Fishing Report: April 6, 2017
Posted April 6, 2017
(Editor Nick Walter, 623-236-7214)
ROOSEVELT LAKE — (2,124 feet, 69-percent full). Water temperatures high-60s during afternoons.
April 6 report from Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods:
Excellent springtime bass fishing reports continue for Roosevelt and Apache Lakes. The recent full moon and stable weather brought huge numbers of bass onto the spawning areas. Lots of bass are staging either before or after spawning. Most anglers are very positive about the spawning weather conditions this year. Fast falling or rising water and storms can have a significant impact on the spawn, but this year the water level is slightly rising and the weather has been mostly stable for our typical springs in Rim Country. The water level is just below the 70% full mark and the clarity has significantly improved. The water temperature is in the high 60’s and low 70’s which is perfect for spawning bass.
During April, bass will be in all phases of the spawn and a large variety of baits are successful. One angling tournament team reported an exciting fast action top water bite on a buzz-bait and Zara-Spook. Clearly these are aggressive feeding post-spawn bass. Other anglers reported a deep crank-bait bite in the middle of coves adjacent to spawning flats which are pre-spawn bass staging, prior to moving shallow.
Crappie anglers are reporting seeing spawning activity by male crappie but not in big numbers. The continued increase in water temperature and the full moon should bring the female crappie to the shallow water within the next week.
On a recent clear, brisk morning, several of the most experienced Roosevelt Lake anglers assisted the AZGFD with a stocking of 25,000 Florida Strain Bass and 12,000 Black Crappie. The anglers were waiting at the Cholla ramp when the Game & Fish staff arrived with the truck hauling the fish. The 25,000 bass number is lower than originally expected, however, the size of the bass were in the 4″ to 5″ range. The larger the fingerlings, the higher the survival rate, so we’ll take size over quantity any day. Ninety percent of bass 5″ or larger will survive while only 30% of 2″ fingerling will mature to spawn. The actual stocking started at 7 AM and ended around 8:30 AM with each boat making about 5 trips with plastic cans filled with fish. The anglers reported a nearly 100% live release success rate with less than 5 crappie that didn’t make it. Art Chamberlin, Dennis Pirch, Fred Manfred and Linda Brauburger, with Curt Rambo as a “consultant” took the lead on dispersing the crappie. More than a dozen highly experienced bass anglers, who are very knowledgeable of Roosevelt Lake, distributed Florida Strain Bass throughout the lake. “Who better to release the fish than the guys who fish the lake three times per week and know areas where the fish are likely to survive” said Jeremy Ulmer of Payson. This is the third consecutive year the AZGFD has stocked Florida Strain Bass into the lake and the first year for crappie stocking.
LAKE PLEASANT – (Lake elevation 1,696 feet, 94 % full).
Water temperatures have been in the mid-60s. Stripers being caught are full of eggs and caught at an average water depth of 30-45 feet. Try the northern coves this time of the year. Live shad remains a go-to bait for striper fishing. Water visibility is limited in the northern coves but clear in open water.
Largemouth bass anglers can throw jerkbaita and small crankbaits in the back of northern coves or fish dropshot-rigged plastic worms on points (some anglers have reported success after dark). It’s particularly important to pay attention to wind direction at Pleasant — wind from the south means plankton and baitfish will be pushed into the northern coves, where your predatory fish are more likely to be feeding.
A diver reported that heavy winds and ensuing current destroyed some grassy habitat and so many bass have moved off their beds.
Motorized access to the upper arm of the Agua Fria River at Lake Pleasant via Table Mesa Rd. is again be available thanks to a special development project of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Boating Access Program. Through the cooperative efforts of the Department, the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, this unique boating and fishing opportunity will be available each Friday through Sunday throughout the spring — it began Friday, March 24. Operating hours are from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., and regular park entry fees apply (exact change required). See more information.
Known by its formal name as the Agua Fria Conservation Area, it has historically been a spring time fishing hot spot for white, striped and largemouth bass, but is now also recognized as one of the premier paddlecraft waters in Arizona. With incredible views, calm waters and abundant wildlife, it is truly a must-see destination, and a great reason to get your watercraft back on the water.
With nights becoming increasingly more comfortable, moon phase consideration becomes important for anglers who want to catch striped bass at night. Pay close attention to a moon phase calendar.
Fish the darkest nights, like during a new moon. Submersible lights attract the plankton-shad-sport fish combination and anglers will be competing with brighter moons.
Catfishing can be decent using dead shad fished on the bottom with hot dogs, chicken liver, or anchovies. Some anglers will chum a cove overnight with corn and return to fish the same cove with corn – this can be an effective tactic for catching carp and catfish.
BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,796 feet, feet, 98 % full.
Bartlett Lake is full and the water is clearing up. Bass fishing is good in 2-12 feet from the dam to the river using crankbaits, spinner baits (white or chartreuse) and baby brush hogs (watermelon red). Texas-rigs worms aren’t producing as much as the brush hogs. Bass are all phases of spawn.
Visibility is about 1 foot deep.
Don’t forget the Bartlett Lake Marina is now open. See www.bartlettlake.com or contact 480-221-0503 for more information.
COMMUNITY FISHING WATERS — Channel catfish are back in core Community waters. See the stocking schedule through the summer.
Cortez Lake fish stockings have been postponed until further notice. The Arizona Game and Fish Department and Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department have determined that a golden alga bloom caused the fish kill suffered in the lake over the past week. Golden alga can release toxins that affect cold-blooded, gill-breathing organisms such as fish and clams. The Arizona Department of Health Services has determined that human health is not affected by exposure to the toxins. Common sense should be exercised by not picking up dead or dying fish for consumption.
SAGUARO LAKE – The lake is 1,523 feet (93-percent full).
Bass are spawning. Try Texas-rigged lizards. Drifting gizzard shad swimbaits have been some bass. Water should be clearing.
One angler had success night-fishing with a wacky-rigged 5-inch watermelon red flake Flick’m Shimmy worms, in 4 to 10 feet of water.
Yellow bass is an option if the largemouth bass are finicky. Try nightcrawlers on dropshot rigs.
CANYON LAKE – Lake level is 1,657 feet (97-percent full.) The final rainbow trout stockings of the winter season took place a month ago. Fishing likely is pretty difficult – but Canyon is the land of lunkers when it comes to bass. For better numbers, try Bartlett or Saguaro.
A new fishing pier is under construction in the Boulder Creek Recreation Area. This pier serves as excellent structure for sunfish.
Some anglers have had success throwing dropshot Roboworms in morning dawn near cattails in 10-20 feet of water.
APACHE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,912 feet (95-percent full).
Spinners have been successful with smallmouth bass. Crankbaits and jigs also have been effective.
Try reaction baits in the morning and during afternoons, jigs or dropshots. Not a bad time to drift along and throw crankbaits or spiinnerbaits. Apache Lake’s final schedule trout stocking of the winter season was a month ago.
Various jigs also can be effective – try crawdad imitations. Points, islands and rocky structures tend to hold the majority of largemouth bass – keep moving.
Walleye fishing could be decent at first and last light using nightcrawler rigs, or jigs tipped with a worm. Apache is also full of some really nice yellow bass. Try gold KastMasters or yellow/gold Rooster Tails.
HORSESHOE LAKE – Lake elevation is 2,018 feet (83-percent full).
When the lake is full, there are a lot of spawning fish.
LOWER SALT RIVER – On Thursday afternoon, the river was flowing at 8.4 cfs out of Stewart Mountain. Is being stocked with trout this week and next week. No new reports of success.
Creeks below the Mogollon Rim
Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods previously reported trout fishing in Rim Country streams is also being called excellent. The water levels are slowing back to normal flows so look for trout in pools or undercuts along the streams.
Updated April 6, Editor Chuck Benedict, 928-214-1244)
(There are recommended fishing waters. Those not listed either are considered poor or there have been no reports)
Williams area lakes
All of the lakes are full. Since all of the lakes are full this year we don’t have enough trout to stock all of the lakes (if you don’t stock enough fish in a lake folks can’t catch them). This year we are only planning on stocking Kaibab Lake and Dogtown Lake with Rainbow Trout. As soon as the lakes stop spilling we will start stocking Kaibab and Dogtown. We do plan on stocking Channel Catfish in City Reservoir in the late Spring, but we don’t have a date set.
Dogtown Lake was stocked with 2,600 catchable (10 inch) yesterday for the first time this year. The hatchery will also be stocking a load of smaller (6 inch) Rainbow Trout later this week. These fish need to be moved from the hatchery to reduce crowding and allow other fish to grow up to size faster. Dogtown is one of the few lakes in the region in the area that produces enough food to grow these smaller fish.
Fishing has been slow, but the few holdover fish being caught are nice size fish.
About 3,600 Rainbow Trout were stocked in Kaibab this week. The lake is still muddy so fishing is probably slow. I would try small silver or gold lures to try and catch the trout.
Flagstaff Area Lakes
Much like the Williams area lakes most of the lakes in the Flagstaff area are full and spilling. Lower Lake Mary isn’t spilling, but it has more water in it than any year since 2010. Again, just like in the Williams area, we don’t have enough fish to stock every lake this year so only a few lakes will be stocked in the Flagstaff area. Ashurst Lake, Lower Lake Mary, and Frances Short Pond will be stocked with trout this year.
Ashurst is full! The road is open and the first load of 2,700 rainbow trout was stocked last week. Another 2,600 were stocked on Monday. The water in the lake is relatively clear so I would try fishing with lures for the fresh stockers. With the low water level of the lake prior to the spring runoff I don’t think many fish survived the winter.
Frances Short Pond
Frances Short pond was stocked last week and will be stocked this week. Folks have been catching fish using flies and lures. Some have also been caught garlic powerbait, baby bell cheese, corn or worms. Stocked Monday.
Lower Lake Mary
Lower Lake Mary has had about 22,000 larger (10 + inch) Rainbow Trout stocked in the last couple of weeks along with about 8600 smaller (6-8 inch) Rainbow Trout. The recent stocking of Rainbow Trout contained some really nice trout with one being measured at about 18 inches. One angler reported that he and 2 friends recently caught 11 nice sized trout on the backside of the lake using PowerBait. Fishing was slow but the fish were really nice size.
Fishing was slow during last the weekend as the freshly stocked fish spread around the lake. Another load of smaller rainbow trout (6 inch) will be stocked this week. My coworker caught and released 102 trout last Tuesday on flies with a size 12 bead head prince nymph and size 12 zebra midge working best. Folks were also doing well on small lures.
The road is closed.
Upper Lake Mary
A new state record Channel Catfish was caught on an anchovy 3/26. The fish was 39.5 inches long and weighed 33.36 lbs. The person who caught the fish also told us some of his friends have been catching some nice Northern Pike on anchovies.
Blueridge Reservoir (CC Cragin) will not be stocked this year. We will be stocking Knoll Lake, Huffer Tank and Mormon Lodge Pond later on in the year.
MOGOLLON RIM AND WHITE MOUNTAINS
(Updated April 6, Editor Sally Petre 928-532-2307)
Recommended Waters to Fish
Spring fishing is here! Willow Springs, Woods Canyon, Fool Hollow, Rainbow, Scott and Becker lakes are all being stocked this week with rainbow trout! They all also have holdover trout in there. Bass fishing is good in Show Low, Rainbow, and Fool Hollow lakes. Fishing is good at Becker Lake, Big Lake, Carnero Lake, and River Reservoir, Woods Canyon and Willow Springs lakes. Several lakes with good holdover provide good fishing, including Becker Lake, Big Lake, Carnero Lake, Hulsey Lake, and River Reservoir.
MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
*Forest Road 300 (Rim Road) to Bear Canyon Lake is still closed for the winter. Forest Road 300 (Rim Road) is slotted to open to access Woods Canyon Lake this Thursday.
BEAR CANYON LAKE – Inaccessible. Forest Road 300 (the Rim Road) is still closed for the winter as of 4/4/2017.
BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair. The lake is full and has a new boat ramp. No ice. Accessible on Forest Road 86. Try PowerBait for carryover rainbows. The water is turbid from snow melt runoff and lures/flies likely won’t work well until the water clears a little more.
CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair for large wild brown trout and carryover rainbow trout. Forest Road 504 from the north is open, but access from the Rim Road is still closed. The lake is full and has no ice.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is currently good/fair for carryover rainbow trout and tiger trout as well as freshly stocked rainbow trout. The road to the boat ramp is now open and boats can be launched. No ice.
WOODS CANYON LAKE – Inaccessible until 4/6/2017. Forest Road 300 (the Rim Road) is still closed for the winter as of 3/24/2017. No ice. You can walk in from the locked gate just off Hwy 260. Fish should get stocked here this week so fishing should be fair/good if stocked.
PINETOP/SHOW LOW/ST. JOHNS LAKES
FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is good for stocked (12”+) rainbow trout and bass! No ice. Carryover rainbow trout are being caught. The lake is full for the first time in several years. Fishing pier and platforms are accessible! Northern pike are may still be in the shallow southern portion of the lake. Large catfish were also found in the shallow southern portion during a recent fish population survey. Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are staging to spawn and can be caught!
RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is good for stocked (12”+) rainbow trout and bass! Lake is full and spilling. No ice. The pike spawn is over and they are dispersing back throughout the lake, but can still be caught with shiny lures. Try you luck for largemouth bass.
SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is good for stocked rainbow trout! The lake is full and spilling. No ice.
SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is good for stocked (12”+) rainbow trout and bass! An almost 7lb smallmouth bass (almost state record) was caught this week! The lake is nearly full and has no ice. Holdover rainbow trout, and lots of cutthroat trout, should be fishing well. The road over the dam is now open. There is a new restroom and fish cleaning station that will be usable once the electricity is connected. Additional facilities improvements at Show Low Lake will be coming soon.
WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is full and spilling. No ice. Fishing dock is inaccessible.
PATTERSON PONDS – This is a community fishing water in St. John’s. A regular fishing license or a community fishing license is required to fish here. Channel catfish and sunfish fishing is fair, but trout fishing is good. Catfish were last stocked in October and rainbow trout were stocked on January 25! The pond daily bag limits in community fishing waters (2 trout; 2 catfish; 5 sunfish) apply.
WHITE MOUNTAIN LAKES
* Highways 261 and 273 roads are still closed. 249 Rd is open and Big Lake is accessible. Lee Valley Lake and Crescent Lake are inaccessible.
BECKER LAKE – Fishing is good to excellent. Becker Lake is open to catch-and-release only for trout, artificial fly and lure only; single barbless hooks only. No bait. No trout may be kept. Many large, thick rainbow trout are being caught on white semiseal leach with olive or gray tail, or red chironomids under a strike indicator. Tiger trout are also being caught and an application for State catch-and-release record for tiger trout at Becker Lake was recently submitted. The lake is full.
BIG LAKE – The lake is ice free. Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter, but you can access the lake legally from Alpine.
CARNERO LAKE – The lake is ice free. The route to the lake by way of Forest Road 117 is still blocked by a large snowdrift, but you can reach the lake by way of Forest Road 118. Fish surveys have not yet been conducted, but winter limnological surveys show that there should be no winterkill. Tiger trout are being caught and an application for State catch-and-keep record for tiger trout recently submitted. The lake is nearly full!
CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor for trout, but fair for sunfish, bullheads, and bass. No ice.
CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake was stocked in early March with trout!
CRESCENT LAKE – The lake is ice free, but is still inaccessible. Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter. Winter limnological surveys showed some areas under the ice with high pH levels and other areas with low oxygen, so there was a chance of a partial fish kill. Fish population surveys will be conducted soon to determine if fish have survived the winter.
GREER LAKES (River; Tunnel; Bunch) – All 3 lakes are full and ice free. Large holdover brown trout and rainbow trout are being caught in River and Tunnel.
HULSEY LAKE – Fishing is good for holdover rainbow trout. A recent fish survey found holdover rainbows up to 18 inches. No ice. The road is open and accessible.
LEE VALLEY LAKE – Inaccessible and possibly ice covered. Few fish remain here, although we are not predicting a winterkill, since it was not stocked last year. Highways 261 and 273 are still closed for the winter.
LUNA LAKE –Fishing is fair to good. The lake is full and has no ice. Rainbow trout of all sizes are being caught, including some large fish.
LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is open. Fishing is fair for bass, walleye, carp and catfish. Use corn or night crawlers for carp and catfish. No ice.
NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair. The lake is full and spilling. No ice. Holdover rainbow trout may have sores from a parasite called Lernaea, however they are safe to eat. The lake will not be stocked until it stops spilling.
WHITE MOUNTAIN STREAMS
EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is fair for wild brown trout. Moderate flows from snow melt. The East Fork is accessible from Alpine.
LITTLE COLORADO RIVER in GREER – Fishing is poor. The stream is flowing high and turbid from snow melt.
SHOW LOW CREEK – Fishing is poor. The road over the dam at Show Low Lake is now open, but the stream has not yet been stocked.
SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair. A protozoan infection called “Ich” hit rainbow trout in Silver Creek in October, causing significant stress, some mortalities of trout, and poor fishing, however, that bout of infection has passed. Fishing is good in the upper section, but poor to fair in the lower section where more of the mortalities occurred. Current regulations are catch-and-keep with bait and 6 trout daily limit apply. The upper section is closed to fishing. Harvest of trout in the lower section during the first week of April should be fair, but anglers should be aware that it will not be as great as it was last year.
SHEEPS CROSSING/LCR – Inaccessible. Highway 273 is still closed for the winter. Not stocked last year or this year.
COLORADO RIVER WATERS
(There are recommended fishing waters. Those not listed either are considered poor or there have been no reports)
WILLOW BEACH — Billy G. had another successful trip to Willow Beach with a 12-pound striper. He caught six (mostly 2-3 pound stripers) on the day with the one big fish. He was using the Bomber Long A trout pattern (see attached picture).
LAKE MOHAVE — Striper fishing has slowed, but by the dam shore fishing is producing some nice fish. Anchovies are the bait of choice for these fish.
LAKE MEAD — Ed caught a nice smallmouth bass on using a tube bait. These baits come in a variety of colors so you can mimic what the bass are feeding at the time. The bite is getting hotter on both Mead and Lake Mohave. Jack caught a monster 48-pound, 13-ounce striper in about 10 feet of water in the flats across from South Cove. He also caught another lunker on the fishing trip.
LAKE POWELL AND LEES FERRY
LAKE POWELL —
“Warming begins again”
Spring warming restarts this week. The best spring fishing happens as water temperature surpasses the 64 degree mark for the first time. Temperature this morning was 53 degrees so there is a long way to go. The weather forecast is for calm weather during the next two weeks with a bit of wind on the weekends. Lake Powell surface temperature will climb to the 57-60 degree mark by the weekend and maintain that level and higher into the next week.
LEES FERRY – See the full March 16 fishing report from Lees Ferry Anglers.
ALAMO LAKE – March 29 report from Mark Knapp at Alamo Lake State Park:
Once again you’rre not missing much out here as far as fishing goes. The lake is still messed up, and looks like a milkshake. A few bass are being caught flipping along the shorelines. I would throw a brush hog or something like that. We had a fairly large tournament here this last weekend and 14 pounds won it. That’s not great, but not bad either. Crappie fishing is terrible. Maybe one crappie being caught in a day. Even cat fishing has slowed way down. High winds and ca old front this week are not helping anything either. So, if were me I would hold off for another couple of weeks and see what happens. Both ramps are open. That’s all I got. — Mark
LAKE HAVASU – Angler Nick S. reported: “Last week I went to Havasu for three days and had a lot of success throwing a dropshot rig. We caught three and lost a bunch more, but all the fish seemed to be up shallow in kind of a pre-spawn phase. We did see some beds but it still seemed a little early for the bass to be spawning. The fish we did catch were on a dropshot rig, fishing a morning dawn Roboworm with a chartreuse tip. The fish you see below were all caught on the reef, right next to Sand Point Marina. The smallmouth was about a pound and a half, the smaller largemouth was 5.6 pounds and the big largemouth was every bit of eight. We had a great time fishing the river and I highly recommend anglers take the opportunity to fish there before it gets too hot. Happy fishing!
Send your reports to BFishing@azgfd.gov.
PARKER STRIP – No report.
YUMA AREA PONDS – Trout have returned to the Community lakes Fortuna, Redondo, West Wetlands Pond and Council Ave. Pond in Somerton. See the schedule.
COLORADO RIVER (between Picacho State Park and Imperial Dam, including backwaters and Martinez Lake) – No report.
MARTINEZ LAKE — No report. This tends to be one of the top early-bird bass lakes.
(Updated Feb. 13; Editor Don Mitchell, 520-388-4451)
ARIVACA LAKE – Current lake level is 2.97 below the spillway. Launching conditions are good. No recent reports of success. Gasoline engines are restricted to 10 hp or less and boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.
CLUFF RANCH — The pond is 1.14 feet below the spillway with no reports of launching issues. Trout stocking is ongoing. The schedule can be found here. Anglers continue to report the fishing to be fair. Visitors are reminded that it is illegal to obstruct the use of the boat ramp by anglers trying to launch the boats. No parking, standing, sitting, swimming or fishing is allowed on the boat ramp. For lake information call (928) 485-9430.
PATAGONIA — The lake is full and no reported launching problems. Trout stockings are ongoing. Find the schedule here. No recent reports of success.
PARKER CANYON — See a recent Angler Report. The lake is at 2.82 feet below the spillway and there are no problems with launching. Trout stocking is ongoing. For future stockings check the schedule here. The bag limit on white amurs is one fish over 30 inches in length. Anglers are asked to immediately release any smaller amurs that they may catch unharmed. Anglers can also contact the Store at the lake for updates on fishing at (520) 455-5847. Gasoline engines are restricted to 10 hp or less and boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.
PENA BLANCA – The lake is full and water quality problems have improved and trout stocking is underway finally. The winter trout schedule can be found here. As the weather warms anglers are reminded of the recent change in the largemouth bass regulations at this lake. For details of those changes please see the current fishing regulations here: 2017 Fishing Regulations. Additionally all mercury advisories against the eating of warmwater fish caught at Pena Blanca Lake remains in effect. Future testing will determine if and when these advisories will be lifted. Gasoline engines are restricted to 10 hp or less and boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.
RIGGS FLAT LAKE – This lake is closed for the winter.
ROPER LAKE — The lake is full. No recent reports have been received from this location. Find the winter trout stocking schedule here. For lake information contact Roper Lake State Park at (928) 428-6760. Sunfish live or dead is not legal bait at this lake.
ROSE CANYON LAKE – The lake is closed to vehicle access for the winter. Anglers can still access the lake by foot.