Central Arizona

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August 4th, 2008
Central Arizona

URBAN LAKES – June 23-28 was the last week for catfish stockings at the urban lakes this summer.  With the lake temperatures climbing rapidly towards 90 degrees and air temperatures well above 100, it becomes impractical to haul live fish into Arizona’s urban lakes.  Fall catfish stockings will resume in Mid-September after lake and weather conditions improve enough to safely transport and stock catfish once again.  Anglers can still fish for catfish, bass and bluegill at urban waters throughout the summer, but the action is generally slower.  The best catfish action is during low light or nighttime conditions and sunfish continue to bite well on small worms fished under a bobber.  At Green Valley lakes most of the trout have been fished out, but anglers are enjoying great action on bluegill, crappie and bass.  Try small jigs and worms fished under a bobber at Green Valley.

Angler report:

Where: Papago Lake (Urban)
When: 07/21/08
Caught: Catfish
Technique: Bait-Worm. No weight. I used a clear bobber set approx. 3′ from the hook.
Comments: Fresh water was flowing into the lake. I casted about 10-20 feet from the opening of the irrigation opening. A couple of minutes later I saw my bobber get pulled down in an instant. I landed a 16 incher that was delicious. What is it about seeing that bobber nose dive from sight? We fishermen and fisherwomen endure the most severe of weather conditions willingly just to see that sight, or the tug on a weighted line? Like junkies awaiting their next fix! God I hope it never wears off! I’ve been “getting my fix” since I was a kid. I’m 55 now.
Name: Joseph E. Perez Jr.

Where: Evelyn Hallman Pond, formerly Canal Lake
When: 07/23/08
Caught: Nothing
Technique: Worms, corn, power bait. On a bobber set at different depths (1′-4′).
Comments: I was greatly disappointed. Not in that I didn’t get a bite-you have to grow thick skin when it comes to that if you fish regularly. No, I was upset at the condition of the lake. Algae trash and a stench floated on the scummy surface of this once beautiful urban lake. There weren’t even any fry fish swimming clustered in small clouds as I remember. The lake had no surface activity. It appeared dead. I was there about 3PM to 5PM. This may have accounted for some of it, but I have fished this lake in the past at various hours and even if my luck was bad, I’d still see surface activity or bait fish swimming along. There is some type of construction making it a little difficult to get in, but that should not be an excuse for Tempe’s Park and Recreation Department from doing their job of cleaning up trash or fallen dead tree limbs in the water, or from flushing the lake by opening the flood gates to allow more fresh water in. How about AZ. Game and Fish? Where’s that wonderful active lake with all of those fish? What’s going on with the smell and the algae?
Name: Joseph E. Perez Jr.


Shore anglers are catching largemouth bass on Crankbait and jigs.

Angler report:

Where: Tempe Town Lake
When: 07/19/08
Caught: 5 Catfish, one small bass
Technique: Caught 5 catfish on chicken liver ranging 1-4 lbs each from about 8-11pm. Caught the bass on a white spinnerbait at about 8pm, but he was a little guy.
Comments: Good luck!
Name: Josh

Where: Tempe Town Lake
When: 07/23/08
Caught: One 14″ blue catfish
Technique: Bait and bobber. I used worms and corn.
Comments: I had just finished trying to fish at Canal Park. The two lakes were like night and day in their presentation. Tempe town lake was clean and although a little slow, it DID have activity because it had FISH! I was fishing just to the west of the dock. Park security arrived later and informed me that although it isn’t posted, no one is allowed to fish between the two bridges. I think the two are the Mill Ave. Bridge and the Transit Bridge. He said that anyone can fish west of the Transit Bridge -up to the “Blue Fence” and East from the Mill Ave Bridge to Rural. It might be me, but I drove around and could not find any access to the lake except from where I was at– between the two bridges just north of the Tempe Town Lake parking lot. If anyone knows how to get to the lake other than where I was, I’d greatly appreciate any info.
Name: Joseph E. Perez Jr.

LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1676 ft, which is 75% full.

Lake Pleasant haulOne avid striper angler reported shorter duration shad boils and once 9am hits, shad boils seem to dry up.  Stripers and whites are a little more difficult to catch in large numbers, but they still bagged about 10 or so using topwater lures.  Other anglers recommend trying swimbaits in the northern coves and using Carolina rigged worms, brush hogs and the like in the main lake once the shad boils disappear.

Another angler caught 9 stripers, 2 whites and 5 largemouth bass and all were caught on a Diawa diving topwater lure in the northern coves of Pleasant.  You have to be there early and find the shad boils.  The fishing started to taper off around 7:00am.  Scorpion Point is another good area to fish, 1/4th oz blue and silver Kastmasters are working well and clear topwater lures such as Zara puppies and vixens are effective.
3 nice striper caught at Lake Pleasant
There have been several instances of unsportsmanlike-like conduct on Pleasant.  A fisherman will be fishing a shad boil and another angler comes in and pushes the first fishermen off the boil, resulting in the boil disappearing and very tense situation erupting.  The golden rule applies here; don’t horn in on someone’s spot.  The boils are so small and ephemeral right now be patient and hang back, if someone is already on a boil chances are you’ll see another boil pop up near your area – if not, use your binoculars and find some yourself.

Angler report:

Where: Lake pleasant
When: 07/24/08
Caught: 10 white bass 2large mouth and 3 catfish
Technique: spooks for bass and anchovy for cats
Comments: good boils, I was getting bites every time I casted in to them
Name: Andrew Althaus

Where: Lake Pleasant
When: 07/23/08
Caught: White Bass
Technique: Casting topwater lures and Kastmasters to shad boils
Comments: Wife and I got into several good boils in northern coves but could only get one fish. For some reason nothing we threw was fooling them

Where: Lake Pleasant
When: 07/17/08
Caught: 1 Striped Bass about 2 1/2 pounds
Technique: Using a Krocodile Spoon 3/8 ounce
Name: Dave J. Skowronek

Where: Lake pleasant
When: 07/22/08

Where: Lake Pleasant
When: 07/27/08
Caught: Channels
Technique: Frozen Anchovies from Shore
Comments: Fished from 6 to 8pm. Caught 2 small channels. I sometimes hear people ask if channels will bite choves and the answer is YES.

Where: Lake Pleasant
When: 7/28/08
Caught: 4.75lb largemouth bass & 8 (2 to 3lb Stripers
Technique: Crankbaits that look like shad “black and white in color with some silver” Deep divers and top water zara “clear color” spooks Also used silver rooster tails
Comments: Been fishing the top water boils that appear only for a short time consistantly from about 5am to 7am and after that is slows down. Its been in about 5 to 50ft of water, with this extreme top water action. After 7 – 7:30am the boils are gone. Castle Creek is hot!
Name: warren risberg

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.

ROOSEVELT LAKE – Lake Elevation is 2146 ft (94% full).

Tonto Creek runoff is at 61 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 791 cfs.
One nighttime angler mentioned a slow bite at Roosevelt, but he did catch about 20 largemouth bass and all were in the slot.  The drop shot method and Texas rigged plastics worked well.  Another fisherman mentioned top water poppers are working for him in the morning.
Another night angler caught over 40 fish using drop shots and crankbaits in the boils.  When the bite slowed around 8:30pm he turned to Carolina rigged plastics and caught another 10-15 more.  He caught 3 bass in the morning.  Water temperature was 84 F and water clarity was 8-10 feet.

Fishing reports for Rosey has been a bit sparse, but some anglers are having luck with worms using the drop shot method; Texas rigged and Carolina rigged plastics thrown in the bushes is working as well.  The frogs are out so try some frog imitations.  Try Another thing that will get you some action is putting a cicada on a hook, don’t use a weight, throw it as far as you can then let some more line out and slowly retrieve it.  This works pretty good for shore anglers.

APACHE – Lake elevation is 1909 ft (95% full).

Anglers are catching bass and catfish in the Crabtree area.  Worms are working pretty well and if you have minnows throw one of those in there.  Don’t forget Apache is a very good yellow bass lake, with some absolute lunkers hanging out on the points where the substrate takes a dip.  Look at your sonar and find out where they are hanging and throw Kastmasters if you have them.  The silver and blue ones are working pretty well for anglers right now.  You might come up with a walleye if you use shad like lures.

CANYON – Lake elevation is 1656 ft, which is 94% full.

I’m still hearing good things about Canyon Lake; water clarity is a bit low but fish are lively and healthy.   Anglers are catching quite a few bluegill, bass and catfish.  I even had an angler catch two rainbow trout.  Some of the better fishing spots are Mormon Flat, Beaver Landing, and mouth of First Water and LaBarge Cove near the bridge.  If you are shore fishing, Boulder recreation area has some real good fishing and convenient fishing access.  Don’t forget we installed fishing habitat at Teddy bear, Beaver Landing and Mormon Flat.  The structures are 25 feet below full lake level and they are evident on your sonar.   Twenty five feet also happens to be in the thermocline when the lake is stratified.

Excellent fishing reported at Canyon Lake.  A knowledgeable angler used 1/8 oz kastmasters and caught 68 fish.  His fishing spots were at Beaver Landing, Teddy Bear Pt, and Beer Can Pt.   The bite was pretty much over after 12:30pm.  The tally was 41 yellow bass, most were between 8.5 and 11 inches, 17 bluegill most between 4-7 inches, 8 largemouth bass 4.5 to 8 inches, and 2 channel catfish 12 and 14 inches.  Water clarity was poor but fish were lively and healthy.
Shore fishing at Canyon Lake is pretty good as well.  A family used worms and caught quite a few bluegill and several catfish from the Acacia picnic site.

Angler report:

Where: Canyon Lake
When: 07/28/08
Caught: Channel Catfish, Yellow Bass
Technique: Caught: 2 lb. Channel Cat, 1 16″ Yellow Bass Used: Topwater poppers, Booyah Swimmin’ Jig, Red 1/8 Jig, Rainbow 1/8 Z-Ray and Nightcrawlers under Bobber or Carolina Rig Where: Teddy Bear Point, Acacia Picnic Site 20′ Depth in Kayak *** Worms drifted onto or rocks under bobber with minimum weight ~ 3′ down. No strikes on anything else. Did have a few Bluegill chase a quick moving small jig***
Comments: High Golden Algae Levels – Terrible Visibility Fished Teddy Bear Point, Acacia Picnic Site, ( could not find where beer can point was mentioned in the previous report, could not find a decent map ) Jet Ski’s and Water Ski’s showed up around 8AM
Name: Brenton Scott

SAGUARO – Lake elevation 1523 feet at 91% full.

A couple shore fishermen had some real good luck catching largemouth bass near Ramp 2.  Just a note to the shore fishermen, there is fantastic catfish fishing from Ramp 2 to Keyhole as well.  Butcher Jones is a real good area to shore fish for largemouth, catfish and yellow bass.  Use kastmasters for the yellow bass, lipless, rattling crankbaits for the largemouth and whatever you got in the freezer that will stay on a hook for the catfish.

A couple fishermen reporting the bite was off a bit a Saguaro last week and they only caught 14 fish between the two of them.  They used kastmasters and 1/16th oz jigs and caught 3 largemouth of varying sizes, 6 bluegill (two were 8 inches), 4 channel catfish and only 1 yellow bass.  A couple good spots include Eagle’s Grotto area, Skunks Wash and the Meadows.  The water clarity was poor but all fish caught were healthy and spunky.

A couple anglers caught over 60 fish in about 7 hours.  They caught mostly largemouth bass using kastmasters and bottom bumping a plastic worm on a jig heads.  They also caught a fair number of bluegill, yellow bass and a couple channel catfish. These guys are avid fishermen and they noticed the largemouth bass are growing nicely.

Angler report:

Where: Saguaro
When: 07/25/08
Caught: Smallmouth Bass
Technique: Crankbait, worms, stinkbait
Comments: Fished from 7-9:30 at Butcher Jones and caught one smallmouth bass on large crankbait about 8:30. Used worms for bluegill and got zero bites! Switched to doughbait for cats with no success.
Name: Russell

Where: Saquaro
When: 07/27/08
Caught: Catfish, LM Bass, Bluegill
Technique: Rappala shad colored, small #4 crankbaits and worms for Bluegill. Thanks Sean for the tip on the small rappala crank baits, I did not lose the only one you left me on the shelf after you bought the whole stock at Sportsmans Warehouse.
Comments: Trolled the flats at day break for bass, caught 5 one pounders, release all in good shape. Caught a big, maybe 4 lb cat fish that was feeding on shad. When the heat started I fished a cove for some bluegills. This is a beautiful lake, I’m glad Game and Fish are trying to bring the fishing back by stocking this lake heavily.
Name: Grantman

BARTLETT – Lake elevation is 1789 ft, which is 87% full.

There are lots of blugill reported in the rocky areas along shore.  Use small hooks baited with mealworms, crickets or small portions of earthworms on a bobber.  If live bait isn’t your preference try using small (1/32 oz or smaller) jigs, tube jigs, grubs, spinnerbaits etc.  Use ultra light line or braided line if you want as they are line shy.
One angler mentioned fishing was tough and he only caught 6 fish on his fishing trip.  He did have success using plastics and jigs off the main lake points.

Another angler says the fishing is real good.  Dropshot method, jigs and crankbait worked for him on 1-2 pounders.  He also says to fish the points in about 20 feet of water.  Bluegills are aggressive near shore around the rocky areas.
Anglers are having good luck catching flathead catfish on just about anything they throw out.  Typically you catch them using live bait, they must be pretty Hungary to go after lures and plastic worms.  Try throwing a decent sized minnow or better yet a waterdog and see what lunker hits your bait.

A couple fishermen caught some largemouth bass using drop shot method and crankbait, but no other details revealed except impressive lighting serving up some electrical perturbations.  Be careful and cognizant of your surroundings when you are out there watching Mother Nature’s lightning shows.  Your fishing pole and metal lures make pretty good lightning rods; not to mention the fact that you are basically sitting in a big pool of highly conductive water.

Angler report:

Where: Bartlett
When: 07/24/08
Caught: Largemouth, bluegill
Technique: Grubs, plastic worms. The bite was real strange. Hitting mainly off of submerged rocky areas..
Comments: Few fish caught, I caught 3 myself biggest being 3 lbs or so, and he could JUMP. My buddy caught 3 as well, a 3 1/2 lb and a 4 1/2 – 5 lber, and one more small one. my third friend caught 2 little blue gill. Heck of a day overall. Fish the early mornings
Name: John L Dowden

Where: Bartlett – The Flats
When: 07/24/08
Caught: 3 Crappie, 4 Largemouth, 1 monster flathead (10lb)
Technique: For the crappie go for small crankbaits. For your Largemouth, drop shot darker colored 4″ worms. The flathead hit a night crawler off the bottom.
Comments: Going back out on Friday to give it another go! Side note… If you’re into photography and like snapping pictures of lightning, you’ll likely capture some impressive shots out at Bartlett–be careful though.
Name: D.N.

Where: Bartlett – Flats
When: 07/26/08
Caught: Bluegill & Channel Cats (all very small)
Technique: Dropshot – 4″ worm (Bluegill) Hotdogs (marinated) & bait shrimp (marinate)
Comments: Bluegills were aggressive with anything close to shore. The Cats would’ve eaten anything, probably. If you’re looking to get into some bass or crappie, head north of the flats a bit and you’ll find them.
Name: D.N.


– Lake elevation is at 1985 feet, which is 25% full.  They are releasing water at 400 cfs.

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 152 cubic feet per second.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 400 cfs.

Angler report:

Where: Verde River, Cottonwood
When: 07/14/08
Caught: 2-bullheads, 1-carp, 1-bass 2lb, 2-channel cats 3-4lbs
Technique: The river was muddy so I used worms and chicken liver on the bottom like I always do under conditions like those.
Comments: I am also catching more turtles than usual including one very agitated snapping turtle. All fish and turtles were released.
Name: Tim

SALT RIVER – Salt River into Roosevelt is 791 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 717 cfs.  They are releasing 1025 cfs out of Stewart Mountain dam from Saguaro.

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake)
No more trout stocking for the summer, but you can still catch bass, catfish, carp and sunfish.   Worms are a good all around bait and jigs will work for the sunfish and bass.  Corn will entice the carp.  Its cicada season, so try putting one of them on your hook and throw it out as far as you can, let the current take it a bit then slowly reel it in.  No weight on the line though.  Try it around overhanging vegetation.  You can also catch roundtail chub in the deep water around Coon Bluff, Phon D. Sutton and Granite reef areas.  They will hang out in the pools.  You can catch them with trout lures, Kastmasters, Meps or worms.  The tubers typically take out near blue point so if you fish downstream there won’t be as many of the tubers in your way.  Make sure you have your Tonto Pass which can be purchased from a variety of convenience stores including, circle K’s and Big Five Sporting Goods stores.

CREEKS – Terrestrial patterns are still working well according to the fishermen and fishing supply vendors.

Haigler Creek – Dry flies, cicada patterns, ant patterns and hoppers are doing well for fly fishermen right now.

Canyon Creek – Try terrestrial patterns such as cicada, ants and hoppers.  One angler caught a 14 inch wild rainbow on a hopper.

Tonto Creek – Terrestrial patterns including hoppers, ant patterns and cicadas are all working pretty well.

Christopher Creek – Trout are hitting terrestrial patterns.  If you catch a bass keep it they need to be fished out.

East Verde – Terrestrial patterns

Workman Creek – Terrestrials

HORSETHIEF BASIN LAKE – Lake Level is up, fishing is nominal.

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