Rory’s Tip

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February 26th, 2009

What gorgeous weather.

Hey, here’s a news flash. I just found out that we are going to have pound to pound-and-a-half trout for the Kids Fishing tank at the International Sportsmen’s Exposition for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They are much larger than we normally have for such events, which creates some challenges, but offer the kids a great opportunity to catch some quality ‘bows. It ought to be exciting to watch as well. Come on down. . .

It looks like some snow melt has started in the Verde Watershed and it looks like the Salt is finally getting some increased runoff as well. The Verde River flows went up, and then back down, then back up again big time. It’s Yo-Yo time for weather and runoff in Arizona. What a year.

The irony is that just a week ago there was too much snow for us to stock Goldwater Lake just above Prescott. Now it is spring-like weather again. Each day, the daylight is around two minutes longer and the sun is edging toward the spring equinox.

We did stock the Lower Salt River this week because the flows dropped back to 1,100 cfs, even though flows last week were 2,500 cfs. Fish it now – once the big pulses of snow melt surge down the Salt, Salt River Project will likely up the flows significantly and we might not be able to stock as readily.

If you have a hankering for a early season mountain expedition, try Fool Hollow and Show Low Lake in Show Low, or Silver Creek. Both lakes only have okay trout fishing, but they are open, ice free and fishable – that’s saying something for February. Silver Creek is fishable all winter, but this weather makes it an exceptional outing right now for native Apache trout and rainbows.

I fully expect to hear about bass on beds or at least staging for the spawn at places like Alamo, Martinez, Saguaro or Havasu any time now. As the weather heats up, so should the fishing. Anglers are already reporting bass full of eggs, especially at Alamo.

It sounds like some of the lakes in southern Arizona are starting to wake up and could be providing good fishing by the time you read this. Parker Canyon is a good place for trout, but try Arivaca and Patagonia for warmwater fish – especially bass.

Lake Pleasant has been an enigma, except for those walking into fish the area where the Agua Fria River enters the lake. I have reports of spawning white bass, but they seem to be tough for shore anglers to catch, but a couple of guys who packed in their float tubes hit the bonanza (they asked me to keep it quiet, I told them no way, that is like asking the wind not to not ruffle the leaves; sorry guys).

However, I wouldn’t be surprised to find some largemouth bass in the shallow northern coves either staging for the spawn, or getting active in late morning after the water warms up in sheltered spots. So don’t just fish deep, check the shallows as well, especially behind submerged bushes. If you find some bedding bass, let me know at raikens@azgfd.gov .

This is a great time to work Roosevelt for bass and crappie. Rosey is tip-top full but there are vast acres of submerged vegetation and trees for the fish to hide. The spring snow melt in the White Mountains has not started in earnest yet, so there are only moderate flows down the Salt so far, although the Tonto sure picked up flows this week. Be sure to experience this lake when it is full – you never know what roll of the dice Mother Nature might have in the future – dry times are the norm, not the exception.

With the outflows creating a current near the raised Roosevelt Dam, it would seem an irristible place for active smallmouth bass along the rocky areas.

Recent inflows and outflows seemed to have slowed down the bite at Alamo, but with this warmer weather, it should turn back on any time — it’s worth a visit.  Don’t forget the Alamo Lake clean up there on Saturday starting at 8 a.m. (Cholla Ramp). The watershed for Alamo Lake got some precipitation from the storm late last week, causing increased flows for Burro Creek and the Santa Maria River. The added nutrients will likely help this fishery’s productivity this year even though they slowed down the bite temporarily (I hope). We are expecting great things from Alamo this year.

Be sure to read the story in the news section below. What a superb father-and-son adventure, but all of us can have fishing and other outdoor adventures on just about any weekend.

In fact, come on down to the ISE show this week at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale to catch a fish, shoot a bow, shoot an air rifle, see live wildlife and maybe even shoot the breeze with us. I’ll be doing talks on Friday and Saturday about our terrific fishing outlook for this year.

Last week, I was privileged for fish Lees Ferry once again. Sitting in the boat with the towering red sandstone cliffs of Marble Canyon Gorge reflected in the water where crimson-sided wild rainbows waited in ambush, I couldn’t help reflecting that the Ferry is truly a remarkable cathedral for trout fishing in the West. It is a sublime experience. Catching beautfiul wild ‘bows in spawning regalia is a bonus.

We had a good meeting with a lot of the fishing guides up there. The fishing outlook is one of the best in years, even if the nation’s economic outlook is bleak. It is a ways to travel, but the Ferry is worth it (especially at these gas prices).

One of the items discussed is that currently the Ferry fishes a little differently than it has in years past, which can translate into some dedicated Ferry anglers not catching trout as easily as in past years, especially the much sought after larger trout. There was a consensus that better information for the anglers is one of the keys, so some of the guides will be providing more detailed how-to tips on their Web sites and for this weekly fishing report. So stay tuned.

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

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