Central Arizona

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May 8th, 2008
Central Arizona

URBAN LAKES – Fishing for catfish is good with a variety of baits working well on the bottom. Cats are biting variously throughout the day and anglers willing to spend a couple hours or fish different times of the day are being rewarded with some 2- to 3-pound fish. Top catfish baits include stink baits, shrimp or worms fished with a sliding sinker, or no sinker. Catfishing is poor at Chaparral (Scottsdale) and Red Mountain (Mesa) lakes due to cancelled catfish stockings the week of April 29-May 3. Bluegill and other sunfish are biting readily at all lakes on meal worms, worms or small dough balls under a small bobber.

The bite for largemouth bass has slowed somewhat during this post-spawn period, but early morning anglers are still getting action on some nice fish in the 2- to 3-pound range using drop shot and split shot rigs.

At Green Valley lakes (Payson) fishing is good for trout, particularly in the two smaller ponds which received some bonus trout stockings recently for local children’s fishing clinics. The final trout stocking of the spring season will take place the week of May 4-10 and will be a double stocking. Try Power Bait, worms or salmon eggs for the trout.

Where:Water Ranch Lake
Caught:3 channel catfish
Technique:Me and my friends went there around 5:30 pm and was non stop catfish for till around 8 pm. One was 6 pounds it was a monster the others were nice 2 pounders. We were using hot dogs with a size 4 hook under a bobber.
Comments:Everyone was catching catfish. I went there early in the day around noon and caught a tiny bluegill bad fishing during the day. The lake seems to be getting in a better condition, the water is a lot more clear.
Name:Alec Richardson

Where:Red Mountain
Caught:two huge sunfish
Technique:I was using a f-3size floating rapala
Comments:One was about 9″, 12oz, the other one was about 10″, 1lb. These fish were probably the ones that were stacked last month, and I released both for someone else to catch.

Where:Rio Vista Pond – City of Peoria
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
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 two bass fishing from shore using a green spinner bait.
Angler report:

Where:Tempe Town Lake
Caught:2 trout ,3 bass, and a catfish
Technique:Rooster Tails, the Banjo mino, and some worms under a bobber about 8 ft from bait
Name:austin kahn
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 1,691 ft, which is 88-percent full.
Anglers are having success with the stripers at night. One report mentioned Castle Creek area was a good spot. The water is still cool enough that fish will be active in the Agua Fria arm in the mornings and afternoon as well. The Table Mesa road is manned by wildlife managers Friday, Saturdays and Sundays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Good striper fishing reports coming from those folks. Largemouth bass and pan fish are hitting as well.

The largemouth bass spawn has moved to deeper water in the middle of the coves and it is tough to fish for them. There is a large contingent of post-spawn bass that are still lethargic. But for the active post-spawn fish, try the main lake points, islands and reefs, or submerged humps using topwater lures, soft plastic jerkbaits, crankbaits or casting spoons – these same techniques might also get you stripers at first and last light.

Fly fishermen are catching stripers on Clauser minnow streamers.

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 – Aqua Fria
Caught:One 1.5# Largemouth Bass – released fish.
Technique:Drop Shot – Chanteuse/Shad Robo Worm.
Comments:Was on the water kind-of late but managed to snag one Largemouth Bass around 8:30 pm. Fished in the timber little over a mile from the area where you can launch a boat on the Aqua Fria. Seems to be a lot of good success for Stripers out there; lots of guys heading back mid morning with a good string of them. Also noticed that the carp seem to be spawning; they were breaking all over the place especially shadier areas and near submerged timber. I wonder if this ruins the bass fishing?
Name:D. N.
Where:Lake Pleasant, Agua Fria Arm
Caught:7 – Striped Bass, 5 – White Bass, 1 – Largemouth Bass
Technique:Shad from a cast net.
Comments:It took us a while to net enough Shad, but then the two of us caught these 13 fish over about 5 hours. Tyler was using a light rod with 6-pound test that made the stripers a challenge. Good Fun!
Name:Jack Moody
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.
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
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 largmouth- 2 1lb crappies – 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 smallmouth, 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 smallmouth bass at pleasant, biggest was just under 2#. p.s have pic’s of fish
Name:kevin wilson
ROOSEVELT LAKE – Lake Elevation is 2,149 ft (98-percent full). Tonto Creek runoff is at 59 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 820 cfs.

Off-and-on wind (mostly on) has made fishing a little challenging, but some anglers who dial in the bite pattern are doing well – make no mistakes, it can test your mettle.

The weekend forecast looks better – let’s hope. There could be lots of post-spawn fish still acting a little lethargically, but there should be some post-spawners feeding aggressively as well. For spawning bass, good luck – they are probably in much deeper water right now, depending on light penetration. Shallow brushy flats might be the key, or fish the edge-effect between thick brush and even thicker submerged trees and such.

One fisherman reported slow fishing during the day but night time crappie fishing was good. He caught 7 crappies and one good sized bluegill. Nighttime fishing using lights is a good bet. The lights attract the zooplankton, which in turn attract the baitfish and the crappie will soon follow. You might want to be cautious of rattle snakes hitching a ride on your boat.

One angler reported catching 10 largemouth bass and most hit on blades in from early morning till noon. His best fishing was in coves

Angler reports:

Gary Wheeler: Fished at night with lights, caught about 60 crappies, all good size. Minnows and white jigs .Caught a few over the slot bass too. We caught a lot more, but we released everyone that wasn’t at least longer than your hand. We fished right across from School House at the mouth of a cove in about 25feet of water. Only a couple of other boats close by, we could hear a lady yelling every time she’d catch fish , she yells a lot.

Where:Roosevelt lake School house
Caught:20 big crappies 1 stripe bas16″ and 2 bass 16/18″
Technique:spinners worms and minnows
Comments:in water that temp was about 65 to 70
Name: Kritter spitler
Caught:one Crappie
Technique:trolled crankbaits and shallow lures
Comments:There is so much more water it is hard to figure out where to start fishing.
Name:Grant Armendariz
Where:Roosevelt Lake
Caught:15 + Crappie, 1 Lg Mouth, 5 Catfish, 1 Carp and 1 Bluegill
Technique:Minnows just of the bottom using a crappie light.
Comments: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 hill
Caught: crappie
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.

Caught:A few slot bass, one crappie
Technique: Crank baits; Rat-L-Trap, Wee R’s, silver color
Comments: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

APACHE – Lake elevation is 1911 ft (97-percent full).

Game and Fish conducted fish surveys last week. We set a total of 30 nets and 30 sites were sampled via electro-fishing.

Walleye: The best site for walleye was around Three-Mile Island. All were very robust and over 20 inches long. They like to hang out around points where the substrate drops off.

Largemouth: The best site for largemouth bass was in the Crabtree Wash area. One fish was over 5 pounds and many were over 2 pounds. We caught largemouth bass in most sites that were near good habitat. So wherever you have overhanging vegetation you might want to flip your worms in there. We also caught some young-of-the-year and some of our tagged stocked largemouth. The tagged ones were between 7 – 8 inches.

Smallmouth: In October of 2007 we stocked smallmouth and they have distributed themselves all over the lake. We caught them at every site that had good smallie habitat. Look for nice rocky substrate that goes into the lake and they will be there. They have grown a couple inches since we stocked them, so they are now around 8 inches or so. All were healthy and lively. Please practice catch-and-release – we need these bronzebacks to spawn and repopulate this fishery.

Carp and Buffalo Fish: The shallow coves had lots of huge carp and some buffalo fish. One buffalo fish had to be over 50 pounds, I say that because he got away before we got him into the boat, but he was a monster.

Catfish: Many coves had some large catfish. Burt Corral area is a good place to fish for them.

Yellow Bass: We caught a lot of yellow bass. Most are off the points where the substrate drops off. Some were very close to 2 pounds. Many were over a pound. Apache Lake is a blue ribbon yellow bass fishery that many people just aren’t aware of. They are fun to catch and even better to eat – can you say scrumptious!

Crappie continues to be caught around the marina area as reported by fishermen. Trout are still in the system, we caught many in our nets and anglers are reporting catching them all up and down the lake.
Where:Apache Lake
Caught:flathead catfish
Technique:liver huge treble hook
Comments:this fish was a monster

CANYON — Lake elevation is 1,657 ft, which is 95 percent full.
Canyon bass fishing is coming along. One angler reported catching 4 largemouth, all between 3-5 pounds. He used power worms and crayfish imitations.

Angler reports:
Where:Canyon Lake
Caught:Two 4 lb catfish
Technique:Jiggin with Westys and football Garlin jigs
Comments:Slow fishing only few bites in 6 hours fishing
Name:Kevin Hunter
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
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 Rat-L-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
SAGUARO — Lake elevation 1525 feet at 93% full.
A 10-inch bass was caught near the dam using the drop shot method with a plastic worm.
Another fisherman had good luck using Robo Worms on a drop shot. He caught an 8 inch, 10-inch and an 11-inch bass along with six others. They all hit real hard and put up a good fight.

Technique:Drop shot and crankbait
Comments:All fish were caught in 6-10′ of water. Crankbait was very effective in the windy conditions. We caught about 40 fish in 7 hours. Biggest fish was 1 lb 2 oz. All were released
Name:Michael Rathgeber
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 1795 ft, which is 95-percent full.
Largemouth are taking jerk bait, cranks and worms. Drop shot method is working for many anglers after trying everything else in their tackle box.
As of Saturday May 3. Water temps were 63 on the main lake and warmed to 67 during the day. Upper river temp was 73 at 4 p.m. Water clarity was 5-6 feet on the main lake and less than a foot way up river.
Some anglers are doing well on crappie at night, but didn’t provide a location.

Where:Bartlett Lake
Caught:largemouth bass
Technique:crankbait. DT6 Shad Rap
Comments:Arrived at the lake around noon. Started fishing with drop shot set up. No luck switched to Rapala DT6 Shad Rap and caught 5 nice 2-4 lb largemouth bass around sun set.
Name:joe cortright

Where:Bartlett Lake
Caught:1 Crappie
Technique:Tried everything from crankbaits to minnows and jigs. Fished from 4pm to midnight and only caught 1 at dusk on the minnow. Lights brought in the shad but no luck with the crappie. Not wroth the gas or the time> only 2 other boats on the yellow cliffs with us. Not sure why it’s listed as a hot spot, its everything but that.
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 2024 feet, which is 97-percent full. They are releasing water at 125 cfs.

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 133 cubic feet per second. Release from Bartlett Lake is 500 cfs.

SALT RIVER — Salt River into Roosevelt is 820 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 815 cfs. They are releasing 750 cfs out of Stewart Mountain dam from Saguaro. Trout have recently been stocked. Some anglers are doing very well, others aren’t. For spin anglers, try using night crawlers with only a small split shot – cast slightly upstream and let the current carry the crawler downstream while mending your line.

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

Where:Tick Flats, Black River
Caught:Small Mouth Bass
Technique:Split tail grubs, smoke and yellow color
Comments:the flesh had small white worm-like spots all thru-out. What would that be and was it dangerous for consumption?
Name:Gene Marshall
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 – Recently stocked with rainbows. 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.
HORSETHIEF BASIN LAKE – Lake level is up, fishing is okay.

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

2 Responses to “Central Arizona”

  1. Is the canal considered urban water?

  2. Andy;

    Canals are not part of the Game and Fish Department’s Urban Fishing Program

    Thank you.


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