Central Arizona

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January 31st, 2008
Central Arizona

URBAN LAKES – Trout, including some super-sized incentive fish, were stocked last week and are scheduled for stocking again this coming week.

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 – The inflatable dam was lowered due to water releases down the Salt River. Expect poor fishing conditions for everything except channel catfish. For channels, use stink bait fished on the bottom with a slip sinker.

LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1,678 ft which is 74-percent full (and rising). The Agua Fria was flowing at 10,000 cfs on the night of Jan. 27. This water and nutrient influx should set the stage for good fishing, and decent fish reproduction, this season. The only way to access the area with inflows is by walking. The gate is closed off Table Mesa Road.

Anglers have been consistently catching striped bass here all winter, and the good bite is continuing.

Stripers are hitting anchovies pretty hard in the late evenings and at night. One fisherman caught 21 stripers between 6:45 p.m. and midnight in the northern portion of the lake near four lane (Castle Creek area).

Some largemouths are susceptible to drop shots and jerkbaits. In the afternoons, try for largemouth sunning themselves in small pockets of warmer water along the shoreline. Try flutter-down baits like Senkos, or burn spinnerbaits for a reaction bite.

During the day, keep your eyes out for congregating seagulls that might turn you on to shad boils, where whites and stripers are sure to follow. A hot topwater lure that’s working for the stripers, whites and largemouth around boils is a clear Heddon Zara Spook (try the white one as well). If topwater isn’t working for you, try a shallow-running crankbait with a wide, slow wobble. White lures with eyespots seem to be doing pretty good at Pleasant lately, especially for stripers and whites.

With the 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/.

ROOSEVELT LAKE – Lake Elevation is 2,129 feet (74-percent full and rising on Jan. 29). The flows into Roosevelt peaked at around 80,000 cfs on Monday. The lake level has risen 13 feet in the past week – and is still on the rise. Inflows on Jan. 29 had slowed down to 24,813 cfs, and Tonto Creek was flowing at 3,264 cfs, which is still way above typical spring runoff flows. Plus, we still have well above average snow pack in the mountains for a better than average spring runoff. Rosey stands a fair chance of filling this year, especially if we get another nice storm.

Various reports coming out of Roosevelt, some can’t seem to buy a bite and others are doing pretty good. Largemouth are hitting John Deer and blue-black-chartreuse jigs in 40 feet of water or deeper. Crappies are at 30 feet.

A good technique for bass in the afternoons (on warm sunny days) is using spinnerbaits or pitching jigs or flutter-down baits into pockets of warmer water along the shoreline.

These inflows are just made for catching catfish. The cats can just sit there and let the current bring them lots of food. Using stink baits in the current is the key.

We have no recent reports from crappie anglers. Crappie catching typically slows down following huge influxes of runoff. Try using rigging a Roadrunner at the bottom of the line with a hook and minnow about 18 inches above. Small, dark crankbaits with a wide wobble might also work if slow trolled. Use you fish finder to determine the right depth.

APACHE — Lake elevation is 1,908 ft which is 94-percent full. Stocked with 3,000 rainbow trout on Jan. 15. This lake has been routinely stocked with trout throughout the winter. It could be a sleeper. One angler reported that the water temperature was 49 degrees on Jan. 20 and most of the fish were deep.

Fishermen are catching catfish at Alder Creek. There is some pretty good structure there. Try for walleye and yellow bass at the points. Come give it a try.

CANYON — Lake elevation is 1,657 feet, which is 95-percent full.
The Forest Service Mesa Ranger District officials on Monday said the water level was about 1-3 feet below the ramps the last time they checked, but they are hoping the inflow will raise the levels enough to open the lake to boaters real soon. The Boulder floating fishing docks are in place as well as the marina. Dolly still needs a little work on the pontoons. As soon as the ramps are submerged, they expect to open the lake and it should be real soon (perhaps by the time this report is out), especially with all the rain we had over the weekend.

Looking at the SRP website (1-28-08) the ramps look to be submerged, so the opening should be this week providing there are no glitches.

SAGUARO — Lake elevation 1,528 feet at 99-percent full. Stocked with 1,500 rainbow trout on Jan. 22.
Here is a report I received from an avid fisherman: “Did a little jig fishing at Saguaro yesterday using the old standby 1/8-ounce KastMaster. Tally from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. was 10 yellow bass (five keepers at 10 inches and five dinks at 4 inches), three largemouth bass (two at 7 inches and one at 5 inches), three bluegills (1 keeper), and 1 channel catfish at 26 inches and about 6 pounds! Most fish in 33 feet of water or so off points and ledges up in the second basin. Saw my friend Paul out there with another guy and they doubled what I had, were fishing in similar areas. They had caught a couple tilapia as well (4 inches), surprising given the water temp was 53F. All fish fat and healthy.”
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Mark Dornbusch caught three bass (a two and two dinks) and one trout using spinners and Senkos.

Two anglers named Jim and Bruce fished on Jan. 12 using worms and KastMasters just off the bottom and caught some nice bluegill, largemouth bass and yellow bass near the No Wake buoys in less than 20 feet of water. They said the water temperature was 54 degrees.

Jeffrey Dyer caught four small largemouth bass, one yellow bass, two rainbow trout and eight bluegills while fishing from the fishing piers using night crawlers on a No. 8 hook with a slip shot about 18-24 inches above the hook. “Drop the line straight down until it hits the bottom, then reel up three times Wait…the fish hit like crazy. Every Saturday we go home and have a fish fry. Can’t beat it!”

BARTLETT – Lake elevation is 1,795 feet, which is 96-percent full. Watch out for floating debris.

We have no recent reports. Expect floating debris and turbidity from all the runoff.

HORSESHOE — Lake elevation is at 2,025 feet, which is 99-percent full.

VERDE RIVER
Verde River flow at Tangle Creek was 15,301 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Jan. 30.

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – The water releases from Bartlett were 2,000 cfs and the releases from Saguaro were 300 cfs on Jan. 30. Stocked with 1,575 trout at Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area on Jan. 22. Anglers were catching trout last week around Coon Bluff but the increased runoff will likely make trout fishing a challenge, but might make catfishing worthwhile.

CREEKS – High flows in all the creeks made trout fishing poor. The flows will need to settle down and the weather warm up some. With the excellent snow pack it ought to be a pretty good spring.

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