Central Arizona

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August 25th, 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
When: 08/17/08
Caught: 2 catfish
Technique: stink bait on a sponge
Comments: i was only there for an hour
Name: Shaun Rockwell

Where: Papago ponds
When: 08/16/08
Caught: 4 Cat + 1 blue gill
Technique: Earth worms, blood bait and green power bait.
Comments: I tried many methods. I got strikes on everything I tried. Cats where caught on earth worms and blood bait on bottom and using bobber at 3-4′ depth. The cats where hitting nice and hard and putting up some nice fighting smallest one was 17.5″. The bluegill was caught on earthworm with bobber at about 2′ depth. Tiny little 4″ blue gill that I tossed back. Caught the first cat within 2 minutes of getting in the water. Fished for 5 hours starting at 6am and together my buddy and I missed atleast 8 strikes not counting the 4 we caught, plus I lost one of the hook while fighting it. There are some nice fish out there that put up some fight. Over all very enjoyable! Will go back again!
Name: Mike

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.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE — 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:

Where: Tempe Town Lake
When: 08/10/08
Caught: Largemouth Bass
Technique: The whole tackle box.
Comments: 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.
Name: Chris

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 1,664 ft, which is 75-percent full.

Anglers are reporting small, very short-lived shad boils and they are catching largemouth and some stripers and whites in these boils using light colored or white topwater baits such as Zara Spooks.  Bass fishermen are also having luck using Robo Worms on Texas rigs, Carolina rigs and drop shots.  Striper anglers have noticed fewer stripers and whites chasing shad boils. Anglers are reporting catching stripers in deeper water near the northern islands using anchovies. The tires are always a good spot to fish for stripers; stay on the outside of the tires to avoid any problems with the marina.

Anchovies are the bait of choice, at least for the stripers.  One angler reported catching 18 stripers and most was 2 to 2.5 pounds in relatively deep water near the northern islands.  He missed about as many as he caught so he enjoyed some good action.  All you topwater fishermen take heed; if you don’t see the shad boils, go deep with some anchovies.

Anglers are reporting surface boils but they are short lived and they seem to erupt all over the lake, so it’s tough to get right on them especially if its windy.  Early morning before 8 a.m. seems to be the best fishing; the earlier the better.  Crankbaits are working for anglers in less than 10 feet of water and around 45 feet of water around points and islands.

However, two anglers reported finding boils off-and-one throughout the day and racked up more than 80 fish, including stripers, largemouth and even channel catfish using topwater lures, soft plastic jerkbaits and spoons, mostly in the main basin, with some action in the coves at first and last light.

Be sure to catch and keep all the stripers you can to help the resource.

Angler reports:

Where: Pleasant
When: 08/17/08
Caught: 30 – stripers, 3 – cats, 1 – largemouth
Technique: 6:15 AM – 11 AM – all on anchovies
Comments: Anchored in Castle Creek on an area we have named “Striper 101.” Dropped anchovies from 30′ – 40′ and had a blast. All fish were 1 – 3 pounds with one 4 pounder in the mix.
Name: J. Morrison

Where: Lake Pleasant
When: 08/16/08
Caught: Nothing
Technique: a various assortment of topwater, crankbaits, and even spinnerbaits.
Comments: I just could not get anything to take. Another angler a few hundred yards from me was doing really well though.
Name: Dave Nielson

Where: Lake Pleasant
When: 08/05/08
Caught: 12 in and 14 in Stripers (2 total)
Technique: Small Bomber (2-3 foot dive), Small soft minnow (looked like the shad)
Comments: Caught the first one about 3 p.m. on north side behind island. 5 minutes later had 2 or 3 big feeding frenzies and caught the other with the minnow.
Name: Andy E

When: 08/10/08
Caught: 10 STRIPERS
Technique: 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
Comments: 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!!
Name: J. Morrison

Where: Lake pleasant
When: 08/08/08
Caught: 4 Stripers (two decent fish)
Technique: Swim baits & anchovies
Comments: Fished from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Lots of tender bites and two quality fish.
Name: Dave Nielson

Where: Lake Pleasant
When: 08/06/08
Caught: 7 White Bass, 9 Stripers 1-3 lbs.
Technique: All on early morning boils using old school topwater lures, Pop-R’s, Jumpin’ Minows, & Zara Spooks.
Comments: 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.
Name: James Silva and Kyle DeWitt

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 2,145 ft (92-percent full).  Tonto Creek runoff is at 18 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 648 cfs.

An angler reported good fishing at the Salt end.  He and his buddy caught about 16 largemouth bass in water over 20 feet deep.  I don’t know what he was using.  Use your sonar and find areas that provide some topographic relief.

I had another great report from an avid flathead catfish enthusiast.  He caught a beautiful 42 pound flathead around midnight.  He used a bluegill he caught earlier in the day as bait.  It was a great fish story with him falling from his boat into the lake.  With a little help from his fishing buddies he was able to land this monster.

Roosevelt seems to be an on-again off-again lake.  Anglers are a little frustrated with the slow fishing lately.  Keep the faith and troll in the early mornings for crappie using jigs around the trees.  Keep trying different colored jigs to find the bite.  Night fishermen using crappie lights are having a little better success.  Bass fishermen are having some luck drop-shotting plastic worms.  Texas- and Carolina-rigged worms and other plastic critters near overhanging vegetation are producing some results.

APACHE – Lake elevation is 1,909 feet (94-percent full).

Anglers are reporting catching smallmouth bass and channel catfish in the Crabtree area.  No reports on what they were using but a good bet is 1/8 or ¼-ounce  KastMasters (silver shiny ones are good).  Fish like to take the lures when they are drifting down, so try popping the lure off the bottom.  Worms are always a good bet as well.  If you want yellow bass try the points in 5-15 feet of water.  Shad looking crankbait and buzzbaits are good ones to try for walleye and the bigger largemouth bass on the points.  If you want to just catch a big fish, corn on a treble hook in the coves will get you some nice carp.

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 1,657 feet, which is 95-percent full.

A very experienced angler fished during the heat of the day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and caught 13 yellow bass (three were nice sized), eight largemouth bass (three were 12 inches), four bluegills (two were 7 inches) and one 17-inch walleye in 10 feet of water.  The fish were all spread out in the lake but most were taken on the outside points in water 6-10 feet of water.  Most of these fish were caught on quarter-ounce KastMasters.  Shore fishermen can take carp with corn affixed to a treble hook.

Fishermen are having luck catching largemouth bass using reaction baits, and on 4- or 7-inch worms.  An angler said the blue-green algae bloom is clearing up and the temperature was around 80.5 F.

A group of 4 fishermen caught more than 50 fish in four hours one morning.  They used mostly spoons such as KastMasters.  The majority of fish caught were yellow bass, with some bluegill, a couple smallmouth bass, a few largemouth bass (6-10 inches) and one 10-pound carp.  They were fishing the outside points where the substrate was somewhat flat in 5 to 8 feet of water.  The fish were hitting the lures on the way down to the bottom, so if you don’t get a hit right away, try popping the lure off the bottom and let it drift back down.  For those of you who saw the lake level down during the dam maintenance, you know there is very little for the lure to get stuck on.  If you do get stuck, motor your boat in the opposite direction and the hook will usually come free.  There are some habitat structures at Teddy Bear point, Mormon Flat and Beaver Landing so be cognizant where those are to avoid snagging your hook.  You can see the habitat on your sonar.

If you want to catch some bluegill, try the coves near Lost Dutchman Bay; I had a call earlier today from a family who likes to swim in out of the way coves and they said very persistent bluegill were nibbling on them.  Not just a couple bluegills, but dozens of them.

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 1,524 feet at 92-percent full.

A couple Saguaro anglers caught six largemouth bass between 1 and 1.5 pounds using worms on Texas rigs and jigs.  They didn’t have any luck drop shotting.

Good fishing reported at Saguaro using Texas-rigged Power Worms on the points in 10 to 15 feet of water.  A couple good areas for largemouth bass are around the Meadows and Mesquite Flats.  If yellow bass are more to your liking, try using 1/8-ounce KastMaster around Butcher Jones and the coves north of Divider Reef.

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.

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 1.795 ft, which is 96-percent full.

Crappie fishermen are pretty happy.  According to one fisherman, jigs aren’t working all that well but trolling minnows are enticing a bite.  Catfish are also taking the minnows. The water temperature is around 87 F and the lake is way up.   There is lots of fine debris floating as well as some pretty large logs out there; so be careful.

Morning is still the best time with topwater baits.   Even later morning you can still catch some bass using jigs, rattletraps, and plastic worms.

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

HORSESHOE – Lake elevation is at 1,952 feet, which is no pool.  They are releasing water at 1,200 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 648 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 767 cfs.  They are releasing 1,000 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.

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  according to the fishermen and fishing supply vendors. However, most streams have warmed up and sometimes, torrential summer downpours can cause them to be turbid at times.

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

Canyon Creek – Hoppers with nymph droppers are working well, but get here early to beat the crowds – the words is out.

Tonto Creek – Anglers report good fishing using hoppers with nymph droppers.

Christopher Creek – No recent reports, but try live night crawlers on light line..

East Verde – Some big trout have been caught in deep pools recently.

Workman Creek – Terrestrials are the ticket – especially hoppers.

HORSETHIEF BASIN LAKE – Lake level is up, fishing is nominal, but it’s still a great place for a family adventure where you can have an excuse to put the family SUV into 4WD while climbing the dirt road up the mountainside. Be sure to stop into the picturesque community of Crown King and get an ice cream or other refreshment — it’s all part of the overall Bradshaw Mountain experience.

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