White Mountains

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September 19th, 2008
Note: The first day of autumn is Oct. 22. Fishing is picking up almost daily. As the nights get longer and cooler (sometimes cold) and the lake temperatures drop, corresponding trout activity levels will increase as the salmonids try to put on fat before winter conditions arrive. Fall is also the time for brown trout to spawn. This is one of the two best times of year to catch trout.

ACCESS NOTE: State Highway 261 is open to Big Lake and Crescent Lake, as well as most main Forest roads, including the road to Reservation Lake on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

State Highway 273 on the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest is undergoing reconstruction and realignment and the following closures are in effect from the Fort Apache Indian Reservation boundary to Crescent Lake, which is closed to all traffic, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will remain closed until the road construction project is complete.
Angler report:


BECKER LAKE — Fishing is good. The lake is down about four feet but the boat ramp is accessible.

Sometimes an ant hatch occurs at Becker, so try a black ant pattern in size 18-20.
Try small lures such as Super Dupers, spinners, and Z-rays. Fly-fishers have been catching 10- to 18-inch rainbow trout. Try small nymphs such as zebra midges, scuds, pheasant tails, zug bugs, prince nymphs, wooly worms and wooly buggers, dragon fly patterns, peacock ladies, and brown Montana stone nymphs.

Fish off the bottom along weed beds and retrieve your fly slowly.  Sometimes an ant hatch occurs at Becker like last Saturday morning, so try a black ant pattern in size 18-20.
The lake is open to electric trolling motors and/or up to 10hp. gas motors. This lake is artificial lure and fly only, barbless hooks, and with a two-trout limit.

BIG LAKE – Anthony Jenca at the Big Lake Store and Marina said the smaller fish can be caught at the surface right now but the larger fish are still holding deep at 15 to 20 feet, so trolling isn’t as viable right now. He suggests using Power Bait, worms or salmon eggs. Fish are consistently hitting off the points, in the coves, and near the dam, but pretty much you can catch fish throughout the lake at times.

This lake was stocked with 20,000 sub-catchable sized fish the first week of September.

Jenca said great fall bite for shallow-feeing trout should be just around the corner. He added that the lake level is way up right now and might be the highest it has been in a lot of years (but it isn’t full yet).

This fishery has rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout and native Apache trout. Big Lake is 450 surface acres and sits at 9,000 feet in elevation. Despite its size and depth, cold night temperatures at this altitude can cool down the water and prompt the trout to feed aggressively.

Anglers have been catching rainbow and brook trout on worms, Power Bait (yellow) and salmon eggs. Boat anglers are doing well using cowbells with an attached worm, lure or fly. Also try lures such as spinners (Panther Martin, Rooster Tail, and Mepps), Z-rays, Super Dupers, spoons, and Rapalas, and flies such as peacock ladies, wooly worms, wooly buggers, semi-seal leeches, and Yeager buggers, prince nymphs, and zug bugs.  The store is open and there are boat rentals here. The launch ramps are in the water, but Railroad Cove may still be fairly shallow for launching larger boats.

On any given day, Big Lake can be the best trout lake in the state. There is a store and boat rentals available and some of the prettiest scenery in Arizona.

Main access roads are open, including Highway 261 from Eager/Springerville. State Highway 273 from the Forest and Fort Apache Indian Reservation boundary to Crescent Lake is closed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will remain closed until the road construction project is completed. Fishing is good. The lake is up about 3 feet from last year, but still 3.4 feet below spill. All boat ramps accessible, however, Railroad cove may still be fairly shallow for launching larger boats.

Where:Big Lake
When:09/12/08
Caught:12 Rainbow Trout
Technique:Bottom fishing worm.
Comments:Started about 8 in the morning caught 5 nice keepers and threw back 7. Left about 11 when it started raining.
Name:Randy Holstad

CARNERO LAKE – Fishing is good, but the lake is very weedy. The weeds along the shoreline are very thick. Pontoon boats, kayaks, small boats or canoes than can skim over weeds work best. Anglers using float tubes are having difficulty getting out to open water.

Try fishing open water areas. As summer progresses, weeds will become a problem for anglers. The lake is open to lure and flies only, barbless hooks, and a two-trout bag limit. Try small lures such as spinners and spoons (Super Dupers and Z-rays), and flies such as wooly worms, peacock ladies, small nymphs such as hares ear, pheasant tails, prince nymphs, zug bugs, damsel fly and dragon fly nymph patterns, and midge patterns. The lake is open to electric trolling motors only.

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair to good for warm water fish such as bass, sunfish and catfish should also be picking up. The east side boat ramp is accessible and the only ramp to use. The old boat ramp is blocked off and no longer usable.
Try worms, Power Bait, Salmon eggs, and lures such as spinners, Z-rays, crankbaits, and Rapalas, and flies such as woolly worms or wooly buggers, and peacock ladies. There are no motor restrictions on Clear Creek Reservoir.

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is very poor. The lake is extremely low and weedy. There is practically no water at the boat ramp. Try worms, Power Bait, salmon eggs, lures such as spinners, Z-Rays, and Super Dupers, and flies such as wooly worms or wooly buggers, peacock ladies, and small nymphs. The lake is open to electric trolling motors and/or up to 10hp. gas motors.

CRESCENT LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. This shallow lake can cool down rapidly and turn on at any time.

Highway 261 to Big and Crescent Lakes is open. Highway 273 from the Forest and Fort Apache Indian Reservation is open to Forest road 87 but is closed beyond the 273/87 junction to Crescent Lake 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, due to continuing road construction.
Try worms, salmon eggs, Power Bait, lures such as spinners, Z-rays, Super Dupers, and flies such as peacock ladies, wooly worms, wooly buggers, Yeager buggers, and small nymphs like prince and zug bugs. The lake is open to electric trolling motors or up to 10 hp. gas motors.
The only boat ramp accessible is the south boat ramp because of construction on roads leading to the dam area and the other two ramps.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair to good and will be stocked this week with trout. The lake is down about two feet and the boat ramps are accessible. For kids, try fishing one of the fishing piers for bluegills.  Use a small piece of night crawler on a small hook and small to no weight straight down 1-3 feet under the fishing pier.  Kids have been catching bluegill and crappie using this technique.
Fool Hollow Lake has been stocked with sub catchable and catchable (1.5-2 pound) channel catfish.

Anglers have been catching smallmouth and largemouth bass, plus walleyes on lures (crankbaits, plastic jigs with attached worms, and Rapalas) at the dam and along the east arm of the lake. Try fishing around structures such as rocks, trees, stumps, and fishing piers.
Walleye fishing can really pick up at night during the fall.
Shore anglers are catching rainbow trout on worms and Power Bait (chartreuse green and pumpkin colors) in the southwest area of the lake. Channel catfish are being caught on worms and stink baits. Bluegills and black crappies have been caught around the fishing piers on worms and small flies.

GREER LAKES — Fishing is fair.  All reservoirs are very low. Tunnel Reservoir’s boat ramp is still accessible but the lake is very low. Do not attempt to launch a trailered boat at Bunch and River Reservoir because of the concrete lip pad at the end of the concrete boat ramp.
Anglers are catching rainbow trout on worms and Power Bait (green and yellow) at Bunch, Tunnel, and River Reservoir.
Try worms, salmon eggs, Power Bait, lures such as spinners, Z-rays, Super Dupers, and Rapalas, and flies such as peacock ladies, wooly worms, wooly buggers, and small nymphs. Bunch and Tunnel Reservoir are open to electric trolling motors only. River Reservoir is open to electric trolling motors and/or up to 10 hp gas motors.

HULSEY LAKE – Fishing is poor. Try worms fished deep under a bobber or on the bottom. Hulsey Lake is open to electric trolling motors only, but small boats would have to be carried down the short hiking trail to the lake. During the hot summer months, try fishing early in the morning and late in the evening.
Try worms fished deep under a bobber or on the bottom.  Hulsey Lake is open to electric trolling motors only, but small boats would have to be carried down the short hiking trail to the lake.

LEE VALLEY RESERVOIR – The roads to Lee Valley Lake are still closed.  Highway 273 from the Forest and Fort Apache Indian Reservation is still closed due to continuing road construction and is closed just north of the junction of Highway 273 and Highway 261.

LUNA LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. The lake is down about 15 inches and the boat ramp is accessible. The store and marina has closed down for the season. Boat and shore anglers have been catching a few trout on Panther Martin spinners, yellow Crick hopper lures, Power Bait and worms.

Try worms, salmon eggs, Power Bait, lures such as spinners, Z-rays, Super Dupers, and Rapalas, and flies such as peacock ladies, wooly worms, wooly buggers, and nymphs. The lake is open to electric trolling motors and/or up to 10 hp gas motors.
Report from Bob Claborne: Week ending 08/08/08: Fishing fair to good in early mornings. Trout in the 12- to 18-inch range on lures from shore at the dam area. Good results with spinners and spoons with yellow and gold colors. Consult Luna Lake Yacht Club proprietor for lure recommendations.

Where:Luna Lake
When:08/30/08
Caught:Rainbows
Technique:Trolling-Yellow Panther Martin spinner, Black Pistol Pete, Black Leech Pattern Fly, Yellow Power Bait

Comments: Fishing was slow all morning. But it was nice to be one of only two boats on the lake. We caught three average rainbows trolling. We decided to try just drifting with worms and yellow Power Bait. We were about two minutes from packing up and going home and that’s when the monster hit. He cleared the water 5 times and took off, snapping the line before I could adjust the drag. No doubt, he was long, had a big fat belly and a hook jaw. It was nice to have a monster on the line even if I couldn’t land him. I’d rather lose a monster than catch 20 stockers any day. We opened up the ones that we had caught – they were full of damsel fly nymphs.
Name:Dave
LYMAN LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for catfish. The water is turbid.  Anglers have been catching channel catfish on worms and stink baits and largemouth bass on lures.

Try worms, Power Bait, catfish stink baits, and lures such as spinners, crankbaits, and Rapalas.

The Lyman Lake recreation area is managed by Lyman Lake State Park and camping is available. There are also some new cabins for rent.
There is fish consumption advisory here, so check with the State Parks Office at the lake for details. Also contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Region 1 Office at (928) 367-4281. There are no motor restrictions on Lyman Lake.

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor to fair. Use the boat ramp near the dam, as the ramp at the upper end of the lake will put boaters into thick weeds.  The lake was stocked with catchable size rainbow trout in May.  Use the boat ramp near the dam, as the ramp at the upper end of the lake will put boaters into thick weeds.  Try worms, Power Bait, salmon eggs, lures such as spinners, Super Dupers, Z-rays, and Rapalas, and flies such as wooly worms or wooly buggers, prince nymphs, zug bugs, and peacock ladies. The lake is open to electric trolling motors and/or up to 10 hp. gas motors. During the hot summer months, try fishing early in the morning and late in the evening. There is an algae bloom present in the lake.

RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor to fair.
Improvements to the parking area at the boat ramp are scheduled this summer and will require a short closure (2-3 days) during the construction.  Signs and notices will be posted when the construction dates are set.
Sub catchable and catchable (1.5-2 pound) channel catfish were stocked in early June. The lake is down about 1.5 feet and the boat ramp is accessible. As summer progresses, weeds will become a problem.

Try worms, Power Bait, salmon eggs, lures such as Z-rays, spinners, crank baits, and Rapalas, and flies such as wooly worms or wooly buggers, and peacock ladies.
Anglers are catching bullheads on night crawlers from the fishing pier.
The lake is open to electric trolling motors and/or up to 10hp. gas motors.

SCOTTS RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair.  The lake is nearly full and the boat ramp is accessible. Anglers have been catching trout, bass, and channel catfish on worms.
Try worms, Power Bait, and salmon eggs, lures such as Super Dupers, Z-rays, spinners, and Rapalas, and flies such as wooly worms or wooly buggers, peacock ladies, and prince nymphs. The lake is open to electric trolling motors only. Recent surveys revealed good numbers of rainbow trout (average size, 11 inches), fair number of largemouth bass (average size, 12 inches), and some nice sized channel catfish (average size, 25 inches). The lake is open to electric trolling motors only.

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. This lake should have been stocked with catchable size rainbow trout. The lake is about 18.4 feet to accommodate bridge construction over Show Low Creek, but the boat ramp is still accessible. Show Low Lake has been stocked with catchable size rainbow trout and sub catchable size channel catfish.

Boat anglers have been catching trout and walleyes trolling cowbells with and attached worms, lures, and flies. Try worms, Power Bait, and salmon eggs, lures such as spinners, rubber lead head jigs, crankbaits, and Rapalas, and flies such as wooly worms or wooly buggers, and peacock ladies.
The lake is open to electric trolling motors and/or up to 10hp. gas motors.

WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is poor.  The water temperature was 75 degrees and the pH was 8.99. The lake is full and the boat ramp is accessible. Weeds are present along the shoreline. Try worms, Power Bait, and salmon eggs, lures such as spinners, Super Dupers, and small spoons, and flies such as wooly worms or wooly buggers, peacock ladies, prince nymphs, zug bugs, and Hares ears nymphs. The lake is open to electric trolling motors only.

Angler Report

Rory;

Wanted to say thanks your recommendation to Woodland Lake as an activity for our family reunion! The facilities at the park are excellent and lake is gorgeous! I hope it make it back to Lakeside next summer for our family reunion. I have attached a picture of the lake if you’d like to use it for the fishing report…

So how was the fishing at Woodland Lake?

Contrary to what the fishing report has noted about woodland we had an excellent weekend. I visited the lake on Friday Evening, Saturday Afternoon/Evening, and late Saturday Morning (Sept. 12-14). Note: The lake is weedy but there are a lot of fish to be caught and the fishing is on fire right now!

Friday evening we managed to land five bass varying in size off the floating pier. Most of the bass were quite small but two of them were pushing 1.5 pounds! Our techniques were tossing spinner baits close to shore along the weed line and jerk baits which seemed to also work. We fished for just under and hour and had a blast! Not sure what kind of bass they where but they all appeared to be largemouth black bass?

Saturday afternoon we collected the families and spent the afternoon and evening at the lake. The trout fishing was on fire! Boils of trout chasing minnows were erupting all over the lake. The technique that seemed to work best was Rooster Tails with gold spoons and no added weight (they wouldn’t hit off the silver). The best method for catching these little critters was to cast into the boil and steadily retrieve but keeping the lure 3-4 inches down. We managed to land 8 4- to 6-inch trout within an hour of being out there! Later that evening we only pulled in about five trout using the same technique but these guys were bigger, in the 10- to 12-inch range. All of these fish were caught near the floating pier. These fish put up an awesome fight! What a treat to see the excitement on the face of my family members as they managed to land their first fish. To me this was a priceless and memorable moment.

Sunday I visited the lake by myself and managed to land only two fish but both were decent sized bows. I had a lot of hits from smaller fish but they were too tender mouthed and I could not keep them on the line. Just a side note about the lake… I witnessed something I have not witnessed before, and that was a waterspout towards the west end of the lake. That was interesting and kind of spooky at the same time!

Lastly, all fish were released…

Thanks again for the advice on the lake, Rory.

Ciao!
David
WHITE MOUNTAIN STREAMS:

West Fork Black River: Fishing is good. The West Fork was stocked at the campground with catchable size Apache trout last week and will be stocked again this week.

Wild brown trout are also present in the lower portion of the river. In the campground area, try worms, salmon eggs, small lures such as spinners, and flies such as peacock ladies, wooly worms, small nymphs like hares ear, pheasant tails, zug bugs, prince nymphs, and caddis imitations.

The upper portion of the river, upstream of the confluence with Hayground Creek and including the Forest Road 116 crossing, is open to artificial lures and flies only, with catch and release regulations.

East Fork Black River: Fishing is good. The East Fork is stocked with catchable size Apache trout each week.
Wild brown trout are also present throughout the river. Try worms, salmon eggs, small lures such as spinners, and flies such as Peacock ladies, woolly worms, small nymphs like hares ear, pheasant tails, zug bugs, prince nymphs, and caddis imitations.
Sheep’s Crossing: Highway 273 is closed for the year due to road construction and an area closure is still in effect around Sheep Crossing, 24 hours and 7 days a week.

Little Colorado River Greer: Fishing is good. The LCR in Greer was stocked with catchable size Apache trout. Try worms, salmon eggs, small lures such as spinners, and flies such as peacock ladies, woolly worms, small nymphs like hares ear, pheasant tails, zug bugs, prince nymphs, and caddis imitations.

Silver Creek: Fishing is poor to fair. Silver Creek will be stocked this week with catchable size Apache trout.  Silver Creek on the Arizona Game and Fish Department property is now open to bait fishing and statewide fishing regulations are in effect until Sept. 30.  The upper section is closed to fishing.

Try small lures such as Mepps, Rooster tails, and Panther Martin spinners. Fly-fishers may want to try wooly worms, wooly buggers, peacock ladies, prince nymphs, zug bugs, shrimp patterns, midge patterns, and small bead head nymphs. Try small dry flies such as Adams, parachute Adams, midge and caddis fly patterns. Bait fishermen should try worms, Power Bait, and salmon eggs.

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