Arizona Game and Fish Report March 10th

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Old Game and Fish Reports

 Here's an stocking update from the Page Springs Hatchery as of 3/11


Region 2:
Oak Creek (1,050) 36-48*F
Frances Short (300) 40*F pH 7.0

Region 3:
Dead Horse (2,956) 52*F pH 8.5
Lynx Lake (2,376) 47*F pH 8.0
Verde River (2,400)
Watson Lake (2,332) 44*F pH 8.0

Region 5:
Patagonia Lake (1,782) 58*F pH 8.25
Pena Blanca Lake (1782) 55*F pH 8.5

Region 6:
Lower Salt River (1,320) 56-63*F

Next week tentative stocking schedule:

Region 2: Oak Creek (924), Frances Short (264)

Region 3: Goldwater Lake (1,188)

Region 5: Parker Canyon Lake (3,564)




Rory's tips

The long winter wait is over -- the spring equinox may not be until March 20, but the spring fishing is already here; the leading edge of the largemouth bass spawn is underway at most desert impoundments.

So pretty much, pick your favorite lake and go.

Here are some tips for where and how to fish right now. The bass staging for the spawn can initially be found moving out of deeper, colder water up onto the shallow water of major lake points outside coves. You might find them in a few feet of water up to about 35 feet of water.

Staging bass will also move to the edge of major flats, especially adjacent to deeper water, and to the secondary points inside coves. Also check submerged creek channels or other natural pathways (submerged arroyos) in the more shallow coves. Bass will follows these routes into the spawning beds.

During the leading edge of the spawn, bass will move into the backs of the shallow sheltered coves, with the work "sheltered" being the key. They like to spawn next to structure, where a submerged bush, boulder or rock outcropping. But lacking those, they will be in the spots where the water can be the warmest. Use your powers of observation and deductive reasoning.

There are those who like to work the bedding bass. Keep in mind the male bass guards the nest once the cavorting with the female is over. But once you find a bedded bass, the female may still be lurking just out of sight. A good strategy is to look over the area, determine likely ingress and egress routes for the female to follow to the bed, then work those with your lures. Often times, the female will be much larger than the male.

For working the male bass on the bed, use a highly visible soft plastic bait -- I prefer a creature bait in bright chartreuse, red, or orange. That is so you can see it to visually work the lure. Cast past the nest, and work your lure back across it. The male will not necessarily try to eat the lure, but to remove it as a threat. Often times, the bass will gingerly pick up the lure and simple take it a few feet away and drop it. So set the hook. You may have to do this several times before getting a hook up.

If you do hook up, be sure to immediately release the bass to go about creating the next generation of bass to catch, or baby bass for all the predators in the aquatic ecosystem to eat.

Hopefully, that gets you going.

Also, the high country is starting to come alive. Some lakes have already experienced ice out even though they may not be all that accessible due to snow or mud on forest roads. I have been out of the office with bronchitis, but once back in the office I will check around to see what roads to what lakes are open.

Check out the crappie report below.

Anglers are going well for Gila trout at Frye Mesa Reservoir since the historic stocking and opening of the first-ever Gila trout season here recently.

The pictures in my report this week came from Richard Scott and his wife. Thanks for sharing Richard. It's pretty neat to catch a piece of history.

This week was also the last stocking of trout along Casino Row in the Colorado River until this coming October. Throughout the winter, they have been catching some nice trout up to and sometimes beyond 20 inches long.

They have sometimes been catching big trout as well downriver in Topock Gorge, which also has some really nice smallmouth bass and plate-sized redear.

Hopefully you don't find too many glitches in the fishing report this week. I have been updating it from home while I fight a bout of bronchitis. I view writing about fishing as part of my therapy.

Just received the recent fishing report from Lees Ferry -- fishing "is off the charts!" If you want to catch wild rainbow trout in one of the most spectacular settings in North America, this is the prime time.

Send you fishing reports to raikens@azgfd.gov so I can share them with others. JPG pics are always appreciated.

So go catch some memories. Maybe I'll see you out there.

 

Crappie Report March 7


Even with beautiful weather all last week, it was a little hit and miss around the state. San Carlos remains the hot spot but warmer water at Alamo should trigger the spawn soon.
 
Alamo- Not many reports last week, I think most anglers are focused on San Carlos. However, I did hear of surface temps in the low 60’s. With a full moon on the 19th, there should be Crappie on beds in the next 2 weeks.
 
Bartlett- Still tough but some Crappies were caught last week. Try trolling around the Yellow Cliffs, Cat Bay or up river near Ship Rock.
 
Pleasant- I did hear of some Crappie caught 2 weeks ago but nothing last week. Try casting grubs and jigs at the shoreline or flooded trees in the back of Humbug, Castle and Coles.  
 
Roosevelt- It was a very tough week. Some anglers fishing in the flotilla on the salt end got a few but no big numbers. There are however some really big slabs. On Sunday I did a Crappie Seminar at Bass Pro Shops with LeRoy Price of Bass N Crappie Guide Service out of Globe. LeRoy said that the Crappie Schools at Rosey are starting break up and a lot of fish are heading further up into the river (Salt). This is a definite sign that they are getting ready to spawn. This weekend I will be looking for fish in the mouths of coves and in the river end on the edge of the river channel.
 
San Carlos- Surface temps are still a little on the cool side. Cold water coming in kept temps in the mid to upper 50’s so we might not see a lot of spawning activity for another moon phase. Early last week SC was producing some really nice bags of slabs, and then I showed up. Friday was very tough for us. To start our day a permit vendor in Globe refused to sell permits and many anglers were forced to go to the Basha’s in Peridot, AZ. That created a long line and put guys on the water after the morning bite was over. Then around noon the wind kicked up and pretty much had its way with us. The bite did pick back up over the weekend and weather permitting, should be great this week.
 
I would like to commend the Basha’s store in Peridot. They are very friendly and their service is as fast as it can be. Even with a long line the lady at the customer service desk was very pleasant. Plus the store is clean and has a good sized parking lot. 
 
Upcoming events:
 
There are a few Crappie Fishing Seminars around the state in the next 2 week given by a some real pros. Thursday the 10th at 6 p.m. Art Chamberlin of C&C Guide Service (Tonto Basin) will be at the Sportsmen’s Warehouse on Yorkshire and I-17 in Phoenix. On Sunday the 13th at 1 p.m. LeRoy Price will be back at Bass Pro Shops teaching the basics of trolling for Crappie. Then on Thursday the 17th Art will at the Mountain Bible Church in Payson with the great Curt Rambo. These guys really know how to hunt for big AZ slabs and their seminars are awesome. But the real "Slab Master" is Art’s grandson and best pal Kasey. He’s the “ringer” on Art’s boat for sure.
 
On Saturday, March 12th at 1 p.m. the Arizona Crappie Association is holding an open meeting at the Windy Hill Amphitheater, Roosevelt Lake. This is one of 4 “open meetings” we hold a year for non-members to come and check out our club. We have a very busy agenda this month but we hope to answer any question that prospective members may have. For more information sign up as a user on our website, it’s free and very informative.
 
To protect the future of our sport the Arizona Crappie Association practices and promotes the immediate release of all Crappie under 10” in length. For more information on the Arizona Crappie Association including tips, reports and membership, go to www.azcrappie.com.
 
Bill (Piscolli) Eveland
AZCA/ BPS



 



Fishing News

Public encouraged to review the draft EA and provide comments by April 11

PHOENIX - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) today (March 10, 2011) made available for review a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) on FWS’s proposal  to continue to provide Sport Fish Restoration funds to AGFD to continue the state’s long-standing program of stocking fish for public recreational opportunities, and for hatchery operations and maintenance.

Members of the public are encouraged to review and provide comment on the draft EA, as it has ramifications for the future of both sport fish angling and native fish conservation in Arizona. The deadline to submit comments is April 11, 2011.

Under the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1950, federal funding is provided to state wildlife agencies for management and restoration of sport fish. In fiscal year 2011, Arizona received over $7 million in Sport Fish Restoration Act funds.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), federal agencies are required to analyze potential environmental effects of any action they propose to implement, approve, or fund. Because AGFD receives federal funds used to support its stocking program (along with state funds from the sale of licenses and trout stamps), the agency is required to complete an environmental assessment process to allow it to continue receiving those federal funds. 

This draft EA is a part of the federally required NEPA compliance.

”Support of sport fisheries is an important part of the work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said Steve Robertson, Chief of the FWS division of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program. “By working with the state we are able to help provide recreational fishing opportunities while being mindful of the need to protect and restore native fish populations.”

“In a way, we do a balancing act,” said AGFD Fisheries Chief Kirk Young. “On one hand, Game and Fish wants to provide the public with enjoyable fishing opportunities, which create a huge economic benefit to the state. Yet on the other hand, as a wildlife agency, we also need to consider and manage for the needs of nongame and threatened and endangered wildlife, including native fish. Our proposed conservation and mitigation measures enable us to do that.”

The draft EA analyzes a range of three possible actions or alternatives. The Proposed Action would allow AGFD to continue its stocking program at 167 sites for 10 years. The Proposed Action also includes a conservation program to mitigate impacts to federally listed threatened, endangered, and candidate species, and other sensitive native species of fish, amphibians and semi-aquatic reptiles. This is the preferred course of action for both AGFD and FWS.

“Basically, for the recreating public, there would be little if any discernible difference in their fishing opportunities across the state if the Proposed Action in the draft EA is selected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” Young said.

There are two other alternative actions listed in the draft Environmental Assessment – A “No Action”alternative that would result in the FWS not providing funding for the stocking of sport fish to the Arizona Game and Fish Department and, in essence, the department’s fish stocking program would cease; and a “Reduced Stocking" alternative, which would eliminate 66 stocking sites throughout the state (La Paz County Park Lagoon, Hulsey Lake, Nelson Reservoir, Lyman Reservoir, C.C. Craigin (Blue Ridge Reservoir), Knoll Lake, Clear Creek Reservoir, Mud Tank, Kinnikinick Lake, Coconino Lake, Morton, Ashurst Lake, Marshall Lake, Mormon Lodge Pond, Upper Lake Mary, Lower Lake Mary, Luna Lake, Big Lake, Black River East Fork, Black River West Fork, Workman Creek, Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek, Haigler Creek, Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake, Tempe Town Lake, Salt River Lower, Parker Canyon, Patagonia, Pena Blanca, Rose Canyon, Granite Basin Lake, Dead Horse Lake, Verde River Middle, Oak Creek, Wet Beaver Creek, West Clear Creek, East Verde River, Green Valley Lake, Bass Tank, Blue Tank, Alvord Lake, Chaparral Lake, Cortez Lake, Desert Breeze Lake, Desert West Lake, Encanto Lake, Evelyn Hallman Pond, Kiwanis Lake, Papago Ponds, Rio Vista Pond, Riverview Lake, Steele Indian School Pond, Crossroads Park, McQueen Park, Bonsall Park, Granada Park, Roadrunner Park, Eldorado Park, Indian School Park, Vista del Camino Park, Tempe Papago Park, Water Treatment, Discovery District Park and Selleh Park). 

In addition to providing an overview of the factors affecting threatened and endangered species over time, the draft EA also analyzes the economic impacts of fish stocking and associated outdoor recreation.

How to obtain copies and comment on the draft EA:

The draft EA is available online at www.azgfd.gov/fishea or at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/federal_assistance/. Additionally, hard copies of the draft EA may be viewed at the AGFD Phoenix Headquarters or regional field offices across the state. For a list of addresses, visitwww.azgfd.gov/offices.

Comments or requests for copies of the draft EA on CD may be submitted by e-mail to fw2fa@fws.gov orfishaz@azgfd.gov or to:

Ms. Brie Darr, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 1306, 500 Gold Ave. SW, Ste 9019, Albuquerque, NM 87103. Telephone: (505) 248-7457, Fax: (505) 248-7471, or

Mr. Dave Weedman, Habitat Branch, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086. Telephone: (623) 236-7607, Fax (623) 236-7366.

All comments will be accepted through 5 p.m. on April 11, 2011.

Once the 30-day public comment period ends, the comments will be considered for incorporation into a final EA. Then a decision will be made by FWS as to the significance of the impacts.

Additional background

Each year, the Arizona Game and Fish Department stocks more than 3 million fish in Arizona’s lakes, rivers and streams for anglers to catch – mostly rainbow, Apache, or other trout, but some warmwater species such as largemouth bass and channel catfish as well.

Recreational angling in Arizona totaled 4,156,000 angling days in 2006, creating a statewide economic impact of more than $1.3 billion annually.

Arizona’s native fish fauna historically consisted of 36 species of fish, only a few of which were historically sought for sport fishing.

Since the early 1900s, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and other agencies have supplemented recreational angling opportunities by stocking state waters with sport fish species.

Fish stockings have evolved over the past 100 years or so to meet growing needs of anglers in Arizona. Now the Arizona Game and Fish Department considers a wide range of factors when determining where and when to stock fish, including biology, angler use, partnership commitments and needs, native fish impacts and social demands.

Although most of the trout species caught in Arizona likely come from fish hatcheries, most of the warmwater species in the state – especially those in the larger impoundments such as Roosevelt Lake – come from natural reproduction.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s mission includes conservation, and for decades the Department has been a national leader when it comes to native species management efforts.

“We continually strive to do what is right for native fish and all other wildlife species in the state, while also balancing the recreational needs of the public,” said Young. 

The federal funding apportioned to Arizona is authorized under the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1950, commonly referred to as the Dingell-Johnson Act and Wallop-Breaux Act. It provides federal aid to state wildlife agencies for management and restoration of sport fish.

These Sport Fish Restoration funds are derived from a federal excise tax at the manufacturing level on certain items of sport-fishing tackle, fishing equipment and motor boat fuel – a user pay, user benefit program.

Since 2000, the state of Arizona has received over $77 million in Sport Fish Restoration funds.

 

CENTRAL WATERS

URBAN -- The final winter trout stockings in the Phoenix and Tucson area Urban lakes will take place the week of March 7-12. Urban lake water temperatures are rising into the 60’s signaling the annual stocking changeover from winter trout to spring catfish.

This week’s trout delivery will be the ninth one of the season, concluding a very successful winter stocking season of 100% on-time deliveries. For the second year in a row, the trout were larger and averaged over ½ pound each.

At Payson’s Green Valley Lakes, trout stockings will continue every two weeks for another two months until the middle of May.

All Urban Program lakes and ponds in the Phoenix and Tucson areas will be stocked with 15-20 inch channel catfish on Thursday, March 24. Beginning with the spring season kick-off stocking, catfish will be stocked eight times through early July at rates averaging from 40 to 60 fish per acre. Nearly 14,000 pounds of Arkansas farm-raised catfish will be delivered and stocked into 20 Urban Fishing Program lakes every two weeks by our excellent fish contractor.

Bring your family to the free Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo, a fun environment where the entire family can explore great outdoors activities, workshops and demonstrations that include live wildlife, camping, fishing, archery, shooting sports, hunting, wildlife conservation, rock climbing, off-highway vehicle riding and boating. More than 100 exhibitors, clubs, vendors and agencies will be on hand to share their expertise and guide you to more outdoor fun. This two-day event will be held March 26-27 at the Ben Avery Shooting facility, in northwest Phoenix (Carefree Highway, ½ mile west of I-17 and follow the signs). Hours are 9 am to 5 pm Saturday and 9 am to 4 pm Sunday. Two huge kids’ fishing tanks will be full of sunfish ready to bite and release. A casting tank full of bass will be where the experts will demonstrate fishing techniques and tips throughout the day. There’s something for everyone, and admission and parking are FREE! For more information, call (602) 942-3000 or go to www.azgfd.gov/expo.

March offers the best time of the year to fish your nearby park lakes for trout, sunfish, bass and catfish.  Good fishing for trout will continue through March as all lakes receive their final stockings the week of March 7-12. Most trout are falling for Power Bait fished on the bottom. Other good baits include worms, corn and salmon eggs. The cool morning hours are the best times to target the trout. As waters warm up, try fishing for largemouth bass that are now moving closer to shore as they prepare to spawn and search for food. Regulations require that all bass under 13 inches must be released unharmed immediately. Reports keep coming in of anglers catching catfish, even though it has been nearly four months since the last cats were stocked. Speaking of catfish, the catfish stocking season starts on Thursday, March 24 at all Phoenix and Tucson area Urban waters. Excellent trout fishing conditions can be found at Payson’s Green Valley lakes. Best bets for these pine country trout are Power Bait, corn and worms. Some success has been found by trout anglers using spinners, small spoons and jigs.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE -- Due to high pH, this lake has not been stocked with trout recently. This also means the fish already in the lake may not be as activie, but it doesn't mean you can't catch them. Most likely though, fishing will be slow. Try live night crawlers for trout.

Angler report:

Where: Payson Green Valley Lake
When: 03/06/11
Caught: 6 Rainbow Trout
Technique: Power Bait...fished with the kids from 12-3:30
Comments: Always have luck at this lake with my kids...all three of my kids kept catching fish...my 9 year old caught a 4-pound 21-inch long rainbow today everyone at the lake was excited and came over to look.
Name: Carlye Medina

 

LAKE PLEASANT – Lake elevation 1,693 ft (89 percent full). The fishing is picking up a bit.  A couple anglers caught bass on beds but most bass are still hanging in the shallows. Largemouth typically spawn between 55 and 65 degrees.  Temperature in reservoirs will vary depending on depth and protection from wind and disturbance and length of time the sun hits the water.  Males will typically choose a site that is relatively easy to defend like near some structure and relatively close to open water.   

Dropshot is still working well for anglers.  One fisherman caught 11 largemouth 5 to 25 feet deep.   The natural worm colors are working well for anglers especially when the water is clear.  One angler checked water temp and 54 – 56 degrees in the main bay.  Another angler measured 57 degrees in the back of the northern coves.

One angler was reported using live shad in the back of some coves in 3 to 10 feet of water and catching big largemouth bass in the trees. 

Another angler fished from 2:30 until dark.  He caught 1 largemouth and 2 stripers.  One striper succumbed to a shad colored crank and the other two fish liked silver spoons. 

Expect to find striped bass in the spawning mode any place where there are inflows, such as small streams coming into the shallow northern coves or water being pumped into the lake near the dam. For stripers, think white or silver for your lures. Frozen anchovies are also a good bet.

The Agua Fria Arm of Lake Pleasant via Table Mesa Road will be open on specific Saturdays and only for specific hours. For more information, visit the Lake Pleasant Regional Park website athttp://www.maricopa.gov/parks/lake_pleasant/AguaFria.aspx.

Angler Report:

Hello
My report to fellow fisherman is that the main lake water temp is 57.5 by 11am and I found that the northern coves got up to 59 to even 62 in some spots but that didn't happen until late in the day by 2pm.   The later you go the warmer the surface water temp gets which stages the beginning of the "spawn" for the largemouth bass.   I am willing to bet this week the bass will move into the shallow waters starting late in the day and begin looking for places to start there spawn.
 
Here is a fine example of what I am talking about as I caught this female at 2:30pm in 2ft of water today !! 8lb test line, clear in color and live night crawlers!!  You also need a good pair of Polaroid sunglasses to spot the fish!
 
I got no bites both days using anchovies and only saw 1 fisherman today catch 1 striper.
 
Warren

 



ROOSEVELT LAKE -- Lake Elevation is 2144 ft (92% full).  Tonto Creek runoff is 134 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 311 cfs.  The spring runoff has yet to get underway, which neans the lake level is pretty stable right now. That really matters for locating bass either staging for the spawn, or on the beds.  

 

Reports are all over the board.  Some crappie fishermen didn’t catch crappie at all over the weekend.  Another group caught 11 crappie Saturday, the Sunday crappie bite was lacking but the bass fishing was better.  The best technique for the bass was trolling minnows.  Early morning was the best time. 

A fishing duo found some bass that went after 4”power worms in among the submerged trees between 8am and 1pm.  Water temperature taken by an angler was between 55 and 57 degrees.  Water clarity was a little more than 10 feet in some areas.

Two fishermen, one new to the sport and the other one an experienced mentor fished from 6am to 10:30.  By the way thanks for sharing.  They found bass real fast and the bite lasted till 9am.  They fished weightless Senkos in the trees in 8 to 12 feet of water about 15 feet from shore.  The bite was soft.  Water temperature was 58 degrees.  The nubie saw shad busting right by the boat and I’m sure that provided a nice fishing experience for him. 

The annual waterfowl closure was lifted February 15 opening up access to Horsepasture and Goose Flats area.  The Tonto Creek inlet to Roosevelt Lake is still closed to vehicle and foot entry within 1000 feet of the eagles nest on land and to watercraft within 300 feet on water until June 30th for the bald eagle closure and the area is buoyed.

APACHE -- Lake elevation is 1910 ft (96% full). 

An angler used a shad crankbaits just inside coves off main lake points and caught 6 bass  ranging from 5.5 pounds, a couple 3 pounders and the rest were smaller ones. This is a good time of year to try for walleye and smallmouth bass. Yellow bass are plentiful, try using gold KastMasters.

CANYON -- Lake elevation is 1656 ft, which is 94% full. A solo angler caught 11 bass using jerkbait and dropshot in the main lake and up river.  Most fish were hanging in areas close to drop-offs.  Water temps ranged from 53 to 56 throughout the morning and afternoon.

Another angler caught some bass using spinner bait in deep water.  He switched to dropshoting main points and landed a 24 inch 8.3 pound largemouth.  

A group of anglers caught 13 bass.  One was a nice smallmouth.  The bite was consistent during the day and night. 

This deep lake can often be a week behind most of the others when it comes to spawning acvitivity, but early on you will probably find the most active bass in the main basin when the launch ramps are located,

SAGUARO - Lake elevation 1524 feet at 91% full. An angler fished from 9am to 12:30 and nabbed 6 bass on Dropshot in 15 feet of water.  Water Temps ranged between 56 and 57 degrees.  Fish were active along the weeds and he graphed a bunch in structure but none were interested in his presentations.  All the fish he caught were real healthy.  The bite was real soft and dead sticking worked the best.  They were hanging in rocky areas around other structure.

Angler report:

Hello there,

My first outing last week was to Saguaro Lake. It seemed like a perfect day to be fishing, but after two hours of fishing the Butcher Jones area with no luck...not even a nibble...I drove on over to Canyon Lake. I was at the Boulder Recreation Site and thought things were going to end up the same way as at Saguaro Lake. I got a knot in my line right after I cast out near some reeds and started to untie it, but after a minute I felt my line moving in my hands and looked up and saw my line moving all around the water. Despite the knot I reeled in the slack and set the hook for what was to be my first real bass battle. Despite the fact that the largemouth bass I reeled in was probably only 2-3 pounds It was the biggest one I had ever caught, and I was so happy! The bait I was using was a purple Power Bait worm on a Texas rig. That was the only fish I caught there but I had a blast that day!

Lastly, today I walked over to Chaparral Lake because I live right behind it. I purchased a new light weight ugly stick earlier as well as a nice bait caster reel and two-pole stamp. Wanting to try my hand at my new found hobby of bass fishing again I set up some Power Bait on my old rod and tossed. I used the same Texas rig as I did before on my new setup and caught a small but feisty 3/4 pound largemouth.

All in all I had a great time fishing, and want to thank you, the Arizona Game and Fish Department for supporting and sustaining this wonderful activity that gets people out of their houses to experience the real world. I hope some of my story can make it into the next report so other anglers can get an idea of where to go or not to go, and what to use. Thanks again!

Taylor Conley

BARTLETT  -- Lake elevation is 1,783 ft, which is 79 percent full.  Reservoir release is 625 cfs. Dropshot is still the best bet although crankbait are enticing the bite as well as white spinners in shallow water.  Jig action among cover is producing as well.  Bring your thermometer, find the warmer water and you will have some interested fish checking out your presentation.

This is a good time of year to slow-roll spinnerbaits with trailers, especially off the major points where bass might stage for the spawn, but also try inside points as well. Don't neglect the warmer backs of coves where the early spawning acvtivity will occur. You will likely find bass more active in the warmer afternoons.

   
HORSESHOE -- Lake elevation is at 1,982 feet 20% full.  They are releasing water at 250 cfs.


VERDE RIVER
 - Verde River flow at Tangle is 1,470 cubic feet per second, which is typical spring runoff flows so Horseshoe is filling some.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 625 cfs.

SALT RIVER – Salt River into Roosevelt is 311 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 233 cfs.  They are releasing 8 cfs out of Stewart Mountain dam from Saguaro. 

LOWER SALT RIVER – Scheduled to be stocked this week with rainbow trout. Try using night crawlers on light line with little or no weight. Cast slightly upstream and let the current carry your bait through the riffles and into any pools you might find. Be sure to mend your line to keep contact with the bait so you can set the hook (lightly, trout have soft mouths). Small spinners and casting spoons, such as KastMasters, can also work. Power Bait is often less effective, but sometimes it can also work well -- experiment.

The stocking is at the Phon D. Sutton Recreation area, which is the confluence of the Salt and Verde Rivers. Trout are also stocked downstream at the Granite Reef Recreation area, which is a good place for float tubes. Some trout are also stocked in the deeper pools near the Blue Point Bridge upstream.

SRP is still taking flows from the Verde River (Bartlett side at 650 cfs) and only 8 cfs from Saguaro. This will change at some point this spring. 

Mogollon Rim Streams:

The trout streams below the Mogollon Rim have not been stocked since last fall, but it is still possible to find some hold-over trout in some of the deeper pools.

We have renovated Tonto Creek to increase its viability as a trout fishery. You may not readily see the differences, but boulders and logs placed in stratgic locations can make all the difference in providing improved habitat and hiding cover for trout, while often altering flows to create pockets of deeper water.


COLORADO RIVER NORTHWEST

LAKE POWELL – by Wayne Gustaveson, Wednesday, 02 March 2011 10:51  
Lake Elevation: 3614, Water Temperature 46 - 48 F

Fishing results this winter have been surprisingly good.  My normal winter activity is to sit by the fire but this year each weekly fishing trip has provided incentive to go out again next week. With gloves, goggles, and insulated clothing the trips have been bearable while traveling and exciting when fishing.

Striped bass have provided most of the action.  Schools of 3-pound adults and 15-inch juveniles are normally found in the backs of most major canyons where a perennial stream or dry wash allows runoff to enter. Canyons that end in a steep cliff may not hold as many schools as those with a brush-ringed flood plain. Plankton-eating juveniles are suspended in the upper 25 feet while adults are near bottom.
  
Look for adult striper schools where bottom depth is 40-80 feet.  A fish locating graph certainly helps find a mound of stripers on the usually flat bottom devoid of much else besides a readily recognizable fish school.  My fish locating technique is to troll while watching the graph for a school.  A floating marker is tossed overboard where the school is seen. If fish don't rise to the trolled bait then we return and drop spoons to the bottom. Sometimes a school responds to one fish rising to the spoon as they all try to get involved in the action. Other times the spoon is ignored by all. Lethargic schools can usually be excited by chumming with cut bait. Impressive catches of stripers have been achieved using both methods.
  
These fishing methods will continue to produce in March.  Cold water sometimes keeps fish dormant. My normal success rate for 5 trips ranges from one being fantastic to one where no fish are caught. That leaves 3 trips where success is satisfying. Expect fishing conditions to improve in March as water temperature starts to rise.  This spring expect bait fishing near the dam and along steep canyon walls to be more successful than in previous years.  But right now schools are still found in the backs of canyons.  Look there first.
  
March is the best month to catch a trophy largemouth bass. These 4-7 pound bass have spent the winter in submerged brush ringing the sandy shoreline. They move up and down depending on weather conditions but essentially bass will be in brush and seldom deeper than 20 feet.  Use weedless fishing tackle that can be fished slowly within, around and through tree branches. The tried and true standard bait remains pork rind on a weedless jig head with brush guard.  The modern improvement to that technique is replacing pork with plastic trailers that are big and bulky to allow slow descent as the bait crawls over a limb and falls back to the bottom.  One new bait showing early success this spring is a Yamamoto Flappin Hog.

Walleye spawn during March and limit food intake making them hard to catch. Smallmouth bass don't respond well until water temperature climbs above 55F. Crappie, sunfish and catfish are relatively dormant.   Target stripers and largemouth during March for the best chance of good fishing success over the length of Lake Powell.
 

LEES FERRY -- Report courtesy Lees Ferry Anglers anglers@leesferry.com.

Report by: Scott Sargent, Wednesday, March 9rd, 2011

Fly Fishing:
Fishing is off the charts at the ferry.

Dry drop fishing off the slower inside seems highly productive. We’re still using a dry dropper rig. Usually a zebra midge as your dropper, usually a 4-6 foot drop with a little bit of shot depending on water flow. For the dry, we’re using any large and visible attractor.

You can sure tell that spring is here. We’ve had beautiful and perfect weather. It looks like this weather may continue for the next ten days or so. Spring is definitely here.
The warm weather has been affecting the midge hatches on the river. We’ve been seeing more and more hatches as the warm weather continues.

We’re still using eggs in some areas, but with all the midges the fish seem to be focused on what is more abundant.

The flow has been 16,000, which has been affecting the available wading areas. The reason the flows are higher because the B.O.R is attempting to equalize Lake Mead and Lake Powell. If your favorite bar is taken, you may as well begin drifting using a longer leader and a little more shot.

Every boom season that we’ve had at the ferry has been proceeded by high water flows. This is very productive for fishing the Colorado River.

If you have a car, and a day off, this is definitely the place to be for this wonderful spring weather.

Walk in: The fishing is great.
There are reports of many fish being spotted and caught. Mostly twelve to fourteen inches, but there are many large fishes visible in the water as well. This particular fisherman who made this report hooked and released at least 15 fish by noon while spin fishing. Flows are at 16,000, which are conductive to wading, and will remain at 16,000 until the 18th when the flows are to be said to increase roughly to 20,000cfs.

Spin Fishing: Reports of good spin fishing, the lure of choice is still the Panther Martin in gold and black.
Anglers are also using large glo bugs, and bouncing them off the bottom. The jig has been a fun one too, seems the black ones are working best when the cast is toward the shore.

Here is a recent spin fishing report:

Hi guys. We were up there fishing on Jan 6th, 7th and 8th. We were spin fishing using glo balls we bought from your shop in pink, fluorescent green and oregon cheese colors, and we slayed em!

Bouncing the glo-balls in 10-20 feet of water at various (secret) spots on the river was the key. Hardly ever anything in less than 10 feet or over 20. Thanks for great meals and awesome glo-balls. See you again soon.

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: anglers@leesferry.com Attn. Lees Ferry Fishing Report. We would be happy to have your input, and pass it along.

The AZ Game and Fish Department has detected whirling disease in a very small percentage of Lees Ferry trout that were collected for a random sampling. More recent samplings have turned up no sign of the disease, which may mean that it was a “one time” exposure, where the disease was not established or that the disease is present but at a very low prevalence. Anglers should still use caution in cleaning their equipment both before and after they have fished here or in other waters. For more information visit: http://www.whirling-disease.org 

 

LAKE MEAD – The current water level is around 1,096 feet above msl. Lake levels have been rising slightly over the winter.  Striper fishing has been slow, even at night under lights. Cut anchovies are still the bait of choice.  Check the moon phases before you go.  Dark nights work best when fishing under light.  Fish for strippers in 50 plus feet of water to 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. 

Launching conditions at South Cove have improved as the water level has gone up. There are currently four lanes.  Launching conditions in general are better at Temple Bar than South Cove.

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 visithttp://100thmeridian.org/.

LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level is around 642 feet above msl.  Black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly.  Trolling with anchovies in 30-50ft has been producing some stripers, while catfish are on the bottom.  In general the fishing is slow.  While the number of stripers in Mohave has been decreasing, the quality of the fish caught has increased. 

Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers.  Cut anchovies usually work the best.  The full moon is March 19.

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 mchmiel@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 visithttp://100thmeridian.org/.

WILLOW BEACH – Willow beach is stocked every Friday with 3,000 13-inch rainbow trout.  Fishing for trout has been fair following the stocking.  Garlic and salmon peach powerbaits were being used most for trout.  Power worms, jakes, panther martin and roostertails are also usually effective.   Construction near the river is mostly complete and the new store and parking lots are open. 

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 mchmiel@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 visithttp://100thmeridian.org/.

TOPOCK MARSH – The crappie bite in Topock Marsh remains encouraging, but the bite has been hit and miss.  Several crappie have tipped the scale a just over 2 pounds. Minnows and small road runners are the preferred bait. Bass are also being taken. Pumpkin colored crankbait and six inch watermelon trick worms are working in shallow water. In deeper water it is deep diving crank baits in a fire tiger color that is producing.  Catfish ranging between 2-6 pounds, with a stout 10 lb, 12 oz, are being caught off North Dyke.

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 visithttp://100thmeridian.org/.

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – Trout were last stocked the week of March 8.  This was the last stocking at Davis Camp until October of 2011. In addition to the stockers multiple anglers have been reporting catching trout in the 20-22 inch range on night crawlers.

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. 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.

Topock Gorge has seen up to 2 lb. smallmouth but not very many taken.  Strippers are not biting but the trout are moving down and being caught on night crawlers.  A 3 ¼ pound catfish was taken recently but in general it has taken a variety of baits to catch the few fish that have been caught.   

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 mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.


SOUTHWESTERN WATERS

LAKE HAVASU -- Report courtesy BassTackleMaster.com 

Lake Level 447.42. Early AM striper bite has been good during the first two hours of daylight
trolling anchovies and casting White ratl traps, stump jumpers and green tailed salt water assassins rigged on 3/8 to 1/2oz leadheads.

Night bite slowing as temps rise and shad start moving to open water. Troll anchovies slow (2mph) with
2 plus ounces of lead, anchovy should be skipping on the bottom to provoke strikes from stripers searching
the bottom for wounded shad and crawdads.

Smallmouth action taking off with lots of smallies moving shallow to spawn.  4" curly or straight tailed Roboworms in Chartreuse, pearl or white colors rigged texas or dropshot style will work great on these aggressive bass.

Please practice catch-andrelease during this time to give our smallies a chance to reproduce ans make our fishery even better.
 
This Report was provided by
John Galbraith of BassTackleMaster.com
Lake Havasu City, Az.

Sandpoint Fish Report for March 10, 2011
3-4 Tenny P. got a 4 pound 13 ounce striper using shad at the Springs
3-5 Ron Z. got a 5 pound 1 ounce striper using shad at the Springs
3-6 Robert P. got a 5 pound 7 ounce striper using shad at the Springs
3-10 Robert P. got a 5 pound striper using shad at Clydsville (Springs)
His fishing buddy Van got a 6 pound 8 ounce striper using shad also at Clydsville.
 
 
March
Lunker: Carl K. 7 lb. 2 oz.
Striper: Van 6 lb. 8 oz.

Report Courtesy Karen Coats, Sandpoint Marina
 

 

ALAMO LAKE -- Report courtesy Mark Knapp, Alamo Lake State Park. Well folks, another weeks of hit-and-miss fishing.  I went out with a friend last week bass fishing.  In six hours we managed to a catch one fish a piece.  I caught one on a red flaked brush hog in about 8 feet of water.  The other was caught off training wheels ( crankbait) on secondary structure in a cove.  I forgot how brutal that morning blast is across the lake.  Dress warm.

Crappie fishing is not much better.  Anglers are averaging 3 to 5 apiece.  It's really trying to turn on though.  One angler did come in and said he caught 16 nice sized crappies on Saturday and 15 on Sunday.  He stated he got away from the flotilla and was jigging them in a tree.  There's something to think about.

No reports on cat fishing. The lake level is at 1118 with releases of 25 cfs. Both ramps are in operation at this time.  Sorry this so short. I'm playing ping pong ball again this week. Would love to write more but PHX here I come.

Mark



 
Spring Outlook:

Alamo Lake:

Alamo Lake has received no significant runoff this winter, but the lake elevation remains at a pretty respectable level, around 1118 feet. This means that both launch ramps at Alamo Lake State Park should remain usable for the foreseeable future. Inflow events are still a possibility as we go into the spring, but for the past three years our major inflow events have occurred prior to March. Regardless, the flows in the past three winters have provided an influx of nutrients into the system, so the fish populations in the reservoir should be in very good shape.


Largemouth bass surveys conducted by AZGFD in October indicate that bass are still very abundant, although a large proportion of the population remains in the protected slot.  We continue to see a gradual increase in numbers of bass that are greater than 16 inches, but slot-sized fish are still the most numerous. 

This past fall, the bass were in average physical condition for Alamo Lake, but the decent shad and small sunfish numbers hopefully has allowed them to fatten, over the winter. Bass fishing should be good to excellent, as is usual for Alamo, into the summer.

Be aware that heavy runoff inflows, if they occur, can dump a lot of debris into the lake, which effects water clarity, and can turn off the bite.  There is also the chance of larger floating debris, which can present a boating hazard. The upper end of Alamo Lake has a lot of dead standing vegetation and debris, often just below the water surface. This is great cover for fish, but presents a hazard to boating. Be aware that there are no navigational hazard markers at the upper portion of the lake, once you pass the second buoy line. For bass, as the weather warms, shift from slowly working plastics in deeper water to crank baits, spinner baits, and top-water lures.


Fishing for channel catfish will be good to excellent this spring, and throughout the summer.  There is a very healthy population of channel catfish in Alamo Lake. There are lots of very small catfish, but plenty in the 2-4 pound range that provide fun fishing. You may also run into the occasional 8-10 pound catfish. The best concentrations of channel catfish seem to be found along the upper two thirds of the shoreline, on the western side of the lake. For channel catfish any of the prepared catfish baits will work, as well as chicken livers, or your own secret concoctions.

Channel catfish will occasionally take artificial lures and plastics, but if you are targeting catfish, bait is probably the way to go. Crappie fishing has been pretty decent through the winter, and may pick up a bit as the weather warms. Large bags have not been common, but the fish are of high quality, in the 1½- to 2-pound range. There are other fish present such as bluegill, redear sunfish and carp that are a lot of fun to catch.

When Alamo Lake was first formed, it was well known for its excellent pan-fishing.  In the past couple of years we have been noticing that decent-sized sunfish are on the increase.  Increased harvest on these species would actually result in larger average sizes, and you cannot beat sunfish for edibility.  We have been seeing an abundance of decent-sized redear sunfish, up to a pound.  This species commonly reaches sizes of over two pounds, although we have not yet observed redear sunfish of this size in Alamo Lake.  All types of bait should work.

Large tilapia in the 5-6 pound range are abundant, and are an unexploited resource.


The State Park, and all of its facilities, is open, and we expect all amenities to remain available. Because of the State’s budget woes, which have severely impacted operation of Arizona State Parks, some change in operation could occur in the future, but for now the operation of the Park has not changed.  The store at the lake is open, where you can get ice, snacks, fishing tackle and bait, as well as information on the fishing.  A certified scale is located at the store.  No fuel is available at Alamo Lake, it is sold at Wenden, and nearby Wayside.
 
Lake Havasu & Topock Gorge:

Lake Havasu and the river upstream of the lake is becoming an excellent destination for largemouth and smallmouth bass. Fishing for largemouth bass, as well as smallmouth bass, is expected to be good to excellent this spring. There is a 13-inch minimum size limit for bass on the lower Colorado River

Largemouth bass in the four to six-pound range are becoming very common on Lake Havasu, with occasional fish exceeding 10 pounds.  Smallmouth bass are becoming more and more common, and bags at bass tournaments are now showing close to a 50/50 mix of largemouth and smallmouth bass.

If you are unfamiliar with smallmouth bass, they are very aggressive and scrappy, and will give you a much more exciting battle than a similarly-sized largemouth.  Smallmouth bass generally do not grow as large as largemouth, but four and five-pound smallmouth are becoming common. Both bass species tend to be in very good condition in this water body.  Perhaps because of the exceptionally clear water in Lake Havasu, they are also some of the most strikingly colored fish in the Region.  The warmer weather should cause the bite to improve, making crankbaits and topwater lures a good choice as the water warms.


Striped bass fishing will likely continue to be fair to poor, with catch rates far below what have been experienced in past years.  Striped bass are very dependent on threadfin shad for forage.  Shad numbers appear to be on the increase, but all reports indicate that striper-fishing has not seen a dramatic comeback, nor do we have terribly high expectations that it will.

Remember, schools of shad move around, and populations tend to fluctuate, so spots that have been “hot” in the past may no longer be so if the shad have moved elsewhere, or are in lower numbers.

Historically, the majority of striped bass in Lake Havasu tend to be smaller fish of 1 to 2 pounds, with an occasional 20-30 pound fish.  It seems that the smaller fish are much more uncommon than they were several years ago.

The jury is still out on the effects the quagga mussel infestation in Lake Havasu may have on the fish community in Lake Havasu, but the arrival of the mussel has seemed to coincide with a decrease in the catch rates for striped bass. Live shad seems to be the most productive bait for stripers, with cut anchovies not seeming to work as well as they did in years past.
 
Angling for bluegill and redear sunfish will be good to excellent.  Lake Havasu is well known for large (2-3 pound) redear sunfish, and with the proliferation of the quagga mussel in the lake, we are seeing large redears becoming more common.  Redear sunfish are also known as “shellcrackers,” due to their preference, and morphological adaptation, for eating clams and mussels, so they may actually benefit from the presence of the invasive quagga mussel. Bluegills will also eat quagga mussels, although they are not as well adapted for capitalizing on this suddenly abundant food source.  Redear sunfish up to four pounds (or even larger) are found in the lake.

Decent crappie numbers can be found, primarily in the lower end of the lake (Bill Williams River Arm), but fishing for crappie is likely to be only fair.

Threadfin shad are also an important food source for crappie, and the abundance of this species hinges on the size of the shad population.

Flathead catfish can be found throughout the lake, but the larger individual, up to 40 pounds, or greater, can be found in the lower portion of the lake, especially in the Bill Williams River arm. Fishing for flatheads should improve as the water warms this spring. Live bait is the key for flatheads, as they are extremely predatory and are unlikely to strike much other than a lively baitfish. Channel catfish are also found throughout the lake, and they will take a variety of live bait, cut bait and commercial preparations.


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 waters by accident.  This invasive species certainly has profound effects on water delivery and control structures, boat engines, and likely on fish populations.  Quagga mussels are abundant and widely distributed in Lake Havasu, but are absent from many of our interior lakes, and lakes in California.  Help keep those lakes quagga-free.  Do the right thing, and make sure your boat and trailer are free of the mussels; drain your bilge and livewell before leaving the area, and most importantly, let your boat bake in the sun before you launch it at another lake. New regulations pertaining to the quagga mussel are now in effect for Lake Havasu and other infected waters, so make sure you follow those rules if you are transporting your boat. See Director’s Order 3, below, for specific requirements about moving your boat from Lake Havasu, or any other quagga infested waters in Arizona.http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/documents/DirectorsOrder3_2011A.pdf.


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.  The time for fishing for both species of catfish will be late spring and throughout the summer.  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 baitfish 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.
 
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 sportfish stocking consultation with the USFWS that is hopefully nearing completio.  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.


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 of border issues and illegal activity on the lower end of this stretch, we recommend avoiding the Pilot Knob to Moreles Dam area, especially at night.


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 additional don't hesitate to contact the Yuma Regional office at 928-342-0098, and we will be happy to answer your questions, if we are able.

 

CENTRAL MOUNTAINS

WILLIAMS LAKES:

WILLIAMS LAKES:   
KAIBAB LAKE —  Campground is closed. No report.    

CATARACT LAKE —  Campground is closed.  
CITY RESERVOIR —   No report, 

DOGTOWN LAKE —  Campground is closed.  No Report    

JD DAM — No report. 

RUSSELL TANK -   The lake is to shallow to stock.

SANTA FE — No Report. 

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campground is closed.  

FLAGSTAFF LAKES:
LOWER LAKE MARY —  Anglers have been catching some nice size rainbows and quite a few small pike during the warmer part of the day.  Small spoons in silver or gold fished slow seem to be working best.
 
UPPER LAKE MARY —    Northern pike and yellow perch should be being active right now, but we haven’t received any reports. This lake has lots of pie-sized yellow perch to catch, so it should be good fishing this spring.

Angler report:

Fished Saturday for Northern Pike at Upper Lake Mary. Spent 8 hours on the water (ice) and threw everything but the kitchen sink...bucktails,spoons,cranks, and swim baits. Not a single bite but it was beautiful out there. Lake has overnight icing on east end , but is gone by afternoon. Heading back up in two weeks in hopes of taking advantage of early spawn........if it keeps warming up. Good fishing to all !
 
 
Daniel Maas

ASHURST LAKE —  Road closed

FRANCIS SHORT POND –  Stocked last week. 

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road closed. No report. 

MARSHALL LAKE —  Road Closed. No report

OAK CREEK — No reports.  Stocked last week.  

LONG LAKE — No report. 

SOLDIERS & SOLDIERS ANNEX — No report

BEAVER CREEK – No report

WEST CLEAR CREEK —  Scheduled to be stocked this week. 

STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH.

BLUE RIDGE —  No report. 

KNOLL LAKE —No report.  

 

Verde Valley

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – The last trout stocking was last week, the week of February 21th.  Fishing is usually great following the stocking.  Powerbait or homemade doe baits are your best bet this time of year.

Catfish were last stocked the week of September 20. 

FOSSIL CREEK -- Fossil Creek is open for fishing. Chub were being caught on bead headed patterns in black and gray (doesn’t seem to matter much the actual pattern). The creek is managed as a catch-and-release fishery using flies and lures with single barbless hooks, no bait is allowed. 

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – Scheduled to be stocked this week with rainbow trout. The previous  trout stocking was the week of Feb. 21. 

Stocking sites are at Tuzigoot Bridge outside of Clarkdale, The bridge that leads to the Deadhorse State Park, at Deadhorse State Parks access point called the Jacks, at the White Bridge in Camp Verde, and at Bignotti Beach. 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 -- Scheduled to be stocked this week with rainbow trout. Try night crawlers on light line with little or no weight. Power Bait can also work well at times. Small spinners can also work in the larger pools.

WEST CLEAR CREEK -- Scheduled to be stocked this week with rainbow trout. Try night crawlers on light line with little or no weight. Power Bait can also work well at times. Small spinners can also work in the larger pools.

Prescott Area

FAIN LAKE — Fain Lake is closed while it is being dredged.  Stocking will be canceled until the dredging is completed.  The surplus fish that would normally be going into Fain will be stocked in Watson Lake at the new boat launch.  Power Bait and spinners will likely be your best bet.  Try Watson while Fain is closed.


GOLDWATER LAKE — Trout were last stocked the week of Feb. 14 and it is scheduled to be stocked again the week of March 14. The lake is currently not frozen over.   The handicap parking area and boat launch or open for now.  The fishing can be really good at Goldwater this time of year.  Look for the fishing to pick up following the stocking.

In general, fishing has not been as good this year as it was the last few years although a +20 inch trout was recently caught.  Often the trout are schooled in one area. 

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 three 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 mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

GRANITE BASIN LAKE –The fishing has shut down for the winter.   If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.


LYNX LAKE – Scheduled to be stocked this week with rainbow trout. Trout can be caught on Power Bait, corn, power worms, jakes, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails, just to name a few.   

Brook trout were stocked the week of June 21st. Catfish and Bluegill were stocked on June 12th.  Cut anchovies, night crawlers or hot dog are your best bet for catfish.  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 – Trout were last stocked in October.  The gate to Mingus Lake is locked.   If you choose to walk in, the water level is up and fishing should be fair.  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.  Trout stocking will resume in the spring.

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 – Last stocked Feb. 14Watson Lake was stocked with 2,332 Rainbow on Jan 13, which was the first time Game and Fish had stocked trout there since 1962.  Try fishing near the new boat ramp.  Power Bait, spinners, and flies will be your best bet.

Watson is surrounded by large boulders limiting shore access to less agile anglers.  Fishing from a boat may improve your odds of success.  Remember, while Watson lake has no motor restrictions, it is flat wake only. 

Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Watson last fall 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 mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.


WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR – The fishing has shut down for the winter.

If you fish Willow and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

 

Mogollon Rim and White Mountains

Recommended waters to fish

Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, and Scott Reservoir are the best opportunities in the Show Low/Pinetop-Lakeside area.  Pike should be staging for the spawn at Rainbow Lake in early March. 

Becker Lake, Luna Lake, and Nelson Reservoir in the Springerville and Alpine areas are ice-free with anglers beginning to catch some rainbow trout. 


MOGOLLON RIM LAKES

Note: The ice on the Rim Lakes is beginning to break up, with lower elevation lakes like Chevelon and Black Canyon are totally ice-free.  However, many Forest Roads are still closed due to snowdrifts and muddy conditions.   

BEAR CANYON LAKE – The lake is ice-covered.  Forest Road 300 is still closed.

BLACK CANYON LAKE –Forest Road 86 is still closed at the junction with Forest Road 300 (Rim Road) and also coming from Heber.  The lake is likely ice-free.

CHEVELON LAKE – The lake is open (no ice), full and spilling.  Forest Road 300 is still closed.

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – The lake is partially ice-covered.  Forest Road 149 is still closed. 

WOODS CANYON LAKE – The lake is partially ice-covered.  Forest Road 300 is still closed.


WHITE MOUNTAIN LAKES
Note: All higher-elevation lakes are still ice-covered and inaccessible by vehicle.  Most lower elevation lakes are now open.  Many interior Forest Roads are still closed or inaccessible.  Highways 261 and 273 are still closed due to snowdrifts.  Snowmobile access is allowed, but the snow conditions are likely spotty.

BECKER LAKE – The lake is ice-free. Fishing is fair. One angler reported catching some nice sized trout (up to 22”) on black and orange woolly buggers last week.  New fishing regulations took effect on Becker Lake January 1, 2011.  The new regulations are catch-and-release fishing for trout with artificial lure and fly with a single barbless hook only.  All trout must be released immediately. BIG LAKE – The lake is ice-covered.  Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter.  The store is closed for the season. 

CARNERO LAKE – The lake is ice-covered.  Forest Roads 117 and 117A are accessible by snowmobile only.   

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free.    

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is ice-free.     

CRESCENT LAKE – The lake is ice-covered.  Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.  The store is closed for the season.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair to good.  The lake is ice-free.  Anglers have been catching  smallmouth bass and channel catfish on nightcrawlers and lures. A 10 pound channel catfish was caught  two weeks ago on chicken livers.
 

GREER LAKES – All of the Greer lakes (River, Tunnel, and Bunch) are ice-covered.  Unsafe ice.  

HULSEY LAKE – The lake is ice-covered.  Unsafe ice.

LEE VALLEY RESERVOIR – The lake is ice-covered.  Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.LUNA LAKE – The lake is ice-free. Fishing is fair.  Anglers are catching trout on woolly worms and woolly buggers. The concession store is still closed for the season. 

LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is closed through the winter.  It may re-open in the spring of 2011, but nothing is definite yet. 

NELSON RESERVOIR – The lake is ice-free, full, and spilling.  Fishing is fair.  Anglers have been catching rainbow trout on corn and green   Power Bait.  There are no limits on rainbow trout at Nelson Reservoir through March 31. RAINBOW LAKE – The lake is ice-free, full, and spilling.  Fishing is poor.  Pike should be staging just outside of coves and weed beds for the spring spawn in early March.  Spoons and large spinners should do well for pike. 

SCOTT RESERVOIR – The lake is ice-free, full, and spilling.  Fishing is fair.  A couple of anglers recently caught several large holdover trout from the boat ramp. 

SHOW LOW LAKE – The lake is ice-free.  Fishing is poor.  The store is still closed for the winter. 

WOODLAND LAKE – The lake is ice-free, full, and spilling.  Fishing is poor. WHITE MOUNTAIN STREAMS

Note: The high-elevation trout streams on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are slowly thawing out, but still inaccessible.  Many interior Forest Roads are still closed or inaccessible due to snowdrifts.  Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter.

EAST FORK BLACK RIVER – The stream is inaccessible.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER – GREER – The stream is accessible, but still has some snow-packed banks.  The flows are low. 

SHEEPS CROSSING – The stream is inaccessible.  Highway 273 is closed for the season.

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair.  Silver Creek is currently catch-and-release only fishing using lures and flies with barbless hooks.  The catch-and-release season runs from October 1 through March 31.

WEST FORK BLACK RIVER – The stream is inaccessible.

WEST FORK BLACK RIVER – The stream is snow-packed and mostly ice-covered.

SOUTHERN ARIZONA

Please send fishing reports from this region to Don Mitchell, Regional Fish Program Manager, by email atdmitchell@azgfd.gov. These reports will then be complied and reported in our weekly fishing reports.

No new reports this week. The fall/winter trout stocking schedule can be found athttp://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml.

URBAN WATERS -- Stocked with incentive trout last week. Anglers have been catching some nice ones.

Angler report:

CHECK THESE BEAUTIES -OUT-
 
Just stocked at lakeside. I saw some much larger than these ,as they were poured into the lake.
 
The G & F officer said that 520 lbs were stocked today.
 
Tomorrow should be an excellent day of fishing.
 
but,, this evening we will enjoy FRESH- TASTY -TROUT.
 
I WAS AMAZED AT HOW STRONG & COLORFUL & HEALTHY THESE FISH
 
WERE AFTER THEIR LONG RIDE , DOWN HERE FROM COLORADO.
 
It was 72 degres at the lake , no wind , bright sunny sky, perfect fishing weather. 
 
the OLE OUTDOORSMAN  (RETIRED)


RIGGS FLAT — Riggs Flat is now closed for the winter. 

CLUFF RANCH — No recent reports of success.  The pond is full and there are no issues with boat launching.  The fall/winter trout stocking schedule can be found here: 2010 - 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule.  For lake information call (928) 485-9430.

ROPER LAKE — For lake information and status of the park call (928) 428-6760. The fall/winter trout stocking schedule can be found here: 
2010 - 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule

DANKWORTH POND — Due to severe aquatic vegetation at this lake the lake will not be stocked this winter.  Plans are underway for a complete renovation of this facility.

FRYE MESA RESERVIOR –No recent reports.  Try a small fly in the early mornings and late evenings.  Bait anglers should try Power Bait and worms. Although this small lake is not stocked on a regular basis it does provide some pretty good trout fishing. 

KEARNY LAKES — This small lake remains fishless due to impacts of golden algae.
 
ARIVACA —Crankbaits have always been the go to choice during this time of the year at Arivaca.  The new restrooms are now completed and open at the lake.  No recent reports of success.  Remember that all bass must be immediately released back to the water. Anglers are asked to please be aware of your wake so as not to disrupt other anglers fishing from other boats and the shore. 

PENA BLANCA –the new boat ramp is open at Pena Blanca Lake and anglers should have no problems launching their boats.  The full stocking schedule can be viewed here:  2010 - 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule
  
PATAGONIA —  This lake is full.  No recent reports of success.  You can keep track of the stocking schedule here:  2010 - 2011 Winter Stocking Schedule 

PARKER CANYON —  Scheduled to be stocked this week with rainbow trout. Fishing should be good. The fishing piers have been replaced and other work is ongoing. 

The store at the lake is open and information on the store and current conditions can be found atwww.parkercanyonlake.com
  
ROSE CANYON LAKE —Road Access is now closed for the Winter.  Anglers wanting to fish this lake must now walk in. 

Last Updated on Monday, 14 March 2011 10:30
 

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