Arizona Fishing Report, April 24th, 2012

CENTRAL WATERS

URBAN LAKES — A 9.1-pound, 24-inch-long largemouth bass was caught out of Kiwanis Lake last week (see picture on the left) on a drop-shot rigged Salt River craw on 8-pound test by Shawn Baker of Phoenix.

Shawn's "hawg" is now a contender for the urban program big fish of the year honors.

Shawn told our biologist that he fishes the urban lakes 100-plus days each year, but this is the largest bass he has ever caught. "I had a larger one on at Saguaro Lake a few weeks ago, but lost it," Shawn said on Friday morning.

The all-time record largemouth bass from the urban program waters was a 11.65-pound largemouth bass from Papago Ponds caught in the year 2000.

Also, there was a 10-pound largemouth bass caught out of Kiwanis 10 years ago.

The third catfish stocking of the spring season is took place last week (April 16-21) at all Phoenix and Tucson area urban waters.

Cats are biting on worms, stink baits, hot dogs or shrimp fished on the bottom. Catfish have been active throughout the day with afternoons and evenings best.

Bluegill fishing is good at all Phoenix and Tucson area waters that were just stocked the end of March. Best baits for the feisty, 5- to 8-inch bluegill are worms and mealworms fished under a small bobber in 3-6 foot depths.

Action for largemouth bass has slowed as they move into the post-spawn period over the next few weeks. Please exercise catch and release for largemouth bass and remember the minimum keepable size for bass is 13 inches.

At Green Valley lakes (Payson) fishing is good to excellent for trout. Many trout from 13 to 18 inches were included in a recent stocking. Try Power Bait, worms or salmon eggs off the bottom. Lure and fly anglers are doing well on KastMasters, spinners, small tube jigs, or wooly buggers.

Trout stockings at this higher elevation Urban lake will continue every two weeks until mid-May. Also at Green Valley, the bite for crappie and bass is picking up for anglers using small jigs and plastic worms.

Angler report:

Rory,

Now that summer is Here I will once again be sending you regular e-mails about the Trout fishing in rim country. I recently starting hitting up Desert Breeze Park in Chandler not that I'm living so close to it.  Back on February 20th I was fortunate enough to land a 16 1/2 inch rainbow using green Power Bait fished off the bottom. I have attached a picture. Last Sunday (4/15) I was back again and had a blast with my two friends catching sunfish most of the day. It really picked up around 4 p.m. and seemed like we were bring one in every minute or so. We were using worms and catching them when fished off the bottom or under a bobber it really didn't matter. As the sun went down we switched to stink bait to try our luck for cats. My buddy managed to hook up with on and fought it for about a minute or two until his 10 pound line snapped. Too bad because I would of liked to see how big that catfish was.

Going up to Knoll Lake May 4-6 will let you know how things are and hopefully send you some pictures of our catch! Talk to you soon!

Tom Leeper

TEMPE TOWN LAKE

It's bass, bluegill and catfish time. Anglers are catching bass close to structure such as the bridges. There are some bass on beds, but it's mostly post-spawn bass action time. Try working plastic worms or drop shots along the shade lines beneath the bridges.

Keep in mind that although this fishery in in the city, it is not part of the Urban Fishing Program, but you will need the regular state fishing license.

Angler Report:

Where: Tempe Town Lake

When: 04/15/12

Caught: 100 lbs. of Mirror Carp

Technique: Hair-rigged pineapple boilies

Comments: Catch and release. Morning session. Nine fish between 8 lb. and 14.5 lb including six 'doubles'.

Name: Stuart Black

LAKE PLEASANT

Mike McFarland, a guide with Hook Up Outfitters, said there is a pretty good striper bite up shallow in the northern coves, such as Castle Creek, Humbug and the Agua Fria. Mike has been reeling in some nice 4- to 6-pound stripers using spinnerbaits, topwater lures and swim baits. He said the best bite is right next to shore in one to two feet of water.

Largemouth bass are in the spawning mode right now, but it might be possible to find some post-spawn bass as well.

As usual at Pleasant, we have a two-stage spawn for largemouth bass. The shallow northern coves experienced the early spawn and in those areas, it's primarily post-spawn action.

But in the deeper coves off the main lake, such as Jackass and Honeymoon, it's now the bass spawn times.

Fishing for catfish should also be picking up with this spat of warmer weather, especially in the warmer coves or along shallow flats. Try using chicken livers, hot dogs or even commercially prepared stink baits.

ROOSEVELT LAKE

Lake elevation is 2,121 feet and the lake level is 66 percent. Inflows from the Salt are down to 345 cfs. The runoff season is over, but any torrential storm can result in increased runoff.

The best best fishing appears to be up shallow, especially for post-spawn fish off the major points, islands and reefs of the main lake. The triple-digit weather this past weekend produced mixed results for anglers. Most caught bass, but not everyone experienced good catch rates. Drop shots for post-spawn bass off the points seemed to be effective. There should be some topwater action, especially at first light and last light.

Not hearing any reports about what end of the lake has the hot fishing, which isn't unusual this time of year. The bite can be good at times throughout the lake, especially for post-spawn fish along the major points, islands and reefs.

No doubt there are still bass on beds, but at this point in the spawning season, expect those beds to be a little deeper, depending on water temperature and sunlight penetration. With the lack of turbid runoff this year, Roosevelt has pretty clear water right now.

Last weekend should have been a real good time for crappie under lights at night, but only have one report so far (see angler report below). Live minnows and mini-jigs should be effective on ultra-light tackle.

This is the largest inland lake in Arizona. Thanks to the dam being raised in the mid 90s and the lake finally filling to full capacity in 2005, Rosey has a dual personality — it the oldest of our large man-made reservoirs in the West, but it also has elements of being a new lake with lots of submerged vegetation — especially trees thanks to the enlarged lake.

It is also the top-of-the-line lake along the Salt River, so each year it typically gets terrific nutrient loading from runoff. However, the runoff this year was marginal — so was the nutrient loading. Yet last year there was terrific nutrient loading and associated spawns. Expect to encounter lots of yearling bass.

Let us know if you have any current  fishing information (raikens@azgfd.gov).

This is the leading edge of the flathead catfish season. Try small bluegill or carp as bait.

Angler report:

My wife and I had an awesome weekend at Roosie. Caught about a dozen bass and a couple dozen crappie in two days. Most of the fish were still small but we did keep a couple for dinner. Largest crappie 15", largest

Bass 3 1/2 lbs.  Caught all crappie using lights and minnows.  Fishing was slow and I do not believe they have spawned yet.

Fished early morning and late evening for Bass. Tried the for Bass on the beds with everything in the tackle box with no success but crank baits ended up working the best for us. Also talked to folks using spinner baits, plastic worms, and even top water early in the mornings that were doing well.

All in all it was a great trip and it was great to get out on the water.  We are planning another trip in two weeks and we can't wait.

Christopher Sterner

My pop and I fished rosie yesterday. We caught most of our bass on crankbaits and 4-inch robo worms. I didn't have any luck with a buzzbait early. We caught a few late in the afternoon slow rolling a spinnerbait in about 18 feet of water.

Noticed a lot of boats in the Salt end but didn't have much luck there. We didn't do great, but we did manage to put some fish in the boat.

Happy fishing.

Kyle Scott

APACHE

Lake elevation is 1,907 feet (93 percent full). As with the other desert lakes, you can expect to find largemouth bass in pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn modes right now. Haven't heard anything on the smallmouth bass front recently.

Some anglers have done well catching largemouth bass, with some decent smallmouth bass as well. Please practice catch-and-release on spawners, especially smallmouth bass, to help this lake on the comeback trail.

This can be a great month for walleye. Walleye are light sensitive, so try at first and last light. Worm rigs can work, but another strategy is to tip any of your lures with pieces of night crawler, even while fishing for bass, and you might also get a walleye surprise.

Apache is also full of some really nice yellow bass. Try gold KastMasters or yellow/gold Rooster Tails.

CANYON

Lake elevation is 1,657 feet, which is 95 percent full. The storm front slowed down the bite, but it should pick back up. This can be a tough lake to fish, especially for novice anglers, and even veteran anglers can expect low catch rates but it is the land of the lunkers, especially during the bass spawn.

This is a great place to catch channel catfish from shore. Catfishing will still be a little slow right now. Try using stink bait.

SAGUARO

Lake elevation is 1,525 feet at 93 percent full. The storm front slowed down the bite, but it should pick right back up again. Expect to find bass in the pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn mode. Some anglers are experiencing good catch rates, others aren't.

If you can't find largemouth bass, try some gold KastMasters for yellow bass. They are fun to catch on lightweight tackle, and pretty good eating as well.

Saguaro is an early-bird lake for channel catfish. In fact, bass anglers sometimes catch them while working shad-like lures. Water releases are around 850 cfs.

BARTLETT

Lake elevation 1,755 feet, 47 percent full. The Jojoba Boat Ramp is open.

This is a fishing hot spot for largemouth bass and crappie. Expect to find active post-spawn bass in the shallows, especially the major lake points, islands and reefs. Drop shots, crankbaits and jigs are all working at times.

Curly-tailed grubs on jig heads are a good bet here. There can also be sporadic topwater action for bass.

The night fishing for crappie last weekend as decent. Although most crappie are small, there are just enough slabbers to kept it interesting. Try live minnows fished under submersible lights. It's also possible to catch crappie during the day, especially at first light.

This is the leading edge of the really good flathead catfish bite. Try live bluegill or small carp as bait. Look for the deeper holes, especially uplake where there is a little current.

HORSESHOE

Lake is empty.

VERDE RIVER

Verde River flow at Tangle is 155 cubic feet per second.

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake)

They are releasing from 900 to 1,000 cfs out of Stewart Mountain Dam from Saguaro. Stocked this week with 1,214 rainbows and the water temperature was 68F.
Trout fishing should be decent on night crawlers, small spinners, casting spoons such as KastMasters and flies. This is a unique desert river trout fishery in the Upper Sonoran Desert. It's a great place to catch some excellent memories.

Creeks Below the Mogollon Rim
The following creeks were stocked last week and will be stocked again this week:
*Tonto Creek — Stocked this week with 326 rainbows and the water temperature was 50F.
*Christopher Creek  — Stocked with 303 rainbows and the water temperature was 48F.
*Haigler Creek — Stocked with 326 rainbows and the water temperature was 56F.
*East Verde River — Stocked with 607 rainbows.
*Canyon Creek
Try night crawlers, Power Bait, or small spinners, such as Mepps and Rooster Tails. Power Bait can also work well.
Don't forget we have a new interactive 2012 trout stocking schedule that actually shows the locations we stock along the creeks.

COLORADO RIVER NORTHWEST

LAKE POWELL

By: Wayne Gustaveson. Fishing is fantastic as long as you are fishing for bass in the afternoon.  Bass spawning is imminent.  It may take another week due to unsettled weather but fishing will remain very good for bass for the rest of the month.

Water temperature still declines into the mid 50s overnight but by afternoon water in the backs of the canyons and coves warms to the mid 60s.  This warming and cooling cycle produces the best bass fishing of the year.
  

Sight fishing for very big bass makes fishing very exciting. Bass are cruising the shallow shoreline looking for nests sites. Water is often crystal clear making bass very visible as they leisurely swim from one clump of brush to the next. The secret to actually catching bass is to put the lure in front of them before you see each other. Bass can see you as well as you see them. One approach is mark the spot where a large bass or nest is seen. Return a few hours later. Throw a long cast to the bush where the bass lives.  Let the bait rest on bottom for at least a minute or two and then twitch it once.  That should result in a hook up if the bass is still there.

The best lure this week was a 5- or 6-inch Yamamoto Senko fished on an offset worm hook.  Fish it very patiently.

The good news about early warming and small runoff is that sight fishing for cruising and nesting bass may be prolonged into May. Bass nests made this week may still be visible and only a foot or two deeper during May.  Bass fishing will be good enough that all anglers will be successful.  So remember to release largemouth bass and male smallmouth bass that are guarding nests. It is fine to keep smallmouth bass 12 inches and smaller.

Crappie are hanging in the submerged trees and are visible in clear water.  They too will be on nests by the third week of April if not earlier.  The crappie limit is 10 fish as we try to protect the population for future years when brush inevitably declines and survival of young crappie will be more difficult.  Keep 10 crappie and release the rest for another day.

Striped bass are a bit of a mystery. Yearling stripers up to 15 inches are eating plankton in the back of the canyons in treetops where bottom depth is 15-25 feet. Trees stick up to 5-10 feet under the surface. Trolling and casting very shallow running crankbaits is most effective during morning and evening hours.

Larger stripers make occasional appearances in the treetops but most of the time they are absent.  Finding big stripers is a random event. The most successful pattern is to troll or fish deep running spoons and jigs along drop-offs where depth changes rapidly from 40 to 25 feet. Isolated schools are very cooperative when found but very difficult to locate.
 

Adult stripers are not being seen in deep water, and are more likely to be found toward the back of the canyon or along the edge of the main channel. They have not moved toward the channel or the dam.  Do not expect to find large numbers of stripers in the deep water channel this spring.  They are fat and lazy living off stored fat from the many shad that were eaten last fall.  They will stay in the backs of canyons until water warms into the 70s.

Fishing will be excellent during the rest of April in between the cold storm fronts of springtime.

LEES FERRY

By: Terry Gunn, Lees Ferry Anglers, April 20.

The recent fishing has been good, though not as great as some springs of years past. I attribute this to our lighter than normal midge hatches that have occurred so far this spring.

The midges were late in arriving and for reasons that are not clear, the hatches are not as heavy as we have seen in past years. This could very well change; there have been some years where the hatches in May and June were huge and the projected water flows should be conducive to big hatches this year. It is likely that the reason for the lighter than normal hatches (or late hatches) is linked to the high water flows of 2011 and could also be due to the higher water temps that these flows brought to the river; river temps actually got up to 60 degrees last December before plummeting to 46 degrees (normal) in less than a week.

I don’t think that there is a long term change in the midge population but just a cycle that we are going through. The fish are still feeding in the deeper water and we are seeing a bunch of fish in the riffles that want to feed, but are just waiting on the midges to show up.

A great way to get to the feeding fish in the deeper water is to drift flies from a boat. This is a terrific way to cover lots of water and show fish that get very little fishing pressure a fly. The trick is to know where the fish are and then set up your drift do that the boat drifts through the area that contains the most fish. You always want to cast away from the boat towards either shore. The trick is to get a perfect dead drift the same as when you are wading. The best way to do this is to fish slack line on the water. You will need a long leader and the right amount of split shot and as a general rule, if you cannot see the bottom, you are fishing water that is too deep.

Current flow forecasts are for perfect wading flows. Since the snowpack in the Rockies is much below normal, we’ll see low flows for at least the next year. Keep in mind that the water flows will be lower on the weekends and holidays. To help put the current flow levels into perspective; our current high flow is approximately four vertical feet lower than the flows that we saw in 2011…the river is finally back to normal. It is really good to be back in the river, wading and sight casting.

To help understand why midges are so important to our fishing success it’s good to know more about the lifecycle of midges and their importance to the trout diet. The adult midges contribute very little to the trout diet. It is rare that you will see an adult trout rise to feed on an adult midge; the reason is that the amount of energy expended is not worth the food intake. The adult midges breed then release their eggs into the water. The eggs sink and hatch into a tiny caterpillar (larvae) that lives on the bottom of the river for an extended period of time. At some point the larvae pupates and forms a chrysalis. The midge pupae will release in mass, and countless pupae will begin slowly drifting to the surface. This in turn flips the feeding switch for the trout and the fish will move into the shallow riffles where the pupae are concentrated by the shallow water. This is when the trout are feeding so heavily that they get careless and will eat our fly if it has a close resemblance to the midge pupae that they are feeding on.

The bigger the hatch the better the fishing; this is why the best fishing always occurs during big hatches and why the midge hatches are so important to the trout diet. The biggest midge hatches always occur in the lower water flows. During the lower flows trout are not eating worms or scuds because these food items are not available; the only time that worms and scuds are available is during the high water flows when the higher velocity water moves the suds and worms around. If there are no midge hatches in the lower flows the fish will not be feeding and the fishing will be slow. I go into a lot more detail on fish feeding behavior here: http://www.leesferry.com/main/area-information/fishing-101

Be sure to stop by the shop to see the flies that are currently working. The flies change on a daily basis and every day the LFA guides let everyone at the shop know the top producing flies and how to use them.

The spawn is very weak this year. I figure that this is a “compensatory response” due to the fact that the spawn and recruitment has been so successful the past couple of years. This is a natural response by the fish and I have seen it many times over the years and next year will likely be different.

The streamer fishing has been picking up and will likely get hot when the water flows increase this summer. The reason for this is that the higher flows move larger food items around (scuds, worms, etc.).

Walk-In Fly Fishing Report: by Dean Windham

Lees Ferry Walk-in fishing report 04-20-12

The good news is the fishing in the walk-in is really good, and I mean really good. The bad news is that you are not here.

The weather has been great and everyone is catching fish.

Midges have been the ticket for the last couple of weeks. Some of us have been using a double midge rig also known as a “double tiny rig” and this has been very productive. All of the more traditional set ups have also been taking nice fish. This includes San Juan worms, glo bugs and scuds. We have heard that some of the more adventurous are using streamers and getting some larger fish. Several fish over 20 inches were reported this week. So bring all of your flies when you come up here as just about everything is working. Just get up here; you don’t want to hear that you missed some really great fishing.  In fact the creel surveys indicate that this year’s fishing is the best in the last 10 years.

The flows are still fluctuating so this must be considered when setting up your nymphing rig. The biggest mistake I see here is that anglers don’t have the depth right. If you are not hitting the bottom on every other cast you are too high. You can adjust the depth by adding more weight or lengthening your indicator from the first fly.

The upper boulder field has been producing some nice fish on a consistent basis. This is an area with lots of pocket water and the early morning and later afternoon seems to be the best time to fish here. Also try the upper area above the boulder field where the water is deeper and you might hook a larger fish.

From the big rock down to the Paria is still a classic seam area with lots of fish in lots of sizes. Early morning and evening have also been very productive here. Keep in mind that you do not need to cast far. It is only 8 to 10 feet from shore to get to the first seam. Again keep in mind the rising flows will make it a challenge and conditions change all day. This is an area where streamers have been working well. The streamers appear to be really better in the late afternoon and evening. In this area the fish will fight very hard so make sure that your leader and tippet is new and the knots are tight.

The area where the Paria enters the Colorado River is also a good place to get some nice fish. I fished this area all week and caught fish in all sizes with the larger ones at 19 to 20 inches. Streamers are being used very effectively here in the late afternoons. Again the seams are not far off of the silty area where the Paria River enters the river so you don’t need to wade too far out or you will be in the middle of the holding fish. This is a great area to practice you long dead drifts. The double midge rig has been a top producer here. But word of caution when wading in this area, be very cautious due to the silt that can be almost like quick sand. A wading staff is a good thing to have here.

So to wrap things up the rating for the walk-in the past few weeks is an 8 some people have called it a 9 or 10!) So what are you waiting for? This is the time to visit Lees Ferry and catch the lunker you have only dreamed about.

Spin fishing walk-in report 04-20-12

With the low flows this has made spin fishing at the walk-in much more difficult. Fish are being caught using panther martins and kastmasters as well as drifting glo bugs and wooly buggers. But this has not been as productive as the fly fishing. To be successful you need to fish later in the day when the water is higher so that you are just off of the bottom. The best area is from the big rock down to where the Paria comes into the Colorado. So my suggestion is to bring a fly rod and learn to nymph fish and you will have a blast. As we get closer to summer the flows will increase and the spin fishing will again be great. Hope to see you on the water soon.

Spin Fishing Up River:

Spin fishing is good! It’s all about bouncing Glo bugs, San Juan Worms and Scuds off the bottom. The fish are spawning in deep water and if you know where to look we are catching lots of big fish that are wearing spawning colors. You can also try fishing with gold Kastmasters, black and gold Panther Martins #5s or Rapalas in Perch or trout. Also definitely don’t forget about the marabou jig, this one has been working great and has been very reliable. When spin fishing up river look for the seams that are out where the fast and slow water meet. This is where you will find some nice fish holding. Don’t be afraid to make long cast but accuracy is important.

For details on Lake Powell conditions and snow-pack, go here: http://lakepowell.water-data.com/
For a real time graphic view of water releases and ramp rates go here: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/az/nwis/uv?09380000.

LAKE MEAD

In the last week the water level has dropped almost 2 feet to approximately 1,125 feet above msl.  It looks like the water elevation has stabilized compared to the November 2010 elevation of 1082 feet above msl, which marked the lowest level in decades. 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 April 21. The next new moon will be May 20.  Dark nights work best when fishing under light.

Fishing for stripers in 50 plus feet of water will normally find the larger fish. 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 azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

LAKE MOHAVE

The lake level has maintained about 642 feet above msl. The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly especially on grass beds in 20 to 30 feet deep.

Trolling with anchovies in 30 to 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. The local bass club held a tournament on April 15 and all ten boats brought in the limit of 5 fish with the average weight of 2.53 lbs. and a big fish of 3.64 lbs.

Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon was April 21.  The next new moon will be May 20.  Dark nights work best when fishing under light. Cut anchovies usually work the best.

Biologists from both Arizona Game and Fish Department and Nevada Division of Wildlife with the help of volunteers, National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation personnel have continued to install fish habitat in Carp Cove, Box Cove, Shoshone, and Arrowhead.  Fish habitat consists of PVC structures, wood pallet structures, tamarisk bundles, and some Christmas trees. The largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill and catfish are really utilizing the new structures. Additional habitat will be added at several locations over the next two years. These structures are fish magnets.

There is a wheelchair accessible fishing pier just south of the main launch ramp at Katherine's Landing. If you fish Mohave and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

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

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

WILLOW BEACH

Willow Beach is stocked every Friday with 3,000 13-inch rainbow trout. Rainbow, peach, garlic and yellow Power Baits and Power Worms 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 gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM

Trout continue to bite in the casino area with some larger fish in the deep holes. Several folks have called and spoke of very large trout being caught in the Laughlin area. Rusty from Riviera Marina sent a picture of a beautiful 17 pound striper caught in the Rotary Park area. Overall the fishing is great on the river with large rainbow trout still being caught.  Rusty sent a picture in of a beautiful rainbow trout and a nice fillet size striper.

Topock Gorge: Capt. Doyle's Fishing Report:

With the exception of a few off days–lingering lows and wind, April has been a stellar month for bass and sunfish in the Topock Gorge! Most of the bass have been taken on minnows and night crawlers.

Smallmouth sizes have been ranging between 2- and 5-pounds and the sunfish have weighed up to 1.5-pounds. I would like to petition anglers to please exercise catch-and-release so our bass have a chance to reproduce which in turn will further a fish rich river. Bass are territorial, so releasing them where they were caught is also beneficial.

Ray Schaefer and Jerry Jacobs of Goodyear, Arizona recently boated a limit of smallmouth and 10 nice sunfish. Brady and Kyle Spilker of Seven Hills, OH caught a bounty of tasty little bluegill on night crawlers and a mixed bag limit of largemouth and smallmouth bass on live bait.

Fishing exclusively for bass, Robert Abella from Las Vegas, NV and his party picked up some impressive bass–a 2-, a 3-, a 4- and the biggest so far this month, a 5.5-pounder!

Striped bass have finally begun to move up river. It’s a soak your bait all-day event, but the sizes may be worth the wait. John and Pat Morris of Golden Shores, Arizona took home two, a 2- and a 4-pounder, from the Blankenship Bend area and another pair, a 3- and a 4-pounder, higher up into the Gorge. Anchovy was, of course, the bait of choice. Pat told me they took another couple of stripers in the 3-pound class a week later.

Another Golden Shores resident, Bob Meltzer, also caught a 3-pound line-side. Meltzer was pitching chovy in the reeds near the Elbow. Bait fishermen need to check their bait regularly. If there’s no bait on your hook you’re just fishing on credit.

Fishing news from Topock Marsh has finally surfaced. It appears fishers are reaping crappie at both Catfish Paradise and at North Dyke. No sizes were reported. Because of the time of year, there’s a good possibility the fish are black crappie rather than white.
Thanks, 
Georgia
  

TOPOCK MARSH

The action at Topock Marsh has been steadily improving. Night crawlers and live minnows have been tempting catfish from North Dyke. Bass can be hit and miss but live bait has been reported to work the best now. 

Stripers appear abundant from the February AZGFD survey. Small crappies are being taken throughout 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 http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/havasu/index.html.

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

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

SOUTHWESTERN WATERS

Note: If you would like more information on southwestern waters, visit http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/where_fish_southwest.shtml. Our Yuma Regional office has recently updated all the information to provide you more insight into these fisheries.

For more information, visit the updated "Where to Fish" pages at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/where_fish_southwest.shtml.

LAKE HAVASU — Report courtesy John Galbraith of BassTackleMaster.com, Lake Havasu City, Az.

Lake Havasu City. Lake Level 447.58. Stripers hitting on slow trolled cut anchovies rigged with 1.5 to 2 oz. banana sinkers with a 2- to 4-foot leader. Anchovy rig should be skipping along the bottom for best results. Main basin north of Winsor, Havasu Landing and Calif Bay have been the best trolling areas.

Best Bait fishing action on anchor has been south of Devils Elbow to Castle Rock in the main river current where stripers are schooling up to spawn.
First couple hours of the morning have produced the best quality stripers. Topwater action staring now with surface temps rising into the mid/upper 60s.

Largemouth and Smallmouth spawn continues. Good bass action on chartreuse-tailed finesse worms no longer than 4.5 inches. Small crawdad type plastics have been working good too. Please practice catch and release during this spawning time to give our bass a chance to reproduce.

PARKER STRIP

No recent reports. Should be decent smallmouth bass fishing just below Parker Dam.

ALAMO LAKE

Fishing Report courtesy Mark Knapp at Alamo Lake State Park.

Well folks, as I sit here with my allergies driving me nuts I have the following to report. Bass fishing is decent.  All Stars/Best Bet Fishing Club had their tournament out here last Saturday.  A congratulations goes to Kevin Buffalin and Jason Sheer that won the tournament. Their winning weight (and I apologize if I goof this up) was 9.8 pounds I think big was was caught by Don Robinson or David Norton going 3.78 pounds.

I will have more on this in next weeks reports because there doing back to back weekends with their couples tournament next weekend. Hopefully I got that right. Of course nobody really gave up what they caught fish on.

Dan and Sue Prentice from Pioneer R.V Park stopped by and to me they caught 20 crappies and 20 bass throwing a 1/8-ounce road runner with a solid white skirt and minnow trailer last week. As I'm writing this, Jeff Shinn and Gary Goodman stated they did real well throwing watermelon Senkos in 12 to 20 feet of water.  I've also heard catfish are just nailing training wheels.  Try throwing a small Shad Wrap and hold your pole.

The way the lake is dropping it's a real struggle to keep the main ramp open. We strongly encourage you to use Cholla Ramp.  If your boat's over 17 feet or a deep V then it's a must at this point.  I'm trying to keep it open but the next time I have to pull someone out then it's a done deal. I would almost bet money that were going to be using the old metal portable ramp by the end of summer. I will open and close ramps according to safety. Some people seem to have a hard time understanding that, but will want my head on a pole if they sank there truck or tore up there boat if I let them do what they want.   We have about 10 to 12 feet of water at Cholla ramp and a nice dock.

I think I mentioned that The Alamo Friends group form Wickenburg installed two solar lights.  One at Cholla and one at the main ramp.  It's nice to come off the lake and have a light to see to put your gear away.

O.K. I just got off the phone with one of the Dam tenders.  The lake level is at 1104.5  with releases of 40 cfs.  If that's not enough to bumb you out then on May 1st the releases go to 50 cfs.  Once the lake level hits 1,100 even then there mandated to back down to 25 cfs for the summer and down to 10 cfs in the winter until we get rains and the lake fills again.   So in a nutshell we're losing a foot a month,  and summer is not even here yet.  Which reminds me.  Bring sun block, bug spray and water.

Before I forget, there's an excellent topwater bite going first thing in the morning.  Any kind of topwater should work but I would throw a frog.  Junior and I have been going out every night and averaging 10 to 15 bass between the two of us.  He is throwing a brush hog and I'm playing with all kinds of stuff to see if I can get something dialed in.  I think the fish would eat a spark plug when the bite turns on.  

Starting tonight I'm taking my boat out of service to do some long overdue maintenance on it.  If all goes well I will have it done by the time this storm blows through Thursday.  For Juniors sake I hope so or otherwise I'm strapping a trolling motor on him and going to floating him around the lake until it's fixed.  I kinda like the way that would look.  Toss him in, jump on his back, give him a kick, and say " put me on some fish lad!"   Well that's all I have time for today.

Mark

COLORADO RIVER (PARKER STRIP AREA)

Fishing for smallmouth bass over two 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 two 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 as the weather warms up.

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. Fishing picks up as the water temperatures warm up in the spring and summer but largemouth can be taken any time of the year.

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

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

MITTRY LAKE

Mittry Lake is located just above Laguna Dam, and supports a good population of largemouth bass and channel catfish, and even some good-sized flathead catfish. There are shoreline fishing opportunities at this lake in the form of about a dozen rock jetties, but you’ll probably have the best success in a small boat. Mittry Lake can be frustrating, as the bite seems to be real variable, but the fish are there. It is just a question of getting them to respond to your presentation. The water tends to be very murky most of the year, except for the upper end of Teal Alley where the lake inflow comes in, so play to the fish’s sense of hearing and smell, rather than sight.

There are also crappie and sunfish to be caught, although they tend to average relatively small in size. Mittry Lake is well-known locally for the quality largemouth bass it produces, and fishing during the spring spawn will increase your chances of success.

YUMA AREA PONDS

The Department has stepped up efforts to encourage the recruitment of new anglers, and retention of existing ones. To this end, the Department has increased stocking efforts in a few ponds in the Yuma area that are easily accessed without a boat, within a short distance of the urban center. Those ponds are the Yuma West Wetlands pond, located in the City Park, and Redondo and Fortuna ponds, located about 10 miles northeast of Yuma. Access to Redondo Pond was recently improved with the addition of an ADA-compliant fishing pier, and thick cattail growth was removed at Fortuna Pond this summer, improving shoreline access by many orders of magnitude. All of these waters received multiple stockings of rainbow trout in the winter months; Redondo Pond will be stocked with channel catfish during the spring, and the Yuma West Wetlands pond will receive channel catfish and bluegills. We may be able to stock Fortuna Pond with channel catfish in the future, pending the outcome of the statewide sport-fish stocking consultation with the USFWS that is hopefully nearing completion. 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 redear 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 redear 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 indicate 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 http://www.yumabassman.com/.

CENTRAL MOUNTAINS

Note: The summer trout stocking schedule can be accessed at http://www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/h_f/fishing/stocking/2012SumTroutStockSchedule.pdf

WILLIAMS LAKES:   

KAIBAB LAKE

Campground is closed. No report. Has been liberally stocked for weeks.

CATARACT LAKE

Campground is closed.  No report.  Stocked this week with 2,500 rainbow trout and the water temperature was 56 F.
CITY RESERVOIR

No report, stocked last week and scheduled for stocking again next week.

DOGTOWN LAKE

Campground is closed. Stocked this week with 3,760 trout and the water temperature was 64 F.

JD DAM — No report

RUSSELL TANK — The lake is to shallow to stock.

SANTA FE — No Report. Stocked Last Week and scheduled for stocking again this coming week.

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campground is closed. Stocked this week with 3,876 rainbow trout and the water temperature was 68F.

FLAGSTAFF LAKES:

LOWER LAKE MARY — Very low water. No report.

UPPER LAKE MARY —   No report but anglers should be catching northern pike right now. This lake also has walleye, yellow perch and largemouth bass.

ASHURST LAKE —   No report but the road is open. About 16,000 fish were stocked last week and Ashurst is scheduled to be stocked again this week.

The lake was sampled a couple of weeks ago and lots of holdover rainbow trout were caught. Smaller pike were also common in our nets; please remove all of the pike you catch. 

FRANCIS SHORT POND –  Fishing was fair last week according to the report I received from a fly angler.  Stocked this week with 299 rainbows and the water temperature was 54 F.

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road is still closed.

MARSHALL LAKE —  No report low water

LONG LAKE — No report. Accessible, but no reports from anglers.

SOLDIERS & SOLDIERS ANNEX — No report.

VERDE VALLEY

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Catfish were last stocked for the Verde River Days event.  Trout were last stocked the week of March 19.  The catfish and largemouth bite has been fair.  Catfish are still being caught on nightcrawlers, 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.

OAK CREEK

Will be stocked weekly throughout the spring-summer fishing season. Expect fishing to be good for rainbow trout, and fair to poor for brown trout.

Don't forget that a small segment of this creek in the upper end of the canyon has special regulations. Between Junipine Crossing and Call-of-the-Canyon Crossing (includes the confluence with the West Fork of Oak Creek), trout must be immediately released unharmed (catch-and-release), no trout may be kept, and it is artificial fly and lure only with single barbless hooks.

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley)

Trout were last stocked the week March 26.  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. 

WET BEAVER CREEK

Stocked with rainbow trout during the first week of April and is scheduled to be stocked again the last week of April.

WEST CLEAR CREEK

Stocked the first week of April and scheduled to be stocked again the last week of April.

Prescott Area

FAIN LAKE

The last stocking was the week of April 16. Scheduled to be stocked again the last week of April.  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.  Brown trout and rainbows are hitting the flies very well with one fisherman catching 47 fish (all browns) off the same fly.  Flies are less likely to get swallowed so releasing the fish is much easier. 

GOLDWATER LAKE

Many anglers have reported doing well. Power Bait is probably your best bet, although spinners and flies can do well also.  The father of Jackson and Isabella sent in a picture with the kids holding their limit of trout with priceless smiles on each of their faces. They were using worms with a bobber and the occasional KastMaster or a tiny Rapala.  Like most fishing areas, one day the bite is great and the next it’s slow.  The last scheduled stocking was the week of April 9 and is scheduled to be stocked again the first week of May.     
Game and Fish has been trying to boost the some of the warm water species in Goldwater. Bass and catfish have been stocked three times over the last four years. The bass are being stocked to give a boost to a dwindling population in the lake and to reduce the excessive number of crayfish.  Please practice catch and release with the bass, while the population gets re-established.
Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Goldwater on Sept. 15, 2009 and found bass and catfish populations to be much improved over last year. The number of green sunfish was greatly reduced.  The bass had a successful spawn last year.   If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

GRANITE BASIN LAKE

The bass are biting now.  Michael sent in a report of catching 4 largemouth in two hours with the biggest 3.5 pounds.  He was using a rubber trout with a spinner tip and a rainbow trout spinner.  Thanks for the report Michael!  If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

LYNX LAKE

Rainbow trout were last stocked April 9 and the next stocking is the middle of May.  

Cut anchovies, night crawlers or hot dog are your best bet for catfish. Lynx also can be an exciting place to fish for carp.  Common carp are very strong fighters and will provide an excellent table fair. A quick search on the internet will produce tasty recipes for these robust fish. Corn and an assortment of other baits will attract these fish. Lynx can be difficult to fish, if you are not catching anything try moving to a new spot. There are some good spots on the north end of the lake that don’t get fished as heavily as the south end does.

MINGUS LAKE

The last stocking was scheduled for the week of April 16.  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

The last trout stocking was the week of Feb. 13.   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.  If you have fished Watson Lake please send me a report of your trip to share with folks.

Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Watson recent and found the bass, sunfish, and bullhead to be plentiful.  Crappies were also doing well.  Look for the crappie fishing to pick up in a year or two. If you fish Watson and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR

The fishing should be slow until the water warms up I the spring. 
If you fish Willow and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

WHITE MOUNTAINS/MOGOLLON RIM

Recommended Waters to Fish

Fishing for holdover trout is excellent at Big Lake, and good at Nelson Reservoir, Willow Springs Lake, and Woods Canyon Lake.  Trout stocking has begun for the season and fishing will be good at Concho Lake,  Black Canyon Lake, Bunch Reservoir, Luna Lake, Tunnel Reservoir, River Reservoir, Scott Reservoir, Woodland Lake, and Rainbow Lake.  For fly anglers, Becker Lake is good, with reports of 24-25 inch rainbow trout.

Trout Stocking Schedule

Trout stocking for the week of April 16-20

Becker Lake – 750 rainbow trout

Black Canyon Lake – 1,640 rainbow trout

Clear Creek Reservoir – 2,430 rainbow trout

Luna Lake – 5,440 rainbow trout

Rainbow Lake – 1,500 rainbow trout

River Reservoir – 2,025 rainbow trout

Tunnel Reservoir – 1,750 rainbow trout

Trout stocking for the week of April 23-27

Concho Lake – 1,640 rainbow trout

Fool Hollow Lake – 1000 1-pound rainbow trout

Fool Hollow Lake – 917 rainbow trout

Show Low Lake – 1000 1-pound rainbow trout

Show Low Lake – 800 rainbow trout

Scott Reservoir – 786 rainbow trout

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES

Note:  All Rim Lakes are ice-free and all Forest Roads are open, including the Rim Road.

BEAR CANYON LAKE

Fishing is fair for carryover trout..  Forest Roads 300 and 89 are now open to Bear Canyon Lake.  The lake is ice-free and full.

BLACK CANYON LAKE

Fishing is good.  The lake was stocked last week with 1,640 rainbow trout.  Forest Roads 300 and 86 are open to Black Canyon Lake.  The lake is ice-free, but is very low.  Launching a boat will be very difficult.  Recent fish population surveys found a few carryover rainbow trout from 14 to 17 inches, and a few big largemouth bass.

CHEVELON LAKE

Fishing is good.  All Forest Roads are open to Chevelon Lake  The lake is ice-free and full.  The spring spillover should be ending soon.  Recent fish population surveys found good numbers of rainbow trout from 11 to 14 inches, and a few brown trout ranging from 12 to 29 inches.

Angler report:

Rory:

I went up to Chevelon on Saturday. I did decent. I ended up with 8 rainbows and 2 browns. Attached is a picture of a nice 22-inch brown. I let her go for someone else to enjoy someday. I was using big  streamer patterns on full sinking line and working the shoreline. I did caught a few in the middle of the lake. A lot of trout were rising late morning. I left my floating line in the vehicle and did not want to hike back up. I bet they would have hit caddis and parachute Adams. Another guy I was fishing with had similar luck subsurface and caught a personal best 19-inch brown. 

I did talk to a few spin anglers that were doing good for anglers. They were casting spinners out in the middle. Then allowing them to sink and slowing retrieving them. 

You may want to let your department that handles regulation signs that they will need to replace and install some new signs at the gate and probably down by the lake.  The signs explain the special regulations; unfortunately have several bullet holes and are tough to read.  There is no sign down by the north end of the lake down by the water.  I observed several parties not complying to the special regulations.  They were using

Power Bait, worms, corn, etc.  Several of them had small children and are ultimately teaching their little one bad habits.  I avoid confronting people because you never know whom your dealing with.

If you walk the shore on the north end of the lake it is littered with worm tubs, corn cans, Power Bait, beer cans, etc.  When I spoke to some of the anglers they did not have any luck.  They do not realize that a fly will outfish any bait or lure at this lake any day.

It is great that Game and Fish has provided a trophy lake like this.  I appreciate special places like this and want to ensure that they will be special for all to enjoy.  Too bad people do not follow the regulations. I feel the signs may help deter some of the violators. I wanted to share this as I know it is so remote and probably tough to patrol. 

Thank You,

Brian V. Savoy

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE

Fishing is good.  Forest Road 149 is open to Willow Springs Lake.  The lake is ice-free and full, and was stocked several weeks ago with rainbow trout.  The boat dock was damaged by ice over the winter and is not accessible, but it is still okay to launch boats.

WOODS CANYON LAKE

Fishing is good for carryover rainbow trout.  Forest Roads 300 and 105 are open to Woods Canyon Lake.  The lake is ice-free and full.  The store is open and boat rentals are available. Try night crawlers, Power Bait, or small spinners such as Mepps or Rooster Tails. Some anglers have reported catching larger holdover trout, but the lake has been stocked and catch rates should be good.

Creeks Below the Mogollon Rim

The following creeks were stocked last week and will be stocked again this week:
*Tonto Creek — Stocked this week with 326 rainbows and the water temperature was 50F.
*Christopher Creek  — Stocked with 303 rainbows and the water temperature was 48F.
*Haigler Creek — Stocked with 326 rainbows and the water temperature was 56F.
*East Verde River — Stocked with 607 rainbows.
*Canyon Creek
Try night crawlers, Power Bait, or small spinners, such as Mepps and Rooster Tails. Power Bait can also work well.
Don't forget we have a new interactive 2012 trout stocking schedule that actually shows the locations we stock along the creeks.

WHITE MOUNTAINS LAKES

Note: All Forest roads are now open, including Highways 273 and 261. The final pieces of construction on Hwy 273 were completed last fall, so the road is now paved all the way to Big Lake and is in beautiful condition. All lakes are ice-free.

BECKER LAKE

Fishing is good. The lake is ice-free. Some fly fishermen are catching trout on nymphs,  including zebra midges (black and red) and red chironomids, and wooly buggers. Anglers have been consistently catching rainbows over 20 inches.  Becker Lake is catch-and-release only, with artificial lures and flies only with single barbless hook.
BIG LAKE

Fishing is excellent.  Anglers are catching fish all over the lake, including a 22-inch rainbow trout caught last week.

The lake is ice-free and Highways 273 and 261 are open. The final pieces of construction on Hwy 273 were completed last fall, so the road is now paved all the way to Big Lake and is in beautiful condition.  The store is open and boat rentals are available.  Big Lake was not impacted by the Wallow Fire last year.
Try live night crawlers, Power Bait or small spinners, such as Mepps or RoosterTails. Small Rapalas can also work. For trolling, try cowbells, Ford Fenders or Super Dupers. KastMasters can also work well at times.

CARNERO LAKE

Fishing is fair.  The lake is ice-free and all forest roads are now open.  Fish population surveys recently conducted at Carnero Lake found that some trout survived the winter. Few fish were caught, but the weeds are currently down and the entire lake is accessible.  The remaining trout are likely spread throughout the lake. Additional trout will be stocked soon. The lake level is about 1.5 feet down.

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR

Fishing is fair.  Rainbow trout were stocked last week, but the lake is muddy from spring runoff and dredging activity.  The dredging is being conducted to remove tons of sediment deposited in recent years that have affected the depth of the lake.  Bait fishing will likely be more productive than lure fishing since the water clarity is greatly reduced.

CONCHO LAKE

Fishing is good.  The lake is almost full.  It was stocked several weeks ago, and will be stocked again this week with 1,640 rainbow trout.

CRESCENT LAKE

Fishing is fair.  The lake is ice-free and Highways 273 and 261 are now open.  Fish population surveys conducted last week found that some fish survived the winter. A fair number of brook trout from 14 to 16 inches were caught, plus one small rainbow trout.  The lake likely experienced a partial winterkill on the larger rainbow trout, which tend to die first from low oxygen conditions.  Small rainbow trout tend to die next, then brook trout last. 

The surveys showed that only the large rainbows were missing.  The final pieces of construction on Hwy 273 were completed last fall, so the road is now paved all the way to Crescent and Big lakes and is in beautiful condition.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE

Fishing is fair.  The lake was recently stocked with rainbow trout and will be stocked again this week, but with larger 1-pound trout. Fool Hollow is ice-free. Recent fish population surveys found walleye, some large northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, channel catfish, black crappie and some holdover rainbow trout.

Large walleye from Fool Hollow Lake captured in recent surveys (released alive back into the lake)

GREER LAKES

Fishing is good. River Reservoir, Bunch Reservoir, and Tunnel Reservoir are full and ice-free.  All three lakes have been recently stocked, with River and Tunnel stocked most recently last week.

HULSEY LAKE

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

LEE VALLEY LAKE

Highways 273 and 261 are now open. The final pieces of construction on Hwy 273 were completed last fall, so the road is now paved all the way to Lee Valley Lake and is in beautiful condition.  Lee Valley Lake was not impacted by the Wallow Fire last year.  The lake is ice-free, but the lake level is fairly low.  Fish population surveys will be conducted this week to determine if there was a winterkill.

LUNA LAKE

Fishing is good.  Luna Lake was stocked heavily with 5,440 rainbow trout last week.  The lake is full and ice-free..

LYMAN LAKE

Lyman Lake State Park is closed to public entry and will re-open during the summer of 2012.

NELSON RESERVOIR

Fishing is fair for holdover trout. The lake is full and ice-free. Anglers are catching a few large trout about 1-2 pounds each.  Recent fish population surveys found holdover trout from 13 to 18 inches and black crappie from 7 to 14 inches.  Try fishing night crawlers or Power Bait in deep water or trolling lures or flies.  The lake will be stocked when the lake stops spilling.

RAINBOW LAKE

Fishing is good.  The lake has been recently stocked with large 1-pound rainbow trout and regular stocker rainbow trout.  It was most recently stocked last week, with 1,500 more rainbow trout. The lake is full and ice-free.  Recent fish population surveys found numerous small northern pike, bullheads, largemouth bass and sunfish, but no carryover trout.

SCOTT RESERVOIR

Fishing is good.  The lake was stocked recently with rainbow trout.  Scott Reservoir is full and ice-free.  Recent fish population surveys found good carryover of trout in the 13-15 inch size, plus a few large channel catfish.
SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is good.  The lake was stocked recently with regular stocker rainbow trout and will be stocked again this week with larger 1-pound trout.  Show Low Lake is ice-free and about 6 feet down, but the boat ramp is still usable.  The fishing pier located across the dam is now accessible.  Boat rentals will be available soon, see the campground host.  Some of the campgrounds are open.

Large smallmouth bass from Show Low Lake captured in recent surveys (released alive back into the lake)

WOODLAND LAKE

Fishing is good.  The lake was stocked recently with rainbow trout.  Anglers are catching trout on the bottom with bait, and with small spinners/lures or flies when they are rising at the surface.  Woodland is full and ice-free.  The trout bag and possession limit is 4 trout.

WHITE MOUNTAIN STREAMS

Note: All Forest roads are now open, including Highways 273 and 261. The final pieces of construction on Hwy 273 were completed last fall, so the road is now paved all the way to Big Lake and is in beautiful condition.

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER

Fishing is fair to good for wild brown trout.  The East Fork survived the Wallow Fire of 2011 much better than expected and is currently holding many wild brown trout. Portions of the East Fork will not be accessible by vehicle, since Forest Road 249 and the campgrounds will be closed.  Vehicle access is currently open only at Buffalo Crossing at the lower end and Three Forks at the upper end.  The stream is scheduled to be stocked with hatchery trout at Buffalo Crossing starting in May.

WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER

Fishing is poor in the lower reaches due to moderate impacts on fish populations from the Wallow Fire last year.  Wild brown trout still exist in the lower reaches, but in low numbers.  Fishing in the middle and upper reaches is fair to good.  The upper reaches of the West Fork were not impacted by the fire.  Access is open at the Forest Road 25 bridge, Forest Road 68 crossing, and Forest Road 116.  The West Fork campground will be closed through the year due to safety reasons.  The stream is scheduled to be stocked with hatchery trout at the FR 68 crossing starting in May.  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 and a 6 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 last fall.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER

Fishing is fair for wild brown trout.  The mainstem Little Colorado River and West Fork LCR (Government Springs) in Greer were not impacted by the Wallow Fire last year.  Stream surveys in the fall of 2011 found numerous wild brown trout.  Hatchery trout are scheduled to be stocked starting in May.

SHEEPS CROSSING

Fishing is fair for wild Apache trout.  Highway 273 is now open.  Sheeps Crossing was not affected by the Wallow Fire last year.  Hatchery Apache trout are scheduled to be stocked starting in May.

SILVER CREEK

Fishing is good for holdover trout.   Silver Creek is now open to bait and a bag/possession limit of 6 trout (April 1 through September 30).  The upper section is now closed to angling, which is well signed.  The stream is scheduled to be stocked starting in May.

SOUTHERN ARIZONA

Note: Please send me your fishing reports from Southern Arizona!  Fishing reports can be sent to Don Mitchell, Regional Fish Program Manager by email at dmitchell@azgfd.gov.  These reports will then be complied and reported in our weekly fishing reports.

The winter trout stocking season is pretty much over here in southern Arizona. Warm temperatures have begun to raise water temperatures and anglers can expect to start catching bass and sunfish as these become more active with the increasing temperatures.Summer trout stocking will begin soon at Rose Canyon Lake and Riggs Flat provided water quality parameters are favorable. The summer stocking schedule for the entire state can be found here:  http://www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/h_f/fishing/stocking/2012SumTroutStockSchedule.pdf.  This schedule is updated as changes occur so check back often! The stocking schedule is now interactive, so check it out.

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

URBAN LAKES

The third catfish stocking of the spring season was the week of April 16-21 at all Tucson area Urban waters.

Cats have been biting very well on worms, stink baits, hot dogs or shrimp fished on the bottom. Catfish have been active throughout the day with afternoons and evenings best.

Bluegill fishing is good at waters that were just stocked the end of March. Best baits for the feisty, 5- to 8-inch bluegill are worms and mealworms fished under a small bobber in 3- to 6-foot depths.

Action for largemouth bass has slowed as they move into the post-spawn period over the next few weeks. Please exercise catch-and-release for largemouth bass and remember the minimum keepable size for bass is 13 inches.

RIGGS FLAT

The lake is now open for the summer.   The lake has not been stocked but it will be soon. Scheduled for stocking the last week in April.  Fly angler are reporting success on holdover brown trout. The summer trout stocking schedule can be accessed at http://www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/h_f/fishing/stocking/2012SumTroutStockSchedule.pdf

CLUFF RANCH

No recent reports of success.  The pond is close to being full and there should be no problems with boat launching.  For lake information call (928) 485-9430.

ROPER LAKE

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

DANKWORTH POND

Remains closed to access during renovation.  The department is wrapping up the final renovation work by installing artificial habitat structures this week.  It is expected that the lake will begin to re-fill in the next week or so.

FRYE MESA RESERVIOR

Anglers continue to report success in catching Gila trout.  Remember that the daily bag and possession limit for this species is 1 fish.

ARIVACA

Open to anglers, water levels are continuing to drop and it will be difficult to launch larger boats.  Use caution when launching your boat and pay attention for submerged trees and rocks that are near the surface due to low water levels.  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.

PENA BLANCA

The department stocked Pena Blanca Lake two weeks ago with close to 2,000 largemouth bass, redear sunfish, bluegill sunfish and channel catfish. Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be immediately released alive. Additionally all mercury advisories against the eating of warmwater fish caught at Pena Blanca Lake remains in effect.  Future testing will determine if and when these advisories will be lifted.

PATAGONIA

Fishing continues to pick up with bass anglers having success working the shorelines in shallower water.  The spawn is close so anglers can expect to see more activity.

PARKER CANYON

Fly anglers are reporting success as are anglers that are trolling.  Parker Canyon received its last trout stocking for the season the week of April 2. Contact the Parker Canyon Lake Store for up to date information on lake levels and fishing activity at www.parkercanyonlake.com or by phone at (520)455-5847.

ROSE CANYON LAKE

The lake is open to vehicle traffic and it has been stocked.  Prior to the initial stocking fly anglers were reporting catching hold over brown trout. Scheduled to be stocked with rainbows this week.  The summer trout stocking schedule can be accessed at http://www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/h_f/fishing/stocking/2012SumTroutStockSchedule.pdf

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