Central Waters Fishing Report

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November 5th, 2009

URBAN LAKES – Catfish Season to end, Trout Stockings start Nov. 16

The fall catfish stocking season wraps up the week of November 2-7 with another 14,000 pounds of fish delivered to the 20 Urban Fishing Program waters in the Phoenix and Tucson areas.  Starting in a couple weeks, fish stocking trucks change from delivering channel catfish to rainbow trout.  Lake temperatures are within five degrees of the 65 degree target for trout.  The winter trout stocking season is scheduled to begin Monday, November 16.  Trout ranging from 10-12 inches will be stocked at two-week intervals throughout the winter.  Over 100,000 trout from Colorado have been ordered for delivery to Urban waters during the four month stocking season.  With the colder temperatures at Payson’s Green Valley Lakes, trout stockings already started on October 20 and will continue every other week for the next eight months at this forest location.

Lakes receive sunfish, bass coming soon. Urban waters were stocked with 5-6 inch bluegill sunfish on October 28-29.  Bluegills are stocked twice a year (fall and spring) to provide fishing fun for kids and families.  Fish sizes ran on the smaller side this last delivery, but our productive lakes should support rapid growth.  A truckload of over 22,000 fish were delivered from Arkansas, with each lake receiving 110-160 fish per surface acre.  Some of the bluegills are expected to last until the spring when they will reproduce in the lakes and provide more fish for the future.  Sunfish will bite all day long for anglers using small pieces of worms or mealworms on small hooks fished under a thin bobber and 2-4 lb. leaders.  Daily bag limits for bluegill/sunfish are 10 fish per person at Urban Lakes and 5 fish per day at Urban Ponds.

The annual stocking of largemouth bass is scheduled to occur in November with over 8,000 fish on order.  Bass will be from 6-9 inches in length—below the 13-inch minimum legal size.  Younger bass are stocked to help rebuild the resident bass populations in our lakes.  They are not stocked for anglers to catch and keep like catfish, bluegill or trout.  Regulations require that anglers carefully release these juvenile bass unharmed back into the water so they can grow to catchable size in the future.

2009 Urban Fishing Licenses 50-percent off sale in November and December.
If you recently found out about the great fishing in the urban lakes and the start of the trout stocking season, we have a deal for you.  The 2009 Class U, Urban Fishing, license is now 50% off for the last two months of the year.  Stop by a Game and Fish office or any of our sporting goods or retail license dealers and ask for your 2009 discount Urban license for $9.25.  Fishing is excellent this time of year at all Urban Program lakes for trout, bluegill and catfish.

The month of November offers some of the best fishing available at Urban Program lakes.  The lakes have been loaded with catfish all fall with one last stocking the week of Nov. 2-7.  Stockings of bluegill sunfish took place Oct. 28-29 at all lakes.  The first trout delivery for the winter season begins Nov. 16.  Finally, juvenile largemouth bass under the 13-inch legal length are being stocked during November.

Top baits for catfish are shrimp, stink baits and hot dogs with fish biting throughout the day.  Bluegill are biting well on a variety of baits (mealworms, bread, hot dogs) and are ready to take wet flies in the late mornings and afternoon.  Using light tackle with small hooks and bobbers will keep you and the kids busy catching bluegill.
TEMPE TOWN LAKE – A nationally televised fishing program, City Limits Fishing, visited Town Lake last week and according to Kris Baxter with the City of Tempe, caught fish throughout the lake “like magic.”

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.

Bluegill fishing success is almost a guarantee if you fish with a mealworm under a bobber. Yellow bass are falling for the same technique. There are some redear in the lake and they tend to go for the worm or mealworm off the bottom with a foot or two leader. Some nice largemouth bass are getting caught especially near the bridge and railroad abutments.  Carp are also a fun fish to catch, use corn or doughbait fished off the bottom.

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 1,652 ft (50percent full). The lake is slowly rising as CAP water is pumped into it. Anglers reported catching crappie in the northern coves using poppers over very deep water.

Last week’s wind and cold likely drove fish deep, but they will often come up into the warmer water in the afternoons. For striped bass, try the northern coves especially over the submerged creek channels. When you located a school of fish on the graph, try chumming with frozen anchovies (pieces). Stripers can be picky, so try using a piece of anchovy on the hook with little or no weight. Spoons can also be effective for stipers and largemouth bass.

ROOSEVELT LAKE – Lake Elevation is 2132 ft (77 percent full).  Tonto Creek runoff is 0 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 133 cfs. The cold front and windy conditions likely pushed fish deep, but these warmer condtions might result in a warmer layer of water in places, which could attract fish.

One of our resident experienced fishermen trolled the Tonto end in pretty windy conditions and cranks were the only thing the bass were interested in.

Another angler caught a few overs on Robo Worms.

Anglers who are looking for the topwater bite are getting disappointed.  This time of year when the mercury dips a bit the fish tend to seek deeper water.  If you have real clear water you might entice some fish up from the depths.  Right now drop shot is working pretty well.  An angler caught 18 largemouth bass from 7:00 to 10:00am employing drop shot.

Crappie are likely starting to school up, but might not be in large concentrations yet.

APACHE - Lake elevation is 1906 ft (92-percent full). Smallmouth and largemouth bass were stocked getting stocked with the help of UAAF members, concerned anglers and Game and Fish.  About 7,000 4 to 6-inch smallmouth bass were just stocked at Apache Lake and about 3,000 smallmouth bass were stocked at Canyon Lake.   Apache also received about 2,600 4- to 6-inch Florida strain largemouth bass, Canyon Lake received about 2,100 and Saguaro received just over 500.  I would like to extend a big thanks to UAAF and anglers who helped tag and stock these fish on such short notice.  More bass are due to come in next week.

I am still hearing some good fishing reports from Apache. A couple fishermen caught a few small largemouth bass while trolling spinners. The resort at Apache could use your business. This is their slow time of year and fishing groups make up the bulk of their business.  It sure is nice having a hotel and restaurant down there. Cell phone service is available there now too.

Don’t forget that there is a slot limit in place on the Salt River lakes.


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 1,657 ft, which is 95-percent full. This deep canyon lake can be challenging to fish at times, but there is always a chance you might catch the next state record largemouth bass here. Just don’t expect high catch rates for bass.

However, Canyon also has plenty of yellow bass, bluegill and catfish. There is also a fishing pier in the Boulder Recreation area.

See the Apache Lake entry for information regarding recent bass stockings.

A shore angler is a bit frustrated with this lake, but it sounds like he only used a couple types of lures.  Fish are fickle, if you don’t succeed try, try again… with a multitude of lures and techniques.  Peruse the weather Web sites and find out when the moonrise and moonset is and try those time periods.

Canyon is scheduled for its first trout stocking of the season the week of Nov. 16.

SAGUARO LAKE - Lake elevation 1526 feet at 94-percent full.

Bass were stocked here too, see the Apache entry.

An angler was nice enough to post the stats: Water temp 68.5 F in the shallows, 71 F on the main lake and visibility was 5-6 feet deep in the main lake and 2-3 feet in the river.  The fish were on the main lake shelves in 40 to 50 feet of water.

An angler did real well using Sammy’s topwater lures in Butcher Jones in the morning.

This lake is scheduled for its first trout stocking of the season on the week of Nov. 9

BARTLETT - Lake elevation is 1,760 ft, which is 52-percent full, but the lake is dropping about a foot per day. Reservoir release is 1,150 cfs. SRP is drawing this reservoir down for scheduled maintenance work on the dam. Launch ramps will be out of the water very soon.

Photo: I thought that you might to see the pictures I took of an otter at Bartlett on sat, 10/31. I know the lighting is bad but he wasn’t going to stay long and I was just able to get these before he dove back in the water.

He was in the river end maybe less than a half mile from the last bouys.
Thomas Podborny

An angler fished from 6:30 to 9:30am and caught two largemouth bass on spinner baits and one on a Texas rigged Roboworm.

Another fisherman caught about 40 8 to 10 inch bass using mostly Blue Black Chartreuse jigs but they also hit John Deer jigs and cranks.

A couple anglers caught a bunch of bluegills and small bass, but no info on technique or location.
Fish near the fish habitats with small power grubs for crappie.

HORSESHOE – Lake elevation is at 1969 feet, 7 cfs.  They are releasing water at 25 cfs..

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 176 cubic feet per second.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 1,150 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 — Stewart Mtn. Dam (below Saguaro Lake) release is 8 cfs.
Trout will be stocked at Phon D Sutton and Granit Reef this week, which is where the Salt and Verde rivers meet.
The creeks are at their autumn low and we have had no recent report from anglers.

* 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.

One Response to “Central Waters Fishing Report”

  1. Old Pueblo Trout Unlimited (OPTU) out of Tucson held it’s annual family outing at Dead Horse Ranch on 11/6- 11/8. Fishing was fair in the lagoons. A few of us drove over to Wet Beaver and had good success under the bridge and down stream in the pools. The hot ticket was a dry/dropper rig. Small bead head hare’s ears under a parchute adams took several nice bows.

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