Central Arizona

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December 11th, 2007

URBAN LAKES – Trout stocking is scheduled for next week, December 10-15th in the Phoenix, Tucson and Payson Urban Lakes.  Lake temperatures ranged from 65 – 70 and pH levels were within stocking requirements at all waters.  Trout sizes are averaging 11-12 inches with some in the 14-16 inch range.  At some waters trout are biting soon after stocking while other places it takes a couple days for them to get used to their surroundings before they start biting well.  Trout stocking will continue until early March. 

Fishing is good to excellent for trout anglers using scented dough baits (such as power bait), worms or small trout lures.  Bluegill that were stocked at the end of October are still biting.  They like it a little warmer, so daytime fishing is good for them.  Try mealworms, corn or doughballs fished below a small bobber for the best action.  Catfish and bass fishing is a little slow due to the cooler weather, but if you want to try for bass look for some vertical structure and try jigs, worms or spoons.  Keep the lure or bait in the strike zone as long as possible, since they won’t spend a whole lot of energy chasing their food.

Bob Nichols reported from Surprise Lake, catching a 15-inch rainbow trout weighing in at 2 pounds. He landed the big fish right about sunset using a Blue Fox in-line spinner in blue gill pattern.

Cortez Park is productive as well. Rick Hawkins caught a unique albino rainbow trout 14-15 inches long. Adapting to the weather and recent rains, Rick collected a few garden worms and rigged them on a bobber line and caught 2 solid trout in short order.

The Town of Gilbert’s Water Ranch Lake provided plenty of catching action for another angler. Using cheese Power Bait a limit of rainbows were caught in less than 2 hours.

As the 2007 year comes to a close, so does your chance to get one of your big fish into the record books.  The 2007 Urban Fishing Program Big Fish-of-the-Year contest has one month to go.  Some big fish have been reported already such as an 8.0 pound catfish, a 9.6 pound bass and a 3.9 pound trout.  There is also a category for catch and release fish that requires only a picture and the total length of the fish.  Some of the more remarkable catch and release entries for 2007 include a 26 inch catfish and a 35 inch white amur.  Some fish species have no entries so far including: bluegill, tilapia, carp or crappie.  To enter the contest, use forms found in the Urban or Arizona Fishing regulations.  Check out the big fish entry status and information at www.azgfd.gov.

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 – (no new reports this week) 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.

LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1,654 feet, which is 52-percent full. 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 last week.  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.

Jim Littlefield reeled in a heavy-weight crappie the other day. The lunker weighed in at 2.3-pounds and 16-inches in length. Minnows were the food of choice for this big fish.

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 2,100 feet (47-percent full).
There are no recent reports this week. The rain might have kept folks inside.

APACHE – Lake elevation is 1,909 feet, which is 94-percent full. Approximately 6,346 Largemouth bass were stocked in Apache last week at various locations on the lake with suitable largemouth bass habitat.  They were marked with coded wire tags so we can tell if they are stocked fish or naturally reproduced fish.  I would like to thank all the fishermen that helped with the stocking.  The fish came from Arkansas and were in good condition.

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 1610 which is 34-percent full. Drawdown started Sept. 29 and will last until Jan. 26, 2008. 

Canyon Lake received approximately 3,080 largemouth bass; they were marked with coded wire tags to differentiate them from naturally spawned fish.

Canyon Lake habitat installation went well on Friday, November 30th at the Teddy Bear Hill site but work was canceled December 1st due to rainy weather.  We had a good showing of volunteers Sunday, December 2nd. We hauled material and started building “Pisces Pyramids” on Mormon Flat, since we couldn’t continue with the Teddy Bear site because some of our construction material was underwater.

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 1525 feet at 92-percent full.

Our creels are indicating anglers are starting to check out Saguaro again.  Lots of the small largemouth are being caught, as well as yellow bass around the drop offs and quite a few bluegill.  Try the silver and blue 1/8 ounce KastMaster.  Fish were hanging out between 15 and 20 feet.   The Snags is always a good place to try. 

We stocked approximately 3208 largemouth bass marked with coded wire tags.

BARTLETT – Lake elevation is 1,752 ft which is 44-percent full.
Websites aren’t giving any fishing tips although people did well in the last tournament; lots of nice bass caught.

HORSESHOE LAKE – Water elevation is 1,981 ft, which is 19-percent full. No reports from anglers. Not even sure if this area will produce any decent duck hunting this year.

VERDE RIVER – No reports. Verde River flow at Tangle is 3640 cubic feet per second (CFS) and it’s 661 CFS at Camp Verde.

SALT RIVER (above Roosevelt Lake) – Salt River into Roosevelt is 2,120 CFS, and Salt River Canyon is 1,246 CFS.
LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – Trout are being stocked at Phon D Sutton and Granite Reef.  Try some Power Bait or worms.  Fishermen are also reporting successful largemouth bass fishing in the slower, deeper water using night crawlers or jerkbait.  Crappie jigs are producing some results in the faster water.

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 – No recent angler reports.

CREEKS – All flowing pretty high. Rainy weather and lots of runoff isn’t the greatest for flyfishing on the creeks, but my contact at Arizong Fly Fishing says that it should pick up by the end of this week and certainly on the weekend.  The terrestrials and nymphs should be working for you pretty good by then. 

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