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March 29 Fishing Report

Posted in: Fishing Report
Mar 27, 2013
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Fishing the falls at Tonto Creek
Hello, anglers!

Welcome to the 21st century. Fishing couldn't be any easier. Well, getting the information and directions you need to fish, at least. The spring-summer trout stocking schedule has just been released.

After visiting the schedule, click on any of the names of the lakes or stream, and bam -- it takes you to a Google map of the fishery. The map also shows the stocking schedule where appropriate. Huge congratulations go out to hatchery system manager Scott Gurtin for coming up with this a year ago.

The full address is:

Also, if you haven't seen it before, check out our interactive fishing map. This Google-based map, the brainchild of Urban Fishing Program Manager Eric Swanson, is loaded with information on 150 of Arizona's top lakes, streams and rivers. The address is: Time to plan those trips the right way. Take a kid with you.

Maybe they've already had practice. Some of our future anglers and, hopefully, conservationists, had their first fishing experience last weekend. Many of the 3,434 children glowed from accomplishment and flashed expressions of surprise as they caught and released redear sunfish from March 22-24 at the Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo and the Friday Youth Day.

The first fish, for some.

The first of thousands, we hope.

What do they say? Take a kid fishing, because one day, he or she may take you. Not only that, kids get accustomed to a healthy habit they utilize their entire lives. Never too soon.

Adults don't have to stop learning, either. A good turnout of people stacked the stands at the fishing tank demonstration sponsored by Sportsman's Warehouse. Local professionals Larry the Lizard and Gary Senft spoke, as well as Sportman's Warehouse managers Skyler Clark, Jeremy Hoffman, and Dave King. Timely topics ranged from spring and summer bass techniques, drop shots, Texas rigs, finesse fishing, worm rigging -- many basics needed in your techniques toolkit. Thanks to everyone for the show.

So here’s the latest on the fishing scene: In short, bass are in, crappie are out, and trout are somewhere in between. The consensus is that, in general, the crappie craze is still lagging behind the bass buzz in most areas. Bass are on their beds in shallow water and can often be found near structures such as rocks and brush they use as flanks to help protect their beds.

Still, some crappie are being caught in 6-10 feet of water at Roosevelt, and, over at Alamo, which usually the first lake to warm and experience a good crappie bite, is decent at best.

But Alamo Lake, west of Wickenberg, is a great spring break destination with its numerous camp sites, cleaning stations and lack of recreational boaters. Some anglers are reporting poor fishing, but, according to Mark Knapp at Alamo State Park, some are blaming a lack of minnows. (See Mark's report below). So if you head to Alamo, be “armed for bear” with your bait selection. 

A bit of breaking news: The Lower Salt River recently received a large, unplanned stocking of rainbow trout. Have at 'em.

Also, Ashurst Road to Ashurst Lake is open as well.

Here's a final, helpful link: This is the online page used to purchase a fishing license. They also can be purchased at any of the 320 license dealers and Game and Fish office.

Some quick details: 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).

Monday kicks off seasonal catch and keep outside Silver Creek Hatchery

Beginning Monday until Oct. 1, anglers can fish Silver Creek outside the Silver Creek Hatchery for the beginning of the catch and keep trout fishery. Bait also is allowed until the end of September.

Anglers should arrive before sunrise for a chance at catching the native Apache trout. Anglers are allowed an aggregate bag of six trout per angler, per day, including the Apache.

"The creek has received habitat improvements, and for two miles of fishable waters the creek meanders through the meadows," Game and Fish hatchery manager Scott Gurtin said.   "It's just a pristine location at the gate of the White Mountains."

For the beginning of “bait season,” worms fished in deeper holes are the best bait, but Power Bait and assorted flies work as well.  Apache trout can be caught by a variety of methods, including throwing wet or dry flies and small lures such as spinners.

Silver Creek Hatchery is located east of Show Low about 5 miles on Highway 60. Turn north off 60 onto Bourdon Ranch Road for five miles to Hatchery Way Road. Turn east on Hatchery Way Road for 1 mile where you can park at the Silver Creek Hatchery.

The hatchery is the primary facility for growing and stocking Apache trout, which is one of the state’s two native trout species (the other is the endangered Gila trout).

Lake Powell mussel discovery is a reminder to boaters: Clean, drain and dry

PAGE, Ariz. - The recent discovery of 14 adult quagga mussels at Lake Powell is a crucial reminder to boaters to clean, drain and dry their boats after every use to help prevent the spread of these destructive invasive species.

According to a March 27 National Park Service (NPS) mussel monitoring update, the NPS identified 14 adult quagga mussels attached to moored vessels and dock structures at the Wahweap Marina in Lake Powell over the last week. None of the adult mussels were close enough together to mate for successful reproduction. All of the mussels were physically removed from the lake.

"This is a reminder of the critical importance of the 'Don't move a mussel -- now it's the law' message," says Tom McMahon, invasive species program coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. "At this point, these monitoring results aren't evidence of an established, reproducing population of quagga mussels at Powell, and biologists are continuing to gather information. But it is another wake-up call saying, 'Folks, you need to clean, drain and dry your boat'."

Angler reports:

(Send your recent fish photos and reports to

Brayden K. caught a nice mess of crappie on Roosevelt Lake last Thursday from his float tube: The bite was a little slow but fishing with jigs tipped with minnows seemed to do the job.  We were fishing in 6-10 feet of water.  The females were full of eggs so the spawn looks like it is just getting started.

Alvin B. had some success with suckers at the Phon D. Sutton portion of the Lower Salt River on March 18, using a Dilly worm fished on the bottom: Per the on-site ranger no one has caught any of the trout from the last stocking and they are more than likely heading up stream (Verde) or even up towards the tube drop off for clearer waters. The water is really murky, filled with unseen debris and fast. Great for suckerfish but not trout. He also reported fishing Red Mountain Lake on Sunday, but catching nothing on Power Bait, corn, Dilly's off the bottom, spinners.  On Tuesday, March 19, he reported catching rainbow trout at Encanto Lake using Dilly worms, and once it got dark, shrimp: While walking my dog a week before (I saw) a guy had four catfish and a rainbow, so I decided a to give it a try. Fished right after work near the waterfall, caught one 13-inch rainbow that put up a great fight for a stocker. No cats at night and the golf course sprinklers chased us away.

Jason J. had a titanic tussle with a flathead catfish at Roosevelt Lake on Sunday, March 24: This flathead was caught at Roosevelt on 3/24 while trolling for crappie. It was caught on a Browning Ultra Light with 4-pound test using a yellow horse head crappie jig with a spinner and an acid-wash colored grub. I also had a minnow on the hook. Weighed approximately 12-15 pounds. Took 20 minutes to get him in the boat and he was taking drag like crazy. He was caught between School House and Grapevine. Thanks for the great reports each week

Bobby O. had a good time on the south cove area at Lake Mead: My wife and I were out on Lake Mead on upper end South Cove area last weekend. Weather was great. Caught three largemouth, one smallmouth and three stripers.  But the biggest sightings were the bazillions of gizzard shad seen on lake in the shallow trees from South Cove to Hualapai Wash on the Ariz. side of the lake. They were everywhere from 12-16 inches in length. Hopefully the stripers will keep these gizzard shad in check because of the size that we were seeing are too large for anything else to feed on them.

Lake Pleasant wasn’t too kind to Tammy W.: We fished Lake Pleasant on March 21 and only got one bite. There was carp all over splashing in the northern coves.  Must be spawning time for them.  I did see one bass on his bed.  I'm planning on going out again Monday and hopefully I'll report some better news. One thing I wanted to let everyone know is that snakes are out.  We saw a 5-foot bull snake slither right in front of our camp and go into a rat’s nest under a tree nearby.

John took his son and a friend to Canyon Lake on Sunday morning, and got into a great bass bite: My son (Connor), my buddy (David) and I went to Canyon lake Sunday morning and had a great day. We boated 13 fish that weighed approximately 40 pounds in the morning. It was a beautiful day - started out on the chilly side, but warmed up nicely. We started catching fish around 9 a.m. I caught a 5-pounder first, then I caught the 8.3-pounder - my biggest fish to date. Connor caught his biggest ever at 5.5 pounds. I ended up catching six, David caught five and Connor caught two. Needless to say, it was a great day on the water. Even better, I was able to spend it with my son and best friend.

Michael S. had slow morning, but explosive afternoon on Saturday, March 23 at Canyon Lake: I took my family fishing Saturday at Canyon Lake. We arrived around 10:45 a.m. and immediately began fishing. The bass were very visible from the shoreline out about three feet. The first few hours were very slow with very few bites from the bluegill and smaller bass. Our day took a change around 4:30 p.m. when my father brought in a small largemouth about 1.5 pounds that immediately got the kids back into angling. About 40 minutes later I was able to catch me a very healthy 4-pound largemouth from about four feet out. We stayed until about 5:30 and saw very active bass activity from about 4:30 until our departure.  I am looking to do a lot more fishing this year and will update you on our trips. Thanks.

David L’s son had a memorable experience at Gilbert Water Ranch Park: My 7-year-old son Jack caught this 4-pound catfish at Gilbert's Water Ranch Park this past Saturday. He was just fishing with worms and a bobber.

Reportedly trying numerous presentations in all water depths, Steve B. had some bleak fishing at Rosy March 21-24: We fished Roosevelt for three days March 21-24 covering the entire Salt River end from Grapevine up into the tules.  We got not one bite in three days.  Worst I've ever experienced.  We fished for crappies in the usually successful manner of trolling and drifting small curly tails of every color tipped with a minnow.  When the crappie fishing was so bad, we went for bass with plastic worms, spinnerbaits and most everything else in the box.  Nada. We saw one bass caught and every other angler we spoke with had caught nothing either.  The water was very muddy and perhaps the Tonto end of the lake might have been better.

Eddie O. reported catching eight channel catfish on Saturday, March 23 from Red Mountain Lake using live nightcrawlers fished on the bottom.

Lisa B. caught this northern pike on Mach 14 at Lake Mary:  Lake was 80-percent ice free. We were fly fishing from the shore using No. 8 black crystal buggers. Fish were hitting from 6 to 10 feet out; they were cruising the banks. Caught eight, ranging from 18-29 inches. Here is a picture of my 29-inch pike. Thanks, and tight lines.

Paul J. recently fished the main lake at Canyon Lake from 5-10:30 p.m.: Caught six largemouth , all in 5-10 feet of water all on a Texas rig. The largest was three pounds. Pretty light bite, but they were feeding. My buddy was catfishing near the bridge and didn't get a bite. Lake level dropped about two feet in five hours.

Q & A:

  • I am an avid fisherman and was excited for the changeover catfish stocking last Thursday. I finally persuaded my friend, who spent most his time at home, to buy a fishing license and got him to the Silverbell Lake this Monday. We were there from 8-12 am. We used stink bait, other anglers used shrimp, worms and hot dog. It is a common consent that no fish were biting. We tried to catch the sunfish but no luck. There are a lot of wildlife at the lake - ducks and cranes - competing with us. Should their population be controlled? We wondered if the Game and Fish stocked just a few fish this time or the cats are just hibernating. It would be great if my friend, the newbie, could experience the thrill of reeling in the big cat.

James: Don’t give up. The lake certainly received a healthy supply of catfish on March 21. Many fish were in the 3-6 pound range and oftentimes the larger catfish take 20-30 hours to settle in before biting. More than 13,600 pounds of 14-19 inch catfish will be stocked in the Phoenix and Tucson Urban Fishing Program lakes and ponds every two weeks through June.  Sounds like the bite simply wasn’t on that day. If you’re persistent, the “newbie” should have no problem hooking into a nice catfish. You might try again earlier in the mornings or in the evenings when it is darker as catfish typically don’t bite well in bright light and Silverbell Lake is only 7 feet deep. The blue herons (not cranes) do not cause much problem with the fish, however the cormorants can eat a lot of trout and bluegill.  The department is trying to document their negative impact on urban fishing to justify a population control strategy in the future. Cormorant numbers are a growing problem and a threat to fishing – 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

Updated reports:

URBAN WATERS – The spring catfish stocking season began on March 21 when 8,000 14- to 19-inch fish were stocked throughout the day into Urban Fishing Program waters (see article below). Lakes will continue to be stocked with channel catfish at two week intervals through June. Best baits for the big cats are worms, stink baits, hot dogs or shrimp fished on the bottom. Catfish actively prowl for food in the evenings and early morning periods, and often move into shallower waters under the cover of darkness.

All Urban Program waters were stocked with feisty, 5-8 inch bluegill on March 11-12. Best baits for bluegill are worms and mealworms fished under a small bobber in 3-6 foot depths.

Trout fishing is slowing after the final winter season stocking on March 4. However, at Green Valley lakes (Payson) fishing is good to excellent for trout with another trout stocking taking place the week of March 18-23. Try Power Bait, worms or salmon eggs off the bottom. Trout stockings at this higher elevation Urban lake will continue every two weeks until mid May.

LAKE PLEASANT - Lake level is at 1,678 feet, 74 percent full, with approximately 8,160 surface acres.   Dave King, archery manager at the north Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse, reported that bass are on beds in all the northern coves with many still hanging a little deeper ready to move up. Try drop shot rigs or spinner baits for pre-spawners just off the spawning flats in 15-20 feet of water. They've been finicky on color so experiment. Work the baits slow. Crappie are moving up to spawn as well.  Tammy W. (see above report) reported fishing on March 21 and got only one bite. Carp were spawning in the northern coves, she said.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,107 feet, 52 percent full). The largemouth bass bite reportedly has been trumping that of the crappie. Try spinner baits, charred rabbits and crank baits in a shad pattern. Also, flipping Zoom Brush Hogs on a Texas rig (bullet weight with a 2/0 hook) into small shoreline bushed in 3-5 feet of water reportedly has been an effective method once the sun comes up. The crappie bite does not seem to be good, yet. ... Steve B. (report above) reported tough crappie fishing from March 21-24, fishing in all depth with all presentations covering the Salt River from Grapevine to the tules fishing small minnow-tipped curly tails, plastic worms, spinnerbaits. Water was muddy, he said. ... Brayden K. (report above) reported egg-ridden crappie were hitting on Thursday, March 21 in 6-10 feet of water using minnow-tipped jigs.

SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,526 feet (95 percent full): Another report from Dave King: Lots of bass being caught off beds. When bed fishing use jigs or soft plastics in lighter colors so you can see your bait. Remember that the bass on beds aren't feeding, they're moving the "intruder" off their nest so once they pick up your bait set the hook. This lake has been getting tons of pressure. So if bed fishing, admire your catch but consider a quick release. These fish are being caught over and over and the stress is starting to take its toll - especially on the large females. Big bass lay thousands of eggs so we want them to survive and spawn.

BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,780 feet (75 percent full).  Gary Senft, a bass pro at Bass Pro Shops, had this report from a recent outing:  The water level had risen about 40 feet in the last month. He said he recently fished the lake, beginning at the lower end of the lake around the dam, straight across from the main boat launch.

Senft and the anglers on his boat began throwing shallow-diving crank baits (Norman and KVD Square Bill). They began fishing in shallow waters for largemouth bass, figuring the fish would be coming to spawn as in other area lakes. The bite was on in 2-3 feet of water, and a few were caught on the KVD.

Senft wanted to see if the bass were biting spinner baits as well, so they began throwing white spinnerbaits with two silver willow leaves and a white skirt (representing a shad). Senft said the bass began biting on the spinners immediately. The anglers stuck to this fishing patterns and Senft reported boating 23 largemouth bass.

Considering a lack of visibility in the muddy waters, Senft switched again to chatter baits. He said the vibration-producing lure caught a few more fish.

As the sun began to rise, the winds began to blow some 30 mph, so Senft moved to the middle portion of the lake, finding protection from a mountain. They began throwing Texas rigs and drop shots. The primary bite came off bottom that had a mix of sand and rock, and particularly from small rock indentations where a couple fish were boated. This bite was in 3-10 feet of water and the party fished from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Senft estimated the group boated a total of 36 largemouth bass.

Primary colors of the Roboworms were morning dawn, ox blood and warmouth. They also threw some Gary Yamamoto spider jigs on half-ounce weights.

HORSESHOE LAKE – Lake elevation is 2,005 feet, 55-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):  Recently received a large, unplanned stocking of rainbow trout. Reports indicate the river is excellent for suckers, but not so much for trout. See Alvin B.’s above report. Try night crawlers, small spinners, KastMasters and flies in this unique desert river trout fishery.

CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,658 feet (97 percent full). See John’s report above. Angler reported a great bass bite on Sunday morning around 9 a.m. on bass to 8.3 pounds. Another anglers report (Michael S, also above) indicated visible, shoreline bass to 4 pounds finally bit around 4:30 p.m
Paul J. recently fished the main lake at Canyon Lake from 5-10:30 p.m.: Caught six largemouth , all in 5-10 feet of water all on a Texas rig. The largest was three pounds. Pretty light bite, but they were feeding. My buddy was catfishing near the bridge and didn't get a bite. Lake level dropped about two feet in five hours.

Previous reports:

Please send your reports to

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Anglers still report slow-to-decent action on bass using slowly-retrieved drop-shot worms.

APACHE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,907 feet (92 percent full). A few reports indicate that bass are a good bet.

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

Updated report:

LAKE POWELL –Wayne Gustavson’s March 27 report from Striped bass near Wahweap and Antelope Marinas have made the move from the back of canyons, where they spent the last five years, to the deep main canyon where they will now reside until shad spawn in May and June.  For the next two months it will be possible to find stripers ready and willing to eat anchovy bait at many southern lake locations.

Those that fished the lake before the huge brush forest went under water remember the good old days of bait fishing at the dam, power plant intake, buoy 9, double island points in Navajo Canyon, Warm Creek Wall, and many other deep channel locations.  All those spots will be good again either now or in the weeks to come. Today it is possible to go to the dam forebay or power plant intake, find a school, and catch MANY stripers.

The technique is simple.  Striped bass often follow the canyon wall. Move parallel to and a long cast away from the wall.  Periodically toss a handful of chum while fishing where the chum is descending. It may be necessary to allow the chum to get down 70 feet before the school lights up and moves shallower.  When searching for deep stripers drop bait straight down 50-70 feet on a lead head jig or drop shot rig. Shallow stripers often avoid the boat so have another angler cast bait as far as possible. Keep the line tight and force the bait to settle slowly toward the boat while it covers the upper 20-30 feet of water. Using both techniques simultaneously will ignite a deep school under the boat or corral a shallow school well away from the boat but in shallower water.

You may have forgotten, so I am reminding you that stripers can see braided line or heavy monofilament fishing line. If using either of these it is imperative to attach a 3-5 foot length of fluorocarbon leader just above the hook. It has been proven many times that stripers can be caught every cast when an active school is under the boat when using fluorocarbon.  Those using monofilament will catch fish much less often while those using straight braid will not catch any fish.

Fishing in other areas of the lake is slower but improving.  The key in the mid or northern lake is to find warmer protected water where bass, crappie, stripers and walleye will be searching for food. Water color is important with murky water warming faster than clear water.  The best spring time water color is green, followed by brown, with clear water being the least productive. As morning water temperature increases to 57 and above fishing success in the upper lake will improve dramatically.  This week look for any weed or brush in the water. Tumbleweeds are about the only cover found in the southern lake. Fish straight down in 15-25 of water with drop shot rig and a Yamamoto shad shaped worm or Zoom fluke. Open water reefs will often produce more fish than shoreline areas.

But for this week the place to be is at Glen canyon Dam each morning and evening.  Fish go deeper at mid day and are harder to find.  Catch and keep a striper to keep Lake Powell fisheries thriving.

Previous report:

LEES FERRY  – Dean Windham from Lees Ferry Anglers reported that had been 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.

Updated reports:


Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders.  Please drain and dry your 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 1119 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 March 11th.   The next new moon will be April 10th.  Dark nights work best when fishing under light.  Fishing for stripers in 50 plus feet of water will normally find the larger fish.  If they are not taking the anchovies try swimming baits and see if you can get them to bite.  Jigging in 50-60 feet deep has been doing well on Mead.  If you can locate the shad, the stripers are not far behind.  Trolling usually works best in areas were shad are found and best done in the early mornings and evenings.  A recent report I received said the fishing was tough due to the cool water but they managed to catch a few largemouth, one smallmouth and several stripers.    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 risen a little to 642.7 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.  The reports from my black bass fishing contacts say that the numbers of smallmouth bass are overtaking the largemouth in tournaments recently and that the smallmouth and just as big as the largemouth. Trolling with LONG A BOMBERS has been producing some nice stripers.  I received a report that the striper fishing is picking up a little.  While the number of stripers in Mohave has been decreasing, the quality of the fish caught has increased. 
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 picture of Justin’s full stringer of rainbows caught in the Rotary Park area from shore using night crawlers.  Night crawlers, mouse tails, rooster tails and Panther Martin’s are the reported best bait for these beauties but power bait has also been successful. He also sent a picture of Daniel’s smallmouth bass using a Panther Martin from shore in the Rotary Park area. 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


Updated reports:

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

ALAMO LAKE - By Mark Knapp, Alamo State Park:

Well folks,  Picture this:  High winds out of the north and cold.  Well, cold to me anyway.

For the most part, the average anglers are giving crappie fishing a thumbs down. Now they’re not blaming the fish not biting, they’re blaming us for running out of minnows.  Let me take a minute and explain how the minnow business works.

Our vendors go to another state and buy them in bulk. After they get back, they have deliveries all the way to Las Vegas. So when all the bait shops in Arizona and Nevada go from being slow on minnows to fast, it wipes the minnows out.

Now if we could predict every year when things would turn on we would all have minnows and be ready for you. We would also go buy a Powerball ticket and be sitting in southern Pacific. We have had times where we thought we would get slammed and ended up loosing 5,000 minnows because they did not sell. That honks me off when that happens because I don't like killing anything I'm not going to eat.  You can only eat so many pizzas with shad on them.  It's an acquired taste.  I think you get the point.

So, we’re starting to have weekly deliveries and hopefully will have them when you get here.  Yelling at us does not change a thing. The only thing it does is stop me from telling you what others are doing.

The anglers that are catching crappie are averaging eight to 10 a day. Some others, only one.  Same goes for bass. I heard anglers got a couple of bass pre-fishing during last week’s tournament. I did not have a chance to hear who won it.

I went out last week and caught one. I threw everything in the box and at least got bites on plastics and jigs. Catfishing is OK.  Everyone seems to be catching a couple all over the lake.

Since we got slammed and I'm out of worms until next Monday, try using hot dogs. So minnows should come in Wednesday, I will go get worms next Monday.

The CORE raised their releases back up to 25cfs.  This means you will start to see the lake dropping.  I still have not heard more about dropping the lake level by 30 feet.  When I hear something, you will know. (The old rental boat road still works, but with the new releases we will lose it in the next month or so.)

OK, we have everyone in world out here quad riding. That's a good thing as long as you stay on trails and wear the proper safety gear. Make sure you’ve got current registration and all that.  A few quaders have left in a helicopter. It takes about two minutes to get them up to 50 mph, seconds to wreck, about 30 minutes for me to find you, and another 25 minutes to get the proper medical attention you need when you go through a barbed-wire fence or fly off a cliff.  So the point is: have fun but be safe.

I have no clue what the lake is this week but I would guess somewhere around 1,098-ish.  Call before you come about getting bat. Also we would like to remind everyone that check -out time is noon in the campsites. Not two. Well, that's it for this week. - Mark

Mike Phua of Team Sun Country Marine was at Lake Havasu pre-fishing March 15 for an upcoming tournament when he caught this monster redear sunfish.
LAKE HAVASU - Some larger-than-average redear sunfish have been caught, including one that unofficially weighed about 5 pounds and nearly challenged a world record. Biologists think the presence of quagga mussels, which the redear feed off of, has caused an upswing of redear sizes. Fshermen 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. 

Previous reports:

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.


Breaking news: Ashurst Road is now open.

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

New reports:


UPPER LAKE MARY — Dave King, archery manager at the north Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse, reported that northern pike are active and willing to bite spinners or spoons fished quickly through the weedy shallows. For a great fight, try fly fishing with bait-fish imitations. Remember to use bright colors. Some walleye are also being caught on grubs. Lisa M (see report above) reported that the lake was 80-percent ice free. Bass from 18-29 inches cruising the banks re[prtedly were hitting No. 8 black crystal bugger flies from 6 to 10 feet out.
Unchanged reports

LOWER LAKE MARY —Was recently stocked with rainbow trout that average nine inches. An option if fly-fishing for the trout. One angler reported averaging more than 20 trout an hour over two days on a No. 12 bead head prince nymph with a slow retrieve.

ASHURST LAKE —  Ashurst Road is now open. If you fish here this weekend, please send reports to

Previous reports:


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.


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

FRANCIS SHORT POND – Was just stocked with rainbow trout. Folks fishing with small spinners were catching trout prior to the stockings and Pistol Pete flies likely would work as well  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 angler using corn on the bottom caught one and was getting several bites.

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road is open.

OAK CREEK — Is stocked this time of year and fishing can be hit and miss. The biggest problem here is locating a place to park during the spring and summer. The upper portion of Oak Creek is a catch-and-release area that include rainbow and some large brown trout (some anglers report limited success here, but the creek is scenic).

LONG LAKE — No report.

BEAVER CREEK – No report.



BLUE RIDGE — Winter conditions.

KNOLL LAKE — No report.


DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Catfish were last stocked for the Verde River Days event.  The last trout stocking was scheduled the week of 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 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. 


FAIN LAKE — The last scheduled trout stocking was 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.  One of our Wildlife Managers took his daughters to fish and they did extremely well with corn flavor Powerbait and then switched to spinners because it was too easy. Damon sent a report that he has been doing very well fishing by the dam using yellow sparkling marshmallows several feet from his sinker. The latest trout stocking was 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 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 18th.,
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.


Updated reports:

Recommended Waters to Fish
Concho Lake is the first water to be stocked in the area and received 2,000 trout last week. 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 carry-over trout. Silver Creek is also ice-free and fair for large trout.

Trout Stocking Schedule
Concho Lake is the only lake that has been stocked thus far this year. The stocking schedule for most other lakes in the White Mountains and Rim Lakes area starts in April.

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES - Note: Some higher elevation lakes are still ice-covered, but will have unsafe ice as it melts. Forest roads into Black Canyon, Woods Canyon, Willow Springs and Bear Canyon Lakes are still closed or blocked with snowdrifts.

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

BLACK CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-free, but is still inaccessible due to snowdrifts on FR 86.

CHEVELON LAKE – The lake is ice-free, full and spilling heavily. Chevelon Lake is accessible by Hwy 99 and Forest Road 169 from Winslow or by Forest Roads 504 and 169 from Heber. The stream is flowing heavily, approximately 300 cfs when last checked. Water temperature on the lake was 42 F.

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.


Note: The higher elevation lakes in the White Mountains are still ice-covered. Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicles for the winter. Many other forest roads are snow-covered.

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair. Anglers were catching fat rainbow trout last week on zebra midges, egg patterns and leaches in the shallows around the boat ramp. The lake has no ice, with water temperatures around 43 F. 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 still closed to vehicles for the winter. Other Forest roads are snow-covered. The lake is ice-covered. The snowpack is now too patchy for snowmobile access. 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 very 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 – Fishing is fair to good. Concho was stocked with 2,000 rainbow trout last week.
CRESCENT LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are still closed to vehicles for the winter. The lake is ice-covered. The store is closed. Recent surveys found low levels of dissolved oxygen in one portion of the lake, but moderate levels in another. There was 20 inches of ice on the lake, so there is still the potential for a winter-kill. The snowpack is now too patchy for snowmobile access.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair and the lake is ice-free. Water temperature was 44 F. The campground is run by State Parks and is open.

GREER LAKES – All Greer lakes (River, Tunnel and Bunch Reservoirs) are ice-free. Roads to the lakes are open and clear.
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 still closed to vehicles for the winter. The lake is ice-covered. 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. A recent fish survey found no fish, indicating a winterkill. The road to the lake is open and clear.

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

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair. Anglers have been catching large, carry-over trout on PowerBait and worms. The lake is ice-free and nearly full. Water temperature was 43 F.
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 have been congregating in these areas to spawn, although the spawn is almost over. Water temperature was 48 F. AGFD crews and volunteers 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, full and spilling, but fishing is poor. Water temperature was 44 F.

SHOW LOW LAKE – The lake is ice-free and fishing is fair. Large, carry-over trout have been caught on PowerBait. Water temperature was 46 F. The fishing piers were damaged over the winter by ice flows. 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. Water temperature was 49 F.



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 stream is running a little discolored.

SHEEPS CROSSING – Highway 273 is closed for the winter.

SHOW LOW CREEK – The access road on the dam is still 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 Amberle Jones, sport fish specialist, by email at These reports will then be complied and reported in our weekly fishing reports.

Spring is here and rising water temperatures have meant that bass are spawning.  Catfish have been stocked in Urban Fishing Programs lakes and ponds. See the stocking schedule at

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

New report:

PATAGONIA — Water temperature hit 60 degrees on Thursday and one angler had luck catching spawning bass in shallow water near shoreline cattails. It is being reported that the lake level is down.  Boaters should use caution as obstructions can appear as water levels drop.

Previous reports:

RIGGS FLAT — Closed for the winter.

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

ROPER LAKE —  High pH prevented the stocking of Roper Lake.  Stockings will remain suspended until conditions improve.  Fish slated for Roper have been stocked at Cluff Ranch.  No recent reports of success.  For lake information (928) 428-6760.
DANKWORTH POND —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. 

PARKER CANYON — Fishing was 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 — No new reports.

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