Arizona Central Waters Fishing Report

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October 29th, 2009

URBAN LAKES – Catfishing at Urban lakes continues to be good to excellent with fall stockings well underway.  Not much change in the top baits for channel cats: shrimp, stink baits and hot dogs.  Activity is best in the evening and early morning with cooler temperatures making the cats active during mid-day periods as well.

Bluegill and bass are biting well in the early mornings as they seek to fatten up before winter sets in.  The special fall stocking of bluegill is scheduled for the week of Oct. 26-31, so make sure to take the kids, grandkids or a friend.  Earthworms, mealworms or a piece of hot dog on a small hook under a small bobber will keep you and the youngsters busy catching bluegill.

The Green Valley Lakes (Payson) received the first delivery of rainbow trout on Oct. 20, kicking off an eight-month trout stocking season.  Fishing should be excellent for the 11-14 inch trout.  Best trout baits include Power Bait, small spinners and lures, and worms.  Green Valley anglers continue to have success catching bass, bluegill and crappie.


  • All UFP waters in Phoenix area and Tucson area - Last stocked catfish Oct. 9 (second of four fall stockings). Next stocking, catfish the week of Oct. 19-24 and sunfish the week of Oct. 26-31.
  • Green Valley Lakes (Payson) - Stocked with trout on Tuesday, Oct. 20.

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Mark your calendars — the Welcome Back the Trout celebration is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving again (just like years past), starting at 3 p.m. We will be doing a fishing clinic, so even if you don’t have a fishing license, you can legally fish if you are signed up for the clinic. Bring the youngsters after school — this is a great treat right before turkey day.
By the way, this lake has been named the “Best in Phoenix” by the New Times.

Mealworms or earthworms usually will get you bass, catfish or redear if fished off the bottom with a weighted leader of about 18 inches.  Bluegill will take mealworms or worm pieces fished under a bobber.  Try crayfish imitations both the soft plastics and crankbait as an alternative.

Here are some nice reports:

“Hit Tempe Town Lake this morning with a buddy. Fished the north side east of Rural/Scottsdale Rd. Caught 6 mirror carp in the 4- to 10-pound range using corn and dough balls. Also caught 2 channel cats about 2 lbs each. All in all a fun morning.”

For those tilapia fishermen, here is another tidbit from an angler:  “There are quite a few in front of the bridge at Rural Road.  Use worms and a slip bobber at about 7 feet deep.”

Another angler gives this report and a warning:  “Hit up TTL yesterday afternoon. Only caught 1 lmb on a t-rig. Caught one yellow bass on a CB. Saw 2 guys fishing in an aluminum boat and almost got run over by the fleet of row boats.”

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 - Lake elevation 1651 ft (49% full).

A couple fisherman fished Pleasant at night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. while anchored in the main lake by Castle Creek in 70 feet of water.  They used anchovies (also chummed a bit) under a green light.  They steadily caught stripers although some were small.  They kept 25 and the biggest 6 were close to 3 pounds.

With a full moon on Nov. 2, submersible lights won’t be as effective, but chumming can still work once you locate a school of stripers. Our research studies show that his time of year, the stripers will orient more toward the northern coves. Whether day or night, try over the submerged creek channels, which act as underwater fish freeways. Chumming can work well with frozen anchovies, but spoons during the daytime can also get you fish. Try small KastMasters.
ROOSEVELT LAKE – Lake Elevation is 2132 ft (77-percent full).  Tonto Creek runoff is 0 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 129 cfs.

A cold front and possible windy conditions this week could drop the lake temperatures below optimum. During the windy days, fish the rocky shorelines using crayfish-like lures for smallmouth bass. It is possible that fish will go deeper if the lake temperatures drop significantly, but it’s a wait-and-see proposition.

However, the cooler temperatures this week may make it better for quail hunting, so maybe plan to do a cast-and-blast.

A fisherman caught 20 fish mostly on drop shot and a few on crankbait, Rat-L-Trap and Texas-rigged worms.  Water temps were in the high 60’s and warmed into the low 70’s by mid-day.  Most fish were caught before 10 am.

Another angler had a tough day of it and caught 4 largemouth using drop shot then the bite died and nothing the angler threw at them worked for the rest of the day.

A couple anglers caught 9 bass using Texas rigged worms in the shoreline brush.  On the previous day drop shot worked the best and they caught 14 in the morning and then the wind picked up and the bite died.

An experienced fisherman fished Monday morning and did real well trolling the Tonto end catching 18 crappie, 6 yellow bass, and 3 largemouth in 20 to 25 feet of water then they went out again on Thursday and only caught 2 largemouth, 2 yellow bass and 2 bluegill and no crappie trolling the same area.
APACHE - Lake elevation is 1,906 feet (92 percent full).

Here is a good report:
“I fished Apache twice during the week of Oct 10, a total of 14 hours + or -. I caught about 15 fish, all LM except 1 SM. The two or three largest were maybe 13″, about half between 11″ and 13″, the smallest few were very small, clearly this year’s spawn. The SM was about 13″. All fish seemed healthy; the larger fish were chunky and well developed.”

This is from Bill of Game and Fish who conducted the survey on Apache a couple weeks ago at Apache:
“Things are looking great. Both LMB and SMB were very healthy and it looks like we have some smallmouth recruitment. We also caught a lot of small walleye (8-10”) and just about one at every site.
Largemouth Bass

Below Slot: 639
Within Slot: 60
Above Slot: 9
Total: 708

27 recaptures

Young of year: 17
Below Slot: 23
Within Slot: 4
Above Slot: 0
Total: 44

27 recaptures

< 12 inches: 166
> 12 inches: 9
Total: 175”

Angler report:


First time reporting to you. Thank you for your reports I have read them every week and the information is very useful.

This past weekend my family and I fished Apache Lake from the shoreline. We had 6 small bass on worms from the bottom. In the early afternoon I started to throw a chartreuse and gold bladed bass spinner, it was rigged with an extra stinger hook that I place a 3″ silver swim bait body on it. Stared by the west boat ramp and dragged it through the shadows cast by the wall. Four bass about 17 inches were caught there. We moved to the point over by the ranger station and drifted worms there. We caught 2 8-inch channel cats there and one 22″ cat took the spinnerbait I was throwing earlier, never had that happen before. Took 3 more largemouths off that point. Had some hits that I missed on the spinnerbait that chewed the plastic bait up suspect walleyes were chasing it. We spent only 5 hours there but the kids loved the fishing consistent enough to keep them focused.

All in all
7 Largemouth’s
3 Channels
Bait: Night crawlers, Chartreuse And gold willow blade 1/4 ounce Spinner with Plastic silver and white swim bait on the stinger hook.

Eric Seif
CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,658 ft, which is 97-percent full. If we get rain, there can be some spectacular waterfalls at this lake. Also, bighorn sheep numbers in the area are looking better, which means your chances of seeing them have also improved over previous years (the same at Saguaro and Apache).

A float tube angler fished the boulder creek area and caught a smallmouth bass.  There are a few in there. That area is real good for bluegill and yellow bass as well.

When the expected winds come this week, try using crayfish-like lures for smallmouth and possible largemouth bass as well. Apparently the fish have gone deep at Saguaro already, so it is possible they are deep here as well, so if you can’t connect at the top of the water column, go deep.

This lake can be tough to fish, but experienced anglers might just land a new state largemouth bass record. This lake is also full of fesity yellow bass — try gold KastMasters or yellow spinners.

SAGUARO LAKE - Lake elevation 1,525 feet at 92% full.

The fish have gone deep at Saguaro. An experienced angler found the shad 28 to 32 feet deep; yellow bass, largemouth and bluegill are at that depth too.  He also noted the young of year yellow bass are in that depth range as well. You can find fish in the channels and other deep water areas. Surface temps are in the 60s and surface action is pretty much nonexistent.

BARTLETT - Lake elevation is 1,768 ft, which is 60-percent full.  Reservoir release is 1,250 cfs., so this lake is dropping fairly rapidly, which can help the bite at times.

An angler fished from sunrise to 10 a.m. and boated 10 keeper fish.  He threw a handful of small ones back.  The bass were all caught on spinner baits, crankbaits and Texas-rigged plastic worms. Most the fish were around 1.5 pounds.

Another angler fished from 1pm to sunset using jigs with twin tails in 25 feet of water.  He caught 7 bass with the biggest one about 3.2 pounds.

An angler warns of some islands barely exposed, so pay attention as the water is dropping fast and there are quite a few unmarked obstacles.  Lots of fish are in the main lake and secondary points around 8 feet of water and deeper.

Bill Eveland said several anglers have reported good numbers of Crappie been caught up river trolling crankbaits and grubs. Plus much to my surprises many small Crappie under 10” are being caught. This is very good news as for the past few years we have worried that Bartlett Crappie may not be spawning. The only catch is that SRP in drawing the lake down for dam inspections/ repairs and the water level is dropping fast. Because of this the bite has started to slow down a little so the time to try Bartlett is now. And be careful up river as there may be hazards that are not marked yet.

HORSESHOE – Lake elevation is at 1967 feet; no pool.  They are releasing water at 25 cfs.

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 135 cubic feet per second.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 1,250 cfs..

SALT RIVER – Salt River into Roosevelt is 129 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 119 cfs.  The shift to the Verde River side has occurred and SRP is only releasing 8 cfs out of Stewart Mountain Dam from Saguaro.

LOWER SALT RIVER — The shift has occurred; SRP is now releasing 8 cfs from Stewart Mtn. Dam (below Saguaro Lake) and the release out of Bartlett into the Verde River is 1,250 cfs. This is the typically late-fall/early-winter pattern.  This stretch of river near Tempe and Mesa is scheduled to start getting its winter trout stockings on the first week of November, but it is still possible to catch bass and even some holdover trout in the deeper pools. The stockings will occur at the Phon D. Sutton and Granite Reef areas below the confluence with the Verde River.
Try wooly buggers and minnow streamers for the wild browns.  Nymphs, hares ears and pheasant tails are also enticing the bite.

* Haigler Creek – Has not been stocked since July.
* Canyon Creek – No recent reports.  Stocked again last week with 180 rainbow trout.
* Tonto Creek –   No recent reports. Has not been stocked since August.
* Christopher Creek – Has been stocked since July.
* East Verde – No recent reports. Has not been stocked since July.
* Workman Creek – No recent reports. Has not bee stocked since May.

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