Central Arizona

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October 16th, 2008

URBAN LAKES – Catfishing at urban lakes continues to be good to excellent with fall stockings well underway. Not much change in the top baits for channel cats: shrimp, stink baits and hot dogs.  Activity is best in the evening and early morning with cooler temperatures making the cats active during mid-day periods as well. Catfish up to 4 pounds were included in the last load of fish.

Bluegill and bass are biting well in the early mornings as they seek to fatten up before winter sets in.  A 6.5 pound largemouth bass was recently caught and released at Red Mountain.

The cooler weather signals the time for fall stockings of sunfish.  These feisty 5-8 inch hybrid sunfish will be stocked the week of Oct. 20-25 into all 20 Phoenix and Tucson area Urban Fishing Program lakes and ponds.  A truckload of over 11,000 fish will be delivered from Arkansas, with each lake receiving about 80-100 fish per surface acre.  This will also be the first sunfish delivery for the newest urban lake, Veterans Oasis Lake in Chandler.  Sunfish are fun to catch for all ages and will bite all day long.

Try using small pieces of worms or mealworms on small hooks fished under a bobber.  Daily bag limits for sunfish are 10 fish per person at Urban Lakes and 5 fish per day at Urban Ponds.

The return of trout stockings to Payson’s Green Valley Lakes resumes on Friday, Oct. 17 after a four month hiatus.  More than 700 Colorado grown rainbow trout will be delivered as part of the “Welcome Back the Trout” season opening kickoff.  In fact, during these magic days of October (and in the grand baseball tradition), it is only fitting that Payson Mayor Kenny Evans will stock the first fish. Play ball (or go fish).

These beautiful mountain lakes nestled in Green Valley Park offer a pleasant respite.  Fall is a wonderful time to visit the Mogollon Rim country, see the colors, and relax and fish for trout along the grassy shorelines of this popular urban fishery.  The fish stocking program at Green Valley is different from all other Urban Fishing Program waters.  Rainbow trout are the only species stocked by the Game and Fish Department during an eight month season that starts in mid October and continues every other week through early May.  Limits on trout are four per day for licensed anglers and two trout for children under age 14.

Where:Water Ranch
Caught:4 cats and alot of blue gill
Technique:small hook with a worm under a bobber and worm on the bottom with a good size hook

Where:Surprise Urban Lake
Technique:Hot dogs & night crawlers
Comments:Arrived around 7 a.m., fished until about 9 a.m. Location was on the north shore by the small cliff / railing overhang. Started with hot dogs and moved to night crawlers, both on the bottom with no luck. Tried casting some topwater lures while fishing the bottom (two-pole stamp in place) with no luck. Witnessed an angler across the lake on the south shore catch two catfish using store bought stink bait (pre-formed dough bait, the cheap kind). One cat was probably 4-5 pounds and 20 – 25 inches, the other was about 2 pound 18 – 22 inches. Great weather, nice area, will return.

Where:Desert Breeze
Caught:Catfish, catch & release
Technique:Night crawlers on bottom
Comments:Overcast all day, no sun at all, caught and released about 16 fish in five hours, 2-4 lbs. Went back next day to same hole, caught two, no clouds. I think the overcast was a big factor in first days catch. Poaching, after hours fishing and over limit fishing is a problem at this lake. People will flat out tell you the limits and the posted closure of the lake don’t mean anything to them because they haven’t ever seen a game warden or seen anything enforced. Most often happens on Friday and Saturdays. Always the same people.
Name:Bluewater Bob

LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1,648 ft, which is 46-percent full.
Stripers are biting at Pleasant. The shad boils are prevalent early mornings at the north end of the lake and are lasting an hour or so.  The boils are somewhat ephemeral in the main lake.  Largemouth fishermen are having luck in mid morning in shallow water using topwater lures.

Where:lk pleasant
Caught:11 stripers for 16 lbs
Technique:trolling at 50 ft art/bait speed 1.8 mph using 4 hp kicker
Name:ron and linda suncy west
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

Caught:11 Stripers, 2 Cats
Technique:Anchovie chunks at 40′ in 50′+ areas of South of 4 lane (Castle Creek)
Comments:Fished from 6 AM – 11AM, all fish were caught prior to 9:30, all fish were 1 – 3 lbs and aggressive
Name:J. Morrison

Where:Lake Pleasant
Caught:8 stripers
Technique: anchovies
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 2,142 ft (89-percent full).  Tonto Creek runoff is at 0 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 355 cfs.

Fishing was a bit tough right before and during the front that passed through last weekend.  Fishing was still tough afterwards but, I have successes to report.  White worms are working for some anglers as well as some John Deer grubs in the Tonto Arm and coves on that end.  The Salt end seems to attracting some angler attention as well.

Topwater lures are working well for some anglers in the early morning and then try switching to Texas-rigs and flipping worms below overhanging vegetation or near structure.  Angers are reporting largemouth spitting up crawdads, so try bumping crawdad imitations along the bottom in shallow water.

Other anglers are reporting catching fish with plastic worms on Carolina rigs from 20 to 50 feet in depth.  The drop-shot method seems to always work.  Swim baits and other reaction baits are attracting some bass attention as well as shallow crankbaits and jerkbaits in blue and yellow colors.

Crappie fishing is a bit slow, but some are having luck trolling jigs in late morning, largemouth bass are also hitting the jigs.
APACHE – Lake elevation is 1904 ft (90-percent full). Department biologists surveyed Apache Lake and the best place to catch walleye is above Burn Corral on the points.  We caught a few nice ones.  We also caught quite a few catfish at both ends of the lake in coves.  Largemouth bass seemed to be dispersed pretty evenly although some anglers said Burnt Corral was a good place to nab them, using plastic worms and jigs.

CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,658 feet, which is 96-percent full.
Don’t forget about the fishing habitat that was installed at Beaver Landing, Teddy Bear and Mormon Flat.  One knowledgeable angler suggests throwing jerkbaits or spinnerbaits along the banks around Tortilla Bay at the drop-offs.  Texas -rigs and drop-shotting plastic worms are producing results.

Where:canyon lake
Caught:7 Largemouth Bass
Technique:Silver and blue Rat-L-Trap and 4″ Senkos
Comments:Good to see Canyon coming back. Latched a 4 lb, 2 lb, and 1.5 lb. The rest were small but fun. All fish released.
Name:Bud Russman
Where:Canyon Lake
Caught:Largemouth Bass
Comments:Fishing was slow, many small largemouth nothing special

Where:Canyon Lake
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!

SAGUARO LAKE –Lake elevation 1,525 feet at 93-percent full.
Water temperature is around 74o F.  Some decent sized largemouth bass are being caught using the drop shot method around Bagley and working the overhanging vegetation.  Look for structure in the snags.  The bass are fickle with their color choice so keep trying different colors until you find something that works.
Largemouth bass are partial to the plastic worms but KastMasters are working for the rest of the fish.  One small group of anglers caught a few small bluegills, a nice channel catfish, quite a few largemouth bass, and 92 yellow bass, most were caught in the upper lake.

Caught:Small bass
Technique:Robo worms and Chad Rap
Comments:We let the Robo go straight to the bottom. Drop shot was effective but little results. The morning bite is great but by eleven it’s time to pack it up and mow the lawn. The big bass are still very illusive.
Name:Charles Greco
Caught:black bass,
Technique:Plastic worm and castmasters
Comments:Nothing large..
Name:Robert E. Konradt Sr

Technique:Drop shot and Fat Rap in shad color.
Comments:Early hours are best, still plenty of smaller fish to be had, the big boys are still illusive. Between two fisherman we caught twelve fish, a great day.
Name:Charles Greco

Where:Saguaro Lake
Black\ Red flake, Red, Purple curly tail rubber worms and shad type swim bait.
Comments:Went on two separate days and fished in the same spots both times and caught and released 7 total between 10-12 inches. Saw golden alge stained on the rocks but, the water seemed pretty clear and the fish looked healthy. AZJoe

Where:SAGUARO upper lake flats
Caught:Catfish 5+ lbs
Technique:hot dogs
Name:David Price

BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,783 feet, which is 78-percent full.  Reservoir release is 1,075 cfs.
Bass anglers are pretty happy. A group of anglers went out last Thursday and caught quite a few bass on drop shots and topwater lures. The boils are short lived but are all over the lake. The water is dropping fast.

Plastic worms on drop shot are enticing quite a few fish and boils are plentiful.  The white or clear topwater lures that look like shad are producing pretty well.
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.

fast retrieve caught and released 9 bass, 2-pound average
Name:Bud Tutrone
Where: Bartlett Lake
Caught: largemouth and 1bluegill
Technique: white 1/4 oz. spinner, silver and blue Rat-L-Traps, and a 8 ft diver bomber green
Comments: great day we fish the Yellow Cliffs and the Bartlett Flats; our best fish came off the inside of main channel points
Name: josh

Where: Bartlett Lake
When: 09/29/08
Caught: large mouth
Technique: drop shot with morning dawn Robos at no wake area by the island and along the eastern shoreline heading out of the no wake zone towards the coves. We caught 20 to 25 bass and lost count after that.
Comments:7″ electric grape and 6″ purple lizards worked well also 2/0 with split shot 2′ up the line.

Where:Bartlett – Rattlesnake
Caught:2 Largemouth Bass
Technique:Crankbaits and Senkos
Comments:Fished from shore from 2:00pm to just after sunset. Once the wind finally died down i managed to land both fish. Bothe were very small (6-8″).
Name:Dave Nielson

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 150 cfs.

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 131 cubic feet per second.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 1,250 cfs.

SALT RIVER – Salt River into Roosevelt is 307 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 244 cfs.  They are releasing 8 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 are all past the confluence with the Verde River). 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 – Use dry flies.

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 – No recent reports. Hoppers with nymph droppers should work well.

Tonto Creek – No recent reports, but try using hoppers with nymph droppers.

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

East Verde – One angler reported good fishing for larger trout in the deeper pools.

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.

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