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Oct 18 Fishing Report

Posted in: Fishing Report
Oct 18, 2012
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“Fishing Stories”

Good morning fishing friends!

Well, with the weather finally cooling down here in the Valley and around the state, you all should be able to send in more “Fishing Stories” for us to review and publish in this report. I have been getting a few stories and pictures and, of course, those helpful tips from all over the state, and we appreciate your help. Here are some new stories and images that will hopefully make you smile and encourage you to “GET OUT AND FISH.”

NASCAR Fishing" by Ceola Coaston

This catfish was caught by my sister at the Salt River by the Phoenix International Raceway using a Zebco 808 filled with Power Pro braided line (30-lb.) and a small live bluegill. My sister Carmen only had the bluegill out maybe 45 minutes before the catfish was caught at about 8 a.m. The big fish tried to resist, but he bit the wrong line when he bit the one loaded with braided line, which he was no match for.

Thanks to our friend Tommy, from Bass Pro Shops, for turning us onto braided line. Fishing for the big ones has never been the same - haven't lost one yet using braided line. Odd thing, his tummy was loaded with rocks.

"Size 13 sandal trout" by David Diego

“The Colorado River area below Davis Dam recently received its first trout stocking of the season on Oct. 8. I took the opportunity this past weekend to seek out the schooling trout that several anglers have been telling me about. Anglers have been reporting schools of trout being chased down by stripers, but going home empty-handed the first few days after the recent stocking.

This past Saturday (10/13), I decided to fish "Casino Row" just below Davis Dam. This proved to be a great feat for me to just get out on the water. As I was packing the boat and getting my rods ready to go, Bullhead City was consumed by rain, hail, thunder and lightning. After checking the local radar and seeing that this would just be a small but heavy storm, I decided to take my chances and head out anyway, and my decision paid off. Upon arriving at the recently rehabilitated Fisherman's Access Park at the Riverside Resort, the storm cleared and the sun peered through the clouds. I spent most of my afternoon going back and forth trying to get that first bite. While floating along the west side of the river just north of the Colorado Bell boat dock, I got that first bite! I was pulling trout in every other cast in the 6- to 10-inch range. 

Feeling pretty good that I found a good-size school of recent stockers holding in the same place, I decided to dedicate my last hour of fishing to this location. While fishing this location with light tackle (Pflueger President XT on a ML rod fishing a yellow size 6 Panther Martin), I hooked into what I thought was a striper feeding on this school. After a good five-minute fight, I pulled in a personal best trout on the Colorado River. Not being prepared to weigh or measure any fish this day, I put it next to the best size-related object I could find, my size 13 sandal. After taking a photo op with this beauty, I released it back into the river to continue to populate our local waterway”.

"Batting 1000" by Robert Dryden

"Here is a photo of my son James and his 24th limit from Rose Canyon Lake this year. You will notice he caught one more than dad on this trip. The amazing thing is that this is his 24th trip to Rose Canyon this year, so I guess he is "Batting 1000"! It is amazing that this little jewel of a lake with such excellent fishing is only 35 minutes from home. Green power bait is my son's weapon of choice and it always seems to work. Thanks to the Arizona Game and Fish Department for managing this lake for such great opportunity!”

Thanks for the stories, folks!

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 WATERS - Catfish are being stocked in the Phoenix and Tucson Urban Fishing Program waters this week. Fishing for catfish is good to excellent for anglers using shrimp, stink baits, hot dogs and worms on the bottom. Generally, catfish bite best during early morning and evening periods, however as temperatures cool, catfish activity during daytime periods picks up. Stockings of bluegill sunfish will occur at Phoenix and Tucson Urban Fishing Program waters from Oct. 29-Nov. 3. Trout fishing has been excellent at Payson’s Green Valley Lakes following the Oct. 15 stocking, which was the first stocking of the season. The next stocking here will be the week of Oct. 29-Nov. 3. 

We had an angler report from Jose, who said he took his little brother Austin to Kiwanis Park in Tempe for some fishing on Oct. 10. He said they managed to bag three catfish within the hour. They had a fourth one biting but could not get that last one. He was using a slip sinker rig with a combo of night crawler and punch bait on a treble hook. This was the first time that he had been fishing and can’t wait to go again, and is excited about the upcoming trout stocking.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Had an angler report from Steve W., who said he'd been fishing here four times in the past week and a half and the bass have been biting. He did best between 8-9 a.m. last Monday, catching five largemouth bass. Steve said they seemed bigger in comparison to the bass he'd caught at the same spot throughout the late spring and early summer. He had luck with drop shot and spinner baits, but said the most productive method was BPS's Squirmin Shad with a nice slow retrieve. He said he observed plenty of catfish and carp get pulled out by other fisherman. 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- Lake elevation is 1,641 feet, 41 percent full with approximately 6,097 surface acres. No new reports. See last week's week's report on preliminary survey data. Striper fishing had been good during the early mornings and late evenings. Shad boils were being seen in the shallows and coves, making for good fishing Try using topwater lures, swim baits, Alabama rigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits or jerkbaits. Fishing from shore was reportedly decent for smallmouth and largemouth bass. Word was that the water temperature is slowly declining, causing the shad to move in towards shore. Small coves and deep holes are the best areas. 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 is 2,097 feet and the lake level is 45 percent. No new reports. 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. 

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

CANYON LAKE - Lake elevation is still holding at around 1,659 feet, which is 97 percent full. No recent angler reports. While Canyon is the land of the lunkers, it can be tough to fish, especially for novice anglers. Catch rates are typically low and even veteran anglers get skunked here. But the possibility of catching a hawg keeps many anglers coming back time and again. This is a pretty good lake for bluegill and yellow bass. Try small crappie-like lures, such as 2-inch curly tails, along the rocky shoreline. Shore fishing for channel catfish and carp can also be viable both day and night right now. 

SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,524 feet, which is 93 percent full. This report came in from Kevin Bergersen, one of the Arizona Game and Fish Department's officers and the Arizona Boating Law Administrator. "Yellow bass fishing at Saguaro Lake is heating up.  Look for them in 20 to 30 feet of water under schools of shad. Jig just off the bottom using small metal jigs and spoons in early to mid-morning for best results. Anglers are catching good numbers of yellow bass with incidental catches of channel catfish and largemouth bass while jigging.” 

BARTLETT LAKE – Lake Elevation has been holding at 1,759 feet, 51 percent full. No new reports. Should be good topwater action for bass off-and-on throughout the day night now. 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. For bluegills, try the backs of rocky coves using night crawlers or meal worms on light tackle. Also look for large rafts of bluegill, especially up in the narrows. When you find them, small spinners, crappie jigs and worms can get you lots of fish to fry.

HORSESHOE LAKE - One-percent full. Salt River Project tends to use Horseshoe as a flood retention reservoir, but steadily releases the water downstream into Bartlett Lake.

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – Releases were 857 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 - Report from Oct. 17, courtesy of Wayne Gustaveson, Lake elevation: 3,620 feet. Water temperature: 68-72 F. Last week fishing success for black bass was as good as it gets in fall. Striped bass fishing had been negatively affected by full moon at the first of the month but was beginning to recover in many uplake spots. But fishing success for both species crashed into a cold storm front on the weekend.

I had occasion to be on the lake both Monday and Tuesday of this week. On Monday, fishing was tough for bass, with both large and smallmouth bass lounging in deep water without much incentive to chase my lures. But they can always be found with much searching. This day, smallmouth bass were 20-30 feet deep on long rocky points with brush. They were only on the exact end of the point and not scattered all along the point as is their custom. Fishing success was much better in the afternoon. Striped bass could be caught in their deep pocket sanctuaries at the first deep drop (40-60 feet) near the backs of canyons where shad still hide. On Tuesday, it was amazing to be there and watch bass move back into the visible shallows where they had been absent the previous day. Morning fishing was much better on Tuesday. Striped bass also moved into shallower water searching for shad schools that are still hiding in the backs of the canyons. These shallow stripers were easy targets with spoons fished in 20-40 when stripers were seen on the graph. Occasional blow-ups of one striper chasing one shad marked the location of the larger school on the bottom. After the morning journey into shallow water, stripers headed right back to the 60-foot holes closest to the shad sanctuaries. The take-home message is that fishing for both species is back on track and expected to be excellent for the next few days until the weather changes again. 

The best fishing plan is to approach each day as if it were late April or early May. Cold fronts really impact fishing success. Fish are prone to be very tight to a certain type of cover. Afternoon fishing success is often better than morning. With temperatures now in the high 60s, both bass and stripers are at their ideal temperature range. That translates into excellent fishing opportunities. The only challenge is to find when and where they choose to move and eat. Find their pattern and success is assured. Pay close attention to where fish are caught and then try to duplicate the exact habitat type and fishing technique in the next canyon or cove when searching for more fish.

Best striper fishing this week is expected to be in: Warm Creek Cottonwood near the old trees; Navajo Canyon from the sand dune back to where water depth is 30 feet; Gunsight Canyon where the main canyon water depth is 30-70 feet; Last Chance in last canyon on east side; Main Rock Creek in the back where water is murky; San Juan in Neskahi Bay; Escalante near the Indian Ruin; and Slick Rock Canyon at the 30-70 foot depths.

In the northern lake, Good Hope Bay striper fishing has slowed while catching at White Canyon has improved. It would not surprise me to see boils in striper city (Horn to Trachyte) as shad are abundant from Good Hope upstream. Launching at Hite is still good.

All main lake stripers can now be caught on spoons or bait. The best combination may be to chum with bait to keep the school under the boat while fishing with spoons to catch active fish as quickly as possible. Topwater fishing is good at first and last light. Most success comes from blind casting near brush in the absence of any signs of boils. Shad schools are small and shallow in the very back of many brushy or weedy canyons or coves. The crappie bite has started and walleye are showing up again. Fishing is excellent for those that really like to match wits with fish that are moving and changing locations often throughout the day.

LEES FERRY — No recent report. 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 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 were shad are found and best done in the early mornings and evenings. The bite for largemouth and smallmouth was reported good using plastic worms and crawdads with purple and browns in them. Several fishermen said that top water lures were working for them. All the fishermen contacted were hopeful for the coming years with rising water conditions and the abundance of baitfish they have seen this year. Launching conditions at South Cove have improved as the water level has gone up. There are currently four lanes. As the water raises logs and other debris can become hazards, so be careful boating.

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

LAKE MOHAVE – Here is an angler report from Michael V.: "I visited Lake Mojave this past weekend and managed to get in about 30 minutes of fishing time. I found this healthy smallmouth bass along the grass in about 12 feet of water. Great fight on 4-pound test and a kayak. I had this picture taken and released it to fight another day."

The lake level has dropped two more feet to 636 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. Reports of good bluegill action off the structures mentioned in the paragraph below.  

Biologists from both Arizona Game and Fish Department and Nevada Division of Wildlife with the help of volunteers, National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation personnel, have continued to install fish habitat in Carp Cove, Box Cove, Shoshone, and Arrowhead. Fish habitat consists of PVC structures, wood pallet structures, tamarisk bundles, and some Christmas trees. The largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill and catfish are really utilizing the new structures. Additional habitat will be added at several locations over the next two years. These structures are fish magnets. There is a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier just south of the main launch ramp at Katherine's Landing. If you fish Mohave and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your 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 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 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 spoken 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, no 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 smallmouth 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. 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

LAKE HAVASU – This report came in from one of our watercraft patrol officers working Lake Havasu this past weekend: “I patrolled on Lake Havasu on Sunday and talked to 20 fishermen. People were having luck catching largemouth and smallmouth bass off of the structures using jigs. One group had also caught some nice redears.

ALAMO LAKE - Report courtesy of Mark Knapp, Alamo Lake State Park. As I write this, Mr. and Mrs. Dius just stopped by and said they did decent on a topwater bite last night. They were throwing a baby torpedo (black) and caught six bass around the Cholla Ramp area. Jack Hughes came by earlier and said their “mid week” bass tournament club was doing OK, pre-fishing for tomorrow’s tournament. Everyone is catching a limit, but it's taking all day. We should be cranking out at least five to 10 fish an hour this time of year. So I'm not giving bass a thumbs down, but close. I think once the temps drop and the water cools down, things will start to turn on. I know you're not getting a lot of information from this, but I want to tell all my friends in Vegas to save your money for a couple of more weeks before coming out. Call first. 

I'm not getting any good crappie reports yet. Cat fishing has even slowed down. Shore fishing is hit-and-miss at best. I think you could pull out a couple of cats with some night crawlers. I'm happy to report my grandson is getting his act together and really thinks we need to go buy batteries for the boat. Junior is sitting at home being a bummer and waiting to get back out on the lake. The lake level is at 1,098-ish with releases of 15 cfs. Cholla Ramp is still in operation and you can also launch off the old rental boat road. We have some construction going on in the park and really encourage everyone to use Cholla ramp for now. More to report next week.

COLORADO RIVER (PARKER STRIP AREA) - No new report. Fishing for smallmouth bass over 2 pounds in size is expected to be good to excellent. In addition, redear sunfish should also be good in the pound-plus sizes. 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. 

Channel and flathead catfish fishing is always fair in this section of the Colorado River. Below the dam, striper fishing should also be fair, using live shad or anchovies. Largemouth bass are abundant, especially in the downstream portions of the Parker Strip. Channel and flathead catfish fishing will be fair to good in this section of the Colorado River. Take precautions to make sure your boat and equipment are clean before leaving the water to make sure you don’t spread quagga mussels to other water by accident.  

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. 

Flathead fishing is generally best in slack water areas, deep holes, or near overhanging vegetation along the main channel of the river. Flatheads prefer live bait such as bluegill or small carp, and fishing is best at night during the summer months. Channel catfish are widespread in the main river channel and backwaters and will bite on night crawlers, chicken liver, stinkbait, or about any other “smelly” bait. They can be caught year-round but probably bite best at night. Bluegills are also widespread but are most likely to be found around structure in the backwaters or slackwater areas. Bluegill will bite on meal worms, night crawlers or small crappie jigs.

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

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

REGIONAL HOT SPOTS -- Alamo Lake will continue to be a hot spot for plentiful largemouth bass and channel catfish, although trophy-sized fish will be uncommon. Lake Havasu is probably currently the premier lake in our region (and perhaps the state) for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and red ear sunfish. Numbers caught will likely be lower, but the quality of the fish much higher. The Parker Strip should remain excellent for smallmouth bass and red ear sunfish, and the Colorado River below Walter’s Camp down to Imperial Dam the best bet for large and plentiful flathead catfish. Our spring surveys indicated that there is a very impressive population of flathead catfish in the lower Imperial Division between Picacho State Park and Imperial Dam. Expect many in the 5- to 10-pound size class, but we know of at least one state record lurking in those waters. Backwaters in the Imperial Division above Imperial Dam will continue to yield impressive largemouth bass, up to and exceeding 10 pounds.

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 very good resource for local fishing information in the Yuma area is the website and forum at



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


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 to 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 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. Brown trout should be feeding preparing for the spawn next month.

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 but should be opening soon.

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 — Rainbow trout were stocked last week (the week of Oct. 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 — We received this angler report from Steve: “I spent the weekend in Prescott and fished Fain and Goldwater. Fain was good, the trout were going crazy for Rooster Tails & Super Dupers, I got a lot more attention with gold spoons/blades as opposed to silver. Power bait, which usually works well at Fain, was slow for myself and everyone else I observed using it. After I saw trout chasing the minnows, I decided to switch to spinners. Goldwater was a bust for me and I didn't see many fish being caught by anyone else. Closer to sunset, the fish were jumping, but outside of my casting range." Two other anglers, Frank and Herschel, caught their limit in 1½ hours using rainbow power bait last week and, as you can imagine, had a great time. The next scheduled stocking is the week of October 21. If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

GRANITE BASIN LAKE – No new report. If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others. 

LYNX LAKE – Rainbows were stocked three weeks ago and sub-catchable browns were stocked two weeks ago. 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 – We received this Mingus angler report from Peggy: “I must admit - my first impression of Mingus Lake was: Lake ? Come on now. But, it proved to be a great day fishing this past Sunday! After only about 2 1/2 hours we came home with about 16 rainbows! After we were there for about an hour, then others were trickling in. Weather was gorgeous and the scenery could not be beat! Not to mention the drive up there from the valley. Definitely a nice place to keep in mind!” The next trout stocking is scheduled for 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. This lake is more remote than the other Prescott area lakes and not very big. Someone illegally stocked yellow bullhead into Mingus several years ago. These fish compete directly with the trout and keep growth rates very low. If you witness anyone, anywhere, moving fish like bass, bluegill, catfish and stocking them, please report it to our Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-352-0700.  Illegal stockings cost YOU money!

WATSON – No new report. 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 warm water species.  Some anglers are catching a few bass.

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 4 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 Sheeps 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. Time for the final push of summer fishing. Anglers should continue to avoid the hottest parts of the day for success. The winter trout stocking schedule has been posted at Need ideas on where to go fishing? Try the Departments new interactive Fish and Boat 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. 

ROPER LAKE — No recent reports of success.  For lake information (928) 428-6760. 

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

FRYE MESA RESERVIOR – Anglers continue to report success in catching Gila trout. Remember that the daily bag and possession limit for this species is one 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.

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

PARKER CANYON — Fishing remains fair for all species. The Department is currently working to establish a breeding population of channel catfish at the lake and is asking anglers to please limit the harvest of catfish at this time to allow larger members of the population the opportunity to spawn. Contact the Parker Canyon Lake Store for up to date information on lake levels and fishing activity at or by phone at (520)455-5847. 

ROSE CANYON LAKE — 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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