Central Arizona

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September 3rd, 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
When:08/02/08
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.
Name:andy

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


LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1,660 feet, which is 75-percent full. The bite can change from day-to-day, but bass (striped and black) are busily chasing shad at the surface off-and-on. The typical pattern is: at first light, check the coves; during the day, check main lake points, islands and reefs; in the late afternoon and evening, check the coves and the main lake points, islands, and reefs.

Take along binoculars to spot the boils. Zoom toward them, but get off the power well before reaching them and let your boat drift to the side of the boil – stripers especially spook easily. Cast past the boil and work your lure back through it. Sounds simple in theory, but can be tricky in execution. But it’s also a ball.

A couple fishermen went out last week and found shad boils in the main lake coves. Some big largemouth bass were in the mix as well as stripers and whites. All fish were caught on the surface.  One of the fishermen went back out the next day and the boils were in different spots with smaller largemouth bass but the stripers were bigger and in greater number. The whites got into the shad boils later in the morning.

A couple night time fishermen fished in 20 to 40 feet of water and slayed the stripers.  No mention of what they were using, but anchovies come to mind.  Smaller fish were in shallow water and these anglers had to add weight so their bait would drop fast enough to keep the little ones from taking it.
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

Where:LAKE PLEASANT
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 2,144 ft (92 percent full).  Tonto Creek runoff is at 16 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 382 cfs.

Not a whole lot of fishing reports to glean information from this week. Some anglers were concerned over some dead and dying largemouth bass late last week and over the weekend.  This appears to be some fishing mortality and perhaps some isolated areas of low oxygen.  Anglers have mentioned the necessity of fizzing the fish, so they must be coming up from the depths despite some fishermen saying they are catching bass in the shallows near overhanging vegetation.

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 1,906 feet (92-percent full).

This might be a good bet this weekend for yellow bass using small KastMasters, live minnows, or small in-line spinners. 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
When:07/31/08
Caught:0
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 96-percent full.
Shore fishing isn’t bad for bluegill and largemouth bass early morning before the sun hits the water.  I fished near the Laguna ramp for a couple hours and caught one real nice bluegill over 7 inches, the other two bluegills were small.  I also caught a small largemouth.  I tried several lures but the only one the fish went bonkers over was a 1/8-ounce Blue Fox spinner.

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 bluegills, try the coves near Lost Dutchman Bay where swimminers have reported very persistent bluegill 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 1,525 feet at 94-percent full.
I have another successful fishing trip to report from a couple experienced anglers.  They fished from 7 to 2:30 p.m.  The fish were scattered about the lake mostly on the outside points in 9-11 feet of water next to drop-offs. The lures of choice were 1/8-ounce KastMasters.  The final tally was 105 fish.  They caught 33 yellow bass (averaging 8-12 in), 33 largemouth bass (20 between 6-7 in and the rest were 9-11 inches), 30 bluegills (only 6 over 7 inches), 4 channel catfish (17-24 inches), 4 green sunfish (avg. 5 inches), and 1 carp at 30 inches.  All the fish were healthy and they graphed large schools of shad throughout the lake.

Another couple fishermen fished Saguaro and caught about 50 fish using a variety of lures and baits including, cranks, jerkbaits, Carolina- and Texas-rigged worms and other critters.  Anglers have noticed the blue-green algae bloom is clearing up and visibility is around 4 feet.  Water temp on the main lake was 85 F.  Reaction baits were working for channel cats and bluegill.

Two largemouth bass fishermen had some good luck boating about 30 bass for the morning.  The bass were hitting artificial worms and liked the drop shot method.

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:

Where:Saguaro
When:08/01/08
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
BARTLETT – Lake elevation is 1,796 feet, which is 97-percent full.
Anglers are report that topwater action is slow.  Largemouth bass are hitting reaction bait in overhanging and floating vegetation.
Anglers suggest going early to catch the early topwater bite and then try going deep with cranks and jigs if the topwater bite is lacking.

HORSESHOE – Lake elevation is at 1,951 feet, which is no pool.  They are releasing water at 1,200 cfs.

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 178 cubic feet per second.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 130 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) — Salt River into Roosevelt is 382 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 284 cfs.  They are releasing 1,450 cfs out of Stewart Mountain dam from Saguaro.

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, Mepps 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.

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. Zug bugs are working as well.

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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