Southern Waters

Share or Bookmark:
| More
August 5th, 2009

URBAN LAKES — The urban lake catfish stockings have ceased until mid-September when water temperatures diminish. However, fishing for catfish can still be decent using hot dogs, chicken liver, corn or stink baits.

TUCSON URBAN — Channel catfish are being stocked this week.

RIGGS FLAT —.  Due to poor water quality this lake will not be stocked until conditions improve.  Fishing has been fair despite the poor water quality.

CLUFF RANCH —No recent reports of success.  A new fishing pier has been installed which should provide a large increase in access for shore anglers.  For lake information call (928) 485-9430.

ROPER LAKE —  No recent reports of success. The lake is down a bit due to problems with the pumps on the well.  For lake information call (928) 428-6760.

DANKWORTH POND — No recent reports of success. Aquatic vegetation continues to be a problem for anglers.  For lake information call (928) 428-6760.

FRYE MESA RESERVIOR –  Anglers continue to have the best success when fishing the early hours around sunrise.

KEARNY LAKES — Conditions at this lake have taken a turn for the worse and golden algae has caused a fish kill.  The Department and the town of Kearny continue to work on the problem.

ARIVACA — The fishing remains good in the evenings and early mornings.  Anglers are asked to please be aware of your wake so as not to disrupt other anglers fishing from other boats and the shore.  Remember that all bass must be immediately released back to the water.

PENA BLANCA – Pena Blanca Lake remains closed.  The removal of the sediment has been completed and the lake is now beginning to re-fill as runoff from rain fall events allows.

PATAGONIA —  With recent rains the lake is full.  Fishing for warmwater species is good with fishing the best in the early mornings and late evenings.  Anglers wanting to catch flathead catfish should try live bluegills of the points and along the rock walls in Ash canyon.

PARKER CANYON — The fishing remains fair with most angler success coming in the early morning just after sunrise.  Warm water fishing is reported to be fair to good in the late evenings.

ROSE CANYON LAKE — The road is open and the lake has been stocked.  Anglers continue to have success with flies on the surface and Power Bait.


Don’t forget the leading edge of the Perseids meteor showers originating from the comet Swift-Tuttle. Should make your night fishing really interesting (it is expected to peak Aug. 12). A fiery meteor streaking across the sky and being reflected in the water will make you ooh and ah like you are at a Fourth of July fireworks.

Who knows, you might even see the Space Shuttle or the space station zip across the star-studded night sky and leave you amazed. So hot wx or not, don’t miss these wonderful water adventures you’ll be talking about for years to come.

It’s a waxing half moon right now, with the full moon Aug. 5. So fishing at night using lights is still viable, but the submersible lights won’t be as effective as the moon becomes full, especially when it reaches peak illumination at the top dome of the night sky.

However, look up moon rise and set times to adjust your nighttime fishing schedule accordingly.

It can be tough to out-compete Luna to attract the plankton-shad-bass food chain effect. Instead of relying on light to attract fish, try chumming. It is legal in good ole AZ.

Predatory fish like bass will also react to vibration and smell, but they also attack by sight, so use dark-colored lures that will be silhouetted against the night sky when seen from below. I like black-painted poppers with a very small piece of pork (bacon fat will do) to put scent in the water. There are lots of spray scents on the market if you really need to spend some money to help the economy.

By the way, we are losing about 1 minute 30 seconds of daylight each day, or on the flip side, we are also gaining that much nighttime. It may be summer but autumn is incrementally approaching with the persistence of a racing turtle getting ready to out distance the mercurial speedy rabbit.
Last week I wrote about pike at Lake Mary, Ashurst and Long Lake, but then the summer doldrums apparently hit and slowed down the bite; it’s the Peter Principle of fishing reports.

Hopefully I won’t jinx the cicada bite, but I have heard some positive reports from both bass and trout anglers using cicadas, or cicada-like flies and lures for summer fishing. It’s an exciting way to fish.
These buzzing little insects can really put a lot of vibration into the water (if they are alive) that will attract hungry aquatic predators like magnets draw metal filings. It’s a thrill to watch, especially if you are hanging onto the fishing rod when a fish pummels the offering. A challenge might be working imitations in a way that mimics the buzzing action or vibration. Get creative!

Grasshoppers can also work well, for similar reasons. Maybe try both.

If you have youngsters, also get them to dig up some earth worms to bolster your arsenal of fish baits.

Gathering your own baits adds another fun dimension to the fishing experience, especially for the kids (or those of us who like feeling like a rambunctious kid on a fishing adventure).

Some like to use size 10 or 12 hooks. Personally I find them a little on the small size, but doable. My preference is a No. 8 hook or even a No. 6 if there are huge locusts or hoppers. But for small stream trout, the smaller ones can be more effective at times.

My friend Bill Larson (he does our fishing clinics) was just showing me some flies that were so small I almost needed a magnifying glass to identify them. So yes, smaller hooks can have many advantages for fishing those small streams or high mountain lakes if indeed you have eyes sharp enough to see what you are doing.
Now for striped bass, this is still prime time, night or day, at a variety of waters from Powell to Havasu, with Pleasant thrown in to keep you entertained. At Havasu and Powell, they are also doing well on smallmouth bass. Plus, it will probably just keep getting better as the days get shorter.

For Powell, the best striper surface action is up-lake from Hall’s Crossing to Hite (go to Kayenta and hang a left though Utah). This is a phenomenal summer bite to experience. If this top-notch fishing action were happening on the East Coast or West Coast, it would draw hordes of anglers, guides and the like. But at somewhat remote upper Lake Powell, there are typically dozens of anglers fishing miles and miles of action that could thrill and enthrall thousands. Be one of the few, not one of the missing many.

By the way, many parts of Mead can be that way also. Mead and Powell are the number one and two largest man-made lakes in North America. There have been times when I have fished all day at these giant reservoirs, caught fish until my arms hurt, and not seen another angler. It’s amazing to be delightfully lonely while experiencing world-class fishing.

Hey, I know it’s quite a ways off, by mark your calendars for Dec. 12. The remarkable inflatable Tempe Town Lake is having its birthday celebration. We will be combining the birthday party with our traditional “Welcome Back the Trout” celebration (we usually do this at Thanksgiving time) and fishing clinic extraordinaire. It might be two weeks before the Winter Solstice, but it should really be a celebration of our wonderful shirt-sleeve winter weather and superb fishing in the subtle light of a faraway cool sun. Hey, maybe the jolly old elf will make an appearance in his traditional sleigh boat and place water toys in anglers’ creels or something. Could happen!

Now that I got you all excited about Christmas time, go out and catch some super summer memories. Maybe I’ll see you out there.

Crappie Report 7-23-09
Good reports are coming out of Alamo, Roosevelt and San Carlos. Mostly night fishing under lights but at San Carlos, anglers are catching good numbers of crappie trolling crankbaits during the day.
Alamo- The night bite up by the dam seems to have returned. One angler reported catching over 60 Crappie in a few hours fishing minnow under a bobber. Fishing at 12’ deep over about 40’ of water seems to be the ticket. Also, try right up against the steep cliff walls as Crappie like to stack up on that vertical structure.
Roosevelt- Most reports have come from the Salt River end. Windy Hill and School House seem to be the areas that are producing the best. However, Dick from Flagstaff has reported catching good numbers around Cholla (Tonto end) as well as School House. Dick is the guy that caught a 4lb+ Crappie back in June. He’s becoming a quite the Slab Master. 
San Carlos- What can I say, its still crackin! San Carlos has been the premier AZ Crappie Lake for quite a while now. Good numbers are being caught at night under lights by the dam. I also heard reports of anglers trolling crankbaits during the day. Most fish have been between 12 and 15’ deep. Shore anglers have been catching Crappie as well. Please remember that the lake level is very low so use extreme caution on the water. Also, make sure to buy the appropriate license as San Carlos is not included in your AZ fishing license.
I don’t have anything to report from Bartlett or Pleasant.
The Arizona Crappie Association has canceled our August meeting do to the heat and busy summer schedules. Instead we will hold our meeting in our private online forum and re-group at Roosevelt on 9-12-09. To check for updates on our meeting times and places check out the Crappie Forum at You can also message me on the zone (my handle is Piscolli) or come see me in the Fishing Department at Bass Pro Shops in Mesa.

Bill (Piscolli) Eveland

URBAN LAKES – With the hot weather, daytime fishing has really slowed at all Urban Fishing waters statewide.  Fish stockings ended in spring and will resume in mid September once temperatures start to cool once again.  Fishing is still fair at lakes as many catfish still remain, bluegill and other sunfish species are still plentiful, and bass are still lurking around at first and last light, but fishing can be tough during the day until the monsoon storms return.

To be successful, anglers may have to try some new bait and methods, mixed with some persistence and patience to have regular success (see above article). With water temperatures creeping towards 90 degrees, the resident fish are becoming more lethargic.

Fish activity is best after dark or in the early morning during these summer months.  The usual catfish baits such as worms, shrimp, and dough/stink baits are good to try, but this is a good time to experiment and combine baits or mix up a new catfish bait concoction you discovered on the internet.  At Green Valley lakes (Payson) the best fishing is for crappie, bluegill, bass and catfish.  Try small marabou jigs or curly tail grubs for the sunfish and bass.  Catfish are biting on worms and liver.  With no trout stockings at Green Valley for two months, there’s not much action for these cold water fish.

Where:Pagago Pond #3
Caught:Catfish, bass and sunfish
Technique:The catfish were all caught using night crawlers fishing on the bottom with a small split shot. The bass 3in plastic worm and top water lures.
Comments:All these fish were caught just before sunset and we were the only ones fishing pond #3 at the time

Where: Water Ranch
When: 07/15/09
Caught: sunfish and catfish
Technique: mealworm under a bobber
Comments: Sunfish bite is hot. White amur are everywhere. catfish willing to eat anything. All by the bridge.
Name: Andy

Where:  Cortez Park
When: 07/01/09
Caught: catfish
Technique: a small hook or at least not too big with a slip weight stopped by a swivel  about 5 in. up with enough worm to cover the hook and then some dangling off
Comments: I’m 13 and the kid next to me went to the bathroom so while I was watching his stuff he got a bite so I reeled her in and got to keep her. When I cleaned her she was full of eggs.
Name: Justin

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Fishing is a little slow right now for most anglers, but a father and daughter reported great action in the evening using meal worms for panfish. Anglers are okay for largemouth fishing next to the bridge and railroad structure in the early mornings with the drop-shot technique.  White colored and shad colored crankbaits can be productive.  The yellow bass and largemouth population is up compared to last year’s survey.  One group of anglers two weeks ago caught 20 bass drop shotting and 12 more with cranks.  Most of the largemouth bass were between 12 and 16 inches.  One was 4.3 pounds.  They also caught 1 yellow bass.  Don’t forget the current bag limit for largemouth bass at Town Lake is four fish per day with a 13-inch minimum length restriction. 

There are also no gas powered boats allowed on the lake and Tempe Town Lake permits are available at the City of Tempe Town Lake Operations Center, 620 N. Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281. Phone: (480) 350-8625.

Where:Tempe Town Lake south side near bridge
Caught:Bluegills 7 in 30 minutes
Technique:We used meal worms
Comments:My 5 and 8 year old kids have tried on three prior trips to catch a fish in this place with no luck using corn and red worms. We switched to meal worms and “bingo” fish and happy fisher people!!!

Where: Tempe Town Lake south side near bridge
When: 07/16/09
Caught: Bluegills 7 in 30 minutes
Technique: We used meal worms
Comments: My 5 and 8 year old kids have tried on three prior trips to catch a fish in this place with no luck using corn and red worms. We switched to meal worms and “bingo” fish and happy fisher people!!!
Name: Tony

LAKE PLEASANT - Lake elevation 1,671 ft (67-percent) full.
Boils are rampant on Lake Pleasant in the evenings and night according to quite a few fishermen.  One angler caught more than 30 stripers, about a dozen whites and a few largemouth bass.  The boils were very large in the Aqua Fria. 

There could be boils during the day (usually are) but few if any anglers are out there, so we aren’t getting any reports. The usual pattern is for boils in the coves at first light, gradually (or rapidly) shifting to main lake points, islands and reefs. If the breeze (and the ripple on the surface) dies, so does the bite.

However, once the morning down-slopping breeze from the Bradshaw Mountains quits and the prevailing westerly breeze kicks up, adjust accordingly and fish the eastern edges of the lake. If the breeze just dies instead of shifting, it’s time to go. To survive the wind shift, try a dip in the water and heading up lake quickly in your boat to chill down. You might even shiver in 110-degree heat.

Another couple of anglers that fished at night near the tires did well using crappie lights and anchovies.  They caught over 100 fish, mostly stripers one was 4 pounds.  They also caught a 12-pound carp, and 3 whites.

A couple anglers fished early morning and caught a couple 1.5 pound largemouth bass using jigs and Senkos.

Another couple anglers searched for shad boils in the early morning.  They found them but all boils were pretty small and didn’t last very long. They did pretty good catching 7 largemouth bass; the largest was 3.5 pounds.

Two fishermen fished from 5 a.m. to early afternoon and had a good fishing day catching 12 largemouth bass between the two of them.  They switched back and forth using topwater and spinnerbaits.  Just a little advice from one of them – don’t forget your sunscreen and keep your shorts pulled up…

Where: Lake Pleasant
When: 07/14/09
Caught: lots of largemouth and stripers and one white bass
Technique: Zara Spooks, dropshot, and little jigs
Comments: fun fun fun
Name: Andrew Althaus

Not every angler is reeling them in but a little patience and the right bait choice at the right time goes a long way.  The larger stripers are deep so get your bait down fast to avoid the little sneaky ones from stealing your bait.  Don’t forget if you don’t use anchovies they eat shad 99-percent of the time so you need to present an irresistible morsel they recognize or at least tricks them.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake Elevation is 2,143 ft (90-percent full).  Tonto Creek runoff is 0 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 165 cfs.

Nighttime crappie fishermen are catching quite a few using minnows under slip floats under the crappie lights.  Smaller ones were thrown back to grow a little.

Another group fished from at night till about 3 a.m.  They caught crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, yellow bass and catfish.  They kept about 30 crappies and threw the rest back.

Hey someone caught a 10-pound largemouth bass at summer recent tournament.  Right now crankbait, drop-shot worms and jigs are tempting the fish. Crayfish imitations are still working well.
The evening and nighttime bites are still pretty good.

APACHE – Lake elevation is 1,906 ft (92-percent full).

Anglers are catching their limit of largemouth bass using drop shot and Texas-rigged Robo Worms near Turtle Island.  Goat Ledge and Mazatzal Bay are also good spots for largemouth bass.  Use KastMasters or live worm pieces or mealworms at the drop-offs near the points and ledges for yellow bass.  Carp are hanging in the shallow coves.

The angling pressure is low here, providing a superb opportunity for those who like fishing one of Arizona’s most picturesque lakes full of large and feisty largemouth bass, striking yellow bass, hug buffalofish and plentiful bluegills (you can even fish for walleye). Smallmouth as still on the comeback road.

CANYON LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,658 ft, which is 95% full.
The night bite is pretty good at Canyon with some nuances. A couple anglers used poppers effectively in the early evening.  The bite was pretty much non-existent until midnight then fishing was good using sweet beavers and wooly hogtails in the main lake area.  They caught 10 bass and one nice 3 pounder.  They also had a lot of bites but couldn’t finish the deal.     

An angler fished Canyon a few weeks ago and caught 9 largemouth bass in three hours all before 11 a.m.  Bass tend to stack up along the cliff walls this time of year and they will go after your rigged worms bounced down the cliffs.  They like to hang in the nooks and crannies along the wall.  Fish on the shady side.

However, don’t ignore the opportunity to load up on catfish and sunfish in the Boulder Recreation Area, day or night. For kids, try meal worms – they  can be devastating at times. For cats, any of the typical baits, but corn might also get you carp and buffalofish.

SAGUARO LAKE – Lake elevation 1,524 feet at 92-percent full. 
A group of experienced anglers fished from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and caught 133 fish.  Shad were busting the surface till about 9:30 until the sun peaked through the clouds.  They caught 85 largemouth bass and most were falling for the drop-shot method baited with the 4 ½ inch Robo Worms.  Half were in the slot (13-16 inches) and the other half were just below the slot. They caught 24 yellow bass and all were caught on spoons such as KastMasters.  The bluegills were also going after spoons and drop-shot worms in areas with emergent vegetation.  They caught some small channel catfish using the same techniques. 

An angler reported catching 6 largemouths on Bagley Flat on 5-inch Texas-style rigged worms and crankbaits by a drop off. 

One experienced angler suggests fishing 20 feet deep at the main lake points.  Use Texas-rigged or drop-shot worms.  Topwater fishing is only for those who make it there early and the bite doesn’t last very long.  Butcher Jones is always a good area for yellow bass, bluegill, and largemouth bass.

A nighttime angler hit Saguaro around 9:30 p.m.  The water around the marina was 85 degrees.  Slots were hanging around the docks, but not a whole lot of them.  The bass liked the main lake points and hit dark colored 7-inch drop-shot Robo Worms.  The fish were about 10 to 15 feet deep.  The nice gentleman was kind enough to divulge some rigging details for those who don’t know.  He used ¼- and ½-ounce weights with an 18-inch leader.  He nose-hooked the worm on a 1/0 Octopus circle hook.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank the angler and hope he doesn’t clam up too much in the future, since this type of information is valuable to novice anglers.  I do my best not to blow out favorite fishing spots and specific lure details.

Where: Saguaro
When: 07/07/09
Caught: Largemouth, Bluegill, Green sunfish
Technique: Small jigs with 1″ grubs or micro craws ultralight tackle fished just off the bottom in 3-11 feet. Surface temp was 83.
Comments: Fished from 1 pm to 5:30 pm in backs of mid-lake coves, My grandson Derek caught his 1st, 2nd and 3rd fish ever! We ended up with 27 fish including 1 slot largemouth.
Name: Jim Lindquist

BARTLETT – Lake elevation is 1,795 ft, which is 95-percent full.  Reservoir release is 115 cfs.
This from a helpful angler.
Bartlett Lake
Fishing at 6 a.m. – off at about 1 p.m.
Outside Temp : hot
Water Temp: mid 80’s
Clarity About 5 – 8 feet

Shad are boiling in the early am but they like to bat the lures around without committing.  The Texas-rig worked a little better for one angler but most the fish were a bit small.  The fishing structure in the main lake is holding a few fish, but you kind of have to wait your turn if there are others there.  The forage base is good for that lake as noted by the “helpful” angler.

An angler fished from 5 p.m. till 2 a.m. but fishing was tough and he only boated four fish.  No details on techniques or lures…to avoid…

Rory’s note: For short-hitting fish batting topwater lures around, try using a trailer hook, or even a front-runner-type of smaller lure fished in tandem with a larger one (Zara pooch in front or behind a Zara Spool for instance). Another technique is to have a small soft-plastic jerkbait like a Bass Assassin or fluke as a trailer for something like a Zara Spook or even a popper, then hesitate the walk-the-dog action and let the trailer flutter down – sometimes you’ll catch the hesitant hawgs that way.

HORSESHOE – Lake elevation is at 1,952 feet. No pool.  They are releasing water at 100 cfs. The best place for flatheads, bass and sunfish is in the deep pools just below the dam. A wiggling ball of multiple live night crawlers on a small treble hook might just get you the fight of the summer.
VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 162 cubic feet per second.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 115 cfs.

SALT RIVER – Salt River into Roosevelt is 165 cfs, and Salt River Canyon is 148 cfs.  They are releasing 1,425 cfs out of Stewart Mountain Dam from Saguaro.

LOWER SALT RIVER – (below Saguaro Lake) Stewart Mtn. Dam release is 1,425 cfs. There still might be some trout left to catch, but mostly its bass, catfish and sunfish right now. But at the current flows, this river provides a decent float trip. Try floating while armed with a night crawler fished with a small split-shot weight. This stretch of river is perfect for the fishing kayaks.

CREEKS — A couple streams are too warm to stock trout and some of the smaller tributaries are starting to dry up.   But fish are congregating in the deeper pools.  Get there early. 
Haigler Creek –  Water temperatures are too warm to stock trout so they will not get trout this week.  Hope for rain.

Canyon Creek – Fly fishermen are catching trout using hoppers and ant patterns.  If you want to cover your bases, use a caddis larvae or nymph dropper.  Above the OW Bridge you can keep 4 trout of any size and they are taking worms, spinners along with the flies.  Below the OW Bridge its catch-and-release only and you must use artificial flies and lures.

Tonto Creek –   Terrestrials are the ticket so use hoppers and ant patterns and again use a caddis larvae or nympyh dropper.  If you decide to hike to some nice secluded fishing holes prepare to get wet.  Downstream of Bear Flat have quite a few wild rainbows and browns.

Christopher Creek – I’ve heard good reports from the upper See Canyon section. The lower section was not stocked due to water temperature issues. As with the other creeks, try terrestrials, especially grashoppers or cicadas.

East Verde -  Water temperatures are too warm to stock trout so they will not get trout this week.

Workman Creek – One recent report.
Chris: Hey Guys! went fishing weekend of the 4th Workmans Creek, what a great little secret it is!! Not sure if the fish I caught were recent stockers or holdovers from previous but all were fat and healthy including 1 18-inch whopper!! 7 total! Had a Blast!

Thx Az Game and Fish for all the work you do! You Guys are Great!!!!! A Fan!!

If you care to share a fishing report, please call Region 6, (480) 981-9400 and ask for Diana.

Leave a Reply