Central Arizona Fishing Report

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July 13th, 2009

URBAN FISHING REPORT – Although weekly stocking is over for the heat of the summer, fish are still in the urban lakes.  The best cat fishing is during low light or nighttime conditions.  Stinkbait and shrimp fished on the bottom is your best bet.  Hotdogs, bacon and chicken livers will also entice the bite.  Sunfish like the warmer weather although fishing will be best in the mornings and evenings with parts of worms or meal worms fished under a bobber.  Largemouth bass are still in the system and they can be caught again in early morning or late evening.  Don’t forget the bag limits and fishing regulations.  All anglers 14 years and over need to have an Urban Fishing License.  The bag and possession limits for unlicensed anglers under 14 are half that of licensed anglers.  The daily bag and  possession limit for largemouth bass is 2 and must be a minimum of 13 inches, except at Urban Ponds where the limit is 1 bass.  The daily bag and possession limit for sunfish is 10 at the lakes and 5 at the Urban Ponds and there is no size limit.  Catfish daily bag and possession limit is 4 catfish, 2 at Urban Ponds and no size limits.  See the Urban fishing brochure or look on the AZ Game and Fish Website for details.  At Green Valley lakes (Payson) most of the trout have been caught out, but anglers are enjoying great action on bluegill, crappie and bass.  Try small jigs and worms fished under a bobber at Green Valley.

Angler report:

Where:  Cortez Park
When: 07/01/09
Caught: catfish
Technique: a small hook or at least not too big with a slip weight stopped by a swivel  about 5in. up with enough worm to cover the hook and then some dangling off
Comments: I’m 13 and the kid next to me went to the bathroom so while I was watching  his stuff he got a bite so I reeled her in and got to keep her. When I cleaned her  she was full of eggs.
Name: Justin

TEMPE TOWN LAKE - Anglers are doing real well largemouth fishing next to the bridge and railroad structure in the early mornings with the drop shot technique.  White colored and shad colored crankbaits are productive baits as well.  The yellow bass and largemouth population is up compared to last year’s survey.  One group of anglers caught 20 bass drop shotting and 12 more with cranks.  Most of the largemouth bass were between 12 and 16 inches.  One was 4.3 pounds.  They also caught 1 yellow bass.  Don’t forget the current bag limit for largemouth bass at Town Lake is four fish per day with a 13-inch minimum length restriction.

There are also no gas powered boats allowed on the lake and Tempe Town Lake permits are available at the City of Tempe Town Lake Operations Center, 620 N. Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281. Phone: (480) 350-8625.

LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation is 1681 ft, which is 77% full.
I’m getting reports of some shad boil activity, but people are also fishing near the tires on the public side (you are not allowed on the private side unless you are a member of the marina).  You are also not allowed to tie up to the tires on the public side, so anchor near there since the stripers are stacked up just waiting for your anchovies.  I had one report of fishermen catching about 30 in a couple hours.  Get your bait deep pretty fast or you will catch a bunch of dinks.  Nighttime fishing is more comfortable for you and the fish if you go the anchovy route.

ROOSEVELT LAKE – Lake Elevation is 2146 ft (94% full).  Tonto Creek runoff is at 16 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 178 cfs.

Monsoonal cloud cover seems to help the bite although it can get dicey with the wind and lightning.  Looks like it will take a break for a week or so according the forecast I just looked at.   A couple anglers caught a few fish in the early morning on topwater then a little later jigs, senkos, and Texas rigged worms worked for a while.

Anglers are also having some good luck nighttime fishing humps, depressions and structure at the bottom.  Crayfish imitations are working in the submerged trees. 

APACHE – Lake elevation is 1908 ft (94% full).

With the lake level going down a bit the largemouth bass are hanging under drop-offs and around rocks.  Early morning and late evening are still the best times to fish.  Largemouth bass are taking spoons and yellow/green crankbaits with most pretty small, but the occasional big one will take the bait.   My fishing contact has caught quite a few channel catfish in the 4 to 8 pound range using worms with a split shot.  A few small smallmouth bass are hanging in the rocky areas.  If you find some submerged vegetation the sunfish will take mealworms and earthworms as well as some small spoons.

CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,657 ft, which is 95-percent full.

Lake elevation is 1657 ft, which is 95% full.
An angler fished Canyon and caught 9 largemouth bass in three hours all before 11am.  Bass tend to stack up along the cliff walls this time of year and they will go after your rigged worms bounced down the cliffs.  They like to hang in the nooks and crannies along the wall.  Fish on the shady side 

SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation 1525 feet at 93-percemt full.

Lake elevation 1524 feet at 92% full. 
Fishermen are still catching a lot of small bass on Texas rigged worms along rocky spots and emergent vegetation.  There are a few real good spots on the lake where the lunkers are hanging that anglers are keeping to themselves.

Two anglers fished after work in a couple coves with dropshotts and Texas rigged worms.  After trying several different sizes and colors of worms, they caught over a dozen in 4 hours.  Many were slot fish, some dinks and some were in the 2 and 2.5 pound range.  They also were lucky enough to see a bobcat on shore.

Another angler caught 7 good sized bass from 8 pm to midnight.  Two were over 3 pounds and 3 were over 2 pounds.  No mention what he was using.

One angler fished Saguaro from 7:30 am to 2pm and caught about 60 fish, all on 1/8oz kastmasters.  The yellows were deep off the points and on some flats.  This angler’s breakdown was 6 largemouth bass all around 10 inches, 1 green sunfish, 4 channel catfish, 8 bluegill and lots of small yellow bass.

BARTLETT – Lake elevation is 1796 ft, which is 97% full.  Reservoir release is 115 cfs.

One angler fished from 5am to 1pm under overcast skies and caught over 50 largemouth bass.  They were hitting Rico’s.  The shad were boiling and that added to the fun.

Another couple anglers had good luck with top water ricos in the early morning.  Robo worms were working a little later in the big boulders and submerged trees.  Dropshot technique worked well.

One angler reported some good shad boils all morning till about 10am, but they were tough to sneak up on.  After a few failed attempts to get into the boils they threw ricos, soft jerkbaits and crankbaits.  Jigs were sought by the bass as well.  Their biggest largemouth was just under 4 pounds.  They caught over a dozen largemouth.  This group was the lucky recipient of an impressive show by mother nature.  They witnessed a duel between a squirrel and a rattlesnake.  The squirrel outperformed the snake inflicting a few bites of its own and was able to protect its home and live another day.

HORSESHOE – Lake elevation is at 1951 feet, No pool.  They are releasing water at 110 cfs.

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 108 cubic feet per second.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 115 cfs.

SALT RIVER – Salt River into Roosevelt is 178 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 179 cfs.  They are releasing 1325 cfs out of Stewart Mountain dam from Saguaro.

LOWER SALT RIVER – (below Saguaro Lake) Stewart Mtn. Dam release is 1325 cfs.


Fishing is good in the early morning and late evening.  Nighttime fishing works real good for the browns around undercut banks and overhanging veg.

Haigler Creek –  Fly fishermen are having luck using dry droppers, hoppers, little midges and emergers.  Trout are also taking spinners.  If you hike up a bit from Fisherman’s Point there are some nice wild rainbow and large browns.

Canyon Creek – Fly fishermen are catching trout using hoppers, phantom tails, prince nymphs, hares ears and copper johns.  Above the OW Bridge you can keep 4 trout of any size and they are taking worms, spinners along with the flies.  Below the OW Bridge its catch and release only and you must use artificial flies and lures.  A fly fisherman caught a 28 inch rainbow, one of the incentive stockers.  Damsels are hatching so match the hatch.

Tonto Creek –   Again hoppers, ant patterns, phantom tails, prince nymphs, hares ears and copper johns.  If you decide to hike to some nice secluded fishing holes prepare to get wet.  Downstream of Bear Flat have quite a few wild rainbows and browns.

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