The Arizona Game and Fish Commission will hold its next meeting this Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1-2, in Yuma, Ariz., at the Yuma City Hall Council Chambers, One City Plaza. This year marks the first time since 2008 that the commission will hold meetings in other parts of the state in addition to Phoenix. The public is invited to either attend the Yuma meeting in person, view it via video teleconference at any of the Game and Fish offices (except the Yuma regional office, which is temporarily under construction), or view it over the web at www.azgfd.gov/commissioncam. For a complete meeting agenda, visit www.azgfd.gov/inside_azgfd/meeting_agenda.shtml and click on the link for the Feb. 1-2 agenda.
If you get a chance, please stop by and see how your commission works, and say “Hello” as I will be attending this meeting as well.
2013 Big Fish of the Year
With 2013 being here, this starts the “Big Fish of the Year” contest again and we already have an entry. This first entry is a 21-inch, 3-pound, 11.52-ounce rainbow trout, caught at Red Mountain Lake on Jan. 23 by Daniel Sanderson.
Parker AZ, Take a Kid Fishing event, Feb. 9
The 34th annual Parker Take a Kid Fishing event is coming up Feb. 9 at La Paz County Park. This free family friendly event is open to the public. AZGFD will be stocking several thousand rainbow trout in two lagoons at the park prior to the event. Rods, reels, bait and tackle are all available to borrow. Children who register are eligible for door prizes drawn at the end of the day. There will be free hotdogs and soda on hand, too. The idea is to get kids and their families out enjoying a super activity like fishing, together. Registration starts at 10 a.m., fishing begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m., with the drawing right afterwards.
International Sportsmen's Exposition (ISE), Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 21-24
Make plans to attend the International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) held Feb. 21-24 at the University of Phoenix Stadium. ISE is a superb expo with exciting exhibitors from around the globe gathered indoors under the huge domed stadium in Glendale. The Arizona Game and Fish Department will again have a significant presence at the show. Department personnel are teaming up with ISE to operate the kids fishing pond, and the department will conduct its annual assets sale that includes everything from huge antlers and mounts to supple soft rabbit skins. The Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center will have live wildlife on display, and the department’s Operation Game Thief and OHV programs will bring their educational trailers and program information.
Other attractions at ISE will include a giant casting pond, a 3D pop-up archery range and contest presented by Eastman’s Bowhunting Journal, seminars on hunting, fishing and off-roading at the Adventure Theater, the RMEF great elk display, Eastman’s trophy deer display, and the DockDogs pool and national contest. New this year will be the Valleywide Scout-O-Rama conducted by the Boy Scouts of America, Grand Canyon Council, outside of the stadium on Saturday, Feb. 23. For more information, including hours and admission fees, visit http://www.sportsexpos.com.
Clean up Alamo Lake, March 2
Registration begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 1, at the Alamo Lake Group Use Area Cholla Campground. Cleanup work will go from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, so bring a pair of gloves. Arizona State Parks will waive the camping and boat launch fees for registered cleanup participants staying at the Cholla Group Use Area. Other facilities are available at the regular rates. If you have a boat, bring it along. The Arizona Game and Fish Department will operate a boat for the collection of large shoreline litter. Dinner and a raffle will be held Saturday night for the participants. If you can help with the raffle door prizes, please notify the contact below. Bring your camping gear, and join the fun. Contact Stewart Kohnke, Wildlife Manager, (928) 856-0706.
NASCAR deal for hunting and fishing license holders - Subway Fresh Fit 500, March 3
What do NASCAR and the Arizona Game and Fish Department have in common? We both offer exciting and great deals in family entertainment. Do you have an Arizona hunting or fishing license? If so, here’s a deal you won’t want to miss out on. Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) is offering special discounted ticket prices to Arizona hunting and fishing license holders for the upcoming “SUBWAY fresh fit 500” on March 3. You won't want to miss Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and defending Sprint Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski battle the rest of the field for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Tickets are likely to sell out in advance of the race, so order soon. This offer expires Feb. 28, 2013, and is valid only while supplies last. To order your discounted tickets (20 percent discount for Arizona hunting and fishing license holders for select areas), visit www.phoenixraceway.com/azgfd and follow the instructions. For discounted pre-race pit passes and accessible seating options, please contact Chris Reaves at PIR at (623) 463-5635.
20th annual "Just for Kids Fishing Festival", Tempe Kiwanis Park, March 16
Free event conducted by Anglers United in partnership with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Kids can register the day of the event and will receive a goodie bag and complimentary lunch. Fishing starts at 7 a.m. and stops at noon. Anglers United is an organization that promotes the development of fishing habitat in Arizona and works to increase public participation in fishing for both adults and youth. For more information or to register, visit www.anglersunited.org/kid_s_fishing_festival.html.
Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo, Ben Avery Shooting Facility, Phoenix, March 23-24
Visit Arizona's largest hands-on outdoor expo, which offers kids' fishing, tips from local experts, and a lot of other outdoor activities, including archery, shooting sports, off-highway vehicle exhibits, a field course, wildlife displays and presentations, and the chance to visit with more than 150 exhibitors. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 23 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 24. Free admission and parking. Visit www.azgfd.gov/expo.
Discarded fishing line can harm wildlife
Help keep our waterways tangle free!
Fishing line, also called monofilament, poses a danger to wildlife if it is used or disposed of improperly. Wildlife become entangled in fishing line, potentially causing the animal to starve, suffocate or drown. Fishing line is particularly dangerous to bald eagles and other birds. Every year, biologists find and remove fishing line from bald eagle nests throughout the state.
The Monofilament Recovery Program (MRP) was implemented to clean up Arizona’s recreation areas and reduce the impacts of fishing line on wildlife.
Anglers can help! Some of the ways you can help protect wildlife are:
- Properly disposing of used fishing line in trash containers or MRP bins. MRP bins are located at common angling spots and fishing retailers around Arizona.
- Using the appropriate test line. By using the appropriate test line, anglers reduce the amount of broken line and gear that can harm birds as they prey on previously hooked fish.
- Setting the drag correctly. An incorrect drag setting can cause the line to break, leaving line and gear that can harm birds. Set the drag to allow the line to properly spool out rather than breaking.
- Replacing fishing line annually. Arizona’s extreme temperatures and bright sun weaken fishing line and cause it to break easily.
- Taking the initiative. Pick-up discarded fishing line and tackle along waterways and properly dispose of it.
"Just an update on Topock Marsh. My son and I spent 9 hours there on the 25th. We were fishing for bass and tossed everything in the boat at them. We did not even have a slap. The water level appears 2-3 feet down, and on that lake that is big. The bite may have been steady a month or two, but it is dead now."
- Frank W.
"My name is Jason. I have been making a point to go fishing more often looking for that GREAT spot. Went to Phon D Sutton on the Salt River today. At the break of dawn, conditions were not favorable, but not horribly bad. Rain was very light a couple of times, only pulled out the umbrella once for 5 minutes. I hiked about 1/4 mile north of the parking lot past the sunken picnic table and found a nice bank. Caught 2 small carp and an 8-inch trout in the first couple of hours on powerbait. I worked my way back to the parking lot along the bank, only landing one more small trout. Had a great / peaceful time as always. Off the water by 1 p.m."
- Jason L.
"The Crappie have been biting off the docks at Apache. Sorry I don't have better pictures yet. There were plenty of 3-pounders in the mix. Fishing was best just after dark with minnows while jigging 3-8 feet down."
- Travis R.
“Even though I am a kid, age 13, do I still need a two-pole license to fish two poles?”
- Scott L.
Scott, since you are 13, you can fish with one pole and without a fishing license. If you want to fish with two poles, you would need to purchase a fishing license and a two-pole stamp to be legal. Remember, as soon as you turn 14, you will be required to purchase a license and the two-pole stamp to fish with two poles. I hope this helps!
"We went fishing today, Jan. 30, at Parker Canyon Lake. I came with two rods rigged for bass and one for trout. We fished from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. I was using an egg-sinker set-up and I baited the hook with garlic-flavored Powerbait. I cast out and looked on the dock and saw that a man had caught a trout. I reeled in my line and took it with me to go ask him what he was using. He told me Velveeta Cheese. He also told me that I was using too big of a hook. I was using a size 10 golden treblehook. He then gave me a size 18 bronze treble hook. I baited it with Velveeta Cheese and cast it out. I waited and waited, until my rod started to click of something pulling it. I tightened the drag and set the hook. The fight was on! I kept reeling and reeling until he got to the surface. He jumped quite a few times. I brought him over the railing of the dock and he just lay there still. I unhooked him and brought him over to my bucket of water. I put him in and continued to fish. I didn’t catch any more. I weighed him on my scale and he weighed in at 4.9 pounds. The momma of all trout! So, go to Parker and catch yourself a Parker momma. Try cheese, Powerbait, corn, worms, and salmon eggs. Lures seemed to not work."
- Scott L.
"The water temp at Canyon Lake was 50-52. We fished from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It rained on and off throughout the day, but we managed to boat 6 bass. Nothing over 2 pounds, though. Caught four fish within 5 feet of the surface on spinner baits; double willow blades seemed to do the trick. Pulled two more from the depths drop shotting with 4-inch worms over 60-70 feet of water, most fish suspended between 30-40 feet."
- Andy R.
"I fished Red Mountain on Friday, Jan. 25, and caught and released 10 rainbow. My wife is allergic to the soy in the farm food, so I can't keep anything I catch in the urban lakes. Fish were hitting minnows, white and orange Power eggs fished on the same hook, and minnow-type hard lures. The trout were very active during the light rain showers we had at the lake on Thursday. There are still some catfish in the lake as I caught three the day before on night crawlers and stink bait. It takes a lot of patience, though, waiting for a hit. Water temp was about 57 at the shore line."
Thanks for the questions, reports and the tips!
OK, on to the full report.
Note: If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to our "Been Fishing" site at BFishing@azgfd.gov.
URBAN WATERS - Trout stocking was the week of January 21-26 in all Urban Fishing Program waters. The 2013 Urban Fishing Program guidebooks are now available at all Game and Fish Department offices and at fishing license dealers around the state.
TEMPE TOWN LAKE – No report.
LAKE PLEASANT - Lake level is at 1,666 feet, 62 percent full, with approximately 7,494 surface acres. Good fishing in the shallows, use topwater lures, crankbait or spinners.
ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,094 feet 42 percent full). Try fishing in the shallows (1 to 4 feet) with surface lures in the backs of coves and over rock piles. Drop shot works pretty well on the outside points, flats and backs of coves in 30 to 10 feet of water but altering the drop shot technique to a Texas nose hook and whacky style setup is productive especially when the typical setup does not hit the mark. The technique of how you reel the drop shot in is real important. Slow and steady or slow with little jerks or jerk and let it fall over and over again are some styles to play around with. Rock piles are typically productive using plastics bouncing along the substrate. Word is that crappie have been hitting and lots of people have been having a lot of success.
APACHE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,907 feet (92 percent full). Is scheduled to be stocked with trout the week of February 3rd.
CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,658 feet (97 percent full). The lake has been stocked with trout. If you have been fishing here, send in your report to BFishing@azgfd.gov. (See Andy R. report above)
SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,525 feet (94 percent full). Scheduled to be stocked with trout the week of Feb 13th. Anglers are having better luck using spoons along the ledges close to drop offs. Let the spoon drop then bounce it along the bottom. Bass are feeding heavily on shad, so if you find them in action, topwater would work.
BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,765 feet (57 percent full). No report.
HORSESHOE LAKE - 47-percent full. Salt River Project tends to use Horseshoe as a flood retention reservoir, but steadily releases the water downstream into Bartlett Lake.
LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – No report
CREEKS BELOW THE MOGOLLON RIM - Weekly stockings into the trout streams have ended for most streams.
LAKE POWELL AND LEES FERRY
Note: If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to our "Been Fishing" site at BFishing@azgfd.gov.
LAKE POWELL – See most recent report (Nov. 28, 2012) from Wayne Gustaveson at www.wayneswords.com.
LEES FERRY – See most recent report (Dec. 17, 2012) from Lees Ferry Anglers at www.leesferry.com.
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 www.azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.
LAKE MEAD – The elevation has risen to 1122.6 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 January 11th. The next new moon will be February 10th. 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. The bite for largemouth and smallmouth was reported good using plastic worms and crawdads with purple and browns in them. Several fishermen said that top water lures were working for them. All the fishermen contacted were hopeful for the coming years with rising water conditions and the abundance of baitfish they have seen this year.
Launching conditions at South Cove have improved as the water level has gone up. There are currently four lanes. As the water raises logs and other debris can become hazards, so be careful boating.
LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level has maintained 638 feet above msl. The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly especially on grass beds in 20 to 30 feet deep. Reports of using artificial crawfish jerked through the weed beds have worked well. Trolling with LONG A BOMBERS has been producing some nice stripers. While the number of stripers in Mohave has been decreasing, the quality of the fish caught has increased. Stripers have become more active with the cold conditions on the lake. The most productive time for stripers is dusk till dark. The fish being caught are ranging from 3 to 9 pounds.
Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon is February 10th. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
WILLOW BEACH – Willow Beach is stocked every Friday with 3,000 13” rainbow trout. Rainbow, peach, garlic and yellow Power Baits and Powerworms were being used most for trout. Jakes original and Jakes Juniors, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails are also usually effective. Willow Beach can be hit or miss bait fishing. Try different baits including swim baits when nobody seems to be hooking anything.
If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – Trout bite in the casino area was described as “hot” from the casino area to below the Rio Lomas Beach. Larger stripers are still being caught from the dam down to the Gorge. Many of these fish are in the 4-12 pound range.
Rainbow trout are located throughout the river below Davis dam, but anglers typically report catching trout on the Arizona side across from the Riverside, off the shore of Davis Camp and in the Big Bend area. Rusty at the Riviera Marina sent a report of Josh and Shelly had a blast getting bites with each cast using a Berkley Mouse Tail. Josh caught 4 pound rainbow trout that was just short of 21 inches. This year we have received multiple reports of larger holdover trout being caught. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
TOPOCK GORGE - Most bass are being taken on minnows and night crawlers. Reports are that stripers are returning to the Gorge.
TOPOCK MARSH – The action at Topock Marsh has been steady. Reports are that the crappie bite is on. Night crawlers and live minnows have been tempting catfish and largemouth bass from North Dyke. Folks are catching their limits of largemouth on spinner baits mostly. Remember the minimum of 13 inches for largemouth bass in the Marsh.
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.
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.
LAKE HAVASU – Lake Level is 88.87 percent full with average temperature of 56 degrees. Lake Havasu is a 19,300-acre impoundment on the Colorado River, formed by Parker Dam. It is located along the Arizona-California border and is approximately twenty-five miles long, with a shoreline that extends more than one hundred miles. Lake Havasu is best known for its striped bass, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing. It also has good fishing for channel catfish, flathead catfish, and sunfish, including some monster redear sunfish. There are also abundant carp and limited numbers of crappie.
Striper fishing has been challenging in recent years, with easy limits of small fish no longer the rule, as was the case five or six years ago. However, the average size of the striped bass caught has increased. Using live shad for bait is a good bet any time of the year. During the cooler months, stripers are usually found in deeper water, and fishing on the bottom or trolling with live shad or cut anchovies is a good bet. During the warmer months, fishing topwater lures that resemble shad near “boils” or where birds are actively feeding is your best bet for some exciting action.
The largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing has been steadily improving over the last several years. Tournament anglers are regularly weighing in bags of 5 fish that weigh over 20 pounds, and it is not uncommon to catch bass over 5 pounds and some even approaching 10 pounds. 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 weedbeds, emergent vegetation, boat docks, or artificial habitat. Fishing picks up as the water temperatures warm up in the spring and summer but bucketmouths can be had any time of the year.
Smallmouth bass fishing has really improved in Lake Havasu the last few years, with a new Arizona state record for the Colorado River caught in late 2011 (5.63 pounds). For smallmouth bass it is usually best to fish rocky points, ridges, shorelines, or canyons. Most people use topwater lures, lipless crankbaits or jigs in the mornings and evenings. During the day try crankbaits, plastic worms or “creature” baits such as fake crawdads.
Redear sunfish have grown to trophy size in Lake Havasu, with a new state and world record being caught in 2011 (5.55 pounds). Redear sunfish in the 2-pound range and larger are regularly caught. Bluegill and redear can be caught around structure such as docks, vegetation, or artificial structure using mealworms, night crawlers, or small crappie jigs.
Channel catfish are widespread in the lake and can be caught using night crawlers, anchovies, chicken liver, stinkbait or about anything that “stinks”. For flathead catfish it is best to use live bait such as bluegill or small carp. Flathead catfish are relatively uncommon in the upper part of the lake, but much more abundant in the lower half, especially in the vicinity of the Bill Williams River arm of the reservoir. Catfish can be caught any time of the year but your best bet is at night during the summer.
Large carp are abundant in the lake and can provide some exciting fishing. Twenty to twenty-five pound carp are not uncommon. Most people use canned corn or dough balls.
ALAMO LAKE – Report by Mark Knapp, Arizona State Parks.
“Well folks, finally something encouraging to write about. I'm happy to say that with all this rain, the lake has gone up about 2 feet and is still on the rise. I think we're going to end up with 2 1/2 feet when it's all said and done. It turned the cat fishing on big time. Anglers went up to the mouth of the river and threw night crawlers and caught a lot of good sized cats. It's fun if you never have done it. The cats will swim right on top of the surface and eat anything that flows in the lake. It's one of those things you have to be there at the right time. The cats will stay put in that area for a few days afterwards feeding on whatever they can find. So if you are into cat fishing, just head up into the upper end of the lake and look for the muddy water. You should have no problem catching some fish.
Bass fishing is still slow, but who knows, with this sudden inflow of water, this just might turn them on. I'm going to give it a try on my next days off. With the cold weather, the tilapia fishing has been excellent. Tilapia will school in the back of coves for the warm water. You are allowed to snag them. I've talked with anglers that have been snagging 10 fish a day. You need some pretty good size treble hooks or you’re just wasting your time. I went to Walmart and only could find size # 4's and figured they were too small. I don't want to go out and damage fish with the wrong gear.
Other than that, you’re still not missing much out here. This Friday we will be doing some construction on the Cholla ramp. I plan on keeping a lane open for launching, but there is a slim chance you might have to launch off the old rental boat road for a couple of hours. We're putting the finishing touches on the repairs we have made to stabilize the ramp, and I have this one day to do it. After that, all we need is about 30 feet of water and I would be a happy camper. If we don't get a lot of water and the lake continues to go down, the Corps is thinking about lowering the lake even more and doing repairs to the bulkhead at the dam. This would be a real bummer, but we know it's coming within the next couple of years. That's about all I can say about it at that at this point. As I know more I will let you know more. That's about it for now.”
COLORADO RIVER (PARKER STRIP AREA) – With that area along the Colorado River finally cooling down, fishing should start to pick up. The Parker Strip is well known for its smallmouth bass fishing, especially in the area from the dam to several miles downstream. The Parker Strip is also home to some really impressive, dinner-plate-sized redear sunfish of 2 pounds or larger.
COLORADO RIVER (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam, including backwaters and Martinez Lake) - 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 weedbeds, 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, stinkbait, 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 slackwater areas. Bluegill will bite on meal worms, night crawlers or small crappie jigs.
MITTRY LAKE – 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 weedbeds, emergent vegetation or where shoreline brush edges the water.
YUMA AREA PONDS – Winter stocking of trout has begun in the Yuma area ponds which should make for some fun fishing.The department has stepped up efforts to encourage the recruitment of new anglers, and retention of existing ones. To this end, the department has increased stocking efforts in a few ponds in the Yuma area that are easily accessed without a boat, within a short distance of the urban center. Those ponds are the Yuma West Wetlands pond, located in the City Park, and Redondo and Fortuna ponds, located about 10 miles northeast of Yuma. Access to Redondo Pond was recently improved with the addition of an ADA-compliant fishing pier, and thick cattail growth was removed at Fortuna Pond this summer, improving shoreline access by many orders of magnitude. All of these waters received multiple stockings of rainbow trout in the winter months. If you need any additional information or assistance, don't hesitate to contact the Yuma regional office at (928) 342-0091, and we will be happy to give you whatever information we have. A resource for local fishing information in the Yuma area is the website and forum at http://www.yumabassman.com/. This website is jampacked with GREAT information.
Cold weather conditions, snow and ice present on all lakes and waterways
Note: Ice fishing is not recommended due to the unstable conditions of ice present. Please be cautious. If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to our "Been Fishing" site at BFishing@azgfd.gov.
KAIBAB LAKE — Campground is closed. No report.
CATARACT LAKE — Campground is closed.
CITY RESERVOIR — No report.
DOGTOWN LAKE — Campground is closed.
JD DAM — No Report. Remember, the lake is managed as a catch and release fishery.
RUSSELL TANK - The lake is too shallow to stock.
SANTA FE — No report.
WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campground is closed.
LOWER LAKE MARY — Dry.
UPPER LAKE MARY — No report.
ASHURST LAKE — No report.
FRANCIS SHORT POND – No report.
KINNIKINICK LAKE — Check road conditions.
OAK CREEK — No report.
LONG LAKE — No Report.
BEAVER CREEK – No report.
WEST CLEAR CREEK - No report.
STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.
BLUE RIDGE — Winter conditions.
KNOLL LAKE — No report.
DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Catfish were last stocked for the Verde River Days event. The last trout stocking was scheduled the week of January 13th and the next stocking is tentatively scheduled for the week of February 3rd. Catfish and bass bite has slowed due to the cold temperatures. The trout bite should be very excellent considering the recent stockings.
VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – The last scheduled stocking was the week of January 20th. The next trout stocking is tentatively scheduled for the week of February 10th. Carp fishing has been good using corn or dough baits. Always check your regulations before fishing this area with live bait. Game and Fish Commission Rule requires anglers to only use live bait that has been caught in the river. No transporting of live baitfish or crayfish is allowed.
FAIN LAKE — The last scheduled trout stocking was the week of November 11th. 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.
If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
GRANITE BASIN LAKE – Bluegill and some catfish are still being caught. If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
LYNX LAKE –The last scheduled stocking was the week of November 11th. The next stocking is tentatively scheduled for the week of February 3rd.
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 of the winter was the week of October 14th.
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 January 20th and the next trout stocking is tentatively scheduled for the week of February 3rd.
If you fish Watson and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR – The challenge with this lake is finding access to the shore and fighting the aquatic vegetation. If you fish Willow and are having luck, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
WHITE MOUNTAINS AND MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
Recommended Waters to Fish
Most lakes and streams in the White Mountains are currently ice-covered, some with unsafe ice. Silver Creek is open and fair for large trout. Becker Lake and Fool Hollow Lake are mostly ice-free with some areas of unsafe ice.
Trout Stocking Schedule
The trout stocking season in the White Mountains and Rim Lakes areas will begin in April.
MOGOLLON RIM LAKES:
Note: Most lakes are ice-covered. Forest Roads (FR) in the Mogollon Rim area are currently closed due to snow-covered conditions. Snow-packed berms along Highway 260 have blocked FR 300 and 149 to Black Canyon, Woods Canyon and Willow Springs Lakes. FR 169 north into Chevelon Canyon Lake is snow-covered. Snowmobile access is allowed.
BEAR CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. FR 300 and 34 are closed to vehicles for the winter. Snowmobile access is allowed.
BLACK CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. FR 300 and 86 are closed to vehicles for the winter. Snowmobile access is allowed.
CHEVELON LAKE – The lake is likely ice-free, but is inaccessible. Forest roads are snow-covered.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. FR 149 is closed to vehicles for the winter. Snowmobile access is allowed.
WOODS CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. FR 300 is closed to vehicles for the winter. Snowmobile access is allowed.
WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES:
Note: Most high elevation lakes in the White Mountains are currently ice-covered. Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicles for the winter. Most other Forest roads are snow-covered. Snowmobile access is allowed.
BECKER LAKE – No reports. The lake is mostly ice-free with some areas of unsafe ice. Becker Lake is open to catch-and-release fishing, with artificial fly and lure only, and single barbless hooks only.
BIG LAKE – Highways 261 and 173 are closed to vehicles for the winter. Other Forest roads are snow-covered. Snowmobile access is allowed. The lake is ice-covered. The store is closed.
CARNERO LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. FR 117, 117A and 118 are snow-covered and inaccessible to vehicles. Snowmobile access is allowed.
CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – The lake is likely ice-free, but fishing is poor.
CONCHO LAKE – The lake is likely ice-free, but fishing is poor.
CRESCENT LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicles for the winter. The lake is ice-covered. The store is closed. Snowmobile access is allowed.
FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – No reports. The lake is mostly open with some areas of unsafe ice. The main campground is open.
GREER LAKES – Roads to the Greer lakes are open, but snow-covered. All Greer lakes are ice-covered.
HULSEY LAKE – The lake was drained immediately following the Wallow Fire to help reduce expected flooding on Escudilla Mountain and has not been stocked since the fire.
LEE VALLEY LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicles for the winter. The lake is ice-covered. Snowmobile access is allowed.
LUNA LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. The road to the lake is snow-covered, but accessible by vehicle.
LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is closed for the season.
NELSON RESERVOIR – The lake is ice-covered with unsafe ice.
RAINBOW LAKE – The lake is currently ice-covered with unsafe ice.
SCOTT RESERVOIR – The lake is currently ice-covered with unsafe ice.
SHOW LOW LAKE – The lake is currently ice-covered with unsafe ice. The concession store is closed for the season, and boat rentals are not available through the winter months. The spillway campground is closed for the season, but the main campground on the west side of Show Low Lake Road will remain open through the winter. The road over the dam is closed.
WOODLAND LAKE – The lake is mostly ice-covered with some open water areas. Unsafe ice.
WHITE MOUNTAINS STREAMS:
Note: Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicles for the winter. Other Forest roads are snow-covered and generally inaccessible by vehicle. Most high elevation streams are mostly ice-covered with snow-covered banks.
EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed. Other Forest roads are snow-covered and inaccessible by vehicle.
WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed. Other Forest roads are snow-covered and inaccessible by vehicle.
BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed. Other Forest roads are snow-covered and inaccessible by vehicle.
LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER – The roads are accessible into Greer, but the stream is mostly ice-covered with snow-covered banks.
SHEEPS CROSSING – Highway 273 is closed for the winter.
SHOW LOW CREEK – The access road on the dam is closed, and the large pool below the dam is ice-covered with unsafe ice.
SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair for large rainbow trout and Apache trout. The stream is still running clear despite recent rain. Fly fishermen are catching trout on white or black streamers and assorted bead head nymphs. Silver Creek is currently open to catch-and-release, artificial lure and fly with barbless hooks only fishing from October 1 through March 31. The upper section is open to angling.
Please send your fishing reports from southern Arizona to Don Mitchell, Regional Fish Program Manager, by email at email@example.com. These reports will then be compiled and reported in our weekly fishing reports.
See the winter trout stocking schedule at www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/h_f/fishing/stocking/TroutStockingSchedule.pdf. Need ideas on where to go fishing? Try the department's new interactive Fish and Boat Map at http://gis.azgfd.gov/fishandboat/.
Urban lake stocking in Kennedy Lake, Silverbell Lake, Lakeside Lake and Sahuarita Lake and was on January 11th, So how did you do? Send in some photo’s and stories to BFishing@azgfd.gov
RIGGS FLAT — Closed for the winter.
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 — High pH prevented the stocking of Roper Lake. Stockings will remain suspended until conditions improve. Fish slated for Roper have been stocked at Cluff Ranch. No recent reports of success. For lake information (928) 428-6760.
DANKWORTH POND — Still closed for renovations. The lake is taking longer than expected to refill and it now looks like it will be sometime in January before it is ready for fish. Still pending.
FRYE MESA RESERVIOR – Anglers continue to report success in catching Gila trout. 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. All boat launching is at the risk of the owner. Boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters. Sporadic success is being reported with fish being caught in the early mornings and late evenings. Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive.
PENA BLANCA – Winter stocking has begun at Pena Blanca Lake. Next stocking the week of February 10th. Mercury advisories against the eating of warmwater fish caught at Pena Blanca Lake remain 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. Send in your reports of success to BFishing@azgfd.gov.
PATAGONIA — Patagonia Lake scheduled to be stocked the week of February 10th. The lake is nearly full. Fishing continues to be good with bass anglers having success working the shorelines in shallower water. Don’t forget that the lake supports a very healthy flathead catfish population as well that can provide some exciting opportunities for anglers. Send in your reports of success to BFishing@azgfd.gov.
PARKER CANYON — Fishing remains fair for all species. Scheduled to be stocked the week of February 10th.The department is currently working to establish a breeding population of channel catfish at the lake and is asking anglers to please limit the harvest of catfish at this time to allow larger members of the population the opportunity to spawn. 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.
ROSE CANYON LAKE — The lake is closed to vehicle access for the winter. Anglers are still permitted to walk into the lake from the parking lot on the main road.