Arizona Game and FIsh Department - Managing Today for Wildlife Tomorrow: Arizona Game and Fish Department
Operation Game Thief: 1-800-352-0700Customer Service
    Follow AZGFD on Twitter  

March 15 Fishing Report

Posted in: Fishing Report, News Media
Mar 15, 2013
Share or Bookmark:
| More
Digg this story!

Printer friendly page

Hello, anglers!

Kids can do catch-and-release fishing at two huge tanks at the Game and Fish Outdoor Expo, March 23-24.
With the recent hot temperatures that in some areas of the state have reached above-average seasonal temperatures, we’re making up ground on spring-time fishing after last weekend’s storms. Tons of anglers have sent reports to the email site, and with the recent sun-drenched lakes, it’s no wonder.

In last week’s report, there was mention of upcoming changes to the Fishing Report. In addition to an eventual redesign, we are working on updating fishing report sources. Until then, please continue emailing your reports, with photos if possible, that give just enough information to benefit your fellow anglers, yet don’t reveal your hard-earned spots and secrets.

Officially, the first day of spring is March 21. But in lower-elevation areas, some water temperatures should hit, or surpass, 62 degrees this weekend. In doing so, more crappie would move from deeper holes to stage up in shallower waters. Keep an eye on your thermometers, and remember the next full moon is March 27.

Also, some largemouth bass are reportedly having made their first movements onto spawning beds. And some anglers already are taking advantage of the opportunistic feeding. (Read the angler reports below). Please consider releasing many of the bedding bass to ensure robust bass populations.

But despite prime bass and crappie opportunities, Thursday (March 21) marks the beginning of a great time to fish the Phoenix and Tucson Urban Fishing Program lakes and ponds. With the onset of spring we will begin stocking catfish every two weeks through mid-June at average rates of 40 to 60 fish per acre. The final winter trout stockings were completed March 4. For more information on the Urban Fishing Program, visit

Also, we recently stocked the Flagstaff area lakes with 15,000 trout. Lower Lake Mary and Frances Short Pond received particularly large loads of fish from our Page Springs and Canyon Creek hatcheries. A great spring break opportunity.

Need a license? To fish state waters, resident anglers age 14 and over must purchase a Class A general fishing license for $23.50. If you want to fish for trout, a resident trout stamp is $15.75. To fish Urban Fishing Program waters, a Class U urban license is required ($18.50 for residents or nonresidents, no trout stamp required for urban waters). Or, you can buy the Class L super conservation license, which includes a general Class A license, an urban Class U license, and a trout stamp (cost is $53 for residents, $63 for nonresidents). Licenses can be purchased at any of the 320 license dealers, game and fish offices or online at

For family fun, as well as some prime-time bass angling, the Bill Luke Bass Days continues Saturday and Sunday at the Pleasant Harbor Marina on the east side of Lake Pleasant.  For more information, visit

Oh, yeah. It’s Expo time! And it’s free. The Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo is March 23-24 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

Angler reports:

  • FR_March_15_photo1.jpg
    Hats off to Shawn B. for this largemouth bass he said weighed 9.3 pounds. He reported catching the bass at Kiwanis Park Lake on Tuesday, March 12. His story: “I headed out to Kiwanis and decided not to do the 'bed fishing' thing but instead try to get a bigger quality fish by fishing deeper. So threw a drop shot pretty far and after maybe 5-10 casts I hooked this guy that had to be sitting on a bed pretty far out there that put up one heck of a fight. Used a G. Loomis NRX 822S with 7-pounds Sniper and a Roboworm. This is actually the very same way I caught my 9-pound one last year.” Congrats, Shawn!


  • Shane H. fished Roosevelt Lake and reported that he and his son caught around 20 crappie that weighed 1 to 2.5 pounds, and “a few small bass in front Windy Hill.” “We were trolling pink grubs at about 15 feet. Very fun, had a good time but camera phone died.”


  • Duane L. reported unexpected bites at Bartlett and Chavez Park: “On Saturday, March 2,  five of us fished the river below the dam at Bartlett Lake. Trout would not cooperate at all. I was using corn. About 10 a.m. I got quite a strike. What a fight. It was sure to be the largest trout anywhere. I finally got it to the net and found it to be an Arizona tarpon — to the less traveled, a "carp" of about five pounds. Right after that, a 3-pounder. That was the end of that, for all of us. We then took the little 10 feet boat out on the lake, and no hits at all. On Tuesday, I fished the lake at Chavez Park, using corn, got one trout and you guessed it, a seven-pound Arizona tarpon, on my crappie rig no less. I thought he was gonna pull me in!”


  • Max B. reported brief rainbow trout success on March 7 at Green Valley Park in Payson, catching three ‘bows ranging from 13 to 14 inches in about 40 minutes bottom fishing with Power Bait hi-VIS yellow eggs.


  • Ivan sent this fish story from Kiwanis Park Lake and Tempe Town Lake: “I saw a report posted Dec. 7 about the vegetation in Kiwanis Park Lake. I had a similar experience there about three weeks ago. I was encouraged when I first arrived and saw a bass swimming near the shore. Tried drop shot in various colors, Texas-rigged lizards and worms in various colors, but to no avail. Gave it my best for a few hours. Many other anglers were there but only saw one angler catch a catfish. I too kept getting clumps of grass or other vegetation nearly every cast. I've fished Kiwanis many times in years past but never have seen it so thick with vegetation. Weather was great and the lake was quiet so it was a relaxing trip. Wish I could've done better on the catching. Also hit Tempe Town Lake recently. Caught two decent-size bass plus one small catfish in less than one hour in the late afternoon, and then had to leave. Caught the bass on drop shot (morning dawn with chartreuse tail) on six-pound fluorocarbon. Catfish was caught on a chunk of hot dog on 10-pound fluorocarbon line.


  • Lee D. was at Upper Lake Mary at the right time: “Saw a group catching one Northern pike after another. Asked what they were using. Anchovies with the head cut off."


  • Michelle S. was not impressed with the trout fishing at Rainbow Lake: “There are no trout currently in Rainbow Lake. Fishing for trout is not "poor" as stated in your report. It is nonexistent."


  • Brian E. from Tempe Town Lake: “ I fished Thursday, the 7th, for about three hours from shore. I used  different size spinners, and did get one largemouth after two hours of no action. She was 17 inches. Made my day. Wish I had a camera. I hope to catch her again.”


  • I understand that Alabama rigs are legal in Arizona if you only use two jig heads and the other 3 lures are dummies. However, is it legal to add a trailer hook to each of your two hooks similar to a spinner bait? You would have only two jig heads with main hooks and then each would have a spinner bait trailer hook added to it. Is this legal? To me, what I described is no different than a topwater bait/crankbait having 2 or 3 trebel hooks attached. Thanks, Chad

Chad: Good question. Yes, that would be legal. As long as each hook is directly connected to the other hook and not attached to a leader. According to the Arizona revised statutes, “’Angling’ means the taking of fish by one line and not to exceed two hooks, by one line and one artificial lure, which may have attached more than one hook, or by one line and not to exceed two artificial flies or lures.” Lures are not defined in statute.  However, a lure is designed and intended to catch one fish.  As such, a spoon, soft bait,  jerk bait, piece of yarn, etc., with no hook incorporated would not be considered a lure.  - Nick

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

URBAN WATERS – Beginning Thursday, the urban lakes and ponds will be stocked with channel catfish that average 1.7 pounds. Urban lake water temperatures have risen into the 60s, triggering the annual stocking changeover from winter trout to spring catfish. Trout were stocked in the Urban Fishing Program the week of March 4-9). Trout fishing is good to excellent at all urban waters.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Multiple anglers reported slow-to-decent action on bass using slowly-retrieved drop-shot worms.  One angler reported catching bass on a drop shot  (morning dawn with chartreuse tail) on six-pound fluorocarbon. See Ivan’s report above in angler’s reports.

LAKE PLEASANT - Lake level is at 1,678 feet, 74 percent full, with approximately 8,160 surface acres.  Crappie should be not quite as productive as at Roosevelt or Alamo. Anglers earlier in the week reported that fishing was slow in general, with the exception of some small striper action and one report of a largemouth bass caught while trolling.  Another angler reported spotting some plus-size bass Sunday morning by the marina, but the fish weren’t chewing plastic worms or top-water lures.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,100 feet 47 percent full). Should be prime for crappie in more shallow waters. Look for a flotilla of boats at the Tonto or Salt River ends of the lake. Preferred baits can be a Kalin grubs no a 1/16-ounce jighead or jigs tipped with minnows. In general, 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.

Bass caught at Apache Lake.
APACHE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,907 feet (92 percent full). No reports, however, one angler this photo of a big bass caught on a Crawfish Crankbait.

CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,658 feet (97 percent full). One angler fished from shore on Monday and reported slow fishing due to high recreational activity. If you have been fishing here, send in your report to

SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,526 feet (94 percent full). With upcoming full moon (March 27), look for more bass to move into spawning mode. Early birds traditionally can hook into some catfish here as well. The last reports were of anglers are having 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).   Should be another prime crappie lake. Good areas are toward the yellow cliffs where artificial habitats that hide small baitfish have been installed.
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) – No new reports.  Try night crawlers, small spinners, KastMasters and flies in this unique desert river trout fishery.

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



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

LAKE POWELL – See Wayne Gustavson’s updated fishing report at

LEES FERRY – Dean Windham from Lees Ferry Anglers reported that he is seeing a lot of midge hatches, and so zebra midges in darker colors have been working well. He recommends fishing in slack water, not in the faster, rippling water that has had a tendency to flow during afternoons. “Glow bugs are working well,” Windham added. “Walking has been tough at times, though. Walk-in fishing has been better in the morning up until about 11 or 12, then it tends to drop a bit and tends to get better again from 3 until sunset.” Finally, Windham said road work has begun on the recreational road from US Highway 89A to the ferry, so prepare for possible delays. “They’re making improvements for surface and drainage,” Windham said.



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 or visit

LAKE MEAD – The elevation has dropped to 1121 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.  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.  I haven’t received many reports from the lake. Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon is April 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 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 so 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.  The accessional large stripers are still being caught from the dam down to the Gorge.  Many of these fish are in the 4-12 pound range. 

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 Jim’s 21 ⅛ inches weighing 4.18 lbs. taken near Rotary Park and Jo Ann’s 4.48 lbs rainbow trout caught near the casinos.  Night crawlers are the reported best bait for these beauties but power bait has also been successful.  Rusty is sponsoring a fishing tournament to benefit the local senior nutrition program if you are interested stop by his shop.  Remember to fish for trout, you need a trout stamp on Class A and Lifetime fishing licenses.

Water levels on the river fluctuate, so be careful. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at 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 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



Note: If you would like more information on southwestern waters, visit 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 For more information, visit the "Where to Fish" pages at

LAKE HAVASU – Fishermen are still reporting catching very low numbers of striped bass, although a couple of anglers have commented that the ones they do catch have been much larger than is usual for Lake Havasu, in the 6 to 8-pound range. An FLW “Western” Everstart Series tournament was held on Lake Havasu at the end of February. On the first two days, 134 anglers weighed in 595 bass the first day, and 462 bass the second day. The final day, when only the top teams fished, 20 anglers weighed in 74 bass. Eighty-five percent of the bass weighed in were smallmouth bass. Photos of the event show the incredible condition the bass are in, as is typical for the lake

ALAMO LAKE - By Mark Knapp, Alamo State Park: Well folks, sounds like we're fixing to have to break in another new guy.  I think Reuben did an excellent job and we should give a warm welcome to Nick.  Nick is going to be the one throwing everything together and getting information out to you. O.K., finally things are just starting to pick up out here. The last two storms did nothing to help fishing at all. I'm happy to say that we’re finally heading into the 80s this weekend and hopefully everything will start to turn on. Junior and I have started going out again in the evenings and have been getting one bass a piece. After all the hours we put in without even getting a bite we were pretty happy to even catch a fish. We were playing around in the dam area and throwing Texas-rigged baby brush hogs. We have both missed a few fish so we know it's starting to pick up.

An angler stopped by this morning and showed me a picture of a 7.5-pound bass he caught straight across from Cholla. He was throwing plastics and caught the toad in about 20 feet of water. I'm still not getting any good reports on crappie. I could see about 30 boats up around the second bouy line but no one has stopped in and said how they have done.  

Cat fishing is still decent. Anglers are using night crawlers and seem to have better luck in the upper end of the lake. We’re starting to have problems with holes in the old rental boat road so were suggesting that you use Cholla ramp to avoid getting stuck. By the way, Junior and I have started to keep score again this year. I forgot to mention that I beat him by 76 bass last year.  I think he said I caught a total of 300 or something like that.  And for those of you who have fished this lake for many of years know that's nothing to write home about. My best year was 1,500-and-something bass. Anyway, the lake level is around 1,099 with releases of 10 cfs.  That's it for this week. - Mark

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

COLORADO RIVER - (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam, including backwaters and Martinez Lake) – No new reports. From last week: A 7.75-pound bass was recently taken from a backwater spot (see photo). This stretch of the river is best known for its trophy-sized flathead catfish, with some over 70 pounds and largemouth bass, with some over 10 pounds. However, it can also be good for channel catfish, sunfish and carp and to a lesser extent striped bass, crappie and tilapia.

Largemouth bass fishing is generally best in the backwaters or near the mouth of the backwaters. There are many different techniques used for largemouth bass. As a general rule, most people will use topwater lures such as buzzbaits or spinnerbaits in the early morning and then switch to jigs, crankbaits, or swimbaits as the day progresses. Using plastic baits that resemble worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards often work well. It is generally best to fish around structure such as 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 – No new reports. From last week: Mittry Lake offers many fishing opportunities. There are ten man-made jetties on the eastern shore for shoreline anglers, but the lake is most effectively fished by boat. There is a good concrete boat launch near the southern end of the lake, with a courtesy mooring dock. There is also a more primitive gravel ramp toward the northern end of the lake. There are restrooms and trash facilities at the main boat ramp, which also sports a large ramada for public gatherings.
Mittry Lake can be a bit frustrating at time, especially for bass fishermen. There are plenty of bass in the lake, with a few in the eight to ten pound range, occasionally larger. However, the bass are sometimes finicky, and it can be challenging to bring any in on some days. Other days, the bite can be wide open. Windy, or changing weather often brings on the bite. Techniques for bass fishing vary widely. When fishing for bass in the cooler months, and bass are less active, fish deeper water with jigs, swimbaits, or plastics using a slow retrieve. As the water warms up in the spring and summer, bass become more active and move to shallower water. During that time most people use plastics, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, or crankbaits with a faster retrieve. Plastic baits resembling worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards can also work well. For best results fish around structure such as weedbeds, emergent vegetation or where shoreline brush edges the water.

YUMA AREA PONDS – Final stockings of trout have been made in Yuma area ponds for the season. Fortuna and Redondo ponds were stocked on Feb. 16, and the Yuma West Wetlands and Council Park (Somerton) ponds were stocked on Feb. 23.


Lower Lake Mary and Frances Short Pond are local waters that received the huge load of fish from Page Springs and Canyon Creek Hatcheries, which are owned and operated by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.  Frances Short Pond is located just northwest of downtown Flagstaff and also is a great place to walk or ride a bike. Lower Lake Mary is about 8 miles from Flagstaff on Forest Road 3.  There is a gate located at the entrance of the lake that will open as soon as the snow melts and allows safe access.  Keep in mind that if the area receives significant snow, the gate may be periodically closed.   

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

Williams Lakes:

KAIBAB LAKE — Campground is closed. No report.

CATARACT LAKE — Campground is closed.

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:

"Following the recent snow storms and time of year, I would guess that fishing for trout on Lower Lake Mary and Frances Short Pond will be good later this week and the pike and walleye should be hitting again soon at Upper Lake Mary,” says Chuck Benedict, fish biologist for the department.  Benedict adds: “People like to visit Flagstaff and Williams in the summer and want to trout fish, but in reality the bass, pike, and crappie fishing are the best during the summer. Now is the ideal time for trout fishing.”-- Chuck Benedict

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

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 — Anglers reportedly were catching Northern pike and walleye on the upper end before last weekend’s storm, but fishing slowed thereafter. Lake had been frozen.

ASHURST LAKE —  No report.

FRANCIS SHORT POND – Was stocked with large numbers  rainbow trout, and one angler last week reported catching 44 rainbows in a few hours using a renegade with a bead head prince nymph dropper (both size No. 12). The angler, who reported one of the trout was a 14 inch hold over, noticed one anglers using corn on the bottom caught one and was getting several bites.

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road is open.

OAK CREEK — No report.

LONG LAKE — No report.

BEAVER CREEK – No report.



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 March 10th.   Catfish and bass bite has slowed due to the cold temperatures. The trout bite should be excellent considering the recent stockings. 

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – The last scheduled stocking was the week of March 3rd.  The next trout stocking is tentatively scheduled for this week, the week of March 17th.  Always check your regulations before fishing this area with live bait. Game and Fish Commission Rule requires anglers to only use live bait that has been caught in the river. No transporting of live baitfish or crayfish is allowed. 

Prescott area:

FAIN LAKE — The last scheduled trout stocking is this week, the week of March 10th.  I have not heard any reports from Fain in a while.          

GOLDWATER LAKE — Report are that some trout are being caught but it can be hit and miss.  The latest trout stocking is this week, the week of March 10th.  The next tentatively scheduled stocking will be the week of March 24th.         

If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at 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 so I can share your successes with others. 

LYNX LAKE –The last scheduled stocking was the week of February 3rd.  The next 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 –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 March 3rd.
If you fish Watson and are having luck, please e-mail me at 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 so I can share your successes with others.


Recommended Waters to Fish
Becker Lake, Nelson Reservoir, Luna Lake, Fool Hollow Lake, Rainbow Lake, Scott Reservoir and Show Low 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 still ice-covered, but will have unsafe ice with the warmer and longer days. 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.

BEAR CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-covered with unsafe ice. FR 300 and 34 are still closed to vehicles for the winter. 

BLACK CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-free but is still inaccessible due to a recent snowstorm.

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

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

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

White Mountains Lakes:

Note: The higher elevation lakes in the White Mountains are still 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 – The lake is ice-free and fishing is fair. A fly fisherman released a 20-inch rainbow trout and a lure fisherman released two nice-sized rainbow trout off the fishing pier last weekend. 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 for vehicles. Snowmobile access is allowed. Recent surveys through the ice found little dissolved oxygen, and the lake has likely experienced a winter-kill.

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.  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. The next survey scheduled for next week should reveal if there is enough oxygen for the trout to survive until the ice comes off.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair and the lake is ice-free. A fisherman caught two channel catfish on Sunday. The main campground is open.

GREER LAKES – All Greer lakes (River, Tunnel and Bunch Reservoirs) are ice-covered with unsafe ice. 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. Snowmobile access is allowed. Recent surveys through the ice found very little dissolved oxygen, and the lake has likely experienced a winter-kill.
LUNA LAKE – The lake is ice-free, but fishing is poor. 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-free and fishing is fair. Anglers have been catching large, carry-over trout on PowerBait and worms.        
RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for illegally-introduced northern pike, but poor for other species. One angler reported catching pike on spoons, spinners, and Rapalas. Try these lures near and in coves and near patches of weeds as the pike are congregating in these areas to spawn. AGFD crews are currently conducting removal efforts on pike to improve fishing for more desirable species like bass, sunfish and stocked trout. The lake is ice-free, full and spilling. The weeds have not yet started to grow, so boating conditions are good.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – The lake is ice-free, but fishing is poor.

SHOW LOW LAKE – The lake is ice-free and fishing is fair. Large, carry-over trout have been caught on PowerBait last week. The fishing pier near the boat ramp was recently damaged by ice and is not usable. It will be reinstalled when crews are able to fix it. The fishing pier across the dam was also damaged by ice and will be removed. The concession store is still closed for the season, but should open soon. The spillway campground is closed for the season and the road over the dam is closed, but the main campground on the west side of Show Low Lake Road is open.

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

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.

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 and stream are accessible in Greer, but fishing is slow. Water temperatures are cold, and the flows are rising each afternoon with runoff as sun melts the snowpack.

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. The stream is running clear and has not been affected by snowmelt. 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 me your fishing reports from Southern Arizona!  Fishing reports for southern waters can be sent to Don Mitchell, Regional Fish Program Manager by email at  These reports will then be complied and reported in our weekly fishing reports.

Spring is nearing meaning that warm water fishing is getting ready to take off.  Water temps are still cool however it won’t be much longer before the bass begin to stage for pre-spawn. Trout stockings are starting to wind down for the season and there are only a few stockings left. See the stocking schedule at

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

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. 2012 Winter Stocking Schedule

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. 
2012 Winter Stocking Schedule
DANKWORTH POND — Still closed for renovations as State Parks puts the final touches on several construction projects.  The Department plans to begin re-stocking this small pond with sunfish in mid March, additionally there are several catchable channel catfish stockings planned through the summer so stay tuned for more information!

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. 

PENA BLANCA –  No recent reports of success.  Stockings are occurring as scheduled but fishing has been slow.  Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive.  Additionally all mercury advisories against the eating of warmwater fish caught at Pena Blanca Lake remains in effect.  Future testing will determine if and when these advisories will be lifted.  Boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.    2012 Winter Stocking Schedule

PATAGONIA —  No reports of trout angler success.  Fishing continues to be fair with bass anglers having some success.  2012 Winter Stocking Schedule It is being reported that the lake level is down.  Boater should use caution as obstructions can appear as water levels drop.

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 or by phone at (520)455-5847.

ROSE CANYON LAKE — The Lake is now 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.

  Share or Bookmark:
| More


Add this site to...

Mission | Customer Service | Web Policy | Send Comments | Employment | Commission Agenda | Office Locations | Site Map | Search | © 2008 AZGFD