Central Arizona

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May 16th, 2008
Central Arizona

URBAN LAKES – Fishing for catfish is good to excellent 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 2-3 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

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.
One angler stopped by Tempe Town Lake for an hour one morning and using corn on the bottom caught a rainbow trout and a channel catfish.

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.
There are changes at Pleasant Harbor Marina, which is transitioning from a public to a members-only facility. Although Pleasant Harbor Marina will be members only, Pleasant Harbor RV Resort and the lake itself will remain open to the public. Launching capabilities for the public are accessible at the north and south ramp. The area behind the tires is private property owned by the Maricopa Water Dist but you can fish on the other side of them. Good nighttime striper fishing there in the summer months.

Fishermen are still reporting drop shots as the fishing technique that seems to work consistently. Another angler reported catching about 12 largemouth bass in the shallows. No details on what he was using, but try flipping plastic worms or brush hogs in/near overhanging vegetation.

Stripers are hitting anchovies at a depth around 40 to 50 feet of water at the tires. Water temperature was about 67o F. You might want to stay on the outside of the tires since the inside is private property now, but some fishermen aren’t having problems fishing the inside of the tires as long as they are quiet. Time will tell what will be allowed.

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

ROOSEVELT LAKE – Lake Elevation is 2,149 ft (98-percent full). Tonto Creek runoff is at 28 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 682 cfs.

Roosevelt largemouth are hitting jigs, topwater was working real well in some areas, vixen’s worked for one fisherman, jerk baits and Zara Spooks are providing some good results. Tonto end of the lake is still a good area as well as the Salt end. Some people rave about the central coves. Use your sonar and find them yourself or look to see where all the other boats are, there is a lot of area to cover.

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

APACHE – 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 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.

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.

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.
On May 15, we stocked 50,000 largemouth bass fingerlings to help bolster the natural reproduction as this lake continues on the comeback trail after being impacted by golden alga blooms in past years.

Where:Apache Lake
Caught:flathead catfish
Technique:liver huge treble hook
Comments:this fish was a monster
CANYON — On May 15, we stocked 50,000 largemouth bass fingerlings to help bolster the natural reproduction as this lake continues on the comeback trail after being impacted by golden alga blooms in past years.
Lake elevation is 1657 ft, which is 95-percent full.
Looks like the fish in Canyon are going for the live bait. One angler reported catching 10 sunfish and 2 small bass using worms and minnows. Bass are spawning but they haven’t been too interested in the artificial lures. There are lots of shad out there and one fisherman reported water temperature at 72oF.

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

SAGUARO — On May 15, we stocked 50,000 largemouth bass fingerlings to help bolster the natural reproduction as this lake continues on the comeback trail after being impacted by golden alga blooms in past years.
Lake elevation 1,525 feet at 93-percent full.
Fishing continues to be very good as reported by a couple anglers who fished last Friday for about 6 hours, morning to early afternoon, and caught over 80 fish. They caught 35 bluegills (12 were big enough to keep), 40 yellow bass; 6 largemouth bass most were around 8 inches and one 16 inch channel catfish. The fish were on outside points, especially the yellow bass. Shad were in the stomachs so shinny lures work well. They caught the majority on 1-8 oz KastMasters. Live night crawlers work well on bluegill and green sunfish as well as 1/16 oz jigs.
Bluegills are nesting and if you want to catch the bigger ones try the coves.
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

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 1,792 ft, which is 91-percent full.
Bartlett is a good lake for catfish. They will take just about anything, worms, minnows, your typical catfish bait such as chicken liver and hotdogs. Use live bait and go for nice tasty flatheads.
Anglers are reporting good bass fishing using power and Robo worms with Carolina rigging. Drop shotting is working on other lakes so give that a try.
No crappie reports.

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

HORSESHOE – Lake elevation is at 2,024 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.

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – Lower Salt is was stocked rainbows this week and will be stocked again next week at Blue Point and Water Users.
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.

Haigler Creek – Anglers are catching trout in Haigler using a variety of nymphs and leaches. Dry fly action is picking up on Canyon Creek so give some of those a try.
Canyon Creek – Game and Fish did some sampling and reported catching many rainbows and browns. Trout were caught not only in the pools but also in some shallow areas that you might want to bypass on the way to the pools – think again. Sneak up on some of the overhanging vegetative areas as well as areas with undercut banks and try your luck. You may be surprised.

Dry fly action is picking up; try using Parachute Adams and BWO’s along with the tried and true nymphs and leaches.

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 – Has been stocked.

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

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