Central Arizona

Share or Bookmark:
| More
February 26th, 2009
URBAN LAKES –   Trout were stocked last week. Trout fishing continues to be the best at Urban Program waters with conditions good to excellent.  Most trout are falling for Power Bait fished 15 to 25 inches off the bottom.

Other baits that are producing good catches are worms, corn and salmon eggs.  Anglers using 4-pound and lighter line and paying special attention to the finer details of leader length, covering up small hooks with bait, and using small sinkers have experienced the best catch rates for trout.  Lures such a Panther Martins, Rooster Tails and KastMasters also work well when fished 5-10 feet deep.

Trout seem to bite on their own schedule, so anglers that remain patient for a couple hours will be rewarded.  Not much happening for catfish, bass or bluegill, with warming temperatures, action for these species will be picking up quickly over the next couple weeks.  Trout fishing is consistently good to excellent at Green Valley lakes in Payson with Power Bait, corn and worms working best.  Local anglers are enjoying some terrific fishing for 14-16 inchers.  Also, try small, flashy lures to attract the trout.

Angler reports:


My name is Daniel. My 3-year-old daughter (Tori) hooked this fat monster fish. It was super fat and healthy. It weighed over 20 pounds. I had to assist land this thing but she did fight it for a bit. We caught it at Kiwanis Lake. I’ve caught these in the past but really don’t know what kind of fish it is. Can you please let me know what kind of fish this is?  We ended up hooking 4 of these big fish but only landed the one. We were using #10 hooks and #10 line so I’m surprised we even landed one without snapping the line. I had one that was even bigger than this but it broke my line as I tried to get it over the concrete banking. We also caught 11 rainbows, 10 bluegills and 2 bass. We tossed them all back except 2 nice rainbows.  I also caught a 2-pound rainbow out of the same lake a week before. Corn, worms, salmon eggs and meal worms are the ticket. 8am-10am then 11:30am till 12:30 and then again 3:30 till dark are the times to fish at this lake. The times between are slow so thank goodness for the slides for the kids.


Daniel and Tori


Thanks for the e-mail and congrats on the fish. Your daughter did an excellent job landing that fish on 10lb line! The fish is most likely a carp, as indicated by the barbels on the corners of the mouth. Goldfish will not have those. Also, because of the scale pattern, it is likely an Israeli carp. They are still the same species as common carp, Cyprinus carpio, but these were specially bred to have fewer scales. The color, however, is indicative more of a Koi or a goldfish than an Israeli carp, and there is a  possibility that what you have is a cross breed between an Israeli carp and a goldfish, as they can hybridize in nature. Regardless of what it was, I’m sure it put up a heck of a fight.

Dave Weedman
Arizona Game and Fish Department

Where:gilbert water ranch
Technique:Went just before sunset. Used lures and power bait. Fish were not biting.
Comments:How do you report fishing rule violations? Today at Water Ranch the trout were running very close to shore. They were so close that after sunset several people gave up angling and started to net the fish out. One individual caught a trout by hand and was still trying when I left.

Editor’s note: Call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-352-0700 to report any wildlife violations. Help us protect your wildlife resources.

Caught:1 rainbow trout
Technique:blue and silver kastmaster.
Comments:trout are extremely hard to land lost 2 at shoreline and when my friend arrived on his first cast he brought one to the shoreline and that one also escaped.
Name:Brandon Ryer

Where:Chaparral Lake
Technique:Power bait, worms, night crawlers, bacon
Comments:Had a good time with my best fishing buddy: Walt Babinski
Where:Chaparral Lake – Scottsdale
Caught:Two Rainbow Trout / One Bass
Technique:Shore Fishing for trout – w/ Power Bait (white) <–this stuff is hot right now. Caught one around 8:15ish…then another at 10:52 A.M. Caught a little bass a little after on a spinnerbait, orange/yellow/green in color.
Comments:Fish typically bite between 7-8:30…then again at 11:00.
Name:Alex McBride
Caught:2 rainbow trout one was12 inches and the other was 15
Technique:small blue and silver KastMaster and a worm blown up with a needle and a syringe
I caught the 15 incher on the KastMaster and my dad caught the other
Name:Brandon Ryer

Where: Surprise Urban Lake
Caught:Rainbow Trout
Technique:Snell length leader attached to swivel. Red Salmon Eggs
Comments:Caught on east side of pond near water pump

Where:Red Mountain
Caught:13 in rainbow trout
Technique:dough ball
Comments:Really pleased with urban program. I am just learning to fish and having access to stocked ponds close by makes it easy. I am over 40 years old and this is the first trout I’ve ever caught.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – With the decent flows down the normally dry Salt River bed into Tempe Town Lake, it’s tough to predict the fishing action right now. This lake has not been stocked recently due to the flows. However, with the warmer days, bass fishing could be picking up.

This fishery has trout, yellow bass, largemouth bass, channel catfish, sunfish and just about any or all the fish found at the lakes upstream.

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
Caught:Large Crappie
Technique:I was using a rainbow Panther Mantin fishing around the pillars under the Rural Bridge.
Comments:That was the only fish I caught. I was out there for 2 hours. That big fish made it all worth it. I threw it back so another can catch it.

Where:tempe town lake
Caught:1 largemouth
Technique:Sinking/countdown Rapala…rainbow trout pattern cd-7…yearling largemouth about 11am yo-yo lure off the bottom bout 10ft from wall then bite was slow, talk w/ a guy with a big carp on corn also east of Scottsdale Rd east of ASU stadium…not bad but no trout .
Name:eric ”yeti” b
Where:Tempe Town Lake
Technique:Berkley worms, Berkley gulp minnows, various jigs and crankbaits.
Comments:Nothing was biting on my line. Was fishin from about 4PM to 7PM. Didnt see anyone around me reeling anything in either.
Where:Tempe Town Lake
Caught:Caught a limit of Rainbows
Technique:No.8 egg style hook on a short leader w/sliding sinker. Lemon or Lime Twist/Power Bait.
Comments:Cooler weather = There biting fast, so keep an eye on your line boys and girls. Also, try a 4″ Texas rigged worm for a little Bass action.
Where:Tempe Town Lake
Technique:Worms off the bottom
Comments:Caught one carp in two and a half hours length was 27 inches put up a good fight well worth the wait.

LAKE PLEASANT – Fishing in the main body of the lake has been a little slow. The modest flows down the Agua Fria River have prompted the white bass to spawn (possibly the stripers as well by the time you read this), but angler access is by foot only – the gate into the eastern side of Pleasant off Table Mesa Road is closed. You can park and walk in. Two anglers who carried in their float tubes reported doing very well on whites, stripers and even some crappies using spinning and fly-fishing gear.

With the warmer weather, you might find bass in the shallows in sheltered spots in the northern coves after the water warms up, possibly late morning or early afternoon. If water temperatures warm enough, you might even find some bass staging for the spawn.
Drop shots are the way to fish for largemouth right now although shad impersonators will catch some attention in the northern coves.

By the way,  the Lake Pleasant Regional Park will be hosting the annual Honeywell Company Employee Campout from Thursday, March 19 through Sunday, March 22. This event closes the north entry and four-lane boat ramp of Lake Pleasant at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18 and reopens to the public at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. Park visitors are encouraged to use the 10-lane boat ramp on South Park Road accessed through the main entrance of Lake Pleasant Regional Park.

For more information, contact Lake Pleasant Regional Park directly at (602) 372-7460 or Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department at (602) 506-2930.

Where:Lake Pleasant, Humbug Creek Area
Caught:striped bass
Technique:Fly fishing with green & white streamers between 25 and 30 ft
Where:Lake Pleasant
Caught:3 largemouth
Technique:worms, light-tackle, no weight
Comments:I went to ASU for a debate tournament (I run the NAU debate team). On our way, I stopped with my son and daughter at Lake Pleasant for about 2 1/2 hours. We threw unweighted worms at visible trees on the west end of the lake (in the backs of the coves) from shore and did well. I reeled in a 3-pound largemouth on the first cast and my 3 ½-year-old son, Darrigan, reeled in his first largemouth – a 2-pound fish! Daddy was proud! A fast bass boat left a mean wake, however, and our stringer got carried out when we weren’t looking. Is a 200 hp engine really necessary? I got my boots off and swam out about 10 feet to retrieve the fish and got back my son’s fish (only). The water might not be Flagstaff cold but it was less than “pleasant” in Pleasant right now !) On the way out, we stopped one last time on our lucky log and I landed a 1-pound fish. The “debate trip” also included picking up a 3.5 hp outboard from the phx craigslist (much more extensive than the flagstaff one) from a man who was fishing the Lower Salt River and bringing my kids to fisherman’s Disneyland (bass pro shops). I lost my son 3x in the store due to his roaming eyes and all the fun!
Name:danny iberri-shea

ROOSEVELT LAKE – Lake Elevation is 2,150 ft – 100-percent full. Tonto Creek runoff is at 611 cfs while inflow from the Salt River has now increased (as of Feb. 25) to 1,510 cfs.

We haven’t heard much from the crappie flotillas this past week, but there is a good possibility that the unseasonably warm weather has turned on the bite, but increased inflows could be a factor as well.

With all the hiding cover for bass right now, even in some deeper water, you can either hit the jack pot or draw a blank. One angler reported seeing some shad being chased at the surface, but couldn’t catch anything so didn’t know what was doing the chasing.

With water being released, the current near the dam could make it a fishing hot spot at times for smallmouth bass in the rocky areas.

Anglers have catching some largemouth using spinnerbaits and drop shots. Crappies were taking jigs and grubs. Try fishing the rocky areas near the dam for smallmouth bass. With the water releases and associated current, this could be a hot area for catching bronzebacks. Try crayfish imitating plastics or crankbaits.

All boaters take heed anglers have witnessed the big dirt wall in Why cove sloughing off into the water.  That wall is unstable and could swamp your boat or worse if you have the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A couple anglers fished the Tonto end and caught 3 largemouth bass on spinnerbaits and plastic worms.

APACHE – Lake elevation is 1,911 ft (98-percent full).

With the inflows from Roosevelt, it might be worth a try to fish Burnt Corral area where predatory fish might be actively feeding in the current.

An angler caught a real nice bass using a chatterbait.  No indication where he was fishing but the bass like to hang out near overhanging vegetation and they will be looking for critters being washed into the lake by the runoff.

With the inflows from Roosevelt and the outflows into Canyon, the fishing dynamics at this lake have probably changed significantly. Even though the current might not always be noticeable, most back will face toward the current to feed (especially at ambush spots), so you will want to adjust your presentations accordingly.

CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,658 ft, which is 97-percent full. With the lake experiencing routine inflows and outflows, fishing could pick up as predatory fish feed more actively due to the current, especially in the narrow or riverine portion of the lake. Try working the rocky points or rocky protrusions, keep in mind that most predatory fish will face into the current to actively feed or ambush prey.
This might a good place to catch a lunker bass using a swim bait – but don’t expect high catch rates, or for that matter, any catch rates. If you can catch one or two behemoths a day, count yourself lucky.
However, this might be a good place to catch rainbow trout, yellow bass, or possibly channel catfish.

Caught:Bass 4 overs 2 unders 1 slot, cat, bluegill and striper
Technique:Carolina rigged live night crawlers with tail blown up
Name:Steve Wiz
Where:Canyon Lake
Caught:largemouth bass 3 lbs
Technique:crankbait – Rapala – behind last boat dock – up cove
Comments:thought it was a catfish
Name:nate & ryan albery

Persistence paid off for one angler who reeled in a couple three pound largemouth bass.  The fish finder proved to be instrumental in finding where the fish were hanging; the angler couldn’t get any action with swim baits, but bouncing a 1-ounce American lipless Shad off the bottom was what got their attention.  Pretty darn well for 3 hours of fishing on Canyon when you consider the time necessary to find the fish in the first place, determine what bait or lures piqued their interest and fighting the wind.
Another couple anglers did throw large swim baits and realized the fish weren’t real interested in them, although one angler did manage to get one bite.  When the swim bait action didn’t pan out, they tried flipping in the reeds around the lake and hooked into 4 largemouths deep in the reeds, but the largemouth won the battles and would not allow the anglers to boat them.  These anglers were also nice enough to provide another tid-bit of information by talking to a water quality biologist who mentioned the DO was a little low.  Colder water holds more oxygen, so perhaps try fishing a bit deeper – use the fish finders.

Caught:15 trout kept 4
Comments:Tolled the whole length of the lake. It took a while. Trout hanging out in the shadows near points approx 5-10 feet deep.

SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation 1527 feet at 97-percent full. Outflows are currently 1,100 cfs, and due to outflows at the top of the chain, Saguaro should have routine inflows as well. This should create a dynamic current situation. Expect predatory fish to face into the current to feed or ambush prey, so fish accordingly.
Some anglers this past week reported difficulty catching fish, while others did extremely well. If there is a current, make it work for you.

Angler reports:

I fished Saguaro Sunday the 15th. Caught 22 trout. The trick to trout fishing in AZ I have found in lakes is not to troll a long ways down the lake or up the lake, but instead go across or diagonally. I watched two boats go right by me caught nothing they went long ways. Then I continued to go across and bam, kept catching fish. Just used inline Mepps spinners; no big secret there. Two were 19 inchers the rest were all the same, 13 inches. Head up the river till you see the current moving, then find the shad on your graph and you’ve found the spots. They are eating shad like crazy; almost everyone I got I had to remove shad from there mouth.

Great day on the water. By the way I released all but two so someone else can enjoy. Al

Where:Saguaro Lake
Caught:1 Rainbow Trout
Technique:My friend and I fished all types of lures for the first few hours with now luck. my buddy brought out the fly rod and got himself a rainbow in no time. Besides that nothing else was caught.
Comments:Fished from 10AM to 2PM and only caught the 1 fish from the dock. Fished from many different sides of the lake with no luck. maybe ill rent boat next time.
Where:Saguaro Lake
Caught:1 Rainbow Trout
Technique:Size 8 hook, worms.
Comments:This time Neal didn’t knock the fish back in with the net. :)
A couple anglers fished up river below the hazard buoys with a white diving crankbait and pulled in a largemouth shy of 2 pounds.  The wind was howling due to the front coming in so they didn’t stay in the area too long but graphed quite a few fish.  Jerk bait was also catching their attention.
Anglers seem to be happy with the fish coming back at Saguaro.  There are some real nice decent sized largemouth, but don’t forget the new slot limit where you can keep one largemouth in the 13 to 16 inch slot, and big bluegill are readily taking worms and the yellow bass bite is good as well.   Catfish are a bit lethargic but not impossible to catch.
One angler reported water temperature of 56 degrees with 3-4 foot visibility.  He caught 5 largemouth bass in four hours using skirted jigs, and c-rigged plastic worms.  Fish were 12 to 14 feet in depth along cliffs in the main lake.

Technique:Everything, tried live and artificial
Comments:What and where is everyone fishing on the lake? I have barely even gotten a bite!
Caught:Three BAss
Technique:Fat Rap green deep-diver produced one 2 1/4 lb largemouth bass. 2 other little guys on the good ole drop shot with a purple 4-inch Robo Worm
Comments:The lake is past full and murky water from runoff is in the western portion of the lake making things difficult for anglers.
Name:CJ Greco

Where:Saguaro Lake
Caught:1 Rainbow Trout
Technique:Worms, Size 8 hooks.
Comments:I would have kept the trout, but my friend Neal knocked it back in the water with the net instead of netting it. Thanks, Neal.

Name:CJ Greco
BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,780 feet, which is 72-percent full and rising. The Verde River was flowing at 4,280 cfs on Feb. 25 (lots of snow melt), which should rapidly fill Horseshoe just upstream. Horseshoe is still releasing 400 cfs into Bartlett and Bartlett is releasing 100 cfs downstream.   This sets up that excellent sibling-lake relationship that will pay off big time for anglers again this season. Horseshoe will be slowly drained to keep Bartlett full this fishing season, which means it will also act as a huge nursery for sport-fish and forage fish.
Salt River Project expects this lake to fill this season and based on the flows right now, it might not take all that long.

We haven’t received any angler reports recently, but the unseasonably warm weather and the current from inflows-outflows has likely turned on this productive reservoir, or will shortly. Recent runoff means increased turbidity, making this an excellent place to slow-roll spinnerbaits with trailers, slowly bounce the bottom along major points, islands or rocky strata while using crayfish-like crankbaits slowly bumping the bottom. Spider jigs, possibly jig-n-pigs, might work as well.

Crappie fishing might be a little more hit-and-miss right now, but try along the Yellow Cliffs using small jigs or live minnows. With the slight current, crappie might also hold on the downstream side of major structures, such as islands and reefs and actively feed on the edge of the current.

This is likely the leading edge of the flathead catfish season, but with the inflows, you’ll likely find huge flats holding in deeper holes and feeding on any delectable morsels the current brings them. Channel catfish might be active at times as well, especially places like Bartlett flats. Try stink bait fished on the bottom.

An angler caught 9 largemouth bass and all but one was good sized.  No specifics given but try fishing near the jojoba boat ramp under the no wake line.  The bass like to hang by the submerged yellow pipe.  Also, look for the warmer water and start by trying chartreuse plastic worms.
Where:Bartlett Lake
Technique:spinners and plastics
Comments:Didn’t see any fish but did see what appeared as a fairly large otter; it got within just a few feet of my line. Another shore angler said his dog chased it a bit earlier.


Caught:1 blue gill,2 small bass,1 catfish and 1 crappie
Technique:1/64th ounce jig that I tie myself w/ a minnow trolling
Comments:very tough fishing at Bartlett
Name:Brian Davis

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
Caught:1 bluegill,2 small bass,1 catfish and 1 crappie
Technique:1/64th ounce jig that i tie myself w/ a minnow trolling
Comments:very tough fishing at Bartlett
Name:Brian Davis
HORSESHOE LAKE — Lake elevation is at 1,998 feet, 44-percent full.  The Verde River at Tangle Creek was flowing at 4,280 cfs on Feb. 25. They are releasing water at 400 cfs. This lake is expected to fill this season, but will eventually be used to keep Bartlett full. Once again this year, it could act like a sport-fish and bait-fish nursery for Bartlett, just like last year and back in 2005. This might be the year to get that annual Tonto permit and avoid the hassles with daily ones.

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 4,280 cubic feet per second.  Releases from Horseshoe are 400 cfs and releases from Bartlett Lake are 100 cfs.
LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake)  — Flows are up around 1,100 from Stewart Mountain Dam (Saguaro). We stocked both the Water Users and Blue Point Bridge on Tuesday, so fishing should be pretty good. Salt River Project will likely increase the flows soon to match the Roosevelt inflows – the system is pretty full right now. We might not be able to get in another stocking before the increasing flows make it less advisable to stock. In other words, fish now while you can. With any luck and the creeks don’t rise too much, the increasing flows won’t inhibit our trout stockings, but don’t count on it.

Salt River Project expects to keep the flows going at around this rate for the duration of the runoff season, providing super conditions for fishing, kayaking and canoeing (these flows might not be the best for inexperienced river runners).

According to AZ Fly Fishing, fly fishermen are having good luck using egg patterns, San Juan worms, green weenies and nymph patterns. There are also some mayfly hatches in midday, so try mayflies in the afternoons.
For spin anglers, try night crawlers or meal worms with little or no weight cast slightly upstream into the riffles, then let the worm float naturally downstream, mending your line as it moves. Also, small spinners (Mepps, Rooster Tails and Vibrex) cast slightly downstream can work well. Some anglers are adept at catching trout in the river using Power Bait, but most find it difficult to use. Plus, Power Bait might not get you action from bass and other sport fish.

Because of the overly-abundant food supply (lots of insect larvae etc.), the trout will grow super fast here. The hold-over trout not readily caught will look like small footballs in a month or so, so keep this fishery close to Phoenix on you’re a-list.
Where:Lower Salt- Water Users
Caught:2 Rainbows
Technique:Drifted night crawlers with a bobber and 3-4ft of depth
Comments:Had to use my waders and get out into the river a bit, but managed to get two rainbows, one was 13in and the other 11in.

Where:Tempe Town Lake
Caught:One Trout
Technique:Extra Scented Power Bait/Caught around 10:00am
Where:Lower Salt River
Caught:Largemouth Bass, Rainbow Trout
Technique:Fly fishing from personal pontoon & wading. Drifting nymphs & wooly-buggers.
Comments:Fished 2/2-2/4 from Water Users down to Granite Reef. Beautiful trip, but the fishing was VERY slow. Saw lots of “fishy” looking spots, but saw no fish! I tried just about everything over the course of 3 solid days and only caught one tiny rainbow and two tinier bass. Ran into several other fishermen that seemed equally frustrated. If you’ve had recent success here, please share it!

Where:Lower salt river
Caught:caught and released 8 rainbows
Technique:black yellow Roostertail- Best luck drifting from rapids to slower water
Comments:all decent size(12inches)
Where:Lower Salt River – Water Users
Caught:3 Trout
Technique:Fished a Panther Martin where the current meets calmer water.
Comments:Got nothing to bite on any flies but saw another fly fisherman catch at least 3 on stoneflies.
Name:Joe Freye
Where:Lower Salt River – water users area
Caught:1 rainbow trout
Technique:Fly fishing with an olive wooly booger.
Comments:Had a second fish hooked on the wooly booger but failed to land it. I tried a caddis fly but had no bites. Before dusk I moved to Blue Point and had no luck.
Name:Joe Freye

Where:Lower Salt
Caught:4 rainbows
Technique:I used a small wet fly, a “spider” with gold body that resembled a nymph when wet. 4wt TFO fly rod. Largest trout 11.5″
Name:Steve Rubicam
Where:Salt River – main bridge area just below Lake Saguaro
Caught:1 (very) small largemouth bass
Technique:x5 fly line setup w/ size 2 ghost silver/red minnow pattern w/ medium tempo stip.
Comments:Fished 6:45-2:30 with only one other hit. Used every imaginable technique, pattern, etc… Saw many fish jumping up approx 1mi from the main area. Not a big fish catching day, but none less beautiful day to be on out in the amazing Arizona outdoors!
CREEKS – Runoff is underway, making fishing a little challenging right now because there might be increased turbidity. If you decide to go anyway, let us know how you do.

Leave a Reply