Spokane, WA Weather

Friday, January 13, 2012

Arizona Weekly Fishing Report

Arizona Game And Fish Department

Jan 13, 2012

I was really excited about the Lower Salt River opportunities, but as it turns out, Salt River Project is not going to be taking water from Stewart Mountain Dam right now -- it's the Verde River as usual. Sorry folks.
It's rather embarrasing, and it looks like I misunderstood the good folks at SRP when I called them last week after their weekly report showed the flows had switched. Apparently that was an entry error from someone there. My apologies to all. However, I can tell you that we stocked a few netfulls of trout at the Water Users and there is a decent pool there. We put in more at the Blue Point Bridge, which is looking okay for water. However, most went to the Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area at the confluence of the Salt and Verde and at the Granite Reef Recreation Area. Two weeks ago, two kayakers reported catching both bass and trout at the large shallow lake-like area before the Granite Reef Dam.
Hey, but here's another piece of good news for this week -- it's super-trout time in the Urban Program Lakes. We're talking about bruisers up to 6 pounds on Friday the 13th. Now that I know I can fit fishing poles into my wife's Prius...

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I heard from my good friend Stewart Kohnke, one of our veteran wildlife managers, who has Alamo Lake in his jurisdiction. Stew is one of the best crappie anglers I have ever fished with (don't tell him I said so though). He showed me a picture on his cell phone with enough plate-sized speckled beauties to make me salivate. I love eating winter crappie. I thint it's much better than spring crappie, which is itself delectable.
Well, Stew said the crappie haven't yet congregated into their huge winter schools -- the water temp at Alamo is still hanging around 58 degrees (almost bass spawning temps). Although the crappie are still rather dispersed over the flats in the eastern end of the lake (where the Bill Williams comes in), he was able to get some nice ones exploring in 15 to 18 feet of water.
That's similar to what I am hearing from Bartlett -- try the Yellow Cliffs area or upstream wherever there are submerged vegetation. I had message from two anglers who did well for crappie and catfish in Rattlesnake Cove as well.
Roosevelt is still a bit of a mystery. I still feel there is so much flooded wood there -- and crappie love wood -- that you really have to explore to find the sweet spots. I have heard from bass anglers at Rosey who said either they were skunked, or cleaned up. Somehow I think it is hit-or-miss there.
Saguaro on the other hand has once again been providing a good mixed bag of fish including largemouth bass, yellow bass, catfish and rainbow trout. Saguaro will be stocked again Friday with 'bows, so get out the light tackle and/or the swim baits.
Be sure to check out the Lake Havasu fishing report from my old fishing buddy John Galbraith. Now last year at about this time a couple of anglers loaded up on 4- and 5-pound bass sunning themselves in the shallows on warm afternoons. Like Alamo, Havasu is a huge shallow solar bowl in the desert that readily heats up in the warm winter sun. It is absolutely one of my favorite winter fishin' holes.
By the way, if you want some great eating fish that rival winter crappie, go catch a bunch of the 2-pound redear at Lake Havasu and the Topock Gorge. Redear fish and chips will spoil you for any English pub food.
Last but not least, I talked with the good folks at Arizona Highways magazine this week. I kept getting calls throughout the holidays from anglers who were looking for the newly released "Official Arizona Fishing Guide" that was shipped to the Costco stores. Guess what? They sold out and had to reorder. Those orders have been sent. But that's not all. Barnes and Noble bookstores are now carrying the book.
I am going to add that to my resume -- I am now a Barnes and Noble author. I know, I know, it's only a fishing book and it's not like being a best selling author or anything. But I'll tell you what, I am just as proud of the honor even if it doesn't change the numbers in my bank account any. Some things far exceed monetary renumeration.
Also, our Bass Pro Shop in Mesa has been diligently working with their coporate office to add the fishing book to their sales racks. It looks like that should come together soon -- they have asked me to come do a book signing once they clear all the hurdles back there is Missouri land.
Hopefully, Cabelas will come on board as well.
Finally, sorry again about the bum tip on the Lower Salt. I just ate a huge chunk of humble pie this week. Hopefully you will all get out and catch some great memories anyway. With any luck and the price of gas doesn't rise, maybe I'll see you out there.

URBAN FISHING --  Fishing is good to excellent for anglers using scented dough baits (such as Power Bait), worms or cheese. Small spinners such as Roostertails and Panther Martins, or spoons such as KastMasters and Super Dupers work well for trout.

Patience is the key, as the trout bite sporadically throughout the day and often move around in small schools. When the bite is on, anglers are catching limits in an hour.

The annual incentive trout stocking that includes many larger fish is scheduled the week of Jan. 9-14. Action for catfish, bass and bluegill has slowed due to colder water temperatures. Trout fishing is good to excellent at Green Valley lakes in Payson with Power Bait, worms and small spoons working best. Top flies for fly fishermen have been copper Johns, wooly buggers, simi seal leaches and pheasant tail nymphs. Don’t forget to buy your 2012 fishing license to be legal in the New Year.

The 2012 Urban Fishing Program Guidebooks are now available at over 320 license dealers and Game and Fish offices. The free Guidebooks are chock full of helpful tips and information on urban fishing. There are no changes in urban or statewide license costs or fishing regulations for 2012.
Game and Fish biologists have confirmed that quagga mussels have been found in Red Mountain Park Lake in Mesa. These invasive mussels often grow to massive colonies that can block water intakes, affect municipal water delivery, and modify lake ecology. Quagga mussels are listed as an aquatic invasive species in Arizona and are known to exist within the CAP canal system, which supplies water to Red Mountain Lake. Monitoring efforts for this mussel have been in place for both the canal system and the lake. These thumbnail-size mussels do not pose any health risks to humans or wildlife. The City of Mesa and AGFD are asking anglers to avoid transporting water or wet objects from one body of water to another. This will assist in preventing the accidental introduction of invasive mussels to another body of water. The best prevention is to always clean, drain and dry all equipment before use in another lake so you “Don’t Move a Mussel”. For more information about quagga mussels, an unwanted invasive species, visit www.azgfd.gov/ais
An angler caught a 9 ¾ inch rainbow trout in Red Mountain Park using a hot dog.
TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Rainbow trout will be stocked again this week.  You can try the usual methods for the rainbows (baits like powerbait, nightcrawlers, mealworms or try spinners and spoons such as panther martins, kastmasters…)  Remember no gas motors are allowed (electric trolling motors are) and you must have a boating permit, which can be obtained at the Town Lake operations center.

LAKE PLEASANT - Water level is at 1,675 feet (71-percent full) and rising.  I haven’t heard too many reports on Pleasant recently.  As far as stripers go, sounds like the shad boils have subsided for the most part but guys are still having luck catching striper spooning in deeper water (40 – 60ft).  Largemouth are also being caught using this method.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - The lake is 66-percent full at elevation 2,121 feet. The Salt River was flowing at 191 cfs Monday morning and Tonto Creek was flowing at 54 cfs.  Largemouth bass fishing is good but fish but this is the transition time to winter activity levels. Some of the better fishing right now is in the 20- to 30-foot range, especially off points. Drop-shotting and wired worms are the baits of choice. Crappie fishing is not bad trolling in the Tonto or Salt arms of the lake. Anglers have not been catching large numbers of crappie but the ones that they have been catching have been good size.  Use John Deere grubs or black-blue-chartreuse (BBC) grubs on a 1/16-ounce jighead in about 25 feet of water or try fathead minnows under a slip bobber. Catfishing for both flatheads and channels has been somewhat slow. Fishing for smallmouth bass can be good, especially on windy days. Try areas where waves are stirring up the rocky shoreline. Use in-line spinners and crayfish imitations especially off rocky points and cliff walls and live night crawlers. Remember the slot is in place for smallmouth as well.

APACHE - Lake is 96-percent full at 1,910 feet.  No recent reports but fishing should be good for yellow bass down by the dam. Yellow bass should hit jigs and spoons. Fish for them around balls of shad in 20-60 feet of water. Cut bait also works well for them.  Remember, as of January 1, you are only allowed to possess one fish between 13 and 16 inches and all bass harvested must be gutted only so the legal length can be determined.  All other fish such as crappie, catfish and bluegill harvested from the lake must have a piece of skin attached to the fillets so species can be determined.

CANYON - Lake is 96-percent full at 1,658 feet.  Bass fishing has been slow by most reports.  Guys seem to be having the best luck spooning.  Canyon was stocked with trout last week.  Try fishing in Boulder Cove with panther martins, kastmasters, or bait.   A rainbow trout colored swim bait can usually produce a few largemouth after a stocking.  You should be able to catch yellow bass spooning this time of year.  Try points and drop offs in 30 – 60ft of water.

SAGUARO - Lake level is 1,525 feet (94-percent full). Saguaro is scheduled for a trout stocking this week. No recent reports, but like most lakes the bass fishing has been slow and hit or miss. Yellow bass fishing can be good, try using a silver and blue kastmaster or similar.

BARTLETT – Lake level is at 1,754 feet (46-percent full).  Like most other lakes bass fishing has been reported to be slow.  Try crawdad imitations and worm rigs (drop shots and Texas-rigs) for largemouth bass.  A few weeks back crappie fishing was reported to be picking up, although most of the crappie being caught were small.  I have not heard any recent reports on crappie.
HORSESHOE - Lake is empty.

VERDE RIVER – Fishing is poor for largemouth, smallmouth and catfish. Remember that no baitfish can be transported into this part of the river (above Horseshoe). This morning flow was 297 cfs at Tangle Creek station above Horseshoe Lake.

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) –The Lower Salt River is flowing at 8 cfs from Stewart Mountain Dam and the Verde River is flowing at 187 cfs out of Bartlett Dam this morning. Trout were stocked again this week at Blue Point Bridge, Phon D Sutton and Granite Reef recreation areas. The flows were not ramped up this week at Water Users, although we did put a few netfuls of trout in there. It looks like the flows will stay this way into February unless precipitation in the watershed changes the outlook.
Power Bait, inline spinners and corn will work.  Fly fishermen may have luck using nymphs or wooly buggers. However, enterprising anglers might try fishing the deeper pools for largemouth bass and other fish along the Salt River between Stewart Mountain and Phon D. Sutton.

CREEKS – This is a great time of year to try some of the streams along the Mogollon Rim.  The crowds are gone and you could have an entire stream to yourself.  The gate to the catch and release section of Canyon Creek has been closed for the winter so you will have to hike in to this section.  Access may be difficult to due to snow.  Warmer days can produce a good midge hatch.  If there is no surface activity try dead drifting nymphs and wooly buggers.

Note: If you have a fishing report, send it to "Been Fishing?” at bfishing@azgfd.gov

 LAKE POWELL –  Last report for the winter was By Wayne Gustaveson, Lake Powell Fish Report on Nov. 21, 2011

Shad remain in shallow water when temperature is close to 60 and retreat into deep water when temperature is near 55.

Knowing that makes it an easy decision when launching at Hite where fishing is best now.  In warm water, head up stream where water is shallow and murky.  Fish in the brush for bass and stripers.   When water cools into the low 50s then head downstream and fish deeper water for striper schools resting on the bottom.
Great success has been found recently fishing with plastic baits like walleye assassins in salt and pepper color. An offset worm hook can be turned into the plastic, instead of exposed, to allow it to fish weedless in the treetops.  The assassin is heavy enough to cast without adding extra weight.  Move steadily along the shoreline until a striper is caught and then concentrate on that spot to catch more striped school mates as they feed in the brush on shad and sunfish.  When a striper is hooked and brought to the boat, school mates often follow, hoping for a feeding opportunity.  As your buddy is reeling in a fish, don’t grab the net.  Instead drop a spoon under the boat to catch another striper.
This same pattern works lakewide with some modifications. Fishing is hot for bass and stripers in the tree line surrounding the lake during the last hour of daylight.  Again work steadily along the brushy shoreline in water less than 20 feet deep until a striper is caught. Then concentrate on that location casting rattletraps, flat-raps and/or walleye assassins.  The lure is not as important as the timing. As the suns sets, fish feed voraciously for the last hour of the day.
During the day trolling along the edge of the brush line in water 15-20 feet deep results in a steady (not fast) catch of stripers along with a few bass.  Rattletraps, X-raps, Bomber flat raps, and other medium divers that hit tree tops without snagging result in an average of 2 fish per hour in the main lake.  Fishing is much faster at Hite upstream from the ramp.
Crappie can be caught very well now in the San Juan arm and from Good Hope to Hite. Walleye fishing is prime for those slow trolling a night crawler harness behind a bottom bouncer. The trick is to find a brush free bottom near the brush zone where the walleye rig can be used without hanging up.  Look mid channel where water depth is 20 to 40. Check the graph to look for a flat bottom without brush for best results.
Enjoy the late season fishing and wonderful warm days when storm fronts are not forecast.  Air and water temperatures near 60 make a delightful time for fishing at Lake Powell.

LEES FERRY -- Dec. 12, 2011 by Lees Ferry Anglers
Fly Fishing Upriver: The flows are currently running around a constant 20,750cfs until Dec. 26. Beginning around the 26th of December we will have daily fluctuating flows with a peak around 18,400 cfs and a low around 11,800 cfs.

The water temperature has been in the fifties, but is dropping and we expect Lake Powell to turn over anytime. With the lake turning over our water temperatures should be back around forty-six to forty-eight degrees. With these cooler water temperatures the trout should become more active.

The upriver rating is 6 out of 10. Fishing upriver has been good, but is becoming tougher. We are entering a transition period where the fish are beginning to stage for the spawn making it more difficult to locate them. If you have any doubts about how to read the water or need a little extra confidence about where to be fishing, don’t hesitate to inquire about hiring a guide.

The high water conditions are very conducive to drifting. Also, these higher flows are stirring up the food source. San Juan Worms and Scuds have been highly productive. With the trout staging to spawn another option would be to try a Glo- Bug below a San Juan Worm or Scud. We are still nymphing but we are using longer leaders from twelve to fifteen feet with more weight. The midge fishing has slowed down until this upcoming spring.

Another consideration is fishing a streamer or wooly bugger either dead drifting below an indicator or stripping. This particular method may produce some larger fish. When streamer fishing, we highly recommend a Teeny 200 grain sinking tip or a similar line. The reason for the Teeny is that the sinking tip is twenty feet which allows the streamer to get down effectively through the water column with a slow swing on the bottom. Do not forget to add some action and vary the action to the fly on the retrieve. Many times the fish will the wooly bugger on the pause.

A five- to 10-foot sink tip is just not adequate because will not get down through the water column before coming back up toward the surface on the swing. You can use a floating line but, lengthen one’s leader with lots of split shot.

If you’re contemplating a trip to Lees Ferry, I would say go for it. Fishing has been good. The weather has gotten colder and can vary, however the crowds have virtually disappeared for the season. We have rooms available and have gone to our winter rates. If you have any questions please give us a call at 1-800-962-9755.

Fly Fishing WALK-IN: With the higher flows the walk in is more difficult to fish. The fish tend to move in closer to shore lying on the inside of the seams in the quiet water, but the back cast may face more obstacles. Fishing is fairly consistent. Nymphing with San Juan Worms, Glo-Bugs and Scuds has been effective. Another great option is fishing a woolly bugger like a streamer using a Teeny T-130 or a T-200 sink tip. Dead drifting a bugger with a dropper below an indicator on a floating line may also produce some good fishing.

Please keep in mind with these higher flows wading can be a little tricky. There is no need to wade past your waist not only is it dangerous but, the fish tend to hold fairly close to shore amongst the boulders and off the drop offs.Stop by the Fly Shop for more tips and to pick up some local fly patterns. We’ll see you then.

Spin Fishing: Spin fishing is good! It’s all about bouncing glo bugs off the bottom. You can also try fishing with gold KastMasters or black and gold Panther Martins. Also definitely don’t forget about the marabou jig, this one has been working great and has been very reliable.

Glen Canyon Dam/Lake Powell – During November 2011the unregulated inflow volume to Lake Powell was 570 kaf (108% of average). This was very close to the forecast volume issued by the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center on November 1, 2011. The forecast volume was 600 kaf (110% of average). Releases from Glen Canyon
Dam during November were 1099 kaf and the elevation of Lake Powell decreased by 4.59 ending November at an elevation of 3645.69 feet above sea level. Releases from Glen Canyon Dam are currently averaging approximately 20,300 cfs and are near steady. This release rate is likely to continue to near the end of December and then will likely be reduced to a daily average release of approximately 16,300 cfs with daily fluctuations for power generation.
LAKE MEAD – The current water level is still approximately 1,133 feet above msl. Water elevation has risen about 47 feet from this time last year and 12 feet from October’s elevation. As the water rises more and more vegetation, mostly in the form of small salt cedars, gets flooded and makes habitat for fish. 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 – there is a full moon this weekend.  The next new moon will be January 23rd.  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.  One boat had been using a white frog and having good success also.  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 639 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.  While the number of stripers in Mohave has been decreasing, the quality of the fish caught has increased. A couple recently caught several stripers in the 4 lb. to 10 lb. range using rainbow colored Storm Wildeye Swimbait in the Cottonwood Basin area. Best time to fish is at night for cats and he likes fishing for largemouth and smallmouth in the early morning with blue, black and purple and black grubs and worms.
Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon is Christmas Eve.  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” rainbow trout.  Rainbow, peach, garlic and yellow Power Baits and Powerworms were being used most for trout.  Jakes original and Jakes Juniors, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails are also usually effective.   Fishing is usually best near the fishing pier after the Friday stocking.  Several striped bass were caught with most in the 8 lb. range with one 30+pounder.  All the stripers were caught with imitation trout lures.
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 stocking has resumed at Davis Camp, Rotary Park and Riverside on the second Tuesday of each month starting in October. 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. Mark, Jerry, Berry and Will can verify with the big fish they landed.  Will caught his 5.3 lb. rainbow on anchovies.  Overall the fishing is great on the river.
Topock Gorge-The report from the Gorge is that the cold has slowed the bite down.  The reported bright spot is that the bluegill bite is hot and heavy.  A group from Brighton MI had a blast catching bluegill and redear on small brass crappie hooks baited with very small pieces of night crawlers. The occasional smallmouth only hit live bait.
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 http://www.usbr.gov/lc/riverops.html before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at gcummins@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.
TOPOCK MARSH – The action at Topock Marsh has been steadily improving. Night crawlers have been tempting catfish at Catfish Paradise but live minnows have the best result.  A 13.5 lb. catfish was reported taken at South Dyke on minnows.  Bass can be hit and miss but live bait has been reported to work the best now.  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/.

TOPOCK GORGE -The striper bite has been reported to be excellent with 10- to 12-pound stripers being boated with nightcrawlers and anchovies.  Smallmouth and bluegill actions remains relatively strong dependent on the weather.  The catfish bite has returned after being absent this summer.  Redear sunfish have moved into the river and have been up to the 2.5 lb. range.  Night crawlers have been the bait of choice for sunfish and for black bass with some being caught in the 4 lb. range
Topock Fishing Report from Capt. Doyle’s Guide Service
Welcome to the Colorado! Winter in the Topock Gorge has been cold–bitterly cold at times. This means we who report fishing news are hard pressed to find active anglers or responsive fish.
Striper action has stalled completely as has the catfish bite. Refusing any kind of presentation, even the smallmouth bass have slowed a tad. All is not lost however; there is a bright spot on the horizon. The bluegill bite has been hot and heavy! Chris Taylor from Brighton MI and his buddies recently boated a cornucopia of bluegill and redear.
With a few smallmouth bass to round out the catch, the group ended up with a whopping 44 fish. Itsy bitsy pieces of night crawler on small brass crappie hooks made for a heck of a fun day’s fishing. The few smallies to be taken hit only live bait.
The action in the Topock Marsh has been steadily improving. Crappie continue to be taken in small numbers throughout the marsh. It is the catfish action out of South Dyke that is drawing all the attention. A 13.5-pounder was taken as well as a few ranging up to 10-pounds. The 13.5-pounder was caught by a nameless local. Although there was no picture, Kyle at the Old Western Trader in Golden Shores confirmed the catch. Fifteen to eighteen inch largemouth bass, too, have been reported. Both the cats and the bass were taken on live minnows.

Note: If you have a fishing report, send it to "Been Fishing?" at bfishing@azgfd.gov.

LAKE HAVASU -- Lake Havasu Fishing Report courtesy John Galbraith of BassTackleMaster.com, Lake Havasu City: Lake Level 446.48.

Stripers are hitting live shad and artificial baits like Pointer 100s,128s & Umbrella rigs (2 hooks) cast or trolled around Havasu Springs; shad are still locked in around the springs. Timing is everything, the first two hours around daylight and sunset is "Prime" time. Fish seeker divers have been producing some fair sized limits during the morning hours trolling cut anchovies around Black Rock and Thompson bay. Deep bait fishing (30-40 feet)with night crawlers has been producing some quality stringers of 2-pound-class Redear panfish.

Smallmouth bass hitting Rat-L-Traps and 10-15 feet diving cranks in white or shad patterns. Target primary points near areas where smallies school up and hunt crawdads during daylight hours. Smallmouth bass feed primiarly by sight and prefer clear water and sunshine for feeding.

PARKER STRIP -- No recent reports.

 ALAMO LAKE --  No recent reports. The recent fronts have likely moved most fish deep. However, crappie should be congregating into larger schools. The bite normally picks up in early January, but a week or so of warmer weather might get the crappie bite going sooner.
The Cholla Launch Ramp has been fixed, widened and is now open. But don't expect a dock -- yet. They still have some work to do in December, with another short closure, and will install the dock then. I know a lot of tournaments have been rescheduled to other lakes, so now you have the Alamo green light again.

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 is clean before leaving the water to make sure you don’t spread quagga mussels to other water by accident.  

COLORADO RIVER (BETWEEN PALO VERDE DIVERSION DAM AND WALTER’S CAMP) -- This area should be fair for both smallmouth bass (in the channel) up river from the I-10 Bridge and largemouth bass (in the backwaters) throughout the entire area.

Channel and flathead catfish are always fair to good in this section of the Colorado River.  Most of the flathead catfish will be in the 2- to 5-pound size range with an occasional fish over 40 pounds.  Flathead catfish surveys last May yielded a handful of fish between 15 and 50 pounds in this section of the river, although the majority of fish were much smaller.

Generally, when fishing for catfish, the hotter the weather, the better the fishing. Lively bait is the key to successful flathead fishing. Using the largest bait fish you can come by will increase the odds of catching a larger flathead.
This section of the Colorado River, all the way down to Yuma, is where the invasive vegetative species known as Giant Salvinia is located.  Quagga mussels are also found here.  If using a boat, make sure that boats, live wells, engines, and trailers are clean before leaving the area.

COLORADO RIVER (BETWEEN WALTER’S CAMP AND PICACHO STATE PARK) -- This section of the Colorado River is relatively remote and can only be accessed by boat from either end.  Fishing is expected to be good to excellent for flathead catfish with sizes over 40 pounds.  The best time will be late spring and on into the summer (the hotter the better).  Backwaters are somewhat limited in this stretch of the river, but the few that are there will be good for largemouth bass and other sunfish (bluegill, redear and occasionally black crappie).  Channel catfish are also very numerous in this section of the river. Smaller numbers of smallmouth bass and striped bass also occur.
The invasive vegetative species, giant salvinia, as well as quagga mussels, are found in this stretch of the river.  If using a boat, make sure that boats, live wells, engines, and trailers are clean before leaving the area.

COLORADO RIVER (BETWEEN PICACHO STATE PARK AND IMPERIAL DAM) -- This area is expected to be good to excellent for largemouth bass, channel catfish, and flathead catfish.  Bass and channel catfish in excess of 5 pounds are present along with flathead catfish as large as 40 pounds not uncommon, occasionally much larger.  There is definitely a state record or two lurking in these waters.  Only very heavy fishing tackle will suffice for the really large fish.  Bluegills, redear sunfish and black crappie are also present in the various backwaters.  Occasional striped bass will be caught in the channels connecting backwaters and the main river channel. Smallmouth bass seem to be on the increase in the lower river above Imperial Dam. They generally prefer swifter water and rockier substrate than largemouth bass, and certainly aren’t as numerous, but they are very aggressive and very scrappy fighters and well worth seeking out.
The invasive vegetative species, giant salvinia, as well as quagga mussels, are found in this stretch of the river.  If using a boat, make sure that boats, live wells, engines, and trailers are clean before leaving the area.

COLORADO RIVER (BETWEEN LAGUNA AND MORELOS DAMS) -- This area will be good for largemouth bass and flathead catfish.  Bass in excess of 5 pounds are common and flathead catfish over 20 pounds are a good bet.  In this area, accessibility to the river is dependent on the amount of water being released.  Usually shallow draft boats are a must.  The lower end has had some dredging work done and a larger boat may be able to get on the river in that area.  Be aware that some sections of the river are within Quechan tribal boundaries, and a tribal permit is required to fish there.  Boundaries are not well marked, so doing some research prior to fishing this section may prevent hassles while you are out there.
The invasive vegetative species, giant salvinia, as well as quagga mussels, are found in this stretch of the river.  If using a boat, make sure that boats, live wells, engines, and trailers are clean before leaving the area.
With the increase in border issues and illegal activity on the lower end of this stretch, we recommend exercising extreme caution, avoiding nighttime use, or even staying away from the area altogether (Pilot Knob to Morelos Dam).

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 5-10 pounds 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 www.yumabassman.com.

Note: Due to increased precipitation, as of 12 July the Sitgreaves, Kaibab, Coconino and Prescott National Forests have lifted all fire restrictions. Fire restrictions continue in portions of the Apache, Tonto and Coronado National Forests. All fire restrictions have also been lifted for the Grand Canyon. During this time of increased precipitation, debris flows are a concern in areas of recent fire activity. For more fire information go to: http://www.publiclands.org/firenews/AZ.php.

KAIBAB LAKE —  An angler reported that this lake is iced over. The road is open, but the campground is closed.
CATARACT LAKE — Not accessible. Lake is iced over.
CITY RESERVOIR —   No reports.

DOGTOWN LAKE —  No recent reports, but likely iced over like the other area lakes.
JD DAM — No report.
RUSSELL TANK -   The lake is to shallow to stock.
SANTA FE — No Report.

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Not accessible.

LOWER LAKE MARY —  No recent reports.

UPPER LAKE MARY —  No recent reports. Lake is iced over.
ASHURST LAKE —  No recent reports. Check with the Forest Service on road conditions before going.

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Not accessible.

MARSHALL LAKE —  Not accessible.
LONG LAKE — Not accessible.

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK –  Trout were last stocked the week of Dec. 19.  The next stocking is scheduled for next week, the week of Jan. 9.  The catfish and largemouth bite has been fair.  Catfish are still being caught on nightcrawlers, 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.
VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – Trout were last stocked the week of Dec.19.  The next scheduled stocking is next week, the week of Jan. 9.  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 -- Has not been stocked since mid October.
WEST CLEAR CREEK -- Has not been stocked since mid October.
Prescott Area
FAIN LAKE — The last stocking was the week of December 19th.  The next scheduled stocking will be the week of February 6th.  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.  Not many fish were caught at the Cops and Bobbers event so the lake should be holding lots of good size rainbow trout.
GOLDWATER LAKE — Many anglers have reported doing well.  Power Bait is probably your best bet, although spinners and flies can do well also.  Jimmy C. caught his limit on light colored power bait and reported he gilled them the same day and they were delicious.  Like most fishing areas, one day the bite is great and the next it’s slow.   The last scheduled stocking was the week of November 7th.  The next scheduled stocking will be the week of February 13th.
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 –Fishing should be slow for the winter.  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 the week of November 14th.  The next scheduled stocking will be the week of February 13th.The cold has slowed the bite down for all species except trout.  
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 October 17th.  This should change the trout bite.  Yellow bullhead catfish are active and easy to catch with nightcrawlers on the bottom. For trout the best bait is usually orange, pink, or white Power Bait, fished on the bottom with a treble hook and an egg sinker.  Fishing can be really good at times, because angler use is lower than other lakes in the area.  This lake is more remote than the other Prescott area lakes and not very big.  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 December 19th. The next scheduled stocking will be the week of January 16th.  I have not heard much from anglers about the fishing.

Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Watson last week 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.

Recommended Waters to Fish – Show Low Lake and Fool Hollow Lake are accessible and open at this time; however, ice has been forming along shoreline areas. For catch-and-release, artificial lure and fly anglers, Silver Creek is good to excellent.  Becker Lake is ice-free as of this past weekend and anglers were catching nice-sized trout.
Trout Stocking Schedule: The trout stocking schedule is completed for the White Mountains and Rim Lakes for 2011, but will resume in April 2012.

Note:  All Forest Roads in the Rim Lakes area are closed for the winter, including Forest Roads 300 (Rim Road),  169, 105, 149, 86 and southern portion of 34.  A recent winter storm dropped 15-20 inches of snow, and, as of Dec. 18, another one to two feet of snow is predicted in the area over the next couple days.  The higher elevation lakes are ice-covered.  Check ice thickness before venturing out on the ice.  Freezing and thawing conditions prevail.   Forest Roads 261 and 273 are closed to vehicle access.  Snowmobile access is allowed.
BEAR CANYON LAKE – Not accessible.  Forest Road 300 is closed for the winter.
BLACK CANYON LAKE – Not accessible.  Forest Roads 300 and 86 are closed for the winter.
CHEVELON LAKE – Not accessible.  Forest Roads 300 and 169 are closed for the winter.
CC CRAGIN (BLUE RIDGE) -- Not accessible.
KNOLL LAKE -- Not accessible.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Accessible by snowmobile or foot only from Hwy. 260.  Forest Service Road 149 is closed for the winter.
WOODS CANYON LAKE – Accessible by snowmobile or foot only.  Forest Road 300 is closed for the winter.

Note: Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicle access.  Snowmobile access is allowed.  The higher elevation lakes are ice-covered.   Check ice thickness before venturing out on the ice.
BECKER LAKE – Currently, this lake is ice-free. It experiences freezing and thawing conditions during the winter months, depending on weather conditions. Fishing has been good. Try fishing along weed beds with small nymphs and streamers. White wooly buggers have been successful. Becker is catch-and-release only, with artificial lures and flies only with a single hook.  Expect some morning skim ice on the lake.
BIG LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter. Snowmobile access is allowed. The lake is ice-covered.   Check ice thickness before venturing out on the ice.

CARNERO LAKE – The lake is ice-covered.  Check ice thickness before venturing out on the ice. Forest Roads 117 and 117A are snow-packed.
CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor. Water levels are extremely low, and the lake is covered with weeds.
CRESCENT LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicle access. Snowmobile access is allowed. Check ice thickness before venturing out on the ice.
FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair for trout. Anglers are catching trout on nightcrawlers in 4-6 feet of water.  Camping is available at this State Recreation Area. Ice is forming along shoreline areas and bays, but the main lake is ice-free.
GREER LAKES – The road into the Greer lakes is snowpacked. These lakes are ice-covered. Check ice thickness before venturing out on the ice.
HULSEY LAKE – The lake had been drained immediately following the Wallow Fire to help reduce expected flooding off Escudilla Mountain.
LEE VALLEY LAKE – Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicle access. Snowmobile access is allowed. The lake is ice-covered. Check ice thickness before venturing out on the ice.
LUNA LAKE – The road into Luna Lake is snowpacked. The lake is ice-covered. Check ice thickness before venturing out on the ice.
LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is now closed to public entry for the winter and will re-open during the summer of 2012.
NELSON RESERVOIR – The lake is ice-free. Some ice may form on the lake, depending on weather conditions. Unsafe ice conditions.
RAINBOW LAKE – The lake is ice-covered. Unsafe ice because of weather conditions.
SCOTT RESERVOIR – The lake is ice-covered. Unsafe ice because of weather conditions.
SHOW LOW LAKE – The lake is ice-free. The fishing piers are snow-packed, so use caution when walking on them.  Fishing is fair to good for trout and small walleye. Night crawlers and Power Bait have been working well.

The campground will remain open all winter, but the store is closed. The road over the dam is closed because of snow and ice.  It may be reopened depending on weather conditions. Ice may form on the lake because of weather conditions: expect unsafe ice.
WOODLAND LAKE – The lake is ice-covered.  Unsafe ice because of weather conditions.
Note: Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicles.  Snowmobile access is allowed.  Main Forest roads are snow-packed.
EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – The river is snow-packed and ice-covered.
WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – The river is snow-packed and ice-covered.
BLACK RIVER – Fishing is poor in the Black River due to ash flows and fish kills.  Recent monitoring surveys found very few fish in the main stem of the Black River.  The river is snow-packed and ice-covered.
LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER – The river is snow-packed and ice-covered.
SHEEPS CROSSING – Highway 273 is closed to vehicles.  Snowmobile access is allowed.  The river is snow-packed and ice-covered.
SILVER CREEK – Fishing is good.  Silver Creek is a spring creek and does not ice over during the winter.  From Oct. 1 through March 31, Silver Creek is open to artificial lures and flies only, barbless hooks, and catch-and-release fishing only.  The upper section is open to angling, but the hatchery area is always closed to fishing (it is well signed). Try small nymphs, large white streamers, and lures with barbless hooks.


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.
We are now moving into the winter trout stocking season here in S. Az. and anglers can expect fishing for warm water species to slow as temperatures begin to cool off!
The trout stocking schedule for the winter months can be viewed at www.azgfd.gov. The schedule is updated regularly as changes occur so check back often!
URBAN LAKES --  Incentive-sized rainbows up to 6 pounds are being stocking this week.

RIGGS FLAT — Closed for the winter.  
CLUFF RANCH —No recent reports of success.  The pond is low and boat launching is difficult.  For lake information call (928) 485-9430. For the entire stocking schedule please check here: 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule
ROPER LAKE — For lake information and status of the park call (928) 428-6760.   Due to high pH levels the lake will not be stocked until water conditions improve.
DANKWORTH POND — Remains closed to fishing during renovation.
FRYE MESA RESERVIOR –Anglers are reporting 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 up but it will still 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.
PENA BLANCA – Conditions have improved and trout stocking will resume this week. For information on future stockings please visit the stocking Schedule at 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule

PATAGONIA —  For the entire winter trout stocking schedule please check here: 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule
12/23/2011:  Trolled with spinners, super dupers, Z-rays from 0630 to 1300.  One nice trout and one very healthy 2 pound bass.  Both at the mouth of Ash Canyon.
PARKER CANYON — The lake has been stocked.  For the entire stocking schedule please check here: 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule  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.
On 1/2/12, my wife and I fished from shore for trout, used everything, no bites in 5 hrs of fishing. Did see a few people catching some off the fishing pier.

Last Sat, 1/7, my two son's and I took the boat out, fishing was fair, caught 8 in a little over 6hrs, lost a few.  Found a few holes with the graph that were productive, fish seemed to hanging deep, around 30ft, bite was off and on, but enough to keep us from napping. All caught on PowerBait. Tried 1/4 oz.spinners, but no luck.

ROSE CANYON LAKE — The lake is closed to vehicle access however anglers are still able to walk to the lake.  There have been no recent reports of fishing success but the lake was reported to have lots of ice covering the surface.

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