Central Arizona

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May 1st, 2008
Central Arizona

URBAN LAKES – Papago Ponds – An angler fished Papago and caught 17 largemouth bass, three channel catfish, and 6 large bluegills. The largest fish was 3 pounds and he used Senkos, Rat-L-Traps and spinnerbaits.

Fishing for catfish is good to excellent with new stockings of the 15-20 inch fish every two weeks. Catfish will be stocked this week. Try shrimp, hot dogs or worms fished on the bottom for the channel cats.

Fishing is poor at Water Ranch, Chaparral and Surprise lakes due to water quality problems and cancelled or reduced fish stockings. Recently stocked sunfish continue to provide excellent fishing for anglers using meal worms, worms and small jigs.

At Green Valley lakes (Payson) fishing is good to excellent for trout with trout stockings scheduled to continue at this higher elevation lake until mid May. Some nice 1-3 pound rainbows were recently stocked. Try Power Bait, worms or salmon eggs for the trout. Largemouth bass and bluegill are actively biting through the spring spawning period. Please practice catch and release for all bass during this critical spawning period.

On Thursday evening, May 1, the Gilbert Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will be deciding on a citizen proposal to drop Water Ranch Lake from the Urban Fishing Program and convert it to a catch and release, artificial fly and lure only fishery requiring a state fishing license. Urban anglers and concerned citizens are invited to attend this public meeting taking place at the Southeast Regional Library at Water Ranch Park, 775 N. Greenfield Road (corner of Guadalupe) starting at 6:30pm. The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not support this proposal. Eric Swanson, urban fishing program manager, will be giving the Advisory Board a presentation to highlight urban angler and urban fishing program facts at Water Ranch Lake. This popular lake has been part of the urban program since 1999. In 2007 there were over 2,100 anglers that fished this lake accounting for nearly 25,000 recreational days of fun, wholesome fishing activity for families and anglers of all ages and abilities.

Where: Rio Vista Pond – City of Peoria
When: 04/22/08
Caught: 8 lb. and (2) 1.5 lb. channel catfish
Technique: Fishing after 8:30 pm off the bottom with worms using a sliding egg sinker and a number 6 hook.
Comments: We went with the whole family and my wife Kim and my youngest daughter Abigail each caught their first fish about 1.5 lbs. each but I got to catch the big one. It took about 10 to 15 minutes to bring in.
Where:Rio Vista Pond – City of Peoria
When: 04/19/08
Caught: (1) 3 lb. & (2) 2 lb. channel catfish
Technique: Fishing the early am to noon off the bottom with worms using a sliding egg sinker and a number 6 hook.
Comments: The 3 lb. was my 8-year-old son Mark’s biggest catch and on my 6-year-old son Joseph’s birthday caught his biggest a 2 lb.
Name: Joe Mitcham

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Don’t forget when fishing Tempe Town Lake the east end of the lake is more productive and fish near structure. In that lake that means the bridge abutments or piers. I’m not saying that where all the fish are but your chances are a little better there. A couple fishermen reported catching bass on drop shots and spinners. Watch for the shad boils.

Worms are enticing the catfish to bite. Another fisherman stopped by in the evening for a half hour and caught 2 bass fishing from shore using a green spinner bait.
Angler report:

Where:Tempe Town Lake
Caught:Largemouth Bass
Technique:3/8 oz. spinnerbait white/white trailer
Comments:Fished the lake three times this week with the same bait and caught two one day and one the very next day. Good in town lake
Name: Wayne Radtke

LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1,692 feet, which is 89-percent full.
One angler fished early morning until 10:30 a.m. and caught nine largemouth using drop shot and shad-looking swim baits.

A shore fisherman reported catching four smallmouth bass and one white bass near 10-lane using minnows.

A group of fishermen fished Pleasant and went by way of Table Mesa road. In all, 6 people caught 24 stripers, one crappie and one largemouth. This lake, especially for striped bass using frozen anchovies fished with little or no weight.

Important notice: DON’T MOVE A MUSSEL. With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Lake Pleasant, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders (helps protect your boat as well). 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.
Angler reports:
Where:lake pleasant
Caught:26 largemouth
Technique:dropshot with roboworm
Comments:all fish were between 1 1/2 to 3 pounds, released all fish in good condition, c.p.r. catch, photo, release
Name: john bakos
Where:Lake Pleasant
Caught: 2 Striped Bass
Technique: White Storm Swimming Shad
Comments:Bite started to pick up after 6pm.
Name: Alex
Where:Lake Pleasant near 10 lane
Caught: 16 largemouth bass
Technique:Drop shot
Comments:Was like taking candy from a baby! fished the coves near the 10 lane in all caught within 15ft from shore in about 5ft of water
Name: warren
Where:lake pleasant, castle creek
Caught: 5 stripers, 2 cat fish
Technique:Minnows on a small hook with very little weight. Anchovy 2/0 hook with small split shot.
Comments: Fished from a kayak. I fished from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm. That’s when the wind got bad and I had to get off the lake.
Name: John W.

Caught:4lb lrg mouth- 2 1lb crappie- 2 3lb strippers 2 1.5lb white bass
Technique:white shad raps trolling in the Agua Fria . also white Rooster Tails in the sticks
Comments: The Crappie were huge one was white and one was black
Name: Kim Barnett

Where:lake pleasant
Caught:5 small mouth, 1 white bass
Technique:minnows, on light line, with 1 split shot about 3 feet from hook, drag on bottom with slight pause
Comments: got to the lake at 5:30 am, at 10 lane ramp, could not launch boat safely due to high winds, white caps going over top of boat dock. parked truck and boat at top of ramp fished off right dock. Fish very aggressive; bite lasted for about 1 1/2 hours. people where still launching in very difficult conditions, wish there were wind information ahead of time that boaters could get before hauling boat all the way to lake. Even though could not use boat, very happy to catch small mouth bass at pleasant, biggest was just under 2#. p.s have pic’s of fish
Name: kevin wilson

Where:lake pleasant
Caught:4 nice large mouth bass
Technique:red crawler / find the warmest water possible
would have gottin more but partner had to leave should of made him swim back /dang him
Name: Glenn peters
Where:Lake Pleasant
Caught:20- Largemouth Bass/ 1-Smallmouth Bass
Technique:Drop Shot and a RoboWorm
Probably would have been close to a 15lb bag w/ my top 5 fish. Caught a Smally for the first time in Pleasant that I’ve seen.. he was a good 2.5 lbs and put up a great fight.. all fish were released…
Name: Brian Gorman

Where:lake pleasant
Technique:Frozen anchovy free floating on 4/0 circle hook.
North boat ramp right off of the end of the parking lots. Fish are active right now
Name: Mike Chism
ROOSEVELT LAKE – Lake Elevation is 2,150 feet (99-percent full). Tonto Creek runoff is at 61 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 1,460 cfs.

The lake still has some debris so be cautious and watch for snakes that might get caught out there with you, they may want to hitch a ride on your boat. One fisherman mentioned that lower parking lot at tge Cholla Launch Ramp is starting to go under water.

Crappie fishing is still slow, but some are getting caught. One angler caught a nice male in 15 feet of water using a jig. Water temps are still around 65 F, a little cool for crappie so look for the warmer coves and if you can’t find them in real shallow warmer water go deep and see if you see them staging.

Another angler reported tough luck at both Tonto and Salt ends, but found where the shad were hanging and caught 8 largemouth bass and 1 nice crappie all in less than 6 feet of water using a 3/8’s twin tailed skirted jig with flecks on it. A slow hopping retrieve was the action the fish were susceptible to.

The middle coves seem to be the place for big bass. One fishing report mentions finding big schools of bait fish and then the bass had a feeding frenzy. An angler caught a few using Texas-rigged worms and brush hogs then he tried trolling topwater Spooks and hooked into a 19-inch bass fishing along the brush line and another one about an inch smaller in the same area.

Angler reports:
Where:Roosevelt Lake
Caught:15 + Crappie, 1 Lg Mouth, 5 Catfish, 1 Carp and 1 Bluegill
Minnows just of the bottom using a crappie light.
Most fish were caught at night/early morning.
Name: Michael Brozek

Where:Roosevelt Lake
Caught:Largemouth Bass
Technique:Surface lure
Comments:Bass weighed in on our digital scales at 6 pounds 4ounces, this is the largest bass my grandson Matthew Bowan, (age 18) has ever caught. We have photos to email to you.
Name: hank martin

Where:roosevelt windy hillWhen:
Comments:2 the first night. Left about 12:30 am. Went back next night, and the bite started about 2 AM. We stayed ’till sunrise, caught 60-70. The next night the bite never really started, only caught 20-25 from 8:30pm until sunrise. Was VERY windy on Sat and Sunday night.
Name: Wolfman

Caught:A few slot bass, one crappie
Technique:Crank baits; Rat ‘L Trap, Wee R’s, silver color
Grape Vine area. Water depth around 14-16 feet with lures down about 6 feet. Fished for crappie at night with lights and minnows and didn’t catch anything. :0(
Name: TeddyJackEddy
Where:Roosevelt Lake
Caught:8 Smallmouth Bass, 2 Catfish ,1 Crappie, 2 Largemouth Bass
Technique:All were caught on minnows about 3 feet deep an 1 foot from bank. We fished in Salamae Bay.
Comments: We were looking for crappie but they would not hit. The smallmouth were such fun to catch. Several catfish and/or smallmouth broke our lines. We had 6# test for crappie. Water temp was 67 when we left at 1:30. The fish were biting from 730-10:30 consistantly. After that it slowed way down.
Name: Tim C.
APACHE – Lake elevation is 1,909 feet (95-percent full).

Anglers are catching more fish. Channel cats are being caught in the coves. Anglers reported catching largemouth bass, crappie, trout and smallmouth bass. Most of the anglers fish in and around the marina area. Trout are in the cooler water near Horse Mesa Dam.

Game and Fish stocked about 2.4 million walleye sac fry Saturday April 26.
Walleye are biting and some of the good areas in the past have been Hackberry Cove in the upper lake above the no-ski buoys. The best spots are off the two points and the sand bar. Another good spot is off Bronco Creek. Troll shad-patterned crankbaits at 10-30 feet deep. Work that depth. Another good spot is straight across from the Marina. You want something with a big lip to dive deep and a 2- to 3-inch body. Silver Shad Raps or something similar with a blue or black dorsal side are good ones to try. The shiny ones work the best. The key to fishing for walleye is to fish slow.

Trout are still being caught by Burnt Coral by the fish habitat using power eggs. Some smallmouth bass are biting. They can be found near rocky shores. Alder Creek is still a good spot for catfish.

It’s always good to fish with live minnows – grab them along the way to the lake and just about everything will go after them. Worms are good too.
Where:Apache Lake
Caught:flathead catfish
Technique:liver huge treble hook
Comments:this fish was a monster
Name: Josh

CANYON — Lake elevation is 1,658 feet, which is 96-percent full.
Game and Fish stocked 600,000 walleye sac fry Saturday April 26.
A few frustrated fishermen mention they see bass hanging on beds but they are not biting even for brush hogs. The lake level is fluctuating a tad so don’t beach your boat when you camp or you might end up high and dry for a little while.

Angler reports:
Where:Canyon Lake
Technique:Bottom with a 2 foot leader. used Dead Minnows.
Comments:Takes a little time but well worth it. Anthony Delgado caught two 5lb Cats.
Name: Bobby Pruszynski
Where:Canyon Lake – Boulder Creek – deep in the canyon channel
Caught:1 Channel Catfish – approx. 20 inches in length
Technique: Drop line – hot dogs
Comments: There was only one bite all day long and that was just as the sunlight touched the water. Fishing was extremely slow.
Name: Adam Hammond
Where:canyon lake
Caught:2 catfish 5lbs a piece
Technique: silver rattle trap cast toward the shore
Name: jay mott
Where:Canyon Lake
Caught:2 Largemouth bass and 1 catfish
Technique: Westy worm dead-sticking in shallows
Comments: We caught 2 emerald “Canyon Lake Footballs” between 3 -6 pm. Jigging the shoreline in 2 to 10 feet of water. We released the 4.3 lbs and 3.5 lbs spawning bass to be caught again. The catfish was caught on a Westy Worm early evening. Hunter bros
Caught:2 Channel, 2 Bass and 1 yellow bass
Technique: night crawler with no weight and night crawler under bobber at 4 ft.
Comments:Fished in the afternoon in Laguna Cove with wife and daughter. No one got skunked. The bass were very small so we released them. The catfish were pan sized. Have yet to see any sign of the bluegill my daughter loves to catch.

Where:Canyon Lake
Caught:Catfish, Yellow Bass, Bluegill
Technique: Worms and minnows
Comments: Fished all night, three anglers caught 3 catfish, 2 yellow bass and 1 bluegill. One catfish was 12 pounds. Slow fishing, catfish bite not on yet, in a couple of weeks when the water warms up, and then it should be good fishing.
Name: Bob
Where:Canyon Lake
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 a 1/8 oz jig head.
Comments: What a blast! This lake is starting to come back.
Name: Mark Greggersen
SAGUARO — Lake elevation 1,525 feet at 93 percent full.
Visibility is about 3-4 feet in the main lake and about 1 foot in the river section. Bass fishing is still good. I’m seeing a few more reports of larger bass in addition to the 10 inchers out there. Try flipping worms in the brush. Bass are on the beds and they aren’t moving according to one fisherman.
A 38-pound, 39-inch long carp was harvested by archery in Saguaro last week.
A couple fishermen caught 12 bass on crankbaits and a 5-pound channel as well. All bass looked healthy. They also snagged a 19-pound carp with a Shad Rap.

Angler reports
Caught: Largemouth and Bluegill
Technique: Fished with worms, spinners and crankbaits.
Comments: My buddy Jason and I took our first fishing trip of the season to Saguaro. A little windy but we caught 22 fish total in 2 1/2 hours (2 bass and 20 bluegill). Fished with worms and spinner baits mostly. Bass weighed about 2 pounds each and the bluegill were the size of a nerf football (fought like a crappie or small bass). Great time and a start to a great season!

Where:Saguaro Lake
Caught:Trout, Yellow bass, Largemouth bass, Bluegill
Technique:we used cut bait
Comments: All yellow bass caught are still males. Stocker LMbass. The trout bite is slowing way down
Name: DL Alvis

Caught:3 black bass
Technique: rocket shad white, live minnows
Comments:Caught 3 black bass, had 4 follow .. released all bass that were caught.. Caught blue gill in large numbers.. used night crawlers and minnows.. Kept 70
Name: Robert Sr. & Robert Jr. Konradt

Caught:Largemouth, Catfish
Technique:Jigs, spinners
Comments:caught about 6 largemouths myself all about a pound. My friend showed me up with 12 largemouths the biggest about a pound and a half, and a 5 pound flathead.
Name: John L Dowden

BARTLETT – Lake elevation is 1,796 feet, which is 98-percent full.
Anglers are catching bass using the drop shot method, blades and lizards.
Crappie fishing is still a little slow but not impossible. Try fishing near the Yellow Cliffs, but anglers are saying they are catching them in different areas around the lake. They are still deep and one angler said he didn’t see any fry anywhere. He did notice lots of carp cruising the shore. Lots of shad down lake but he didn’t see any up lake.

Where: Bartlett
When: 04/21/08
Caught: Largemouth
Technique:Jigs Carolina rigs across the bottom.
Comments:went three times in the last week or so, first time I caught 9, my first friend 4 and my second friend 20, all LM from 1-4lb. 2nd trip, only myself and 3rd friend, I caught 1 he caught 13. 3rd trip I caught 6 2nd friend caught 4, 3rd caught 15
Name:John L Dowden

HORSESHOE – Lake elevation is at 2,025 feet, which is 97ppercent full. They are releasing water at 200 cfs.

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 188 cfs. Release from Bartlett Lake is 200 cfs.

SALT RIVER — Salt River into Roosevelt is 1,250 cfs, and in Salt River Canyon is 1,038 cfs. They are releasing 1,175 cfs out of Stewart Mountain Dam from Saguaro.

Where:Black River
Caught:About 40 smallmouth bass
Technique:varied selections throughout the 12 hours we caught them
Comments: Black river is the place to go for large amounts of bass
Name: Mitchel English

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – The water flows from Stewart Mountain Dam are still a little high – 1,175 cfs and the water temperature is still in the mid fifties for the upper reaches. Trout have now been stocked two times in the upper reach at the Water Users (where tubers put in) and the Blue Point Bridge along Bush Highway. This is a unique river trout fishing in the desert, give it a try.

A good technique for spin anglers (ultra-light or lightweight rods) is to use night crawlers with little or no weight cast slightly upstream into the riffles. Let the current carry the bait downstream to any deep pool or back eddy.
For small spinners (or casting spoons like small KastMasters), cast perpendicular to the flowing current and maintain tension on the spinner by slowly reeling in as the current sweeps the lure downstream. Typically, once the spinner gets at least to a 45- to 60-degree angler downstream from you, it will spin with increased action, which can often cause a trout to hit.

Angler reports:
Where:Lower Salt River
Technique:Fly fishing- gold ribbed hairs ear, beaded nymphs, parachute Adams, caddis fly, among others.
Comments: started at the bridge around 8:30am. Fish were rising till about 9:30am. Fished the whole way up to the upper parking. Had one bite. Went back down to the bridge around 5:30pm where fish were rising. Here we noticed that it was not trout coming to the surface but suckers. Saw one person catch a fish around this time (not sure what it was) just up steam from the bridge.
Where:Lower Salt River below saguaro lake
Caught:small large mouth bass
Technique:live worms
Comments:Lost another small 10 to 12 inch bass on a plastic crayfish the hook didn’t penetrate the plastic properly. The water was still very cold and running very swiftly.
Name: Cosme Velazquez
Where:Lower Salt River
Caught:Rainbow Trout
Technique:Spinners & Power Bait
Comments:Thanks so much for the heads up on the stocking at Blue Point, Rory. My buddy and I were able to take his kids down so they could pull a few in. The boys had a good time, and so did we since they actually caught a few and weren’t bored.
Name: Matt Waite
Note: All the creeks were scheduled for stocking last week. This is a great time to fish them.

Canyon Creek – Stocked recently. Rainbows and browns are going after a variety of nymphs. The pools are deep and the intermediate water between the pools is about 3 feet deep in some areas, so it’s deep enough to fish between the pools. Some of the silt has been scoured out, so that means nice interstitial space for all kinds of bugs and small fish.

Christopher Creek – Has been stocked. Fishing should be good.

Where:Christopher Creek
Caught:2 largemouth bass (15″ each)
Technique:Yellow spinners
Comments:Not sure what largemouth bass are doing in Christopher Creek, or who put them there, but there they were–probably a dozen of them lurking in a small pool.
Name:Jake Poinier
East Verde — The water is clear. Silt and other debris were scoured out leaving behind some real nice looking habitat.

East Verde River – Was scheduled for stocking last week.
Where:Horsethief Lake
Caught:Largemouth Bass & Bluegills
Technique:Worms under a bobber
Comments:The lake has risen about 5 vertical feet, to just below the spillway line on the east end of the dam. Large bluegills and small largemouth bass can be seen along the entire shoreline. The bluegills are very shallow and appear to be on the beds, protecting / spawning offspring. The bass are keeping a short distance from the bluegills. Close enough to be looking for an easy meal, but staying out of an aggressive bluegill’s imaginary “don’t get too close” line. This place has made a dramatic improvement from the same conditions last year at this time. Let’s hope it stays that way. The road past Crown King seems much rougher than last time I came up here (and I was in a 4WD). Crown King had an impressive amount of snow (for them) this winter and I wonder if this may be the reason. Take it slow and very easy to avoid tearing up your truck. I wouldn’t recommend a low clearance vehicle. Watch out for idiots, there were many of them all over the area, driving way to fast for the conditions.
Name:Mike Parks

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