Central Arizona

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March 17th, 2008
Central Arizona

URBAN LAKES — All lakes and ponds in the Phoenix and Tucson areas will be stocked with 15-20 inch channel catfish on Friday, March 21. By the way, there are still lots of trout to be caught, so you can go for them both.

All lakes and ponds in the Phoenix and Tucson areas will be stocked with 15-20 inch channel catfish on Friday, March 21. Warming spring temperatures signal the upcoming stocking changeover from trout to catfish.

Beginning with the season kick-off stocking, catfish will be stocked on an every-other week basis through June. Nearly 14,000 pounds of Arkansas farm-raised catfish will be delivered and stocked into 19 Urban Fishing Program lakes each time.

Green Valley Park in Payson will continue to receive trout.

Just as a general reminder; daily bag limits at Urban lakes are four trout, four catfish, 10 sunfish, and two bass for each angler per day in possession; two trout for unlicensed juveniles.

The Urban Ponds have a slightly different bag limit, two trout, two catfish, five sunfish and one bass for each angler per day in possession; unlicensed juveniles are restricted to one trout per day at the ponds. The Urban Ponds are: Rio Vista, Papago, Steele Indian School, and Evelyn Hallman. Juveniles can have the full bag limit if their parents bought the Family fishing license Class I with a $2 fee for each child.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE — Scheduled to get its last stocking of 3,500 or so trout this week. Bass fishing has been a little challenging, but some anglers have been able to catch some using 4-pound Power Worms.

LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1,694 ft, which is 91-percent full.
The debris has cleared up for the most part. Fishing reports are all over the place. It looks like night fishing has been producing some good bass, especially stripers and whites on anchovies.

Some anglers have been finding a few bass on spawning beds in the very shallow portions of the northern coves. This is probably the leading edge of the spawn, so don’t expect much. However, with every day of warming weather, more and more bass will either stage for the spawn, or go on the beds. Wind and cold weather can push them off the beds, but only temporarily. The urge to procreate is just too strong.
For staging bass, hit the primary points outside coves, the secondary points inside coves, any submerged creek channel in a cove, or along the steeper edges of the major flats, especially those inside coves such as in Bass Bay, Coles Bay, Humbug and Castle Creek.
Daytime fishing can real slow in the shallows. Try fishing deep and real slow; one fisherman said he had some good action at 59 feet in depth. The fish were close to structure and were tempted by 6-inch plastic lizards.

Another fisherman caught a largemouth in 20 feet of water, but no mention of a time frame. Other people were successful trolling for largemouth.

There are a not of activities at Pleasant this weekend, and at least one closed area. Go to the Lake Pleasant Regional Park site http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/lake_pleasant/ for more information.

ROOSEVELT LAKE — Lake Elevation is 2,145 ft (92-percent full). Tonto Creek runoff is at 255 cfs while inflow from the Salt River was at 2,130 cfs. This is the spring runoff season. This would also be a good time for a rafting trip down the Salt.

One fisherman reported water temps were 55 at 8:30 a.m. and 63 at 4 p.m. – just know that temperature varies between coves and the main lake. It’s good to bring a thermometer if you don’t have a scanner.

I talked to a crappie fisherman, he caught 11 crappies last week in an afternoon of fishing at the Salt end of the reservoir in the shallows. One crappie was 3 pounds; it’s probably from the 2005 spawn. He trolled using pink-headed jigs.

Trolling is the ticket for crappie a variety of jigs are working; try blue black Chartreuse and pink -headed ones in water ranging from 25 to 56 feet deep; try trolling 5 to 15 feet deep. I’m getting more reports of successful crappie fishing at the Salt end of the reservoir than the Tonto end. They are not all in deep water though; they are starting to make their way into the shallows.

Salt end seems to be a pretty good place to catch largemouth bass as well; but they were biting near Cholla on crankbait, Rat-L-Traps (fire tiger color) and crayfish imitations. Use spinnerbaits in the evening in shallow water (2-7 feet).

Another fishermen was catching most of his bass using blades, Senkos, hulas and jigs in the Tonto arm. Some anglers are having good success flipping into the trees.

There is still debris clumped together in large moving conglomerations and large partially submerged logs that aren’t obvious until you get right up to them. The water clarity is about 12 inches. It’s still treacherous to navigate, so be careful.

The lake is going to fill-and-spill for the first time since the dam was raised 70 feet in 1996. The fishing is going to be phenomenal for the next several years at least. Spend some time getting to know this lake at its uppermost lake level.

Angler comment:

Large Mouth Bass
White and Yellow
Arrived at the lake at 8 a.m. Partner caught 1 2 lb largemouth in the weeds around 8:30 a.m. He caught another 1-pound largemouth at 9 a.m. I caught 1 lb largemouth at around 11 a.m. Deep in the weeds, caught around a 4 lb largemouth bass but lost him at the boat due to no net. Partner caught what looked like a 2-pound largemouth but lost him half way to the boat around 1 p.m. 2-pound largemouth was caught by my partner around 3 p.m. Debris still in the water but can move around it to get where you want to go.
Ken Wallace

APACHE – Lake elevation is 1912 ft (98-percent full).

Trout are being caught by Burnt Coral by the fish habitat using power eggs. They are also being caught up and down the reservoir in various locations. This is not surprising since Apache received most of the Canyon Lake’s allotment of trout this fall as well as thousands of surplus trout the hatcheries had to get rid of. Yellow bass are biting by the marina and a 7 lb largemouth was caught there as well. Some anglers are having some luck catching small trout and smallmouth by the main ramp using worms. Channel catfish are being caught at Alder creek.

CANYON – Lake elevation is 1659 ft, which is 97-percent full.
Fishermen are hitting Canyon, but few reports so far. It looks like swimbaits are not the way to go. Texas-rigged baits with a worms worked for one fisherman. The lake still has quite a bit of debris. This is good news for the fertility of this lake, but makes it a little more difficult to fish right now. With all the artificial habitat installed, Canyon should provide some terrific fishing soon.

SAGUARO — Lake elevation 1527 feet at 97-percent full.
A fisherman reported catching 10 largemouth bass (all under a pound) near the marina. They were caught on crawfish imitations, football-head jigs, KastMasters and small swimbaits. Don’t forget there was a real good spawn last year and Game and Fish stocked a little over 3,000 6- to 8-inch bass in the lake as well. If you decide to keep a bass this year, and a creel clerk from Game and Fish is at the ramp, stop by and let us scan your fish to see if it is one of the stocked fish – we would appreciate it.
Game and Fish ended up stocking 1,500 trout last week as part of the trout allotment from Tempe Town Lake that we were unable to stock in the past month. At the time of stocking, the water temperature was 60oF.

One fisherman report catching seven small largemouth bass using the drop-shot method in coves across from Bagley Flats. He said all the fish looked healthy and had good color. The recreation boaters are hitting the lakes in the afternoons.

A couple fishermen went out during the week and fished from 8:30 to 2:30 and caught 35 largemouth bass all in the 8-11 inch range, 12 yellow bass in the 9-12 inch range, 4 bluegill 5-7 inches in size, and 3 channel catfish from 3 to 6 pounds; all these fish were caught on KastMasters. The fish were biting mostly in the mornings and the bite stopped around 1:00 pm. The fish that they caught were coming up on the shelves from 25 feet to 13-15 feet and aggressively taking the spoon.

BARTLETT – Lake elevation is 1,797 ft, which is 99-percent full.
Fish are hitting in the afternoons more so than the mornings. Temperatures are 57 to 62F. The bass are fat and some are full of eggs. They are starting to go after shad and can be caught using blades, cranks and rip baits in shallow water, 1-10 feet, but one angler mentioned the bite is light. Another fisherman caught 15 using this technique and another group of fishermen caught over 30 just under a pound to 2 pounds.
Bass are also susceptible to the drop shot method and flipping lures with red on them seemed to be a good choice in 8 to 10 feet of water in the trees.
Another fisherman caught nearly 20 bass in and around cover all over the lake and reaction baits and jigs was working the best.

HORSESHOE — Lake elevation is at 2,025 feet, which is 99-percent full. They are releasing water at 1,485 cfs but the inflows are 1,626.

VERDE RIVER — Flows at Tangle Creek are 1,626 cubic feet per second (cfs) and cfs at Camp Verde is at 1,774. Releases from Bartlett Lake are currently at 1,700 cfs.

SALT RIVER – Salt River into Roosevelt is 2,130 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 1,317 cfs. They are still releasing 8 cfs out of Stewart Mountain Dam from Saguaro.

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) — The lower Salt received 1,575 trout on March 3 at Granite Reef and Phon D Sutton.

CREEKS — Fly fishermen are starting to catch trout using leeches and nymphs on the rim streams where they can gain access. The water is still a little high and a little stained but it’s clearing up and when you can see the fish they are biting. Try Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek, Haigler, East Verde and Canyon Creek.

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