Central Waters

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August 6th, 2009

URBAN LAKES – Early risers (4 or 5 a.m.) are catching bass and sunfish using T-rigged senkos or Robo Worms.  Live worms fished on the bottom with a lengthy leader will work for the picky eaters.  The fish are spooky, so don’t let them see you if you can avoid it.  Don’t forget the 13 inch minimum size limit.

Catfish stockings have ceased for the summer and won’t commence again until water temperatures and conditions improve in mid to late Sepetember. But anglers at many lakes are still catching catfish, bluegill and even bass. Don’t expect great catch rates, but these lakes are still worth a visit especially at first and last light.

Where:Pagago Pond #3
Caught:Catfish, bass and sunfish
Technique:The catfish were all caught using night crawlers fishing on the bottom with a small split shot. The bass 3in plastic worm and top water lures.
Comments:All these fish were caught just before sunset and we were the only ones fishing pond #3 at the time

Where: Water Ranch
When: 07/15/09
Caught: sunfish and catfish
Technique: mealworm under a bobber
Comments: Sunfish bite is hot. White amur are everywhere. catfish willing to eat anything. All by the bridge.
Name: Andy

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 5 in. 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 – A couple anglers fished the south side of the Rural Bridge from 6:30 to 9 a.m. and caught 12 keeper size bluegill using meal worms for bait. Meal worms can also catch the plentiful yellow bass (aka stripies) as well.

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. Mark your calendars for Dec. 12 to help celebrate this lake’s birthday.

Where:Tempe Town Lake south side near bridge
Caught:Bluegills 7 in 30 minutes
Technique:We used meal worms
Comments:My 5 and 8 year old kids have tried on three prior trips to catch a fish in this place with no luck using corn and red worms. We switched to meal worms and “bingo” fish and happy fisher people!!!

Where: Tempe Town Lake south side near bridge
When: 07/16/09
Caught: Bluegills 7 in 30 minutes
Technique: We used meal worms
Comments: My 5 and 8 year old kids have tried on three prior trips to catch a fish in this place with no luck using corn and red worms. We switched to meal worms and “bingo” fish and happy fisher people!!!
Name: Tony

LAKE PLEASANT - No recent update on the lake level was available.

An angler set up a green light at the entrance of one of the northern coves.  Stripers showed up around 11:30 and he caught 15 stripers between 2 to 4 pounds using anchovies for bait.  Big bluegill were hanging closer to shore and he caught about 12 large ones, no indication what he was using.  Typically they will go after mealworms and spoons such as KastMasters.

However, with the advent of the full moon on Aug. 5, submerged lights won’t work as well except when the moon is in the most eastern or western extremes of its journey across the night sky. Check moon rise and set times to figure out the best times.

Morning boils are small and are often short in duration.  Most of the stripers and largemouth in the boils are juvenile fish.  The bigger largemouth bass are using cover and don’t seem to be real interested in leaving that protection.  Dropshott method entices some larger bass but the bite disappears as the day wears on.  Spoons can work well at times, especially when worked below the feeding frenzies at the surface.

Striper night fishermen did pretty well.  Fishing was on and off throughout the night and early morning.  Fishing was pretty good between 11:30pm and 2am in the Scorpion Bay area using anchovies.  An angler made a nice discovery; his Octopus Hook worked a lot better than ones with a longer shank.  The best fishing for these two anglers was between 3:30 and 6:45 a.m.  Action was non-stop with many doubles.  Most were 3 and 4 pound fat, strong, aggressive fish.  The final tally for these two anglers was 100 stripers and they noticed the stripers they cleaned had eaten a lot of crayfish.  Looks like these bigger stripers did not waste their time chasing shad with all the little juvenile fish.  Good to know.

Where: Lake Pleasant
When: 07/14/09
Caught: lots of largemouth and stripers and one white bass
Technique: Zara Spooks, dropshot, and little jigs
Comments: fun fun fun
Name: Andrew Althaus

Not every angler is reeling them in but a little patience and the right bait choice at the right time goes a long way.  The larger stripers are deep so get your bait down fast to avoid the little sneaky ones from stealing your bait.  Don’t forget if you don’t use anchovies they eat shad 99-percent of the time so you need to present an irresistible morsel they recognize or at least tricks them.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake Elevation is 2,142 ft (89-percent full).  Tonto Creek runoff is 0 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 133 cfs.

An angler fished the Salt end with crankbait and spinnerbait before dark and reeled in a couple largemouth.  Once it was dark Texas-rigged worms were the way to go.  He caught 6 overs, 6 unders and 13 slot fish.

Morning and day fishing isn’t as productive according to some reports.  A couple very experienced anglers fished the Salt end in the morning and only caught 2 bluegills while trolling for crappie.  The bass weren’t cooperating either.

Fishing the Tonto end isn’t too shabby in the evenings either.  Some anglers fished from 7 to 10:30 p.m. and caught 15 bass; one was over the slot, 12 were in the slot and 2 were under the slot.  Before the sun went down they caught 1 on a Pop-R and 1 on a crankbait.  They caught the majority of the fish  were taking 4.5” red cut-tail worms fished in 18 to 25 feet of water on a 3/16th oz shakeyhead.  They also noticed the fishing was much slower when the moon dipped behind the mountains.

A note to novice anglers (from Diana) – weather patterns make a big difference in the bite, in the summertime night time fishing isn’t just for catfish, and the fish are fickle sometimes you are not throwing what they want or moving it in a way that attracts their attention.  Sometimes even the “big boys” have an off night.  If you have a tendency to zero in on the lake you are going to fish, it helps to read Rory’s Tips to gain some valuable insight.

APACHE -  Lake elevation is 1906 ft (92-percent full). Anglers are catching quite a few bass using T-rigged green and yellow colored worms and also red and blue Robo Worms.  Use your dropshot the points where the substrate drops off.  Spinnerbaits are also enticing the bite.  Don’t forget to try Turtle Island, Goat Ledge and Mazatzal Bay.  Use KastMasters or live worm pieces or mealworms at the drop-offs near the points and ledges for yellow bass.  Carp are hanging in the shallow coves.   Apache Lake catfish like those live worms.

CANYON LAKE -Lake elevation is 1,657 ft, which is 94-percent full. Four fun loving carp fishermen had a great time at Canyon Lake.  They baited a promising yet shore accessible area for a week before their big adventure.  They fished 6 to 10:30 a.m. and caught 24 carp; none were less than 10 pounds.  The largest was about 20 pounds and all were caught on hair rigs using artificial and real corn (boiled feeder corn).  The carp were jumping as soon as the anglers showed up at the site and they had several double hook ups and one triple hook up.  They used 14-25 lb test and still had some that broke off.

Part of the same group fished Teddy Bear point and dropshotted worms from 9:30 to 11:00am and landed 19 largemouth bass and one smallmouth.  Most of the bass were between 10-14 inches and all were released unharmed.

SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation 1524 feet at 92-percent full.  A night angler fished from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and caught 7 slot bass dropshotting with 4 inch black and blue Robos.  He also T-rigged 10 inch Power Worms which enticed 5 more  bass; this technique resulted in a couple larger fish, one four pounder and two three pounders.

Where: Saguaro
When: 07/07/09
Caught: Largemouth, Bluegill, Green sunfish
Technique: Small jigs with 1″ grubs or micro craws ultralight tackle fished just off the bottom in 3-11 feet. Surface temp was 83.
Comments: Fished from 1 pm to 5:30 pm in backs of mid-lake coves, My grandson Derek caught his 1st, 2nd and 3rd fish ever! We ended up with 27 fish including 1 slot largemouth.
Name: Jim Lindquist

BARTLETT – Lake elevation is 1795 ft, which is 95-percent full.  Reservoir release is 115 cfs.

An angler night fished from 5 to 10 p.m. and caught a bunch of small largemouth bouncing an Excalibur Fat Free Shad crankbait in rocky areas.  Four inch Robo Worms on drop shots also brought in a few bass as well as T-rigged worms.  The largest bass was about 3.5 pounds.

Editor’s Note: With all its twists and turns, along with plentiful reefs, this can be a challenging lake to fish at night for those who are not familiar with it.  Full moon nights can be best, but don’t expect your submersible lights to work their magic like on darker nights.

Where: Bartlett
When: 07/28/09
Caught: one channel cat
Technique: live or cut bluegill
Comments: You can’t get back to the flats the lake is ridiculously full.  You need a boat to do any good fishing
Name: Chase Lupfer

Rory’s note: For short-hitting fish batting topwater lures around, try using a trailer hook, or even a front-runner-type of smaller lure fished in tandem with a larger one (Zara pooch in front or behind a Zara Spool for instance). Another technique is to have a small soft-plastic jerkbait like a Bass Assassin or fluke as a trailer for something like a Zara Spook or even a popper, then hesitate the walk-the-dog action and let the trailer flutter down – sometimes you’ll catch the hesitant hawgs that way.
HORSESHOE – Lake elevation is at 1,952 feet. No pool.  They are releasing water at 100 cfs. The best place for flatheads, bass and sunfish is in the deep pools just below the dam. A wiggling ball of multiple live night crawlers on a small treble hook might just get you the fight of the summer.
VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 162 cubic feet per second.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 115 cfs.

SALT RIVER – Salt River into Roosevelt is 165 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 148 cfs.  They are releasing 1,425 cfs out of Stewart Mountain Dam from Saguaro.

LOWER SALT RIVER – (below Saguaro Lake) Stewart Mtn. Dam release is 1,675 cfs, making it great for tubing, canoes or kayaks. There still might be some trout left to catch, but mostly its bass, catfish and sunfish right now. Try floating while armed with a night crawler fished with a small split-shot weight. This stretch of river is perfect for the fishing kayaks.


Terrestrials are the ticket right now; hoppers, ant patterns and cicadas (if you hear them buzz).  You want to be there early or real late so you  are the first to get on the water and hit the undercut shoreline and deeper holes.  In our past sampling you would be amazed how many bigger fish are in what seems like little holes.

Haigler Creek –  Haigler received the full load of rainbow trout last week because the water temps were cold enough to support trout.  This is a week to week situation.  Fish the deeper holes that’s where they will be and get there early.

Canyon Creek – Low water spooky fish.  Dry flies (hoppers) size 8 to 14 are doing well along with dropper rigs sizes 14 to 18 nymphs below it.  Anglers are saying the better fishing is in the catch and release area.

Christopher Creek – I’ve heard good reports from the upper See Canyon section. The lower section was not stocked due to water temperature issues. As with the other creeks, try terrestrials, especially grashoppers or cicadas.

East Verde -  Water temperatures are too warm to stock trout so they will not get trout this week.

Workman Creek – One recent report.
Chris: Hey Guys! went fishing weekend of the 4th Workmans Creek, what a great little secret it is!! Not sure if the fish I caught were recent stockers or holdovers from previous but all were fat and healthy including 1 18-inch whopper!! 7 total! Had a Blast!

Thx Az Game and Fish for all the work you do! You Guys are Great!!!!! A Fan!!

If you care to share a fishing report, please call Region 6, (480) 981-9400 and ask for Diana.

2 Responses to “Central Waters”

  1. Martin Pittmann on August 11th, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Saguaro Lk:
    8/9&10/2009 Went night fishing, with my grandson, for the first time this year. Trolling motor was out, so went to my favorite spots and ancored in. Despite the handicapped motor we managed to catch 21 bass, 3 cats, and 1 blue gill. Used a bit of everything but found the Senko in anything dark, weightless, and rigged weedless to be the most effective. We increased our catch when we went to Smelly Jelly “Crawfish” to enhance the process. Grandson caught his first bass and that moment was great.

  2. Wanted to report on some city parks in Gilbert. First I tried Freestone, didn’t catch anything but some kids caught what looked like a sunfish or a blue gill. Next went to Water Ranch by the library and caught a channel cat using a gold panther martin spinner size 2. Finally stopped by Crossroads park and caught 5 sunfish, all on the small side, with the same panther martin.

    Gilbert has a lot of these small ponds on their park grounds. Most require a regular fishing license; only Water Ranch requires an urban license. I recommend these parks for families with kids. Great way to introduce youngsters to the sport.

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