Central Arizona

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September 19th, 2008

URBAN LAKES – On Thursday, Sept. 18, the Arizona Game and Fish stocked channel catfish at all 20 Urban Fishing Program waters in Phoenix and Tucson areas. All lakes recently passed water quality inspections and will be stocked at two week intervals. See our website for a schedule of fish stockings (http://www.azgfd.gov/).

Catfish will be stocked four times through early November.  We will stock sunfish at the end of October and trout stocking will resume in mid November.

The much anticipated Veterans Oasis Lake located on the northeast corner of Chandler Heights and Lindsay roads will receive their first batch of catfish this week ready for your fishing enjoyment.

Later this fall Game and Fish will stock the Veterans Oasis with young largemouth bass, bluegill and redear sunfish. It will take one or more years for the new lake ecosystem and bass/bluegill fishery to develop – so be patient and don’t expect big bass and sunfish just yet. The lake has good fish habitat with lake depths to 14 feet, plenty of spawning gravels and rock reefs, excellent aeration and circulation, and a good food base.

You can catch catfish using worms, stink baits, shrimp or hot dogs fished on the bottom.  Mornings and evenings are the best times to catch Mr. Whiskers since they like to feed under dim or dark conditions.

Bluegill fishing is best along the shorelines in 4-8 feet of water with mealworms under a small bobber.  As lake temperatures fall below 78 degrees, expect better action for largemouth bass, especially in the early morning.

Angler reports:

Where:Red Mountain Park
Caught:14-inch LM Bass
Technique:caught on first cast using Zoom Finesse worm (plum color) slowly fished on a finesse dart head on the bottom.
Comments:only fished for an hour. saw an abundant of small bass
Name:Martin Olsen
Where:Kiwanis Park
Caught:3 Catfish – all 2 lbs+ and 22″-24″.
Technique:Power Bait catfish nuggets with a bobber set at about 4 feet.
Where:Red Mountain Park
Caught:6.5-pound Black Bass
Technique:night fishing, using water dog
Comments:Weight 6.5 lbs… Took pictures, let some children see the fish, and revived it before I let it swim… Such fun…
Name:Robert E.  Konradt Sr.

Where:Gilbert Water Ranch
Technique:Power Bait. Red worm looking style on smallest hook possible. Cast and slowly retrieve.
Comments:Thanks for sharing your bait. The guy who shared his bait probably caught 10+ fish in the hour we fished together. I did not fare so well. (ne)
Where:Red Mountain Park
Caught:2 8inch LM bass
Technique:small hand-tied, by yours truly, pink jig head.
Comments:Fished in mid day for about 2 hrs.; couldn’t stand the heat.
Name:Martin Olsen

Where:desert breeze
Caught:large mouth bass
Technique:Texas-rigged; try to throw your baits to the middle of lake. That’s where I caught two of them. The smaller bass was about 5-15ft form shore. Try diff color with a lot of sparkles.
Comments:Caught 3 bass 1 was smaller than my worm. Other 2 released themselves before I could reach my hand. They were about 1.5-2.5lbs.
Name:Angel Ulloa
Where: Red Mountain
Caught: a 11in bass
Technique: Banjo Minnow
Name: Austin

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:2 medium channel catfish
Technique:Corn and chicken livers.
Comments:We fished the lake from dusk to almost midnight. The bite was slow, although we did witness largemouth feeding on surface shad. I was very surprised we did not catch any carp.
Name:on Schumacher

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
LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1,649 ft, which is 75-percent full. Water temperatures are going down and anglers are still happy with shad boils erupting in the northern coves, mid lake coves, and the Agua Fria River as well.  Even after a boil is gone, fishermen are blind casting topwater lures and getting attacks from stripers and largemouth bass.  An angler spotted some 4-5 inch stripers in the Agua Fria, the normal spawning area.  With the good rains we had, it should be a bumper crop.  There is an unlimited take for stripers in Lake Pleasant, so bring a friend and get a whole slew of them. They are tasty as long as you bleed them out first.  The largemouth bass fishermen will thank you.  Anglers are also having luck with Zara Spooks, Spinnerbaits and Bass Assassins.

Where:Lake Pleasant
Caught:8 stripers
Comments:My son and I fished from kayaks 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. using anchovy and lights in 30 to 40 feet of water
Name:John W.

ROOSEVELT LAKE – Lake Elevation is 2,143 feet (90 percent full). Tonto Creek runoff is at 10 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 535 cfs.

This lake is a bit of an enigma right now. Anglers are wondering what is happening here, although some do well, others don’t. Some fishermen are doing well using topwater lures early in the mornings.  If there is no topwater action where you are, go deep or better yet hit the drop offs. Try fishing the Tonto or Salt ends of the lake where the water temperature is a little cooler.

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 1,907 feet (93-percent full).  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 still tad stained but fish are healthy and lively.

CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,657 ft, which is 95-percent full.

I caught a 10-inch channel catfish shore fishing around Laguna using the smelly catfish dough bait you can buy at any fishing store. That was during mid-day. Other fishermen are catching some nice largemouth bass near overhanging vegetation and structure. Yellow bass are hanging out at the points where the substrate drops off. Early morning is the best time to fish.

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 1525 feet at 94-percent full. Saguaro is still doing well at the points and drop offs. Spinnerbaits, Senkos, drop shots, Texas-rigged worms, jigs, Hulla grubs, small cranks, KastMasters and Robo Worms are working for a variety of anglers in 10 to 30 feet of water pretty much all over the lake.

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.

Where:Saguaro Lake
Caught:Largemouth Bass
Technique:Top water and Drop Shot
Comments:Bass are gaining some size over recent months. Most caught in the 1 1/2 lb range with one at 3 lbs.
Where:Saguaro Lake
Caught:15+ LM bass, 25+ bluegills and yellow bass, 2 average cats
Technique:silver KastMasters and Rapala lipless crank fished in coves for the bass and bluegills. Shrimp fished in coves at night for the two cats
Comments:My dad and I go to Saguaro every Friday and the LM action is outrageous. We were getting fish on every cast. The fish were small but we had a blast and they all are healthy.
Name:Martin Olsen
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:3 Catfish all around 24 inches. 6 Largemouth bass. 13 sunfish. 7 yellow bass.
Technique:KastMasters, inline spinnerbaits and crankbaits.
Comments:The sunfish are chasing crankbaits and the bass and catfish are chasing the small spinnerbaits. Caught some big sunfish on crankbaits, never seen gills chase crankbaits like that before.
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 feet, which is 99-percent full.

The fish seem to be 25 to 30 feet deep; at least the bigger fish are there. Smaller fish are getting caught in the 3- to 20-foot range. Fish are being found a little deeper in the day and on the flats at night.

Don’t forget Bartlett is a very good catfish lake; shore and boat fishermen both do very well.  Use chicken liver, worms or any kind of leftovers you might have that will stay on your hook. Channel catfish are taking jigs and spinnerbaits as well.  For flatheads try some live bait in the upper end of the lake by ship rock at night.  They like the full moon.

Try fishing under the no wake line by the Jojoba boat ramp in 5-8 feet of water.  Look for the submerged yellow pipe, the bass like to hang out there.  Last year at this time the fish were being caught in the west end of the lake in the mornings and on the east end of the lake in the evenings.

For crappie, fish near the orange fish habitat buoys, but don’t fish right over them.  You need to be 15 – 30 feet away from them and cast jigs towards the buoys.

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 1,954 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.
Comments:Later afternoon, weather was sunny 90-95, light breeze.
Name:L. Lawrence

SALT RIVER – Salt River into Roosevelt is 535 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 438 cfs.  They are releasing 1,100 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 – Stocked this week with 202 rainbow trout. 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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