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June 24th, 2009

RIM LAKES Most roads are now open and accessible.  Contact the US Forest Service’s Black Mesa Ranger District office at (928) 535-7300 for up to date information about forest and road conditions.

CHEVELON LAKE — Fishing is fair. The lake is full.  All access roads are open.
Try lures such as spinners (Mepps, Panther Martin, and Rooster Tail), and spoons such as Super Dupers, KastMasters, and Z-rays, and flies such as peacock ladies, wooly worms and wooly buggers, and semi-seal leeches.

This is a steep-sided canyon lake that is not shore angler friendly and is best fished from a float tube, canoe or kayak. There is hike-in lake with a steep, challenging trail.
The lake is open to artificial lure and fly only. Trout between 10 to 14 may not be possessed The lake is open to electric trolling motors and /or up to 10 hp. gas motors.

BEAR CANYON LAKE —  Stocked last week, fishing has been good. The lake level is down a little. There are also larger hold-over trout. This is a hike-in lake — short but steep walk in. There is decent shoreline access, but the sides are fairly steep.

Try worms, Power Bait, corn, and salmon eggs, lures such as spinners (Mepps, Rooster Tail, and Panther Martin), Super Dupers, Z-Rays and Rapalas, and flies such as peacock ladies, wooly worms, wooly buggers, and small nymphs in black, brown or green. The lake is open to electric trolling motors only.  .

Angler report:

Enjoyed the rainbow bite Saturday morning at Bear Canyon from my float tube using
semi-seal leach with a glo-bug dropper. One was plump but only about 12-13 inches. Maybe a holdover, maybe just
a plump stocker. The rest were stockers.
Thanks, Brian

BLACK CANYON LAKE — Fishing is good. Has been stocked with rainbow trout.  All Forest roads are open to the lake. Try worms, Power Bait, lures such as Z-Rays, Super Dupers, and spinners (Mepps, Rooster Tail, and Panther Martin), and flies such as wooly worms, wooly buggers, Peacock ladies, and small nymphs.

The lake is open to electric trolling motors only and/or up to 10 hp. gas motors.

BLUE RIDGE – There is a heavy algal bloom. Has been stocked. Fishing is fair. It may be possible to catch some nice holdovers here at times, but the lake is not very shore-angler friendly. This lake is best fished from a small boat, kayak, canoe or float tube.

Angler report:

Where:Blue Ridge
Technique:Power Bait spinners flies and KastMasters
Comments:people on boats and on other side of the lake were doing good on just about everything, and is there good fishing below the dam just wandering
Name:Andrew Althaus

Steve: Hiked Kinder Crossing. Fished from Kinder Crossing up towards Blue Ridge. Kept one fat feisty wild 11 inch rainbow on ultralight spinning with 2 lb test. Full tail and fins, pink flesh, stomach full of grasshopper and baby crayfish. Large aggressive crayfish tried to steal it from stringer. Some fingerlings in the larger pools. Road to trail head rutted out worse than usual. Beautiful scenery, too few catchables for this perennial. Maybe still not drought recovered. Could use some Browns to eat out the crayfish infestation.
KNOLL LAKE – This lake is full. Stocked last week. Fishing was terrific following the stocking. This spring-fed lake may be a little more difficult to get to (20-plus dirt road miles), but a dusty excursion along the FS 300 Road (Rim Road) can be a treat in itself for those who like spectacular vistas along steep escarpments.

Try worms, salmon eggs, Power Bait, lures such as Z-Rays, Super Dupers, and spinners  (Mepps, Rooster Tail, and Panther Martin), and flies such as wooly worms, wooly buggers, peacock ladies, and small nymphs.

Hey Rory – Knoll Lake Friday and Saturday, June 12 & 13. Windy and cold, the wind was blowing into the dam and the trout were stacked there feeding. After figuring out they were at or near the surface, I used a worm and bobber and limited out in a short time. My buddy used powerbait on the bottom and eventually limited out also. Good Fishing – Bob Dickinson

Hey Rory went up to Knoll last weekend and did alright with worms (caught mostly little stockers) however, the highlight of the trip was seeing an osprey pluck a rainbow out of the lake.  I’ve seen this on TV before, but never in real life (feel pretty lucky to have seen it).  Lucky for us one of my fishing buddies has a photography fetish and captured the bird in the act. My friend’s name who took the osprey picture is Kevin Knuth and he’s from Maricopa. Thought you and the good ol’ boys and gals over at the G&FD might like to see this. Thanks for your work on the fishing report you are doing a great job and the content seems to get better and better.
Justin Wiekhorst, Mesa

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE — Will be stocked again this week with catchable size trout. Fishing has been very good for boat anglers, and fair to good for shore anglers. The best bite has been at first and last light, or when the storm clouds start pilling up. Fishing is good, with many anglers catching limits, especially those fishing from boats.  The lake is full. Willow Springs also has plenty of larger holdover trout, plus smallmouth and largemouth bass. There are even some crappies here. Fish the stickups using 4-inch worms or lizards. Drop-shotted Robo worms can sometimes produce a bonanza of bass, trout and crappie.

Anglers are catching trout on worms. Try worms, Power Bait, lures such as Z-Rays, spinners (Mepps, Rooster Tail, and Panther Martin), and flies such as wooly worms, wooly buggers, and peacock ladies. The lake is open to electric trolling motors and/or up to 10 hp gas motors.
Hi Rory,

I took my Nephew Derek fishing at Willow Springs Lake on May 28th. We had a really good day !!! We slow trolled small Rebel plugs/crank baits (Dark Colors) and boated 35 rainbows and 10 smallies ( mostly catch and release ). This was Derek’s first trip to Willow and he loved it !!! Take a teenager fishing on the Rim lakes, they will love it too !!!!!!!!!!

Kevin Thompson

Hi Rory,
I fished solo on this trip to Willow springs on May 13th, and what a great trip it was !!!!!!!  I boated 46 trout (mostly catch-and-release), 12 smallies, and 2 crappie. Trolling real slow with Rebel plugs/crankbaits (dark colors).  Arrived at first light, and it was non-stop action !!!!!  I met some real nice people on the lake. You have to LOVE the Rim Lakes. Thanks again to all at AZ. Game & Fish !!!!!
Kevin Thompson

Went out to Willow Springs Lake yesterday with the canoe, looking for some of those nice holdovers!
Got my limit of nice, long, fat rainbows in about 2 1/2 hours, using half of a dilly worm behind baby cowbells. All were between 8″ – 14″. Trolled them very, very slowly with the canoe. Also caught a small guy on a small gold KastMaster tipped with a couple red glittered salmon eggs.
Beautiful day out! Didn’t get to see any Bald Eagles yet though.
-Tony Lopez
WOODS CANYON LAKE — Fishing is fair to good, with lots of anglers catching limits. This popular trout fishery is stocked weekly with rainbow trout. Fishing is good for the stockers, with some larger hold-over trout still be caught at times.

There are nesting bald eagles here, so please do not discard fishing line. In fact, please pick up any line discarded by sloppy anglers.

There is a small area (well signed) on the eastern end of the lake is that closed due to nesting bald eagles. Please respect the closure – it should not interfere with your fishing. This also means that the nesting eagles are aggressively foraging for fish at Woods Canyon and at nearby Willow Springs, so take along your binoculars, it’s a treat. You might even see an exciting wildlife drama unfold when a bald eagle tries to take a fish away from an osprey.

Try worms, Power Bait, salmon eggs, lures such as spinners (Mepps, Panther Martin, and Rooster Tail), small spoons such as Super Dupers, Z-Rays, and KastMasters, and flies such as peacock ladies, wooly worms, small nymphs in black, brown or green. The lake is open to electric trolling motors only.

Angler reports:
Hi Rory, I tried my luck fishing on the Verde River at the first crossing off of Houston Mesa Road but couldn’t get a bite. Went up to Woods Canyon hoping for better luck and caught 3 nice 10″ to 12″ Rainbows in a few hours. Lots of fishermen at the lake braving chilly temps — Tim C
Tim C. (the week before): I went to Woods Canyon last Saturday for my first trout fishing outing ever. I only had my first cast in the water for 3 minutes when I pulled out my first of two 10-inch Rainbow Trout. The bites came slower as the day wore on but, I can’t wait to go back!

Editor’s note: Congratulations Tim. Welcome to the smiling ranks of the fishing initiates.

Where: Woods canyon
Caught: Trout
Technique: Flies used: A Dave’s hopper #8 was fishing from float tube they also were hitting peacock ladies
Comments: Was up there for the weekend caught over 50 fish Saturday and 12 Sunday the 12 I  kept were in the 12-15 inch ranges two of the fish had eggs. I cut the stomachs open and some had real grasshoppers in them and some kind of green hard shell bugs


  1. Haven’t been fishing at the rim yet but looking forward to the steam fishing. We will be fishing bear flats and the back side of bear canyon and let every body know how vwe did so have a great day of fishing and take your kids. See ya.

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