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Well, it’s about time! If the weather gurus are right, it looks like we’ll have a weekend without wind blasting most of the state – maybe just normal afternoon breezes.
So whether you want high county trout or bass in the desert lakes, this looks like the best window in weeks.
Top picks: Roosevelt, Bartlett, Alamo, Havasu and Pleasant for largemouth bass. Hit Pleasant, Havasu, Mead and Powell for striped bass.
Crappie anglers should fish at night under lights at Roosevelt, Bartlett or Alamo (Pleasant is a crappie dark horse).
The catfish parade is already underway. Try Saguaro, Canyon, Pleasant, Bartlett, Apache, Roosevelt, Alamo – you name it. Day or night will work right now at any desert lake.
For shore anglers, it’s tough to beat cat fishing. Going after catfish and carp at our desert lakes can net you some amazing action. As a matter of fact, if you don’t know how to fish for these lumbering underwater giants, come join us at CAMP CARP XVIII, a time-honored Game and Fish tradition.
Master carpologist himself, Jim Warnecke, who retired from the department last year, will once again be teaching folks how to catch all those “bottom feeders.” As Jim says, there is no limit on carp, plus no limit to the fun while catching these brutes.
Here are the particulars: May 30-31, noon to 7 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Lake Roosevelt (Frazier Group site). Look for the signs. For more information, call Jim’s able replacement in our Mesa Region, Natalie Robb, at (480) 324-3541. These aren’t those wimpy bass or trout – you’ll need stout poles and heavy test line to land these brutes — hurrah.
In the high country, I received pictures of some huge pike out of Upper Lake Mary near Flagstaff courtesy a Danny Iberra-Shea, who routinely provides some nice reports to us. These pictures will either give you nightmares, or send you rushing to the store to buy steel leaders and frozen anchovies — maybe both.
Ashurst is another big pike bastion – it might even be harboring a new state record in its murky depths.
Lower Lake Mary is still a good bet for lots of stocker rainbows – it was stocked with 28,000 of the beauties in late winter. They should be good looking fish now.
The streams in the White Mountains have now been stocked with our golden-colored natives, Apache trout. Try the Little Colorado River in Greer, the East Fork of the Black River, the West Fork of Black River or Silver Creek. Think gold for Apaches – they like gold or yellow lures, such as Mepps spinners, KastMaster and the like. Hook up your kids with cane poles and worms to fish the streams – it’s more fun than any computer game.
For bass in the desert lakes, this is a transition time from a predominant spawn bite to a post-spawn one.
There are still bass on beds (the spawn can spread out into the summer months), but the majority of bass have probably spawned out. A significant portion of the bass population could be in the post-spawn doldrums right now – they need baits put on their noses, or might just respond to reaction baits.
But there should also be a population segment of post-spawners that are feeding more aggressively at times. Look for these bad boys and girls voraciously chasing shad in the coves at first and last light, or along main male points, islands, reefs and submerged humps (ambush spots) during the day.
At night, look for prime fish movement corridors such as submerged creek and river channels, arroyos and the like. Where you can find fish highway intersections, such as a submerged creek channel connecting to a submerged river channel, you might just hit a nighttime fishing bonanza. Put that expensive fish finder to work for you – you’ve paid it enough.
By the way, the first quarter of the moon is May 11, so this is a great time for your submerged or floating lights to work best for attracting plankton, shad and accompanying predators. You might even see some cool shooting stars, courtesy the tail of Halley’s Comet; it’s the Aquarid meteor shower time. http://spaceweather.com/
Get out and wet a line. Maybe I’ll see you out there.