Central Arizona

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December 19th, 2007

URBAN LAKES — Next trout stocking is scheduled for the week of Dec. 24-29 in the Phoenix, Tucson and Payson Urban Lakes. 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-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, 2007.  License dealers may be unfamiliar with this so bring your fishing regulations if they need verification.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE — Four thousand trout will be stocked this week (Dec. 17-22).  The fish are typically stocked on the north side of the lake just west of Scottsdale/Rural road. The fish tend to congregate in the shallow west end of the lake around the bridge pylons and other structures.  A little reminder – we already stocked 4,000 during the week of Dec. 3-7. 

LAKE PLEASANT –  Water elevation is 1,659 ft which is 56-percent full. 
Striper fishing is pretty good, troll nice and slow with anchovies in the Castle Creek area. Some brave anglers have also been catching stripers at night. If you don’t have a trolling motor, drifting works okay too.  One fisherman recommended using an octopus hook with a split shot about 18 inches up with the anchovy hooked through the head.  A good water depth is between 15 to 20 feet in the channel. 
There is a report of a 30-inch striper taken out of Lake Pleasant using 3½-inch jerk bait.    
Don’t forget that a portion of the Agua Fria arm of the lake is closed for nesting bald eagles. The closure is marked with buoys.

ROOSEVELT LAKE — Lake Elevation is 2,109 ft (54-percent full). Crappie fishing is pretty good at Roosevelt on the Salt end along the hazard buoy markers. The Salt was running pretty high recently due to runoff. Try using blue-black chartreuse jigs or John Deere grubs at depths around 15-20 feet deep.  When trolling for crappie, use your GPS and make sure you troll at 2 miles an hour near drop offs or structure.  According to anglers, 1.5 miles an hour doesn’t cut it and neither does 2.5.

APACHE — Lake elevation is 1,909 ft which is 95-percent full. I talked to the nice folks at the Apache Lake Marina and Resort last week and they said fishing is picking up at Apache Lake.  Don’t forget we stocked some real nice looking smallmouth about a month ago and they like to key in on the tasty morsels coming down the washes and runnels – lots of tasty morsels coming down now.  

Just another reminder, thousands of rainbow trout were stocked at the main launch and at Burnt Coral Nov. 6-8, from the Canyon Creek Hatchery and the Tonto Hatchery.   They averaged around 6.5 – 7.5 inches from Canyon Creek and 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 KastAasters and spoons.    

CANYON — Closed to boaters – lake elevation is 1,607 which is 32-percent full.  Drawdown started Sept. 29 , and the lake will begin filling back up on the weekend of the Dec. 22 .  It will take about a month to completely fill up and the boat ramps and marina will be open to the public around Jan. 26, 2008.  If you haven’t seen the lake yet, drop by and check it out; the restaurant overlooking the lake is open.  You can see some of the fish habitat structures from the restaurant.  The Acacia picnic site is open and the lake is accessible by foot.  Fishing is allowed but you will have to walk a little ways to get to the waters edge.  I’ve seen a few people with metal detectors combing the beach.   

We had a whole lot of volunteers at Canyon Lake that helped with the habitat installation last weekend.  Forest Service will not be able to provide trees so we will have to use Christmas trees instead.  We will need volunteers to help attach tree limbs to the habitat structures Dec. 29  and 30. If you can help, please call either Aaron Kern (480) 324-3592 or Diana Rogers at (480) 324-3544.  Please leave a message and a phone number. 

Work hours will be from 8 a.m. to about 4 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. Most gloves we have are large, so if you use small gloves you might want to bring your own.

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

SAGUARO — Lake elevation 1,525 feet at 92-percent full. With all the driftwood and other debris on the water, some fishermen were throwing frogs and they did real well catching a lot of the small bass.  A big bass was caught using a 1/12-ounce KastMaster, but they’re great for yellow bass too.  Spoons are hauling in the yellow bass and largemouth bass as well.

BARTLETT — Lake elevation is 1771 ft which is 64-percent full.

HORSESHOE — Lake elevation is at 1998 feet which is 42-percent full thanks to recent runoff.
VERDE RIVER –  Verde River flow at Tangle is 530 cubic feet per second (cfs) and not sure about cfs at Camp Verde website said 0 – perhaps a glitch. The Verde had reached around 25,000 cfs in early December during the height of the runoff, which accounts for the water in Horseshoe Lake.

SALT RIVER – Salt River into Roosevelt is 975 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 515 cfs.  They are releasing 275 cfs out of Stewart Mountain Dam from Saguaro.

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) — The recent high flows have hampered the fishing at Phon D. Sutton, Blue Point and Water Users.  No reports on Granite Reef.  Give it a little time for all the sediment to settle down. 

CREEKS — All still flowing pretty high. Rainy weather and lots of runoff isn’t the greatest for fly-fishing on the creeks, but my contact at Arizona Fly Fishing says that once the flows go down a bit, fishing should pick up.   

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