Central Arizona

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September 15th, 2008

URBAN LAKES – Great news: catfish stockings will commence this coming week (the week of Sept. 15) when 13,000 pounds of catfish are hauled to Arizona from Arkansas — as far as we can tell, they don’t croak with a slight drawl.

By the way, there is a urban lake, Veterans Oasis in Chandler, that will be stocked for the first time this coming week. It is on the northeast corner of Chandler Heights Road and Lindsay Road.

Four catfish stockings are planned at two-week intervals before we switch to rainbow trout in mid November.

Sunfish continue to 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
Angler reports:

Where:Red Mountain
Caught:a 11in bass
Technique:Banjo Minnow

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – The recent reports indicate fishing has been slow, but like other lakes, it could have been impacted by the three storms blasting through the Valley.

Where:Tempe Town Lake
Caught:catfish (5lbs+)
Technique:Zebco 202 using night crawlers by the Mill Ave Bridge
Comments:Caught by Lauren 5 years old. Released to be caught again.
Name:kerry cooper

Where:Tempe Town Lake
Caught:5 catfish, 1 Israeli carp
Technique:family secret
Comments:caught 2 cats; one 12 pounds one 14 pounds. An Israeli carp at 5 pounds. Good night of fishing — bites went on all night.
Name:ron and randy lowe

LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1652 feet, which is 75-percent full. Anglers are happy with Pleasant. The shad are mostly boiling early in the morning attracting stripers, whites and largemouth bass. Use shad looking crankbait and white topwater lures, poppers are getting rave reviews as well as Clear Zara Spooks and Zara Puppy’s.  Fish are being caught in 10-12 feet of water in the boils. Stripers are hitting early in the morning compared to largemouth bass and white bass. Once the boils die down the morning, anglers are catching whites and largemouth bass on blind casts. Boils are popping up in the early afternoon, even in the open water, which might have something to do with water temperatures being down about 2-3 degrees.

Where:Lake Pleasant
Technique:Cast 30 feet out, allow to drop, fish hit when it hits the bottom of arc. anchovies on a 1/8-ounce jig head.
Comments:All fish in the 10- to 14-inch size, fished for 4 hours off the back of a house boat at Scorpion Bay Marina, caught a dozen or better.
Name:Ken Winans

ROOSEVELT LAKE – Lake Elevation is 2,143 ft (91-percent full).  Tonto Creek runoff is at 8 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 780 cfs.

I’ve seen a multitude of reports advocating fishing deep for largemouth bass with crankbaits, jerk baits and chatter baits and some say fish shallow in the brush using the drop-shots or flipping worms in deep brushy areas and overhanging vegetation.  When you catch a bass, it doesn’t hurt to let it play a little so the swim bladder deflates while you slowly retrieve it.  Some anglers have to fizz the fish even when they catch them in shallow water, probably came up from the depths to grab the lure.

APACHE - Lake elevation is 1,908 feet (94-percent full).

Apache Lake is starting to pick up.  Green sunfish are in the coves nibbling on toes, small lures such as KastMasters, Blue Fox spinners, and worms.  One fisherman reported catching 24 green sunfish with worms around the marina (I’m sure they weren’t all monsters, but sure fun for the kids). Shore fishermen are having luck catching largemouth bass, channel catfish and green sunfish using worms around the marina and main launch area.

Some other largemouth bass hot spots this time of year are coves near Horse Mesa Dam such as Alder creek and Burnt Rock Cove and also the Mazatzal Bay area. If you’re looking for yellow bass, try the outside points near Horse Mesa Dam and Indian Wash, or Sahuaro Point. The water is a tad stained but fish are healthy and lively.

CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,657 ft, which is 96-percent full.
I shore fished at Laguna using a 1/8-ounce Blue Fox spinner and caught several bluegill, a yellow bass and a couple largemouth bass. The largemouth bass and all but one bluegill were pretty small but very aggressive. The yellow bass was about 8 inches.  The bite was on until the sun hit the water.  Fishing was better in the early morning before the sun hit the water. Find shady areas and look for ledges near drop-offs if you have a boat.
Some good largemouth bass and yellow bass areas this time of year are Mormon Flat and LaBarge Cove.

Where:canyon lake
Caught:3 large mouth and 1 yellow bass
Technique:small Rat-L-Traps
Comments:They were hitting in about 15 feet of water. We had to add weight to our lures to get them down
Name:jay mott

SAGUARO – Lake elevation 1,525 feet at 94-percent full. Some of the old timers are fishing Saguaro again.  There are plenty of fish to go around; yellow bass are hitting KastMasters and small silvery spoons on the points and on ledges in about 8 to 11 feet of water.  Largemouth bass are also active on the ledges and of course in overhanging vegetation and are hitting cranks, jerkbaits and Texas-rigged worms.   There are still a lot of small bass, but anglers that have been fishing this lake for a while are saying the bass are getting bigger.

Caught:Largemouth bass
Technique:Drop shot Texas rig robo worms
Comments:Caught 100 – 120 fish; it was the best I’ve seen Saguaro since 2001. It’s back baby; some of the fish we caught where in the 2- to 3-pound range. The month before I caught one that was 3 pounds, 11 ounces but this fishing was fantastic!!!!! Went back the following Thursday and pulled another 60 out, a lot of these fish where 12-15 inches but it was a blast to see this action again on a lake that I loved and once love again.
Name:Ronald L. Smith

Caught:Largemouth bass and catfish
Technique:Rapala Shad Rap and perch colored Rapala
Comments:Water clarity is improving dramatically. Plenty of baitfish in the lake.
Name:Charles Greco

Caught:Largemouth Bass
Technique:Drop shot 1, Jig 1, Yum Dinger 1 Also fished big cranks, topwater, spoons, and small hard baits in water from 1-30 feet
Comments:Not a good night. Fished from midnight until 7 a.m. 2 fish about 1 lb and a dink at sunrise.

Caught:Large mouth and catfish
Technique:Rapala Shad Rap. Silver
Comments:The water is begging to clear up and fishing has improved. Fish are still relatively small but abundant.
Name:Charles Greco

Where:Saguaro Lake
Caught:23 largemouth bass and 1 catfish
Technique:Slowly jigging power worms pegged on a darterhead in the shallows (3-15ft)
Comments:The bass were very aggressive on this night. I boated 23 largemouth the largest/many of which were 1 and half pounds. All bass looked very healthy yet I am still wondering where all the lunkers went from this lake. Hopefully they all didn’t die off in the golden algae. Black light and at night, fished from approx 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. I’ve been out few times in last month to Saguaro and seem to catch yet are a lot of lil guys (stockers most likely). Can’t wait a few years till they all gain some poundage.
Name:Kevin Hunter

BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,797 ft, which is 99-percent full. Anglers report lots of debris in the water from recent runoff, so be careful.

Bass fishing has been decent, but a majority of the bass being caught are small around 8 inches. Anglers are saying they are all over the place on the lake but points and ledges near drop offs are good places to start. Anglers are catching them from 2 to 20 feet deep. Use your fish finder to see if anyone is home.

A variety of lures are working including swim baits, crankbaits, and Senkos.  The drop shot method is effective as well. There are small shad erupting in boils all over the lake and even the sunfish are getting in on the action. This is a good time to take the kids for some bluegill and green sunfish fishing. These fish can be found in he coves and are very aggressive. Look for shady areas. People are even jigging up catfish.  Don’t forget regular worms fished under a bobber will temp pretty much any fish.

Don’t give up on trolling for the crappie.  A sound piece of advice from an expert crappie fisherman is you need to troll jigs or John Deere grubs at depths around 15-20 feet deep.  When trolling for crappie use your GPS and make sure you troll at two miles an hour near drop offs or structure.

Where:Bartlett Lake, flats
Technique:Rapala, black w/white belly floater, saw lots of nice bass moving fast along the shore chasing shad. I worked the bait kind of fast with quick jerks.
Comments:2 1/2-3 lb fish, real aggressive. Water clarity was good, nice size bass moving in small packs patrolling the shore.
Name:L. Lawrence

Where:Bartlett Lake
Caught:30-pound flathead catfish
Technique:Night crawler on the bottom at 9 a.m.
Comments:hank n scott hopple wesley williams
Name:hank s hopple

Where:Bartlett (rattle snake & near the flats)
Technique:Drop shot, Crankbaits, and Carolina rigged Brush Hogs.
Comments:The water is high, fully of debris, and cloudy in the coves. The channel seemed to be clear… If you’re looking to do some camping, make sure you’re out there before the crowd rolls in. There were a lot of people camping anywhere they could pitch a tent or park an RV. Even though I did not manage to catch any fish it was a gorgeous evening!
Name:Dave Nielson

Caught:Flatheads & Bluegills
Technique:Worms, Chicken Livers, Live Bluegills,
Comments:Water level is extremely high, camping on the Flats is nearly impossible. The kids had a riot catching Bluegills that we used for bait later. Caught 2 of the smallest Flatheads I’ve ever seen in my life; 1 – 3″ and 1 – 4″. Tried corn for Carp and got skunked (1st time in a long time getting skunked for Carp). Campers beware until the lake comes down into the 80-percent full range. Camping just too hard right now.
Name:Mike & Family

HORSESHOE LAKE – Lake elevation is at 1,950 feet, no pool. This is barely more than a wide spot in the river. With recent runoff, it is probably turbid and full of debris. They are releasing water at 250 cfs.

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 162 cubic feet per second.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 100 cfs.

Where:Verde River, below Bartlett
Caught:1 smallmouth, 4 largemouth, 1 Roundtail (I think)
Technique:Rapala black and sliver, floater, and a white spinner. Caught 2 largemouth right away; 1 came off right at the shore decent size 12-13 in. Then I caught 1 roundtail chub, at least I think that’s what it was, I thought it was a trout at first, then when I got it in it looked like some kind of sucker. I’m not sure, it was decent size again around 12-13, it had a fat belly and put up a decent fight. After a while I switched to a spinner and on the 3-4 cast I hooked up a really decent smallmouth it was at least 2 lbs with a really fat belly. When I go it in I noticed some kind of sores all over the back half of the fish, it freaked me out a little, and I didn’t even want to touch it. I ended up hooking 2 smaller largemouth on the spinner and called it a day after about 2 1/2 hrs.
Later afternoon, weather was sunny 90-95, light breeze.
Name:L. Lawrence

SALT RIVER – Salt River into Roosevelt is 1,640 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 1,593 cfs.  They are releasing 900 cfs out of Stewart Mountain dam from Saguaro.

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – Trout stockings are not scheduled again until November, 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.  You can catch roundtail chub (a delectable native fish) 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. Make sure you have your Tonto Pass which can be purchased from a variety of convenience stores and sporting goods stores.

CREEKS – Anglers are still having luck with the terrestrials, especially the hoppers.  I’ve heard reports that dry fly action is picking up.  If the creeks you are fishing are clear use hoppers with nymph or cadis larva or pupa droppers.  If the stream is muddy, use simi-seal leeches; big streamers are the way to go if it’s fast water.

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

Where:Haigler Creek
Caught:Rainbow Trout
Technique:White Rooster Tail
Comments:Caught 3 nice size trout in about 10 minutes. I wanted to fish a longer but it started to rain pretty hard.
Name:Gary Fraser

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

HORSETHEIF BASIN LAKE — We visited Horsethief Basin Lake and it’s absolutely beautiful there.  It looks like the Lane 2 fire did have an effect on the redear sunfish that was in the lake.  Normally they are hard to miss along the shore, but we didn’t see any.  We did see some small largemouth bass and a couple anglers said they were catching small bass using worms.  There was a good midge hatch so fly fishermen should do pretty well.

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