Central Arizona

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January 28th, 2009

The Urban Program incentive fish stocked on Jan. 9 have caused anglers scrambling for their cameras, cell phones and poles.  None of the many 2- to 8-pound trout have been officially reported for Big Fish honors, but two reports have come in about huge trout from Peoria and Surprise.  On Jan. 10, an estimated 8 pounder was caught from Rio Vista Lake and the same day a 6.5 pounder was reeled in from Surprise Lake.  More trout of the normal size are being stocked every two weeks at all the Urban Program lakes as long as the water quality is adequate. Right now there is only one lake, Desert West, where the water quality was not adequate for stocking.  See below for details.

Topping the list of the 2008 Urban Program Big Fish-of-the-Year official winners was a 10.2 pound channel catfish caught and kept by Shay Denniston from Lakeside Lake in Tucson.  Another huge catch from the Catch and Release category was a 35 inch white amur cranked in by Andrew Schmidt at Red Mountain Lake in Mesa. Other winners include:

* 3.6-pound Largemouth bass by Shawn Padilla from Desert Breeze Lake in Chandler
* 5.3-pound Rainbow trout by Tony Morello from Water Ranch Lake in Gilbert
* 0.9-pound Redear sunfish by Ronda Slack from Riverview Lake in Mesa

* 8-inch bluegill by Louis Hoeniger from Papago Pond #3 in Phoenix
* 25-inch channel catfish by Louis Hoeniger from Papago Pond #3 in Phoenix
* 18-inch rainbow trout by Don Hoffman from Sahuarita Lake

Previous winners and current ones can be found at www.azgfd.gov.  Information on how to apply for record kept or released fish can be found in the current Urban Fishing Program brochure or in the Arizona Fishing Regulations booklet.  All winners receive certificates, caps and other prizes.

Desert West Lake in Phoenix still have a high pH problem so there will be no trout stocking until the levels go down.  Phoenix Parks Department has treated Desert West Lake to control the algae that raises the pH, however more time is needed to allow the pH to drop.  For the rest of January, anglers are advised to fish other nearby Phoenix lakes stocked with trout: Alvord at Cesar Chaves Park, Encanto or Cortez.

Where:Rio Vista
Caught:1 trout
Technique:worm 3 inches under bobber about a foot away from first waterfall .
Name:justin Hillis-Walthers

Where:Papago Pond #1
Caught:2 small Largemouths + 4-12” Rainbows
Technique:Silver 1/12th oz KastMaster and 1/8-ounce blue and silver KastMaster. Green Power Bait off the bottom for an hour.
Comments:Two Largemouths bit the silver KastMaster while the trout wanted the blue/silver. They all started hitting around 9:30 a.m. and abruptly stopped at 10:45 or so. They seem to start biting again around 5 p.m. Tried the green Power Bait but lost patience after an hour without a single nibble.

Where:Veterans Oasis
Caught:3 Trout in one hour, late afternoon.
Technique:Power Bait, all colors. Other anglers catching with worm on a bobber. And Fly rods!
Comments:12, 13, and 15 inch fish. Son(3), and Daughter(5) reeled ‘em in.
Name:JR Madrid

Where:Surprise Lake
Caught:Rainbow Trout
Comments:I witnessed a gentleman catch the almost 10-pound rainbow that was stocked the day before, which I was also there to see! I did not get his name but I did manage to snap a few pictures of this beauty!! He left immediately after he landed this monster!
Name:Brett Spencer

Where:Suprise urban lake
Caught:7.00 am
Technique:using worms.
Comments:A little cold around 7 a.m. sun just can up they started biting like crazy. caugth 3 trout 13-15 inch range. slowed down as it warmed up.
Name:Russell Bellinger

Where:Desert Breeze
Caught:4 lb, 21 inch catfish
Technique:Floating trout pellets fished on bottom
Comments:My wife and I were trying our luck at catching trout since there were supposed to be some nice fish stocked. We put everything we had out in the water and not even a nibble. At 5:55 after she had left to go home I caught this cat. At first I thought that I had snagged and then the fight was on. As I landed the fish, the 6# leader broke.

Where:surprise lake
Caught:3 rainbow trout
Technique:small blue and silver KastMasters
Comments:a guy next to me caught the so called ten pounder (more like 6 or 7)but i helped him land it with my net

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – This is a trout fishing hot spot right now. You can try the usual methods for the rainbows (baits like Power Bait, night crawlers, mealworms or try spinners and spoons such as panther martins, KastMasters…)  Remember no gas motors are allowed (electric trolling motors are) and you must have a boating permit, which can be obtained at the Town Lake operations center.

Where:Tempe Town Lake
Technique:Power Bait corn & Power Bait rainbow corn color / pink w/sparkel
Comments:Fished East of Rural Rd on ASU side of lake. Started at 8:20 a.m. and by 10:15 a.m. Limited out !! Fished bottom 10 ft away from the wall w/ heavy weight as it was very windy. Fish are near the wall and not out in the middle of the lake. They come by in schools! Fished with my buddy Kurt Khacherian
Name:Warren Risberg

Where:Tempe Town Lake
Caught:2 rainbow trout
Technique:Split shot 5 inches from hook and corn for bait Fished from 2 to 4 p.m.
Comments:Looked at your Jan 14 post about Tempe Town Lake, went there and limited out in less then 2 hours. Fished off Rural Rd East side of the bridge. Lots of bites and non-stop action. No Power Bait needed!
Name:Warren Risberg

Where:Tempe Town Lake – East Dam
Caught:lots of fish!
Technique:Diving head first into the water
Comments:2 brown pelicans were having a hay day with the trout stocked in Tempe Town Lake!

Where:Tempe Town Lake
Caught:4 trout/ 3 big carp
Technique:corn off the bottom
Comments:  I was quick to catch the trout, first the carp hit and the fight was on good fight carp was about 10-15 lbs and it was fun. then the trout hit and that’s what I came for.

Where:Tempe Town Lake
Technique:corn, Power Bait
Comments:Fished for about 2 hours…..caught limit….doubled productivity of fishing partner! He had lots of trouble setting hook!
Name:Julie Smith

LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1,672 feet, which is 68-percent full.
Anglers are catching whites at the back of the northern coves with minnows in 9-10 feet of water.

Fishermen trolling jigs, grubs and minnows in the same areas and catching a few crappie.  White lures and spinnerbaits seem to get the attention of the whites.

Largemouth are susceptible back there when the shad boil.  Stripers are also in the coves and Aqua Fria chasing shad in the evenings.

Some anglers said the bite slowed down when the weather turned nice. The low pressure system passing through the state this week and possibly next week could change that equation, but it could be slow between the storms (the weekend of course). Still worth a try though.

Where:Pleasant, Agua Fria
Caught:18 stripers
Technique:Anchovy chunks at 20 – 30 feet.
Comments:Fished from 0800 – 1200, bite started around 0900 and quit around 1100.
Name:J. Morrison

**A note to everyone at all the lakes: When launching your boat in low light conditions please switch to your parking lights so others launching boats aren’t blinded by your headlights.

You also need to make sure you have your boat navigation lights on when traversing the water way in low light conditions.  I’ve heard reports of some close calls on the water especially right before safelight. *

ROOSEVELT LAKE – Lake Elevation is 2,149 ft (98-percent full).  Tonto Creek runoff is at 74 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 440 cfs.

Caught:3 largemouth,1 smallmouth
Technique:chartreuse spinnerbaits for largemouth and artificial worm for small
Comments:all bass were in the slot and all were released
Name:Ryan Kann

Anglers are catching largemouth bass with crankbait and Texas-rigged Power Worms in the submerged trees.  A couple anglers caught nice 14 and 15-inch fish with those techniques.  A monster 10-plus pound largemouth bass was nearly boated as well.  Shallow fishing at the Salt end was more productive for these anglers.

A couple anglers fished from first light to 1 p.m. and caught 25 to 30 bass.  Most were caught on jigs in 10-30 feet of water.  Carolina-rigged 7-inch worms and brush hogs were effective as well.  Check out the points.

Crappie fishing is not bad trolling in the Tonto or Salt arms of the lake. Use John Deere grubs or black-blue-chartreuse (BBC) grubs on a 1/16-ounce jig head fished around 15 feet deep in 25 to 35 feet of water.

Winter cat-fishing is decent for both flatheads and channels. For channels, use shrimp. Try the Salt end near Schoolhouse Point with a live bluegill for flatheads and then fish all night in 30-40 feet of water.

Fishing for smallmouth bass can be good; especially on windy days. Try areas where waves are stirring up the rocky shoreline. Use in-line spinners and crayfish imitations especially off rocky points and cliff walls and live night crawlers. Remember the slot is in place for smallmouth as well.

Note: anglers are reminded that as of Jan. 1, one slot bass is allowed at Roosevelt. That is, one bass between 13 to 16 inches may now be kept as part of the 6-fish limit.  Also, please remember that all fish that are kept can only be gutted with the head and tail attached so the legal length can be determined. All other fish such as crappie, catfish and bluegill harvested from the lake must have a piece of skin attached to the fillets so species can be determined.

Where: Roosevelt Lake
When: 12/31/08
Caught: Largemouth
Technique: Shad looking rubber swim baits and Rapala shad cranks around brush and trees near boat docks. Caught 3
Comments: We were there all day trying every lure, plastic, jig ect…We finally started getting fish towards the end of the day. LB were as little over a lb and were fun to catch and release.
Name: AZJoe

APACHE - Lake elevation is 1,908 ft (94-percent full).

This time of year largemouth bass tend to stack up along the cliff faces.  Drop shot is a good technique.  Use your fish finder to locate them and remember the fish are a  bit lethargic, so employ a slow retrieve.  In other lakes 25 to 30 feet depths are productive as well as shallow water near structure such as overhanging vegetation.  The marina is always a good fishing area.  Fish the rocky substrate for smallmouth bass and the points for yellow bass and walleye.

No recent reports but fishing should be good for yellow bass down by the dam. Yellow bass should hit jigs and spoons. Fish for them around balls of shad in 20-60 feet of water. Cut bait also works well for them.  Remember, as of January 1, you are only allowed to possess one fish between 13 and 16 inches and all bass harvested must be gutted only so the legal length can be determined.  All other fish such as crappie, catfish and bluegill harvested from the lake must have a piece of skin attached to the fillets so species can be determined.

CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,657 ft, which is 94-percent full.

Caught:One teeny weeny bass
Technique:Robo worm (green) tough day on the lake, no-one we talked to had any luck at all. The lake remains beautiful with lots of debris on the surface.
Comments:Thing are going to improve soon.
Name:Charles Greco

Try fishing in Boulder Cove with Panther Martins, KastMasters, or bait.   Remember, as of Jan. 1, you are only allowed to possess one fish between 13 and 16 inches and all bass harvested must be gutted only so the legal length can be determined.  All other fish such as crappie, catfish and bluegill harvested from the lake must have a piece of skin attached to the fillets so species can be determined.

Where: canyon lake
When: 01/03/09
Caught: 5lb 6 ounce larger mouth bass
Technique: Carolina-rigged 4-inch Power Worm pumpkin seed
Name:chuck Bothun

Where:Canyon Lake
Caught:Trout, Largemouth Bass, Bluegill
Technique:Worm on the bottom
Comments:Caught trout limit Thursday and Friday within a couple hours between 8-10, after that, the bit completely shut down. Also caught 1lb largemouth, and few bluegills using a work on the bottom. Fished right from the campsite.

Where:Canyon Lake
Caught:3 largemouth bass
Technique:slow rolling a white spinner bait with white blades
Comments:1 bass weighed 5lbs 3ounces and 1 weighed 3lbs the other was just under two lbs
Name:chuck Bothun

SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation 1526 feet at 95% full.  Surface temp about 54oF.

Caught:LM Bass
Comments:Two LM Bass were stuck together. One (11-inch) bass tried to eat the other (9-inch) bass. The smaller bass was stuck up to its gills in the larger bass’ mouth. They were flopping around on the surface. I netted the fish and when they were in the boat they fell to the bottom and broke apart. I put the one that had its mouth wide open back into the water and it swam away. They other bass didn’t look as lively, but when I put it into the water, it swam away. I have never seen a fish that tried to eat one about its own size. I have a couple pictures, tell me where to send them.
Name:Rick Karpinske

Where:Saguaro – Near Butcher Jones
Caught:1 White 3 Largemouth and 7 bluegill
Technique:We (5 of us) went old school with worms and minnows under bobbers or jigging the live bait right off the bottom.
The bass were 9-10 inches. The bluegills were mixed. We were all just happy to finally catcha few fish!!! Next time we plan to try drop shots in the same area.
Name:Andy E

A couple experienced anglers fished from 10 to 3:30 and caught 9 yellow bass between 9 and 8 inches, 2 bluegill and 8 largemouth bass.  All fish were caught on KastMaster spoons.  Two good sites were Teddy Bear and Bagley Flat.  The fish were all around 25 to 30 feet in depth.

A couple other anglers were looking for crappie, but no luck with those.  They did catch largemouth bass, bluegill and a perch.

BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,769 ft, which is 62-percent full.  Reservoir release is 100 cfs.

Caught:nothing but rock,stick & moss
Technique:everything but dynamite& shock therapy
Comments:nice day, but everyone on the lake said & had the same resaults

Crappie fishing has been slow.  Crawdad imitations and worming rigs (drop shots and Texas-rigs) are producing for largemouth bass. This is a good time to target flathead and channel catfish. Use live bait such as bluegill or small carp for the flatheads and shrimp, hot dogs or stink bait for the channels. Remember the live bait most come from the lake itself (excluding minnows, water dogs or worms) not transported from another body of water!

HORSESHOE LAKE — Lake elevation is at 1,979 feet, 17-percent full.  They are releasing water at 350 cfs.

VERDE RIVER – Flows at Tangle Creek were around 450 cubic feet per second on Jan. 2, higher last week. Expect to find the upper end of the lake a little turbid, with a fair amount of floating debris.

LOWER SALT RIVER – The department is stocking the Water Users and  Blue Point Bridge areas with trout on Thursday, Jan. 22 around noon for the first time last spring, opening up 11 more miles of quality river fishing in the desert bordering Phoenix. We stocked the Phon D. Sutton and Granite Reef areas two weeks ago, so they should still be viable as well.

Salt River Project plans to continue releases from Stewart Mountain Dam well into spring, so anglers an fishing bonus a few months early this year. This is a great place for beginning fly anglers and a fun place for all trout anglers. In fact, there are also bass, catfish, sunfish, carp and even an occasional walleye to be had in this tail-water desert river below Saguaro Lake.

Where:Granit Reef
Caught:largemouth bass and rainbow trout
Technique:Mepps inline spinner with red trailing treble hook.
Comments:beware casting around the trees and bulrushes; lost some rigs there.
Name:Darryl Hannabach

CREEKS — With the snowfall and runoff, the waters could be murky and access will likely be tough.

Haigler Creek – Access could be tough.

Canyon Creek – Access could be tough.

Tonto Creek – Access could be tough.

Christopher Creek – No reports.

East Verde – No reports

Workman Creek – No reports.

HORSETHIEF 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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