Central Arizona

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January 2nd, 2008

 URBAN LAKES – Got a new fishing pole for Christmas? Trout are being stocked in the Urban Program Lakes this week. Try Power Bait, spinners, corn, or night crawlers.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE — Four thousand trout were stocked last week. 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.

Jeffrey Dyer said he I doesn’t see anyone catching trout and he fishes the lake every weekday. “When I use corn, I get carp, catfish and bluegill. When I use spinners and jigs, I get largemouth. When I use Power Bait (multiple colors tried), I get nothing.”

LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1,660 ft which is 58-percent full.

Tracy Leake suggest finding shallows, east-to-west facing coves that are 15 to 20 feet deep because they receive more sunlight and are holding larger fish. Tracy caught a night 5-pound bass on a Carolina-rigged water dog.

Striper and white bass fishing is pretty good when you can locate the big schools. Troll nice and slow with anchovies in the Castle Creek area. When one bites, chum small pieces of anchovies to keep the school near you and actively feeding. 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.

By the way, Pleasant got lots of inflows from the Agua Fria during the late November, early December storms. That should set it up with more nutrients and an increased water level for this spring. A couple of more great storms could turn this into a banner year (and next year as well).

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. Someone caught a 37-pound catfish as well. Yes, catfish are active in winter and can be caught. Try stink baits for the channels and live bluegill or small carp for the flatheads.

ROOSEVELT LAKE – Rosey got lots of good inflow from the storms in early December and it looks like we have some snowpack this year – so far. Keep your fingers crossed, this could be another banner year here.

Dan Maas used a 4-inch worm (Junebug) to catch a dozen largemouth bass in the 10-16-inch range by fishing slowly along the drop offs in the 10-16 foot range. “Tried spinnerbait, topwater and cranks but a 4-inch finesse was the ticket.”

The 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. 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.

Crappies have congregated into larger schools. Look for the crappie flotillas to start any time now in the Salt or Tonto arms. Let us know how you do.

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 KastMasters 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 elevation1,525 feet at 92-percent full. Trout have been stocked. Robb Mansfield caught a 2-pound and a 3.5-pound trout using a Z-Ray in a cove. Danny Doshier used Power Bait on Dec. 23 and the Sunday before to catch his limit of trout.

Ian Carr caught-and-released one trout. “I had read that gold KastMasters were the ticker for yellow bass at Saguaro, so I was a little surprised (but not disappointed) to catch a trout. Some other anglers had spent the day catching decent-sized bluegills with worms fished on the bottom. It was my first time at Saguaro, and I was really impressed by the beautiful scenery. I’ll definitely be back!”

The water had been turbid and full of debris, but should be clearing. It sounds like the fishing has picked right back up again, at least for trout. Some nice catfish have been caught on stink baits. Spoons are hauling in the yellow bass and largemouth bass as well.

BARTLETT — Lake elevation is 1,771 ft which is 64-percent full. There are reports of anglers catching largemouth bass and crappies along the Yellow Cliffs. Expect debris from recent runoff. Dale Nancarrow, who works at Honeywell, used spinnerbaits along the Yellow Cliffs to catch largemouth bass. “Saw a bald eagle at 4 p.m. at Yellow Cliffs, This made for a great day of fishing for me and my son.”

HORSESHOE — Lake elevation is at 1998 feet which is 42-percent full thanks to recent runoff.

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.

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. David Welker caught his limit of six rainbow trout in about an hour using bait, adding, “The fishing was great! Fisher ranged from 912 inches.”

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.

Note: The lake level at Horse Thief Basin Lake is way down and the latest report indicates the fishing is lousy. It is, however, a fun place to visit.

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