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Oct 11 Fishing Report

Posted in: Fishing Report
Oct 11, 2012
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Winter trout stocking schedule is available

The interactive trout stocking schedule for winter 2012-13 is available at You can click on the links on the document to pull up Google map locations and get driving directions to your fishing spot. The dates listed on the schedule represent the Monday of the week the stocking will occur. Stockings can take place any day throughout that stocking week. These schedules are tentative and subject to change due to weather or conditions at the sites.

Fishing stories

Hello, fishing friends!

I appreciate the welcome and all the kind words from our readers. The inbox is already starting to get some “nibbles” as you are “casting those stories out” for all to enjoy. Please continue to send in the stories like the three we've posted below for this issue of The Fishing Report.

“ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ goes the reel” by Vid Guez

“It was my birthday weekend (September 22-23). I wanted to spend this weekend camping and fishing with my wife and two daughters. We decided to head out to the White Mountains. I had visions of catching one of those elusive, giant brookies from Crescent Lake that I had read so much about. That's what I desired most to have for my 42nd birthday.

I made it out to Crescent early on Saturday morning with high hopes. It was a clear, cool morning when I began casting a Pistol Pete black woolly bugger trailing about 5 feet behind an adjust-a-Bubble. After about 10 casts from shore, I finally felt a small tug.... then, WHAM! FISH ON!!! I knew from experience that it could only be a brook trout by the wild fight it was putting on. After a few runs, reel screaming, I caught a glimpse of its red belly as it turned sideways to take a gander at me... then, "ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ" (screaming reel), it launched hard 180 degrees from me, trying to rip my fishing pole out of my hands, then my line went slack. I was so disappointed! I continued to try for a couple more uneventful hours, until my casting finger had developed a small blister. I left defeated, but not discouraged.


I returned the next morning an hour earlier than the day before... same spot, same set-up, more resolute. After approximately one hour had elapsed, my mind wandering while my spirit rejoiced at God's natural splendor, tap... tap, tap... wait... hook set... FISH ON!!!!! It felt identical to the day before, but this time I would play it a little different. I let him tug and pull, run and stop, all the while keeping my pole tip up and constant tension on the line. My drag was set just right. Every time I gained some, he would run out again and again. Finally, I was able to get him close enough to see that bright red belly... then, "ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ" it launched hard 180 degrees from me, trying to rip my fishing pole out of my hands once again, but this time he did not succeed at getting off the line. He fought hard, but the good Lord had destined me to have my fish. It was a marvelous specimen.  A 17-inch male brook trout with an impressive hook jaw! It was a very happy birthday for me indeed!”

Happy Birthday to you, Vid and great story!

“Spiderman to the rescue” by Dave Brown

“I took my grandson, Aidan, fishing for the first time when he was just barely 3 years old. He caught his first trout that day, and has been hooked on fishing ever since.

One day, when he was 4, we went to one of our favorite lakes to do some fishing. When we got to our spot, there was a pair of older gentlemen sitting next to us. I asked one of the gentlemen if they'd had any luck. He responded that they had been there for over an hour and hadn't gotten a nibble. My grandson had cast his line out with his trusty Spiderman fishing pole. In less than 10 minutes he had a fish on his line. He set the hook and reeled in a nice-sized rainbow trout about 14 inches long. The two old fellas next to us just looked at each other and kind of grumbled. No more than 15 minutes later, my grandson had another fish on the line. He reeled in a second trout, this one an inch or two bigger than the first. The man sitting closest to us looked over and said with a smile, "That does it.  I'm throwin' my pole in the lake and goin' down to Wal-Mart to get me one of them Spiderman fishing poles."

Thanks, Dave and Aidan. Nice Spiderman fishing pole!

“Pete’s surprise snag” by Pete Michalegko

"Hi Reuben, welcome.....enjoyed your story about your boys' frozen bluegills...too funny.

My name is Pete, and also grew up in southern Arizona, and I too remember fishing Kinsley's Ranch, I think that's what we called it, down there at the Arivaca junction. I remember all those big trees, which are now gone, along with the water.

Well, here's my story, and this just occurred this past Tuesday. My buddy Mike and I headed down to Patagonia Lake early. We launched Mike's new bass boat at dawn and he was able to land two nice bass within an hour, me just a little dink. Around 10 a.m. things started to slow, so we decided to do some trolling, and within five minutes Mike lands another nice bass.

About an hour later, we were going to call it a good day, when I suddenly get snagged up. We turned the boat around to try and free the 12-lb. line and not break it. I was pulling hard for about five minutes and suddenly the rod tip begins to bend a bit, only about 3 inches, but I was thinking it was just the boat moving. Then the line starts to move to the side. Holy smoly....excitement starts, and after about 10 minutes I gained only about 4 feet of line, then the beast took all of it back. We did not know what the heck was putting up this fight, but it certainly was no bass!

After 15 minutes of steady pull and not gaining line, slowly the monster was coming up, as we started to see bubbles and thinking it was near the surface. It took another surge to the bottom. But the fight in this thing was finally weakening, and so was the fight in me.


The fish finally surfaced to show his ugly beautiful body, and our excitement what do we do we get it in the boat...we need a bigger net!!!! 

But my fishing partner, who had maneuvered his killer boat with expertise, positioned his barely-enough net, and was able to hoist it into the listing bass boat....aka cat boat.

Approximately 35 minutes later, and with trembling sore arm, the big flathead cat was landed...18 pounds and 33 inches of worthy ugly beauty!!! My biggest fish ever. A good day on the lake to say the least."

Thanks, Pete!

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 

URBAN LAKES - Payson residents and visitors can welcome back the trout to beautiful Green Valley Park on Monday, Oct. 15. More than 700 Colorado-grown rainbow trout will be delivered to this Urban Fishing Program lake in Payson to kick off the trout stocking season that features 11- to 14-inch rainbow trout delivered every two weeks. Catfish were stocked into the Phoenix and Tucson Urban Fishing Program waters last week. Next stocking of catfish in those waters is next week (Oct. 15-20).

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – No recent reports. 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  – The lake survey is not yet finished, but preliminary data suggests excellent largemouth bass numbers in the Aqua Fria and Humbug arms of Lake Pleasant. Sunfish numbers were also high. All size classes were caught from young-of-year to lunkers of these species. Electrofishing is not typically efficient for catching channel catfish (and that proved to be the case), but a good number of flathead catfish ranging from 6-7 inches to one in excess of 3 feet were caught mainly in Aqua Fria and Humbug coves. The points on the southwest portion of the lake were productive as well for largemouth bass. Surveys of the lake are not yet complete. Young stripers were also caught during electrofishing and larger ones were caught in nets. Some cursory stomach analysis indicated the largemouth bass were eating crayfish and shad. The stripers were eating shad. Full-fledged stomach analysis will be done at a later date.

Fishing success is based on many factors, one of which is the moon and sun phase. Fish tend to be most active during the 90-minute windows surrounding the sun and moon rise and fall. When the moon is at full or new moon stage, the effect is stronger. There are many apps you can use that display this information for you. As anglers know, severe weather changes have an impact on the way fish feed. If a cold front is approaching, the fish tend to move deeper into the water and lay low. Barometric pressure is a good indicator. If it changes quickly, the fish tend to be less likely to show interest in your bait. If the change is gradual, the fish will respond favorably.

One of the best things you can do is keep a fishing log noting air and water temperature, weather conditions, moon and sun phase if you are fishing in the 90-minute time period surrounding the rise or fall, location of catch, and lure types used and which ones were successful. This may seem tedious to many of you, but I haven’t come across anyone who said it was a waste of time if they put in the effort. 

ROOSEVELT LAKE - No recent reports. Lake elevation is at 2,099 feet and the lake level is 45 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 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. 

APACHE LAKE - No recent reports. Lake elevation is 1,907 feet (93 percent full).  

CANYON LAKE - No recent reports. Lake elevation is still holding at around 1,659 feet, which is 97 percent full. 

SAGUARO LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,525 feet at 93 percent full. Three anglers who were fishing from a boat yesterday (Oct. 10) from 8 a.m. until 2:45 p.m. reported they caught 96 fish, most all on 1/8 oz. kastmasters nickel/blue color.  Breakdown was as follows: six channel cats, one at 4 pounds, the rest around 1.5 pounds; six largemouth bass, one at 15 inches, the rest between 12-14 inches; four bluegill, one at 6 inches, the rest around 4 inches; and 80 yellow bass, about 30 at 11-12 inches, the rest between 8-10 inches. At least 45 fish were caught in the Butcher Jones area, the other productive spot was off the points across lake from Bagley Flat. They spooned those fish up from 25-30 feet underneath shad schools they saw. Overall, a great day fishing a fall pattern!

BARTLETT LAKE – No recent reports. Lake elevation has been holding at 1,758 feet, 50 percent full. Should be good topwater action for bass off-and-on throughout the day. Try working the main lake points, islands and reefs, but don't ignore the deeper coves, especially in the morning. Sometimes you can find bass feeding on large schools of shad in the coves. 

HORSESHOE LAKE - Less than 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) – No recent reports. Releases were 925 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 - By Wayne Gustaveson, Lake Powell Fish Report from Oct. 9, 2012. Lake Elevation: 3,619. Water Temperature 69-74 F. The full moon has faded and fishing success is responding accordingly. Stripers were absent from anglers’ creels in the southern lake last week while fish enjoyed bright nights, but they have now returned to full daytime activity. Before the bright moon, Warm Creek and Navajo Canyon were the most successful southern striper fishing spots. With water temperatures falling, it appears that springtime hot spots are now the go-to sites once more.  

We ran uplake to West, Last Chance and Rock Creek to find stripers schooled in deep water guarding the brushy shallows where shad still live.  Adult stripers are accustomed to waiting in deep water for the opportunity to get close enough to feed on a shad school. We found some long U-shaped coves with schools guarding at the first drop to 40-60 feet. Spoons dropped to the schools often ignited a quick bite where 5-10 stripers were caught on that many casts. Then schools would move away and we had to find another cove with stripers in attendance to restart the feeding spree.

In Rock Creek we found a school of juvenile stripers holding at 12-25 feet in what is left of the submerged brush.  A trolled medium running (8-10 feet) crankbait (Thunderstick Jr) would be quickly eaten by one of the widespread schooling fish. While that fish was being landed, more trailing stripers could be hooked by casting the same lures in all directions around the boat.  Each stop resulted in as many as five stripers being caught before the boat drifted away from the school. The school could then be readily relocated by trolling up another fish and casting to increase the catch.  

Striper fishing success has never slowed in the San Juan Arm where adult schools are guarding the mouths of Piute and Neskahi Canyons and deep water in between. Fishing success at Good Hope Bay and Hite is less certain, with few reports coming from there this week. That may be due to the steady striper fishing success in Bullfrog and Halls using the same spooning and trolling techniques described above.  

Magic 60-degree temperatures that caused bass and striper fishing to peak in the spring will be duplicated during the next three weeks. Look for a fall flurry of fishing success similar to that found in spring. Use your favorite technique at your best springtime spot to have great fishing success. Crappie are being caught in trees now and will continue to provide good catches until mid November.

Bass are eager to hit topwater lures morning and evening. Largemouth bass have moved to the base of trees in quickly sloping main creek channel coves at 10-15 feet. Swim baits (D-Shad) allowed to fall slowly near these trees are working well.  Plastic baits are working well for smallmouth bass on rocky points at 12-20 feet.  Drop shooting is still very effective and chartreuse is one of the best colors to use in a wide variety of baits. October may be the best fall fishing month this year for all species at Lake Powell.

LEES FERRY - See Oct. 2 report by Terry Gunn, Lees Ferry Anglers, in last week's Fishing Report or at



LAKE MEAD – The current elevation has dropped a little to just over 1,115 feet above msl. The water level will normally continue to drop approximately one foot to six inches per week. 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 – last new moon was Sept. 15. The next new moon will be Monday, Oct. 15. 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 thattop 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. “Last Cast Dave” tells us that he has been fishing only in the late afternoons just as it is getting dark and has had some success, bringing in some stripers 20-24 inches each, 3.5 to 6.0 pounds using swimbait.

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 dropped to 638 feet above msl from last week. The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly, especially on grass beds in 20 to 30 feet deep. Trolling with anchovies in 30-50 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. Lewis from Cottonwood, Ariz., caught several nice catfish along with some non-keeper smallmouth bass north of the power lines. Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon is Monday, Oct. 15. Cut anchovies usually work the best. 

Biologists from both the 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 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

WILLOW BEACH – 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 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 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. 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 Richard’s stripers he caught across the river from Davis Camp on anchovies from shore. The Big Bend area produced a large striper that I would estimate at over 36 inches.  Unfortunately know information was provided except for the pictures.  Daniel’s beautiful 4.54 pound rainbow was caught on night crawlers from shore.  Below the Avi Casino area reports of small mouth bass and stripers using anchovies and various lures.  

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. Stripers appear abundant from the February AZGFD survey. 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 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



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 updated "Where to Fish" pages at

LAKE HAVASU - Fishermen are still reporting catching very low numbers of striped bass, although a couple of anglers have commented that the ones they do catch have been much larger than is usual for Lake Havasu, in the 6 to 8-pound range.

ALAMO LAKE - Report courtesy Mark Knapp, Alamo Lake State Park. Well folks, let me start by saying we have a changing of the guard, so to speak. I would like to welcome AZGFD Public Information Officer Reuben Gonzales, who is temporarily serving as the new editor of the Fishing Report. He will be filling the shoes of Rory for the time being. Welcome aboard, Reuben! OK, here it goes.  In a nutshell, you’re not missing a lot out here. As I mentioned back on Ground Hog Day, I came out, saw my shadow and declared an extra eight weeks of summer. So far, so good. We're still hitting 100 plus degrees and scheduled to do so until the middle of next week. Then we drop into the high 90s. At that point I will be banging this out from my cave I have picked out. 

A few anglers have reported bass fishing as decent. Monetary bass club held one of their tournaments out here this last weekend. I did not get the final results, but some came in saying it was good and others just shook there heads saying, "Lot's of fish, but dinks." I know cat fishing is fair. The upper end of the lake is always good - even the shore fishing guys are giving it thumbs up.  You really want to use some heavy test line. There's so many weeds in the lake that when you hook something, you're going to drag in about five pounds worth of weeds with it. 

Junior is very pleased with himself. We went out last night and hit all the points between the main ramp and Cholla. I was determined to throw my brush hog and was getting skunked. Junior had the common sense to change up to a 4-inch brown lizard and boated three before I had a bite. I looked through my bag of tricks and could only come with a 2-inch chartreuse and brown grub. I caught two fish and just missed boating my third before dark and had to call it. Another 15 minutes and I'm sure I could have killed that smile on his face. Anyway, mix it up a little and start in 20 feet of water before 3 p.m. and figure there on the shoreline right at dark. I had no luck throwing training wheels (crank baits). Not even a bite. One thing that is working is to find a weed mat and throw on top of it. Once you find a hole to drop the bait in, get ready to set the hook. You're either going to pull out a fish or a giant mat of weeds. 

The grandkid pulled a bad one on me and his grandma. Since I cannot use him for bait, he is kicked out of the boat for a week, maybe more, depending on his attitude. I will say, he has spent the week taking out the trash, cleaning up after the pets, and all the other stuff he hates to do. Something about not getting to go out fishing, getting his candy bar, gator aid, and swimming has gotten his attention. I think he really misses getting to see all the wildlife we point out to him. He has seen turtles, beavers, bald eagles, ospreys, and of course, the rattlesnake that wanted to get in the boat with us. Speaking of snakes, they are out in force out here. We’re seeing at least four to six a day. 

Monds construction has started their construction this week. So far they're just doing survey work and bringing in equipment. At this point it looks like I will be able to keep Cholla Ramp open for the tournaments on the weekends. If you’re going to pre-fish during the week, you might have to use the rental boat road. I will let you know as soon as I know what is what during that time. I'm happy to say they lowered the releases to 15 cfs this week, and in November it will go down to 10 cfs. Both ramps are still in operation at this time. Bigger boats and those with special needs are encouraged to use Cholla Ramp because we have a dock there for loading and unloading. I have to give the department a lot of credit. The Game & Fish staff does an excellent job of keeping up with the buoys and dock placement. As of now, we will be putting in a new fish cleaning station at Cholla around mid October. The old one will go to Fools Hollow up in Show Low. The lake level is at 1098-ish with releases of 15 cfs. Although you read in the Republic the lake level is at 5-ish percent, the lake is over a mile long and about 1/2 mile wide. We have about 80 something feet of water at the base of the dam. Now's the time to come on out before the weather cools down and everyone and their brother is out here, too. Our store hours are 8 a.m. till 4:40 p.m. We have minnows, ice, worms, and all the stuff you forget when you come out.  Well, I don't want to hurt Reuben too bad on day one, so that's it for now.


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

MITRY LAKE - The topwater bite should still be going here.



Note: Upper Lake Mary was stocked with trout. Fossil Creek opened to fishing Saturday, Oct. 6. Remember, Fossil Creek is managed as a catch-and-release fishery. Only flies and lures with single barbless hooks are allowed on Fossil Creek. If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to our "Been Fishing" site at


KAIBAB LAKE — Campground is closed. Folks were catching trout on powerbait and worms. Please try to leave the larger bass in the lake to spawn. Stocked last week.

CATARACT LAKE — Campground is closed. Folks were catching some nice trout on worms. Please try to leave the larger bass in the lake to spawn. 


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.



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 only fair from the shore.

ASHURST LAKE — Trout fishing was good during the week. 

FRANCIS SHORT POND – No report.  Stocked last week.

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

OAK CREEK — No report. Stocked last week. 

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

BEAVER CREEK – No report.



BLUE RIDGE — Boat ramp is closed because of falling rocks.

KNOLL LAKE — Fishing has been good.


DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Catfish were last stocked for the Verde River Days event. Trout are scheduled for the first week in November. 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 for the first week in November. 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 — Stocking resumed the week of Sept. 4. Two weeks ago small brown trout were stocked. Although these fish are small, fly fishermen can be very successful. Rainbow trout are scheduled for stocking this week (the week of October 8). 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. Bill T. sent me a report of him having the best day at the lake he has had in a long time. If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

GRANITE BASIN LAKE – Robert and Michelle fished from the boat launch at around 10 o’clock and caught fish non-stop for 2 -2 ½ hours. They were using a bobber with worms and caught 23 bluegills and a black bass. Robert tried a popper and had a strike but was unsuccessful in landing the fish. Thanks for your report, Robert and Michelle! Rob takes his boys and little girl and has been generally successful catching multiple bluegills on worms/bobber and catch between 3-5 largemouth per hour using soft baits with a Texas rigging. If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

LYNX LAKE – Stocking resumed the week of Sept. 4. Rainbow trout were stocked last week (the week of Oct 1. Cut anchovies, night crawlers or hot dogs 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 for 500 rainbow trout. Rainbow trout were scheduled for stocking last week (the week of Oct. 1) and this week (the week of Oct. 8). 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 – Folks have caught 16- to 17-inch holdover trout from the shore near the new boat launch. Peter, fishing from a kayak, caught a 17-inch bass weighing approximately 3 pounds using a live worm. He saw several other large bass but could not get any others to take his bait. 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. 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 trout at Big Lake and Crescent Lake, good for catfish at Fool Hollow Lake, and fair for rainbow trout and walleyes at Show Low Lake.  For fly anglers, the catch-and-release season began on Oct. 1 at Silver Creek, and the fishing at Becker Lake is improving with cooler water temperatures. Several Rim Lakes (Willow Springs, Woods Canyon and Bear Canyon Lakes) were stocked in September.

Trout stocking schedule

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



Note: Last week marked the end of the regular trout stocking season with the last scheduled stocking at several Rim Lakes.

BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for stocked trout.  The lake was stocked the last week in September with rainbow trout. 

BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair. Anglers have been catching a few trout, sunfish and bass on worms. The water level is extremely low, and the boat launching ramp is closed.

CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. Anglers are catching trout on spinners (Panther Martin and Rooster tails), Z-Rays and Kastmaster spoons. Trout usually are active in the evening, so fly fishermen should try dry flies such as Parachute Adams, Adams and caddis patterns in sizes 16-18. 

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is fair for shore anglers and fair to good for boat anglers. The lake was stocked the last week in September with rainbow trout. Anglers are catching trout near the lake bottom on nightcrawlers. 

WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. The lake was stocked the last week in September with rainbow trout. Anglers have been catching trout on orange and rainbow-colored Power Bait in deep water. Boat anglers should try trolling slowly with cowbells with an attached nightcrawler, fly or small lure. The store is open, and boat rentals are available. 



Note: Regular trout stocking has ended for the season.

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. Shorter days and colder night temperatures are bringing water temperatures down, and thus improving fishing. 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 some trout by trolling cowbells with worms or drifting slowly with nightcrawlers, lures (Crickhoppers and Z-Rays) and flies. Shore anglers should try fishing in deep water off rocky points with worms or orange, rainbow or purple Power Bait. Rainbow trout are being caught at depths of 10-15 feet.  The store is open, and boat rentals are available.

CARNERO LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for stocked rainbow trout. There are a few small open water areas near the northeastern section of the lake. The lake is very weedy. Anglers should try fishing with a Kayak or pontoon boat to get to open water areas. Fly fishermen are 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. Some anglers are catching a few bass. Pan-size trout fair to good, Rainbow power bait, any rooster tail. 

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is very low, muddy and weed-covered.

CRESCENT LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. Anglers have been catching some nice brook trout and a few large (16-17 inches) rainbow trout in the deeper parts of the lake. The lake is weedy with a strong algae bloom. The store is closed.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is poor for trout and fair to good for channel catfish. Channel catfish are being caught on nightcrawlers, catfish-prepared baits, chicken livers and hot dogs at night. 

GREER LAKES – Fishing is fair at Bunch, River and Tunnel Reservoirs. All three reservoirs are very low. 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 poor to fair. The lake level is very low, and there is a strong algae bloom present.

LUNA LAKE – Fishing is poor. There is a heavy algae bloom present in the lake, causing high pH levels (over 10.0).

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

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair to good. Try bright-colored Power Bait or nightcrawlers. There is a strong algae bloom present in the lake.

RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor for trout, but fair for sunfish, small bass and bullheads. Parts of the lake are very weedy, but the weeds in much of the main body of the lake are senescing and sinking to the bottom, resulting in quite a bit of open water for boating in the middle of the lake. Some shorelines and most of the south end of the lake remain extremely weedy. The lake is down approximately four feet.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair for trout, and fair for channel catfish, bass and sunfish.

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair for stocked trout, bass and walleye. Boat anglers are catching a few trout, smallmouth bass and walleye on cowbells with worms, flies and lures. Boat anglers should troll slowly. Shore anglers are catching a few walleye and trout on nightcrawlers off the fishing piers. The store is closed for the season. Campgrounds are closed, and no boat rentals are available.

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 in the early morning and late evening hours. The trout bag and possession limit here is four trout.


Note: Regular trout stocking in the streams has ended for the year. 

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 year.

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 year. Fishing in the middle and upper reaches is fair to good 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 year.

SHEEPS CROSSING – Fishing is fair for hold-over stocked Apache trout at the Sheep’s Crossing Bridge. Regular trout stocking has ended for the year. Fishing is fair to good 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 are catching trout on worms and spinners. 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 to excellent. Silver Creek is currently open to catch-and-release, artificial lure and fly with barbless hooks only fishing from Oct. 1 through March 31. The upper section is now open to angling.  The stream was stocked heavily with large rainbow trout on Oct. 1 to kick off this catch-and-release season.



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 starting to cool in the evenings and early mornings. Anglers should continue to avoid the hottest parts of the day for success. The winter trout stocking schedule is available at Need ideas on where to go fishing? Try the departments new interactive Fish & Boat Arizona Map 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. See the winter trout stocking schedule at

ROPER LAKE — No recent reports of success. For lake information, call (928) 428-6760. See the winter trout stocking schedule at

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 – No recent reports of success. 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. See the winter trout stocking schedule at

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. See the winter trout stocking schedule at

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. See the winter trout stocking schedule at

ROSE CANYON LAKE — Anglers continue to report success in the early mornings and late evenings. The lake will close to vehicle access around Nov. 15.

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