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May 27th, 2009

URBAN FISHING REPORT – The May 25-30 catfish stocking will be the sixth delivery of cats to Urban Fishing Program lakes this spring season.

Catfish will continue to be stocked at rates of 40-60 fish per acre every other week through June.  Fishing is good to excellent for channel catfish at Urban waters in the Phoenix and Tucson areas.  Top baits for catfish continue to be worms, shrimp, and dough/stink baits fished off the bottom.  Cats have been biting best mid morning and in the evenings.  Bluegill and sunfish are biting well along the shorelines for anglers using worms and mealworms.  Bass up to six pounds are biting during the pre-summer period, however shallow water fish are wary.  Try small plastics presented with split shot or drop shot rigs in the evenings and early morning.  A 20-inch lunker bass was recently caught and released at Kennedy Lake in Tucson.

The estimated 4.5 pounder fell for a 10 inch Gulp worm.  A 22 pound carp was caught from Papago Pond on corn.  At Green Valley lakes (Payson) fishing is good for trout and very good for crappie, bluegill, bass and catfish.  The final spring stocking of rainbow trout into Green Valley was May 9 and included a double stocking.  Plenty of trout remain to sustain great fishing for weeks to come.  Best trout baits include Power Bait or worms.  Worms, mealworms and small jigs work well for the bluegill.

Update on shoreline stabilization projects
The Game and Fish Urban Fishing Program (UFP) in partnership with the City of Tempe Parks Department and the North Tempe Neighborhood Association (NTNA) recently completed a project to stabilize over 600 feet of shoreline at Evelyn Hallman Park in north Tempe.  More than 300 tons of rock materials, purchased by the UFP, were used to rebuild collapsing banks that are popular spots for anglers.  In addition to improving angler access, the natural rock walls are aesthetically attractive and serve as excellent habitat for fish and smaller aquatic food items.

Work was completed in time for the May 23 park dedication ceremony that recognized the immense community efforts and leadership of Evelyn Hallman who was also involved in the first shoreline stabilization efforts in 2005.

A park Master Plan has been developed to guide further site improvements at the lake and park.  More exciting and user-friendly changes will be taking place over the next year at this beautiful “oasis in the desert.”

At Papago Park Ponds #1 and #2 similar shoreline stabilization projects are well underway.  The UFP purchased over 500 tons of rock materials in this partnership project between Game and Fish and the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department.  Work at Pond #1 has been completed and includes over 450 feet of restored shoreline in the most well used fishing areas.  Some new shoreline access has been created and some cattail removal at the inflow site will help with water deliveries.  Shoreline work at Papago Pond #2 is 25% completed.  Over the next few weeks a total of 700 feet of shoreline will be rebuilt using large rock materials to create a natural, stable and long-lasting edge.

Where: Chaparral Lake
When: 05/07/09
Caught: Channel Catfish
Technique: Crappie rig, worm on both hooks.
Name: Jenna Fjeld

Where: Veterans Oasis
Caught: nothing
Technique: hotdog
Comments: Slow -  nobody was catching anything
Name: john

Where: Kiwanis
Caught: 8 average sized catfish and one 8lb monster
Technique: Believe it or not, power bait. you know the stuff for trout, orange
Comments: On the all American way road at the very far end about 20ft. out. someone illegally put in about 50 hand sized goldfish on Saturday so if you see them, take them out before they destroy the lake
Name: Andy

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – People are catching largemouth bass, redear sunfish, and bluegill.  There are some nice catfish to be caught.  Use chicken liver or hotdogs to entice the cats.  Fish around the bridges and other structure you can get near.  Get there early. Carp are hungry for corn and dough bait.

A Tempe Town Lake survey earlier this year showeda substantial resurgence of largemouth bass, yellow bass and channel catfish, black crappie and a very large increase in our catch of threadfin shad compared to last year’s survey conducted after a golden algae outbreak and a couple days of high runoff which led to the lowering of couple of the downstream inflatable dams.
Angler reports:
Went to Tempe Town on Friday morning, and again on Monday morning.  Friday morning was a blast.  The bite wasn’t the best, but I was catching fish.  I was on the south side under the Rural Bridge.  I caught a bluegill the size of a dinner plate on a Berkley gulp minnow.  Two 11″ largemouth on worms about 7′ under a slip bobber, and about a 2 lb cat on the slip bobber rig also.  Monday I was using shad as bait and caught 6 LM’s under the bridge on nothing more than a hook with a split shot about 18″ up from the hook — Barry

Hello Rory,

I haven’t seen many reports about Tempe Town Lake lately, so I thought I would help with this. My parents and I have been going about three time a week lately in the evening and the cat-fishing has really picked up. We have progressively reeled in bigger fish with night crawlers fished on the bottom. This last time we went our worms had been overheated, dead, and smelly but the catfish my dad caught must have liked it. Attached is the picture of the 6 Pound cat, he was about 25 inches long, and was thick and strong.

Thanks for your tips Rory and hope this helps for the next report,

Christopher Heath
LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1,693 ft, which is 89-percent full. Largemouth are hitting topwater lures and flukes in the northern coves.

Topwater poppers are working for some, and not others. The best surface action will typically be at first and last light, but surface feeding can occur at any time of day (or night).

Striper fishing appears to be picking up, especially at night (new moon on Sunday).
A shore angler cat fishing near the four-lane launch ramp in Castle Creek said he couldn’t keep the bait on his hook, and even caught a striper.
Another angler fished in Humbug and caught 10 stripers tipping the scales over 2.5 pounds using anchovies fished 20 to 25 feet deep.
One angler caught 15 stripers between 5 and 6 a.m. fishing the points mid lake on the west side using Lucky Craft Pointers; all stripers were between 15 and 21 inches long.

Other anglers report doing okay at night for stripers drift fishing or slowly trolling pieces of anchovy with little or no weight, especially along the submerged creek channels in the northern coves.

Not hearing much about the largemouth bass fishing, but most should be in the post-spawn mode. Look for largemouth to be feeding toward the surface at first and last light. You’ll likely find them off the points in 10 to 15 feet of water during the day. Try drop shots, small plastic lizards, or even Carolina-rigged worms.
Lake Pleasant Regional Park will host the Tribal Sprint Triathlon the first weekend of June, and the event will close both the north entry into the park and the four-lane boat ramp at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 5. However, they will reopen to the public at noon on Saturday, June 6.

Caught:bass, bluegill
Technique:plastic worm Texas rig
Comments:bass was 14 inches but the bluegill was just as big and weighed in at a little over a pound
Name:Michael Culbertson

Where: pleasant
When: 05/02/09
Caught: bass, bluegill
Technique: plastic worm Texas rig
Comments: bass was 14 inches but the bluegill was just as big and weighed in at a little over a pound
Name: Michael Culbertson

ROOSEVELT LAKE — Lake Elevation is 2,150 ft (99-percent full).  Tonto Creek runoff is at 27 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 393 cfs.

Fishing was sure good last weekend when it was raining. Anglers are reporting action all day.  One angler mentioned the fish were hanging out between the surface to about 20 feet deep.  He had good fishing from mid-lake to the Salt end.

Another angler said drop-shotting and split-shotting plastic worms worked like a charm.  Once the storm moved on the bite stopped.  On Sunday morning fishing was good from about 4:30 until 7:30 a.m.  Spinnerbaits, skinny dippers and drop shot worms all worked well. Most of the largemouth bass were in the slot but between 3 boats and a group of anglers they caught 10 overs and 15 unders.  Bluegills were also biting.

Another angler reported the fish were very shallow, 1-3 feet, in the early morning and late evening.  They went deeper during the day around 15 to 20 feet deep using drop-shot and Texas-rigged worms.

Another fisherman reported catching 20 to 25 largemouth bass on Ricos in 25 to 45 feet of water.  They caught 3 overs and Carolina-rigged worms worked very well.

Some anglers have been finding  a good topwater bite at first light, others have found the morning bite to be slow. Try poppers, stick baits and soft plastic jerkbaits. Have a second pole rigged with a flutter-down bait such as a Senko if you get hit but no hook up.

A good technique to use at any time can be targeting individual pieces of submerged vegetation using flutter-down baits like Senkos and curly-tail grubs. Or try working four-inch lizards and curly-tail worms. There is certainly a lot of submerged cover that can be worked right now.

Crappie fishing should be best at night (there is a new moon on Sunday). Anglers have been catching crappies in the Salt end in the morning trolling blue-black-chartreuse (BBC)  and John Deer grubs tipped with minnows. The crappies were suspended 15 to 20 feet deep.

It sounds like the flathead catfish anglers are out in force, with some hauling in big monsters, but most are keeping the action pretty quiet. Try where the Salt River enters the lake. But it is possible to catch flats in just about any area of the lake.

We are not hearing much about the smallmouth action, but try the rocky areas near the dam using crayfish-like baits when the wind picks up.
The action is also pretty good for bluegills and yellow bass. Try using meal worms under bobbers in the backs of coves, or along those rocky secondary points inside the coves.

Channel catfish and carp are abundant – you can probably load up with lots of bottom feeders along any piece of shoreline, and you don’t need a boat. Although daylight fishing is viable for these bottom feeders, this is the time of year when they can also be pretty active at night as well.

Don Stich: 05/15/09 8-11 p.m. area-Schoolhouse
18 yellow bass-13-15oz, 5 largemouth 1 over 1 slot 3 unders, 12 bluegills & 5 crappies 4 small 1 keeper
05/16/09, Salt end. 3 flatheads 4lb 7lb 13lb, 7 p.m.-5a.m.

APACHE – Lake elevation is 1,911 ft (97-percent full).

Fishing continues to be good.  The largemouth bass are still shallow near the shoreline and hitting shallow running crankbaits, like bombers.  Chartreuse colored lures are working well.  Blue and silver Rat-L-Traps produced some nice 16- to 18-inch bass for one angler.

Catfish are active around the marina one angler caught a 13-pound catfish using a night crawler and a 20-pound catfish was caught on a chicken liver at the marina.

Game and Fish biologists sampled Apache Lake this spring and caught some nice largemouth bass, a whole lot of bluegills and a fair amount of catfish.  We electro-fished and set nets and every time we e-fished near reeds, we would get some nice largemouth. The rocky sites were not as fruitful, although we did catch quite a few smallmouth bass in those areas.

The smallmouth we stocked in 2007 are now in the slot and doing real well.  We caught quite a few green sunfish and every one of them looked like they just had a seven-course dinner.  A couple hot spots for bass and sunfish are the Crabtree area, plus we caught a slew of catfish at Pine Cove.  Another hot spot was the area around Burnt Corral.  We picked up a few of the small 3-4 inch trout we recently stocked as a house cleaning effort for one of our hatcheries.

CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,658 feet, which is 96-percent full.

Fishing is excellent at Canyon. Anglers are using 4-inch Senkos on split shots.  Watermelon and pumpkin worms with black flakes seem to be producing well, but you have to work them slow bumping the rocks.  You need to work under the overhanging vegetation.

A lot of anglers are reporting good success at Canyon but are a bit tight lipped on what they used and where they fished.

However, some anglers have reported huge shad boils at times in the main basin and up lake.

The overhanging vegetation and rocky substrate is what I would be looking for.  Some anglers are giving up some details; jerkbaits and crankbaits are working well for some.  Our sampling also revealed some lunkers along the canyon walls.  If you get tired of bouncing worms off the rocky substrate try bouncing them along the canyon walls.

If you are looking for a place to take the kids to catch lots of bluegills, give Canyon a try.

SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation 1,524 feet at 91-percent full.
I conducted a creel at Saguaro on the holiday and believe it or not some fishermen were out braving the recreational onslaught.  Anglers caught largemouth bass using t-rigged worms in the shallows.  Bluegill were taking live worms and meal worms along the emergent vegetation.  Yellow bass were hanging at the points and vulnerable to KastMasters and jigs.

Barry Johnston: Went to Saguaro on Monday at 5 a.m., using minnows off the second pier down from the boat ramps.  My first four attempts landed me LM, the smallest being 8″ and the largest being 18″.  I was using a slip bobber about 15 feet above the hook.  After the LM’s quit biting the yellows started hitting, I landed about 15 of those before heading to Tempe Town at 10: 30 a.m.

Where: Saguaro
When: 05/15/09
Caught: Bluegill, largemouth, yellow bass
Technique: smallest jig I cold find with white 1″ grub cut down to 1/2″ cast into the shallows in the back of coves.
Comments: 2 of us fished for 5 hours from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and caught 81 fish most smaller than my hand but what a blast!
Name: Jim Lindquist

BARTLETT – Lake elevation is 1,794 ft, which is 94-percent full.  Reservoir release is 600 cfs.

An angler caught largemouth on swim baits and had some bites on spinnerbaits and lipless crankbait.  Drop shots worked very well on some graphed fish; most of them were small but a few keepers were in the batch. White jigs were enticing the bite as well.  The fish were between 2 and 22 feet deep.

Another angler fished in the rain and all the fish were hanging around rocky areas 10 to 20 feet deep and crankbait and jerk bait were enticing the bite.
Crappie fishing has been sporadic, with some anglers doing well and others having trouble finding a bite.

Angler reports:

The Post Spawn Blues are over.  As some of you have mentioned…Training Wheels aka Spinnerbaits are now the bait of choice, Bartlett Bass love green and Chartreuse colors.  Also, Crankbaits and Carolina-rigged Zoom Lizards off points are landing good bass. Anything with a wiggle is working well.

My partner Rich and I caught our limit this weekend averaging about 2 lbs a piece: Catch-and-release. By the way, for the Newbies to fishing …no boat was required as we fish from the shorelines. And for those of you who can appreciate a lil exercise while fishing…Bartlett has some of the best hiking trails.

Harvey Nelson: 2 of us fishing at Bartlett on 5/6, caught 7 nice bass using spinnerbaits, shad-colored crankbaits, and the go-to bait– Carolina rig with a Senko worm. Most fish caught 15 feet deep in the sandy bottom coves with 2 caught shallow off points where there was a lot of shad visible. All fish 2-3 lbs., no small fish were caught.

I fish Bartlett a lot and will try to keep my reports coming in regularly. I read the reports all the time and they often help me find good patterns. One pattern that I used a lot last year was after it gets up to 100 F outside I like to Carolina rig fish the lower lake islands bouncing Carolina rigs down the slope of islands to the 16-20 foot depths. It usually works great but one part of the pattern is wind. It has to be windy or it just doesn’t work. The wind pushes shad schools up onto the island slopes and the fish follow. No wind– no shad schools- no bass.

We tried it this week but couldn’t get the wind and it just did not work–so we went into the points and rock piles in the coves and found nice quality fish there.
Maybe that info can help somebody else too.


HORSESHOE – Lake elevation is at 1,990 feet, which has dropped to 35-percent full.  They are releasing water at 400 cfs, so this lake will likely be slowly drained to keep up the lake level at Bartlett. This also means the lake will be rimed by saturated soils, making shoreline access challenging in places. The best fishing will likely be just below the dam, especially in the deeper holes.

Tammy Wagoner: While fishing the Verde River just below Horseshoe Lake, fish were flipping out of the water frequently.  We caught quite a few channel cats, but let most go because they were small. We fished with chicken liver and fish would bite almost as soon as we got our line in the water.  I also caught a largemouth bass on a Carolina-rigged black lizard while fishing on the east bank from a kayak. I’ve been a few times last week and have had better luck there than at Bartlett and Pleasant both. Also caught a carp on chicken liver.

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 283 cubic feet per second.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 600 cfs.

SALT RIVER – Salt River into Roosevelt is 393 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 1,330 cfs.  They are releasing 575 cfs out of Stewart Mountain Dam from Saguaro.
A 47.9-pound flathead catfish was caught in the Upper Salt River real close to Roosevelt Lake two weeks ago.  A live sunfish caught at that location was used as bait.
LOWER SALT RIVER – Stewart Dam release is 1,075 cfs. Trout were stocked last week at Water Users and Blue Point. Expect lots of other recreational users (tubers) along this stretch of river. Flies are working as well as live worms. The fishing is best at first and last light. Largemouth are holding around the overhanging vegetation.

Where: Lower Salt
Caught: big grass monster
Technique: fly rod
Comments: tough day. Plenty of strikes but just not hooking up. Water way down (about 500 cfs) Anglers advised me the river was VERY busy last week for fishing. Big grass monster (algae debris, etc.) is growing by the hour. Anglers beware… the recreators are out in force. See ya next time.

Where: Lower Salt River
When: 04/22/09
Caught: Rainbow Trout
Technique: Fly Rod and spinning rig
Comments: Time again? Fished midday. Started slow. Picked up nicely and tapered off around 4 p.m. Spin anglers having a tough time with the big grass monster (algae) a bit tough with the spinners. Small jigs produced some fish. See ya next week.

CREEKS – All creeks along the Mogollon Rim are fishing pretty well. Early mornigns and evenings are best.

Nymphs are working well, as are drifting simi-seals. Blue winged olives are getting popular (size 18). In mid day, try a hopper dropper rig with a No. 16 bead head nymph under it. Dry flies — pay attention  to the hatch and match.

Christopher Creek, Tonto Creek, Haigler Creek and the East Verde have all been stocked this spring. Spin anglers should try night crawlers, meal worms, Power Bait, corn, salmon eggs, small spinners, and grasshoppers.

Game and Fish sampled Canyon creek and there are a lot of browns hiding out in the pools.  Look for root wads as well. Get there early, it’s a popular place.

HORSETHIEF BASIN LAKE – No new reports. It’s a pretty little lake that is worth visiting as part of a Bradshaw Mountain experience, but it is pond sized water where the fish are small; great for kids on a camp out. Bring night crawlers or meal worms and fish them under bobbers.

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