Central Arizona

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February 8th, 2008

URBAN LAKES – Scheduled for stocking with rainbow trout this week. Fishing for trout continues to be good to excellent at most Urban Fishing Program waters.  Winter storms have invigorated the trout and anglers willing the brave the weather are rewarded with good action and little competition.  Anglers using scented dough baits (such as Power Bait), worms fished under a bobber, or small trout lures have been successful.

Best times to fish for trout generally are early morning, but some anglers have reported excellent fishing late afternoon. Small spinners such as Rooster Tails and Panther Martins, or spoons such as Super Dupers are also working well for trout, especially during periods just before and after storms.  Trout fishing is fair at Green Valley lakes in Payson with Power Bait and small flashy spinners working best.  Lake waters at Green Valley (Payson) and Lakeside (Tucson) are brown colored and murky due to the high runoff from recent storms—making fishing tough.

Angler reports

Where: Papago Pond (Pond # 2)
When: 01/29/08
Caught: rainbow trout (5 pounds)
Technique: twitch bait (Excalibur xt3, color: sour grape). cadence: twitch-pause-twitch-twitch-pause.
Comments: Two bites total; lost a 2-pound bass. Worked the same area for an additional 15 mins and caught the trout. Trout was released back into the pond for another chance to create another memory.
Name: Francisco Maestas

Where: Rio Vista
When: 01/19/08
Caught: Channel Catfish
Technique: Used basic worms, no real techique,1st thing in the morning,(daybreak)first cast out, within 20-30 minutes fish took line.
Comments: Catfish weighted almost 2lbs
Name: Daniel Pardis

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Game and Fish were not able to stock Tempe Town Lake the week of 1-28-08 due to high pH levels and very high flows.

LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1683 ft which is 78percent full. On Monday, the Agua Fria River was flowing at around 2,500 cfs, providing another water and nutrient shot in the arm for this reservoir – for the fourth time this winter. Humbug and Castle Creeks were likely flowing as well. With all the runoff, expect lots of debris in the lake.  All that debris is eating up props; watch yourself out there.

People are still catching stripers using clear Zara Spooks when they locate shad boils.   Early mornings and late evenings are the best times to find the boils.  Watch the gulls; they’ll point you to some of the action, if you can get there fast enough.  Stripers are in the mood for anchovies as well; try Castle Creek and Humbug. Whites are hitting crankbaits.  One fisherman caught a largemouth via the drop shot method in about 10-15 feet of water, but originated from pretty deep water as the pigmentation was very light. 
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 2132 feet (77-percent full) even before the spring runoff starts. Tonto Creek runoff was at 4,120 cfs on Monday and the Salt River pumped back up to around 5,000 cfs.

The lake is full floating debris – use caution.

Fishing is a bit slow. Even the professional tournament fishermen had a rough time this past weekend.  On Feb. 2, James Miller Sr and Scott Owens won the MBC Pro-am at Roosevelt Lake by catching just one fish – a bass weighing 5.42 pounds. In 2nd place was Dan Marasco and Barry Burke with 2.41 pounds.

Also on Feb. 2,  Dean Kreuzer and Steve Czerniski teamed up to weigh two bass totaling 4.90 pounds to win the JackAz Bass Tournament. The tournament director called the conditions “brutal” after the lake level rose a remarkable 15 feet in one week, shutting down the bite, and yet another storm came rushing across the state.

Fish tend to go deep during cold fronts and when the lake levels rise dramatically.  Watch for the warm up – it’s supposed to be nice this week.

Crappie and bass will be active when the shallows start warming up.  For crappie fishermen when the water begins to warm above 62oF, try the northeast part of the lake.  At that time look for crappie in the submerged trees and try 4-pound test or less with 1/32-ounce or lighter jigs, curly tails and tube jigs work well too.  Bass will be in these spots too.

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. Also try KastMasters or small spinners for the abundant yellow bass.

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 1,655 ft which is 91-percent full. U.S. Forest Service Mesa Ranger District officials said that although the lake level is high enough, they are keeping the lake closed due to the incredible amount of debris in the lake. They check the lake every weekday to see if they can open it. While this makes fishing a little challenging right now, this tremendous influx of nutrients should really bolster this fishery, especially when combined with all the recently installed Pisces pyramids.
SAGUARO — Lake elevation 1,528 feet at 98-percent full. Three hundred pounds of rainbow trout will be delivered this week.  They were biting shad colored X-Raps a couple weeks ago from Ramp 2 around to Butcher Jones and down to Fisherman’s Cave.

The cold front shut fishing down; even the most avid fishermen that bother to give me reports had a tough time fishing last week. A warm up is expected so later this week, so should fishing should be fantastic for yellow bass fishing using tried and true KastMasters.   Try silver lures if it’s overcast or gold ones if it’s sunny.  Largemouth ought to be pretty hungry as well.  Imitation crawdads and shad looking presentations are a good bet.  Fish the drop-offs to entice the deeper fish.

Angler report

Where: Saguaro Lake
When: 01/20/08
Caught: Yellow Bass 9 1/2″
Technique: Canadian Night Crawlers, Weight, and small trout hook size 8, Dropped them straight down right of the dock and let them sink to the bottom and did a up and down motion and only reeled up the line slowly (1 full turn) up every 3 min and repeating, Try under the dock too had a lot of bites.
Comments: Good Luck, Its been slow at Saguaro and caught my fish during the early evening 5:30 p.m.

BARTLETT – Lake elevation is 1,797 feet, which is 97-percent full. Watch out for floating debris. Lake is chocolate colored. Some coves have large rafts of floating debris. Expect to find lots of hull-dinging, prop-busting floating debris – be careful when boating.

We have no recent reports. The best action will likely be for flathead and channel catfish. Use heavily scented baits.

Angler report:

Where: Bartlett
When: 01/27/08
Caught: 2 bass
Technique:Rat-L-Trap, Yo-Zuri
Comments:Cold in the morning/water level way up/ all ramps useable/ debris/rain/road closure, stranded 3 hrs lol
Name: G M

HORSESHOE — Lake elevation is at 2,025 feet which is 97-percent full! Salt River Project is releasing water, but there are still pretty decent inflows. This lake will likely remain pretty full for the time being.

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) – SRP was releasing 2,120 cfs from Bartlett Lake Dam on Tuesday (almost matches the inflows to Horseshoe), but 8 cfs from Saguaro. As a general rule on overcast days, use your silver spinning lures and use gold lures on sunny days.  In turbid water you want to try some darker lures.  If lures aren’t enticing a bite, try worms or Power Bait.

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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