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June 24th, 2009

URBAN FISHING REPORT – All 20 of the Phoenix and Tucson area Urban Fishing Program lakes were stocked with catfish the week of June 8-13.  Water conditions and pH levels are good at all lakes and golden alga is currently under control.

Arizona’s annual free fishing days are celebrated on June 6 and 13 as part of National Fishing and Boating Week.  On these Saturdays, no fishing license is required for persons fishing any of the Urban Fishing Program lakes or other statewide waters.

Fishing is good to excellent for channel catfish at Urban waters.  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.

Angler reports:

I took some of my lunchtime today and walked around Chaparral Lake and watched a dad fishing with his son. Within 20 min. I saw him pull in 2 nice catfish. This was between 12:00 and 12:30. Using hotdogs under a bobber.  That’s just the ones he hooked.  He was getting action as soon as the line hit the water. He had another pole out, fishing the bottom, with stink bait. Not a bite.

Just thought I’d share.

Thomas Podborny

Where: Papago Park lake
When: 05/31/09
Caught: 2 Sunfish, and 2 Catfish
Technique: Earth Worms
Comments: Papago park lake is great and relaxing place to fish.
Name: Daniel Garcia Jr
Where: Chaparral lake
When: 05/30/09
Caught: 1- channel cat, 5-largemouth bass(none keepers) 1-Bluegill(not a keeper)
Technique: Mealworms and night crawlers and Power Bait on bottom. Between sun-up and 11am. Night crawlers attracted best. Bass bit on mealworms on the bottom. Power Bait didn’t attract today. Caught 3 lb catfish with Night Crawlers.
Comments: Watch-out for the hungry Blue Heron. He knows when you’ve caught a fish and is looking for hand outs.
Name: Phill and Dylan Williams

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: hot dog
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 – Bass fishing is slow during the day.  Fish can be caught before 8 am and after 6 pm at times. Try crank baits and rubber worms around the ledges and docks.  Minnows under a slip bobber will work as well.  A good mixed bag of yellows, catfish and sunfish can also be caught this way.  A good place to try is under the loop 202 underpass in the northeast side of the lake. Yellow bass and bluegill are plentiful in the 5- to 7-inch range and will bite mealworms or night crawlers. Channel catfish averaging 1 to 2 pounds will bite stink baits, hotdogs and shrimp. Carp fishing is excellent.
LAKE PLEASANT – Water level is at 1,689 feet (85-percent full). Good action for white bass and stripers can be had by the towers down by the dam. Try using a 1-inch white curly-tail grub on a 1/16-ounce jig. Let the jig sink about 20 seconds before retrieving.

There have been some reports of stripers busting shad in the morning but it sounds like it can be hit or miss.  Looks for the boils on the surface.  Crappie fishing can be good at times in the northern coves; try jigs or live minnows in 12 to18 feet of water around brush. Bass are generally in the post-spawn mode and have moved off points and deeper mouths of coves.

Early morning topwater can be good, but generally fish have switched to the summer mode where dropshotting at night can be very productive.  Drop-shotting is the technique of choice, tight lines. Power Worms, jigs, Carolina-rigs and Westy Worms are proven producers.  Catfish are biting well at night on hotdogs and shrimp.

ROOSEVELT LAKE – The lake is 97-percent full at elevation 2,149 feet. The Salt River was flowing at 191 cfs Monday morning and Tonto Creek was recorded at 3 cfs.

Anglers are currently catching large numbers of bass, lots of overs lately. Topwater action is good when and where shad are boiling. Fishing off points in 10-25 feet of water has been effective as well as in areas of stick ups and brush. Live shad or minnows are also good baits either with bobbers or free-lined.

Crappie fishing has slowed some during the day, but should is good at night under submersible lights.  Try the Windy Hill area and also the shore south of Cholla ramp. Minnows under slip bobbers and jigs 1/32-ounce cast into the brush will be the trick. Catfishing should be good for both flatheads and channels.

Fishing for smallmouth bass can be good; especially on windy days. Try areas where waves are stirring up the rocky shoreline. Use in-line spinners and crayfish imitations especially off rocky points and cliff walls and live night crawlers. Remember the slot is in place for smallmouth as well.

Bluegills are spawning: this is a great time to take the kids out. Try the backs of coves, especially around structure. Nice bluegills have been caught recently around Windy Hill and Salome.

Note: anglers are reminded of the slot bass size limit that remains in effect at Roosevelt. Bass between 13 to 16 inches must be released immediately. Also those bass below 13 inches and above 16 inches that are kept can only be gutted with the head and tail attached so the legal length can be determined. All other fish such as crappie, catfish and bluegill harvested from the lake must have a piece of skin attached to the fillets so species can be determined.

Don Stich: Thought i would give you a 2wk.report. Fishing partner Rick took 2 guys with
him Sun night of Memorial weekend. Salt River end. Fished all night. Caught well over 100 crappies using jigs & minnows. 32-35ft. of water.Fish were at 12-15ft.

The kicker was, they kept 51. All 2lbs. or over. Best trip in a couple of years. Also a number of bass-all returned & yellow bass. That got me excited so took my old buddy Roy Wed. June 3rd. Same area Salt end.

Senior moment. ALMOST FULL MOON. Final score was 32 nice bluegills, 24
crappie, 5 yellow bass: 12 of the crappies were right at 2lbs. Crappies on jigs & minnows & gills on mealworms. Same depth; 32-35ft. The moon really jinxed us. Still a good night, quit at 12:30 a.m.

Ryan Grubs: 1-18″ Smallmouth at daybreak, 1-24′” channel at 8 a.m., 6 huge blue gill, dozen or so 8 to 12 in largemouth. Couldn’t find Crappie or Lunker Largemouth; great time fishing though fish were active all around us. fished 3 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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.

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.

APACHE – Lake is 95-percent full at 1,909 feet. Fishing has been good for yellow bass. Yellow bass are hitting jigs and spoons. Fish for them around balls of shad in 20-60 feet of water. Cut bait also works well for them.  Largemouth bass fishing is slow.  There is a certified scale at the marina boathouse.

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 is 93-percent full at 1,656 feet. Bass fishing has transitioned to dawn/dusk and then good at night. For bass, drop shotting (fish slow, letting the worm rest on the bottom for a few seconds at a time) is still the method of choice. Senkos and Westy Worms have also been catching fish. Don’t expect high catch rates, but it is always possible to catch a hawg here, especially for more skilled bass anglers.

Night fishing for bass is also good at this time.  This is also a great lake for yellow bass; jig spoons in and around balls of shad. A few walleye are being caught trolling along cliffs. Shad imitation Rat-L-Traps can be effective for walleye here.

Angler reports
Bob Dickinson: My son bobby caught this bass Memorial Day early fishing the shore line. Throwing Panther Martins and Rat-L-Traps, caught 10 largemouth, 5 strippies{yellow bass}, and 7 bluegills. All catch-and-release. Great morning of fishing, then the lake got real busy. Fished from 4:30am till 10:30.

Might be going to Willow Springs this Saturday, if I do you will get a report from me. My son and his friend went to Roosevelt Friday and Saturday, June 13. Got blown off the lake did catch a couple of slot largemouth on cordell spots and one crappie at night on a night crawler way back in the Tonto end. They left early Saturday wind chapped and tired of fighting it.

Hope to see you on the water someday. Good fishing – Bob

SAGUARO LAKE – Lake level is 1,524 feet (90-percent full).

Fishing is decent for largemouth bass. Some are being caught with drop-shot rigs as well as Texas and Carolina rigged worms.

Yellow bass can be caught jigging spoons (quarter-ounce KastMaster) or cut bait. Recent reports of yellows are being caught in the Butcher Jones Cove area. Another good area for yellows is near Ship Rock and the no wake buoys in the channel. Try to locate shad in 40-60 feet of water and jig through them.

Catfishing is improving. Try stink baits, hotdogs or shrimp. There is a certified scale at the marina to get an official weight and still release your catch. Two witnesses are needed for the weight to be official.

Barry Johnston: Went to Saguaro on recently at 5 a.m., using minnows off the second pier down from the boat ramps. His first four attempts landed him LM, the smallest being 8″ and the largest being 18″ using a slip bobber about 15 feet above the hook.  After the LM’s quit biting the yellows started hitting, and he anded about 15.

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 level is at 1,797 feet (90-percent full).

Bass fishing is good. Again early and late with night fishing be the most productive right now. Crawdad imitations and worming rigs (drop shots and Texas-rigs) are producing.

Some anglers are picking up crappies in the 2-pound range near the buoy line upriver using Kalin 1/16-ounce black/blue/chartreuse jigs. This is a good time to switch to night fishing for crappies: they should be in larger schools congregated in open water, quite often off the major points, islands and reefs or over suberged woody habitat.

This is an excellent time to target flathead and channel catfish.

Bluegills are on the beds and big flatheads can often be found raiding those nests in the backs of coves or along rocky ledges. Use live bait such as bluegill or small carp for the flatheads and shrimp, hotdogs or stink bait for the channels. Remember the live bait most come from the lake itself (excluding minnows, waterdogs or worms) not transported from another body of water! This is a good time to take the kids bluegill fishing. Mealworms and a small bobber in the backs of rocky coves can be the ticket.
Bartlett last wed after the storm 2 of my buddies boated 100 bass in 4 hrs topwater bite & jigging was the ticket

Hey Rory – Went to Bartlet last night,Sunday (two weeks ago), fished from 8 p.m. til 3 a.m. Caught 15 largemouth, mostly Texas rig, a couple on crankbaits, rattletrap type. Nothing big 1 to 2 pounds. They weren’t hitting hard real subtle, lost several at the boat. My friend had one to the boat that would have gone 5lbs. at least. Broke his line. Take care

Bob Dickinson

HORSESHOE – Lake elevation is at 1951 feet, 0-percent full.  They are releasing water at 150 cfs.

Hey someone fished Horseshoe from safe light to about 11:30 a.m. and caught three healthy largemouth bass using the drop shot method.  They ranged between 1.5 and 3 pounds.  The launch ramp is out of the water by about 10 feet and with the water release so high the lake will be back to river status real quick.  Don’t forget there are still some real nice catfish behind the spillway according to one knowledgeable catfisherman.

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 126 cubic feet per second.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 250 cfs.

SALT RIVER – Salt River into Roosevelt is 194 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 190 cfs.  They are releasing 1225 cfs out of Stewart Mountain dam from Saguaro.
The upper Salt has quite a few flatheads that readily take live or dead red shiners and sunfish caught via live bait or in the case of shiners cast nets while you are out there.  Chicken liver will work as well.
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 – (below Saguaro Lake) – This is the tail-end of the season, so get your last trip in to fish this amazing stretch of river in the desert. Rainbow trout were stocked recently at Blue Point Bridge and Water Users Park.  Try inline spinners, Power Bait or drifting night crawlers.  Fly-fishing can be good with nymphs, Painted ladies and Wooly Buggers. We have mixed angler reports: some aren’t catching many fish, others are catching limits. Try wading out to the faster, deeper runs with deeper running baits (flies, worms or whatever). Don’t ignore the largemouth bass — try the deeper holes.

Some bass can be found in the portion above the Verde confluence.  Fish early or late to avoid the barrage of inner tubes.

Haigler Creek is stocked weekly with rainbow trout near the campgrounds.  These fish can be easily taken using bait, spinners and a variety of flies.  The upper hike in section (from Fisherman’s Point) has good numbers of wild rainbows and some large wild browns.  Try attractor patterns and small beadhead nymphs like hares ear, copper john and prince nymphs.

Canyon Creek – The upstream portion of Canyon Creek (above OW Bridge) is stocked weekly with rainbow trout and you can keep 4 trout of any size.  Bait, spinners, and flies are very effective for the rainbows.  The lower section below OW Bridge contains primarily wild brown trout and is catch and release only using artificial flies and lures.  Please obey these regulations.  This time of year terrestrials can provide some good action.  Try using a grasshopper pattern and dropping a small beadhead nymph off of it. Don’t be afraid to fish for the larger browns after dark.  Try using wolly buggers, muddler minnows or even a floating mouse pattern.  Fishing can be slow but you might be rewarded with a large brown trout.

Christopher Creek – Christopher Creek is stocked weekly with rainbow trout.  The section of stream near the See Canyon trailhead contains a nice mix of stocked rainbow trout and wild browns.  This is a really nice section of stream to fish.  Try your typical trout arsenal.

Tonto Creek – Upper Tonto Creek (above Hwy 260) is stocked weekly with rainbow trout.  Try the usual stuff.  There are good numbers of wild rainbow and brown trout downstream of Bear Flat.  The hiking is strenuous and you should be prepared to swim if you plan to fish very far.

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.


  1. Hey Rory, I’d like to get in on some of the striper fishing @ Lake Pleasant. All I have is an inflatable boat with no motor. I don’t want to be paddling all over. Is there a good place at Pleasant to fish from the shore for stripers? Or is there a place that isn’t too far to paddle to fish from my inflatable? You mentioned the towers by the dam; where is that?

  2. Brian;

    There are intact towers near the dam – it’s the only structure you can see in the water there. However, the area is closed off the boaters from safety. But basically stripers will congregate near the dam.

    But what I really recommend for you is to go to the Castle Creek end of the lake (go past the main entrance to the park on Castle Hot Springs Road, and when you come to a T-intersection, turn left (not right to the 4-lane launch ramp). That will take you to where the road crosses the upper end of the Castle Creek arm of the lake. It’s a wakeless area, making it much safer for your type of fishing. At first and last light, stripers like to forage in the coves. Look for topwater boils. Keep a firm grip on your fishing pole. Stripers can hit like a runaway locomotive.

  3. Fishing report: Well we got there Friday(6/26) just before sunset. We fished from about 8pm to 2am. We chummed with the fish heads and tails of cut up anchovies and used the rest for bait. We went through 3 bags of anchovies. Caught mostly channel cats, two stripers, and 1 white bass. The bass were no record breakers but did catch two channel cats that were pushing 4 lbs each. We were using 2/0 circle hooks no weights and submersible green light.

  4. Uh oh, where is “There?” Good report, sounds like a great time, but probably need to know what lake you were fishing.


  5. http://www.azgfd.net/fish/central-arizona/central-region-fishing-report/2009/06/24/comment-page-1/#comment-3396

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