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Nov. 30 Fishing Report

Posted in: Fishing Report
Nov 29, 2012
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“FISHING STORIES”
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"A day in the life of a (fill-in) fishing report editor"

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Many of you (including my wife) have asked, “What do you really do when you are at work”? Well, besides working on the Weekly Fishing Report, I am also the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s off-highway vehicle program public information officer (PIO), watercraft/boating PIO, a sworn game ranger, husband, father, grandfather, and all-around nice guy! All of which really keeps me busy, but not too busy to enjoy trying my hand at (trying) to catch a fish or two at a local fishing hole. Now here's a fishing story from Brian S.

"A curious dog named Blue" by Brian S.

I recently went fishing at Becker Lake, Bear Canyon lake and Tonto Creek and decided to send in this report for the "Been Fishing" stories for the Fishing Report. As you can see, my 10-month-old Labrador retriever “Blue” was a little more than curious at the results of some successful fishing. Here are some reports from each of these fishing spots:

Becker Lake: Fishing is excellent. I was stripping large wooley buggers on floating line. The lake is down around 5 feet, so the fish are holding at the edge of the weedbeds next to the deeper water. I landed 12 fish in about 6 hours of fishing. This lake is pretty tough to fish from shore as you need to get out past the weedbeds to get to where the fish are. 

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Tonto Creek: Fishing is good for wild browns, fair for leftover stockers. You would be surprised at the number of fish in the pocket water. I was fly-fishing with a wooley bugger as the attractor fly with a size 14 beadhead prince nymph. See attached picture of a nice 17-inch brown with “Blue” I safely released him for someone else to enjoy. This creek has a lot of browns. Many of them had their spawning colors showing and were loaded with eggs. 

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Bear Canyon Lake: Fishing is great. I was using a float tube to work the shore. Used full sinking line stripping big streamers. I landed 24 fish in 7 hours. The lake had some ice around the edges but is still a couple of weeks away from freezing over. For this lake, and probably many of the lakes, the fish are in pre-winter feeding. The fish are holding near shore in the deeper drop-off areas. I ran into some spin fisherman that had caught only 2 fish trolling. It sounds like the spin fishing is fair. I would rate the fly-fishing as awesome. In the afternoon I even had several trout rising to small dry's. See picture of nice 16-incher. I always take my two labs. They enjoy trying to dive in the lake to get the fish. Let's pray for a good snow pack to replenish the high country lakes.

Thanks, Brian (and Blue)!

I need more of your stories and photos to post, so keep fishing and send in those stories to BFishing@azgfd.gov.

FISHING NEWS

There's no better time than now to “Get out for trout”

With the great fall-winter weather we are having in the state’s lower elevations, this is an ideal time to get outside and do some trout fishing.

“This is the time of year we really kick in our winter trout stockings in the lower elevation lakes and the Lower Salt River – all popular places to fish, and readily accessible,” said fisheries biologist Eric Swanson. 

Tempe Town Lake was stocked last week on Nov. 20 as part of the annual Welcome Back the Trout event. The lake will be stocked monthly, from November to March, with 3,000 trout each delivery.

Saguaro Lake, Canyon Lake and Apache Lake all get trout stockings now. This is good news for trout anglers, but the bass anglers really get stoked about using large trout swim baits for monster bass.

The Lower Salt River gets stocked at the lower end at Phon D Sutton recreation site (confluence of Salt and Verde Rivers), and the Granite Reef day use area. The upper portion coming out of Saguaro Lake is not flowing, so we do not stock the Water Users or the Blue Point Bridge locations until flows resume sometime in March or April.

Yuma area ponds are getting trout now, which is great news for residents and winter visitors.

Safford area ponds and the “Triple P” lakes (Patagonia, Pena Blanca and Parker Canyon) are all getting trout now and fishing should be good.

In the Verde Valley, Dead Horse Ranch ponds and the Verde River offer great trout fishing.

The trout stocking schedule for state waters can be found at  www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/h_f/fishing/stocking/TroutStockingSchedule.pdf. The Urban Fishing Program stocking schedule for October through December can be found at 
www.azgfd.gov/h_f/documents/12Oct-DecwithHyperlinks_000.pdf.

Be sure to report back on your success at each of these fishing holes.

2013 Fishing Licenses Make Great Gifts

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In the midst of the holiday rush, don’t forget to buy your 2013 fishing license. Class A licenses (general fishing license for state waters) cost $23.50 for residents and $70.25 for non-residents. Trout stamps (which are required in addition to a Class A license for the taking of trout) are $15.75 for residents and $57.75 for nonresidents. Class U (Urban) fishing licenses cost $18.50 for residents and nonresidents. The Class U license is valid only at the 21 designated Urban Fishing Program waters and is good for all fish species (including trout). If you want one fishing license that covers all waters in the state, then the Class L, Super Conservation Fishing license is the way to go. At $53 for residents and only $63 for non-residents, this super license includes the state fishing license, trout stamp and urban license—all in one package deal.

Fishing licenses are sold at over 320 license dealers statewide, at any Game and Fish office, or online at www.azgfd.gov/eservices/licenses.shtml.  You can even buy them ahead of time as Christmas gifts for friends and family as long as you know the personal information that needs to go on the license. All anglers age 14 and over must purchase a license to fish in Arizona.

Last chance for the Big Fish-of-the-Year Contest

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With about a month to go, there are plenty of opportunities to report your big fish catches for the 2012 Fish-of-the-Year contest.  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 www.azgfd.gov. Here is one of the Urban entries in the running, 9 lbs, 1.2 oz., 24.13-inch largemouth bass caught at Kiwanis Park by Shawn Baker.

OK, on to the Fishing Report.

CENTRAL WATERS

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

URBAN LAKES - This report came in from Vince B. at Desert Breeze Park (Chandler). “My brother and I have been catching TONS of trout. Yellow, gold or rainbow-colored spinners and spoons have been incredible. Green Powerbait and mealworms seem to be working extremely well with a bobber and 2-3 ft. lead. Corn seems to be attracting catfish and carp instead of trout. We've noticed the bite has been sporadic throughout the day but is best primarily at first and last light.”

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Rainbow trout stockings have started at the Urban Fishing Program lakes and will continue all winter long at two-week intervals. Trout range in size from 11-12 inches in length, with some fish up to 16 inches. Fishing is good to excellent for anglers using scented dough baits (such as Power Bait), worms or corn on the bottom. Small spinners such as Roostertails and Panther Martins, or spoons such as Kastmasters and Super Dupers work well for trout. The morning bite is the best, but trout will bite sporadically throughout the day. When the bite is on, anglers are catching limits in an hour. Action for catfish and bass has slowed due to colder water temperatures. Bluegill fishing offers good action during the afternoons for anglers using meal worms on the bottom or under a small bobber. Trout fishing is good to excellent at Green Valley lakes in Payson with Power Bait, worms and small spoons working best. Top flies for fly fishermen have been copper Johns, wooly buggers, simi seal leaches and pheasant tail nymphs.

Here are some end-of-year reminders from the Urban Fishing Program:

  • Stay on the lookout for golden alga, a microscopic organism that releases substances that are toxic to fish. Game and Fish is working with city park staff and lake consultants to regularly monitor for and control the unwanted algae. Please do your part to prevent the spread of golden alga by not moving water or wet objects or fishing equipment from lake to lake. Clean, drain and dry all equipment.

  • The 2012 Class U Urban Fishing license is now 50% off through December 31. Stop by a Game and Fish office or any of our sporting goods or retail license dealers and ask for your 2012 discount Urban license for $9.25.

  • Submit your big fish catches for the 2012 Fish-of-the-Year contest. With less than a month to go, there are plenty of chances to report your big fish catches in either of two categories; kept or released. Application forms and instructions for the contest are in the current Urban Fishing Program guidebook or AZ Fishing Regulation booklet. Updates on the current leaders can be checked out on our web site at www.azgfd.gov. Each year’s winners receive a certificate, hat and other gifts.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE –Tempe Town Lake was stocked on Nov. 20 as part of ‘Welcome back the Trout” and will be regularly stocked through March 2013, so the fishing should be great. Keep in mind that although this fishery is in the city, it is not part of the Urban Fishing Program, so you will need the regular state fishing license to fish here.

LAKE PLEASANT - Lake level is at 1,655 feet, 52 percent full, with approximately 6,864 surface acres. Stripers are still going crazy during the early mornings and late evening now that the outside temperatures are slowly 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. Regular trout stocking has begun and with that bass fishing should pick up as well.

CANYON LAKE – Boulder Rec. Area, back half is closed for season and the floating fishing pier is closed as well. Regular trout stocking has begun and with that bass fishing should pick up as well. Please send in some reports and pictures of your success here. 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 BFishing@azgfd.gov. 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. Regular trout stocking has begun and with that bass fishing should pick up as well.

BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation has been holding at 1,759 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 - Zero-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) – Stocking has begun at the lower end. Stocking at the Phon D Sutton recreation site (confluence of Salt and Verde Rivers), and the Granite Reef day use area.

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

LAKE POWELL AND LEES FERRY

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

LAKE POWELL – Report from Nov. 28 courtesy of Wayne Gustaveson, www.wayneswords.com. Striped bass are now shallow at the edge of brush. We have fished both Warm Creek and Lone Rock areas recently and find all sizes of stripers holding in 8-15 feet of water near brush at the back of the canyon. A Lucky Craft Pointer, Bomber Flat A, Clackin Rap, and other shallow running crank baits have been very effective at catching stripers when trolled at 2.5 MPH (Slow down in cool water).

The deep schools of big stripers are still roaming and resting at 40-80 feet. Find a school on the graph and immediately drop spoons for instant hookups. Most fish hit right near the bottom. Speed reeling is less effective than it was in the fall. Surprisingly, bait fishing is not good even though there are a fair number of thin fish swimming near the edge of the fat healthy fish. 

We are catching a couple of walleye each day when trolling and spooning for stripers. When the lake dropped during the flood event, many shad were pulled out of brushy hiding places, creating a feeding frenzy in the backs of the canyons. Stripers were active but many birds were enjoying the feats as well. We have recently seen grebes, mergansers, seagulls, loons and great blue herons guarding the active fish locations. Find active birds and catchable fish are near. 

Weather has been flat calm and mild. What’s not to like?

“Remember to “clean, drain and dry your boat” to stop the spread of invasive species.”

LEES FERRY – See Nov. 26 report from Lees Ferry Anglers at www.leesferry.com.

COLORADO RIVER NORTHWEST

LAKE MEAD – The current elevation has risen two feet to 1,117 feet above msl. Be careful boating: because of fluctuating water levels, structures previously submerged may be at the surface. 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 – last new moon was Nov. 13. The next new moon will be Dec. 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 where 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 topwater lures were working for them. All the fishermen contacted were hopeful for the coming years with rising water conditions and the abundance of baitfish they have seen this year.

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

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders.  Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see. For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at www.azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level has risen a little to 635.8 feet above msl. The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly, especially on grass beds in water 20 to 30 feet deep. Trolling with anchovies in 30-50 feet 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. There have been 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. Next new moon is Dec. 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 gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your live well and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see. For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

WILLOW BEACH – The Willow Beach Launch Ramp has been open since Nov. 8. Willow Beach is stocked every Friday with 3,000 13-inch rainbow trout. Rainbow, peach, garlic and yellow Power Baits and Powerworms were being used most for trout. Jakes original and Jakes Juniors, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails are also usually effective. 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 gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others. For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – Trout continue to bite in the casino area, with some larger fish in the deep holes. Several folks have called and spoken of very large trout being caught in the Laughlin area. Rusty from Riviera Marina has sent several pictures of successful trips this week. Tuan landed a beautiful striper weighing over 18 pounds on his Huddlestone lure in the middle area of Big Bend. 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 it 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 at www.usbr.gov/lc/riverops.html before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

TOPOCK MARSH – The action at Topock Marsh has been steady. 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 www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/havasu/index.html.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your live well and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see. For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at www.azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

SOUTHWESTERN WATERS

Note: If you would like more information on southwestern waters, visit
www.azgfd.gov/h_f/where_fish_southwest.shtml. Our Yuma Regional office has recently updated all the information to provide you more insight into these fisheries. If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to our "Been Fishing" site at BFishing@azgfd.gov. For more information, visit the "Where to Fish" pages at www.azgfd.gov/h_f/where_fish_southwest.shtml.

LAKE HAVASU – Lake Havasu is a 19,300-acre impoundment on the Colorado River, formed by Parker Dam. It is located along the Arizona-California border and is approximately twenty-five miles long, with a shoreline that extends more than one hundred miles. Lake Havasu is best known for its striped bass, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing. It also has good fishing for channel catfish, flathead catfish, and sunfish, including some monster redear sunfish. There are also abundant carp and limited numbers of crappie. Striper fishing has been challenging in recent years, with easy limits of small fish no longer the rule, as was the case five or six years ago. However, the average size of the striped bass caught has increased. Using live shad for bait is a good bet any time of the year. During the cooler months stripers are usually found in deeper water, and fishing on the bottom or trolling with live shad or cut anchovies is a good bet. During the warmer months fishing topwater lures that resemble shad near “boils” or where birds are actively feeding is your best bet for some exciting action.

The largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing has been steadily improving over the last several years. Tournament anglers are regularly weighing in bags of 5 fish that weigh over 20 pounds, and it is not uncommon to catch bass over 5 pounds and some even approaching 10 pounds. There are many different techniques used for largemouth bass. As a general rule, most people will use topwater lures such as buzzbaits or spinnerbaits in the early morning and then switch to jigs, crankbaits, or swimbaits as the day progresses. Using plastic baits that resemble worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards often work well. It is generally best to fish around structure such as weedbeds, emergent vegetation, boat docks, or artificial habitat. Fishing picks up as the water temperatures warm up in the spring and summer, but bucketmouths can be had any time of the year.

Smallmouth bass fishing has really improved in Lake Havasu the last few years, with a new Arizona state record for the Colorado River caught in late 2011 (5.63 pounds). For smallmouth bass it is usually best to fish rocky points, ridges, shorelines, or canyons. Most people use topwater lures, lipless crankbaits or jigs in the mornings and evenings. During the day try crankbaits, plastic worms or “creature” baits such as fake crawdads.

Redear sunfish have grown to trophy size in Lake Havasu, with a new state and world record being caught in 2011 (5.55 pounds). Redear sunfish in the 2-pound range and larger are regularly caught. Bluegill and redear can be caught around structure such as docks, vegetation, or artificial structure using mealworms, night crawlers, or small crappie jigs.

Channel catfish are widespread in the lake and can be caught using night crawlers, anchovies, chicken liver, stinkbait or about anything that “stinks”. For flathead catfish it is best to use live bait such as bluegill or small carp. Flathead catfish are relatively uncommon in the upper part of the lake, but much more abundant in the lower half, especially in the vicinity of the Bill Williams River arm of the reservoir. Catfish can be caught any time of the year but your best bet is at night during the summer.

Large carp are abundant in the lake and can provide some exciting fishing. Twenty to twenty-five pound carp are not uncommon. Most people use canned corn or dough balls.

ALAMO LAKE – Report by Mark Knapp, Park Manager, Alamo Lake State Park. Well, folks, I'm happy to say I survived Turkey Day and did not get caught and cooked. I don't know what kind of crud/flu/mess is going around, but it caught up with me this week. It's kinda funny that my wife ended up with bronchitis last week and was put on some heavy duty antibiotics. She was so concerned that she did not want to spread it to anybody that she chose to stay home the entire weekend. I took the grandkid and went to my daughter’s house and got to spend quality with her, the husband and my other four grand kids. Good time had by all. I got back to work on Monday and kinda felt a tingle in my throat. By midnight I was up coughing and feeling like crud. I tried every over-the-counter drug to knock it out, with no luck. I just got in from the doctor's office a few hours ago. Now I'm under some kind of house arrest and stuck in my bedroom so I don't spread this around. I'm here to tell you that if you got some serious lung and breathing stuff going on, don't mess around with playing with over-the-counter stuff. Go in and get seen by a doc. 

Sorry, I did not mean to get sidetracked off fishing. Not much has changed in the last couple of weeks. Bass fishing is really slow still. I have a friend, Billy Pinrod, who dropped out of this weekend’s tournament. He pre-fished it for a couple of days and ended up catching 3 fish in three days. One was caught, drop shotting in 50 foot of water. I'm not sure what he caught the other two on. You know it's bad when 5 pounds wins the tournament. When I talk to friends that know how to fish this lake at any time of the year and are getting skunked, I'm in no hurry to hook up the ol' Ranger and go shooting across the lake first thing in the morning. I am going to take it out when I get over this crud just to run the gas out of the carbs and get a line wet. I have no clue as to why the fish are not biting. I have heard it's not just this lake, and anglers are struggling at Rosey and Pleasant. I have been talking with the crappie fishermen and they are having bad luck, too. Most are concentrating around the first buoy line and are trolling with white-colored crank baits. They are averaging maybe 2 fish a day. Even the ol' road runner with a minnow trailer is not cutting it. Cat fishing is OK. According to our new fish cleaning station at Cholla, they are averaging about 2 to 5 cats a day. We want to say thanks to the Game and Fish Department for purchasing and helping installing it. A lot of credit goes to Ron Christofferson. He has been responsible for the new dock at the main ramp, and the new dock that will be installed at Cholla Ramp once all the construction is done here. He's kind of a behind-the-scenes guy who gets a lot of stuff for the park. So the next time you see him or meet him, give him big thanks. 

I've been out of it for a few days, so I'm guessing the lake level is at 1,097-ish, with releases of 10 cfs. I'm happy to say that Cholla still has about 3 to 5 feet of workable ramp. You can still launch off the ol' rental boat road but want to be careful of the hazards. To be safe, I would just use Cholla Ramp. You will see some construction going on but the contractors are out of everyone's way. We’re trying to stabilize the sides of the ramp (again). If you’re coming out to the park next week, I would suggest staying over on the Cholla side of the park. We will have three days where they're going to start pouring cement around 5 in the morning. If you do have reservations made in the B area, let us know and, if possible, we will relocate you to a better spot. OK, gotta go for now. I try to meet timelines so Reuben has a chance to get this out. I'm sure he's not happy getting this at 7 at night about 5 hours late from my deadline. More next week! 

Mark

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

COLORADO RIVER (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam, including backwaters and Martinez Lake) - This stretch of the river is best known for its trophy-sized flathead catfish, with some over 70 pounds, and largemouth bass, with some over 10 pounds. However, it can also be good for channel catfish, sunfish and carp and to a lesser extent striped bass, crappie and tilapia.

Largemouth bass fishing is generally best in the backwaters or near the mouth of the backwaters. There are many different techniques used for largemouth bass. As a general rule, most people will use topwater lures such as buzzbaits or spinnerbaits in the early morning and then switch to jigs, crankbaits, or swimbaits as the day progresses. Using plastic baits that resemble worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards often work well. It is generally best to fish around structure such as weedbeds, emergent vegetation, tree stumps, brush, or boat docks. Fishing picks up as the water temperatures warm up in the spring and summer but largemouth can be taken any time of the year.

Flathead fishing is generally best in slack water areas, deep holes, or near overhanging vegetation along the main channel of the river. Flatheads prefer live bait such as bluegill or small carp and fishing is best at night during the summer months. Channel catfish are wide spread in the main river channel and backwaters and will bite on night crawlers, chicken liver, stinkbait, or about any other “smelly” bait. They can be caught year-round but probably bite best at night.

Bluegill are also widespread but are most likely to be found around structure in the backwaters or slackwater areas. Bluegill will bite on meal worms, night crawlers or small crappie jigs.

MITTRY LAKE – Mittry Lake offers many fishing opportunities. There are ten man-made jetties on the eastern shore for shoreline anglers, but the lake is most effectively fished by boat. There is a good concrete boat launch near the southern end of the lake, with a courtesy mooring dock. There is also a more primitive gravel ramp toward the northern end of the lake. There are restrooms and trash facilities at the main boat ramp, which also sports a large ramada for public gatherings.

Mittry Lake can be a bit frustrating at times, especially for bass fishermen. There are plenty of bass in the lake, with a few in the eight to ten pound range, occasionally larger. However, the bass are sometimes finicky, and it can be challenging to bring any in on some days. Other days, the bite can be wide open. Windy, or changing weather often brings on the bite. Techniques for bass fishing vary widely. When fishing for bass in the cooler months, and bass are less active, fish deeper water with jigs, swimbaits, or plastics using a slow retrieve. As the water warms up in the spring and summer, bass become more active and move to shallower water. During that time most people use plastics, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, or crankbaits with a faster retrieve. Plastic baits resembling worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards can also work well. For best results fish around structure such as weedbeds, emergent vegetation or where shoreline brush edges the water.

YUMA AREA PONDS – Winter stocking of trout has begun in the Yuma area ponds which should make for some fun fishing. The department has stepped up efforts to encourage the recruitment of new anglers, and retention of existing ones. To this end, the department has increased stocking efforts in a few ponds in the Yuma area that are easily accessed without a boat, within a short distance of the urban center. Those ponds are the Yuma West Wetlands pond, located in the City Park, and Redondo and Fortuna ponds, located about 10 miles northeast of Yuma. Access to Redondo Pond was recently improved with the addition of an ADA-compliant fishing pier, and thick cattail growth was removed at Fortuna Pond this summer, improving shoreline access by many orders of magnitude. All of these waters received multiple stockings of rainbow trout in the winter months.

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

CENTRAL MOUNTAINS

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

With the cooler fall temperatures, 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:

KAIBAB LAKE — Campground is closed. No report.

CATARACT LAKE — Campground is closed. A nice brown trout was recently caught.

CITY RESERVOIR — No report.

DOGTOWN LAKE — Campground is closed.

JD DAM — No Report. Remember, the lake is managed as a catch and release fishery.

RUSSELL TANK - The lake is too shallow to stock.

SANTA FE — No report.

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campground is closed.

FLAGSTAFF LAKES:

LOWER LAKE MARY — Dry.

UPPER LAKE MARY — Upper Lake Mary was stocked with catchable trout.  Water quality problems at many of our trout lakes has 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.  

FRANCIS SHORT POND –  No report. 

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

OAK CREEK — No report.  

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

BEAVER CREEK – No report.

WEST CLEAR CREEK - No report.

STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.

BLUE RIDGE — Boat ramp is open.

KNOLL LAKE — No report.

VERDE VALLEY:

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – The latest scheduled stocking was scheduled for last week, the week of November 19. Reports of trout fishing have been good to great. 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 are biting at all times of the day.

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – The latest stocking was scheduled for last week, the week of November 19. Trout fishing report has been good to great. 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. 

PRESCOTT AREA:

FAIN LAKE — The last scheduled stocking was 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 — Stocking resumed the week of Sept. 10. Damon sent in a report that he had the most success by the dam using yellow sparkling marshmallows. He has been catching two to three good-size rainbows in an hour. Travis also reports that he is doing very well and that he caught the largest trout, with a lure, in ten years (3.75 lbs.). He also caught a 2-pounder an hour earlier. He reports the morning bite as slow with the hour before sunset the most productive. If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

GRANITE BASIN LAKE – If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others. 

LYNX LAKE – Stocking resumed the week of Sept. 4. The last scheduled stocking was the week of November 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 – Stocking resumed the week of Sept. 4 and the last stocking of the winter on the week of October 14. 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 – Reports of bass that are plentiful and decent size from the shore should make Watson more attractive for fishing. David reports that he has had good luck with crank baits, spinners, poppers, night crawlers and flies (basically everything) for the bass. He has been using chicken livers and night crawlers for the catfish with a slip sinker rig on the bottom. Our Wildlife manager in this area reported one fisherman had 5 nice-size rainbow trout caught using small spinners. 

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

WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR – The challenge with this lake is finding access to the shore and fighting the aquatic vegetation. If you fish Willow and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

WHITE MOUNTAINS AND MOGOLLON RIM LAKES

Recommended Waters to Fish:
Fishing is fair to good for rainbow and cutthroat trout at Big Lake, good for rainbow trout at Nelson Reservoir, fair for rainbow trout and walleye at Show Low Lake, and fair to good for rainbow trout at Woods Canyon and Willow Springs Lakes. Some anglers are catching trout at Scott Reservoir. 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.

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES:

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 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 tail lures), 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. Shore anglers have been catching trout on PowerBait and nightcrawlers. Boat anglers should try trolling slowly with cowbells with an attached nightcrawler, fly or small lure. The store is closed for the season.

WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES:

Note: Regular trout stocking has ended for the season. Ice may be present in the mornings on the highest elevation lakes due to cold nighttime temperatures. Most campgrounds are closed for the season:

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

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for trophy-sized rainbow trout. Rainbows up to 21 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 salmon eggs, 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.

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

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor.

CRESCENT LAKE – Fishing has been fair. The lake is ice-free. The store is closed.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing has been poor to fair for trout and fair for channel catfish and walleyes. Channel catfish have been caught on nightcrawlers, catfish-prepared baits, chicken livers and hot dogs at night. Walleyes up to 20 inches have been caught along rocky shoreline areas 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 level is down below the ramp at River Reservoir, and launching a boat is difficult. Bunch Reservoir has risen a little and the concrete lip of the boat ramp is under water, so use caution when launching a boat.

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

LEE VALLEY LAKE – Fishing is fair for Apache trout and Arctic grayling. Recent surveys found moderate numbers of 8- to 9-inch grayling.  The lake is ice-free. The lake level is very low.  

LUNA LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake has a very strong algae bloom and pH levels are very high.

LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is open to day-use only through November. 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 it may be difficult to launch larger boats. 

SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair for trout and channel catfish, bass and sunfish. Catfish have been caught on stinkbaits, hotdogs and worms at night. Anglers are catching some trout on nightcrawlers off the bottom.

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for trout. Boat anglers are catching trout and walleye on cowbells with worms, flies and lures when trolling slowly. Shore anglers are catching trout on nightcrawlers off the fishing piers. Several large walleye have been caught recently, mostly with Rapala lures at night. Boat anglers should concentrate on trolling Rapala’s along rocky shoreline areas 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 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.

WHITE MOUNTAINS STREAMS:

Note: Regular trout stocking in the streams has ended for the season. Ice may be present on 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. Ice may be present in the upper portions of the West Fork Black River due to cold nighttime temperatures.

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. Ice may be present due to cold nighttime temperatures.

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. Ice may be present in the upper reaches due to cold nighttime temperatures.

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 fair to good for large rainbow trout and 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.

SOUTHERN WATERS

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 dmitchell@azgfd.gov. These reports will then be compiled and reported in our weekly fishing reports.

Cooler temperatures means the trout fishing is getting hot! The winter trout stocking season is underway and the schedule is now available at http://www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/h_f/fishing/stocking/TroutStockingSchedule.pdf. 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 at http://gis.azgfd.gov/fishandboat/.

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, call (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 one (1) fish. Frye Creek above the reservoir remains closed to fishing. 

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

PENA BLANCA – Winter stocking has begun at Pena Blanca Lake, lake was scheduled to be stocked this week. Additionally, all mercury advisories against the eating of warmwater fish caught at Pena Blanca Lake remain in effect. Future testing will determine if and when these advisories will be lifted. Boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters. Send in your reports of success to BFishing@azgfd.gov.

PATAGONIA — Winter stocking has begun at Patagonia Lake, lake was scheduled to be stocked this week. The lake is nearly full. Fishing continues to be good with bass anglers having success working the shorelines in shallower water. Don’t forget that the lake supports a very healthy flathead catfish population as well that can provide some exciting opportunities for anglers. Send in your reports of success to BFishing@azgfd.gov.

PARKER CANYON — Winter stocking has begun at Parker Canyon Lake. Make sure  to report back on your success. 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 www.parkercanyonlake.com 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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