Central Arizona

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October 24th, 2007
Central Arizona

URBAN LAKES – The 2007 urban fishing license goes on sale for half price in November and December.  This week, the urban program lakes will be stocked with hybrid sunfish. Grab some meal worms or night crawlers and a bobber – they are fun to cast. All the urban lakes have also been stocked with catfish recently. Use worms, hot dogs (cheese dogs work especially well), dough baits and shrimp. .

B.J. Johnson wrote that his technique was “dumb luck” at Red Mountain Lake, but has a whopping of a tale (or is that tail) to tell. After not catching anything, he was reeling in his line to leave and it seemed to snag on something, “So I kept reeling it in thinking I had caught a log or something.” But what he caught was a 6 to 7-pound largemouth bass – hooked in the tail. But that’s not all. When B.J. went to put the monster bass on his stringer, the behemoth flipped its tail and landed right back in the lake, where it promptly took off. “It just wasn’t meant to be. It took a few beers to get over it.”

Four-year-old Wyatt Williams fished along with his dad and caught a 19-inch catfish and a 5-inch sunfish using a Scooby Doo fishing pole, a hot dog and chicken liver. “It was awesome to see him catch his first fish,” dad said.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Mark you calendar for the Welcome Back the Trout celebration the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Bass fishing is picking up and anglers are also catching catfish, bluegills and yellow bass. Plastics and crankbaits worked around the ledges and docks can work well during the early morning and right before dark. Channel catfish averaging 1 to 2 pounds will bite stink baits, hot dogs and shrimp. Carp fishing is excellent using corn and dough bait. Remember no gas motors are allowed (trolling motors are) and you must have a boating permit, which can be obtained at the Town Lake operations center. 
LAKE PLEASANT – Water elevation has risen slightly to 1,642 ft (44-percent full).  Marcus Rosales used night crawlers fished on the bottom in the northern part of the lake to catch some nice catfish, including a 5 pounder, but didn’t have any luck using anchovies.

Some have reported good boils at first light, with the action tapering off rapidly as the sun rises. The night action under lights might taper off during the full moon.

Try using poppers, stick baits and jerkbaits at first light. Sometimes, white spinners or curly tails can produce good results, especially for stripers and whites. Slowly retrieving small spoons can also work at times. The topwater action can continue off-and-on throughout the day. There can be a crescendo of action right at sunset.

Once the surface action wanes, try drop shots, Texas-rigged plastics, or Carolina-rigged plastics off the main lake points, islands, reefs and submerged humps.

Late morning stay in the northern portion near the “fingers” of the lake in around 50 feet of water and try KastMasters and Hopkins spoons.

ROOSEVELT LAKE – Water elevation remains at 2,099 feet, which is 42-percent full. It was a bit windy over the weekend, making it tough to catch largemouth bass but better for catching smallies. Anglers were still catching lots of largemouth bass in 17 to 20 feet of water in the Tonto end of the lake using crankbaits, Carolina rigs or drop shots. Also try plastic works along shorelines with submerged trees or brush in 6-15 feet of water. Some anglers have hit a good buzzbie and Vixens elicit some vicious strikes if you cast toward shore.

APACHE – Water elevation is at 1,908 feet, which is 94-percent full. Game and Fish surveys turned up some pretty nice looking largemouth bass. All were real plump and healthy looking. Biologists caught them along the shoreline at night while the bass were cruising for food (doing the same at Saguaro this week). Look for areas with overhanging vegetation and aquatic vegetation along the shoreline. The biologists also scared up a 40-plus-pound flathead and put the big fish right back where they caught it near some large boulders on the south side of the lake.  The biologists emphasized that there are some trophy-sized yellow bass in Apache and some enterprising angler should be able to get into the record books this year. Try fishing the rocky points, especially at night, using meal worms, small spoons and spinners. Also, walleye cruise the rocky points at night as well.

This lake will be stocked with rainbow trout this winter. This coming week, biologists will be stocking the lake with smallmouth bass to kick-start the population, which was devastated in previous years by golden alga blooms.

CANYON – Water level is dropping rapidly. Closed to boating, but fishing along the shoreline is okay – be careful. The lake is being lowered 50 feet for routine dam maintenance, which will last until Jan. 26, 2008.

Because of safety concerns and the smaller capacity of Canyon Lake, the lake will be closed to all recreational boating during the majority of the drawdown. Updates of the drawdown will be available at http://www.srpnet.com/water/dams/lowlevels.aspx.

SAGUARO – Water elevation is 1,528 ft, which is 98-percent full. Fishermen are catching lots of 6- to 8-inch largemouth bass on small spinners and spoons all around the lake. The plentiful young bass are good news for the future of this fishery. There are also reports of small channel catfish, which means they had a good spawn as well. Yellow bass are plentiful. We are surveying the lake this week, so should have some better information real soon on bass populations.

BARTLETT – Water elevation is 1,759 ft, which is 51-percent full. With a slight rise in the water level, some grassy areas became submerged. Frog patterns are working well. You might also want to target this recently submerged grassy areas using plastics, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and topwater lures (depending on weather and time of day). Lots of bass in the 1- to 2-pound range are being caught.

Some anglers have done well fishing for crappies at night, but that bite might wane during the full moon, and pick up with the waning moon.

This is also a superb time to target flathead catfish. Try using live bluegills or small carp as bait in the deeper holes up-lake passed the No Wake buoys.

Scott A. Webster fished with Chris and Mark Miconi and caught bass using plastics, Senkos and Fat Free Shad, but added that the crankbaits had to hit rocks to produce fish.

Anglers report that jigs are working well for largemouth bass and crappie. The topwater action may be a little slow – some say the action is good right at dawn, but quits soon afterward.

Also try spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs and black/silver glitter Hula Grubs. Using drop shots is still a good technique to try. One angler mentioned that crankbaits work pretty well until about 9 a.m., but suggested going deeper after that time frame.

Bass fishing is still good, especially under the no wake line by the Jojoba Boat Ramp fishing in 5 to 8 feet of water. Look for submerged yellow pipe, although it might be difficult to see just looking overboard – you should pick up it with your fish finder. The bass like to hang out there.

This time of year, the fish are being caught in the west end of the lake in the mornings and on the east end of the lake in the evenings.

Flathead catfish are being caught at the upper end of the lake by Ship Rock at night. Fishing is excellent when the moon is full (Oct. 25).

HORSESHOE LAKE – Water elevation is 1953 ft, which is 3-percent full. No reports from anglers.

VERDE RIVER – No reports. Verde River flow at Tangle is 138 cubic feet per second (CFS) and it’s 65 CFS at Camp Verde.
LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – Flows were 925 cfs from Stewart Mountain Dam and 105 from Bartlett Lake. Anglers report doing well on hold-over rainbow trout in deeper holes near the Water Users area and Blue Point Bridge. Riffles feeding into deeper water at doglegs and current eddies in deep holes are still producing well for trout, with many fish over 13 inches long.

Bass anglers have been doing well for some largemouth fish (3 to 5 pounds) fishing the Granite Reef areas from float tubes while using drop-shot rigs or Texas-rigged worms and lizards in the flats along the edge of the deeper channel.

Chris Williams caught three bass over 5 pounds using a purple Westy Worm in a back eddy below Water Users.

Dennis Wyman caught 17 trout ranging from 10 to 17 inches by floating night crawlers with no weight in a hole just after the rapids near Blue Point. “I can’t believe we are catching trout in the Salt River this late in the year. They are very healthy! Most were released; however some tasty ones went home with us.”

William B. Warner recently fished at and below the Blue Point Bridge and caught 14 rainbow trout and three carp (plus three break-offs) drifting dough balls with no weight, adding that the higher flows have changed some of the holes. CREEKS – Brown trout are staging for the spawn in the creeks along the Mogollon Rim. Fly fishing is the way to go using terrestrial dry flies or mayfly nymphs. Fishing should be pretty good for another week or two.

GREEN VALLEY LAKE, PAYSON – This is an urban program lake was stocked last week with 450 pounds of rainbow trout – which is 100 pounds more than the traditional stocking amount. It should be going great gangbusters this weekend. This is a great lake for the kids – give it a try.

HORSETHIEF BASIN LAKE – Mike Parks said the only thing he caught was a sunburn, but the weather was so perfect it was worth it. “Saw several largemouths. Lake is real low, lots of deer and javelina in the area.”

This tiny lake can be found up in the Bradshaw Mountains near Crown King. The lake sits in the pines and is good for a canoe or car topper. There are also improved campsites near the lake. During a recent survey, lots of largemouth bass averaging a pound and red ear sunfish nice pan size were observed. Redears love mealworms and night crawlers. No recent angler reports.

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