Rory’s Tip

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April 28th, 2008
Rory’s Tip

With a few minor exceptions, high country trout lakes are accessible.

This is the time to catch those larger hold-over trout that like to tail dance. Being some of the first to fish these picturesque mountain lakes is an adventure just waiting for you.

The Forest Service 300 (Mogollon Rim Road) is now open into Knoll Lake and Bear Canyon Lake. The road into Woods Canyon opened last week, as did the road (from Eagar) into Big Lake and beyond.

With the mountain lakes becoming accessible and the Valley getting warm, it’s a perfect time for a dose of pines and trout.

Also, the largemouth spawn is underway at Lake Powell and the smallmouth spawn should follow suit shortly there. Great April striped bass bite is still on as well.

In the desert lakes, the Palo Verde trees are in full bloom, which is a picturesque sign from Mother Nature that topwater action is blooming on our productive desert lakes, especially at first and last light.

While spawning bass can still be found, this is typically the time when you can expect to find post-spawn bass starting to get more active, possibly between gusts of wind if the weather doesn’t moderate more.

Also, don’t expect to find the spawning bass in the very backs of coves. As the spawn progresses, the spawners can be found in deeper and deeper water father and farther out from the banks. Eventually, you’ll even find spawning bass in small pockets off the main lake, even into July. I once found a spawning bass on an island at Lake Pleasant near Humbug Cove in mid August.

The largemouth spawn can be s-p-r-e-a-d out. Just modify your expectations and focus your angling attentions on areas accordingly.

Right now, explore the coves, but after the early morning bite, think main lake points, islands and reefs (it ought to be a late spring song).

Drop shots can be deadly right now, especially for those post-spawn bass that are still recovering. Keep some soft plastic jerkbaits handy. Also arm yourself with your favorite topwater lures. I favor the stick baits this time of year, but it’s all a matter of personal preference and angler confidence levels. Use the lure or technique you feel comfortable with.

Lethargic post-spawn bass can also be susceptible to Carolina-rigs or Texas rigs worked slowly along the bottom, especially over submerged humps, extended points, drop-offs along islands, or reefs – you almost have to hit them on the top of the head to get them to react; sometimes not even then.

For the more active bass coming out of the post-spawn blues, you can speed things up some and work more to the top of the water column.

Crappie – I don’t have any definitive word, but we should be at the tail end of the crappie spawn. It’s tough to say – due to all the runoff and colder, turbid water, everything is a little topsy-turvy this year.

With the waning moon, it is time to break out the submersible lights and launch into those nighttime crappie vigils where you can get reacquainted with the star-studded desert sky. The last quarter is April 28. The waning moon is also important for striper anglers as well, whether fishing Pleasant. Havasu, Mohave or Mead. Try frozen anchovies fished with little or no weight.

Another good place to try is the Lower Salt River for trout between the Water Users and Blue Point Bridge. If you are worried about gas prices, this might be a fun option for you. See more tips in the body of the report on how to fish in (at least for spin anglers). This stretch of river is almost custom-made for fly anglers.

So go out and catch some memories (or adventures). Maybe I’ll see you out there.

4 Responses to “Rory’s Tip”

  1. Thankyou Rory
    Great info.
    Jack in AJ

  2. Rory,

    Is it safe to eat the Pike out of Upper Lake Mary with the levels of mercury in the water? I have read in the AZG&F reulations that comsumption should be limited to 8oz per month and not to eat walleye.


  3. Joe;

    Unless you plan to eat a lot of pike, fairly routinely, you ought to be okay. For some reason, the EPA mercury guidelines for lakes are significantly more stringent than the FDA standards for food, such as canned albacore. Just being ultra conservative, I would not recommend pregnant women or young children eating the pike, even though the standards allow some limited consumption. They say don’t eat the walleye, so it is probably a wise precaution not to do so.

    For most of our lakes with a mercury warning, it’s most likely naturally occurring mercury, and it is a bio-accumulation thing. Basically it moves up the food chain and by the time it gets to predators (such as pike and walleye) toward the top of the food chain, the mercury can build up and be stored in them from the critters they eat. That being said, our stocked trout have not been in the food chain at any of the lakes with background levels of mercury, so they are perfectly okay to eat.


  4. Thanks Rory, with that being said I can now enjoy my 2.5lb pike.

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