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Nov. 15 Fishing Report

Posted in: Fishing Report
Nov 15, 2012
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“Fishing Stories”

Hello anglers!

WOW, talk about a change in the weather? That has not stopped some of our fellow anglers who continue to send in some great pictures and stories, such as this one from Richard.

“Ice” Fishing

“Just wanted to send a couple of pictures of my friend's and my adventure to the high country this past weekend. We had planned a trip for a couple of weeks, and the recent storm tried to put a damper on our plans. Undeterred by the weather, we headed up north and were greeted with about 4 inches of snow and 26 degree temps. We were not going to be denied. 

The original plan was to head to Bear Canyon Lake and fish a spot that always produces great fishing for us. But FR300 was covered with snow and muddy, and we really did not want to push our luck, so we moved on to plan B (which we made up on the fly), on to Willow Springs. We arrived at about 8 a.m. and got ready to cast out our line. 

Great fishing was our reward for braving the falling snow, wind and cold. In just a few minutes we started catching good-sized trout and we stayed until we each had our limit of trout, which took until about 1 p.m. My friend and I now look forward to the next chance we get to go “ice” fishing. We just need to stock up on some more hand and feet warmers."

Thanks for the story, Richard.

Big Walleye

Last week we ran a short report from Jarrod P. in the write-up about Show Low Lake. Here is a more detailed report from Jarrod, along with some photos:

"I recently purchased a boat and decided to try for some of the famous Show Low Lake walleye I hear so much about. I had two very long all-night trips on the lake with no luck at all, but that changed on my third trip out. It was 3:00 in the morning and it was so cold our line was freezing to our poles. We kept at it and it paid off when I hooked what I thought was a rock until this 8-pound, 8.8-ounce walleye headed for deep water. I was using 6-pound line, so it was quite a fight. After a few minutes of fighting, my buddy Justin W. got him in the net. I was excited to have such a quality fish after targeting walleye for only a week. I was even more excited when less than a week later I caught a 9-pound, 11.52-ounce walleye at 2 a.m. on the same 6-pound line. I can't wait to get out and try for something even bigger”.

Thanks, Jarrod! You will notice that Jarrod's walleye is currently one of the contenders for "Big-fish-of-the-year." It's not too late to "Get out there and go FISH."

Fishing News

"Welcome Back the Trout" to Tempe Town Lake on Nov. 20

The trout are making their annual Thanksgiving comeback to Tempe Town Lake!

The City of Tempe and the Arizona Game and Fish Department will host the annual Welcome Back the Trout Celebration from 3-5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at the SRP Tempe Town Lake Marina. Families and community members are invited to come down and watch as thousands of rainbow trout are released into Town Lake.

"Welcome Back the Trout is a wonderful community event that the city is proud to present with the Arizona Game and Fish Department,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. “Every year, it is great to see families and community members enjoying the lake as young children learn to fish.”


The Arizona Game and Fish Department will conduct a fishing clinic starting at 3 p.m and will provide anglers of all ages with loaner rods, reels and bait, as well as the tips and advice they need to try their hand at the sport.

“Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced fishing pro, this is a great event to come out and fish,” said Eric Swanson, manager of the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Urban Fishing Program. “It’s a perfect opportunity for families to spend some quality time together and enjoy the outdoors.”

Tuesday’s event will be the first of five monthly Arizona Game and Fish Department scheduled trout stockings. The trout, in addition to the abundant bass, bluegill, catfish and carp found in Town Lake, will provide fun angling opportunities for all.

Attendees will also be able to fish without a fishing license during the event from 3-5 p.m. Information on obtaining a license for future use can be found at

For more information on the event, visit or

High-flow release at Glen Canyon Dam will be conducted on Nov. 19

The U.S. Department of the Interior will trigger the first “high-flow release” at Glen Canyon Dam since 2008 on Monday, Nov. 19. The release is part of a new long-term strategy announced in May by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to meet water and power needs, as well as to allow better conservation of sediment downstream and to better address the important resources in the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam.

In cooperation with five Interior agencies, the upcoming release is designed to take advantage of sediment deposited by Colorado River tributaries as a result of recent rainstorms and monsoons. Scientists have determined that the right conditions exist to conduct a high-flow release to benefit downstream resources.

The total maximum release from the dam will reach approximately 42,300 cubic-feet-per-second, consisting of 27,300 cfs of full powerplant capacity releases and a bypass release through the four river outlet tubes sending an additional 15,000 cfs of water out over the Colorado River. The total duration of the high-flow release will be nearly five days, but only about 24 hours at the peak release rate.

Fishing at Lees Ferry, 16 miles downstream from the dam, has been excellent this year, and this high-flow event should have no notable effects on fishing this fall or winter. The effect of this release is to loosen up some of the gravel beds and prepare them for an excellent spawn by trout this spring. More is being learned every year about how to use the operations of the dam to better conserve resources and to enhance fishing opportunities. Fall is a good time to go Lees Ferry and partake of a unique fishing experience that you just can't find anywhere else.  

For more information on the high-flow event, visit

Largemouth bass virus detected at Lake Pleasant

Arizona Game and Fish Department officials have confirmed the presence of largemouth bass virus in Lake Pleasant. Lab tests on largemouth bass tissue samples collected during a routine survey in October by Game and Fish and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel showed presence of the disease in some samples. While the virus can affect largemouth bass, it doesn't pose a risk to people and pets, and the water is safe for drinking water supply and recreation. We ran this story in last week's Fishing Report, but if you didn't see the full article, you can click here to view it. 

Trout stockings have begun at Phoenix and Tucson urban lakes

The first trout delivery of the winter season took place on Thursday, Nov. 15 at all Urban Program lakes in the Phoenix and Tucson areas. Trout ranging from 10-15 inches were stocked at rates of 80-100 fish per lake surface acre. A total of 12,000 rainbow trout were delivered to 20 urban waters in the Phoenix and Tucson areas. Stockings will continue at two-week intervals throughout the next four months. With the colder temperatures at Payson’s Green Valley Lakes, trout stockings already started in October and will continue every other week. Remember, daily bag and possession limits for trout at Urban Lakes are four fish per person for licensed anglers and two fish for unlicensed children under the age of 14. Trout limits at Urban Ponds are two fish for licensed anglers and one fish for children.

2012 fishing licenses are now half price, are good through end of the year

If you never got your 2012 fishing license, this is a reminder that you can now buy one for half-price, and it will be good for the remainder of November and December this year. The 2012 Class A license for state waters now sells for $11.75 for residents and $35.13 for nonresidents. The 2012 Class U (urban) license now sells for $9.25 for residents or nonresidents.

You can buy your license at Game and Fish offices, at sporting goods or retail license dealers, or online at The weather is great, so pick up a license and head out for some fishing fun at a nearby lake.

Big Fish-of-the-Year Contest

With less than two months to go, there are plenty of opportunities to report your big fish catches for the 2012 Fish-of-the-Year contest. Tim Nichols just turned in a catch-and-release record 40-inch white amur caught at Green Valley Lake. Application forms and instructions are in the current 2011-12 Fishing Regulations or the 2012 Urban Fishing Program guidebook. Some categories have had no entries yet. Updates on the current leaders can be checked out on our web site at you notice, this young man has two entries in the contest.)

Stormi J. submitted this photo for consideration as "Big catch of the day" (if we had such a category).


OK, on to the Fishing Report. 


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

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Fishing continues to be good, especially for largemouth bass. The best bite at first and last light for bass and sunfish. This is a good time to try for channel catfish and carp using corn or dough baits after dark. Keep in mind that although this fishery in the city, it is not part of the Urban Fishing Program, so you will need the regular state fishing license to fish here.

LAKE PLEASANT - See the information on the detection of largemouth bass virus under "Fishing News" at the beginning of this report. Lake level is at 1,645 feet, 45 percent full, with approximately 6,285 surface acres.  Stripers are still going crazy during the early mornings and late evening now that the outside temperatures are decreasing. Shad boils are being seen in the hallows and coves causing great fishing Try using topwater lures, swim baits, Alabama rigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits or jerkbaits. Fishing from shore has been decent for smallmouth and largemouth bass. Word is that the water temperature is slowly declining, causing the shad to move in towards shore. Small coves and deep holes are the best area. Try using anything that looks like shad, or live baits. Nighttime fishing for catfish, especially from shore, should be good using stink bait. Try stink baits or blood baits, such as chicken liver. Corn can also work for both catfish and carp. Frozen anchovies fished on the bottom are another good choice -- you might even catch a striped bass.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation remains at 2,096 feet and the lake level is 43 percent. Try fishing in the shallows (1 to 4 feet) with surface lures in the backs of coves and over rock piles. Drop shot works pretty well on the outside points, flats and backs of coves in 30 to 10 feet of water but altering the drop shot technique to a Texas nose hook and whacky style setup is productive especially when the typical setup does not hit the mark. The technique of how you reel the drop shot in is real important. Slow and steady or slow with little jerks or jerk and let it fall over and over again are some styles to play around with. Rock piles are typically productive using plastics bouncing along the substrate. This is still a good time to try for channel catfish using sink bait. For flatheads, live bait such as bluegills or small carp work best. For channel catfish, try any stinkbait, chicken liver or blood baits. Although you can catch channels during the day, the prime bite has likely shifted to the nighttime hours.

APACHE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,907 feet (93 percent full). No recent reports. Apache is typically a good fall producer.

CANYON LAKE – Boulder Rec. Area, back half is closed for season and the floating fishing pier is closed as well. Lake elevation is still holding at around 1,657 feet, which is 95 percent full. No recent angler reports. If you have been fishing here, send in your report to Anglers are having good luck fishing along the cliffs and on the ledges. Water temps are declining, so all-day fishing should be good.

SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,525 feet at 94 percent full. Anglers are having better luck using spoons along the ledges close to drop offs. Let the spoon drop then bounce it along the bottom. Bass are feeding heavily on shad, so if you find them in action, topwater would work. Send in a report if you have fished here recently.

BARTLETT LAKE – Here's an angler report from Gary N.: “Decided to start later since morning bite has been slow and we didn’t want to get cold! Fished from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., throwing bladed jigs on rocky points at first, no action there. Graphed fish at 25-30 feet in main lake off of east side flats, and drop shotted. Picked up nine fish from 1-2 lbs on drop shot, then caught last one of the day at 3:00 pm on a Carolina rig. Graph showed 70 feet, but lure was in 40 to 50 feet. Moved into coves where zillions of shad were visible, but only dinks chasing them and didn’t catch any. Using flukes, kastmasters, shallow cranks, and senkos. In all, a short, fun afternoon on the water.”

Lake elevation has been holding at 1,760 feet, 51 percent full. Should be good topwater action for bass off-and-on throughout the day night now. Some are using the dropshot method over the ledges and adjacent to cliffs. Shad boils have been seen late in the morning that lasted till about 2 p.m. in the southern end of the lake. Clear Zara Puppy and Ice Fluke topwater lures worked like a charm to catch another 12 bass. 

HORSESHOE LAKE - One-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) – Releases were 500 cfs out of Stewart Mountain Dam from Saguaro. You might be able to catch some bass or sunfish in the deeper holes. 

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


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 the Nov. 9 Fishing Report (under "Fishing News") for the National Park Service's quagga mussel monitoring update for Lake Powell. No new fishing report for Lake Powell - visit for Oct. 23 report. Remember to “clean, drain and dry your boat” to stop the spread of invasive species.

LEES FERRY – There will be a high-flow event at Glen Canyon Dam on Nov. 19. Lees Ferry will still be navigable during the event, and it shouldn't hinder anyone from taking advantage of the great trout fishing that has been experienced here over the past year. For more information, see the Nov. 9 Fishing Report (under "Fishing News"), or visit No new fishing report for Lees Ferry - visit for Oct. 19 report.


LAKE MEAD – The current elevation has dropped a little to 1,115.5 feet above msl.  Be careful boating because structure previously submerged may be at the surface and watch for floating debris. There seems to be an abundance of shad currently which may be the reason for the lack of bite.  Cut anchovies are still the bait of choice.  Check the moon phases before you go. The last new moon was Nov. 13. Dark nights work best when fishing under light.  Fishing for stripers in 50 plus feet of water will normally find the larger fish.  If they are not taking the anchovies try swimming baits and see if you can get them to bite.  Jigging in 50-60 feet deep has been doing well on Mead.  If you can locate the shad, the stripers are not far behind.  Trolling usually works best in areas were shad are found and best done in the early mornings and evenings.  The bite for largemouth and smallmouth was reported good using plastic worms and crawdads with purple and browns in them.  Several fishermen said that top water lures were working for them.  All the fishermen contacted were hopeful for the coming years with rising water conditions and the abundance of baitfish they have seen this year.   

Launching conditions at South Cove have improved as the water level has gone up. There are currently four lanes.  As the water raises logs and other debris can become hazards, so be careful boating.

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

LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level has risen a little to 634.6 feet above msl.  The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly especially on grass beds in 20 to 30 feet deep.  Trolling with anchovies in 30-50ft has been producing some stripers, while catfish are on the bottom.  While the number of stripers in Mohave has been decreasing, the quality of the fish caught has increased.  Reports of good bluegill action off the structures mentioned in the paragraph below. Reports of better activity from the stripers with the fall conditions.  The most productive time for stripers is dusk till dark.  The fish being caught are ranging from 3 to 7 pounds.  The fisherman that reported this information used swim bait for his largest fish.  He reports that the smallmouth are also active.  Ron caught a nice 2.84-pound channel catfish on an anchovy near Katherine’s Landing.

Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. The last new moon was Nov. 13.  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.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your live well and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see. For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at or visit

WILLOW BEACH – The Willow Beach Launch Ramp has been open sense November 8th.  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.   Fishing is usually best near the fishing pier after the Friday stocking.  Most of the nice stripers and trout are seem to be caught between river mile 49 and 53.  A picture of a large striper was sent in and was caught around mile 52.  Willow Beach can be hit or miss bait fishing.  Try different baits including swim baits when nobody seems to be hooking anything. 

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your live well and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see. If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others. For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at  or visit

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – Trout continue to bite in the casino area with some larger fish in the deep holes. Several folks have called and spoke of very large trout being caught in the Laughlin area.  Rusty from Riviera Marina has sent several pictures of successful trips this week. Jo Ann from South Dakota caught a huge 4.08-pound rainbow trout with night crawlers near the casino area. Tuan landed a beautiful striper weighing 9.32 pounds on a imitation trout lure. Daniel again caught a 4.7-pound rainbow to continue his luck with the large trout. The Nevada side just above the bridge is producing some quality striper action in the 3-5 pound range. Albert caught the big fish, a 19.8-pound striper at 39⅜ inches, on an A Bomber above the Big Bend area. Our friend Gary showed off his monster 5.08-pound rainbow from the lower Big Ben area. Wendy and Amanda brought in a super stringer including a 14.76-pound catfish and a nice mixture of pan fish and few black bass.

TOPOCK GORGE - Most bass are being taken on minnows and night crawlers. Reports are that stripers are returning to the Gorge. Wendell, Golden Shores local, caught and revived a hefty 10-pounder and released back into the river. Doug and Rod had a great time limiting out on smallmouth and 16 sunfish, with all caught on night crawlers. They also caught a large 4.5-pound catfish. Pat and John, from Topock, boated a nice 2-pound channel along with a monster 13-pounder.  The best bass bite is in the mid-morning. 

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

Rainbow trout are located throughout the river below Davis dam, but anglers typically report catching trout on the Arizona side across from the Riverside, off the shore of Davis Camp and in the big bend area. This year we have received multiple reports of larger holdover trout being caught.  Remember to fish for trout, you need a trout stamp on Class A and Lifetime fishing licenses.

Water levels on the river fluctuate, so be careful. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions 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 MARSH – The action at Topock Marsh has been steady. Night crawlers and live minnows have been tempting catfish from North Dyke. Small crappies are being taken throughout the marsh.  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

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your live well and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see. For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at or visit

LAKE MOHAVE – The launch ramps on Lake Mohave have reopened to trailered boats. They were temporarily closed Oct. 29 when water levels were drawn down for a Bureau of Reclamation endangered species conservation project. Water levels have returned to 633 feet and they are projected to rise over the next couple of weeks to a target depth of 636 feet.


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 – Fair afternoon striper bite from Windsor State Park south to California Bay/Thompson Bay using diving baits like the white Rat-L-Traps, Sassy Shads, Pointer 128s and some topwater plugs like Chugbugs, Sammys and Super Spooks. Bait fishing fair in 35- to 45-foot depths after 9 a.m. through the late afternoon hours. Reports of some spotty evening boils of larger stripers after 4 p.m. till dark. Channel catfish bite excellent on cut mackerel and squid in the evening and after dark hours. October had been a good month for "big" cats as they feed heavily before the lake cools off for the winter. Flathead cats were good, too, using live bait like small to medium size bluegills or redears. They bite best from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Largemouth bass biting good on jigs with pork trailers, Senkos and tubes flipped & pitched on tulles and weed line edges in 1 to 4 feet of water. Smallmouth bass biting good on cinnamon or green pumpkin hula grubs with a 3/8 or 1/2 oz. football head fished with an exposed hook. Use these around gravel flats and rocky outcrops. Smallies will usually bite these jigs in the fall, so be ready and keep the slack out of your line as the jig descends.

ALAMO LAKE – Report by Mark Knapp, Park Manager, Alamo Lake State Park. Well folks, sadly fishing has not picked up at all. This is the slowest I have ever seen it. No reports on crappie. Bass fishing stinks and even cat fishing is slow. That about covers fishing in a nutshell. As most of you know, when I do something stupid and I think it's worth sharing so you don't make the same mistakes I make, I write abut it. So sitting here with a broken nose and a black eye I feel compelled to go over quad riding 101. First, you need to make sure of the areas in your neck of the world you can ride in. Out here we have two trails that lead off the park and onto BLM land where there are literally hundreds of miles of trails to ride. There are two types of license plates you can have. One says RV, meaning recreational vehicle and cannot be driven on roadways. The other is an MC plate, meaning it is street legal and you can ride on the highway. If you’re in doubt as to what to have, ask yourself this: "Can I drive this down the middle of Main Street and not get pulled over by the cops?" If you think the answer is yes, then you probably have done your homework and checked into this. Also, there is a yearly $25 OHV sticker that goes into helping patrol and protecting areas. 

Each quad make is different and handles differently. For example I was riding a Suzuki 700 last week that went 70 miles an hour. I felt very comfortable on it, but was cautious going up hills knowing the power it had. Meaning I did not get 1/2 way up a hill and punch it and end up in the next county over. I just blew up my Kawasaki 400 earlier this year and inherited an Arctic Cat 400 4X4. I found out the hard way Arctic Cats are built with the center of gravity different than the Yamahas and Kawasakis. The front end on the Arctic Cats comes off the ground a lot easier. I found this out while loading it on this home-made trailer my nephew built. Long story short, I was trying to load the quad in the middle of the night, got to the top of the ramp and flipped it over and it landed on my head. I'm very lucky to be sitting here even writing this today. This happened about 4 days ago and I'm happy to say I'm back to seeing one of everything. 

The point I'm trying to make here is to really take your time, wear a helmet, and know your limitations! Also make sure to take some kind of first aid kit with you. We were at 8,500 ft elevation and were 85 miles from the nearest hospital. I was lucky and did this in my front yard and had all the supplies I needed to fix myself. Out here, you’re in the middle of nowhere and the odds are you're not going to crash in front of the ranger station and I'm going to be the one to come find you, it takes a while. Take enough stuff to get you through a night in the desert or mountains. You can never have enough water with you, and a jacket or blanket comes in real handy about 4 in the morning. Well my vision is starting to blur, so it's time to go.”
- Mark

COLORADO RIVER (PARKER STRIP AREA) – With that area along the Colorado River finally cooling down, fishing should start to pick up. The Parker Strip is well known for its smallmouth bass fishing, especially in the area from the dam to several miles downstream. The Parker Strip is also home to some really impressive, dinner-plate-sized redear sunfish of 2 pounds or larger. 

COLORADO RIVER (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam, including backwaters and Martinez Lake) - 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 widespread 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. Bluegills 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 - Topwater bait should still be going here as well as any stink bait for those nice-size catfish that typically come out of these waters. Mittry Lake is located just above Laguna Dam and supports a good population of largemouth bass and channel catfish, and even some good-sized flathead catfish. There are shoreline fishing opportunities at this lake in the form of about a dozen rock jetties, but you’ll probably have the best success in a small boat. Mittry Lake can be frustrating, as the bite seems to be real variable, but the fish are there. It is just a question of getting them to respond to your presentation. The water tends to be very murky most of the year, except for the upper end of Teal Alley where the lake inflow comes in, so play to the fish’s sense of hearing and smell, rather than sight. There are also crappie and sunfish to be caught, although they tend to average relatively small in size. Mittry Lake is well-known locally for the quality largemouth bass it produces, and fishing during the spring spawn will increase your chances of success.

YUMA AREA PONDS - The department has stepped up efforts to encourage the recruitment of new anglers, and retention of existing ones. To this end, the department has increased stocking efforts in a few ponds in the Yuma area that are easily accessed without a boat, within a short distance of the urban center. Those ponds are the Yuma West Wetlands pond, located in the City Park, and Redondo and Fortuna ponds, located about 10 miles northeast of Yuma. Access to Redondo Pond was recently improved with the addition of an ADA-compliant fishing pier, and thick cattail growth was removed at Fortuna Pond this summer, improving shoreline access by many orders of magnitude. All of these waters received multiple stockings of rainbow trout in the winter months. Redondo Pond will be stocked with channel catfish during the spring, and the Yuma West Wetlands pond will receive channel catfish and bluegills. Depending on available funding, we hope to continue regular stockings into all three of these shoreline-accessible waters, and perhaps add additional waters to our stocking schedule. These ponds provide an ideal place to take the family. All three waters now are provided with restroom and trash facilities. Special regulations on fish limits are in effect for these waters, so be sure to consult the regulations before you take fish.

If you need any additional information or assistance, don't hesitate to contact the Yuma regional office at (928) 342-0091, and we will be happy to give you whatever information we have. A resource for local fishing information in the Yuma area is the website and forum at


Note: If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to our "Been Fishing" site at With the cooler fall temperature this is the time of year to fish for trout on the lakes near Flagstaff and Williams. Upper Lake Mary was stocked with trout. Fossil Creek is open to fishing.  Remember, Fossil Creek is managed as a catch and release fishery. Only flies and lures with single barbless hooks are allowed on Fossil Creek.  

WILLIAMS LAKES: (No recent changes)

KAIBAB LAKE — Campground is closed. Fishing over the weekend was slower than the past couple of nice days, trout were being caught using powerbait or worms. The early morning bite wasn’t very good. Please try to leave the larger bass in the lake to spawn. 

CATARACT LAKE — Campground is closed. Folks are catching trout on Powerbait. Please try to leave the larger bass in the lake to spawn. 


DOGTOWN LAKE — Campground is closed.

JD DAM — Fish were active over the weekend. 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.



UPPER LAKE MARY — No new reports. Water quality problems at many of our trout lakes have led to us stocking Upper Lake Mary. Water levels are dropping and larger boats can only be launched at the second boat ramp. Boat anglers are doing well fishing for northern pike and walleye. There have been reports of folks catching trout from shore, but in general fishing is fair from the shore.

ASHURST LAKE — No report.


KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road is open. This is the time of year to catch a nice brown trout on the lake. Brown

trout should be feeding preparing for the spawn next month.

OAK CREEK — No report. Scheduled to be stocked the week of Nov. 18. 

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

BEAVER CREEK – Was scheduled to be stocked the week of Nov. 11.

WEST CLEAR CREEK - No report. 


BLUE RIDGE — Boat ramp is open.

KNOLL LAKE — No report.


DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Trout are scheduled to be stocked the week of Nov. 18. Catfish were last stocked for the Verde River Days event. The catfish and largemouth bite has been fair. Catfish are still being caught on night crawlers, chicken liver, and stinkbait. The bass are being caught on small plastic worms and Gitzit-type plastic grubs, bounced slowly along the bottom. Sunfish have been doing well on worms, salmon eggs, or small piece of Power Bait under a bobber. They bite best in the early morning hours and the evening.

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – Trout are scheduled to be stocked the week of Nov. 18. Carp fishing has been good using corn or dough baits. Always check your regulations before fishing this area with live bait. Game and Fish Commission Rule requires anglers to only use live bait that has been caught in the river. No transporting of live baitfish or crayfish is allowed.  


FAIN LAKE — Trout were last stocked the week of November 11. The reports from regulars at the lake say the trout are biting, but the morning bite is the best. Anglers are having luck throughout the day using Power Bait and Berkley Gulp. Rainbow and yellow seem to be the popular colors. Fishermen using their fly rod gear are having the best luck.  Flies are less likely to get swallowed so releasing the fish is much easier. 

GOLDWATER LAKE — The last trout stocking was in early Nobember. If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

GRANITE BASIN LAKE – No new report. 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 trpit stocking was the week of Nov. 11. 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 trout stocking was in October. 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 – No new reports. The Wildlife Manager for the Watson area sent me a picture of some nice trout an angler caught from shore. Both of these fish looked like they had been in the lake for a period of time because of the size and condition of the fish.  If you have fished Watson Lake please send me a report of your trip to share with folks. 

Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Watson recently and found the bass, sunfish, and bullhead to be plentiful.  Crappies were also doing well.  Look for the crappie fishing to pick up in a year or two. 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:

Fishing is fair to good for rainbow and cutthroat trout at Big Lake, fair for rainbow trout and walleye at Show Low Lake. For fly fishing anglers, Becker Lake and Silver Creek are good.  Both Becker Lake and Silver Creek are currently artificial lure and fly and catch-and-release angling only.

Trout Stocking Schedule:

The trout stocking season in the White Mountains and Rim Lakes areas has ended for the year, and will resume in the spring of 2013.


Note: Regular trout stocking has ended for the season. All campgrounds are closed for the season.

BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for stocked trout.

BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair. The water level is extremely low, and the boat launching ramp is closed. Small kayaks, canoes and float tubes can be carried to the water.

CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. Anglers have been catching trout on spinners (Panther Martin and Rooster tails), Z-Rays and Kastmaster spoons.  Brown trout should be located near the mouth of Chevelon Creek as they spawn in mid-October and into November. Anglers should try large streamers (black, brown or green) and Rapala lures.

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for shore and boat anglers.  Anglers have been catching trout on nightcrawlers and PowerBait. 

WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. Anglers have been catching trout on orange and rainbow-colored PowerBait. Boat anglers should try trolling slowly with cowbells with an attached nightcrawler, fly or small lure. The store is closed for the season. 


Note: Regular trout stocking has ended for the season. All campgrounds are closed for the season except:

  • Scott Reservoir is open to day-use only
  • Fool Hollow Lake’s main campground is open year-round while the north and northeast campgrounds are closed
  • South Fork campground is open to day-use only

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for trophy-sized rainbow trout. Rainbows up to 20 inches have been reported recently. Large white streamers near the bottom have been effective. Becker Lake is catch-and-release only, with artificial lures and flies only with single, barbless hook. 

BIG LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. Boat anglers are catching trout by trolling cowbells with worms or drifting slowly with nightcrawlers, lures (Crickhoppers, Panther Martin spinners and Z-Rays) and flies. Shore anglers should try fishing with worms or orange, rainbow or purple PowerBait. Fly fishers are catching rainbow and cutthroat trout in shallow coves on Yaeger buggers and KP buggers. Few brook trout are being caught. The store is closed for the season.

CARNERO LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for stocked rainbow trout. The lake is very weedy, but there are a few small, open water areas near the northeastern section. Anglers should try fishing with a kayak or pontoon boat to get to open water areas. Fly fishermen have been catching trout on small nymphs and dry flies, such as caddis patterns and Parachute Adams. Ice may be forming on the lake due to low nighttime temperatures.

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor for trout and fair for warm water species. Some anglers are catching a few bass.

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is low and weedy.

CRESCENT LAKE – Fishing has been fair. The lake was ice-covered as of Monday. The store is closed.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – The weather has turned cold, and few anglers are fishing the lake. Fishing has been fair for trout and fair to good for channel catfish. Channel catfish have been caught on nightcrawlers, catfish-prepared baits, chicken livers and hot dogs at night. Small walleyes are being caught along the dam on lures.

GREER LAKES – Fishing is fair at Bunch, River and Tunnel Reservoirs. All three reservoirs are very low, but are slowly filling. The water levels are down below the ramps at Bunch and River Reservoirs, and launching boats there will be very difficult.

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

LEE VALLEY LAKE – Fishing is fair. The lake level is very low. Cooler water temperatures should trigger larger Apache trout to bite, plus an occasional Arctic grayling. Recent surveys found moderate numbers of 8- to 9-inch grayling.  The lake may have a thin layer of ice on it due to low nighttime temperatures.

LUNA LAKE – Fishing is  poor to fair. Cooler water temperatures should trigger the fish into feeding.

LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is open to day-use only through November, then the State Park and access to Lyman Lake will close for the season on December 1. 

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is good.  Try bright-colored PowerBait or nightcrawlers. 

RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor for trout, but fair for sunfish, small bass and bullheads. Parts of the lake are very weedy, but not bad for boating in the main portions of the lake. The lake level is low and may be difficult to launch larger boats. 

SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair to good for trout during the evening hours and fair for channel catfish, bass and sunfish. Catfish are being caught on stinkbaits, hotdogs and worms at night.

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair for stocked trout and walleye. Boat anglers are catching trout and walleye on cowbells with worms, flies and lures when trolling slowly. Shore anglers are catching a few walleye and trout on nightcrawlers off the fishing piers. Several large walleye have been caught recently, mostly with Rapala lures at night. The upper parking lot is temporarily closed until improvements to the lake access from that lot are completed. The main parking lot that includes the boat trailer parking is still open to all vehicle parking, but the restrooms are closed for the season. The concession store is closed for the season, and boat rentals are no longer available. The spillway campground is closed for the season, but the main campground on the west side of Show Low Lake Road will remain open through the winter.

WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is poor for trout and fair for largemouth bass and catfish. The lake is very weedy and low. Anglers are catching a few catfish on the bottom with bait. Largemouth bass are being caught on lures. The trout bag and possession limit here is four trout. 


Note: Regular trout stocking in the streams has ended for the season. Ice may be present in the streams due to low nighttime temperatures. 

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing for wild brown trout and hold-over stocked Apache trout is fair. Forest Road (FR) 276 and associated campgrounds on the East Fork Black River are open. Trout stockings in the East Fork have ended for the season.

WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is fair in the lower reaches. Access is open at the FR 25 bridge, FR 68 crossing and FR 116. The West Fork campground will be closed through the year for safety reasons. Regular trout stocking at the FR 68 crossing has ended for the season. Fishing in the middle and upper reaches is fair for wild trout where the fire had little impact. Fly fishermen have been catching small Apache trout on dry flies and small nymphs in the upper section. The middle and upper reaches of the West Fork Black are open to catch-and-release, artificial lure and fly only, while the lower end is open to bait fishing with a six-trout bag limit.

BLACK RIVER – Fishing is poor. The mainstem of the Black River was heavily impacted by the Wallow Fire last year. Very few fish were found during intensive surveys this past summer.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER – Fishing is fair for wild brown trout and hold-over stocked rainbow trout. Trout stocking has ended for the season.

SHEEPS CROSSING – Fishing is fair for hold-over, stocked Apache trout at the Sheeps Crossing bridge. Regular trout stocking has ended for the season. Fishing is fair for wild Apache trout in the wilderness portions of the West Fork Little Colorado River.

SHOW LOW CREEK – Fishing is fair in the large pool immediately below the outlet of Show Low Lake dam. Anglers have been catching a few small, hold-over trout on worms and spinners. Trout stockings in Show Low Creek have ended for the season. Please do not park on the dam, which is a one-lane road with insufficient pullouts. Park at either end of the dam where there is dedicated parking.

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is good for large rainbow trout and some Apache trout. 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 now 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.

The temperatures are cooling. See the winter trout stocking schedule at This schedule is updated as changes occur, so check back often! 

Need ideas on where to go fishing?  Try the Department's new interactive Fish and Boat Map: Fish and Boat Arizona, at

RIGGS FLAT — No recent reports. Anglers are being asked to immediately release unharmed all amurs they catch to aid in the removal of the aquatic vegetation and improved fishing conditions. Access is scheduled to be closed on Nov. 15.

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

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

DANKWORTH POND — Still closed for renovations. The lake is taking longer than expected to refill and it now looks like it will be January before it is ready for fish. 

FRYE MESA RESERVIOR — Anglers continue to report success in catching Gila trout. Remember that the daily bag and possession limit for this species is 1 fish. Frye Creek above the reservoir remains closed to fishing.

ARIVACA — Open to anglers, water levels continue to be severely low and the lake continues to drop. All boat launching is at the risk of the owner. Boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters. Sporadic success is being reported with fish being caught in the early mornings and late evenings. Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive. 

PENA BLANCA — No recent reports of success. There is an algal bloom occurring which could slow fishing activity. 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 remain in effect. Future testing will determine if and when these advisories will be lifted. Boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters. 

PATAGONIA — The lake is nearly full. Fishing continues to be good with bass anglers having success working the shorelines in shallower water. Recent surveys at the lake show outstanding numbers of large healthy largemouth bass and redear sunfish. Don’t forget that the lake supports a very healthy flathead catfish population as well that can provide some exciting opportunities for anglers. 

PARKER CANYON — Fishing remains fair for all species. The department is currently working to establish a breeding population of channel catfish at the lake and is asking anglers to please limit the harvest of catfish at this time to allow larger members of the population the opportunity to spawn. Contact the Parker Canyon Lake Store for up-to-date information on lake levels and fishing activity at 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.

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