Central Arizona

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August 18th, 2008

URBAN LAKES – There are no scheduled fish stockings at Urban Fishing Program waters from July 1 through Sept. 15.  Once lake temperatures begin to decrease entering the fall season, then catfish stockings can resume again.  This fall, a total of four catfish stockings are planned at two-week intervals before fish stockings switch over to rainbow trout in mid November.  Fishing at Urban Program waters will remain slow throughout the summer. Catfish can still be caught, especially from the larger lakes, with bluegill, bass and carp still providing some fun for persistent anglers.

Fishing activity has slowed over the summer due to high water temperatures and absence of fish stockings through July and August.  Catfish up to four pounds are still being reported along with fish in the two-pound range, but catch rates are poor overall.  The last seasonal (spring/summer) stocking of catfish was June 25.  Generally, the best bite is late in the evening; however some anglers are finding hungry cats in the middle of the day.  Try baits such as stink bait or shrimp fished on the bottom without a sinker.

Sunfish continue to bite throughout the summer on small worms fished under a bobber; mornings are best.  Largemouth fishing is slow with the best activity around dawn for anglers using finesse worms rigged drop-shot or split-shot style, or try topwater at first light.  At Green Valley lakes (Payson) the best fishing is for bluegill, crappie and bass.  Monsoon rains have kept the lake cooler and seem to invigorate the fish.  Try small jigs and worms fished under a bobber at Green Valley.

Angler reports:

Where:Red Mountain
Caught:one 13-inch largemouth
Technique:top water( spook)
Comments:Saw lots of nice bass from 3- to 6-pound bass hit the Spook two feet from the shore.

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 crankbaits and jigs. Drop shots and Texas-rigged worms or lizards (4-inch) should work as well.

Angler report:


Tempe Town Lake




Largemouth Bass


The whole tackle box.


Picked up one that went about 3 lbs near the marina on a green/white spinnerbait. Several soft hits on a Texas-rigged plastic worm.



Where:Tempe Town Lake
Caught:9 lb catfish and 2 smaller catfish (1.5lbish)
Technique:chicken liver for the cats, I also threw various spinners, cranks, and even jigs before/at sunset to try and snag a bass, but no luck.
Comments:Fishing was slow all night until I hooked a monster at about 10 p.m. It was a great fight…jumping, taking line, took me about 5-10 min to land her. Biggest freshwater fish I’ve landed. Lots of fun. Weighed in at 9.0 exactly. Good luck!

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 1,672 feet, which is 75-percent full.
An angler caught what looked to be at least an 8-pound largemouth bass on a topwater lure.

This is mostly a day-time bite right now, but stripers are chasing shad at the surface off-and-on throughout the day. When you hit it right, it is possible to catch stripers on topwater lures until your arms hurt from fighting them.

Another couple anglers went night fishing for stripers and whites and caught a few by the tires and the dam.  The shad boils showed up in the early morning around the marina, at least that was one spot they were hanging.  Northern coves are pretty good in the early mornings as well. However, you can expect to find boils off-and-on throughout the day in the main portion of the lake – take along binoculars to spot the action. Also, watch the feeding birds.

Angler reports:








8 ON ANCHOVIES, 2 ON SPOON TROLL 30′ – 40′ all 1 – 3 lbs, fish were very aggressive. used light tackle with anchovies for max fun


CASTLE CREEK FROM 6 A.M. – 1:30 P.M.. moved around until a good fish count was metered. Anchored on spot and waited. Fish would come through spot every 15-20 minutes chasing large bait balls. Every pass would get us 1 or 2 hook-ups. These fish don’t nibble, they take it and run!!


J. Morrison


Lake pleasant




4 Stripers (two decent fish)


Swim baits & anchovies


Fished from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Lots of tender bites and two quality fish.


Dave Nielson


Lake Pleasant




7 White Bass, 9 Stripers 1-3 lbs.


All on early morning boils using old school topwater lures, Pop-R’s, Jumpin’ Minows, & Zara Spooks.


After being scared off the lake Tues night due to the T-Storms, we went back early Thurs morning and hit pay dirt. We found the white bass chasing shad along the shores at first light south of 4 lane launch ramp, basically from Firemans Cove all the way down to Pipeline. Boils were a bit hard to see due to slight wind conditions but spotting the fish was well worth it. We found the stripers boiling along on the south east shore of Castle Creek Arm around 8:00 AM. They stayed up for about 30-45 minutes, long enough for us to catch our share. Most of the stripers had bellies full of shad 2-3 inches in length.


James Silva and Kyle DeWitt

Where: Lake pleasant
When: 07/24/08
Caught: 10 white bass 2 largemouth 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 8 p.m. Caught two small channels. I sometimes hear people ask if channels will bite anchovies and the answer is YES.

Where: Lake Pleasant
When: 7/28/08
Caught: 4.75lb largemouth bass & 8 (2- to 3-pound Stripers
Technique: Crankbaits that look like shad “black and white in color with some silver deep divers and topwater Zara “clear color” Spooks. Also used silver Rooster Tails
Comments: Been fishing the topwater boils that appear only for a short time consistantly from about 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and after that is slows down. Its been in about 5 to 50 feet 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 2,146 ft (94-percent full).  Tonto Creek runoff is at 10 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 884 cfs.

There is good fishing at Roosevelt.  Try early mornings or late afternoons using topwater lures, including buzzbaits. During the daytime, try drop shots off major points.

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 8:30 p.m. he turned to Carolina-rigged plastics and caught another 10-15 more.  He caught three bass in the morning.  Water temperature was 84 F and water clarity was 8-10 feet.

Fishing reports for Rosey have 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 are 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 1907 ft (93-percent 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.

Where:Apache lake
Technique:worms, lures, plugs, liver, plastic, cicada, tuna, crayfish, cheese bait, corn, blue gill, fished deep and shallow, day and all night, in coves, near rocks, out in open water, covering 10 miles of lake-Nada.
Comments: all we saw was algae bloom, two dying shad and one fresh dead blue-gill, and lots of carp jumping for flies. We got no bites and fished between the marina and burnt corral. I suspect that the algae bloom depresses the fishes appetite.
Name:Russ Dryer

CANYON – Lake elevation is 1656 ft, which is 94-percent 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 12:30 p.m.  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 Night crawlers 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-percent full. A very experienced and productive angler caught 39 fish in Canyon using mostly 1/8-ounce KastMasters.  He fished upriver at the points such as Mushroom Point, Beer Can Point and points in between.  He caught 30 yellow bass (seven were near 11 inches or over), four bluegill (mostly 4 inchers), two channel catfish about 12 inches each, and three largemouth bass; one was about 12 inches and the other two were 5 inches.  The yellow bass were eating shad and many had 1-inch crayfish in their stomachs.  The algae that you see in Canyon Lake is mostly a filamentous blue/green algae stimulated by the dam maintenance drawdown earlier this year and subsequent re-suspension of substrates providing nutrients in the water column.

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 1/16-ounce jigs and caught three largemouth of varying sizes, six bluegills (two were 8 inches), 4 channel catfish and only 1 yellow bass.  A couple good spots include Eagle’s Grotto area, Skunk’s 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:

Caught:3 largemouth bass
Technique:Everything but the kitchen sink….
Comments:The 3 we caught couldn’t be added up to make one dinker
Name: Robb Mansfield

Where: Saguaro
When: 07/25/08
Caught: Smallmouth Bass
Technique: Crankbait, worms, stink bait
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 crankbaits, 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 catfish 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-percent full.

Lake elevation is 1,789 feet, which is 87-percent full.
Morning is still the best time with topwater baits. Even later morning you can still catch some bass using jigs, rattletraps, and plastic worms.
There are lots of bluegill 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-ounce 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 six 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.  Drop shots, jigs and crankbaits worked for him on 1 to 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 hungry 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 shots and crankbaits, 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 reports:

Where:Bartlet Lake
Caught:crappie,bluegills, bass
Technique:slip shot, jigs, minnows
Comments:Fishing was slow until about 9:30 p.m. when we found a nice school of crappie on the east bank across from Rattlesnake Cove. We were in 20 to 10 ft of water when the hits started coming. The crappies were small in size, but the action was a blast. We where surprised that we were catching a lot of bluegills also in about 10 feet of water. Although we where next to a large under water rock pile. We were also catching bass here in the two- to three-pound range. Saturday Night fishing under the AZ skies was fantastic,

Caught:3 Largemouth
Technique:Zoom Brush Hog (weightless) 2/0 hook.
Comments:Caught both fish in 25 feet of water. The bite was really light, I missed a few…

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.

HORSESHOE – Lake elevation is at 1,983 feet, which is 21-percent full.  They are releasing water at 400 cfs.

Where:Horseshoe Lake
Caught:7 Flathead Catfish, 2 Channel Catfish
Technique:I used live bait bluegills.
Comments:The fishing at this time is very good. Best time for fishing at night.
Name:Juan Giron

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 85 cubic feet per second.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 400 cfs.

Angler report:

Where: Verde River, Cottonwood
When: 7/14/08
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.

Where:upper salt river eddies wash
Caught:one huge channel cat!
Technique:we had mackerel as cut bait blue gill water dogs and worms.
Comments:I was setting up a fire and my pole with the mackerel head on it went crazy i got there let him take it for a second then pulled up i fought this fish for 3 min and it popped off assuming it was a flathead. two more on water dogs but no luck when i pulled up my wife caught the only fish a 15 lb 30-inch channel had non-stop fun!
Name:matt burch

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.

It’s the tail end of the 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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