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Fishing report, Oct. 4, 2013

Posted in: Fishing Report
Oct 2, 2013
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Hello, anglers,

Let's jump right into some of the best places anglers can fish.

 

Hunting and fishing opportunities abound in Arizona

despite federal government shutdown

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Many hunters, anglers and other outdoor recreationists have been wondering how the current federal government shutdown, which began Oct. 1, will impact their upcoming outings.

Despite closures by federal land management agencies of their administrative offices and some controlled access points and facilities, there are numerous opportunities available to Arizonans for outdoor recreation.

Please keep in mind that, with regard to federal lands, official information on closures is the responsibility of the respective federal land management agencies. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is providing this unofficial update as a service to constituents based on the best information we have available at this time, and that information is subject to change.

 

Great angling opportunities exist at these waters:

 

  • Lake Pleasant. The striper bite at this lake northwest of Phoenix is one of the state’s best right now. This is a great boating lake as well. Lake Pleasant Regional Park is under the jurisdiction of Maricopa County.

  • Lake Havasu. It’s an ideal time to visit this 19,000-acre impoundment in western Arizona that’s a haven for stripers, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. It’s very popular with boaters as well. Most of the busier launch sites remain open, and Havasu is a community that welcomes and caters to anglers. For more information, visit www.golakehavasu.com and see how to “Play like you mean it.”

  • Alamo Lake, a 3,500-acre impoundment northwest of Wickenburg, is particularly excellent for largemouth bass, crappie and catfish.

  • Urban Fishing Program waters in Phoenix, Tucson and Payson are excellent for fishing. Fall catfish stockings have resumed at the Phoenix and Tucson Urban Fishing Program lakes, and those lakes are being stocked again with channel catfish this week (Sept. 30-Oct. 5). 

  • Community ponds in Yuma, West Wetlands Park Pond, Fortuna Pond, Redondo Pond and the Council Park Pond in Somerton also are sure-fire fishing bets.

  • In the Tucson area, Cluff Ranch, Roper Lake, Dankworth Pond and Patagonia Lake all remain open and are viable fishing options.

  • Around Cottonwood, anglers can head to the lagoons at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, as well as to the Verde River.

  • The striper bite has picked up in the Colorado River below Davis Dam, in the Big Bend area.

  • In the Prescott Area, Fain Lake, Goldwater Lake, Watson Lake and Willow Creek Reservoir are options. It is the department’s understanding that an angler can still walk into Lynx and Mingus lakes from outside the locked gates (water is off and restrooms are locked.)

  • Although Forest Service boat ramps are reportedly closed at Roosevelt, Apache, Canyon, Saguaro and Bartlett lakes, walk-in access is reportedly open at those lakes and on the Lower Salt River. Also, privately operated marinas and their launch facilities on those lakes are currently open, but some may involve fees. Call ahead to confirm. 

  • Boat ramp access to most lakes on Forest Service lands on the Mogollon Rim and in the White Mountains reportedly remains open at this time, but in the event this changes, walk-in access should still be available. Developed campgrounds and associated infrastructure (restrooms, trash containers) may be closed.

  • Mogollon Rim creeks such as Tonto Creek are open, and fishing for trout in the fall can be excellent. Dispersed camping is still available on undeveloped sites. 

  • Arizona state parks, such as Lyman Lake State Park near St. Johns, Fool Hollow Lake in Show Low, and Patagonia Lake near Nogales are open for camping and fishing.

  • All Arizona Game and Fish Department offices, shooting ranges, fish hatcheries, wildlife areas, and other department facilities and properties will remain open during their normal business hours.

This is the most current information we have as of the time of this communication. Please use it as a guide, not a definitive listing.

Also, it’s important for boaters and anglers to remember that, under Arizona law, individuals who take their boats out of waters designated as having aquatic invasive species must clean, drain and dry. This means wiping down your boat, pulling your plug and drying your watercraft and equipment for at least five days before launching your boat into a different body of water.

In particular, more boaters and anglers may be using Lake Pleasant during this time, and it’s imperative that they clean, drain and dry their boats to help prevent the spread of quagga mussels to non-infested waters. Other quagga-infested waters are Lake Powell, Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, Lake Havasu, and all lower Colorado River waters to the international border with Mexico. These waters are listed in the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Director’s Orders located at www.azgfd.gov/ais.

For more information on how federal land management agencies are dealing with the federal government shutdown, visit www.doi.gov/shutdown/index.cfm or www.usda.gov/documents/usda-fs-shutdown-plan.pdf.

Updates will be posted at www.azgfd.gov/h_f/govt_closures.shtml as they occur.

Arizona Game and Fish Commission votes to approach federal agencies about using department resources to maintain hunting and fishing access

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission met today (Oct. 4) in a public session to receive an update on federal closures of certain lands and facilities due to the current federal government shutdown. Some of these closures restrict citizens’ access to hunting and fishing recreation and negatively impact rural economies.

The commission voted to authorize the department to approach federal land management agencies for the purpose of discussing the possibility of using Arizona Game and Fish Department resources to maintain hunting and fishing access to certain now-closed federal lands or facilities.

The formal motion approved by the commission was as follows:

That the Commission authorize the Department to offer to enter into discussions with appropriate federal land management agencies about providing Department manpower and services for the purpose of maintaining essential access to or through federal key sites and facilities for the purpose of maintaining hunting and fishing access for our citizens. The Department will monitor any associated costs and will report to the Commission should those costs become of concern.


Earlier in the week, the commission voted to direct the department to approach the National Park Service to discuss the possibility of offering resources to maintain public access at Lees Ferry. As of this time, the department has received no response to its letter to the National Park Service director.

Despite the federal government shutdown, there are still many hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreational opportunities available in Arizona, and outdoor recreationists are encouraged to get outside and take advantage of them. For information on some of the opportunities, click here.x


 Here are some other headlines:

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• The Silver Creek seasonal trout fishery near Show Low opened up Oct. 1. The catch-and-release season runs from Oct. 1 through March 31.

A total of 45 anglers showed up for the opening day festival on Oct. 1 that featured live music -- a combination of three Payson-based country bands played almost non-stop by the creek -- and food. Even more, about 950 rainbow trout and 500 Apache trout were stocked. As usual, the Wounded Warriors from Ft. Huachuca were present as well to enjoy some fast action that peaking during the early morning.

"This is the first time we've ever had a band," said SIlver Creek Fish Hatchery manager Ken McGOwn. "We try to make it a little better every year."

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

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


ANGLER REPORTS

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

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Joe E.’s daughter caught her first cutthroat trout at Big Lake: Hello, thank you for the great job on the reports. I wanted to pass along our experience at Big Lake this past weekend.


We fished from shore as the algae bloom was still present and water temp was about 64 degrees. It didn’t appear that fish were active in the top of the water column quite yet.  Fish were active early morning and late afternoon. The bite was very subtle and a little frustrating, especially for my 7 year old.  Power Bait and worms provided plenty of interest, but patience was key.


It was important to wait until the fish committed to eat!  We did pretty well, for the short amount of time we spent fishing. The weather was great, the elk were bugling, and we ate like kings. Including my daughter’s first cutthroat.  Again, thank you for the reports and keep up the good work!

Jammie S. reported catching a 7.5-pound catfish at Peoria's  Rio Vista Park using 10-pound test line, and a small weight two feet from a size 1/0 hook baited with an anchovy.


Robert L. hit Woods Canyon Lake and Knoll Lake on Sept. 29 where he  enjoyed some bites and lush scenery despite some tough luck with the fishing:  I was at Woods Canyon on Sept. 29 at 6 a.m., fished until noon and only got one bite; the bait I used was rainbow, pink and green Power Bait. I spoke to a few that were fishing and they had the same luck.


At 2 p.m. ,I went to Knoll Lake and fished until dark. Ssame bait was used but I received a lot of bites -- all of them were on the rainbow Power Bait; the largest fish I could catch was 6 inches long -- yes, 6 inches, a very small rainbow trout.


Very nice drive, saw a few elk, and the forest was really green from all of the water we received.

 

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Barry W. fished Saguaro Lake on Saturday, Sept. 28, and found some great bass action: Good morning. I went to Saguaro Lake last Sunday after hearing how great the bass action has been over the last few weeks. I was on the water at 5:15 a.m. before sunrise so I could take advantage of the top-water bass boils.  Near the "no wake" markers was awesome! My second cast I caught the bass you are looking at in the picture I provided, 4-5 pounds, I think.

I was using top-water  Jr. Spooks with a slow return back to the boat.  I witnessed a bass that was well over 9 pounds miss striking my lure and it almost gave me a heart attack. Sadly he never surfaced again. Once the sun came up I used a Texas rig with crawdad looking plastics. I caught a few more bass but only around the 1-pound range. The bass are healthy and great color. Did I mention they have big belly’s right now?

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.

Disclaimer: With regard to federal lands, official information on closures due to the Federal government shutdown is the responsibility of the respective federal land management agencies. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is providing this fishing report as a service to constituents based on the best information we have available at this time, and that information is subject to change.

Updated reports:

NOTE: Although Forest Service boat ramps are reportedly closed at Roosevelt, Apache, Canyon, Saguaro and Bartlett lakes, walk-in access is reportedly open at those lakes and on the Lower Salt River. Also, privately operated marinas and their launch facilities on those lakes are currently open, but some may involve fees. Call ahead to confirm.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,098 feet, 45-percent full. Oct. 2 report from James Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods. Good morning Rim Country Anglers -- The big news this week in Rim Country is the closure of the campgrounds and public ramps at Roosevelt Lake at the direction of the U.S. Forest Service. Gates have been installed at the entrances to all of the campgrounds. However, at the time I'm writing this report, the privately owned ramp located at the Roosevelt Lake Marina is open to the public for a fee. There is a pay booth as you enter into this area.   

The water level in the lake dropped back to 45-percent full this past week which is a 1 percent reduction. The Salt River is flowing at about 200 CFPS and the Tonto Creek is just slightly flowing.


The water temperature fell again this week. If you're fishing this week you'll find the early morning water temperature in the mid-70s reaching the mid-80s in the after. Bass reports indicate good fishing in shallow waters from 1-10 feet. Top-water baits such as Zara Spook, buzz baits and a frog were reported successful this past week in the backs of coves and on flats.


Good numbers of bass were caught on crankbaits, Luck Craft pointers and lipless crankbaits in the 15-20 feet depts.  Other successful baits reported included Texas-rigged 6-inch worms, Senkos fished weightless, jigs, and as always anglers always can catch bass using a dropshot technique.

The crappie bite was again called very good this past week. The crappie are schooling better now so they are easier to locate and catch.  Experienced crappie anglers are using a vertical technique and fishing in 23-32 feet of water and always in brush or trees. A 5-foot, 6-inch to 6-foot ultra light power and extra fast action rod is required to feel the bait through the brush, then fell the bite and quickly set that hook. When fishing vertically for crappie, 95 percent of the time the hook will be in the roof of the mouth, so don't be afraid to set that hook when you feel the bite.

Trout stockings of the Rim lakes and streams has ended, but there are lots of good trout still in Rim Country waters. Also, the Urban trout stocking program is about start stocking trout into Green Valley Lake right here in Payson. The first stocking will occur Oct. 13-19. So if you're one of the Green Valley Anglers, it’s time to start checking out your fishing tackle. Your time is right around the corner. 


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

LAKE PLEASANT – The striper bite at this lake northwest of Phoenix is one of the state’s best right now. This is a great boating lake as well. Lake Pleasant Regional Park is under the jurisdiction of Maricopa County.

Senft said stripers are heading into coves. Anglers can have a blast targeting stripers, as well as white and black bass, in coves. Humbug reportedly has been a hot spot.

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

Angler’s report -- Derrick F. sent some proof along with his report that striper fishing on Lake Pleasant is getting going: Night time angler Derrick F. with fished Lake Pleasant from 8-11 p.m. with his wingman catching over 100 striper in the 14-18 inch range, fishing humps in 35 feet of water with deeper water nearby. Used frozen anchovies and a powerful submersible light. On Wednesday, Franks reported that he continues to catch an average of 75 striper per night fishing in an average of 50 feet of water with near deep water. The lowering water temperature is bringing bigger striper into action at night.


Previous reports:

SAGUARO LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,526 feet (95 percent full). Top-water morning action is hot.

Previously, Skyler Clark, fishing manager at the Mesa-based Sportsman’s Warehouse, said hot spots for largemouth bass have been where the majority of shad boils have been: at Bagley Flats into the river. The bite has been somewhat current oriented as well. When more water is released, more current seems to get the fish active. The transition into a good reaction bite has begun, and the main bait this time of the year for bass is a jerkbait. Look for shad boils, although the presence of boils can be hit and miss on a given day. If boils disappear around midday, fish in 30-plus feet with spoons and Alabama rigs.

Angler's report -- Barry W. fished Saguaro Lake on Saturday, Sept. 28, and found some great bass action: Good morning. I went to Saguaro Lake last Sunday after hearing how great the bass action has been over the last few weeks. I was on the water at 5:15 a.m. before sunrise so I could take advantage of the top-water bass boils. Near the "no wake" markers was awesome! My second cast I caught the bass you are looking at in the picture I provided, 4-5 pounds, I think.

I was using top-water Jr. Spooks with a slow return back to the boat. I witnessed a bass that was well over 9 pounds miss striking my lure and it almost gave me a heart attack. Sadly he never surfaced again. Once the sun came up I used a Texas rig with crawdad looking plastics. I caught a few more bass but only around the 1-pound range. The bass are healthy and great color. Did I mention they have big belly’s right now?

CANYON LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,659 feet (97-percent full). Clark said many anglers have reported little success using dropshots. Instead, first thing in the morning, angler can spot shad boils and throw jerk baits and small swim baits. Like Saguaro, anglers can draw reaction strikes using jerk baits, crankbaits and, at certain times, spinner baits and top-water baits can really come into play. The jerk bait is the main bait.

Matching the hatch can be particularly crucial. Use small baits, such as a small swim bait on a ¼-ounce jighead.

BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,796 feet, 98 % full. Gary Senft, a Bass Pro at Bass Pro Shops, said shad have started migrating to the backs of coves, where bass are chasing. Senft also heard the top-water bite is excellent just before dark, from about 5-6:30 p.m.

This is the tail end of the prime flathead catfish season, but there are anglers who fish Bartlett all winter long for these huge voracious fish. Try live bluegill or small carp as bait. Look for the deeper holes, especially uplake where there is a little current.

For bluegills, try the backs of rocky coves using night crawlers or meal worms on light tackle. Also look for large rafts of bluegill, especially up in the narrows. When you find them, small spinners, crappie jigs and worms can get you lots of fish to fry.

APACHE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,907 feet (92 percent full). Water temperature 80-81 degrees. Senft said anglers have been doing well on dropshots and Texas rigs in the colors that have typically been successful – red crawler and morning dawn. Brush hogs also have been successful. Senft has caught the majority of his largemouth bass in 15-30 feet of water. Sometimes he found a shallow crankbait bite. Senft this weekend recommends starting with a crankbait because of cooler morning temperatures that drive the fish into shallow waters.


URBAN WATERS – See the latest Urban Fishing Bulletin here.

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

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

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

Tonto Creek Hatchery
Stocking report

Sept. 22-28
Tonto Creek (61 degrees) 450 rainbow trout


WHITE MOUNTAINS AND RIM LAKES

Disclaimer: With regard to federal lands, official information on closures due to the Federal government shutdown is the responsibility of the respective federal land management agencies. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is providing this fishing report as a service to constituents based on the best information we have available at this time, and that information is subject to change.

New reports:

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

Boat ramp access to most lakes on Forest Service lands on the Mogollon Rim and in the White Mountains reportedly remains open at this time, but in the event this changes, walk-in access should still be available. Developed campgrounds and associated infrastructure (restrooms, trash containers) may be closed.

Mogollon Rim creeks such as Tonto Creek are open, and fishing for trout in the fall can be excellent. Dispersed camping is still available on undeveloped sites.

Arizona state parks, such as Lyman Lake State Park near St. Johns, Fool Hollow Lake in Show Low, and Patagonia Lake near Nogales are open for camping and fishing.

Trout Stocking Schedule
Week of September 23-27

Bear Canyon Lake - 330 rainbow trout
Show Low Lake - 3,010 rainbow trout
Willow Springs Lake - 475 rainbow trout
Woods Canyon Lake - 1,775 rainbow trout

Week of September 30-Oct. 4
Silver Creek - 500 Apache trout and 900 rainbow trout
Woods Canyon Lake - 500 rainbow trout

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
The trout stocking season has ended for the year.

BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. The lake was stocked last week with 330 rainbow trout.

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

CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair.

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake was stocked last week with 475 rainbow trout.

WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake was stocked last week with 1,775 rainbow trout. The store is open, and boat rentals are available.

WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. Large trout are chasing schools of fathead minnows in the shallows. They are becoming more active with cooler water temperatures. Water is being diverted into Becker via the fill ditch, which should be a good sign for better water levels in the near future. Becker Lake is open to catch-and-release fishing, with artificial fly and lure only, and single barbless hooks only.

BIG LAKE – Fishing is fair. The algae bloom is slowly disappearing. The store is open, and boat rentals are available. The lake level is somewhat low, but boat ramps near the store and at South Cove are accessible. The boat ramp at Railroad Cove is very low, and launching trailered boats here will be difficult.

CARNERO LAKE – Fishing is fair. It is difficult getting out to open water with kickboats, but there is some open water in the center once you get past the weedy shoreline.

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

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

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair. Anglers have been catching a few trout on nightcrawlers and Power Bait. A few bass are also being caught on lures by boat anglers.     

GREER LAKES – River Reservoir is now full, which is unusual for this time of year and boats can now be launched. High flows from an exceptional monsoon season have filled the lake early. However, the water is turbid due to high flows coming into the lake, and fishing may be slow. Illegally stocked yellow perch are biting on nightcrawlers in the evening. Bunch and Tunnel reservoirs are still fairly low, and fishing is poor to fair. The fill season started last week, so lake levels at Bunch and Tunnel should be coming up slowly.

HULSEY LAKE – The lake was drained following the Wallow Fire to help reduce expected flooding on Escudilla Mountain and has not been stocked since the fire.

LEE VALLEY LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair. The lake lake level has come up a few feet and the boat ramp is usable again. The algae bloom is now gone and the pH level is normal. Watch for surface action in the evening to catch grayling. The Apache trout were killed by the high pH levels over the summer.
  
LUNA LAKE – Fishing is fair. Some anglers are catching trout on Power Bait and worms in the early morning and late evening hours. The lake is full and somewhat turbid.

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

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

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

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

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is good for trout. The lake was stocked last week with 3,010 rainbow trout. Anglers are also catching some catfish on chicken livers and prepared baits, and some bass on lures. A few walleye are being caught during the evening hours. The concession store is open, and boat rentals are available.

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

WHITE MOUNTAINS STREAMS

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is fair to good. Anglers are catching Apache trout on worms, beadhead prince nymphs, and small spinners. The stocking season has ended for the year.

WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing fair. The stocking season has ended for the year. Vehicle access to the West Fork Campground will remain closed through this year.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER in GREER – Fishing is fair. The stocking season has ended for the year.

SHEEPS CROSSING – Fishing is fair. The stocking season has ended for the year.

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

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is good to excellent. Silver creek will be stocked this week with 500 Apache trout and 900 large rainbow trout to kick off the catch-and-release season, which runs from October 1 through March 30. Silver creek is now open to artificial lures and flies only, and barbless hooks.   


LAKE POWELL AND LEES FERRY

Disclaimer: With regard to federal lands, official information on closures due to the Federal government shutdown is the responsibility of the respective federal land management agencies. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is providing this fishing report as a service to constituents based on the best information we have available at this time, and that information is subject to change.

Updated reports:

LAKE POWELL – Oct. 2 report from Wayne Gustaveson at www.wayneswords.com.


"Fish Politics"


Individual fish species are evenly divided and are holding caucuses to decide how best to move forward from this point.


Adult stripers would like to open the gates and let more anglers come in so they can reap the rewards of anchovy chum falling from the boats in all the locations that have proven to be great feeding spots all summer long.


They revel in the free food that comes to them without effort. Young stripers and smallmouth agree that finding plankton on their own without any assistance from anglers is the best way to feed their cohorts. They say, “Keep the anglers out!”


Trophy fish with big brand names really don’t care about fish politics since they can eat anything that happens to swim close by. Largemouth bass and crappie are demanding that the lake be held at the current low level so brush can grow and provide nursery habitat for their offspring to be produced in 2014.  They receive no support from stripers, carp, and catfish, who are doing just fine in the current fish economy.  It’s a standoff. 

 They just cannot agree on how to make the best plan to help all fish that swim in Lake Powell.
Those controlling the inflow and outflow of Lake Powell are also equally split.  The lake inflow is exactly the same as the outflow. Looks like the lake will hold at the current level for a while longer. 

Anglers, when allowed to return to the lake, will find a big change.  Dropping water temperatures have allowed a change in feeding location and habits.  Young shad have been hiding in the backs of canyons in warm water where larger stripers could not enter.  Now with temperatures near 70, game fish have free access to deep and shallow water.

Here is the lake wide strategy for catching bass and stripers. Since forage is not abundant, it is important to find the few locations where both shad and stripers congregate. Narrow coves off the main channel with a dry stream bed in the back are prime locations.  Look for one that had a recent flash flood event where floating debris and even brush and cattails were washed into the water.


Floods often created a sediment delta with a plunge pool behind.  Shad congregate on top of the sediment delta and in the plunge pool near shore while game fish are in deep water on the opposite side of the delta. Bass use the floating and recently submerged brush as cover and stripers hold out near the mouth of the cove daring any shad to swim toward open water. Graph the 60-70 foot bottom depth range to locate stationary striper schools.

The narrow coves I found had a fresh flood slot canyon in the back with submerged brush that had washed down from recent flood events. Smallmouth bass came up for top-water lures and whacked them consistently but were hooked less often. Largemouth bass were located in the same habitat, particularly those with dense floating “peat moss,” 2-3 inches thick that had to be manually parted before the lure could be dropped to the bottom.   Plastic grubs jigged up and down from the surface to 5 feet deep just under the peat were readily accepted by largemouth.


Striped bass were layered in the deep water with large, thin fish at the bottom, healthy 2-pound fish at mid depth and small fat yearling fish near the surface.  Spoons bounced on the bottom caught the larger stripers while speed reeling was best for the younger, healthier fish.  My technique is to drop the spoon to the bottom and jig it three times before reeling as fast as possible for 5-10 turns.  Then pause the lure and jig it twice before reeling as fast as possible for another five5 turns. When the lure was close to the top, chasing stripers could often be seen following it all the way up.

Fishing is improving each day. Hopefully the political shut down of Lake Powell will lapse so that anglers can enjoy the great rewards before water temperature drops into the 50s.


Search the deep water near the mouth of the cove for a stack of fish.  The stack seen here has come off the bottom to chase spoons.  Before the spoon arrived the stack was less obvious and more of a tower of fish.  There were many such stacks and towers in this location when first seen on the graph.  If you see what may be stripers on the graph they will likely bite immediately with bottom bouncing and speed reeling spoons. Then you will know for sure.   
 

Previous reports:

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


COLORADO RIVER

Disclaimer: With regard to federal lands, official information on closures due to the Federal government shutdown is the responsibility of the respective federal land management agencies. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is providing this fishing report as a service to constituents based on the best information we have available at this time, and that information is subject to change.

New reports:

Here are some great places to fish that will remain open. Around Cottonwood, anglers can head to the lagoons at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, as well as to the Verde River.

The striper bite has picked up in the Colorado River below Davis Dam, in the Big Bend area.

In the Prescott Area, Fain Lake, Goldwater Lake, Watson Lake and Willow Creek Reservoir are options. It is the department’s understanding that an angler can still walk into Lynx and Mingus lakes from outside the locked gates (water is off and restrooms are locked.)

Previous reports:

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your live well and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see. For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at www.azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

LAKE MEAD – The elevation has actually risen a little to 1,106.9 feet above msl. Be careful boating because of fluctuating water levels and watch for floating debris dislodged from rising water levels. There seems to be an abundance of shad currently which may be the reason for the lack of bite. Cut anchovies are still the bait of choice for stripers. Check the moon phases before you go -- last new moon was Sept. 5. The next new moon will be Oct. 4. Dark nights work best when fishing under light. Fishing for stripers in 50 plus feet of water will normally find the larger fish. If they are not taking the anchovies try swimming baits and see if you can get them to bite. Jigging in 40-60 feet deep has been doing well on Mead. If you can locate the shad, the stripers are not far behind. Trolling usually works best in areas were shad are found and best done in the early mornings and evenings. Topwater plugs or lures are doing well for largemouth.

LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level has risen to around 644 feet above msl. The latest report states that the lake bite is picking up a bit. Report is that smallmouth and largemouth are hitting on the lake but that stripers are much harder to find. Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon will be Oct. 4. Cut anchovies usually work the best for stripers.

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

These structures are fish magnets.

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

Angler’s previous report -- Ron B. had success with smallmouth bass on Mohave Lake: Here is just one of the smallmouth bass I caught and released on my buddy and my weekly trip to this beautiful lake. Lake is getting low and will continue to drop now that Labor Day weekend has come and gone. So any boaters should take caution.

Fishing right now is fun is all I can say!

WILLOW BEACH – Willow Beach is stocked every Friday with 3,000 13-inch rainbow trout. Rainbow, peach, garlic and yellow Power Baits and Power Worms were being used most for trout. Jakes original and Jakes Juniors, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails are also usually effective. Willow Beach can be hit or miss bait fishing.

Try different baits including swim baits when nobody seems to be hooking anything. Haven’t heard much from the area. If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

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

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

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

VERDE VALLEY


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

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

PRESCOTT AREA


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

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

MINGUS LAKE – The lake is scheduled to be stocked with trout this week (week of Sept. 16). For trout the best bait is usually orange, pink, or white Power Bait, fished on the bottom with a treble hook and an egg sinker.

Fishing can be really good at times, because angler use is lower than other lakes in the area. Yellow bullhead catfish are active and easy to catch with nightcrawlers on the bottom. This lake is more remote than the other Prescott area lakes and not very big. The lake is open as weather permits. Forest Road 104 is relatively impassable when wet. The lake is still open to foot traffic. Someone illegally stocked yellow bullhead into Mingus several years ago. These fish compete directly with the trout and keep growth rates very low. If you witness anyone, anywhere, moving fish like bass, bluegill, catfish and stocking them, please report it to our Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-352-0700. Illegal stockings cost YOU money!


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

LYNX LAKE – The last scheduled trout stocking was the week of Sept. 2. Reports are that the lake level is extremely low, so be careful if you venture to the lake. The fishing dock was removed due to the low water levels but shore access is basically unlimited. Cut anchovies, night crawlers or hot dog are your best bet for catfish. Lynx also can be an exciting place to fish for carp. Common carp are very strong fighters and will provide an excellent table fair. A quick search on the internet will produce tasty recipes for these robust fish.

Corn and an assortment of other baits will attract these fish. Lynx can be difficult to fish, if you are not catching anything try moving to a new spot. There are some good spots on the north end of the lake that don’t get fished as heavily as the south end does.

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

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


SOUTHWESTERN WATERS

New reports:


Disclaimer: With regard to federal lands, official information on closures due to the Federal government shutdown is the responsibility of the respective federal land management agencies. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is providing this fishing report as a service to constituents based on the best information we have available at this time, and that information is subject to change.

ALAMO LAKE – Oct. 2 report from Mark Knapp, Park Ranger at Alamo Lake State Park:

 

Well folks, depending who you talk to fishing is really good or really bad.  I fished three days in 35 mph winds and ended up with a scorecard that read: 18-22-28.


Everyone else I talked with either sat in the parking lot waiting for the wind to die down or hid in a cove.  I've been doing this for so many years I just bit the bullet and go for it.


All the fish I caught were in 5-10 feet of water.   The bite turned on about 30 minutes before the sunset and lasted until after dark.  I threw a lizard and a small withe grub with a ¼-ounce jig head.


No reports on crappie fishing.  No reports on catfishing.


The lake level is at 1092ish with releases of 25 cs.  Cholla ramp is still your best bet for launching.
That's about all I can go into – Mark.

LAKE HAVASU – Lake Havasu. It’s an ideal time to visit this 19,000-acre impoundment in western Arizona that’s a haven for stripers, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. It’s very popular with boaters as well. Most of the busier launch sites remain open, and Havasu is a community that welcomes and caters to anglers. For more information, visit www.golakehavasu.com and see how to “Play like you mean it.”

Previous reports:

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

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

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

YUMA AREA PONDS – No new report.

 

CENTRAL MOUNTAINS

Disclaimer: With regard to federal lands, official information on closures due to the Federal government shutdown is the responsibility of the respective federal land management agencies. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is providing this fishing report as a service to constituents based on the best information we have available at this time, and that information is subject to change.

This is the time of year to fish for trout in the high country of Northern Arizona.  Cooler temperatures allow trout to be more active. Warm-water fish such as bass and yellow perch, bluegill and crappie are still active on the lakes around Williams and are being caught on microjigs, small bead-head flies and worms fished under a bobber or on a fly rod.  Fossil Creek will open to fishing Sat., Oct. 5.

WILLIAMS LAKES:  

KAIBAB LAKE —  Campground is open.    Fish with worms and Power Bait on the bottom to catch trout.    They were also catching fish on micro jigs fished under a bobber.   Some crappie, bluegill and bass were being caught on worms fished about 3 feet under a bobber. 

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

CITY RESERVOIR — Open.  No report 

DOGTOWN LAKE —  Campground is open.

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

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

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

FLAGSTAFF LAKES:


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

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

ASHURST LAKE —   Campground is open. No recent reports. 


FRANCIS SHORT POND –  There has been a fish kill on Frances Short Pond caused by recent runoff from rain storms.  Water quality hasn’t recovered from the heavy runoff so this week’s stocking was canceled.
 
KINNIKINICK LAKE — Fishing for catfish can be good this time of year as the water warms.  The lake has a good sized population of brown trout with some being very large.  Try using small crawdad colored crankbaits fished deep or nightcrawlers early in the morning or just about dusk for brown trout.  A grasshopper kicking around on the surface in the evening might also work   

OAK CREEK — Anglers were reporting catching stocked trout over the weekend.

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

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

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

STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.

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

KNOLL LAKE — The road is open.  No report.


SOUTHERN WATERS

Disclaimer: With regard to federal lands, official information on closures due to the Federal government shutdown is the responsibility of the respective federal land management agencies. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is providing this fishing report as a service to constituents based on the best information we have available at this time, and that information is subject to change.

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

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

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

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

New report:

Cluff Ranch, Roper Lake, Dankworth Pond and Patagonia Lake all remain open and are viable fishing options.

Previous reports:

PATAGONIA — Anglers have been having success catching largemouth bass. Recent fish surveys captured quite a few bass mostly in the breaks in cattails. The lake level is back to normal from some great monsoon rains. Water visibility was fair to poor.

Angler’s report -- Wayne B. called Patagonia Lake the best-kept secret in Southern Arizona and, with a bit of sarcasm at the end, here’s why: I just spent three days at Lake Patagonia and the changing of the seasons is starting to take place. The lake level has dropped only a few inches in the past two weeks but remains at the full level. Boating is at a low during the week and most of the camp sites are vacant, now is a good time to get out and relax without the crowds and the noise from the Bud Lite groups that come with the summertime.

I had a third of the lake for myself and was glad that I came during the week and did not miss all the other boats that would normally be there. The best fishing to be found were the shaded areas and all species seemed to be very hungry, I was catching something every 3-5 minutes. The lake has a very healthy population of flatheads and redear perch, and depending the bait you are using they can take it all.

Lake Patagonia may not be suitable to some people and they should avoid this area.

1. Other campers have the habit of stopping by and talking to you and often they have other family members with them.

2. No matter where you sit the smoke from the camp fire will drift to you.

3. Every time you get in the lake you'll find the water to be wet.

4. Internet service is not within ten miles and lap-tops/ tablets cease to function which will force you to communicate with those around you.

5. Teenagers might just have to leave their cell phones in the car (texting is very spotty at best).

6. Evenings' can be chilly and uncomfortable for those who do not look good in sweaters or jackets.

The above are great reasons to say away from the best secret in Southern Arizona.
Thank you to all of you at AZGFD.

PARKER CANYON — Reports have said fishing for bluegill has picked up recently. Anglers have been reporting good success catching largemouth bass. Anglers are reminded that the bag/possession limit for channel catfish is now 4 fish. Contact the Parker Canyon Lake Store for up to date information on lake levels and fishing activity at www.parkercanyonlake.com or by phone at (520)455-5847.

PENA BLANCA – Recent fish surveys have shown this lake to be in great shape. The largemouth bass and sunfish populations are doing great. 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.


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

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

CLUFF RANCH — No recent reports of success. A recent fish survey showed a good population of sunfish and largemouth bass in the lake. The pond is full and there should be no problems with boat launching. Visitors are reminded that it is illegal to obstruct the use of the boat ramp by anglers trying to launch the boats. No parking, standing, sitting, swimming or fishing is allowed on the boat ramp. For lake information call (928) 485-9430.

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

RIGGS FLAT — Water was fairly clear and the bite was on last week. One angler caught two rainbow trout before lunch time fishing in the middle of the lake on a kayak. No future stocking are scheduled at this time.

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

ROSE CANYON LAKE — Anglers have reported that the bite is on for rainbow trout. Summer trout stocking is coming to a close with three more scheduled stockings.

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