Central Arizona

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November 28th, 2007
Central Arizona

URBAN LAKES – Trout stocking is scheduled for this week, Nov. 26 – Dec. 1 in the Phoenix and Tucson Urban Lakes. Trout range from 10 to 12 inches and will be stocked at rates of 80 -100 fish per lake surface acre for urban lakes and at lower rates for urban ponds. Trout stockings will continue at two-week intervals throughout the winter. More than 100,000 trout from Colorado have been ordered for delivery to the urban fishing program lakes during the four month stocking season.  Payson’s Green Valley will also receive trout. 

A lightweight pole with 4- to 6-pound test line is optimum. The lighter the line, the better the sensitivity and the trout won’t see the line as easily. Another FYI for trout fishing in general, the more flexible rod you have the least likely you are to rip the lip of the trout.  This is a function of the low test line and the rod “giving” as opposed to the trout’s lip ripping. Setting the hook real hard isn’t a real good idea with trout; you end up loosing your fish.  

Don’t forget the 2007 Class U Urban fishing licenses will be available at half price for $9.25 for the period from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31.  License dealers may be unfamiliar with this so bring your fishing regulations if they need verification.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – The first stocking of rainbow trout occurred Nov. 20.  Fun was had by all who attended the celebration. There were lots of kids who took part in the free fishing clinic.  We had fishing poles, Power Bait, salmon eggs and worms for everybody.  The fish were pretty curious about the bait. Small lures were working pretty good.  Met a fisherman who fishes there just about every week, but he wouldn’t give me any pointers to distribute to the masses.  It’s understandable, but a little frustrating.  As a general rule, fish seem to like hanging out in the shallower portion of the lake from Scottsdale/Rural road over towards the east.  Throw out a night crawler and bump it along the bottom in the shallow areas.  This spat of colder weather should be the bite going.

One angler fished for hours and only caught one nice trout but he enjoyed watching the fireworks from the Sun Devil football game.
LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1,651 feet, which is 49-percent full. 

Jeff Byfield fished the north end of the lake over submerged creek channels and caught five nice 2-pound stripers and one 4-pound-plus fish using anchovies in 30 feet of water with a medium hook and small weight, adding try casting out 20 to 30 feet and letting the bait fall and drift back to the boat, then slowly retrieve.

Even though the moon was bright, an angler names Jeff caught striped bass under lights using frozen anchovies near the tire line at the marina. He only caught small ones, although other anglers were catching large ones. It was chilly.

There are some reports of decent fishing for stripers and largemouth.  Striper fishermen were a bit tight-lipped, but the largemouth fishermen gave me a few morsels.  They were biting in 15-20 feet of water on steep rocky slopes in the Aqua Fria.  Fishing was better after noon, probably a little more comfortable for the fishermen as well. Try vertical fishing with jigs, worms or spoons. Use your sonar to not only find the fish but also locate good vertical habitat.  On our reservoirs, cliff walls will do or a good pile of structure that they can hang near.  Keep the bait in the strike zone as long as possible; the bass don’t want to expend too much energy. 
When we followed our tagged stripers, they hung out in the Aqua Fria during this time of year, and according to the exploits of “David” our Supper Stripper, they travel up and down the Aqua Fria on a daily basis. You might want to try the deeper spots for the stripers.

Don’t forget that the bald eagle closure on a portion of the Agua Fria arm of the lake goes into effect on Dec. 15.

ROOSEVELT LAKE – Lake Elevation is 2,099 feet (45-percent full). Roosevelt seems to picking up, had a fisherman drop shotting on the Salt end and caught quite a few largemouth in 15 to 25 feet of water then did well another day in 8 to 15 feet of water (keep an eye on the sonar).

An angler named Chris averaged 18 fish a day bouncing crankbaits off the stickups, including a nice 5.5-pound largemouth bass.

Thomas Snyder caught several largemouth bass, bluegill, flatheads, channel catfish and crap using real and plastic worms, and small bluegills as bait.

A weather front expected this weekend may provide good conditions for fishing for smallmouth bass along windy, rocky shorelines.

APACHE – Lake elevation is 1,909 feet, which is 94-percent full. Largemouth bass will be stocked in Apache later this week and they will be marked with coded wire tags so we can tell if they are stocked fish or naturally reproduced fish using fish tag reader when we conduct our next survey or in angler creels. 
Just a reminder, thousands of rainbow trout were stocked at the main launch and at Burnt Coral in early November from Canyon Creek Hatchery and Tonto Hatchery.  The trout averaged around 6.5 – 7.5 inches from Canyon Creek but were a little smaller from Tonto.  Although the trout are a little small for the frying pan, I’m sure they are getting the bass and walleye a little excited. Try throwing out some “trout looking lures” to nab the big ones. Also don’t forget the yellow bass in Apache . . . they like to hang near the drop offs at the points.  Try KastMasters and spoons.    

CANYON – Closed to boaters – lake elevation is 1604 which is 29-percent full. Drawdown started Sept. 29 and will last until Jan. 26, 2008. 
Canyon Lake habitat installation will continue this weekend Dec. 1 and 2. If you are interested in helping, please call Natalie Robb at (480) 324-3541 or Curt Gill at (480) 324-3545.  Our first weekend of installing fish habitat at Canyon went well. Volunteers helped move block and pallets to Teddy Bear Point and Beaver Landing.  Just a little reminder, December work days are Dec. 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, and 16.  If we don’t get enough volunteers, that work day will be cancelled.

Work duties will involve moving construction materials, tree limbs, cement blocks and pallets from a fenced storage yard to the lakeshore nearby, then transport of these materials across the lake to the pre-selected habitat development sites.  Items will then be off loaded lakeside and materials will need to be moved to the exact location for actual construction.  There will be some light-duty machinery available for moving materials to and from the shoreline, but a majority of items will need to be moved by hand due to the proximity and loading weight of the pontoon boats/barges involved.  Be sure to bring gloves.

Work hours will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Volunteers are asked to bring their own beverages, meals and appropriate clothes to suit the weather.  Game and Fish will have gloves available at the work site in addition to bottled water. 

Your volunteer time and effort not only helps build new habitat for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, black crappie and channel catfish but also counts as “match” for the Department to receive more Federal Sportfish Restoration dollars.  

SAGUARO – Lake elevation 1526 feet at 94 percent full.

Matthew Burch used a silver KastMaster to catch 10 yellow bass and 13 bluegills and a 5-inch watermelon and red flake cut tail worm Texas-rigged to catch 15 largemouth bass and six trout. “We fished from 6 to 10 a.m. at Butcher Jones on the bank by the dock…I have never had a better day at this lake. It was amazing!!!!!!!!”

Jim Howell and his buddy, Bruce, fished from sunup to 2 p.m. and caught fish all day (around 50) in the Butcher Jones area and al the fish were very healthy and were released unharmed.

I have some avid fishermen at Saguaro Lake that fished from 10:30 a.m. last Wednesday to about 2:30p.m.  They used 1/8-ounce silver and blue KastMasters and caught about 66 fish; 20 were bluegill, 16 were keeper size, 10 largemouth bass 6-8 inches and the rest were yellow bass, many were in the 6-inch range but about half of them were 9 inches and one whopper was at 12 inches.  They fished at the buoy line at the snags and off two points in that general vicinity, most fish were in 15-20 feet of water.

BARTLETT – Lake elevation is 1,749 ft which is 41-percent full. Bartlett fishing looks to be getting better.  Some fishermen mentioned good largemouth bass fishing and some big crappies were biting.

Ryan Waggoner caught largemouth bass and crappie using jigs trailing minnows, adding that he thinks the crappie bite will pick up once the crappies acclimate to the cooler temperatures.
James Rogers caught a 17-pound and a 14-pound flathead using pieces of carp as bait. He also caught a bunch of carp on the morning, and then the bite just shut off.

Skeeter Schneider caught his limit of bass two days in a row using a blue Rapala worked close to the shore along the Yellow Cliffs.
Another angler, who did not give his name, said fishing was terrible – he only caught one bluegill all day using night crawlers.
For crappies, try small jigs and live minnows. For bass, try Texas-rigged worms or crankbaits along the rock stringers.
HORSESHOE LAKE – Water elevation is 1,954 ft, which is 3-percent full (no pool). No reports from anglers. Not even sure if this area will produce any decent duck hunting this year.

An angler fishing below the dam said fishing was excellent and he caught bass every 10 to 15 minutes using small spinners and large minnow-like crankbaits, with the biggest fishing caught weighing around 2.5 pounds. “We canoed all the way down to Bartlett and only fish caught were below the dam and at the Bartlett Lake opening,” said Tony Whitsett.

VERDE RIVER – No reports. Verde River flow at Tangle is 168 cubic feet per second (CFS) and it’s 53 CFS at Camp Verde.
LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – Trout are being stocked at Phon D Sutton and Granite Reef.  Try some Power Bait or worms on light tackle. Cast slightly upstream in the current near riffles and let the bait go downstream into the pools.

Fishermen are also reporting successful largemouth bass fishing in the slower, deeper water using night crawlers or jerk baits.  Crappie jigs are producing some results in the faster water.

Try some Power Bait or worms.  Fishermen are also reporting successful largemouth bass fishing in the slower, deeper water using night crawlers or jerk baits. Crappie jigs are producing some results in the faster water.
In the upper reaches (below Saguaro Lake), it is still possible to catch bass, catfish and bluegills in the deeper holes. Live bait such as worms or flashy lures, such as inline spinners, are best. On angler caught a 3-pound bass on Monday morning.

GREEN VALLEY LAKE, PAYSON – This is an urban program lake has been stocked with rainbow trout. This is a great lake for the kids – give it a try.

HORSETHIEF BASIN LAKE – Mike Parks said the only thing he caught was sunburn, but the weather was so perfect it was worth it. “Saw several largemouths. Lake is real low, lots of deer and javelina in the area.”
This tiny lake can be found up in the Bradshaw Mountains near Crown King. The lake sits in the pines and is good for a canoe or car topper. There are also improved campsites near the lake. During a recent survey, lots of largemouth bass averaging a pound and red ear sunfish nice pan size were observed. Redears love mealworms and night crawlers. No recent angler reports.

Canyon Creek – Most of the large browns (over 25 inches) are on reds.  A fisherman mentioned that he saw about 20 fish over 18 inches. Rainbow fishing is good using the terrestrials and nymphs.  Smaller browns can be caught as well.  I suggest leaving the larger browns to tend to their reds, so we have a good crop next year. 
Tonto Creek – Rainbow fishing is real good using terrestrials, (grasshoppers and ant patterns were specifically mentioned) as well as your usual nymphs and leaches.
Christopher Creek – Same as Tonto Creek.


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