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Fishing report, May 23

Posted in: Fishing Report
May 22, 2013
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Hello, anglers!

The Memorial Day Weekend traditionally means family getaways to high-country fisheries and their pine-crested peaks and summer stockings and, for desert dwellers, relief from the heat. It's also an escape for anglers who are saying the bass fishing is a bit stale.

Call it a post-spawn funk. But soon, water temperatures in the desert lakes will hit 80 degrees and bass will be recovered from their spawn, in their ideal temperature range, and ready to chew.

Until then, many families will be headed uphill. This holiday weekend traditionally kicks off the state’s busy boating season. But the crayfish wouldn’t know it. These nonnative critters are a nuisance for trout, and anglers can help.

For kids, there’s hardly a better mystery than tossing out a piece of string, maybe a string tied to a stick, along with a bucket to toss the crawdads into. Try soaking the string in bacon grease, or attach a piece of meat (hot dog, bacon, etc).

In the White Mountains, fishing is good to excellent at Fool Hollow, Rainbow and Show Low lakes in the Pinetop-Lakeside and Show Low areas. Incentive-size rainbow trout averaging 5 pounds each will be stocked into Fool Hollow Lake this week, following several weeks of heavy stocking. Fishing is also good at Nelson Reservoir, River Reservoir and Crescent Lake in the Springerville and Greer areas, and Woods Canyon Lake and Willow Springs Lake in the Rim area.

Take advantage of our interactive Fish&Boat map to locate 150 of the state's top fisheries.


Also, the Tonto Creek Hatchery stocked more fish into its area fisheries last week, with Concho Lake and Crescent Lake receiving some large numbers of trout. Tonto Creek, Haigler Creek, East Verde River, and Bear Flats also received trout.

Here's some great news for weekend anglers: This week, Canyon Creek Hatchery is stocking Fool Hollow Lake with about 100 incentive rainbow trout, all of which weighed around 5 pounds. Some real Memorial Day weekend lunkers! Fool Hollow Lake is located less than 2 miles from downtown Show Low, off of Old Linden Road (access Old Linden Road either from Highway 60 in town, or at its western end from Highway 260). The lake's craggy banks and beautiful vistas give visitors a feeling of seclusion.

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Already, Carlos Arias took advantage at Fool Hollow, landing the 5-pound, 11.36-ounce rainbow trout pictured to the right.


If you’re headed to the heavily-stocked Rim lakes, trout are a near given. Jeremy Hoffman, fishing manager at the north Phoenix Sportman’s Warehouse, has this tip: “From shore, it’s hard to beat a night crawler under a bobber, salmon eggs, or cheese bait. If you’re fishing from bottom, use night crawlers with a 'worm blower.' You stick it into your night crawler to inject air in, which makes your worm float up off the bottom. You’d be surprised at how big of a difference this actually makes!”


Hoffman also said action on the Black River is heating up. See the full report for how to fish it.


Have fun this weekend, and stay safe. Wear a life jacket. Let us know how you did by sending your Memorial Weekend fishing memories to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

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Intoxicated boaters to be targeted at Saguaro Lake
 
PHOENIX -- The Arizona Game and Fish Department, in cooperation with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Tonto National Forest, will be conducting an Operating Under the Influence (OUI) checkpoint at Saguaro Lake during the weekend of June 1-2 in an effort to apprehend boat operators who are impaired by drugs and /or alcohol.
 
Past Arizona OUI checkpoint data indicate that in excess of 50 percent of boat operators are involved with the consumption of alcohol while operating watercraft. Statistics also show that a high percentage of boating accidents at Arizona lakes involve the consumption of alcohol.
 
State law prohibits the operation of a motorized watercraft with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. Recent boating accidents and associated fatalities in Arizona underscore the need for enhanced enforcement of this law.
 
This checkpoint will be operated under guidelines dictated by Arizona state law, Arizona Game and Fish Commission rules, and U.S. and Arizona Supreme Court case law.


Game and Fish to implement fire restrictions at wildlife areas
 
PHOENIX -- The Arizona Game and Fish Department will implement Stage 1 fire restrictions at all department wildlife areas effective Wednesday, May 22.
 
Stage 1 restrictions mean that no open fires are allowed -- including campfires and charcoal-burning barbecues. Smoking is prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle or building. Welding or operating acetylene or other torch devices with open flames is prohibited, as are fireworks. Discharging a firearm is prohibited except while engaged in a lawful hunt.
 
However, these wildlife areas remain open, offering an excellent outdoor recreation experience, and you can still use gas and propane stoves and lanterns.
 
The restrictions apply to the following wildlife areas:

• Alamo Wildlife Area
• Allen Severson Memorial Wildlife Area
• Aravaipa Wildlife Area
• Arlington Wildlife Area
• Base and Meridian Wildlife Area
• Becker Lake Wildlife Area
• Bog Hole Wildlife Area
• Chevelon Canyon Wildlife Area
• Chevelon Creek Wildlife Area
• Cibola Wildlife Area
• Clarence May Wildlife Area
• Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area
• Colorado River Nature Center
• House Rock Wildlife Area
• Jacques Marsh Wildlife Area
• Lamar Haines Wildlife Area
• Luna Lake Wildlife Area
• Mittry Lake Wildlife Area
• Powers Butte Wildlife Area
• Quigley Wildlife Area
• Raymond Wildlife Area
• Robbins Butte Wildlife Area
• Roosevelt Lake Wildlife Area
• Santa Rita Wildlife Area
• Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area
• Springerville Marsh Wildlife Area
• Sunflower Flat Wildlife Area
• Three Bar Wildlife Area
• Tucson Mountain Wildlife Area
• Upper Verde River Wildlife Area
• Wenima Wildlife Area
• White Mountain Grasslands Wildlife Area
• Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area
• Willcox Playa Wildlife Area

These restrictions are consistent with statewide fire restrictions issued by the Arizona State Forester for all Arizona State Lands.
 
Fire restrictions are set to be implemented on some national forests as well. Check the websites of the different forests for more information.

For a list of Game and Fish wildlife areas, directions, and the wildlife you may see, visit www.azgfd.gov/outdoor_recreation/WildlifeViewingAreas.shtml.


ANGLER REPORTS:


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David K.’s premiere fishing trip in Arizona also was primo: Greetings. Fished Peña Blanca on the morning of May 16, which was my first time ever fishing in Arizona. I caught a large amount of bluegill on my fly rod with small poppers. I also spent a fair amount of time casting small jigs with 3-inch yellow twist tail grubs and caught at least 18 largemouth bass in the 12-16 inch range. All fishing was done from shore.

I did spot a bass in excess of 24 inches while looking down from one of the cliffs. Unfortunately, I was in no position to try to present a lure to it.

An excellent little lake perfectly tailored to the angler. Tons of cover and structure as far as I could tell. I am planning on bringing a tube and fins next time.

And that’s why they call it “fishing” -- not “taking”: Three of us AZ native “Sandlot boys” from little league chose Blue Ridge as our yearly trip, as we figured anything we catch would be a holdover. We fished for three days and in total fished 7-plus hours each day from a boat and shore.

First day, Friday (May 17): Lots of fish schooling on the fish finder, but at the bottom.  Near drop-offs and points, but drifting everything in the world through them produced nothing.  Not one bite all day! Trolling, casting, bait fishing, bobber fishing, and fly fishing!

Second day, Saturday: Same data on fish finder, but seems the lake has not turned over the thermally.  Water temp is ideal at the surface and bugs are landing on the water, yet no fish jumping or actively feeding. Caught three fish randomly throughout day on worms and one 23-inch Rainbow on Power Bait.

Third day, Sunday: Same as the first two days, but not a bite on anything.  It became a joke because we tried 18 different colors of Power Bait dough and still nothing!

Please note: “Anyone using the boat ramp at Blue Ridge should observe the one-at-a-time rule when backing down a trailer on this boat ramp, as some people have the consideration of a tapeworm.”  P.S. If you would like to print it, I am talking about the guy with four canoes on a trailer with a pack of 12-year-old boys who began backing down in front of me in the middle of  the ramp because “We will just unload in front of you and then you can wait for us to pull out!”

“Tight lines and stay friendly out there!”

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Cousins catch trout limits on the lower Salt River: My cousin Claudio and I put our kayaks in at about 8:30 am on Saturday morning, May 18.  We fished pools of water just below the white water.  We both had caught our limits by 10:30 a.m. using mostly Power Baits.  The fishing was excellent from first cast to last.

Bass busting loose for Bill S. and Mike S. at Tempe Town Lake: Hello, my fishing buddy and I have not submitted any fish reports from Tempe Town Lake, but after breaking some of our personal best records for bass last night (Thursday, May 16), we thought it time to report in.

The fishing has been very good for the past six weeks at Tempe Town Lake.  We have "landed" over 160 bass (largest weighing in at 3.24 pounds) since April 1 and also several yellow bass.  We have landed a good-sized tilapia, a 2.9-pound catfish and several carp in the 2-4 pound range.  We troll the north shore, south shore and east end of the lake with various baits from spinners, lipless cranks, swim baits and even some soft plastics.

Last night, May 16:  We started fishing at 6:15 p.m. and stopped just after 9:30 p.m., only so we didn’t get locked in.  In those 3.25 hours we landed 38 bass. It was a feeding frenzy on the water.  We had several "double" hook ups just trying to get off the water.  It’s so awesome to fish the lake at night, as the city lights are spectacular and the fishing isn’t too bad either. 


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A girl’s first big fish: It was a catfish -- one of the two for the day. She used a worm for the first one and stink bait for the next one. She was so happy; she had no problem reeling it in. She was ready all the times we went fishing, and no bites. So yeah, she was ready. Now she can't wait to go every day after school -- we can go more now that school break is coming. Thanks.

“Kids just like catching fish and anyone can do it, so get out there”: Made a trip to Pleasant Saturday night May 18 with my two boys, 9 and 11 years old. We were on the water at 6:30 p.m. We cruised to Coles Bay and Goose Bay looking for boils. Being Saturday evening the lake was still busy, so no boils. At dusk we moved to Castle Creek on the north side by the cliffs, straight across from the boat ramp just past the first set of buoys. We drove along the shore until we saw fish on the fisher finder.


We anchored in 50 feet of water and tossed out a few anchovy’s bits and then a pole with a minnow and the two other with anchovies. Within a few minutes we caught a fish. I hooked up the floating light, green and white, and dropped it down and shad and stripers in minutes.

We continued to catch stripers until leaving at 10:30 p.m. Most the fish where 10-12 inches, around 1-1.5  pounds. We used 10-pound fluorocarbon line, number 6 bait hooks and drop shot weight below. We put the bait about 20 feet down.  We stopped counting fish once the boys hit 55 fish, estimated 70 fish total. They hit any size anchovy piece: 1 inch, 2 inches, half an anchovy, it didn’t matter. The fish may be small, but the memories will be big. Kids just like catching fish and anyone can do it, so get out there. Best Regards, Mike S. 


                                                                             
Q & A


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Are there flatheads in Tempe Town Lake? The regulations book says no and the website says yes. Which one is correct?? Thanks, Manny B

  • Hi, Manny. I turned to Urban Fishing Program Manager Eric Swanson to take on this question: “As for sources of accurate information, both the AZ Fishin’ Holes book and the on-line Fish&Boat interactive map site list flathead catfish as a fish species that does occur at Tempe Town Lake.  I am not sure where in the regulations book you find a “no” for flatheads at Town Lake, unless you are referring to page 41, “Where to Fish by Species in Arizona”.  This listing only identifies waters that have good numbers of flatheads in them and offer a good chance of catching one.  Tempe Town Lake did not qualify for this listing.” - Nick

 

Hi, We are planning a company picnic with a fishing event. Is there a way I can have my employees fish for one day without each of them getting an urban fishing license just for a one day event? Thanks, Rita

  • Hi Rita. Once again, a response from our Urban Fishing Program Manager, Eric Swanson: “Sorry, for a company picnic such as you have described, the Arizona Game and Fish Department does not offer a license waiver or special group rate to fish for a day. Sorry.

          We do provide license waivers for kids/family fishing clinics that we sponsor.  We also provide free fishing for special needs groups for specific event dates.  And we also provide a youth group fishing license for $25 for two days.

          We also provide free fishing days twice a year at all public fishing locations on Saturday June 1 and also on Saturday June 8, 2013.  If your company picnic event is on either of these two days, then no one will need a fishing license!

          Otherwise, for anyone fishing that is age 14 or over, they will need either the Class U Urban Fishing License for $18.50, or the Class D One Day Fishing license for $16.25 residents or $17.25 for non-residents.  Licenses can be purchased at any License Dealer (such as Wal-Mart, Big 5, Sports Authority, Dicks….) or online at http://www.azgfd.gov/eservices/licenses.shtml. Thanks for asking. All the best, Eric.”


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:

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 took 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 – Angler’s report: Made a trip to Pleasant Saturday night May 18 with my two boys, 9 and 11 year old. We were on the water at 6:30 p.m. We cruised to Coles Bay and Goose Bay looking for boils. Being Saturday evening the lake was still busy, so no boils. At dusk we moved to Castle Creek on the north side by the cliffs, straight across from the boat ramp just past the first set of buoys. We drove along the shore until we saw fish on the fisher finder.


We anchored in 50 feet of water and tossed out a few anchovy’s bits and then a pole with a minnow and the two other with anchovies. Within a few minutes we caught a fish. I hooked up the floating light, green and white, and dropped it down and shad and stripers in minutes.


We continued to catch stripers until leaving at 10:30 p.m. Most the fish where 10-12 inches, around 1-1.5  pounds. We used 10-pound fluorocarbon line, No. 6 bait hooks and drop shot weight below. We put the bait about 20 feet down.  We stopped counting fish once the boys hit 55 fish, estimated 70 fish total. They hit any size anchovy piece: 1 inch, 2 inches, half an anchovy, it didn’t matter. The fish may but small the memories will be big. Kids just like catching fish and anyone can do it, so get out there. Best Regards, Mike S.

Previously, 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 top water for a while with no luck. Although we got no love on top water, 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!


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Gary Senft
BARTLETT LAKE (Water temperature 76-78 degrees) – Gary Senft, a local professional and a Bass Pro at the Mesa Bass Pro Shops, said bass are settling into their summer patterns, holding in 10-25 feet of water on long points and  islands.


He fished the lake last week and said the dropshot bite turned on after the sun came up using morning dawn and red crawler Roboworms in 10-15 feet of water. Texas rigs in green pumpkin baby brush hogs also were effective.


The best top-water bite will be from 5-6:30 a.m. on Ricos and small buzz baits and little dippers.

Skyler Clark, fishing manager at the Mesa-based Sportsman’s Warehouse, reported that bass fishing is hit and miss.


Previously, McFarland reported 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.


ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,109 feet, 54 percent full).  James Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods submitted this report: Starting off this morning with a great thanks to Payson Parks & Rec. Dept., the AZGFD and all of the vendors at the Wildlife Fair last weekend. It was a great experience for all ages and lots of great feedback was given. Another big thanks to the Mogollon Sporting Association who, 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 event. Great job to everyone and a big thanks to Rim Country residents for turning out in big numbers.


Bass fishing on Roosevelt Lake was called good to excellent this past week. As the bass transition from the spawn into more of a normal summer pattern, many anglers were able to predict bass movement and locations. The water is now what we normally would call clear, meaning that you can see 10-feet-plus into the water. The algae growth we’ve been talking about the last couple of weeks is spreading, which creates some problems for anglers. It’s no fun removing algae from your bait after each cast but that is where the bass are staging.

It’s clear now that the spawn for bass is winding down. There still may be a few bass that spawn into June, but for most of the bass and crappie, the spawn has ended. The Tonto Creek and the Salt River are currently flowing at about 50% of their normal rates for this time of year and the lake remained at 55% full. The lake water temperature is in the mid to high 70s but with the warmer ambient temperatures in the 90s, it will increase this coming week.

The top-water bite is happening from first light until just after sunrise. As soon as the sunlight hits the water, the top-water bite seems to end abruptly. If you get to the lake early, look for bass chasing shad on the surface in shallow water along the shorelines, backs of covers or long, shallow points. The most reported top-water bait last week was a Rico, but buzz baits and shallow-running jerk baits and paddle tail baits were also working well. Also, spinner baits with a white skirt and willow leaf blades were recommended as an early morning bait.

Later in the day, jigs, Texas rig worms, Senkos, dropshot using a 6-inch Roboworm were reported successful. Weightless Senkos in a watermelon color with gold flakes and an Ox-Blood Roboworm were the top baits reported. Reports indicate bass are being caught in the 15-25 foot depth.    
The crappie fishing was called fair this past week.  However, anglers are reporting a good nighttime bite using live minnows and crappie lights. Hot spots for crappie reported last week were at the marina tires.
This coming week will be an excellent time to use crappie lights as we move towards a full moon next week.

Trout fishing on the Rim Lakes was called excellent this past week. Power Baits on the bottom, or a bobber using salmon eggs. Fly anglers are having success on Super Dupers, Panther Martin, and wooly buggers. Dry flies on most of the Rim Lakes didn’t produce as well last week as wet flies, so fly anglers might want to have some streamer flies ready to go. Early mornings and late evenings were the best times reported for the rim lake trout anglers. 

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


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): Skyler Clark, fishing manager at the Mesa-based Sportsman’s Warehouse, said that as is the case in many desert lakes, largemouth bass are in a post-spawn funk. Clark has been throwing swim baits, dropshots and jerkbaits.


Bluegill, however, can be had around reef patches or rocky banks. Try pieces of mealworms, or nymphs if fly fishing. Clark suggests if fly fishing to not use a strike indicator cork, but simply let the nymph fall a couple seconds before working the fly back in.

Angler’s previous 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!

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.


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


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.


Angler’s report: Cousins catch trout limits on the lower Salt River: My cousin Claudio and I put our kayaks in at about 8:30 am on Saturday morning, May 18.  We fished pools of water just below the white water.  We both had caught our limits by 10:30 a.m. using mostly Power Baits.  The fishing was excellent from first cast to last.

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.


Angler’s report: Hello, my fishing buddy and I have not submitted any fish reports from Tempe Town Lake, but after breaking some of our personal best records for bass last night (Thursday, May 16), we thought it time to report in.


The fishing has been very good for the past six weeks at Tempe Town Lake.  We have "landed" over 160 bass (largest weighing in at 3.24 pounds) since April 1, and also several yellow bass.  We have landed a –pound tilapia, 2.9-pound catfish and several carp in the 2-4 pound range.  We troll the north shore, south shore and east end of the lake with various baits from spinners, lipless cranks, swim baits and even some soft plastics.
Last night, May 16:  We started fishing at 6:15 p.m. and stopped just after 9:30 p.m., only so we didn’t get locked in.  In those 3.25 hours we landed 38 bass. It was a feeding frenzy on the water.  We had several "double" hook ups just trying to get off the water.  It’s so awesome to fish the lake at night, as the city lights are spectacular and the fishing isn’t too bad either.  – Bill S and Mike S.


Previous reports:


Please send your reports to BFishing@azgfd.gov

HORSESHOE LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,005 feet, 55-percent full. Jeremy 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.

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

LAKE POWELL AND LEES FERRY


Updated report:


powell_2.jpg
LAKE POWELL - May 22 report from Wayne Gustaveson at www.wayneswords.com:


Many are coming to Lake Powell for the first time this weekend. For new arrivals here is the fishing rundown.  First, the lake is coming up and water is warming. That makes the runoff water cold and muddy in the inflow areas near Hite. In the main lake shad are spawning while bass and crappie are done. Fishing is in transition from spring to summer. Basically that means topwater fishing is good at twilight but the rest of the time fishing at a depth of 12-25 feet is most successful.

Striped bass are the most commonly encountered fish particularly on the south end.  Bait fishing is off the charts from the dam, to Navajo Canyon, along the main channel to Padre Bay (Buoy 25) and in the San Juan Arm.   Near Bullfrog there are fewer hotspots that reward those that find them, but bad luck can leave others fishless. Lake Canyon mouth and the main channel walls near Halls Creek mouth were the best spots this week.

When fishing in the main channel for the first time, try chumming and bait fishing in a few spots to find a willing school. The most successful spots are often near a shallow bench (20 feet), terrace, or rocky point in otherwise deep water (100+). Stripers come into the shallow zone to find food not available in deeper water. But they want to be near deep water for safety. Cut bait has strong scent and great attractive powers.  Hungry fish can’t resist and move quickly to a shower of bait in the water.  Once the school is activated many fish can be caught at the same location. 

Here are some incredible spots to try for stripers: Find Buoy 3 and then go upstream to the corner leading to Antelope Canyon. Fish close to either the north or south wall – not in the open water. Fishing is best in the afternoon.  The Power Plant intake (Buoy 8) is marked by a fence on the top of the canyon wall. Fishing here is best in the afternoon. Navajo Canyon: Find the first set of double islands and fish the two main points on the left hand wall beyond the islands. Navajo is good all day long. Perhaps go there early and fish the other locations later in the day.

Padre Bay has striper schools in many areas where a 20-foot slick rock point is surrounding by deep water. The mouth of West Canyon is great right now.  It is often easiest to find a moving school by trolling a deep (15-20 ft) diving lure until a fish is caught.  Then chum that area to attract then catch following school mates. This works all the way uplake to the San Juan.  In the San Juan huge schools of stripers are in the back of Deep and Desha Canyons. Start looking where bottom depth is 25 feet. The same goes for the Escalante.

Just got a new report from Buoy 50. Look for a cove with a rockslide for more striper action.


The next best species to find are smallmouth bass. They are active all day long along the rocky shoreline. Smaller bass will be in shallow water while the larger adults will be water deeper than 15 feet. Use plastic tubes and grubs. This week free floating baits rigged Carolina style were working better than bottom bouncers - but all were successful. Isolated rockslides along a steep cliff are ideal places to look for bass.

Now is the time to catch walleye. They occupy rocky structure and murky water from 12-30 feet over the length of the lake. Fishing is better in the north but steady over the whole lake. Trolling at 12-25 feet works as does casting plastic grubs and tubes. Adding a piece of night crawler to the plastic grub adds more appeal to walleye but bass will go for this rig as well. To target walleye specifically cast a worm harness and drag it along the bottom near structure and in shaded areas any time of the day. Troll the worm harness slowly behind a bottom bouncer rig to cover more walleye habitat. There is no limit on walleye this year. Catch them now when they are more responsive because they go nocturnal in June and are a much harder target.

Catfish are warming up getting ready to spawn. They are very active in the warmer bays near good camping spots. Bluegill and green sunfish will often come to your camp and use parked boats for shade.  They are easy for kids to catch on a small hook with a live worm for bait.

If the message is not crystal clear let me add that FISHING IS EXCELLENT right now. Please bring your fishing rod along on your family vacation. You won’t be disappointed.


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 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 – The elevation has continued to drop about 1 foot per week to the current elevation of 1110.5 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 Power Worms were being used most for trout.  Jakes original and Jakes Juniors, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails are also usually effective.  Willow Beach can be hit or miss bait fishing.  Try different baits including swim baits when nobody seems to be hooking anything. 

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. 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 nice stripers caught by Bill (5.26 lbs.), Dane (6.98 lbs.), and Cliff (5.30 lbs.), all around 25 inches and all using anchovies.  The catfish has been slow according to reports. 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 thought the action at the Marsh was hot until I received a detailed report from Ron.  He reported no luck and he tried lots of different baits.  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 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 trout 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 May 13th. The next tentative scheduled stocking will be the week of June 10th. 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 May 13th.  The next tentatively scheduled stocking is the week of June 3rd.
  
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 May 13th.   The next tentatively scheduled stocking is 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 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) -  May 22 Report from Mark Knapp, Park Ranger at Alamo Lake State Park:


Well folks,  if you like to fish in high winds, and white caps, then this is the place to be this week.  Every day we have had winds kicking up around 11ish and still going strong till dark.


The bummer is that they’re calling for more winds for the rest of the week.   So, as I sit here land-locked I can only tell you about the few who have made it out in the morning while the getting was good.  I talked with a couple of anglers (Wednesday, May 22) who said they caught about 20 bass all day.


They started about 8 a.m. and came off the lake around noon.  All the bass they caught were in 15 to 20 foot of water. Drop shotting seemed to be the ticket.  While one angler drop-shotted, the other threw my favorite, a Texas-rigged, 4-inch watermelon colored Power Worm.  The guy drop-shotting caught two fish to his one.  They also threw some training wheels (crank baits) and caught a couple of dinks.  Key words here are “15 foot,” and “plastics.”


As the winds picked up and changed directions they just moved to the leeward side of the points and the bite was on. They said they did better with the winds than when it was calm.  No top-water bite to speak of.
Crappie fishing is a mystery at this point. I think the winds have a lot to do with it.  I would suggest to troll around the first buoy line with a small crank bait (shad colored) or road runner jig with a minnow trailer.  If nothing else you’re going to catch bass and catfish.


Speaking of catfish, it's on.  Any point or cove is holding cat fish.  A friend of mine from Salome did well today throwing nightcrawlers in about 5 feet of water.  Other anglers have reported catching limits doing the same thing.  Shore fishing is OK.  They’re catching bass, catfish, and some decent-sized bluegills around both ramp areas.  Well that's about it on fishing this week.


If you’re planning on coming out to the park this weekend, get online and make your reservations.  I know all our hookups in Cholla and the main campground are full. There's still 11 sites left in the Ramada area that have electricity but no water.  We still have lots of dry camping in areas A, D, and E.


The temperatures are supposed to be in the mid 90s during the day and 60s at night.  Jacket weather to me, but might be good for you.  I have no clue of the current lake level but will say you will have no problems using the Cholla ramp.

Right now we do not have full time dam tenders so I'm not getting the daily reports. I know they’re releasing 25 cfs of water and the lake is dropping a foot a month due to releases and evaporation.


As usual when I pull a boneheaded move, I share it with you hoping you will learn from my mistakes.  With that in mind:  Junior and I did try and make it out last week.  We launched the boat in the high winds and found a cove that we could hide in for a few minutes.  Even after all my years of boating I forgot one major thing when it comes to boating.  Yep, you guessed it.  I forgot to put the drain plug in the bottom of the boat.
As I kept turning on the bilge pump it finally occurred to me what I forgot to do.  So I dove in the water and had Junior hand me the plug.  I took in a deep breath and swam down behind the boat.  Just as I was fixing to put the plug in without dropping it, the boat took off and I held on to the lower engine scag and went for the ride of my life.


When the boat stopped, I surfaced and with some choice words asked Junior what he was doing.  He did everything I have beaten into his thick skull for the last 20 years to do.  No matter what, do not let the boat hit the shoreline.  So, he kicked the trolling motor into high and headed out to sea.  Now I'm trying to fight a rocking boat and still managed to hold onto the plug.  After a few tries I got it.  Now me getting back into the boat is another story.


The point is, make sure and be safe, know where your life jackets are, and most importantly, know your limitations.

That's it for this week -  Mark

LAKE HAVASU -  Lake Level: 449.15. May 22 report from John Galbraith of BassTackleMaster.com in Lake Havasu City:

Lake Level: 448.63


Average daytime water temp: 78 degrees

The striper bite has been the best during the first two hours of daylight. Try trolling or casting top-water or shallow running lures like pencil poppers, Sammys & pointers around the main basin  from the entrance to the river south to Calif.  Bay.


Best anchovy bite is still north over the sandbar to Blankenship Bend.

The flathead and channel catfish bite is very good using live bluegills or cut mackerel from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Target shallow coves (10-15 feet deep) which dropoff to deeper water (25-40 feet) and hold the  biggest population of larger catfish.


The Largemouth bass bite is excellent using topwater poppers/Spooks & frogs. Cast these baits near weedbeds and cattails. The first and last two hours of daylight are the best times to catch the biggest and most aggressive bass.


Previous reports:


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 (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.


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.  Anglers were catching crappie and bluegill on small bead headed flies.  The lake is scheduled to be stocked with trout this week.

CATARACT LAKE —  Campground is closed.   One angler reported catching a large catfish on a crayfish colored crankbait.

CITY RESERVOIR —  No report Scheduled to be stocked this week.  Lake is full.

DOGTOWN LAKE —  Campground is open. Scheduled to be stocked this week.  Trout were being caught on Power Bait.  Lake level is down.   

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

SANTA FE — No report.  Scheduled to be stocked this week.  Lake level is full.


WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campground is open.  Lake Level is low.  Lake was recently stocked with rainbow trout.  Anglers were catching trout on flies and lures. Lake scheduled to be stocked this 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.    Anglers continue to catch nice walleye.  One angler reported catching a ~20 inch walleye on anchovies by the dam.  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.  The lake was stocked last week.  Fishing has slowed with the warming weather. 

FRANCIS SHORT POND –  Catfish were stocked into the pond last week.  Anglers were having success using hotdogs, homemade dough bait, and anchovies for catfish.  Trout fishing continues to be good using Power Bait and flies. Scheduled to be stocked with trout this week.


KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road is open.  Cat-fishing can be good this time of year as the water warms.

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

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

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

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

STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.

BLUE RIDGE —  Road is open and SRP has begun to draw the lake down for necessary repairs to the dam and associated piping.  Will not be stocked this year due to plans to drain the lake for repairs to the dam.


Angler’s report: Three of us AZ native “Sandlot boys” from little league chose Blue Ridge as our yearly trip, as we figured anything we catch would be a holdover.

We fished for three days and in total fished 7-plus hours each day from a boat and shore.

First day, Friday (May 17): Lots of fish schooling on the fish finder, but at the bottom.  Near drop-offs and points, but drifting everything in the world through them produced nothing.  Not one bite all day! Trolling, casting, bait fishing, bobber fishing, and fly fishing!

Second day, Saturday: Same data on fish finder, but seems the lake has not turned over the thermally.  Water temp is ideal at the surface and bugs are landing on the water, yet no fish jumping or actively feeding. Caught three fish randomly throughout day on worms and one 23-inch Rainbow on Power Bait.

Third day, Sunday: Same as the first two days, but not a bite on anything.  It became a joke because we tried 18 different colors of Power Bait dough and still nothing!

Please note: “Anyone using the boat ramp at Blue Ridge should observe the one-at-a-time rule when backing down a trailer on this boat ramp, as some people have the consideration of a tapeworm.”  P.S. If you would like to print it, I am talking about the guy with four canoes on a trailer with a pack of 12-year-old boys who began backing down in front of me in the middle of  the ramp because “We will just unload in front of you and then you can wait for us to pull out!”

“Tight lines and stay friendly out there!”


KNOLL LAKE — the road is open.  Lake is full.  Lake is scheduled to be stocked this week. 

Fool_Hollow_Lake-.jpg
Fool Hollow Lake was stocked with 5-pound incentive rainbow trout
WHITE MOUNTAINS AND RIM LAKES

Updated reports:

Recommended Waters to Fish
Fishing is good to excellent at Fool Hollow, Rainbow and Show Low Lakes in the Pinetop-Lakeside and Show Low areas. Incentive-size rainbow trout averaging five pounds each will be stocked into Fool Hollow Lake this week, following several weeks of heavy stocking. Fishing is also good at Nelson Reservoir, River Reservoir and Crescent Lake in the Springerville and Greer areas, and Woods Canyon Lake and Willow Springs Lake in the Rim area.

Trout Stocking Schedule

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

Week of May 20-24
Crescent Lake - 1,700 rainbow trout
East Fork Black River - 1,567 Apache trout
Fool Hollow Lake - 1,000 rainbow trout
Fool Hollow Lake - 100 incentive rainbow trout (average five pounds)
Little Colorado River in Greer - 1,211 rainbow trout
Rainbow Lake - 1,500 rainbow trout
Sheeps Crossing - 512 Apache trout
Show Low Lake - 1,000 rainbow trout
Silver Creek - 528 Apache trout
Woods Canyon Lake - 3,100 rainbow trout
West Fork Black River - 50 Apache trout

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
Note: Due to high fire danger, campfire restrictions will go into effect on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests starting on May 23 and remain in effect until further notice. These restrictions include campfires and charcoal allowed in designated developed campgrounds only; smoking allowed only within enclosed vehicles, buildings or in developed campgrounds; and pressurized gas stoves, lanterns and heaters that can be turned off are allowed.

BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair. The lake was stocked in early May with rainbow trout. The lake is full and spilling. 

BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake was heavily stocked two weeks ago. Anglers are reporting high catch rates mostly of stockers, but also some larger, carry-over fish. The water level is about six feet below spill, so the boat ramp is still usable. 

CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is good for boat anglers using lures and fair for shore anglers. The lake is full, but no longer spilling. Carry-over rainbows are about 12-15 inches in length.

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

WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake will be stocked this week with 3,100 rainbow trout. The lake is full and spilling. The store is open, and boat rentals are available.

WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES
Note:  Due to high fire danger, campfire restrictions will go into effect on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests starting on May 23 and remain in effect until further notice. These restrictions include campfires and charcoal allowed in designated developed campgrounds only; smoking allowed only within enclosed vehicles, buildings or in developed campgrounds; and pressurized gas stoves, lanterns and heaters that can be turned off are allowed.

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair. A strong midge hatch is occurring with plenty of food available. A few fish have been caught on dry flies, egg patterns and midge imitations. 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. Fishing has been a little slow, but the best action has been early in the morning. The store is open, and boat rentals are available.

CARNERO LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake was stocked in early May. The lake had a winterkill, so there won’t be any larger fish until this fall. 

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is good. The lake was stocked two weeks ago.

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is good. Concho was stocked last week.
 
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. Anglers have been catching rainbows up to 19 inches on bait, woolly worms, buggers and nymphs, but no reports of brook trout being caught. The lake was stocked two weeks ago and will be stocked again this week with 1,700 rainbow trout. The store is closed. Access to all boat ramps is good.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is good to excellent. The lake was stocked with a couple loads of larger rainbows averaging 15 inches in early May, was stocked heavily last week with 4,000 stocker rainbows, and will be stocked again this week with 1,000 stocker rainbow trout. The big news is that approximately 100 incentive rainbow trout (average five pounds each) will also be stocked this week. Anglers are catching trout on worms and Power Bait. Anglers are also catching some bass, black crappie and bluegill off the fishing piers.

GREER LAKES – All Greer lakes (River, Tunnel and Bunch Reservoirs) are low, but fishing is fair to good. All three lakes were stocked last week. There are also larger, carry-over trout (rainbows up to 21 inches and browns up to 22 inches) present in River Reservoir. 

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 stocked with 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 tailored boat may be difficult.
  
LUNA LAKE – Fishing is fair. Luna has been recently stocked. There is an algae bloom present in the lake.

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 almost 20,000 rainbow trout. There are also a few larger, carry-over trout from last year.

Young_catfish_Rainbow_Lake_5-20-2013.jpg
Big fish entry: 21-pound, 3.04-ounce channel catfish from Rainbow Lake caught by Casey Young on May 20
RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake will be stocked this week with 1,500 rainbow trout. Large rainbows averaging 15 inches were stocked in early May. 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 good. The lake was stocked last week with rainbow trout. The water is turbid, but the lake level is good.

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is very good. The lake will be stocked this week with 1,000 rainbow trout. Large rainbows averaging 15 inches were stocked in early May. 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.

WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. The lake was stocked two weeks ago with rainbow trout. Shore anglers are catching trout on rainbow-colored Power Bait and worms.

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 1,567 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 are also present in the lower end.

Report from north Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse manager Jeremy Hoffman: The few things I have heard is that the smallmouth fishing on the Black River is heating up and lots of good fish have been coming out recently. An old faithful bait that always produces on the Black River are Hellgrammites. If you can’t dig up any live ones, Lunker City makes some soft plastic ones that you just need to match up with an 1/8-ounce ball jig head and you’re set. Throw them in pools and very slowly reel them across the bottom. I’d recommend throwing this setup on 6-8 pound fluorocarbon.


LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER – Fishing is fair to good. The stream will be stocked this week with 1,211 rainbow trout. Wild brown trout are also present.

SHEEPS CROSSING – Fishing is fair to good. The stream will be stocked this week with 512 Apache trout.

SHOW LOW CREEK – The access road across the dam is open. Fishing in Show Low Creek is 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 report:

PENA BLANCA – Angler’s report: Greetings. Fished Peña Blanca on the morning of May 16, which was my first time ever fishing in Arizona. I caught a large amount of bluegill on my fly rod with small poppers. I also spent a fair amount of time casting small jigs with 3-inch yellow twist tail grubs and caught at least 18 largemouth bass in the 12-16 inch range. All fishing was done from shore. David K.

I did spot a bass in excess of 24 inches while looking down from one of the cliffs. Unfortunately, I was in no position to try to present a lure to it.

An excellent little lake perfectly tailored to the angler. Tons of cover and structure as far as I could tell. I am planning on bringing a tube and fins next time.


Note: 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.   


Previous reports:

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. 


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. 

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. 

 ROSE CANYON LAKE — Rose Canyon is now open.  Summer trout stockings has begun and a next stocking will occur the week of May 20th.  To view the entire summer stocking schedule go here: 2013 Summer Stocking Schedule

 

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