Central Arizona

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September 29th, 2008

URBAN LAKES – The Arizona Game and Fish stocked channel catfish on Sept. 18. All lakes 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.

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:
Caught:5 largemouth 10 sunnys
Technique:Bass fishing is hot fish by the playground use 5-inch Robo Worms. Caught 5 lost a couple including a 17+ incher also for bluegill use hot dog fished under a small bobber and bluegills are every were.
Go early in the morning shad boils will await you cast into the schools.
Name: joe curtis

Where:Water Ranch Lake
Caught:3 Catfish
Technique:Hot dogs, chicken livers and stink bait. Got bites on all 3, but the hot dogs worked the best. Got there about 6 p.m., and left before 9 p.m.
These fish were fine, fat and Feisty! Also, this was the best I have seen this lake looking. The water was clear and there were many, many minnows and sunfish swarming the shallows.
Name: Kristin Purcell

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

here: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

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: Pleasant
When: 09/20/08
Caught: 21 stripers, 10 whites and 11 cats
Technique: Anchovies and shad in Castle Creek and at the entrance to Humbug. Fished from 7PM to 11AM
Comments: Shad population appears to be very good. Plenty came up under light. Used a butterfly net to gather bait. Fished in 60-foot-plus areas and caught all fish 40 feet deep.
Name: J. Morrison

Where:Lake Pleasant
Caught:Large mouth bass
Technique:Drop shot.. Partner caught six small but feisty bass. I caught one.
Comments:Cranks in clear water, useless. Water temp. 84 degrees
Name:Charles Greco

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.
It sounds like fishing for largemouth bass and crappie is still slow, at least based on the few reports we have received. There should be decent topwater action at first and last light. Let us know how you do.

APACHE – Lake elevation is 1,907 feet (93-percent full).  Green sunfish and yellow bass are plentiful. Try 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 – Still a little slow, but some 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.
Some good largemouth bass and yellow bass areas this time of year are Mormon Flat and LaBarge Cove.

Where: Canyon Lake
When: 09/21/08
Caught: Channel Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Yellow Bass
Technique: Crankbait and soft plastic worms.
Comments: The catfish were hitting hard on my plastic worm, ranged from 2-5lbs put a nice fight, which is always good times. Wish I could find the decent size Bass, any ideas are always welcome. Be back out there this weekend to try my luck for the lunkers!

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.

Caught:Bass @ yellow bass
Technique:shad-colored Rapala, motor oil Robo Worm. Look for boiling water and water temps. in the 79-degree range. Early morning is best.
Most everyone I spoke to did well, the heavier fish were all caught in the morning hours.
Name:Charles Greco
Where: Sagauro
Caught:Couldnt get a bite
Technique:Liver & Worms fished off the bottom
Comments: Myself and a friend tried the fishing dock at Butcher Jones and couldn’t get a bite. I’ve heard the cat fishing is supposed to be good over there. Is it only from shore along the sandy beach area or is the fishing dock worth trying again?
Name: Phil T
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: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.

BARTLETT LAKE – Anglers are finding lots of active bass in the 5- to 15-foot range (sometimes up against the shoreline) at times throughout the day. Topwater lures, 4-inch worms or lizards, shallow-running crankbaits, and in-line spinners can all work at times. Mix it up.

When the shallow action falls off, go deeper using drop shots, Texas rigs, Carolina rigs and jigs.

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.
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.

Where:Bartlett lake
Caught:3 Largemouth
Technique:Panther Martin rubber minnow, the bite was kind weird, it felt more like a gentle tug than an actual bite. fish were caught in the back of Rattlesnake Cove around 7:30-8 a.m., near the brush of 2 submerged trees. real decent size fish, one was at least 4 1/2 lbs, it was the largest I’ve caught; good day of fishing.
Name: L Lawrence
Where:Bartlett Lake
Technique:Clear Heddon torpedo topwater lures, hedgehogs, Senkos on Carolina rig, white tube, motor oil worm, (Texas rig)
Comments: Friend and I started at daybreak upriver and caught 8 small 10″ bass in a shad boil on topwaters just one after the other until boil ended. Flipped Brush Hogs and Senkos in bushes with a few caught that way. After sun was up good went deeper, 15-20 feet off points and islands, and caught some 1-2 lbs with Carolina and Texas rigs, caught the biggest 3 lber with a white tube 2:30 in afternoon in shallow water under a tree, probably chasing baby bluegills. Finished at 2:30 with 16 fish all live released.
Name: Harvey Nelson
Where:Bartlett Lake
Caught:Largemouth Bass and Bluegill
Technique:Rooster Tail – All White. Throwing it near submerged brush and trees.
We were kayaking back in the flats through all of the small coves that have formed since the lake is full. Didn’t fish much, but every spot we stopped at to let the dog run around we caught a small bass or some bluegill. This will be fun fishing when the fish start moving to some shallower water! The water clarity was as clear as I have seen it at Bartlett.
Name: B.G. Davison
Where:Bartlett lake
Caught:8 2-pound Bass, two crappie, couple small bass
Technique:Trolled small Rapala crankbaits in 30 to 50 feet of water. Trolled very slowly in the channel part of the river.
Comments: Bass and Crappie were stacked up in the river near Yellow Cliffs. Everybody was catching fish. I had a couple double hookups and a lot of action. The main portion of the lake seemed empty of fish except for the small bass. A bass tournament was being held on Saturday and those fisherman mostly went to the dam side of the lake. I am not sure how well they did. But I guess they know better than me. I went the opposite side of the lake to beat the crowd of boats and had my best action of the year.
Name: Grant Armendariz
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 – Probably not worth driving to just for fishing, but it might be worth a visit if you are prowling the Bradshaw Mountains and want to wet a line for some small sunfish or bass.

6 Responses to “Central Arizona”

  1. Harry Paratesties on September 29th, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    Lake pleasant: Caught a bunch of stripers using a zippin ziggy top water plug. also caught some largemouth bass using a purple rubber worm.

  2. Hey, those zippers are great at times. I like them because they cast a country mile, which can be essential in reaching scattered boils of largemouth bass and striped bass at places like Lake Pleasant. But I have also used Zipping Ziggy’s effectively for smallmouth bass at Powell in the fall. A hundred or so smallies on topwater will make you arm weary, but it’s autumn fishing heaven amongst the red cliffs.


  3. Harry, I’ve searched Bass Pro and Cabela’s websites / where would I find a Zippin Ziggy lure?

  4. Harry Paratesties on October 24th, 2008 at 12:48 am

    I got mine at that hook up shop at pleasant.

  5. Hi Everyone,
    Just looking for some advice. I’m coming into town from Michigan. Getting married in Phoenix at the end of Feb. I have two friends that really want to go fishing. Where should we go. We were thinking of Canyon or Saguaro lake and renting a small fishing boat. Any suggestions on where to go or how to fish? Just looking for a good time fishing.

  6. The Zippin Ziggy lure(Cultiva Zip’N Ziggy) can be found online via a Goggle search. It looks like the web site landbigfish.com has them for about 10 bucks a pop.

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