Central Arizona

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January 17th, 2008

URBAN LAKES – Incentive trout were stocked occurred last week. We had two real nice trout come into the Region 6 office; one was 5.29 pounds and the other was about 3 pounds.  The 5 pounder looked like a salmon with the hook jaw, and it was taken out of Water Ranch about midday with a Super Duper lure.  The 3 pounder was taken out of Red Mountain Park with a Thomas Buoyant lure.

Urban fishing reports vary from good to excellent at most Urban Fishing Program waters.  Anglers using scented dough baits (such as Power Bait), worms fished under a bobber, or small trout lures have been successful.  Try fishing with minnows along the bottom for larger trout and the occasional bass or catfish.  Best times to fish for trout generally are early morning, but some anglers have reported excellent fishing later afternoon.  Small spinners such as Rooster Tails and Panther Martins, or spoons such as KastMasters are also working well for trout. 

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – There was a fish die-off here last week due to golden alga. The lake was treated with an algaecide and will hopefully return back to normal.  Catching fish could be a little challenging right now.

LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1,669 ft which is 65-percent full. This is a fishing hot spot.

With the recent discovery of invasive quagga mussels Lake Pleasant, 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/.

Pleasant received some nice nutrient-rich inflows from the Agua Fria last week. Even in winter, stripers and whites will move up into the current. A good tactic is fishing the stain line using anchovies – chum a lot.

Largemouth bass are hitting drop shots in Humbug. Stripers are hitting yellow 3/8-ounce spoons about 40 to 50 feet deep before the no-wake buoys in the Aqua Fria arm.  The bite is on during midday, so no need to get up at the crack of dawn, unless you like shivering in the cold.  I analyzed over 200 striper stomachs from Lake Pleasant in the last 2-3 years.  About 90-percent of the stomach contents were shad, so it’s always good to use a lure that resembles a shad.   

Stripers and whites are looking for some action in Castle Creek; one fisherman reported catching 17 of them in three hours (7-10 a.m.). 

ROOSEVELT LAKE – The great news here is all the terrific inflows last week, and the increased snowpack in the mountains. Rosey could rise to the 80-percent level this spring based on current snowpack. This lake could have some of the best bass fishing in the West this year.

Right now, you can catch largemouth bass is around Windy Hill and the sheriff’s station.  Try using fish cranks and spinners.  Another technique people are still having luck with is drop shots at the points and near the mouths of coves; try using 6-inch Roboworms.  Deep Diver 22’s are working in the trees.

Fishing has been pretty meager in the mornings but picks up in the afternoon and evenings.  Try using the darker colored plastic worms and spinnerbait fish.

A 5-pound smallmouth bass was caught using a Rico topwater.

APACHE — Lake elevation is 1,909 ft which is 95-percent full. 

No fishing reports, but there’s a whole lot of trout in that lake right now.  Don’t forget about the trophy size yellow bass.

CANYON — Still closed to boaters – lake elevation is 1,628, which is 54-percent full.  Canyon came up eight feet this past week from runoff tumbling down Fish Creek and the various washes. This is a welcome nutrient surcharge to go along with the plentiful Pisces pyramids built this year. This could be a superb year at Canyon once it fills. It will take about a few weeks to completely fill up.

SAGUARO — Lake elevation1,525 feet at 94-percent full. There are still good fishing reports coming out of Saguaro.  Spoons are enticing largemouth and yellow bass on the drop offs near Ship rock and the no-wake buoys. Trout are biting too on night crawlers, Power Bait and small spinners. Some anglers are also catching lots of year-old bass. Don’t forget that this lake is typically the state’s early-bird catfish water.

BARTLETT – Lake elevation is 1,793 ft which is 94-percent full. Watch out for floating debris.

Mixed reports on Bartlett. The upper half of the lake has been a little rough due to all the inflows (it looks like Chocolate soup), but there was some luck reported on the lower half using crawdad and firetiger-colored shallow crankbaits. Due to the turbidity, spinnerbaits might be the ticket here, especially in the afternoons after the water warms.

The increased lake level and inflows are great news for this fishery. This lake will likely be a fishing hot spot this year, especially for bass and catfish.
HORSESHOE — Lake elevation is at 1,992 feet, which is 34-percent full.
Bartlett is nearing capacity so this lake will continue filling – at least for now. SRP might have to dump water out of these two lakes to make room for future runoff.
During 2005, Horseshoe had held water well through the spawn, which meant it was a fish nursery for Bartlett. The same could happen again this year if there is sufficient runoff.

Verde River flow at Tangle is 816 cubic feet per second (cfs) and cfs at Camp Verde website is at 524. Last week, the flows popped up to around 20,000 cfs following the torrential storm that hit the state.

SALT RIVER – Salt River into Roosevelt is 1,560 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 741 cfs.  They are releasing 8 cfs out of Stewart Mountain Dam from Saguaro.

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – Last week anglers reported that the river was full of silt. It should settle down soon, but could still be a little turbid this weekend. The trout fishing success is sporadic, but some anglers are catching limits while others can’t seem to buy a bite.

CREEKS – Access can be iffy, but you can always hike in. At Canyon Creek, fishermen are reporting good fishing in the upper reach of the creek close to the hatchery using mayfly nymphs, specifically pheasant tail and copper Johns.  A fisherman caught nearly 20 trout in one trip.

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