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March 8 Fishing Report

Posted in: Fishing Report, News Media
Mar 8, 2013
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Hello, anglers!

As you perhaps read last week, Reuben wrote his final fishing report, because a new fishing/fisheries public information officer was to begin culling the latest fishing tips. Well, that’s me. My name’s Nick Walter, and I’m honored to be here. In the coming weeks, we plan on redesigning this page and making other adjustments to keep the reports as fresh as possible.

But the best reports come straight off the lake, so it’s encouraging to see that anglers are contributing to the BFishing@azgfd.gov email site. We love to show off your catches.

This weekend’s storm likely will slow things down. But if you can get out during the weekdays, sport-fish action should return to normal. March 20 marks the vernal equinox, and the beginning of spring is just a few weeks away. Get ready.

A little about me? I was born and raised in Colorado before eventually spending five years as an outdoors columnist in Bradenton (Tampa Bay) Fla. I spent the last couple of years in Grand Junction, Colo. But since visiting the grandparents as a kid in Peoria, I’ve had a particular love for the Arizona mountains, canyons, rivers and lakes. And especially for the dry heat. Backpacking, fly-fishing and canoeing are a few of my passions. But enough about me. This report is about giving you and your friends and family the best odds at hooking some line-zingers.

Speaking of which, the 22nd annual Just for Kids Fishing Festival is Saturday, March 16, at Tempe Kiwanis Park. This event is an example of the future of family fishing and is conducted by Anglers United in partnership with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the City of Tempe. It runs from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and draws hundreds of kids. There will be lunch, goodie bags and raffles for registered participants. For more information or a registration form, visit www.anglersunited.org/kid_s_fishing_festival.html.

Can't forget the Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo. The free event is held March 23-24 (Saturday and Sunday) at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix (I-17 and Carefree Highway) and features live wildlife exhibits, two huge kids catch-and-release fish tanks, target archery, educational presentations, shooting sports opportunities, off-highway vehicle displays, boating safety tips, and a chance to visit with more than 150 exhibitors. For more information, Visit www.azgfd.gov/expo.

 

Angler reports:

  • Mike S. sent in this report from Lake Mary: Our family decided to go out and soak in the warm weather Saturday. The lake was still about 80 percent covered in ice but we were able to bring in a few Northerns. Looking forward to spring. Thank you for the reports.

 

  • RooseveltLargemnouthRS.jpg
    Largemouth bass taken from Roosevelt Lake
    Tom H. made some memories on Roosevelt Lake: We spent Friday afternoon and evening on Roosevelt Lake on a beautiful day. We only caught two fish. But, I am kind of proud of this largemouth caught (Saturday March 2). I took the pictures and then released it where I caught it.

 

  • Dave H. fished the lower Salt recently and ran into some suckers: Fished lower Salt below Blue Point. There are some great sucker runs going on right now. These are amazing fish and put up an excellent fight when hooked. Looks to be spawning season for them. Caught four today in a little less than 2 hours. All the males were dripping milt. The biggest I took was 18 inches pictured below. By the way, how do you tell the desert sucker apart from the Sonora sucker?

Dave: Yes, this is the beginning of the spawning season for the native suckers. The lower Salt River has good populations of both the Sonora and desert suckers. They can be caught using worms or salmon eggs, and fly fishermen have good success using glo balls, San Juan worms or gold ribbed hare’s ear flies. Most likely you were catching Sonora suckers which often exceed the 15-16 inch maximum lengths of desert suckers. Two key differences are their mouths and coloration. The desert sucker has a wider mouth positioned under the head and their coloration is mottled.

Sonoran-Desert_suckers.JPG
The desert sucker (top) and Sonora sucker (bottom) look similar.

 The Sonora sucker has a narrower mouth that protrudes farther forward. Sonora suckers have a fairly distinctive color change from brownish bronze backs and sides to a yellowish white or cream colored underside. Check out some pictures on our website of these two suckers in a list of some native fish: http://www.azgfd.net/fish/meet-arizonas-native-fish.- Nick

 

  • Hey, I’m looking for a good spot to fish and camp for the week of March 11-17. Any recommendations? I want to try out some new places. Thanks. - Dylan

Dylan: Not sure if you’re looking to fish from shore or a boat, but we recommend heading to the Tonto National Forest and hitting Roosevelt Lake, where there’s a wide choice of developed and undeveloped camp sites – everything from dispersed camping to pull-in spots with armadas and tables. We expect the fishing to be good at Rosy for bass and in particular for crappie. Plus the scenery is hard to beat. You’ll need a Tonto Pass. For information on the passes and permits and Roosevelt Lake, visit the Tonto National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/tonto and click on "passes and permits." - Nick

  • Where can you go to catch Tilapia? - Greg H.

Greg: To take a crack at this elusive and wary fish, we recommend Saguaro Lake, Alamo Lake, or the Gila River in the 91st Avenue vicinity. Check out our Fish&Boat Arizona tool for some excellent information at http://gis.azgfd.gov/fishandboat/. Under Fishing Search, Fish Species, you can click on "tilapia" and find out more places to fish for them.The best tilapia fishing will begin in April when water temperatures pick up. Tilapia are sparse in the urban lakes. - Nick

 

OK, on to the full report.

CENTRAL WATERS

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

URBAN WATERS - Trout were stocked in the Urban Fishing Program waters this past week (week of March 4-9). Trout fishing is good to excellent at all urban waters.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – No report.

LAKE PLEASANT - Lake level is at 1,678 feet, 74 percent full, with approximately 8,160 surface acres. With the water level up from the rain and snow melts, folks at one of the marinas gave this advise. " fish the shallows, 3-6 feet using yellow or orange crank bait" Eric E. caught a monster stripper at Lake Pleasant a couple weeks ago.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,100 feet 47 percent full). Check out Tom Hitchcock’s report (above.) 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 was that crappie had been hitting.

APACHE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,907 feet (92 percent full). 

CanyonLakeBassRS.jpeg
Bass reportedly landed on a crankbait on Canyon Lake.

CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,658 feet (97 percent full). If you have been fishing here, send in your report to BFishing@azgfd.gov.

SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,526 feet (94 percent full). 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 1,780 feet (75 percent full). Fishing won’t be ideal until mid-April when water temperatures warm and water clarity improves.

HORSESHOE LAKE - 49-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) – Dave H (above) submitted a report. 

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

LeesFerryRainbowRS.JPG
A rainbow trout landed on Lee's Ferry.

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 - As of Friday, Wayne Gustaveson’s fishing report at www.wayneswords.com was not available due to site maintenance.


LEES FERRY –  See Feb. 5 report by Dean Windham of Lees Ferry Anglers at www.leesferry.com/main/archives/1018.  In addition, one angler reported catching 113 rainbow trout in 2.5 days.

COriverBass.jpg
A 7.75-pound bass that was taken from a backwater in the Imperial Division of the Colorado River.

COLORADO RIVER

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders.  Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at azgfd.gov or visit

http://100thmeridian.org/.

LAKE MEAD – The elevation has maintained at 1122 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 –the next new moon will be March 11th. 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.

LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level has maintained 642 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. Try fishing the channel using anchovies.


Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. 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.govso I can share your successes with others.

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

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

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – Trout bite in the casino area is doing well 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 Jerry A’s giant 7.36 pound, 25 ⅝ inches rainbow trout on night crawlers at Rotary Park. The recent stocking at Rotary Park has naturally kicked up the bite as shown by Christian’s full stringer caught using power baits. Bill got bragging rites over his brother Jim and their buddy Justin with a beautiful 6 ⅜ rainbow trout caught with night crawlers. 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.htmlbefore). If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.govso 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 slowing. Reports are that the crappie bite is on. Night crawlers and live minnows have been tempting catfish and largemouth bass from North Dyke. Folks were catching their limits of largemouth on spinner baits mostly. Remember the minimum of 13 inches for largemouth bass in the Marsh.

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.


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 are good bets. 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 – By Mark Knapp, Alamo State Park. Well folks, once again I'm like a ping pong ball, here today and on the road tomorrow. I do have some good news to report this week. In between storms, rain, and snow on the mountains coming into the park, a few anglers have been catching some fish. I talked to a few anglers that went out and caught 14 crappie a couple of days ago. Others caught 3 to 4. That's the best crappie report I have had in a couple of months. Anglers were using road runner jigs with a minnow trailer. As usual for this time of year, they focused up by the first bouy line on the north side of the lake. Put the trolling motor on low beam and let out about 25 feet of line. Bites were sporadic, but they stuck with it and caught some nice sized crappie.

Parker Bass Club came out this weekend. All I heard was a lot of boats, caught zero. A few caught one to two. But it really caught my attention when one pulled out a bass going 8 pounds. I heard it mentioned that it was caught on a jig. We also had a group called, "the good ol boys" doing their 8th annual fishing trip. There were about 30 of them staying in group use. They said the same thing. A lot of nothings with a few catching a couple and one boated a bass going 7-something pounds. This one was caught throwing blades. That makes sense to me. Looking through all my fishing logs I have kept over the years, this is the time of year to throw spinner baits.

So in a nutshell, I'm not giving anything a thumbs up, but things are picking up. With all the rains, the lake is up to 1090, meaning we got a couple of feet of water. The river is still running but I think it's matching the releases of 10 cfs being released out of the dam. Here shortly they're going to raise the release to 15 cfs. Right now Cholla ramp still works well for all sizes of boats. I still launch off the old rental boat road and have no problems. The good news is that the temperature is going to start hitting the 80's by next week and should turn things on. A friend of mine caught 14 nice sized cats in the upper end of the lake using shrimp. So, all in all, things are starting to look up. Looking at my schedule, I'm here today and gone to Phoenix, Havasu and California for the next week. I'm hoping to get the ol' ranger bass boat out sometime next week and can give a first hand report. Well, that's all I got for this week. - Mark

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) – A 7.75-pound bass was recently taken from a backwater spot (see photo). This stretch of the river is best known for its trophy-sized flathead catfish, with some over 70 pounds and largemouth bass, with some over 10 pounds. However, it can also be good for channel catfish, sunfish and carp and to a lesser extent striped bass, crappie and tilapia.

Largemouth bass fishing is generally best in the backwaters or near the mouth of the backwaters. There are many different techniques used for largemouth bass. As a general rule, most people will use topwater lures such as buzzbaits or spinnerbaits in the early morning and then switch to jigs, crankbaits, or swimbaits as the day progresses. Using plastic baits that resemble worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards often work well. It is generally best to fish around structure such as 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. In particular, the Fortuna Pond was just stocked with plenty of rainbow trout. 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 of course the 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 jam-packed with GREAT information.


CENTRAL MOUNTAINS

Cold weather conditions, snow and ice present on all lakes and waterways. We have received runoff into the lakes with the last couple of storms, so things are looking up for at least the spring and early summer trout season, but nothing can be stocked until March.

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 — Is being stocked with rainbow trout that average 9 inches. But a potential snow storm this weekend could delay the fish bite by a few days.


UPPER LAKE MARY — No report.

ASHURST LAKE —  No report.

FRANCIS SHORT POND –  Is being stocked with rainbow trout. This is the first stocking of the year for the pond, half of which has been covered in ice. There was one report on an angler who caught a trout before the pond was stocked.
 
KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road is open.

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.

VERDE VALLEY:

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Catfish were last stocked for the Verde River Days event. The last trout stocking was scheduled the week of February 17th, and the next stocking is tentatively scheduled for the week of March 10th. 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 February 24th.  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 — No reports from Fain in a while.

GOLDWATER LAKE — 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.govso I can share your successes with others.

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

LYNX LAKE – The next trout stocking is tentatively scheduled for the week of March 17th.  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 – No report of any success as of this report.

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 – The last trout stocking was tentatively scheduled for the week of March 3rd. 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 – 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 gcummins@azgfd.govso I can share your successes with others.

WHITE MOUNTAINS AND MOGOLLON RIM LAKES

Recommended waters to fish:

Becker Lake, Nelson Reservoir, Fool Hollow Lake, Rainbow Lake, Scott Reservoir, Show Low Lake, and Woodland Lake are ice-free. Of these lakes, Becker, Nelson, Fool Hollow, and Show Low currently provide the best opportunity to catch fish. Silver Creek is also ice-free and fair for large trout.

Trout stocking schedule:

The trout stocking season in the White Mountains and Rim Lakes areas will begin in April.

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES:

Note: The higher elevation lakes are ice-covered, some with unsafe ice. 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 with unsafe ice. FR 300 and 34 are closed to vehicles for the winter. Snowmobile access is allowed.

BLACK CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-covered with unsafe ice. FR 300 and 86 are closed to vehicles for the winter. Snowmobile access is allowed.

CHEVELON LAKE – The lake is ice-free, but is inaccessible. Forest roads are snow-covered.

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – The lake is ice-covered with unsafe ice. FR 149 is closed to vehicles for the winter. Snowmobile access is allowed.

WOODS CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-covered with unsafe ice. FR 300 is closed to vehicles for the winter. Snowmobile access is allowed.

WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES:

Note: The higher 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 – Fishing is fair. The lake is ice-free. Becker Lake is open to catch-and-release fishing, with artificial fly and lure only, and single barbless hook only.

BIG LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicles for the winter. Other Forest roads are snow-covered. Snowmobile access is allowed. The lake is ice-covered with about 17" of ice as of last week. The store is closed.

CARNERO LAKE – The lake is ice-covered with about 15" of ice as of last week. FR 117, 117A and 118 are snow-covered and inaccessible for vehicles. Snowmobile access is allowed. Recent surveys through the ice found very little dissolved oxygen, and the lake has likely winterkilled.

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – The lake is ice-free, but has not yet been stocked and fishing is poor.

CONCHO LAKE – The lake is ice-free, but has not yet been stocked and fishing is poor.

CRESCENT LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicles for the winter. The lake is ice-covered with about 18" of ice as of last week. The store is closed. Snowmobile access is allowed. Recent surveys found moderate levels of dissolved oxygen in the upper layers of water just under the ice.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair. The lake is ice-free. The main campground is open.

GREER LAKES – All Greer lakes are ice-covered. Roads to the lakes are open, but snow-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 with about a reported 17" of ice as of last week. Snowmobile access is allowed. Recent surveys through the ice found very little dissolved oxygen, and the lake has likely winterkilled.

Limnological survey on Lee Valley Lake on February 27.

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 – Fishing is fair. For large carry-over trout, anglers should try nightcrawlers suspended above the bottom or 5 to 6 feet under a bobber. The lake is ice-free.

RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor for trout and warmwater fish. Pike fishing should improve soon as they stage near coves and weed patches to spawn. The lake is ice-free, full, and spilling. The weeds have not yet started to grow, so boating conditions are good.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free.

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair. The lake is ice-free. One angler was catching trout on PowerBait last weekend. The fishing pier near the boat ramp was recently damaged by ice and is not usable. It will be reinstalled when conditions are suitable. The concession store is still closed for the season, and boat rentals are not available through the winter months. The spillway campground is closed for the season and the road over the dam is still closed, but the main campground on the west side of Show Low Lake Road will remain open through the winter.

WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free, full, and spilling.

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 still 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.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER – The roads are accessible into Greer, but the stream still has a fair amount of snow on the 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 has not yet been stocked.

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair for large rainbow trout and Apache trout. 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.


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. Was scheduled to be stocked this week. 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 continues to fill and State Parks is wrapping up a couple of improvement projects. It now looks like it will be early spring before the small pond is ready to be opened to the public.

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. Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive. Largemouth bass fishing is going to be slow with the water temperature at 48 degrees. If you have a chance to get out on the water, you are going to have to fish deep and slow. Jig fishing and Plastic baits may be your best bet this time of year for largemouth bass. You may also try fishing some sinking jerk baits (from fishingnotes.com)

PENA BLANCA – No recent reports of success.

Stockings are occurring as scheduled (view schedule) but fishing is slow. Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive. Additionally, all mercury advisories against the eating of warm water 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 — No reports of trout angler success. Fishing continues to be fair with bass anglers having some success. It is being reported that the 265 acre lake level is down. Boaters should use caution as obstructions can appear as water levels drop. Send in your reports of success to BFishing@azgfd.gov. A question came up about how to fish from the shore at Patagonia, if any of you southern AZ Anglers would submit some ideas, that would help out those novice anglers visiting your lakes.

PARKER CANYON — Fishing remains fair for trout. 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.
 
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. Anglers that are making the walk in are reporting good fishing!

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