Central Arizona

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January 3rd, 2008

URBAN LAKES – The new, 2008 Urban Fishing Program brochures are now available at all Department offices and fishing license dealers in Arizona.  The brochures highlight information on Chandler’s new urban lake, Veterans Oasis, and include many new pages to help people get started fishing urban lakes.  All license fees, fish limits and other regulations remain the same as last year.  Veterans Oasis Park is in southeast Chandler on the northeast corner of Chandler Heights Road and Lindsay Road.  Parking access is on Chandler Height Road just east of Lindsay Road.  Its 5 acres in size, with a maximum depth of 14 feet and the average depth is 12 feet.  Hours are 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.  Small non-motorized boats are allowed and must be hand carried from the main parking lot located south of the lake.  Species in the lake are channel catfish, rainbow trout (in season), bluegill, redear sunfish, hybrid sunfish and largemouth bass.  The park features many walking trails, armadas and picnic areas, a play area, and an Environmental Education Center offering information, classes and programs, exhibits and a nature store.

Incentive trout stocking is scheduled for the week of January 7-12 and will include plenty of extra 1-3 pound trout with each lake delivery.  Once every year, super-sized rainbow trout are ordered from our fish vendors.  Mixed in with the usual 10-13 inchers will be some trout in the 13-20 inch range.

Bret Garon caught four trout over 15 inches at Red Mountain Park using worms floated off the bottom about 10 inches using a marshmallow.

This is also the time of year to look out for golden alga.  Although it hasn’t been observed this winter, this is the time that blooms of this toxin-producing alga have occurred in the past.  Look for brownish water color and fish moving slowly in the shallows or near the surface.

Urban Fishing Program biologist are now routinely monitoring the lakes and collecting water samples to look for its presence.  Park officials are also on the look out.  To report any suspicious observations of fish behavior or lake conditions that may be caused by golden alga, immediately notify local park staff and then contact the department at (623) 236-7268.  We have had good success in treating these small lakes for golden alga if detected early enough.  Please remember to clean, drain and dry all fishing tackle and equipment before moving to another lake or water.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE — Four thousand trout were stocked last week. The fish are typically stocked on the north side of the lake just west of Scottsdale/Rural road. The fish tend to congregate in the shallow west end of the lake around the bridge pylons and other structures.  A little reminder – we already stocked 4,000 during the week of Dec. 3-7. Numerous anglers have reported having difficulty catching trout here the past several weeks. Let us know how you do.

LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1,663 ft which is 59-percent full.

Kevin W. Grove caught 17 striped bass and five black crappie trolling a white spook shad and U16 Shad-Rap for stripers; caught six all over 4 pounds; caught the rest drifting minnows.  The crappies were caught while jigging submerged trees with a natural Gitzit jig and minnow. He fished the Castle Creek and Humbug areas.

Tracy Leake suggest finding shallows, east-to-west facing coves that are 15 to 20 feet deep because they receive more sunlight and are holding larger fish. Tracy caught a night 5-pound bass on a Carolina-rigged water dog.

Striper and white bass fishing can be pretty good when you locate the big schools. Troll nice and slow with anchovies in the Castle Creek, Humbug or Agua Fria areas. When one bites, chum small pieces of anchovies to keep the school near you and actively feeding.  Some brave anglers have also been catching stripers at night. If you don’t have a trolling motor, drifting works okay too.  One fisherman recommended using an octopus hook with a split shot about 18 inches up with the anchovy hooked through the head.  A good water depth is between 15 to 20 feet in the channel.

Here is a first-hand angler report: “We decided to try Lake Pleasant. At about 1 p.m. it was kind of late and I wasn’t very hopeful. My husband and I went to through the Castle Creek area and trolled around…nothing. Then we got back in the middle of Kite Point and Castle Creek behind all of the brush and trees. We have a two-person trolling boat, so it was easy to get around (a normal motor boat wouldn’t be able to get back there). My second cast on a silver original floater I pulled up a nice striped bass. While my husband was helping me with the hook, his pole flew across the boat. He had a red and white Rattlin’ Rapala on his line. He pulled up a 5-pound largemouth bass. He also pulled up another bass that we threw back, a striper, and another largemouth bass. He went again today, went to the same spot, and pulled up two stripers in less than 15 minutes on the same lure. He said there were other anglers in the area that were not catching anything though… Tonight we’re are going again, trying out new lures. I’ve never had any luck with anchovies at that lake, day or night.”

Danny Iberri-Shea, who typically provides us great reports for northern trout and bass waters, said he stopped at this lake along with his wife and a neighbor stopped while visiting Phoenix for baby supplies.” I was impressed to catch a striper and a white in the middle of winter while pitching large night crawlers on ultra-light tackle. These fish pull line faster than any other fresh water fish I have tied into. Fish visible structure projecting out of shallow coves and (as always) go light. You will either snap off on a log or tie into a dream! Peace!”

By the way, Pleasant got lots of inflows from the Agua Fria during the late November, early December storms. That should set it up with more nutrients and an increased water level for this spring. A couple of more great storms could turn this into a banner year (and next year as well).

There is a report of a 30-inch striper taken out of Lake Pleasant using 3½-inch jerk bait.    
Don’t forget that a portion of the Agua Fria arm of the lake is closed for nesting bald eagles. The closure is marked with buoys. Someone caught a 37-pound catfish as well. Yes, catfish are active in winter and can be caught. Try stink baits for the channels and live bluegill or small carp for the flatheads.

ROOSEVELT LAKE – Rosey got lots of good inflow from the storms in early December and it looks like we have some snowpack this year – so far. Keep your fingers crossed, this could be another banner year here.

Lake elevation is 2,110 ft (55-percent full). There is a report of pretty good crappie fishing at the Salt End, they used grubs and blue black chartreuse jigs.  No depth stated but probably around 15-20 feet deep.

I saw another report of poor crappie fishing on the Tonto end, but decent bass fishing using crankbait and spinnerbait.

A 5-pound smallmouth bass was caught using a Rico topwater, I’m not sure where on the lake though. 
Dan Maas used a 4-inch worm (Junebug) to catch a dozen largemouth bass in the 10-16-inch range by fishing slowly along the drop offs in the 10-16 foot range. “Tried spinnerbait, topwater and cranks but a 4-inch finesse was the ticket.”

Crappie fishing is pretty good at on the Salt end along the hazard buoy markers. Try using blue-black chartreuse jigs or John Deere grubs at depths around 15-20 feet deep.  When trolling for crappie, use your GPS and make sure you troll at 2 miles an hour near drop offs or structure.  According to anglers, 1.5 miles an hour doesn’t cut it and neither does 2.5.

Crappies have congregated into larger schools. Look for the crappie flotillas to start any time now in the Salt or Tonto arms. Let us know how you do.

Don’t forget that although the flatheads aren’t as active this time of year, catching a 20- or 40-pound monster can make your day. Crappie anglers often tie into huge flats

APACHE — Lake elevation is 1,909 ft which is 95-percent full. Just another reminder, thousands of rainbow trout have been stocked at the main launch and at Burnt Coral. The lake is now loaded with trout. This might be the place for a fishing excursion.

Also, try throwing out some “trout looking lures” to nab the big largemouth bass.  Also don’t forget the yellow bass in Apache. . . they like to hang near the drop offs at the points.  Try KastMasters and spoons.  This lake is full of trophy-sized yellow bass. Try gold KastMasters on small spinners.  Mealworms can also work well.

CANYON — Still closed to boaters – lake elevation is 1,606 which is 30-percent full.  Refilling the lake was delayed a bit, supposed to start this week.  It will take about a month to completely fill up.  We had a banner weekend attaching Christmas trees to the fishing structures.  We had a lot of help from fishermen and some people that just wanted to help. Thanks to everybody who helped out.  The structures look great; it will be some nice habitat for the small fish as well as some good ambush spots for the big boys.   
SAGUARO — Lake elevation1,525 feet at 92-percent full. Trout have been stocked. Robb Mansfield has caught his third 2-pound in the past two weeks, adding, “These big ones like anything shiny in the afternoon.”

Danny Doshier used Power Bait on Dec. 23 and the Sunday before to catch his limit of trout.

Ian Carr caught-and-released one trout. “I had read that gold KastMasters were the ticker for yellow bass at Saguaro, so I was a little surprised (but not disappointed) to catch a trout. Some other anglers had spent the day catching decent-sized bluegills with worms fished on the bottom. It was my first time at Saguaro, and I was really impressed by the beautiful scenery. I’ll definitely be back!”

Yellow bass fishing is still going great.  They are in a little bit deeper water now; about 40 feet and spoons are what they are hitting.  Someone even caught a 10 pound channel catfish, surprising since they don’t move a whole lot in the cold water

BARTLETT — Lake elevation is 1,785 ft which is 81-percent full. Very turbid from runoff. Daniel Campbell says he got skunked, and so did the other anglers he has talked to.

This lake has really come up, which is good news for the prime fishing season coming up soon (be sure to get a license).

Despite some floating debrs, one angler found a hot spot and caught 17 fish in one day; sounds pretty good. The angler was using crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps.  A little vague on the details though. Other fishermen reported the fishing was a bit slow for them.

There had been reports of anglers catching largemouth bass and crappies along the Yellow Cliffs. Expect debris from recent runoff.

Dale Nancarrow, who works at Honeywell, used spinnerbaits along the Yellow Cliffs to catch largemouth bass. “Saw a bald eagle at 4 p.m. at Yellow Cliffs, This made for a great day of fishing for me and my son.”

HORSESHOE — Lake elevation is at 1978 feet which is 15-percent full thanks to recent runoff. Most of the recently-collected runoff has been released downstream into Bartlett Lake.

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