Central Arizona

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March 31st, 2008
Central Arizona

URBAN LAKES – All Urban Fishing Program waters in the Phoenix and Tucson areas were stocked with 15-20 inch channel catfish on Friday, March 21. Nearly 14,000 pounds of Arkansas farm-raised catfish will be stocked into 19 Urban

Fishing Program lakes every two weeks through June. Try fishing worms, stink baits, and shrimp on the bottom with a sinker attached about a foot above the baited hook for catching catfish. Daily bag limits are four catfish per person at Urban Lakes, and two catfish per person at Urban Ponds (note regulations and park signage for Lake and Pond designations).

Twice each year, the department stocks 5- to 8-inch bluegills into all Urban Fishing Program waters to replenish this popular sport-fish and offer some great fishing especially for the young angler. A stocking of bluegill is scheduled for this week. The best bait for the feisty bluegill is worms and mealworms fished under a small bobber.

If you are a die-hard trout angler and are sad to see the winter trout stockings end in the Phoenix and Tucson area urban lakes, there will still be some trout remaining in the larger Urban Lakes. Don’t forget the beautiful 13-acre Green Valley Lakes in Payson, which are unique within the Urban Fishing Program because they continue to receive stockings of rainbow trout through early May. Surrounded by oaks, junipers and pine trees at a nearly mile-high elevation, Green Valley Lakes remain cool enough to support cold water fish like trout. While only trout are stocked there, there are at least four other popular sport fish commonly caught: crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish.

Angler report:

Where: River View Park in mesa
When: 03/23/08
Caught: 3 cats, 2 perch and 1 bass
Technique: My girlfriend Kourtney fished a small piece of night crawler 2 feet under a bobber for 2 decent perch and an 11-inch bass. I fished a whole night crawler on the bottom with a slide weight for 3 cats.
Comments: All 3 cats were over 2 pounds; the biggest was 4 1/2 pounds. The bass was almost a pound and all were released for someone else to enjoy.
Name: Jon Bowen

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – We conducted our annual fishing survey at Tempe Town Lake. We caught many good sized largemouth bass, yellow bass as well as some catfish and quite a few sunfish. There is no shortage of carp either. The most productive areas to fish are in the eastern end of the lake. Try to fish near structure like the Scottsdale Road bridge area. The Mill Avenue Bridge has good structure as well. We caught some rainbow trout on the northwestern end of the lake; looks like they may be seeking deeper cooler water. The water is still turbid but fishermen are still catching fish using a variety of lures such as lipless crankbait and KastMasters. Bottom fishing may turn up some pretty good sized catfish.

Angler report
Where: Tempe Town Lake
When: 03/22/08
Caught:Largemouth bass
Technique: Spinnerbait parallel to the ledge at a moderate to fast pace and split shot plastic worms dragged slowly across the bottom.
Comments:caught 5 nice sized bass from 2lbs to 4lbs at about 4pm to 6pm including a 6lb monster! I have a nice picture of it before I released it back into the murky water.
Name: Aaron M. Schwartz


Where:Tempe
When: 03/15/08
Caught: 3 lb large mouth
Technique: worms
Comments: Fishing about 4 feet from shore. Matt Hall was fishing for yellow bass when hooked into the bass.
Name: Gordon Hall

LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1,694 ft, which is 91-percent full. March 22 was the CAST for Kids event and quite a few bass were dropped into the Game and Fish mobile aquarium at the 10-lane launch ramp. A hearty thanks to the Bass Federation folks and other club members that helped these special needs kids fish. It seemed the boat ride was just as exciting to the kids as catching a fish. I didn’t get a count but quite a few kids caught fish. I know it took a lot of time and patience, but seeing each kid having such a good time and receiving their trophy and plaque after lunch made it a rewarding experience for everybody involved. I was happy to see the captains receive plaques as well. Job well done.

Some bass are on their beds and carp are doing their thing muddying up the water in the shallows. If you want some fun, try fly fishing for carp this time of year. They will hit black wooly buggers and other flies while trying to protect their spots. They would be fun to catch…you don’t have to tell anybody you were fishing for carp…

Bass are biting dark-colored Senkos when pitched into the submerged trees. Swim baits aren’t working very well according to reports I’ve seen. Drop shots are working for anglers in about 20-25 feet of water. At the CAST for Kids event, bass were hitting drifting minnows pretty well.

This from a couple anglers who fished from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 22; they started at Humbug where the water temp was 60F first thing in the morning. They caught three largemouth bass on black Gulp worms using Texas rigging, then a grape Gulp worm produced some bites as well, again using a T-rig.

A lot of fishermen are out fishing the beds. I just ask that if you don’t keep the fish put it back on its bed so it can protect the eggs that will provide a good fishing experience for all of us in years to come.

Daytime fishermen aren’t having a whole lot of luck striper fishing but stripers are hitting drifting anchovies at night on the south end of the lake at 40-60 feet of water near the intakes. The tires at the marina are another good spot that provide cover for the fish. Anglers caught four stripers at the tires in addition to the four larger stripers caught near the intakes.

ROOSEVELT LAKE – Lake elevation is 2,147 ft (97-percent full). Tonto Creek runoff is at 147 cfs while inflow from the Salt River was at 2,420 cfs. Rosey will fill and spill this year for the first time since the dam was raised in 1996. It is now at an historic high water level. Basically, it is making history daily as the water level rises.
Angler report:
Where: ROOSEVELT
When: 03/22/08
Caught: BASS AND CRAPPIE
Technique: LIVE BAIT AND SOFT PLASTIC
Comments: THE CRAPPIE BITE WAS SLOW BUT WHEN WE CAUGHT ONE IT WAS NICE CAUGHT 9 BUT THE BASS WAS ON FIRE. WE CAUGHT OVER 50 BACK IN THE SALT END WE CAUGHT OVER 30 IN A 100 FOOT STRETCH IT WAS CRAZY FOR ABOUT 45 MINS ALMOST EVERY CAST WHAT A BLAST
Name: SHAWN SALOW
Where: Roosevelt Lake
When: 03/19/08
Caught: 9 Largemouth 4 Crappies
Technique: Bass were killing Bass Assassin Flukes being dropped through trees. Also try dragging a 10-inch worm Texas-rigged along the tree line.
Comments: The Tonto end seemed to be where all the bass were. Water temp. ranged from 50 to 62 degrees. Most of the bass were larger and seemed to be from the 2005 spawn.
Name: Adam
Where: Roosevelt Lake
When: 03/19/08
Caught: 5 Bass and 4 Crappies
Technique: Minnow on a slip bobber. 12-15 feet deep. Along bank straight across from Schoolhouse ramp.
Comments: Water was 57 in the am and 59 when we left at 2pm
Name: Tim

Where: Roosevelt
When: 03/23/08
Caught: Largemouth
Technique: Curly Tail Grubs,(smoke hologram, off white, green & black) 1/4 oz. jig,
Comments: Flipping jigs in brush lined shores, Salome Cove, across from Windy Hill and in main arm of Salt River, 20-plus bass per day, some crappies.
Name: Mark Simmons

Here is a good detailed fishing report from some Game and Fish folks that fished Roosevelt. “The fishing was a tad slow, especially for crappie, but we managed to bring back two big largemouths (8 and 10 pounds) and five nice crappies in the 10- to13-inch range. The best tactic for numbers of bass would be throwing chartreuse/white spinnerbaits with Indiana blades in the flooded timber in the Tonto arm. Fish were mostly in the slot range with a few up to about 4 pounds. I caught most of my eight bass yesterday doing that and several other boats were doing it as well. Best fishing seemed to be just off the timber in relatively open areas casting to boils created by bass chasing shad around. The two big largemouth (bass) were caught on crankbaits. Not sure where exactly, but they were caught more in the main lake area. Finally, the water temps were about 60 yesterday (March 19) afternoon. Bass get their spawn on in the low-mid 60s, so with a few warm days the fishing on Roosevelt should really pick up. I heard a couple reports of big bass making nests yesterday. Don’t really have anything on what is catching crappie as yesterday was a real hit-and-miss kind of proposition and everybody says the crappie fishing has been S…L…O…W. I suspect that a few days of warm weather will be the key there as well.”

A fisherman fished from dawn to 2 p.m. Water temps on the salt end were 58.8 in the early morning and visibility was about 3 feet. Caroline rigged 5-inch watermelon w/gold fleck Wollyhawg in 10 feet of water produced six largemouth bass pretty quick around north shore. Crayfish imitation jigs scared up two bass as well. All fish were in the slot and all were nice and healthy looking. The bite slowed down a bit, but he caught four slot bass on a floating silver and black Rapala in the trees. Water temperature had climbed up to 62F around 2 p.m. Blades didn’t work for this angler.

Some anglers got into the crappie. The Salt end on the south side seems to be the place for crappie lately. The anglers that I talk to and hear about are trolling for them – don’t forget the trolling speed is a big factor. When trolling for crappie, use your GPS and troll at two miles an hour near drop offs or structure. A lot of 2 pounders are being caught, but one angler I talked to said he caught a 17-inch crappie. He didn’t mention the exact location but he tends to fish the Salt end with pink-headed jigs.

Looking at the reports, fishing is good at the Salt and Tonto ends. School House Point is real popular. Spinnerbaits are working well for bass off the points in early mornings. Mid-lake coves are productive using Texas-rigged worms real close to shore. Topwater cranks are a good bet in the early morning up the Tonto. Be sure to try different colored worms before you give up on a spot, the fish are fickle. Water temperatures in the Salt on the March 22 were 57 to 59 degrees. In the Tonto it was 61F and later in the day it was between 65 and 67 degrees.

APACHE – Lake elevation is 1,912 ft (98-percent full).

A real nice sized trout was taken near Alder Creek with Power Eggs.

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-pound 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 1,658 ft, which is 97-percent full. Bass should be in the spawn right now. No recent angler reports.
Angler reports:

Where: Canyon Lake
When: 03/18/08
Caught: 4 lb Largemouth, One Big Yellow Bass!
Technique: The Bass was caught on a 6-inch worm. The Big yellow bass was caught on a 3-inch grub with an 1/8 oz jig head.
Comments: What a blast! This lake is starting to come back.
Name: Mark Greggersen
Where: Canyon Lake
When: 03/06/08
Caught: Catfish
Technique: Worms and minnows
Comments: Fished on the dock at Boulder Creek could not keep the 6-10″ catfish off my line must have caught and released at east 30.
SAGUARO — Lake elevation 1,525 feet at 94 percent full. Good fishing at Saguaro with regards to the 10-to 12-inch largemouth bass. They are hitting red and Aaron’s magic Robo Worms on drop shots; spinnerbaits are productive as well. Don’t forget the yellow bass; you can catch them using KastMasters near drop-off points. Largemouth will hit them too. If you decide to keep the largemouth bass, and there is a Game and Fish creel clerk at the ramp; let the clerk scan your fish to see if it’s one of the stocked fish. We would appreciate it.

Angler report
Where:
Saguaro Lake
When:
03/20/08
Caught:
8 Largemouth Bass
Technique:
2″ Deep Wee R crankbait, silver shad color, black back.
Comments:
1-6″ bass,1-12″ bass the rest were 7″-8″. All were caught in less than 10ft. of water.
Name:
Bob Dillie

BARTLETT – Lake elevation is 1,797 ft, which is 99-percent full. A couple fishermen fished from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. late last week at Bartlett; water temperature was 58F when they got there and the warmest was 63F way back in a shallow cove with the temperature probe about 8-10 feet down. They started fishing a cove and on the second cast he caught a big male crappie in 2 feet of water using a jig. He fished about 200 yards from the cove and caught two largemouth bass. In one area of the cove he cast three times and caught three nice crappies, one male and two females, in 5 feet of water. In another cove no crappies were caught but they caught about 15 largemouth bass all very plump and nice looking. They went back to the first cove and caught another big female crappie. So in all they caught five crappies and 15 or more largemouth bass all using blue/black chartreuse Kalin jigs.

Angler report:
Where:
Bartlett
When:
03/21/08
Caught:
Largemouth Bass, Bluegill
Technique:
Mealworms from shore (!)
Comments:
Arrived at the lake at 12:30 p.m. on a boat and proceeded to spend 5 hours without a single bite. We tried everything, spinners, poppers, jigs, worms real and plastic, trolling, etc. and other than feeding the lake our lures we had nada. We loaded the boat and, because neither of us had settled our fishing bet (first, biggest, you know the drill) we parked at the marina and walked down the stairs to a cove. First cast netted a bluegill on mealworms. Then another. Then another. Then a 16″ Largemouth bass!!! I couldn’t believe it. We weren’t even casting, just penduluming (is that a word?) the worms in. The very next cast netted a 10″ bluegill (the largest I’ve ever seen)! We caught a few more small bluegill then it became dark (7ish) and they stopped biting. Who needs a boat???? :-)
Name:
BC
Where:
Verde River (below Bartlett Lake)
When:
03/18/08
Caught:
Largemouth Bass and a Carp
Technique:
I used a small yellow jig to snag the bass, and a plastic worm for the carp.
Comments:
I have been down here a couple of times this week. In a spot near the end of the road the excess water is 4 or 5 feet deep. I have seen many good sized bass swimming around. I have been trying everything. I finally caught a largemouth on a small yellow jig. It must have been about two pounds! Last week I caught my first carp in the very same spot on a plastic worm. It must have been 5 or 6 pounds! I bet the right bait will yield many more fish!
Where:
Bartlett lake
When:
03/24/08
Caught:
8 largemouth bass HALF 2# PLUS and 3 fat crappies all released healthy
Technique:
Jigs and spoons for crappie and drop shot worked great for bass. Fish chasing shad all over cove, exciting to say the least!
Comments:
BARTLETT HAS TURNED ON! And more beautiful than ever!
Name:
Rick

HORSESHOE – Lake elevation is at 2,025 feet, which is 100-percent full. They are releasing water at 900cfs.

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle Creek is 931 cubic feet per second (cfs) and cfs at Camp Verde is at 648. Releases from Bartlett Lake are currently at 700 cfs.

SALT RIVER – Salt River into Roosevelt is 2,420 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 1778 cfs.

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – They are releasing 300 cfs out of Stewart Mountain dam from Saguaro. The lower Salt received 1,575 trout this week at Granite Reef and Phon D Sutton. The Wednesday before last, fishing at Phon D. Sutton was kind of slow, but people did catch some trout using worms. A fly fisherman was above Water Users in the lagoon and he caught carp with wooly buggers. The carp were spawning and protecting their eggs. He also caught 6-8 inch bass using candy nymphs.

Angler reports:
Where:
Lower Salt (Phon D)
When:
03/22/08
Caught:
Trout
Technique:
Running through rapids to shore, reeling slowly. Yellow Panther Martin with red dots silver spinner
Comments:
Caught 4 in roughly an hour. The area was swarmed with other fishers, many of them fly fishers. Many of whom hadn’t caught any. Bald Eagle was seen perched; he was there pretty much all day.
Name:
John L Dowden
Where:
Phon D. Sutton
When:
03/20/08
Caught:
6 Rainbow trout
Technique:
Worms – spinning rod
Comments:
Sutton has been consistent for the last 3+ weeks. Water level was down from my last visit about 10 days previously. Fish the slower waters adjacent to the fast water. All of the fish I caught appeared to be planters. Going to Butcher Jones today for bass. Thinking about a trip up to Lees Ferry soon. Your fishing reports are great.
Name:
Jim Hatchell

CREEKS
Note: Most creeks are running high due to runoff and you can expect turbidity. The creeks along the Mogollon Rim have not been stocked since last fall, but will still have some larger hold-over trout.

Haigler Creek – No report. Is likely running high and turbid from runoff. Has not been stocked since last fall.

Canyon Creek – The gate is still closed but you can walk down a bit and find good fishing. The water is a little stained so the darker wooly buggers or leeches are working well and it’s even better if you attach a small nymph pattern or hares ear.

Tonto Creek – The creek is still running pretty good so be careful wading. Be advised you’re going to work for the fish you catch. Right now bigger flies are working well such as wooly buggers or some big streamers.

Christopher Creek – No reports. Should be running high. Not stocked since last fall.

East Verde – No reports.

Workman Creek – No reports.

HORSETHIEF BASIN LAKE – No reports.

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