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Friday, February 3rd, 2023

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Aug. 22 Arizona Fishing Report

Rory's tips:
Friday Update: Roosevelt Lake, Bartlett Lake, Lake Pleasant and Alamo Lake all received some nice high-nutrient inflows the past few days due to torrential rain storms. This will likely make the inflow areas of those lakes a little turbid. A key is often fishing the edge of the stain line. Also, Oak Creek had significant inflows, although we have no reports from the upper end as yet.

The long hot summer is coming to a close and most folks are already making Labor Day weekend plans, so I am going to skip ahead about a week and offer some planning tips.
First and foremost, it's a great time for the last summer mountain excursion. There will probably be crowds at Woods Canyon and Willow Springs, and rightly so. Both of these Rim lakes are exceptional producers and are always worth a visit, crowds or not. Get there early to get a camping spot though.
Just down the road is an interesting creek to fish — Canyon Creek, which we just stocked with a whopping 162 trout. To get there, take the Young road off Highway 260 and keep a watch for the sign for the turn (left). It's easy to miss.
This fishery has a split personality — the upper reach near our Canyon Creek Hatchery has normal regulations and is what we call a put-and-take water. In other words, the trout we stock will typically be caught within a week to 10 days. But the lower section below the OW Bridge is catch-and-release with artificial lure and single barbless hook only. It's a blue-ribbon fishery with some toothy browns lurking in the shadows. It's amazing how well brownies blend in with the creek bottom.
Be sure to stop by the hatchery. Take some change to buy fish food from the dispensers that look  like gumball machines and feed the trout — kids love it. Heck, so do I.
One of my summer favorites is Bear Canyon Lake. This deep canyon lake has decent shoreline access, but don't expect to fish the bottom with your Power Bait. There is a steep drop-off along most of the shoreline. There is a slight hike into this lake, which keeps most people away. There's no store, no facilities (other than a bathroom in the parking lot), and it is only dispersed camping nearby. In other words, I love it.
A little farther down the road is my favorite Rim water — Knoll Lake. It is our most remote trout lake where you can expect to see osprey and/or bald eagles swooping down to pluck a trout from the lake's surface. Bring your camera and binocs! There is a small campground just up the hill from Knoll, but it normally fills fast on any given summer's weekend. However, there's plenty of dispersed camping opportunities for the adventurous.
Let's skip west a ways — Upper Lake Mary near Flagstaff. We just stocked it with 5,704 rainbow trout for the first time in at least a couple of decades. As I mentioned last week, there are no boat motor restrictions at Upper Lake Mary, so it is a great place to take the bass boat. There are also bass, walleye, northern pike, perch and channel catfish. It's a veritable smorgasbord of fishing opportunities.
Want to escape the crowds? Can you say Kinnickinick without smiling? Cool word, and typically a productive summer fishery. It is spring fed so it often has a nice summer bite. There are some decent brown trout here as well. It is best fished from a float tube, canoe or kayak in summer. The trout are not necessarily hanging out along the shoreline. I have been there on Labor Day weekend and seen the campground half empty.
One, it's a washboard dirt road across Anderson Mesa to get there, although once I had a mountain lion run right in front of my truck and I had to brake not to hit it at O-dark-30. Two, it is visually challenged. Instead of tall stately ponderosa pine trees shading your soul, there are wind-challenged pinons and junipers. There are concrete tables and fire rings at the campsites, but all in all, it looks pretty bleak unless you want to get away from folks and then it is downright beautiful. Plus, I like it because if I don't catch fish for dinner, I can scoot over to the Mormon Lake Lodge for one of their delightful dinners or a late breakfast once the fish quit biting.
As usual, Ashurst Lake has been the region's most productive trout fishery again this summer. The guys in the region called it "old reliable."
Since we are visting Anderson Mesa, at least figuratively, let's chat about Long Lake. This is another visually-challenged lake on the eastern edge of Anderson Mesa. When the wind is blowing, it can turn this narrow water into a frothing white-capped nightmare. Plus, it is a long drive down dusty washboarded roads that will make your kidneys question your sanity in going there. And, you might get skunked, but you can escape the crowds and possibly catch a 10- or 20-pound monster pike. Oh, I should mention that there are no facilities, just a concrete launch ramp that is not guaranteed to be in the water. You'd best be a self-sufficient westerner here, or head somewhere else.
On the reverse side of places like Long Lake and Kinnickinick, there is the lovely Greer Valley with all its resorts. There are even places where you can eat lunch and then take a fly-fishing class. There are rustic cabins to rent, or well-appointed resorts with gourmet meals. The lakes are low right now (end of the irrigation season) and the Little Colorado River is probably at a low ebb, but you'll absolutely love fishing this meandering stream.
About an hour away from Greer is my favorite trout fishery of all time — Big Lake. It's appropriately named because it is our largest high-country trout water and has the most species of trout, including rainbows, cutthroats and brookies. There might also be some residual Apache trout surviving, but they haven't been showing up in our surveys for some time.
If I didn't have friends coming to hunt doves on Labor Day weekend, Josh and I would be at Big Lake. However, don't expect to catch a trout limit from shore, it probably won't happen. The fish are mostly in deeper water right now, but if you rent a boat and troll or straight line fish you might fill your creel with lots of feisty memories.
Down the road from Big Lake is another crowd-escaping special — Reservation Lake. It's on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, so be sure to stop at Honda and buy a tribal fishing permit. This lake is well worth it. Like Big Lake, you might not catch a lot of fish from shore, but since it gets so little fishing pressure, your chances are much better. This is one of the larger mountain waters and a ball to fish from a small boat. If you have a float tube, plan on getting a lot of exercise. I like the dispersed nature of the camping there, but some don't. It is a long, washboared road to get there, however.
The other reservation summer special is Hawley Lake, which does have boat rentals. Once again, you'll need a tribal fishing permit, but this shimmering lake is almost surrounded by mountains and is one of the  highest elevation fishing lakes in the state. My youngest boy caught a nice 18-inch brown there — his first browny. Plus I caught my largest brown there ice fishing when I lived in Pinetop back in the mid-1980s.
But, any trip to the White Mountains doesn't seem complete without a stop at Sheeps Crossing on the mighty shoulders of Mt. Baldy, the state's second tallest mountain. I love fishing the series of beaver ponds along this energetic mountain creek. We catch our own grasshoppers, cicadas and night crawlers, then use cane poles or cut some alder poles along the creek. It's a Huckelberry Finn special. By the way, it is possible to hike and fish all the way from Sheeps to the Greer Valley, but it takes all day and lots of preparation. It's wild country with all that entails, so plan accordingly.
This is also a great time to visit a world-renowned trout fishery to escape the crowds. I know, that seems like a contradiction, but it's not.
This is the off-seaon for anglers visiting Lees Ferry in northern Arizona, but it is by no means a slow fishing time. In fact, it's the tail end of the cicada bite and anglers are hauling in some really nice wild rainbows. No kidding! I love the Ferry in late summer. Even though daytime temperatures can soar into triple digits at times, I have had shivering mornings with beautiful crimsom-sided rainbows dancing on the end of my line while they make my reel sing with praise.
Last, but certainly not least is Lake Powell, my favorite fishery of all time in Arizona. No matter how many times I visit Powell, it never fails to enchant me. Check out the Powell report below for tips, but on any give day Powell might just provide some of the best freshwater fishing in North America. Plus with 1,700 miles of shoreline you might not even see another angler, much less have one crowding your elbow on a busy holiday weekend.
So that's my early Monday-morning quarterbacking, a couple of Mondays early. Hope it helps you go catch some great memories during the waning days of summer.

Note: If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to Rory can also be reached at (623) 236-7214.
URBAN LAKES — The final spring stocking of catfish took place the week of June 11-16. The Urban Fishing Program does not stock fish from June 25 through mid-September. Catfish stockings in the Phoenix and Tucson urban lakes will resume the week of Sept. 17-22.

Fishing has been decent for anglers using worms, stink baits, or shrimp fished on the bottom. If you want to use bobbers, rig up a slip bobber and fish 8-12 feet deep.

Catfish are biting irregularly throughout the day, but are more active when the sun goes down. Most catfish are from 13-16 inches, but some lunkers over 3 pounds are being hauled out of the lakes.

Bluegill fishing is good for anglers using worms and mealworms fished under a small bobber in 3- to 6-foot depths. Action for largemouth bass is fair, with the best baits being finesse plastics fished in the early morning hours.

At Green Valley Lakes (Payson), fishing for trout has slowed down since stockings wrapped up on May 11. However, fishing for bass, bluegill and crappie is good. Anglers using worms and meal worms under a small bobber are enjoying plenty of action. Also try small plastic or marabou jigs, plastic worms, and dark-colored nymphs or streamers. Trout stockings will resume in October.
TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Fishing is fair, especially for largemouth bass. the best bite at first and last light for bass and sunfish. This is a good time to try for channel catfish and carp using corn or dough baits after dark. Keep in mind that although this fishery in in the city, it is not part of the Urban Fishing Program, so you will need the regular state fishing license to fish here.
LAKE PLEASANT – Lake level 1,675, 70 percent full with 8,073 surface acres. Crescent moon right now, so fishing using lights at night should be viable.
Mike McFarland, a guide with HookUp Outfitters, said the threadfin are continuing to boil at the surface off-and-on and there is an all-day topwater bite, but you might have to go searching to find the active fish at the surface. Look for bird activity, such as greal blue herons or seagulls. Binoculars can help you spot boils.
The anchovy bite for stripers at around 60 feet is still tapering off a little, but it's still a good fall back if you can't find surface boils.

With a waxing crescent moon this week, it's still a good time to fish at night under submersible lights when thunder storms aren't threatening.
Nighttime fishing for catfish, especially from shore, should be good. This is prime catfish time. Try stink 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 2,103 feet and the lake level is 50 percent.
Crescent moon right now, so this is a good time to fish at night under submersible lights.
Also starting to get some reports of topwater action at first and last light. Right now it seems like the boils are of short duration, but as a rule, the length and timing of the boils will continue increasing as we summer wains. By September, most of us will be fishing topwater off-and-on throughout the day.
Keep some flutter-down lures handy for when the boils subside. A spoon, Senk, curly tail — any or all can work at times. Typically the larger bass are hanging on the bottom below boils, that way they don't have to expend much energy to get a meal — body parts come floating down to them.
This is definitely prime catfish season. For channels, think sink bait. For flatheads, live bait such as bluegills or small carp work best. For channel catfish, try any stinkbait. Although you can catch channels during the day, the prime bite has likely shifted to the nighttime hours.
Not hearing much on the crappie front, but the speckled beauties should be congregated in larger schools, mostly over open water. Once you find them, live minnows and mini-jigs can do the trick.
APACHE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,906 feet (92 percent full). Only have a couple of reports, but those are very good for a mixed bag of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye and buffalo fish.
Both anglers who left messages also saw bighorns on the uplands toward the dam.
You might also find bass chasing shad at the surface, especially at first light. Try working the major points using soft plastic crayfish like lures worked along the bottom. Crankbaits can also work well at times. A few good-sized smallies are being caught — please practice catch-and-release on these fish, which are in the comeback mode. Walleye fishing should be decent at first and last light using night crawler rigs, or jigs tipped with worms. Apache is also full of some really nice yellow bass. Try gold KastMasters or yellow/gold Rooster Tails. Catfishing should be good. Carp fishing is very good. You might even catch one of the monster buffalo fish (see picture from Canyon Lake).
CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is still holding at around 1,659 feet, which is 98 percent full.
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. As the season progresses, the better fishing for bottom dwellers will transition to the nighttime hours.
SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,526 feet at 95 percent full. Largemouth bass fishing is fair to good when the recreational boating pressure is lower, especially at night. With a crescent moon this week, fishing under submersible lights should be very effective.
This is also a great place to take the youngsters at night for some sunfish action on one of the many fishing piers. Try meal worms or night crawlers under a bobber.
BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation 1,756 feet, 44 percent full. The best fishing is at first and last light, or at night. During the day, crankbaits or jigs bounced along the rock stringers, or worked around the points, islands and reefs should produce. Drop shots should also be viable.
Haven't heard much for crappie anglers here, but the speckled beauties should be congregating in larger schools suspended in deeper water, quite often off extended underwater points or along the Yellow Cliffs.
Look for a first-light topwater bass bite. Sometimes it is sporadic to non-existent. But if you hit it right, you might be able to get some good action. This bite should continue getting better and better as the season progresses. There might also be a topwater bite right before monsoon-generated storms hit. But be sure to get off the water of there is lightning.
This is the prime flathead catfish season. Try live bluegill or small carp as bait. Look for the deeper holes, especially uplake where there is a little current. For bluegills, try the backs of rocky coves using night crawlers or meal worms on light tackle.

HORSESHOE LAKE – Lake is empty.
LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – Releases have dropped to 525 cfs cfs out of Stewart Mountain Dam from Saguaro. You might be able to catch some bass or sunfish in the deeper holes. Good time for tubing the Salt — take along a fishing rod.

Creeks Below the Mogollon Rim
The following creeks are being stocked weekly right now. but that will end soon:
* Tonto Creek
* Christopher Creek
* Haigler Creek
* East Verde River
Don't forget we have a new interactive 2012 trout stocking schedule that actually shows the locations we stock along the creeks.

Note: If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to Rory can also be reached at (623) 236-7214.
LAKE POWELL — By: Wayne Gustaveson, July 18, 2012. Lake elevation: 3,631. Water temperature 80-83 F

LAKE POWELL- By: Wayne Gustaveson, Lake Elevation: 3626  
Water Temperature 80-85 F

Fishing strategy this week is to be prepared for anything. Stripers are being caught night and day but it seems to be in a different spot with a different bait or lure each time. The common thread is to look for small stripers splashing and then react to what stripers are doing.

Shad forage is limited in the lower lake but abundant near the Colorado River inflow and the upper San Juan.  Shad are small in size and not attractive to the bigger stripers.  Small stripers visibly attack shad while larger fish lurk nearby in deeper, cooler water.  Big stripers follow the surface feeders hoping for a chance encounter with larger shad. Find small 2-3 fish splashes to locate larger suspended stripers, bass and walleye.
Over the weekend 2-4 pound stripers were caught in Navajo Canyon on bait between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. where small fish had boiled the previous day.  Main channel depth was between 100-110 feet at this location (Monitoring gradually changing channel bottom depth in long canyons is a good way to mark a location that can be described to others).  The following day stripers boiled in the same spot between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. and were readily caught on surface lures and spoons in the same location.

This splash and graph pattern is working lakewide. One time they boil and the next time they suspend at depth in big schools.  Fish are mid way back in the canyons because the backs of canyons with colored water have excessive water temperatures.

My best strategy is to start trolling a deep-diving lure where water color changes from clear to murky with bottom depth near 100 feet.  Look for splashes near shore in shade while graphing for suspended schools in the open channel.  I follow the shade line as stripers really like to hold in shade and look out into brighter water.  In each canyon there will be an area where more fish are marked.  Troll through the fish marks but if they do not respond hover over a school and try spoons. If that does not work then cut up anchovies, broadcast chum around the boat and fish cut bait in 30-60 feet of water.  Look for shade and broken rocks that may harbor crayfish when bait fishing.
Sounds difficult doesn’t it?  It’s a great time to learn about fish behavior because there are a lot of hungry fish just waiting for the right trigger.  It is really gratifying to be able to decipher all the nuances that identify vulnerable fish and catch a bunch of hungry stripers where everyone else has just driven by.

Night fishing is working very well near the marinas. Tie the boat up to the marina breakwater, put out a night light, and watch the shad gather. Chumming attracts the stripers lurking on the outer edge of the light and under the shad school.  Fish deeper than the suspended shad.
On my weekend trip I reluctantly bought anchovies to catch some bigger fish at depth. Trolling while graphing revealed many fish marks on the corner of the channel. I trolled through the fish and was surprised to catch my biggest striper (5 pounds) of the year on a Norman deep diver. While unhooking and taking pictures the familiar sound of boiling stripers echoed off the canyon walls behind us in the shade.  We commenced to catch 20 more 1-3 pound stripers on top in the next half hour.  It was a great trip.
I can try bait next time.

LEES FERRY — Report By: Terry Gunn
Fly Fishing Up-River:
Our monsoon season has been active for the past 60 days and river valley is actually green. The Pariah River has flash flooded three times in the past four days (go to our Facebook page for a video which has turned the river to chocolate milk below Lees Ferry. Water Holes Canyon, which enters the river directly across from 4-Mile Bar also flash flooded and brought a tremendous amount of sand into the river. In the long term this is probably good for the river considering that this is likely an input of nutrients.
The fishing this summer was good. I rate the July cicada hatch a 3 on a scale of 10; the hatch was early, of short duration and not as many bugs as some years. It is different every year and we’ll see what next years hatch is like. Recent fishing has been all about streamers; I would say that the streamer fishing the last couple of weeks has been as good as I have ever seen it. We are also doing well with nymphs, both wading and drifting from the boat.
Conditions are getting ready to change on Sept. 1 when the water flows are going to drop to 8,000 cfs constant for all of September and October. This is the last year of a multi-year experiment where the water flows have been held steady for these 2 months. I’m not really sure what this is going to do to the fishing but it will be perfect wading water for both upriver and the walk-in section. If we get some good midge hatches the fishing should be good. Since the conditions are changing and we have no real way of predicting how the fish are going to react to the change we are going to resume regular fishing reports posted on our website so be sure to check back in September for regular fishing updates.
Overall the fish population is the highest that it has been in years. The trout fishing at Lees Ferry continues to be better than we have seen in many years. The Arizona Game and Fish Department has confirmed through creel surveys that fishing is better than it has been in more than a decade. The trout are in superb condition, growing fast, and we are seeing fish of all sizes in the system which is indicative of a very healthy fishery and should continue that way for the foreseeable future.
Walk In Fly Fishing Report, By Dean Wyndam:
Well the fishing has been really great the past few weeks. The upper boulder field is where most of the anglers have been catching good numbers of fish. That being said, I cannot believe that more fishermen are not up here fishing. Today I fished the walk in and counted TWO people other than me fishing. The weather has been decent with the temps moderating up to the low 90’s. We have had some rain but most of the moisture has been in the upper plateau areas. Most days we have had clouds in the afternoon and the midge hatches have been amazing. The fish have been cooperating well by being active from first light until about 11 am and then on and off until picking up again around 5 pm. My suggestion is for you to fish as early as possible until 10 am and then find a place to get a cool drink and take a nap. Then fish again at 5 pm until dark.
The upper boulder field has really great numbers of fish. Yes, some of them are small but be patient there are larger fish there also. Almost everything is working in the boulder field. Small tan or brown dry flies have been very productive. A wine colored San Juan worm with a midge has been working well also. For the streamer fisherman, black wooly buggers have been really the hot ticket, especially in the afternoon. Remember that the boulder field has lots of great holding water but caution needs to be taken when wading due to deep holes and lots of rocks. If you have a wading staff brings it.
The area by the big rock is still fishing well but not as good as last month. There are fish in good numbers here but they have been really picky about what they want to eat. Streamers in the afternoon have been the most productive fly in this area lately. Midges with San Juan worms have been working in the morning and late afternoon.
The area by where the Paria River enters the Colorado is in a state of change. Due to the rains on the upper plateau area there is lots of silt being put In the Colorado River. The river below the Paria riffle is very silty and red colored. However, the area just out from the confluence is still very clear and is being scoured clean from the silt daily. New holes are being formed that will make good holding areas during the afternoon. Fish have not been as active during the morning in this area. That should change as soon as the deeper holes are scoured out. This area is also hazardous for wading due to the heavy deposit of silt. It can be almost like quicksand. So it is better to walk in from the parking lot on the main Lees Ferry road. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO WADE the Paria River.
The water flows are changing to 8,000 cfs constant on Sept. 1. This is going to be great for the walk-in fishing.
So I would rate the fishing at a steady 8 for this week. So if you have a few days to fish come on up and catch some wonderful rainbows. Hope to see you on the water.
Walk in Spin Fishing Report:
The higher flows have improved the walk in for spin fishing. All areas are producing good numbers of larger fish on a daily basis. KastMaster in the gold color is the most productive lure. The silver KastMaster also works but not as well as gold. Panther Martins #6 in a gold blade with a black body have been working well also. The spin fishing pressure has been very light due to the lower flows of the spring and now the higher flows have been giving us some larger fat fish. I fished the walk in from the bottom to the top two days ago and did not see another person spin fishing. In an hour and a half I caught 12 fish with the largest at 17 inches and the smallest at 8 to 10 inches. I have also been using fluorocarbon line and I like the way the lure sinks quickly through the water column. I have been using 4 lb. diameter test.
The upper boulder area from the river boat beach area down river to the big boulder has been really fun to fish with a Kastmaster. The boulder area has some really deep holes and lots of transition water where larger fish can be caught.
The area from the large boulder to the Paria River has not been as productive as in the past. I have tried several different set ups but the bite just appears to be more difficult right now.
At the area where the Paria River enters the Colorado anglers have been catching nice size fish later in the day. As the water comes up the big fish move in closer to shore and are easier to catch. Be cautious if you are wading in this area as the Paria is dumping large amounts of silt into the river making areas that are soft and mucky. A wading staff is helpful but walking in from the main Lees Ferry road would be the safer bet.
Whirling disease detected for 2nd time at Lees Ferry
This is the 2nd time that WD has been detected at Lees Ferry. The first detection was in 2007; this was the year that Lake Powell dropped to its lowest level and as a result, the discharge temperatures from the dam were more than 60 degrees. This past year the discharge temperatures increased again, this time it was a result of the huge inflows into the lake which caused another 60 degree discharge. There has always been the thought that it was our cold water that prevented Lees Ferry from being infected with WD and I find it an interesting coincidence that both detections were made during periods of warm water. Water temps returned to normal (48 degrees) last December.
Like the Green and San Juan, I’m not expecting this WD detection to have an impact on the Lees Ferry fishery. The one thing that it should impact is our awareness to make sure that we all take the necessary steps to clean our gear so that WD is not spread to other waters in AZ or elsewhere.
Here is some great info:
Spin Fishing Up River:
Spin fishing is just OK. The reason that it has slowed down is due to the fact there is so much algae floating in the river that it is difficult to get a good drift.
If you have some news you would like to report about fishing lees ferry, the walk-in section or up river please e-mail your report to:  Attn. Lees Ferry Fishing Report. We would be happy to have your input, and pass it along.
Here is a report form one of our customers.
To: Administrator
Subject: [Cliff Dwellers Lodge] Fishing
Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to fish with my wife on the boat and Skip as the guide and I just wanted to tell you that we enjoyed the day so much that it’s all I have talked about for nearly a week.

Skip was a great teacher and I enjoyed the day so much with the beauty of the river and I am trying to talk some guys to coming out and fishing a couple of days. It was great and to catch fish on top of that what a deal!


Note: Check out the latest edition of Arizona Highways magazine, there is a nice photo of fly fishing at the Ferry taken by Rory

LAKE MEAD – The current elevation has maintained at 1,116 feet above msl, possibly due to the runoff from the storms that have came through. 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 July 19th.  The next new moon will be this Friday, Aug. 17.  Dark nights work best when fishing under light. This is also the height of the Perseids meteor showers.

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.
Angler report:
Just finished my last night time fishing trip on Lake Mead out of South Cove and it turned out great!
I fished with a Physician's Assistant from Kingman and his two young sons, ages 4 and 8.
We waited until the monsoon storms died down and then went to my favorite honey hole and set out the lights.
The fishing was steady all night and by 5:30 the next morning we had filled up three ice chests with fish. Both kids caught a number of stripers.
All total we ended up exactly 100 fish; 96 stripers and 4 channel cats.
This was the Ford family from Kingman. David (dad) and Mathias- age 4 and Jack age 8.
Had a blast.
No summer doldrums on this end of the lake this year. Fishing has been strong and steady though some of the fish are "skinny."
I got to believe it will stay the same throughout the fall.
I use a one inch piece of anchovy with a small piece of squid. Seems to work pretty well. I fish in water over 100 feet deep, but only fish at about 40-50 feet. I use large Hydro-Glow lights and they seem to really make a difference on bringing in the plankton and minnows.
Don Martin
Striper Hunters
Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders.  Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at or visit
LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level has dropped too 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 30-50ft has been producing some stripers, while catfish are on the bottom.  Vicki caught a nice 4.74 pound striper at 24 ¾ inches fishing in coves near the power lines.  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.
Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon is August 17th.  Cut anchovies usually work the best.
Biologists from both Arizona Game and Fish Department and Nevada Division of Wildlife with the help of volunteers, National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation personnel have continued to install fish habitat in Carp Cove, Box Cove, Shoshone, and Arrowhead.  Fish habitat consists of PVC structures, wood pallet structures, tamarisk bundles, and some Christmas trees. The largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill and catfish are really utilizing the new structures. Additional habitat will be added at several locations over the next two years. These structures are fish magnets.
There is a wheelchair accessible fishing pier just south of the main launch ramp at Katherine's Landing. If you fish Mohave and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.
Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your 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 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 so I can share your successes with others.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at  or visit
COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – Trout continue to bite in the casino area with some larger fish in the deep holes.  Several folks have called and spoke of very large trout being caught in the Laughlin area.  Rusty from Riviera Marina sent pictures of my friend Gary with rainbows he caught in the Big Bend area.  Gary’s fishing partner Cupcake taught him how to land three beautiful trout, the largest in the 3 pound range.  The next day the pair caught a monster rainbow trout weighing 4.04 pounds at 21? inches.  Cupcake’s tip for the day: bright day dark lure and dark day bright lure.  Rotary Park area fishing from shore Richard caught a couple of stripers in the 4 -4½ pound range using a white plastic lure and Daniel landed a beautiful 2.72 lbs. 18 inch rainbow trout on a night crawler.  Justin caught a nice 5.56 pound at 24¾ inches in the Community Park area and he spoke of doing well in that area and that the 5.56 pound striper was not his biggest one he caught.  Angelica showed off a great looking striper weighing 6.58 pounds at 27? inches caught out of the casino area with her grandpa Tom.  Thanks to the local anglers that volunteered time to pick up debris left from the regatta last weekend.
Topock Gorge- Most bass are being taken on minnows and night crawlers. Smallmouths are ranging from 2 – 5 pounds, and sunfish up to 1.5 pounds.  A 5.5 beauty was the largest black bass so far this year.  Stripers caught in May averaged between 2-5 pounds but have dropped to 1-2 pounds recently.  Catfish have been harder to catch.  A beautiful 7.42 pound channel was recently caught on anchovies by Rex while fishing for stripers.    Sunfish are in the river and being taken on plastics like small worms, curly tails, and 4 inch Robo Worms.  The largemouth and smallmouth bass action has been outstanding.  Derek landed a nice 2.9 pound largemouth using a spinner a little ways up river.
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 steadily improving. Night crawlers and live minnows have been tempting catfish from North Dyke.  Dayton sent a picture of one of his largemouth and reports that the bass and sunfish are moving off their nests. 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.  Robert and Dennis had a great day on the marsh and came home with a stringer of 11 largemouths, 1 very nice catfish and a striper.  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.
For more information, visit the updated "Where to Fish" pages at
If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to Rory can also be reached at (623) 236-7214.
LAKE HAVASU — Report courtesy John Galbraith of, Lake Havasu City, Az.

Lake Level 448.96. Striper Bite Fair in the morning hours from 6 to 8 a.m. from the mouth of the river south to Calif Bay. Boils have been occuring sporadicially during this time. Troll Rattle Traps or
Pointer 100 minnow plugs in areas where the Grebes (water birds) are congragating over schools of shad.
Catfish bite is excellent in the evening hours in bays where grass isn't too thick. Live Bluegills, Cut Mackerel and anchovies work well now, be sure to throw out extra chum to attract cats from longer distances. Smallmouth & Largemouth bass hitting
Poppers, Buzzbaits and super spooks in the  early AM hours. Fish the outside edges of floating weedmats.
Carolina Rigged Plastics like Brush hogs,curly tail Power Worms and Senkos working well over submerged weedbeds in 8 to 15ft of water. 3/8 to 1/2oz weight with 10 or 12lbs test works well. Add a glass bead between the swivel and sinker to attract bass in lower visibility water.
ALAMO LAKE — Report courtesy Mark Knapp, Alamo Lake State Park.
Well folks, after spending a week in the high country in New Mexico, I'm back down to the land of lizards with the temp hitting 116 yesterday.  In a nut shell fishing is pretty slow.  I had one person say they caught one crappie and a cat fish after fishing all night.  Junior and I have been going out nightly.  Last night we saw our first big boil up by the dam.  We were able to pull 3 fish out before it ended.  I have no idea whats going on with the lake but it sure has changed over the last few years.  We should be pulling out 15 to 20 bass a night.  We ended the night with 2 cat fish and 6 bass.  As I mentioned before we are keeping a count that stated January 1st and will go through the whole year.   Were on page 4 of a spiral note book with dates and scores.  The only thing we count is bass and both of us have to be in the boat for it to count.  Also the fish has to be boated.  With that in mind I purposely hooked a dead bass that was floating in the back of a cove.  It took a couple of cast to hook it and pull it to the boat.  As I lipped it and held it up saying  "This makes 3!"  Junior threw a fit saying " NO way."    I told him to look it up in  our rule book.  He looked at me dump founded and said " we don't have a rule book."  I said, " Ta-Da!"

Anyway, I had him completely honked off for about an hour before agreeing that it did not count.  It was cheap entertainment on my part.  When he gets mad he turns about 4 different shades of red, throws crap around, and mumbles to him self.  Every once in awhile he will glance back at me, mumble something that always ends with you, and gives me hand sign.  I always smile and say " thanx, that's the nicest thing I've been called all day."   And to say the least that set's him off all over again.  We have been fishing together for over 18 years.  I think the longest he has stayed pissed at me is about a week.  Then I always break down and lay some bs on him that I promise not to be mean to him and we move on.

Cat fishing is o.k.  When there eating plastics you know you can do alright with night crawlers, hot dogs, etc.  I just got off the phone with the dam tenders.  There done working on the dam and  weird release schedules.  The lake level is at 1099ish with releases of 25 cfs.  The releases are set at 25 cfs in the summer and down to 10cfs in the winter until the lake rises above  1100 feet.  Although the state has seen some major rains none of it has hit our water shed that feeds the lake.  All in all the lake came up one inch and we lost that the same day due to the releases.  Cholla Ramp is still in operation.  I was looking at it this morning and figure we might get two more months out it.  The key word here is might.  We're still launching off the old rental boat road and have had no problems. I know from the past there are two big cliffs the road cuts through that are going to become a problem before long.  Were keeping an eye on it and will mark them as we hit/see/ or find them.  Well that's about it.  There is no one out here so if you literally want a lake to your self then come on out.  The biting flies are out in force so bring bug spray..  Sun block is must and you want to bring lots of water.  If you do decide to come out bring a camera.  The shorelines are loaded with burrows and deer.  You will also get to see beavers and and a variety of birds. That's all I got.

COLORADO RIVER (PARKER STRIP AREA) — 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 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 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.
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 — The topwater bite 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. All of these waters received multiple stockings of rainbow trout in the winter months; Redondo Pond will be stocked with channel catfish during the spring, and the Yuma West Wetlands pond will receive channel catfish and bluegills. Depending on available funding, we hope to continue regular stockings into all three of these shoreline-accessible waters, and perhaps add additional waters to our stocking schedule. These ponds provide an ideal place to take the family. All three waters now are provided with restroom and trash facilities. Special regulations on fish limits are in effect for these waters, so be sure to consult the regulations before you take fish.
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 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: The summer trout stocking schedule can be accessed at
Fire restrictions have been lifted on the Kaibab and Coconino national forests.
Note: If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to Rory can also be reached at (623) 236-7214.


Note: Upper Lake Mary was stocked with trout last week.  Fossil Creek is closed to fishing.  
Angler report:
Hey Rory – did some fishing in the high country over the last week and thought I'd send along some reports.

Kaibab Lake – Fished from shore b/w the boat ramp and the fishing pier from first light until 9 a.m. Picked up several stockers on yellow Power Bait, fished off the bottom or under a bobber. No luck on other baits (mealworms) or lures. Beautiful lake/scenery in the early morning – saw several turkeys amble up to the opposite shore, and enjoyed watching ospreys plunge into the water and pluck out fish.

Dogtown Reservoir – Fished from shore all around the lake from first light until 8:30 a,m. Awfully slow – this was in the midst of the heat wave, and it made us wonder if a lot of the fish had moved deep. No action on baits of any kind, and it looked like our fellow fishermen weren't having much luck either. Finally snagged a healthy rainbow on small Super Duper, but that was it for the day. Water levels were low, especially on the south shore. Still, quite a pretty area, and the road in to the lake is in great condition.

Upper Lake Mary – Started at The Narrows at first light and couldn't get so much as a bite, fishing a variety of lures – inline spinners, minnow imitations, etc. Moved shop to the dam area (from shore) and continued the shutout until a decent sized pike finally got on the end of a soft paddle tail minnow swimbait. With the low water levels, ULM is even worse than usual as a lure magnet – we donated several to the murky (and rocky!) depths.

Aaron Mertz

KAIBAB LAKE —  Campground is open. Fishing has been good with trout being caught on rainbow Power Bait. Crappie and bass were being caught on small jigs.  Please try to leave the larger bass in the lake to spawn.    Stocked last week.

CATARACT LAKE —  Campground is open.  Please try to leave the larger bass in the lake to spawn.
DOGTOWN LAKE —  Campground is open. Crappie fishing was excellent over the weekend when the wind wasn’t blowing.  Fish along the shore on the opposite side of the lake from the boat ramp. Stocked last week.
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 open.   Fly fishermen were catching a lot of small crappie on bead head prince nymphs.   In addition folks were catching trout.  With the warm water temperatures trout fishing will be best early in the morning or late in the evening.
LOWER LAKE MARY —  Almost dry.
UPPER LAKE MARY —   Has been liberally stocked with trout for two weeks in a row.  Water quality problems at many of our trout lakes hassled 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.  Fishing is slow from the shore,
ASHURST LAKE —   Fishing was good during the week on green Power Bait and worms.  Boat anglers were catching some of the large brow trout and brook trout that have been stocked in the lake over the last couple of weeks.
FRANCIS SHORT POND –  Fishing was good last week. Catfish were being caught on hotdogs. Trout were being caught on green powerbait.
KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road is open.  No report. A lot of nice Brown trout and channel catfish were caught during fish sampling.
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 – Has been Stocked
WEST CLEAR CREEK-. Has been Stocked
BLUE RIDGE —  Fishing has been good.  Trout were being caught on Cicadas

KNOLL LAKE — Fishing has been good. 

DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK – Catfish were last stocked for the Free Fishing event. Trout were last stocked the week of March 19. The catfish and largemouth bite has been fair.

Catfish are still being caught on night crawlers, chicken liver, and stink bait. 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 Powerbait under a bobber. They bite best in the early morning hours and the evening.

OAK CREEK — Stocked last week. Creek was a little turbid due to runoff last weekend, but is likely running clear again.
Angler report:

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – Trout were last stocked the week of 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.

Prescott Area
FAIN LAKE — The last stocking was the week of June 11.   The reports from regulars at the lake say the trout are biting, but the morning bite is the best. Anglers are having luck throughout the day using Power Bait and Berkley Gulp. Rainbow and yellow seem to be the popular colors.
Fishermen using their fly rod gear are having the best luck.  Flies are less likely to get swallowed so releasing the fish is much easier. 
GOLDWATER LAKE — Trout were stocked for the Free Fishing Event on June 9, and most of the kids at the event caught trout and had a great time.      
If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.
GRANITE BASIN LAKE – Robert and Michelle fished from the boat launch at around 10 o’clock and caught fish non-stop for 2 -2 ½ hours.  They were using a bobber with worms and caught 23 bluegills and a black bass.  Robert tried a popper and had a strike but was unsuccessful in landing the fish.  Thanks for your report Robert and Michelle!  If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.
LYNX LAKE –Rainbow trout were last stocked the week of June 11.   
Cut anchovies, night crawlers or hot dog are your best bet for catfish. Lynx also can be an exciting place to fish for carp.  Common carp are very strong fighters and will provide an excellent table fair. A quick search on the internet will produce tasty recipes for these robust fish. Corn and an assortment of other baits will attract these fish.

Lynx can be difficult to fish, if you are not catching anything try moving to a new spot. There are some good spots on the north end of the lake that don’t get fished as heavily as the south end does.
MINGUS LAKE – The last stocking was scheduled for the week of June 11.  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.  The Wildlife Manager for the Watson area sent me a picture of some nice trout an angler caught from shore. Both of these fish looked like they had been in the lake for a period of time because of the size and condition of the fish.  If you have fished Watson Lake please send me a report of your trip to share with folks.
Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Watson recently and found the bass, sunfish, and bullhead to be plentiful.  Crappies were also doing well.  Look for the crappie fishing to pick up in a year or two. If you fish Watson and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.
WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR –   The challenge with this lake is finding access to the shore and fighting the aquatic vegetation.  If you fish Willow and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.


Recommended Waters to Fish

Recommended Waters to Fish
Fishing is fair to good for boat anglers at Big Lake.  Fishing for stocked rainbow trout is good to excellent at Show Low Creek (below Show Low Lake dam) and fair to good at Nelson Reservoir, Silver Creek and the Little Colorado River in Greer.

Trout Stocking Schedule:
Week of Aug. 6-10
*Fools Hollow Lake – 3,000 rainbow trout
*Little Colorado River at Greer – 500 rainbow trout
* Scotts Reservoir – 1,000 rainbow trout
*Sheep’s Crossing/West Fork LCR – 300 apache trout
*Show Low Creek – 800 rainbow trout
*Show Low Lake – 5,000 rainbow trout
*Silver Creek – 400 rainbow trout
*Willow Springs Lake – 2,460 rainbow trout
*Woods Canyon Lake – 2,952 rainbow trout
Week of Aug. 13-17
*Bear Canyon Lake – 912 rainbow trout
*Little Colorado River at Greer – 500 rainbow trout
*Silver Creek – 400 rainbow trout
*Willow Springs Lake – 2,460 rainbow trout
*Woods Canyon Lake – 2,952 rainbow trout

Note:  Days are hot, so fish early in the morning and late in the day.
BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair for stocked trout.  The lake will be stocked this week with 912 rainbow trout.
BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair.  Anglers have been catching trout on worms.  The water level is very low, and launching a boat will be difficult.
BLUE RIDGE –Fishing has been okay — there is still a cicada bite here. This lake is best fished from a canoe, kayak or float tube, there is limited shoreline access at this steep-sided canyon lake. The best results will probably be from trolling.
CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. Anglers are catching trout on spinners (Panther Martin and Rooster Tails), Z-Rays and KastMaster spoons.  Fly fishermen are catching trout in the evening on dry flies.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is fair for shore anglers and fair to good for boat anglers. Anglers are catching trout near the lake bottom on nightcrawlers. The lake will be stocked this week with 2,460 rainbow trout.
WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair.  Anglers have been catching trout on orange and rainbow-colored PowerBait in deep water near the lake bottom.  The lake will be stocked this week with 2,952 rainbow trout.  The store is open, and boat rentals are available. 

Note:  Water temperatures are warm, so fish early in the morning or late in the day.  Be cautious of lightning during afternoon thunderstorms. 
BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair. Fish early morning before 7 a.m. to hit the coolest water temperatures and minimize stress on trout.  Also, bring hooked fish in quickly and release them without taking them out of the water. Taking photos of your catch at this time of year may lead to delayed mortality of that fish.  Becker Lake is catch-and-release only, with artificial lures and flies only with single, barbless hook.
BIG LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. Anglers are catching fish in the deeper parts of the lake. Fishing is fair for shore anglers.  Boat anglers are catching some trout by trolling cowbells with worms or drifting slowly with night crawlers, lures (Crickhoppers and Z-Rays), and flies. Shore anglers should try fishing in deep water off rocky points with worms or orange and purple Power Bait. The store is open, and boat rentals are available.    

CARNERO LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for stocked rainbow trout.  Fish open water areas.  The lake is very weedy.
CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair. 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.  Anglers have been catching some nice brook trout and a few large rainbow trout in the deeper parts of the lake. The lake is weedy. The store is closed. The weed harvester has been cutting weeds at Crescent Lake, so it should be easier to get around in a boat.
FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is good for sunfish and catfish, but poor for stocked trout.  Sunfish are being caught off the fishing piers.  Channel catfish are being caught on nightcrawlers, catfish-prepared baits, chicken livers, and hot dogs at night.  The lake was stocked last week with 3,000 rainbow trout. 
I've only lived in Arizona 10 months but have had success in a lot of areas thanks to the good reports. I appreciate the reports that have helped, so i decided to take the time and send you an email. I took my first trip to Fools Hollow Lake for a camping trip with my wife over this past weekend.
Fished the narrow end/east end of the lake with no action on top nor on the bottom of the weeds, but i did see a bunch of carp feeding on top of the water.
Around noon I switched areas and started fishing the south end of the lake with a buzzbait over open holes of grass, caught a smallmouth and a largemouth both around 10 inches in about 35 minutes.  I was going to continue fishing more around the grass but switched to a crawfish soft plastic/texas rigged off the bottom under the piers and docks on the lake. I found a good amount of fish under them. The first fish was this nice 3.5 pounder that had 3 crawfish inside it. Managed to catch 6 fish in total 5 largemouths and that smallie. This trip was short for us but very enjoyable with nice weather and good fishing.
GREER LAKES – Fishing is fair.  River, Bunch and Tunnel 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.  pH levels are high.  The lake level is very low.
LUNA LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair.  There is a heavy algae bloom present in the lake, causing high pH levels.
LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is open through Sept. 17.  Fishing is fair to good for channel catfish, bass, carp and walleye.  Anglers are catching walleyes from 18 to 30 inches on brown plastic jigs.  Largemouth bass are hitting spinners.  Try night crawlers, chicken livers, hot dogs, and stinkbaits for catfish at night.
NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair to good.  Try green chartreuse and red PowerBait, and nightcrawlers.  There is an algae bloom present in the lake.  

RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for bullhead catfish and poor for stocked trout.
SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair  for channel catfish, small bass and sunfish during the evening hours and poor for stocked trout.  The lake was stocked last week with 1,000 rainbow trout. 
SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair for sunfish and bass and poor to fair for stocked trout.  The lake was stocked last week with 5,000 rainbow trout. Boat anglers are catching a few trout on cowbells with worms, flies and lures. Boat anglers should troll slowly.
Shore anglers are catching smallmouth bass and sunfish on night crawlers off the fishing piers and rocky shorelines.  The lake is about six feet low, but the boat ramp is still usable.  Boat rentals are available, and the campgrounds are open.  The creek below the dam was stocked last week with rainbow trout.  Fishing is good to excellent with night crawlers, Power Bait and spinners in the large pool immediately below the outlet.  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 better parking.
WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for largemouth bass and catfish and poor for stocked trout.  The lake is 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: Trout stocking in the streams will continue through the end of August.
EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing for wild brown trout and hold-over stocked Apache trout is fair.  The East Fork is currently not being stocked because of high water temperatures.  Forest Road (FR) 276 and associated campgrounds on the East Fork Black River are closed due to flooding danger.  Access at the FR 24 bridge at Buffalo Crossing is still open, but anglers will have to hike to access the river upstream and downstream of that bridge. 
WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is fair in the lower reaches.  The weekly trout stocking at the FR 68 crossing on the West Fork has been suspended due to a shortage of catchable-size Apache trout at the hatchery.  One final stocking is planned for Labor Day weekend.  Fishing in the middle and upper reaches is fair to good for wild trout, where the fire had little impact.  Access is open at the FR 25 bridge, FR 68 crossing and FR 116.  The West Fork campground will be closed through the year due to safety reasons.  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 last fall and this summer.
LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER – Fishing is fair for wild brown trout and good for stocked trout.  Rainbow trout are being stocked weekly in front of the Rendezvous Cafe and at Government Spring at the end of the road through the end of August and Labor Day weekend.
SHEEPS CROSSING – Fishing is fair.  The weekly trout stocking at Sheeps Crossing has been suspended due a shortage of Apache trout at the hatchery.  One final stocking is planned for Labor Day weekend.   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 good to excellent for stocked rainbow trout in the large pool immediately below the outlet below Show Low Lake Dam.  Rainbow trout were stocked last week.  Please do not park on the dam, which is a one lane road with insufficient pullouts.  Park at either end of the dam where there is dedicated parking.
SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair to good.  Rainbow trout are now being stocked weekly through the end of August and Labor Day weekend.  Silver Creek is currently open to bait and a bag/possession limit of six trout (April 1 through September 30).  The upper section is closed to angling, which is well signed.



Please send me your fishing reports from Southern Arizona!  Fishing reports 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.

Warm temperatures are getting hot and so is the fishing action!  Anglers will need to concentrate their efforts to the cooler times of day as the temperatures continue to rise.  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:  2012 Summer Stocking Schedule .  This schedule is updated as changes occur so check back often!

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

URBAN LAKES — The final spring stocking of catfish took place the week of June 11-16. The Urban Fishing Program does not stock fish from June 25 through mid-September. Catfish stockings in the Phoenix and Tucson urban lakes will resume the week of Sept. 17-22.

Fished Silverbell Lake last night from the south end from about 7-10 right after the big monsoon. Tried spinners and frog lures but had no success so switched to hot dogs about 3' 6" under a lighted bobber for catfish. Caught a 1 ft Channel Cat but released him — had 2 or 3 other bites that escaped. Another angler there had 4 14-15 inchers caught on blood bait. Other anglers were using bacon and frozen shrimp. The toads were sure making a racket!

-Phil Lacovara

RIGGS FLAT — The lake is open for the summer. Stocking has been suspended at this time due to high Ph levels and stocking will not resume until summer rains have added sufficient water to the lake to reduce the pH.  Fishing has been good for both rainbow and browns.     The department will be stocking white amur in this lake this week in an effort to reduce aquatic vegetation and control water quality problems that have prevented stocking in the past.  Anglers are being asked to immediately release unharmed all amurs they catch. Check the stocking schedule here: 2012 Summer Stocking Schedulefor summer stocking dates.

CLUFF RANCH —No recent reports of success.  The pond is 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 pond should be ready for fishing during November.  Look for a grand re-opening ceremony then.

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

ARIVACA — Open to anglers, water levels continue to be severely low and the lake continues to drop.  It is extremely difficult to launch boats at this time.  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.

PENA BLANCA –  Some reports of channel catfish being caught.  Sunfish continue to bite well on worms just off the shoreline where the water gets deeper. 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.  Boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.

Made my first trip down since the drain, refill and re stock. Awesome ramp and nice docks for people to fish off of. We put in around 8am and worked most of the shoreline until 4pm. Far and few between on the fish as expected but at least there are some there. Saw a few nailing dragon flys in the big cove. We boated 3 bass and one catfish. Largest bass only 1.5 the cat went 2. Lost 2 other bass one probably would have neared 2 lbs.All fish including cat on senkos. Tried the frog and had one swipe. Mainly threw senkos but did toss other baits with no bites.

PATAGONIA — The lake has come up and is nearly full.  Be cautious of floating debris.   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.

Fished Patagonia Lake on 8/12 with two other folks. Tried lures in Hangman's Cove early in the morning but only had short strikes. Tried the inlet east of the swimming beach around 10AM and caught a couple bluegills on worms and salmon eggs. Tried the southeast corner starting around noon and caught 12 Channel Cats of varying sizes on worms and chicken livers — largest was 18". Kept 5.

PARKER CANYON — Fishing remains fair for all species.  The lake level remains low.  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 summer trout stocking schedule can be found here:  2012 Summer Stocking Schedule. 

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