BIG BASS and many other fish. These ponds are full of very healthy fish. I have caught some very large bass by putting a rod in my golf bag and making just a few casts. This was before I was threatened with arrest. Are Arizona residents paying for AZGFD to put these fish in these ponds? - John

Hi, John: After asking Urban Fishing Program manager Eric Swanson, I can tell you the simple answer is NO, AZGFD does not pay for any fish going into private waters.  But here’s some more background information, John.

Many private lakes and ponds such as golf course ponds, home association ponds, and private resident ponds do have some nice fish populations.  Fish in these ponds were put there and paid for by the private land owners.  Fishing in these waters is solely dictated by the land owners and is generally limited to residents or staff only.  If you are not a resident or do not have explicit permission, then it is considered trespass to fish there, and you can be cited (as you were advised).

Since these waters are not open to the public and were not built using public funds, Game and Fish has no jurisdiction over these waters (our licenses are not valid and our bag limits and regulations do not apply).  Consequently, our strict policy is not to pay for or provide any of the fish in these private waters. 

However, for private landowners to stock any fish, they are required to get a stocking permit (free) from us so we can verify that any fish they stock are certified free of disease, they are coming from reliable fish farms/sources, and no unwanted fish species are introduced into Arizona.

Thanks for your question. – Nick

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    I am an avid fly fisherman.  Prior to the Wallow Fire, the upper West Fork of the Black River is probably my favorite flowing water in the state.  It has isolation, pure/clean water, and great fishing.  I recently stopped by and got a nice surprise.  I landed three brook trout.  Two just below the road and above the fish barrier.  I also caught one about a mile back in.  See the attached photo.  I have always found this to be a brown trout fishery.  You will catch an Apache every once in a while. My question is, did Game and Fish stock brookies in the river recently?  I did not know they were ever introduced into this watershed.  The fishery has really not suffered since the fire.  The size of the fish has gone down but there are fish in every hole.  I have never had luck north of the FR116.  Do fish even exist in this portion?  Has Game and Fish ever thought of adding some more fish to this portion of the river?  Do you survey this creek, and what are the findings? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks, Brian.

 

Brian: I posed this question to our Pinetop-based Fish Program Manager Mike Lopez. He said the brook trout that you caught are not a surprise to us, but it is good information for us that you caught two brookies at that location. So thank you for contacting us.

I’ll start with a little background information on the upper West Fork Black River.  As you might know, we have been managing the upper West Fork for a recovery population of Apache trout.  Two fish barriers were built from 1993-1995 a short distance below Forest Road 116 and the stream above that was chemically treated in 1996 to remove all non-native trout, which either compete with or hybridize with Apache trout.

That chemical treatment covered every inch of surface water in the drainage above the fish barriers in an effort to remove every nonnative brown trout and brook trout, including the West Fork to the top of Baldy on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, and all through the Thompson and Burro creeks as well.  Apache trout were then reintroduced into the West Fork above the fish barriers in 1997 to establish a self-sustaining recovery population, while brown trout still existed below the barriers.

That population of Apache trout did extremely well for a number of years until some hard drought years hit in the 2000s, at which time we began to see the Apache trout in the meadow disappearing to where there are very few in the meadow (above 116) today.

They have held on extremely well in the canyon upstream of the meadow, maintaining a viable recovery population farther up.  Also around the 1999-2000 timeframe, we found that brown trout had made their way through the lower fish barrier, but not above the upper barrier.  Then, several years later, as we were doing a number of studies to find out why the Apache trout were not doing well in the meadow, we started catching an occasional brook trout.

We initially thought that some angler might have illegally released them into the creek: from either Big, Crescent or Reservation lakes.  But that was not the case.  As we searched farther up in the drainage, with the help of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, we found a small population of wild brook trout in the headwaters of the West Fork on Mt. Baldy and in the very headwaters in Thompson Creek, also on the reservation.  Apparently the chemical treatment had not killed all the brook trout way up in the headwaters back in 1996 and we had not detected them until later, likely not until their numbers increased enough for us to find them. 

So, we are not seeing the brook trout population marching downstream, but we do see an occasional individual in the lower reaches near the 116 road that have swam or washed downstream.  But we intend to keep an eye on that main population to see if they spread downstream over time.  If the main population stays in the very headwaters, they will likely not be a problem for the Apache trout.

Regarding the trout population in the meadow above the 116 road, we have a great interest in improving that population and the fishing opportunity.  We have tried stocking additional hatchery Apache trout in that meadow, only to have them disappear.  Then we tried moving some wild Apache trout from the upper canyon into the meadow with some tags to track them, and they too disappeared.

We have also conducted some law enforcement studies to see if illegal harvest was removing most of the fish by the road, and while there was a small amount, it was not enough to explain the near lack of fish in the meadow.  So we turned to studying the habitat and water conditions.  What we are finding is that the meadow warms up too much in the summer to support resident trout.  It is getting into the upper 70s in that meadow reach, which is lethal to trout, but the temperatures up in the canyon, and even down below the road, are remaining suitable.  This is a different condition than we used to have in that area, as it used to support trout continuously.  One thing that Game & Fish Pinetop Fish Program Manager Mike Lopez has seen in his career in the White Mountains is a huge reduction in willow stands in some areas, willows that used to provide valuable shade to trout streams.  The main cause for the initial reduction was a widespread willow disease in the mid 1990s.  Grazing by cattle and/or elk have likely kept these willows from returning (hopefully not continued disease issues).  So this sudden reduction in shade combined with a decrease in base flows and longer warm periods (due to extended drought) have likely caused this stream warming issue in that meadow.  The canyons are not prone to warm as much since they have more shade from the canyon slopes and different streamside vegetation (conifers and alder).

So, what can we do? 

1. We are planning on watching that core brook trout population to see if they spread downstream.
2. We are planning on building a large fish barrier farther downstream on the West Fork (near Forest Road 25) to extend the Apache trout population further downstream.
3. Explore ways to encourage re-growth of willow (or maybe even alder) in the meadow above the 116 road to provide more shade to keep the water temperatures cooler.
4. We are planning to monitor habitat conditions in the middle and lower reaches of the West Fork to determine long term effects and suitability after the Wallow Fire.

Hopefully, this has answered your questions.  - Nick


OK, on to the full report.


CENTRAL WATERS

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

Updated reports:

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URBAN WATERS – Fishing for catfish is good to excellent for anglers using worms, stink baits, hot dogs or shrimp fished on the bottom.

A catfish stocking is taking place until May 18. Catfish are biting throughout the day, but are most active when the sun goes down. For bobber fishing, rig up a slip bobber and set the depth so your bait is a foot off the bottom.

Bluegill and other sunfish species are beginning to spawn at all urban waters, which makes them more aggressive and active. Best baits for the feisty, 5-8 inch bluegill are worms or mealworms fished under a small bobber, or fish on the bottom using a small split shot.

Action for largemouth bass is fair with the best baits finesse plastics fished in the early morning hours. Please exercise catch and release for largemouth bass and remember the minimum keepable size for bass is 13 inches.

At Green Valley Lakes (Payson) fishing is good to excellent for trout, with good fishing expected to last through the Memorial Day weekend. The May 10 trout stocking was a big one and included many trout over a pound including a special load of 15-20 inch trout from the Tonto Hatchery. Try yellow or white Power Bait on the bottom, or fish with a bobber using half a worm and a salmon egg. Lure and fly anglers are having success on Super Dupers, Trout Magnets, or wooly boogers.

Also, the May 10 final trout stocking of the season at Payson’s Green Valley Lakes included a double load of 11-20 inch rainbow trout. The Mogollon Sporting Association together with the Game and Fish Department’s Urban Fishing Program kicked in the extra funds to provide 800 pounds of beautiful trout for the annual Payson Wildlife Fair held May 11.

Fishing is good to excellent for trout and is expected to last through the Memorial Day weekend. Worms, coupled with salmon eggs or Power Bait, are a great combination fished on the bottom or 3-4 feet under a bobber. Anglers fishing with 2- or 4-pound test line will get many more bites than anglers using heavier lines. With rising lake temperatures and pH levels, there will be no further stockings of trout over the summer. However, anglers are starting to enjoy good fishing for the abundant largemouth bass, crappie and sunfish found in all three Green Valley Lakes. Action for these warm water species will be good all summer long. Try worms, tube jigs or curly tail grubs.

LAKE PLEASANT – Mike McFarland, a professional fishing guide for Hook Up Outfitters, reported that stripers are still in a funk. However, there is a good early-morning top-water bite (try walking baits and skinny dippers). If you’re using a throw net to get live shad, fish them in the creek channel at 20-25 feet of water depth. The shad are spawning in the early mornings along the banks.

For largemouth bass, try  top-water lures early, as well as crankbaits.  Dropshots also are working on shallow-water shoreline points. Get ready: Another huge wave of spawners is coming. Also, the anchovy bite is hit and miss in 60 feet of water.

A previous report from Jeremy Hoffman, fishing manager at the north Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse: Went up to Pleasant yesterday evening, found a good spot up a northern cove just before sundown and started killin’ the stripers!

We were just cruising around and started to see boils everywhere, so we stopped there and threw topwater for a while with no luck. Although we got no love on topwater, there were obviously already lots of fish and shad stacked in this particular area so that’s where we posted up for the evening. As soon as we started with anchovies the action was on. We did catch our fair share of dinks in the 8-10 inch range, but our average size striper was in the 1.5 to 2-pound range. We fished the same spot for six hours before calling it a night, and would have to say that we had a blast. Came home with 18 of the bigger ones and had one heck of a striper cookout this evening. Beer, garlic, lemon, and some Mexican pepper inside of a little tinfoil grilling pan -- excellence!

I’d recommend anyone interested in some excellent night fishing to go out this week before the moon starts coming back. This is a great opportunity to take someone who is just starting to get interested in fishing, or someone that has had some bad fishing trips where they’ve been skunked and lost some interest, because it’s not hard to find the fish right now and you can sit there and catch them until you get bored, tired, or run out of bait. Make sure to grab at least two bags of anchovies for each person going! Those little fish are clever when it comes to thieving bait off of your hook, so be prepared.

Also, there are carp everywhere in the backs of coves right now. Wish I would have had my bowfishing setup with me because the carp were thick. Did not see lots of big ones, but the numbers were there. Water temp was right at 70 degrees before sunset FYI.

After turkey season is over the next new moon should be here again and I’ll definitely be out there giving it a shot once more!

BARTLETT LAKE – McFarland repoted that largemouth bass are in 12-20 feet of water and hitting Carolina rigs and deep-diving crank baits in 12-25 feet of water. Go to the main lake and hit the wind-blown points.

Gary Senft, a local professional and a Bass Pro at the Mesa Bass Pro Shops, said many bass are in transition from their spawning spots to their summer patterns. The first hour can produce a good top-water bite close to the bank. There is still a jig bite, he said, and he’s still catching bas on ½-ounce Gary Yamamoto jigs. Texas rigs and dropshots are effective as well.

But the trick is as the sun rises, move to points and island and drop worms or use deep-diving crankbaits around ledges for some big boys.

Also around midday, use finesse baits such as baby brush hogs, worms and dropshots.

Senft said he hasn’t seen spawning shad a Bartlett, yet, but that could change this weekend.

Previously, Jeremy Hoffman, fishing manager at the north Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse, said folks are saying topwater has been incredible in the morning, and the afternoon bite has also been fantastic.

Techniques such as dropshotting, wacky rigging senkos, and lipless crankbaits are proving effective. When fishing lipless crankbaits, Hoffman suggests, let the lure fall all the way to the bottom before starting your retrieve, and then once you start bringing your crankbait back in, reel for a few seconds, pause briefly, and then start reeling once again.

Also try reeling in steady and then speeding it up for a few seconds, then return to your previous retrieval speed. As a result of both of the techniques, the fish will usually strike hard due to the sporadic action of these retrievals.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,109 feet, 54 percent full).  James Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods submitted this report: Good morning rim country anglers – We reported last week that the bass fishing on Roosevelt Lake was going to be great this week and we were not disappointed. Even with the wind, which blew 30 mph at times, the fishing was great.

The water clarity has gotten a little worse due to the wind churning up the water but bass fishing overall was called excellent. I talked with several anglers who were pre-fishing the WON tournament last weekend and catching good numbers and size of bass. One bass over 12 pounds was caught on Thursday, May 2 using a Carolina rig in15 feet water.

The Tonto Creek and Salt River are flowing at about half their normal rates for this time of year which is a decrease from two weeks ago. Yet the lake remains at 55-percent full. The lake water temperature is in the 70s. The top-water bite will again be hot this coming week so look for bass chasing shad on the surface in shallow water along the shorelines, backs of covers or long shallow points. Several top-water baits were reported successful including a Rio-Rico, buzz baits, Pop-R and a paddle tail swimbait made by Reaction Innovation. Spinner baits with a white skirt and double willow-leaf blades were reported more successful than crankbaits for the first time this spring. Jigs, Texas rig worms, senkos, dropshots using a 6-inch Roboworm or a Carolina rig using a 6-inch green pumpkin lizard were also reported successful.

The Crappie fishing was called poor this past week. Anglers reported better crappie fishing at night using live minnows. Crappie lights will be effective this coming week. But check the weather before planning any night time fishing.   Salome Cove and around Windy Hill were reported hot spots for crappie again this past week. A 1/32- or 1/16-ounce jig hook with a 1-inch pumpkin/chartreuse or black-and-blue color grub tail were reported successful. The crappie spawn appears to be winding down, so look for larger schools of crappie in submerged brush in 15-25 feet water.

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

SAGUARO LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,526 feet (95 percent full):

Angler’s report: Jim F. of Tempe brought his wife to Saguaro Lake at first light on Saturday, May 11: My wife and I hit Saguaro Lake right at first light Saturday morning.

First we hit several coves using a variety of baits: jerks, cranks and soft plastics of various sizes and colors. But we had no luck. We then got out the night crawlers and hit a few coves, placing the bait about 2.5 feet under a bobber and quickly realizing the bluegill bite was in full bloom. We quickly caught as many as we could use for a good meal or two. Some were huge!

We were careful to examine them and threw back any that looked like they were in spawning mode. We continued to catch and release panfish for the next few hours and had a blast. I know a lot of guys who will strike out on the bass bite and then pack up and go home rather than fish for pan fish. They don't know what fun they're missing!

At about 4 p.m. we tried for some bass again. We caught a few on jerk baits and soft plastics near the reeds across from the snags. All in all it was a nearly perfect day. Caught lots of fish, saw a lot of wildlife and soaked up the sun and picturesque scenery. If your wife likes to fish as much as mine does, you are truly living the dream!


Previously, Skyler Clark, fishing manager at the Mesa Sportsman’s Warehouse, said the bass spawn is beginning to wrap up, although some bass remain on their beds. Bluegill and shad are starting to spawn as well as water temperatures are rising to more than 70 degrees.

The top-water bite should be going as well. Top water lures, jerk baits, drop shot Roboworms and senkos are picking up most of the fish.

The bluegill bite is wide open, and small nymphs fished near the bottom in 5-7 feet of water should catch all the bluegill you want. Also, Clark said an angler was using a small crappie jig tipped with a worm near marina docks for some good-sized bluegill.


Previous reports:

Please send your reports to BFishing@azgfd.gov

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.

CANYON LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,659 feet (97 percent full). Skyler Clark of Sportman’s Warehouse said he’s fished both Canyon and Saguaro in the past week, and techniques are similar (see above Saguaro report).

APACHE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,906 feet (91 percent full). This continues to be a hot spot for largemouth bass, with some reports spilling into the north Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse of bass weighing 10-pound-plus.  Target deep-water ledges, such as ones that go immediately from 10 to 100 feet of depth. The reports indicate the fish are spread out from the marina to the dam. Try dropshots with ox blood Roboworms. When bed fishing, use jigs or soft plastics in lighter colors so you can see your bait. But consider releasing the spawning bass to preserve their populations.

HORSESHOE LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,005 feet, 55-percent full. Hoffman, the north Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse fishing manager, reported Horseshoe is a particularly fun place to fish because of the waters it has held for so long. Catfish and carp anglers will have a blast fishing here because it’s a place where you can not only catch high numbers of fish, but many of considerable size. Scent is the key when fishing this lake because the water is so muddy and the visibility extremely poor. A strong potent scent is necessary for these fish to be able to hone in on your bait.

For catfish try using chicken livers or stink bait, and for carp use corn, dough balls, or cheese baits. (If you choose to fish with dough balls, add in lots of garlic salt and/or vanilla extract. It gives off a scent that catfish and carp cannot resist.) Salt River Project tends to use Horseshoe as a flood retention reservoir, but steadily releases the water downstream into Bartlett Lake.

LowerSaltSonoraSucker.jpg
LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – Water temperature averages 73 degrees from May 5-11 and received a stocking of 1,500 rainbow trout. Recently received a large, unplanned stocking of rainbow trout. 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.


LAKE POWELL AND LEES FERRY

Updated report

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 POWELL- Wayne Gustaveson’s May 14 report from www.wayneswords.com:

Lake Powell Fish Report – May 14, 2013

Lake Elevation: 3596

Water Temperature 65-72 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson 
http://www.wayneswords.com

Warmwater fish really respond to changes in water temperature.  Lake Powell water temperature is now ranging from 65-72F meaning that spring fishing responses are on the way out and summer personality traits are setting in. 

The most noticeable sign of warming water is the appearance of phytoplankton which gives lake water a green hue. Formerly crystal clear water now has much less visibility.  Normally we blame runoff for clouding the water but this year runoff has just barely started and clarity is lessened by plankton. 

It is almost time to say good bye to spawning bass and crappie. There were still some active nests this past week but the bass spawn is concluding now. Bass fishing is not over; it just changes to summer mode. Nest builders are leaving the shallows to go deeper. Wise anglers will adjust and do the same following the bigger bass to 15-25 feet.  Crappie will move to open water and suspend making them harder to find but susceptible to slow trolling with small plastic grubs. 

Fishing Tip:  Free floating Carolina rigged baits behind a sliding sinker are more effective in the summer. Use the same plastic grubs, tubes and senkos, just rig them differently for more consistent success.  Follow the 25-foot depth contour for best success.

Smallmouth bass will be fun and easy to catch in the shallow rocks all along the shore.  But if you prefer the bigger fish then the advice just given about fishing deeper should be heeded. Big smallmouth are moving deeper once they leave the nest and will be caught at 25 feet as the water temperature climbs into the upper 70s. 

Stripers will continue to hang out on the canyon walls until shad spawn and fry grow large enough to become striper food. For the remainder of the month stripers will continue to be caught like crazy with bait in the southern lake. Right now each shallow ledge extending out to 20 feet then falling into deep water holds a striper school.  Stripers are eating plankton in the surface layer and crayfish on the 20 foot ledge while waiting for shad to appear. 

Hot fishing spots are found all over Padre Bay. Good camping beaches often have a school of stripers closer by  that can be caught from shore.  Locate stripers by slow trolling lures in the upper 30 feet while graphing to find a school. When a striper is caught or a school seen on the graph, toss out a handful of chum and go to work. Stripers will rise to the chum but can be caught on an assortment of lures.  Anchovies are a sure thing but everything from fly fishing to bottom bouncing works to catch these hungry fish. Please keep all the stripers you can use or give away to family and friends. It is population adjustment time and the southern lake will benefit from a smaller striper population.   

Some stripers are still in the backs of canyons and easy to find and catch. Just work the mudline or color changes from brown to green water. Troll medium to deep divers at the color change where bottom depth is between 20 and 45 feet. Fishing is not as fast as that found on the canyon walls but stripers caught will generally be larger and fatter.  

Walleye are enjoying the greener/murkier water and not very patiently waiting for shad to spawn.  They are eating anything they can find all day long. Walleye fishing success will be at its peak for the next two weeks.  The most effective technique this week was to put a night crawler on a quarter ounce jig head and slowly drag it along the bottom in 12-26 feet of colored water.  The technique can be dressed up with worm harnesses, beads, spinners and bottom bouncers but the message here is that walleye are hungry and willing right now. There are more walleye north of Bullfrog than south but many are being caught all over the lake. That will continue for the rest of the month. 

The muddy water near White and Farleys Canyon was great for walleye and fat stripers earlier in the  month but runoff is now starting which will reduce visibility to zero, cool the water and reduce fishing success.  The backs of canyons will provide better fishing than the main channel on the far north end of the lake.

Previous report:

LEES FERRY  - Dean Windham of Lee’s Ferry Anglers said  last week that midges are hatching like crazy, scuds are coming back after some anglers feared they’d been wiped out in the November flood, and trout have preferred rippling waters as opposed to the slack pools they’d been lounging in a month ago.
The scuds, Windham said, have been in moss piles, a welcome sight for anglers and trout alike. “We were afraid the flood killed them all,” Windham said.

A light nymph rig using a zebra midge, Glow Bugs or San Juan worms are working. Windham said fish also are sitting in the rock piles at the edge of ripples where a food source drops in.

Also, remember that o Feb 20, a portion of road on Hwy 89, the section of highway that goes from the junction of Hwy 89A, up to Page, collapsed. This road closure in no way affects anyone who is traveling to Lees Ferry/Marble Canyon as long as you do not go through Page. All north-south travel can be completed by using 89A which is much quicker and shorter that the detour through Page. For more info visit: http://www.azdot.gov/us89/. Road construction continues on the road from Marble Canyon to the Ferry, and anglers can expect a 10-15 delay at the most, Windham said.

Angler's previous report: Fished the walk in section for two full days.  My buddy was spin fishing and had some luck using Pistol Petes under a cast bobber.  He had limited luck on KastMasters or spinners.  I was using the normal Lee's Ferry stuff (midges, scuds, glow bugs, San Juan worms) and had pretty good luck.  The upper boulder field was slower. The best fishing was near the Paria bar and the lower boulder field.  We both ended up with 25 fish a day.  Slow for Lee's Ferry standards but still a good day. When you’re used to 50 fish days it is a letdown.  LOL. The fish are spawning still.  Several were spilling eggs.  Regardless the fishing is good.  The biggest one we caught was 17 inches.  Most were in the 12 to 13 inch range, Let’s hope all this snowmelt runoff gets the lakes and streams loaded full of nutrients and fattens up all the trout and bass.
Also read the previous April 1 fishing report from www.leesferry.com.
 
COLORADO RIVER

Updated reports:


Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders.  Please drain and dry your 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 – Report from Don Martin of Striper Hunters: Did a trip Saturday night and we got 52 fish, including a rainbow trout that a guy caught on a piece of anchovy. That has never happened to us before. Then took a lady and two friends out Monday night, we got 71, including two channel cats. The best striper weighed 2.43 pounds. There’s a Big Fire Fighter's tournament this weekend out of South Cove. Two divisions: one is for largemouth/smallmouth bass and the other is only for stripers. I'll let you know how we do.


The elevation has continued to drop about 1 foot per week to the current elevation of 1111 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.  Check the moon phases before you go –last new moon was May 9th.  The next new moon will be June 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 50-60 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.  Bobby O. sent me a picture of a beautiful 5 lbs. largemouth bass he caught in the back of a cove in about 3 ft. of water on the Nevada side.  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 at around 643 feet above msl.  The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly especially on grass beds in 20 to 30 feet deep.  Ed and his grandson Jacob caught 4 nice largemouths on brown colored spinner baits.  The largest of their catch was 4.48 pounds at 21 ⅞ inches long.  Reports of using artificial crayfish jerked through the weed beds have worked well. 

The reports from my black bass fishing contacts say that the numbers of smallmouth bass are overtaking the largemouth in tournaments recently and that the smallmouth and just as big as the largemouth. Trolling with LONG A BOMBERS has been producing some nice stripers. I received a report that the striper fishing have picked up a little.  While the number of stripers in Mohave has been decreasing, the quality of the fish caught has increased. 


Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon will be June 8th.  Cut anchovies usually work the best. 

Biologists from both Arizona Game and Fish Department and Nevada Division of Wildlife with the help of volunteers, National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation personnel have continued to install fish habitat in Carp Cove, Box Cove, Shoshone, and Arrowhead.  Fish habitat consists of PVC structures, wood pallet structures, tamarisk bundles, and some Christmas trees. The largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill and catfish are really utilizing the new structures. Additional habitat will be added at several locations over the next two years. These structures are fish magnets.

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

WILLOW BEACH – Willow Beach is stocked every Friday with 3,000 13” rainbow trout.  Rainbow, peach, garlic and yellow Power Baits and Powerworms were being used most for trout.  Jakes original and Jakes Juniors, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails are also usually effective.  Willow Beach can be hit or miss bait fishing.  Try different baits including swim baits when nobody seems to be hooking anything. 

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

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – The accessional 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. Stephen G. brought in a nice catch of stripers from shore in the Needles area and from just downstream of the Avi Bridge using anchovies.  James P. caught a nice 6 pound striper drifting by boat using anchovies. Daniel’s stripers caught from shore by the Avi weighed in at 5.08 lbs., and 3.34 lbs.    

Rainbow trout are located throughout the river below Davis dam, but anglers typically report catching trout on the Arizona side across from the Riverside, off the shore of Davis Camp and in the Big Bend area.  Rusty at the Riviera Marina sent pictures of several successful trips to the river.   Night crawlers, mouse tails, rooster tails and Panther Martin’s are the reported best bait for these beauties but power bait has also been successful.  Gerry W. landed a 3 lb. channel catfish on the Laughlin Bay area and rainbow trout from in the Laughlin Bridge area using Jakes Spinner baits and Berkley mouse tails that were red with brown tails.  Rusty is sponsoring a fishing tournament to benefit the local senior nutrition program if you are interested stop by his shop.  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 http://www.usbr.gov/lc/riverops.html before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

TOPOCK GORGE -  Most bass are being taken on minnows and night crawlers. Reports are that stripers are returning to the Gorge.
 
TOPOCK MARSH – The action at Topock Marsh has been picking up.  Reports are that the crappie and bluegill bite is hot.  Night crawlers and live minnows have been tempting catfish and largemouth bass from North Dyke.  Folks were catching their limits of largemouth on spinner baits mostly.  Remember the minimum of 13 inches for largemouth bass in the Marsh.

If you notice illegal activities please call the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-352-0700 or online at www.azgfd.gov/thief.  Please refer to our regulations booklet on how to be a good witness.  

You can access the marsh by boat at the North Dike, Catfish Paradise, and Five-Mile Landing. All three also provide plenty of area for shoreline fishing too. For more information on the marsh, contact the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge at (760) 326-3853 or go to http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/havasu/index.html.

VERDE VALLEY:

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Catfish were last stocked for the Verde River Days event.  The last trout stocking was scheduled for the week of March 10th.   Catfish and bass bite should increase because of warmer temperatures. 

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – The last scheduled stocking was the week of March 17th.  Always check your regulations before fishing this area with live bait. Game and Fish Commission Rule requires anglers to only use live bait that has been caught in the river. No transporting of live baitfish or crayfish is allowed. 

PRESCOTT AREA:

FAIN LAKE — The last scheduled trout stocking was the week of April 29th. The next tentative scheduled stocking will be this week, the week of May 13th. I have not heard any reports from Fain in a while.          

GOLDWATER LAKE — Report are that some trout are being caught but it can be hit and miss.  Damon sent a report that he has been doing very well fishing by the dam using yellow sparkling marshmallows several feet from his sinker. The last trout stocking was the week of May 6th.   The next tentatively scheduled stocking is the week of June 3rd.   
      

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

GRANITE BASIN LAKE – Bluegill and some catfish are still being caught.  If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others. 

LYNX LAKE – The last scheduled stocking was the week of April 7th.  The next tentatively scheduled stocking is this week, the week of May 13th.
  
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 stocking was the week of April 29th.   The next tentatively scheduled stocking is this week, the week of May 13th.  

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

WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR –   Arizona Game and Fish Department completed a fish survey using gillnets and Electrofishing on April 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 gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

 

SOUTHWESTERN WATERS


Updated reports:


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 (Water temperatures around 75 degrees) -  April 30 Report from Mark Knapp, Park Ranger at Alamo Lake State Park:

Well folks, it's been a while since I have had a chance to sit and write you something.  Once again I find myself on the road a lot and little time to fish. Things are starting to slow down so I will have some accurate, up-to-date stories and reports coming your way in the next couple of months.

Catfishing is on fire right now.  Anglers are netting shad and using them for bait.  We’re talking limits every day.

You need a boat for the best results but can catch a few shore fishing. Night crawlers are also a good all-purpose bait.  Bass-fishing has been reported as “on today and off tomorrow.”   Denny, a good friend, likes to throw crank baits.  We have had several discussions over the years over which is better, plastics or training wheels (crank baits, spinner baits).  According to Denny, this week throwing crawdad-colored crank baits between 10ish and noon has boated 10-15 fish daily.  Not bad.

In the evenings he has been catching the same amount throwing brush hogs.  As I write this, I have the boat batteries on broil, 1/8 tank of gas, and the winds starting out of the west at approx. 10 mph.  I'm sure by 4:30 p.m. when we’re ready to go out, we should have gusts up to 30 mph.  I'm taking Junior out with me.
If by chance the winds are not blowing, I'm going to start by finding where the crappie are.  In this case, I go with a 1/8-ounce jig into 1-15 feet of water about 50 times.  If I don't get a bite, then I suggest going back to trolling by the first buoy line.

The water temp is about 75-76ish, so things should be happening.  I have had a report, and we have been looking, that the tower of the bulkhead up by the dam is only a couple of feet under water.  Until this thing surfaces, or we can mark it, please slow down up in that area and save your lower unit, and possibly your life.
I'm happy to say that Cholla ramp is still holding its own and should be OK for the next month.

We’re still launching off the old rental boat road, but don't recommend it if you have not used it in the past.  We hit 107 degrees out here yesterday.  Happiness is doing a double backflip with a 1/2 twist into a bucket of Banana Boat sun block, and hitting the lake.

The first day of 110 degrees, I come out of the cave, finally shed the jacket, see my shadow and declare an extra eight weeks of summer.  In a nutshell, remember sun block and water.  No good reports on the crappie night bites up by the dam.  That's it for now.  - Mark

Previous reports:

COLORADO RIVER (PARKER STRIP AREA) - 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.

LAKE HAVASU -  Lake Level: 449.15. May 1 report from John Galbraith of BassTackleMaster.com in Lake Havasu City: The striper bite is good with some quality limits coming from the main river channel north over the sandbar with cut bait or by trolling or casting shallow running (5 feet deep) minnow-style or top-water plugs.

Also, the channel catfish bite is good in the evening using cut anchovies or sardines.

If you want a big channel or flathead, use live sunfish up to 5 inches long, rigged Carolina style, with a one-ounce weight. Most all "big" cats bite best from 7 p.m to 2 .a.m.

The smallmouth bass are biting well on wacky-rigged plastic worms and double tail jigs in brown or green pumpkin. Fish these off points or chunk-rock banks where smallies hunt for crawdads. Dipping plastic trailers and worms in Chartreuse dye also helps get bites when bass aren't in the mood.

CENTRAL MOUNTAINS

Updated reports:

This is the time of year to fish for trout and pike in the northland.    Fossil Creek is closed to fishing

WILLIAMS LAKES:  

KAIBAB LAKE —  Campground is open.  No report.  Stocked Last Week

CATARACT LAKE —  Campground is open.   No report.  Scheduled to be stocked

CITY RESERVOIR —  No report. Stocked last week

DOGTOWN LAKE —  Campground is open. Very few anglers where out on Saturday due to the wind.  The only fish that were caught were caught before the wind came up on rainbow Power Bait fished on the bottom.    Stocked last week.

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

SANTA FE — No report.  Stocked last week

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campground is open. Some crappie and trout were caught over the weekend.  Fly anglers were using bead head prince nymphs.  Stocked Last Week

FLAGSTAFF LAKES:

LOWER LAKE MARY —  Lower Lake Mary has been stocked with 20,000 Rainbow trout.  Fishing has slowed recently to just good fishing.  Anglers using flies and using small spinners have been doing the best.  Fly anglers are still catching up to 15 fish an hour.   Bait fishermen have been catching trout on rainbow Power Bait but at a slower rate than folks fishing with lures or flies.

UPPER LAKE MARY —   This is a good time to fish on Upper Lake.    We had a report of a 22 inch walleye being caught on a waterdog.  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 —   The lake has been stocked.  Fishing for holdover trout and fresh stockers has been good.  Folks using small gold spoons and spinners were doing well.  Fly fishermen were also catching fish.  Power Bait was also working.

FRANCIS SHORT POND –  Fishing was good on corn, Power Bait or  Velveeta cheese.  The Lake is being stocked weekly.
 
KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road is open.  This is the time of year to catch a nice brown trout on the lake.


 Angler’s report: Ed. E. brown bagged this fishing trip: Mike White and I drove up to Kinnikinick Lake this morning (May 10) to try and catch some big browns. We got there a little after 6 a.m. after leaving the valley around 4 a.m. The fishing was slow but we both managed to catch and release a total of four German brown trout. They seemed to be hitting anything with gold and retrieved fast. That's how I caught my three anyways :-) We left around 2 p.m. as it was getting breezy and the storm clouds were coming in. I have attached a picture of the size of browns we were catching.


OAK CREEK — No report.. 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 –  No report.  Has been stocked

WEST CLEAR CREEK - No report.  Has been stocked

STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.

BLUE RIDGE —  Road is open and the lake is full.  Will not be stocked this year due to plans to drain the lake for repairs to the dam.

KNOLL LAKE — the road is open.  Scheduled to be stocked.

WHITE MOUNTAINS AND RIM LAKES


Updated reports:


Recommended Waters to Fish
Woods Canyon and Willow Springs Lakes have been stocked heavily in the Rim area; Fishing is good at Woodland, Rainbow, Show Low and Fool Hollow Lakes in the Pinetop-Lakeside and Show Low areas; and also at Nelson, River, Crescent and Big lakes in the Springerville and Greer areas.

Trout Stocking Schedule
(Week of May 6-10)
Ackre Lake - 300 Apache trout
Black Canyon Lake - 4,474 rainbow trout
Clear Creek Reservoir - 2,368 rainbow trout
Crescent Lake - 2,500 rainbow trout
East Fork Black River - 700 Apache trout
Little Colorado River in Greer - 660 rainbow trout
Rainbow Lake - 5,120 rainbow trout
River Reservoir - 4,849 rainbow trout
Scott Reservoir - 1,980 rainbow trout
Sheeps Crossing - 750 Apache trout
Show Low Lake - 4,972 rainbow trout
Silver Creek - 528 Apache trout
Woods Canyon Lake - 7,872 rainbow trout

(Week of May 13-17)
Bunch Reservoir - 2,000 rainbow trout
Concho Reservoir - 2,025 rainbow trout
East Fork Black River - 784 Apache trout
Fool Hollow Lake - 4,000 rainbow trout
Little Colorado River in Greer - 355 rainbow trout
River Reservoir - 2,000 rainbow trout
Scott Reservoir - 1,981 rainbow trout
Sheeps Crossing - 259 Apache trout
Silver Creek - 528 Apache trout
Tunnel Reservoir - 2,000 rainbow trout
West Fork Black River - 50 Apache trout
Willow Springs Lake - 8,000 rainbow trout
Woods Canyon Lake - 3,100 rainbow trout

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES:
Note: All lakes have been stocked.

BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake has been recently stocked with rainbow trout. The lake is full and spilling. 

BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake was heavily stocked last week with 4,474 rainbow trout. Anglers are reporting high catch rates mostly of stockers, but also of the larger, carry-over fish. The water level is about 5.8 feet below spill. 

CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake is full, but no longer spilling. Carry-over rainbows are about 12-15 inches long.

Angler’s report: Fishing is fair.  I ended up with three nice browns and two rainbows, all on streamer fly patterns. None of the browns I caught was less than 18 inches.   I would recommend flashier and large flies.  I had no luck on dries. The trout are starting to rise but the water does not allow them to see your fly unless they are right there.  You have to work hard to find the fish in this lake.  It can frustrate the best anglers but reward those who fish it hard.  The lake is full.  The issue is the water clarity.  It has improved since I was up there two weeks ago.  It still is off color and the trout are having a hard time spotting your lure or flies.  The browns seem to be more active toward the shoreline feeding on minnows and flies.  The lake is just about impossible to fish from shore with the water level it is at.  The growth around the edge of the lake is thick and makes it hard to cast.  I would recommend a float tube or canoe.  Also, if you are not willing to hike down and up 1000 feet in elevation this is not the lake for you.

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake will be heavily stocked this week with 8,000 rainbow trout. The lake is full, but not spilling.

WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake was heavily stocked last week with 7,872 trout and will be stocked again this week with 3,100 rainbow trout. The lake is full and spilling. The store is open, and boat rentals are available.
 Angler report: I have lived in Phoenix for about three years now and after no fishing for 3 years I couldn't take it anymore! I finally broke down and got into it this summer.  Being used to walleye, northern, and lake trout fishing in Northwest Ontario since I was 3 years old, I am told that I am hard to please when it comes to catching fish!  I had heard a lot of good things about Woods Canyon in talking to people this spring and finally got time to make the trip today. Took home 10 nice rainbows (between my wife and I) after fishing for just three hours! Wow. What a GREAT time! This lake is a gem. We caught them trolling along the bank with a floating jig and white "GULP" salmon eggs above a sinker.
I can't wait to get these in the smoker! What a great time!


WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES:

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair. Few trout have been caught this past week, but most of them have been in the evening. A strong midge hatch is occurring, and there is a lot of food available. Becker Lake is open to catch-and-release fishing, with artificial fly and lure only, and single barbless hooks only.

BIG LAKE – Fishing is good. Anglers are catching trout on worms, salmon eggs and corn. Z-Rays and flies are also working. The store is open, and boat rentals are available.


 Angler’s report: I rate this as slow.  I hate to put a poor rating on Big Lake but the four hours I fished it I did not get a bite.  I talked to a few shore anglers who had no luck either.  Hopefully it will pick up soon. The water level is down quite a bit and boat launching may be hard.

CARNERO LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake was stocked two weeks ago. 

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is good. The lake was stocked last week.

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is good. Concho will be stocked this week with 2,025 rainbow trout.
 
CRESCENT LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. There was no winterkill this year, with carry-over rainbows up to 18 inches and brook trout up to 16 inches surviving the winter. The lake was stocked last week with 2,500 rainbow trout. Fly fishers have been catching rainbows up to 17 inches on black woolly worms. The store is closed. Access to the north and middle boat ramps is good, but the south boat ramp is blocked by a boat dock that was pulled up last fall.

 Angler’s report: Fishing is excellent.  I could not keep them off my line.  I caught several nice holdover rainbows pushing 19 inches.  The fish were rising actively in the morning to midges.  I tried some size 20 or 18 parachute Adams with no takers.  I had luck on sub-surface with green buggers trailed by a hares ear.  


FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake was stocked with a couple loads of larger rainbows averaging 15 inches a few weeks ago and will be stocked again this week with 4,000 stocker rainbow trout. Anglers are catching trout on worms and Power Bait. Anglers are also catching some largemouth and smallmouth bass, black crappies and bluegills off the fishing piers.

GREER LAKES – All Greer lakes (River, Tunnel and Bunch Reservoirs) are full and fishing is good. All three lakes will be stocked this week with 2,000 rainbow trout each. River Reservoir was stocked heavily last week with almost 5,000 trout. There are also some larger, carry-over trout (rainbows up to 21 inches and browns up to 22 inches) present. 

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 fair. The lake has been recently stocked with 3,400 Apache trout. Moderate numbers of 9 to 10-inch Arctic grayling survived the winter. There is top water action on hatching midges in the evening and when it is overcast. The lake is about five feet low, and launching a boat may be difficult.


 Angler’s report: Fishing is below poor.  The water clarity is very bad.  The water is beyond murky.  The water is low and the lake is very shallow. I saw one the report 3,000 Apaches were dumped in figuring it would be easy pickings.  I stayed an hour and decided this was a lost cause. Don't waste your time here.  Hit Big or Crescent.  

  
LUNA LAKE – Fishing is fair. Luna has been recently stocked.

LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is open for day-use only. Overnight camping will be allowed from May 24 to November 4. Fishing is fair for bass, catfish and carp. 

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is good. The lake has been heavily stocked with 19,594 rainbow trout. There are also a few larger, carry-over trout from last year. The lake is full.


RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake was heavily stocked last week with over 5,000 rainbow trout and was also recently stocked with a couple loads of large rainbows averaging 15 inches. White Amur (grass carp) were stocked into the lake under a special permit last week 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 good. The lake will be stocked this week with 1,981 rainbow trout. The water is turbid, but the lake level is good. 

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is very good. The lake was heavily stocked last week with 4,972 rainbow trout.  Anglers are catching trout on worms, Power Bait and lures. The concession store is open, and boat rentals are available. Plans to re-install the fishing pier near the boat ramp are being developed. The spillway campground and the road over the dam are open. The main campground is open.

WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is excellent. The lake was stocked two weeks ago with 3,036 rainbow trout. Shore anglers are catching trout on rainbow-colored Power Bait and small Taskmaster lures.

WHITE MOUNTAINS STREAMS:

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is good. Forest Road (FR) 276 is open along the East Fork, and the stream will be stocked with 784 Apache trout this week from Diamond Rock downstream to Buffalo Crossing. The river is flowing clear. Wild brown are also present.

WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is fair to good. The stream will be stocked this week with 50 Apache trout at the FR 68 crossing only. Vehicle access to the West Fork Campground will remain closed through this year. Wild brown trout area also present in the lower end.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER – Fishing is fair to good. The stream will be stocked this week with 355 rainbow trout. Wild brown trout are also present.

SHEEPS CROSSING – Fishing is fair to good. The stream will be stocked this week with 259 Apache trout.

Angler’s report: Little Colorado River: Fishing is good. Creek is still slightly off color. I went up river from road and found most of the fish.  When I went down river it did have its fair share of stockers.  If you have never caught an Apache trout this is one of your best places to catch one.  This little creek is deceptive.  It has undercut banks and can hold many trout.  Some of the pools are several feet deep.  My recommendation is a piece of nightcrawler on a small hook with a little split shot only.  You can slay them up here.  The fish I caught are small at 8 inches but sure are fun to catch. Our state fish is very pretty. In some of the pools you can see a dozen fish swimming around.  If you have kids this is a great spot to have them catch some trout and an easy walk from the road.  


SHOW LOW CREEK – The access road across the dam is open. Fishing in Show Low Creek will be poor, as the large pool below the dam is not scheduled to be stocked until June.

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is good. The stream is now open to general fishing regulations (bait, lures and flies are legal, with a six-fish daily bag limit) from April 1 through September 30. Silver Creek will be stocked this week with 528 Apache trout. The upper section is now closed to angling during the general regulation season.

SOUTHERN WATERS

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

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

New reports

PENA BLANCA – Recent AZGFD fish surveys at the lake captured high numbers of sunfish and quite a few large redear sunfish.  The largemouth bass population appears to have had a successful spawn last year with all sizes of largemouth bass captured during the survey.  Quite a few 2 to 2.5 lb catfish were also captured.  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.   

PATAGONIA —Recently anglers have reported success at catching some really nice big bass that are putting up a good fight.  The lake level is down and boaters should use caution as obstructions can appear as water levels drop.  Anglers have reported difficulty in loading and unloading their boat due to the low water levels.

PARKER CANYON — Channel catfish between 1.5 and 3 lbs were stocked into the lake May 3rd and were in good condition.  Anglers have been reporting success in catching channel catfish at the lake.  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.

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. 

Angler’s report: Vinson from Tucson fished Arivaca on Sunday, May 5 with a friend from about 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: It was very windy. The water is extremely low and water clarity is quite bad.  We estimate that water is 15-20 feet below spill level.  Fishing from float tubes, the bite was not bad midday.  I was using a Carolina rig and Roboworms (Margarita Mutilator, Ox Blood w/ red flake, and Aaron's Magic) and my friend was using Texas rig black Zoom curly tail worms.  We caught 24 fish combined; I lost 3.  Fish were in the 1.5- to 3-pound range. Good fighters.

The quality of the bass was very good; however, we did not catch any big fish.  This was our third trip this year and it seems that the large fish are non-existent. There was one very large dead bass on the shore that probably would have been 8-9 pounds if alive. Not sure what killed it, but it had been dead for some time.  The turkey vultures made quick meal of it.

We are both concerned that a fish kill will occur if significant rainfall does not occur soon.  Should this occur, it will be a sad day for this great fishery.

Lots of watchable wildlife around the lake. Besides the wind, it was a good day.

Do your rain dance -- I will.


Previous reports

RIGGS FLAT — Riggs Flat is now open and the lake was stocked with approximately 6,000 trout.  Future stockings as scheduled in June will be dependent on water quality at that time.   To view the entire summer stocking schedule go here: 2013 Summer Stocking Schedule

CLUFF RANCH — No recent reports of success.  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.

ROPER LAKE —  No recent reports of success.  For lake information (928) 428-6760. 
  
DANKWORTH POND — Still closed for renovations as State Parks puts the final touches on several construction projects.  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. 

FRYE MESA RESERVIOR – No recent reports of success.  Remember that the daily bag and possession limit for this species is 1 fish. Frye Creek above the reservoir remains closed to fishing. 

 ROSE CANYON LAKE — Rose Canyon is now open.  Summer trout stockings has begun and a next stocking will occur the week of May 20th. 

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