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Jan. 4 Fishing Report

Posted in: Fishing Report
Jan 4, 2013
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Hello Anglers!

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Wishing everyone a Happy New Year. There's no better New Year's resolution than to get your 2013 fishing license, break out your gear, and head out to enjoy some of the great winter weather at Arizona's desert waters. The new 2013 Fishing Regulations are now available - see below for more information.

Temperatures in the low desert areas this weekend are predicted to reach the mid 60s during the day, with lows in the 40s at night. High country temperatures will be cold - daytime highs will be in the 30s, nights will drop to the teens. For those of you venturing out to the high country lakes, be advised that many lakes are ice-covered, with unsafe ice. Many Forest Roads are snow covered or closed. Check local conditions before heading out, and always be careful.

2013 Fishing Regulations now available

The printed 2013 Arizona Fishing Regulations are now available at all seven Arizona Game and Fish Department offices and at fishing license dealers throughout the state.

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“Arizona’s diverse fisheries offer great opportunities all year round,” said Acting Fisheries Chief Eric Swanson. “If getting outdoors, staying healthy and spending quality time with family and friends are among your 2013 resolutions, fishing is a great way to meet your goals, have fun and make memories.”

Bass, crappie and catfish are abundant in Arizona’s large lakes and reservoirs. Mountain lakes and streams will be well stocked this year with trout. Local urban lakes are regularly stocked and are a terrific option for anglers who want to stay close to home.

Some of the changes include the following: 

  • Alamo Lake – The slot limit for bass is removed, statewide limits now apply (six bass per day with no size restrictions). 
  • Cataract Lake – Bag limits reduced to four catfish, four trout and two bass (minimum size 13 inches).
  • Kaibab Lake – Bag limits reduced to four catfish, four trout and two bass (minimum size 13 inches).
  • Council Park Pond (Somerton) – Bag limits reduced to two catfish, two trout, one bass (minimum size 13 inches), and five sunfish.
  • Frye Mesa Reservoir – Limits established to allow one Gila trout daily (statewide limit of six trout still applies to other trout species: rainbow, brook, brown, cutthroat).
  • Lake Powell – Change walleye limits to unlimited to conform to Utah regulations.
  • Parker Canyon Lake – Bag limits reduced to four channel catfish (other catfish such as flathead and bullhead remain unlimited). 
  • Pena Blanca Lake – Extend current "catch-and-release only" largemouth bass regulations through Dec. 31, 2014.
  • Live baitfish - Gizzard shad are now legal baitfish, but only from specific areas (see page 13 of the regulations for details).
  • Archer Lake at Christopher Columbus Park in Tucson – Closed to fishing to conform to long-standing Tucson City Code.

More fishing information can be found on the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at www.azgfd.gov/fishing.

Fishing Updates

Here are some angler reports that were submitted this past week:

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Ian S. recently submitted this report on Canyon Lake (central Arizona): Hello - Got out to the Boulder Recreation area with a couple of friends on kayaks on Christmas Eve day. Fishing was slow from 8-11 a.m. The fish finder showed lots of fish grouped up deep, hugging the rock walls, but they weren't interested in what I was throwing. No luck with spoons, Kastmasters, spinners or crank bait all morning. Kind of as a last resort, I finally just decided to very slowly drop shot some morning dawn color Roboworms at about 25 feet . . . eureka! The fish started biting hard and I pretty quickly bagged three largemouth bass in the 12- to 15-inch range. I had a few other bites that I missed. It was a blast because I hooked them at about 25 feet down and about 100 feet off the side of the kayak, so the fight was pretty fun with that much line out, even though the fish weren't that big. It was a beautiful day, a little windy, but the lake was pretty much deserted. My buddies didn't fare as well, so they decided to kayak to the back of the lake and take pictures. Thanks for the great fishing reports, I read them every week!

Don and Bev recently submitted this report on Parker Canyon Lake (southern Arizona): This lake right now is a great place if you want to catch some fish. Anglers on the dock were catching smaller trout. Up on the mainland by the marina, people were catching nice fish in the 9- to 17-inch range. The rig I caught the most fish on was a 1/16-ounce sliding sinker on the main line and a swivel tied underneath the sinker. Attached to the swivel was a snelled size 10 hook. For bait, try PowerBait® or chunks of nightcrawlers. Hold your fishing rod! (at least if want to catch fish). For lures, try Kastmasters or Panther Martins. Also try rooster tails and flies.

Roger C. submitted this report from Water Ranch Lake (Gilbert, Phoenix metro area): Fishing for rainbow trout is really good right now after restocking the lake. Fish are aggressive off the bottom and also taking spinners when spin casting. Not so much success using bobbers off the top. I was using worms and marshmallows off the bottom.

Darwin L. submitted this report from Pena Blanca Lake (southern Arizona): Went to Pena Blanca on Friday Dec. 28 and fishing was very slow. I fished from the bank with Panther Martin Spinners and Little Cleo Spoons and did not get a strike. A family of fisherman in two separate boats told me they caught 8 rainbows with power bait and a fly fisherman in a pontoon boat said he caught a couple of fish. The lake is experiencing an algae bloom and it appeared heavy in certain parts of the lake.

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Ricardo V. submitted this report from Sahuarita Lake (Tucson area): My nephews Andres (pictured at left in photo) and Ysidro caught a nice-size trout the other day using a piece of hotdog weiner. It was late in the day (about 4 p.m.) and we weren't even planning on fishing, but Andres had the good sense to bring along his pole and gave it a shot - it paid off since he and Ysidro shared their catch of the day for dinner. They were practicing maneuvering on my brother's new canoe in preparation for longer fishing expeditions we've planned up north throughout the year. Should be an excellent angling season and this was a great way to start the New Year. My best to AZGFD and all the great work you all do - we'll keep you posted on any new reports!

Robert N. submitted this report, also from Sahuarita Lake: Fishing is very slow, you really have to work for your limit. Look for moving water for the best results. Early morning and dusk provided the best bite. Was using brown/yellow flies, rainbow power bait.

OK, on to the full report.

CENTRAL WATERS

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

URBAN WATERS - Trout were stocked last week in all Urban Fishing Program waters. There are a couple of angler reports in the front section of this report. 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 – Due to be stocked with trout next week. Keep in mind that although this fishery in the city, it is not part of the Urban Fishing Program, so you will need the regular state fishing license to fish here.

LAKE PLEASANT - Lake level is at 1,666 feet, 62 percent full, with approximately 7,494 surface acres. 

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.

APACHE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,907 feet (92 percent full). Was scheduled to be stocked with trout this past week (week of Dec. 30).

CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,658 feet (97 percent full). Scheduled to be stocked with trout next week (the week of Jan. 6). See the report from Ian S. in the front section of this report. Boulder Rec. Area, back half, is closed for season and the floating fishing pier is closed as well. If you have been fishing here, send in your report to BFishing@azgfd.gov.

SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,525 feet (94 percent full). Scheduled to be stocked with trout next week (the week of Jan. 6). 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).

HORSESHOE LAKE - 1-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) – Was scheduled to be stocked this past week (week of Dec. 30).

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

COLORADO RIVER NORTHWEST

LAKE MEAD – The elevation has risen to 1,120 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 Dec. 13, the next new moon will be Jan. 11. 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.

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 MOHAVE – The lake level has risen to around 638 feet above msl. The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly especially on grass beds in 20 to 30 feet deep. 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. Reports of good bluegill action off the structures mentioned in the paragraph below. Reports of better activity from the stripers with the cold conditions. 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 Jan. 11. Cut anchovies usually work the best. 

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

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

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/.

WILLOW BEACH – Willow Beach is stocked every Friday with 3,000 13-inch rainbow trout. Rainbow, peach, garlic and yellow Power Baits and Powerworms were being used most for trout. Jakes original and Jakes Juniors, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails are also usually effective. Willow Beach can be hit or miss bait fishing. Try different baits including swim baits when nobody seems to be hooking anything. If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

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/.

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – Trout bite in the casino area has slowed. Rusty from Riviera Marina has sent several pictures of successful trips this week. Jonah and his dad Kevin brought in two 4-pound range rainbow trout they caught in the Rotary Park area on night crawlers. Local kids from Bullhead City, Avi and Isaac, caught a nice stringer of trout near the Laughlin Bridge. Mike caught a healthy 3.18-pound rainbow, along with a recent stocker, above the Reo Lomas area on night crawlers. Mike Z. caught a beautiful 31-inch striper that weighed just under 12 pounds.

TOPOCK GORGE - Most bass are being taken on minnows and night crawlers. Reports are that stripers are returning to the Gorge. I haven’t heard any recent reports from the Gorge except that the best bass bite is in the mid-morning. 

Rainbow trout are stocked by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service monthly during the winter. The fish are normally stocked in two locations; Davis Camp and near The Riverside. Stocking at Rotary Park has made another access point to the river for fishing and has made many people happy. Trout fishing at the stocking sites is great immediately following the stockings, then the fish move out and you need to find them.

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

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 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.

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/.

SOUTHWESTERN WATERS

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 – No new report.

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.

CENTRAL MOUNTAINS

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

WILLIAMS LAKES:

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.

FLAGSTAFF LAKES:

LOWER LAKE MARY — Dry.

UPPER LAKE MARY — No report.

ASHURST LAKE —   No report. 

FRANCIS SHORT POND –  No report.  

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road is open. 

OAK CREEK — No report.  

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

BEAVER CREEK – No report.

WEST CLEAR CREEK - No report. 

STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.

BLUE RIDGE — Winter conditions.

KNOLL LAKE — No report.

VERDE VALLEY:

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Trout were scheduled to be stocked this week (week of December 30). 

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – Trout were scheduled to be stocked this week (week of December 30). Always check your regulations before fishing this area with live bait. Game and Fish Commission Rule requires anglers to only use live bait that has been caught in the river. No transporting of live baitfish or crayfish is allowed. 

PRESCOTT AREA:

FAIN LAKE — The last scheduled stocking was the week of Nov. 11. Not scheduled to be stocked again until February.          

GOLDWATER LAKE — Report are that some trout are being caught but it can be hit and miss. Not scheduled to be stocked again until February. 

GRANITE BASIN LAKE – No new report.  

LYNX LAKE – The last stocking was the week of Nov. 11. Not scheduled to be stocked again until February.      
    
MINGUS LAKE – No new report. 

WATSON – No new report.
   
WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR – No new report. The challenge with this lake is finding access to the shore and fighting the aquatic vegetation. 

WHITE MOUNTAINS AND MOGOLLON RIM LAKES

Note: Most lakes in the White Mountains are ice-covered. Woodland, Rainbow, Scotts, Show Low and Fool Hollow Lakes have freezing and thawing conditions and unsafe ice. Fishing at Becker Lake and Silver Creek is fair to good for large trout. The trout stocking season in the White Mountains and Rim Lakes areas has ended for the year.

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES:

Note: All Forest Roads in the Mogollon Rim area are currently closed due to snow-covered conditions. Snow-packed berms along Highway 260 have blocked Forest Roads (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 with unsafe ice. FR 300 and 34 are closed to all vehicles except snowmobiles. Forest roads are snow-covered. 

BLACK CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-covered with unsafe ice. FR 300 is closed. Forest roads are snow-covered. Snowmobile access is allowed.

CHEVELON LAKE – The lake is ice-covered with unsafe ice. Forest roads are snow-covered. 

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – FR 149 is closed. The lake is ice-covered with unsafe ice.

WOODS CANYON LAKE – FR 300 is closed. The lake is ice-covered with unsafe ice.

WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES:

Note: ADOT has closed Highways 261 and 273 for the winter. Most Forest Roads are snow-covered. Snowmobile access is allowed. Most high elevation lakes are ice-covered. Most campgrounds are closed for the winter, except for the following: 

  • Scott Reservoir is open for day-use only.
  • Fool Hollow Lake’s main campground is open year-round and operated by Arizona State Parks, while the north and northeast campgrounds are closed.
  • South Fork campground is open for day-use only

BECKER LAKE – No ice. Fishing is fair to good for trophy-sized rainbow trout. Rainbows up to 21 inches have been released by experienced fly-fishers. Large white or black streamers near the bottom have been effective. Becker Lake is catch-and-release only, with artificial lures and flies only with single, barbless hook. 

BIG LAKE – Highways 261 and 173 are closed. Forest roads are snow-covered. The lake is ice-covered. The store is closed.

CARNERO LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. FR 117, 117A and 118 are snow-covered.

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor for trout and fair for warmwater species.

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor.
 
CRESCENT LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter. Forest roads are snow-covered. The lake is ice-covered. The store is closed.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing has been fair for trout, bluegills and walleye. Freezing and thawing conditions are present on this lake. Expect unsafe ice conditions. The main campground is open.

GREER LAKES – Roads to the Greer lakes are open, but snow-covered. All Greer lakes are ice-covered; expect unsafe ice conditions.

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

LEE VALLEY LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter. Forest roads are snow-covered. The lake is ice-covered.
  
LUNA LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. The road to the lake is snow-covered.

LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is closed for the season. 

NELSON RESERVOIR – The lake is ice-covered.

RAINBOW LAKE – This lake has freezing and thawing conditions with unsafe ice.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – This lake has freezing and thawing conditions with unsafe ice.

SHOW LOW LAKE – This lake has freezing and thawing conditions with unsafe ice. The upper parking lot is temporarily closed until improvements to the lake access from that lot are completed. The main parking lot that includes the boat trailer parking is still open to all vehicle parking, but the restrooms are closed for the season. The concession store is closed for the season, and boat rentals are no longer 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 ice-covered. This lake has freezing and thawing conditions with unsafe ice.

WHITE MOUNTAINS STREAMS:

Note: ADOT has closed Highways 261 and 273 for the winter. Forest roads are snow-covered. Most high-elevation streams are mostly ice-covered with snow-covered banks.

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed. Forest roads are snow-covered.

WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed. Forest roads are snow-covered.

BLACK RIVER – Highways 261 and 273 are closed. Forest roads are snow-covered.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER – Ice may be present on some sections of the stream. Expect snow-covered banks along the stream.

SHEEPS CROSSING – Highway 273 is closed for the winter. Forest roads are snow-covered. The stream is mostly ice-covered with snow-packed banks.

SHOW LOW CREEK – The access road on the dam is closed.

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair to good for large rainbow trout and Apache trout. Silver Creek is a spring creek and does not freeze during the winter. Fly fishermen have done well on white or black streamers, egg patterns and assorted 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.

SOUTHERN WATERS

Please send your fishing reports from southern Arizona to Don Mitchell, Regional Fish Program Manager, by email at dmitchell@azgfd.gov. 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/.

RIGGS FLAT — Closed for the winter.

CLUFF RANCH — No recent reports of success. The next trout stocking is scheduled for the week of Jan. 6. 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 is scheduled for the week of Jan. 6. Additionally, all 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 stocking is scheduled for the week of January 13. 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. See the report from Don and Bev in the front section of this report. 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.

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