North Central Region

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March 31st, 2008
North Central Region

Note: Some lakes ice-free, are open and accessible. Others might be ice-free but the roads are either covered in snow, or still closed. With the warming weather, the situation can sometimes change daily. As lakes become accessible, we will try to update to fishing report on the department’s Web site at, although the e-mail report will only be sent out once a week. So keep checking back for the latest information.

KAIBAB LAKE — Ice free. Stocked with 3,400 rainbow trout last week and the water temperature was 48F. Campground area is closed. Main parking lot and boat launch open for day use only.

CATARACT LAKE — Ice free and accessible. The water level has increased to the spillway. Campground is closed. Lake is open and accessible for fishing. No reports so far. Should be good. Let us know.

CITY RESERVOIR — Open. Water level is good. No reports.

DOGTOWN LAKE — Ice free. Accessible by four-wheel-drive only. Picnic area, main parking lot and boat launch are open for day use only.
Angler report:
Where: Dogtown Lake
When: 03/20/08
Caught: Nothing
Technique: Fished from shore line with Power Bait, corn, & fake worms.
Comments: You definitely need 4-wheel drive if you go in the next week. We had to 4 wheel thru at least 2 ft. of ice/snow in some areas. Too cold, too much snow yet.
Name: Tom Martini

Fly-fishing, partner was using worms, power-bait, and spinners
Osprey 3, fishermen 0. We fished most of the morning at Dogtown, I saw one riser, no strikes on any of the usual or unusual flies, my fishing partner had no luck as well, wind came up in the afternoon, I was home for supper.
Jared Payne

JD DAM — No report.

RUSSEL TANK – No reports.

SANTA FE — No reports.

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Campground is closed. Lake is probably not accessible yet.

LOWER LAKE MARY — This is a trout-angling hot spot. This lake has been stocked with 6,075 rainbow trout last week and the water temperature was 43 degrees. It is being stocked on March 27 and will be stocked again on March 31. As of last weekend, anglers were already catching trout with “anything they threw.”

Plus, Upper Lake Mary is close to overflowing (might be by the time you read this), which will increase the size of this lake. Lower Lake Mary will likely be a routine trout fishing hot spot this season.

Angler report
Where: Lower Lake Mary
When: 03/20/08
Caught: Rainbow Trout
Technique: I was using a small silver spoon and a small gold Z-ray. With both lures I retrieved it very slow.
Comments: The lake was just recently stocked with some decent size fish. The biggest I caught was over 12 inches and weighed a pound. It was fun just to go out and catch these little guys. The fish were also biting on Power Bait but I was having more success with the spoons. The key with the spoons is that it is retrieved very slow.
Name: Walter Sprengeler, Jr.

UPPER LAKE MARY — Lake is full and about to overflow into the spillway. The big pike are biting. See the angler report below.

Angler report:
Where: Upper Lake Mary
When: 03/15/08
Caught: Northern Pike
Technique: Anchovies on steel leaders with no weight and large catfish hooks.
Comments: My fishing buddies and I have been sneaking in a little time around work to fish the freshly thawed/thawing upper lake. I caught pike to 28 inches, my neighbor, Bob Bax caught Pike to 31 ½ inches and my friend Brandon Baxter caught pike to 24 inches. We like to marvel at just what a scary, scary fish Pike are! There is a pre-hook set heart pounding that occurs knowing that you are hooking into an extraordinarily aggressive, toothy and unwary species! :) As a special tip, these fish were really vulnerable right after the ice began to melt (inhaling the chovies). Now, these fish are in a bite, hold-and-run pattern which means, if you intend to keep these fish, open your bail and WALK AWAY from your rod at the first sign of a bite. We have seen too many trigger happy fisherman slamming the hook way too early on these fish. Fish shallow with no weight! Despite minimalistic warnings for mercury, I have been hearing lots of confusion over the safety of consuming these water dragons out of Mary. Either way, we are eating our 8 oz portions! Best of luck! We got ours! We are hoping to see wiskerfish in the lower lake soon.
Name: Danny Iberri-Shea

ASHURST LAKE — No reports.

FRANCIS SHORT POND – Has been stocked with trout. This is a great place to take kids.

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road has not been opened yet. Stay tuned – things are changing rapidly with the warming weather.

MARSHALL LAKE — Road has not been opened yet.

OAK CREEK — Stocked with 1,350 rainbow trout last week and the water temperature was 49 degrees. Water is still running a little high from the runoff. Expect fishing to be good for rainbows, but slow for browns.

LONG LAKE — According to the Forest Service, the roads are now open. It has been stocked with some sub-catchable sized trout and is scheduled to be stocked again this Friday (March 28), but don’t have high expectations of catching carry-over rainbows – this lake had thick ice with snow on top. It likely had a fish kill, although circumstances did not allow us to confirm this before the first stocking occurred.


BEAVER CREEK — Flows have been too high for stocking, but that could change soon. Did get a report from an angler three weeks ago who hiked up canyon and caught some nice holdover trout right as the flows were ramping up. Recent reports (below) were not very positive. We should stock it soon. Once this happens, we will change the online report.

Angler report:
Wet Beaver Creek
fly-fishing, both dry and wet and inline spinners
fished from the camp ground up to Bell Crossing. did not even see a single fish of any kind. the flows are up at least three times there normal from snow melt up-stream. Let it come down before trying to fish it!!
Christopher Grabach

Beaver Creek
ultra light spinning
beautiful weather – perfect water level and temperature – especially upstream from the bridge towards the academy – and apparently hasn’t been stocked yet – what a wasted opportunity.
WEST CLEAR CREEK — Flows have been too high for stocking, but that could change soon. No recent reports.

STONEMAN LAKE — NO FISH. Does have some water, but not enough to be stocked.

MINGUS LAKE –Trout were stocked last on the week of Oct 15. Try bright-colored Power Bait like chartreuse, salmon eggs, or various spinners. The gate is closed until the spring, but you can walk in and fish.

Someone illegally stocked yellow bullhead into Mingus several years ago. These fish compete directly with the trout and keep growth rates very low. If you witness anyone, anywhere, moving fish like bass, bluegill, catfish and stocking them, please report it to our Operation Game Thief Hotline. Illegal stockings cost YOU money!

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Fishing should be very good. Try using small spinners, worms, or Power Bait. Some anglers have reported catching limits, while others have not done as well.

Catfish were stocked the week of Sept. 24, for Verde River Days festivities. Several largemouth bass, including a 10-plus pounder have been caught this summer in the middle lagoon. In-line spinners, plastic grubs, and small crankbaits have been the ticket. The bluegill fishing has been good using a salmon egg or small worm on a small bait hook below a bobber. The bluegills are plentiful in both the middle and lower lagoons, so between trout and catfish stockings try your luck with the bluegill.

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – Trout were stocked last week, the week of March 21 and the water temperature was 48 degrees. While the river flows had increased significantly due to runoff they have since diminished considerably. However, flows are still considerably higher than normal, making fishing a little more difficult.

Stocking sites are at Tuzigoot Bridge outside of Clarkdale, the bridge that leads to the Dead Horse State Park, at Dead Horse State Parks access point called the Jacks, at the White Bridge in Camp Verde, and at Bignotti Beach. The department stocks trout in these waters from November through March, when the water temperature can support a trout fishery. Cold winter water temperatures keep the other game fish fairly inactive until about mid-March.

Tuzigoot Bridge (leading to Tuzigoot National Monument) has decent rainbow trout fishing early and late in the day. Most fishermen concentrate near the bridge, but the pools and currents downstream within 300 yards of the bridge hold lots of trout and do not see much fishing pressure. Small spoons such as Z-rays, Mepps and Panther Martin spinners, and Power Bait all work well.

Fly-fishermen seem to prefer fishing the Verde River between Riverfront Park and Dead Horse Ranch State Park in the town of Cottonwood. The trout aren’t too fussy about the type of fly/lure or presentation. The best success here has been first thing in the morning until about 10 a.m.

Bignotti Beach (between Cottonwood and Camp Verde, near Thousand Trails RV Park) has had decent fishing as well. Anglers tossing in-line spinners, small spoons, or fly-fishing with dark, gold-bead nymphs are doing best during mid-day, while fly-fishermen floating a variety of dry flies are having good success early and late in the day.

The White Bridge in Camp Verde (Highway 260 bridge over the Verde River) is an under-utilized trout fishery. A U.S. Forest Service picnic area above the river provides convenient parking and a short walk to the Verde River. Try fishing the riffles and pools upstream of the bridge. Mepps in-line spinners, small KastMaster spoons, and bright-colored Power Bait (fished on a treble hook above a sliding egg-sinker) have been the most productive offerings.

Angler report:
Upper Verde River
39 Rainbow Trout
Fly fished a size 18 Copper John below an indicator and caught six on that. Caught 33 on a homemade bait. I attached the bait to the smallest hook I could find and attached a split shot 3 feet above it. I slowly reeled it in and had a strike every time.
Great day of fishing even though the river was running a bit high.
Phillip Scott

LYNX LAKE — Has been stocked recently. Fishing should be fair to good.

Game and Fish Biologists installed PVC fish structures on Jan. 3. These structures should protect small fishes from predation.

Brook trout were stocked in September. The brooks were in the 5-inch range, but hopefully they will be catchable size for the fishing in the spring. Game and Fish stocked catfish last June. There were 200 pounds of bluegill stocked on last spring. Game and Fish biologists surveyed Lynx last spring and found that the brook trout stocked in September 2006 were still present.

FAIN LAKE — Stocked recently. Use spinners or bright colored power bait. Shore fishing area may be limited as sediment deposits have resulted from the rains.

GOLDWATER LAKE — There were 1,350 trout were stocked on March 21 and the water temperature was 52F. Fishing should be good. Try using spinners, jigs, worms or rainbow Power Bait. Bluegills were stocked Feb 25.

Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Goldwater during the middle of May last year and found the trout and sunfish plentiful. While the number of catfish and bass was low, the quality was exceptional. One 16-pound catfish was sampled and released. The bass averaged about 3.5 pounds.

If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

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