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Fishing Report: Dec. 6, 2017

Posted December 6, 2017

See “The Reel Deal” statewide summary

 

Editor’s note: The AZGFD fishing report is a free resource meant to inform anglers, and remember that nothing beats spending time on the water to figure out what’s biting. Help us keep these reports fresh for your fellow anglers by sending your reports and photos to BFishing @AZGFD.gov – one will be selected for Catch of the Week.

Finally, reports from guides, tackle shops or angler groups are not endorsements.

OK, on to the  full report.

 

Central Waters

(Updated Dec. 6; Editor Nick Walter, 623-236-7214)

BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,772 feet, feet, 64 % full.

The water level has dropped 2 feet during the past week and water temperature has been around 56 degrees and falling.

Best bet is throwing crankbaits during mornings and smaller plastic baits (Roboworms or baby brush hogs) on Texas rigs or dropshots in 15-25 feet of water. There has not been much of a morning top-water bite.

Jigging spoons haa become a more effective technique as well.

Don’t forget the Bartlett Lake Marina is now open. See www.bartlettlake.com or contact 480-221-0503 for more information.

Note: The Arizona Catfish Conservation Association, a 501c3 non-profit club based in Arizona, is asking anyone who catches a tagged flathead or channel catfish at Lake Pleasant or Bartlett Lake to note the number of the tag, along with any other information such as weight, length or girth, GPS coordinates (if available) and then visit www.catfishaz.com.

ROOSEVELT LAKE — (2,111 feet, 57-percent full).

Dec. 7 report from Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods:

Roosevelt Lake level remains at 57% full. During the first week of November, the lake level has risen slightly. The amount of water coming into the lake from the Salt River is at 60% of the normal flow rate. The Tonto Creek is flowing at about 25% of its normal flow. Some storms have moved through the watershed recently releasing much needed moisture, however, winter storms and snow are the keys to increasing the lake level. An excellent snow-pack in Rim Country will ensure a steady flow of fresh water and nutrients into the lake during the spring.

Bass fishing on Roosevelt Lake is being reported as fair to good. The lake is undergoing a change to colder water temperatures due to recent cold fronts moving through the state. The water temperature on cloudy days is struggling to reach into the low 60s. As a result, the baitfish are moving to deeper water, followed by the bass. During recent tournaments anglers reported catching many bass using a spoon, however, during the tournament a slow moving jig on the bottom proved to be the winning technique.  Likewise, crappie anglers are not catching the large numbers reported a few weeks ago. Most are reporting catching a few crappie from each spot and then moving to the next location. This transition to deeper water is very common during the winter months. As water temperatures continue to drop the metabolism of cold-blooded fish will slow dramatically. Anglers will begin to be more selective and only fish on bright sunny days when the water temperature will be slightly higher.

 

LAKE PLEASANT – (Lake elevation 1,670 feet, 65 % full).

Scooter Griffith from  The Arizona Fishing Guides  said  Nov. 22 the lake has been fishing extremely well. “We are catching big numbers of stripers,  white bass and largemouth,” he reported. “Somedays you can catch them 40 feet and deeper on spoons and other days you catch them in 3 feet or less. Half ounce to 1 ounce spoons and @arizonacustombaits retail swim baits in glimmer shad and scooters special have been most productive.”

Carmen from the Hook Up Outfitters  previously said water temperatures have been in the low-70s and largemouth action has been picking up as we head into a fall-time bite. Largemouth have been hitting top-water lures such as Zara Spooks, not only during the first light but from mid-morning until the early afternoon as well. A dropshot rig  and paddletail swimbaits also continue to be effective for largemouth.

Striped bass are primarily in 20-60 feet of water — along with shad — and are mainly suspending on main lake points on drop-offs and can be caught on A-rigs, paddletail swimbaits, as spoons and spin baits.

Shad have usually been in 30 feet of water in main lake areas, although sometimes move outside of the northern coves.

SAGUARO LAKE – The lake is 1,525 feet (94-percent full).

The lake was stocked with rainbow trout the week of Nov. 13 and will be stocked again the week of Dec. 18. Scooter Griffith from The Arizona Fishing Guides said  the lake is putting out numbers of big fish. Most of them have been coming out in the deep grass using a drop shot or a shaky head technique.

Other successful baits reported were walking baits and Ricos and dropshot-rigged Roboworms in 15 feet of water.

Yellow bass is an option if the largemouth bass are finicky — jigging spoons deep is an excellent winter tactic here and at Apache lake. Also try nightcrawlers on dropshot rigs.

 See a how-to video “Return to the land of giant bass.” 

Flathead catfishing also can be excellent. Fish shallow during the nighttime with bluegill or carp as bait. This is the time the flatheads fatten up for the winter.

 

Note: The Arizona Catfish Conservation Association, a 501c3 non-profit club based in Arizona, is asking anyone who catches a tagged flathead or channel catfish at Lake Pleasant or Bartlett Lake to note the number of the tag, along with any other information such as weight, length or girth, GPS coordinates (if available) and then visit www.catfishaz.com.

 

CANYON LAKE – Lake level is 1,656 feet (94-percent full.)

The lake was stocked with rainbow trout the first week of November and is scheduled to be stocked again next week. Scooter Griffith from The Arizona Fishing Guides said Nov. 22 that the lake is still putting out numbers of big fish. Most of them have been coming out in the deep grass using a drop shot or a shaky head technique.

A fishing pier is now open to the public at the Boulder recreation site of Canyon Lake. Trout are stocked in this area.

Located in the Tonto National Forest’s Canyon Lake, the Boulder recreation site is 15 miles northeast of Apache Junction on State Route 88.

The pier is the culmination of a joint effort between the U.S. Forest Service, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Canyon Lake Marina to remove the original, 20-plus-year-old pier damaged by storms during the summer of 2015 and replace it with a modern pier.

Funding for the pier came from Forest Service fees collected at developed recreation sites, such as picnic areas, campgrounds and boat launch areas.

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

The lake was scheduled to be stocked with rainbow trout this week. Fishing has been somewhat slow during the past few weeks for bass as water levels had increased.

The ticket is jigging spoons deep for bass. This is an excellent winter tactic here and at Saguaro Lake, especially for yellow bass.

Scooter Griffith from  The Arizona Fishing Guides  also said the fishing at Apache has been tough but is slowly back on the incline. “Your best bet is to try to find schools deep on spoons,” he said.

COMMUNITY FISHING WATERS —  Trout stockings that were deferred to this week did indeed happen. This week we stocked the “Expansion/Custom” Community waters, Chaparral Lake, Silverbell Lake, Kennedy Lake, Sahuarita Lake, Lakeside Lake, Copper Sky Lake, Veterans Oasis, Desert Breeze Lake, and Tempe Kiwanis.

HORSESHOE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,967 feet (5-percent full).

Lake has dropped 3 feet during the past week. When the lake is full, there are a lot of spawning fish. No new reports.

LOWER SALT RIVER – On Wednesday afternoon, the river was flowing at 8 cfs out of Stewart Mountain. The river was stocked last week and is scheduled to be stocked again with trout next week. Anglers can try fly fishing with copper johns, prince nymphs, and egg patterns can work well for sub-surface flies, and for dry fly anglers can try stimulators and elk hair caddis. If you are spin fishing try small Rooster Tails with a gold blade in the slower moving water.

You might be able to catch some bass or sunfish in the deeper holes.

Creeks below the Mogollon Rim

Stream trout stockings have ended but trout fishing on the Rim streams remains good. On the right day, anglers can have a stream all to themselves. Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods reported that stream anglers are reporting having the streams to themselves or sharing a stretch of water with only one other angler. A Copper John fly in a mayfly nymph pattern, Rooster-tails and PowerBait were all reported successful.


 

Mogollon Rim and White Mountains

(Updated Dec. 5; Editor Mike Lopez, 928-532-3692)

Recommended Waters to Fish

Fishing is good at Show Low Creek meadows at the Show Low Bluff trailhead, which will be stocked with rainbow trout this week.  Overall trout fishing is good at Big Lake, Becker Lake, Carnero Lake, Luna Lake, and Woods Canyon Lake, although water temperatures are getting cold (30s) in the highest elevation lakes and trout activity is slowing a bit.

 


MOGOLLON RIM LAKES

BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair.  Rainbow trout were last stocked in late August, but there are still some remaining from earlier stockings.  Water temperatures are still good for trout activity throughout the lake. Try PowerBait and nightcrawlers.

BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair.  The lake was stocked last in June. The lake is 6.5 feet below spill and the new boat ramp is still fully functional.

CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair for stocked rainbows and wild brown trout.  The brown trout should be active and can be caught with Z-rays, Kastmasters, or black streamers.  Water temperatures are good for trout activity throughout the lake. Chevelon Lake is a hike-in lake with a two trout limit and artificial fly/lure only regulations.

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is fair for rainbow trout and tiger trout.  Try PowerBait, worms, Kastmasters, or Panther Martin spinners for rainbows, and lures or flies for tiger trout.  Water temperatures are good for trout activity throughout the lake.

WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good for rainbow trout and fair for tiger trout.  Try PowerBait, worms, Kastmasters, or Panther Martin spinners for rainbows, and lures or flies for tiger trout.  Water temperatures are good for trout activity throughout the lake.

 

PINETOP/SHOW LOW LAKES

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair for stocked (12”+) rainbow trout.  Supercatchable rainbows (12”+) were last stocked in late August and there are still a few around. Water temperatures are good for trout activity throughout the lake.  The fishing piers and platforms are accessible.

RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor for trout, but fair for sunfish and bullheads.  The lake level is very low and the weeds are thick in the shallow areas.  The fishing pier is not very useful, since it is very shallow off the end of the pier.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor. The lake level is extremely low and turbid due to irrigation releases. Can’t launch boats from the boat ramp. Try fishing from the shore with chicken livers on the bottom for catfish.

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair for stocked (12”+) rainbow trout.  Supercatchable size (12”+) rainbow trout were last stocked in late August and there are still a few around.  Water temperatures are good for trout activity throughout the lake.

WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is poor.  Fish were last stocked in late-May and there are likely few left.  The lake is low and weedy, but the fishing dock is accessible.

PATTERSON PONDS – Fishing is fair to good for trout. Rainbow trout were stocked in early November in the upper pond, including some Golden Rainbow Trout, which are a bright gold-colored rainbow trout (not related to the California Golden Trout). Channel catfish were last stocked at the end of September.  A regular fishing license or a community fishing license is required to fish here.  The pond daily bag limits in community fishing waters (2 trout; 2 catfish; 5 sunfish) apply.  Please use good catch and release methods if you are releasing fish.

 

WHITE MOUNTAIN LAKES

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is good. Anglers are catching big rainbow trout on lures and streamers. 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.

BIG LAKE – Fishing is good for lots of small rainbows and larger cutthroats. Try flyfishing, lures, or nightcrawlers for cutthroat trout. Some brook trout are also being caught. Water temperatures are getting cold (upper 30s) and trout activity is slowing a bit

CARNERO LAKE – Fishing is good for rainbow trout and fair for tiger trout. A recent fish survey found a lot of 14-16” rainbow trout, with the largest topping out at 19”, and several tiger trout up to 16”.  The lake is a little low and weedy around the shorelines, but the middle is mostly open water.  A pontoon, canoe, or kayak (something that glides over the surface weeds) is best, but a small boat could work by lifting it off and on your trailer, then paddling over the shoreline weeds out to the open water.

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor for trout, but fair for sunfish and bullheads.  Sunfish can be caught on a size 12 hook with a small piece of worm, in rocky or weedy areas, or black bullhead on the bottom with a size 6 hook and a half or full worm.

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor.  Trout were last stocked in April and likely few are left.  The lake is low.

CRESCENT LAKE – Fishing is fair.  The water quality has improved significantly since the summer, but still has somewhat of an algae bloom.

GREER LAKES (River; Tunnel; Bunch) – Fishing is fair at River, Tunnel, and Bunch reservoirs.  Wild brown trout are still somewhat active and can be caught on lures or dark streamers.  Lake levels are still low but coming up slowly as these irrigation reservoirs are filled during the fall and winter.  The boat ramps are not usable at River and Tunnel, but the ramp at Bunch Reservoir is usable because this lake is being filled first.

HULSEY LAKE – Fishing is fair for rainbow trout. Trout stocked earlier in the year are now active in the cooler water.

LEE VALLEY LAKE – Fishing is poor.  A recent fish survey found that some Arctic grayling still exist in the lake, but very few, all measuring just over 13 inches. A strong algae bloom is present on the lake.

LUNA LAKE – Fishing is good.  Although there is a strong algae bloom of diatoms, the fishing has picked up with cooler water temperatures.  Anglers are reporting catching lots of 10-11 inch rainbow and cutthroat trout, and an occasional large cutthroat.

LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is open. Fishing is fair for carp and catfish. Use corn or night crawlers for carp and chicken liver for catfish.

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair.  The current regulation is unlimited bag limit for trout (Sept 1 through March 31).  The lake is full.

 

WHITE MOUNTAIN STREAMS

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is fair for stocked rainbows and wild brown trout. Rainbow trout were last stocked just before Labor Day weekend, but some may still be present.  The flows are low and clear. Wild brown trout may still be active.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER in GREER – Fishing is fair for stocked rainbows and wild brown trout.  Rainbow trout were last stocked just before Labor Day weekend, but some may still be present. Wild brown trout are active. There is some skim ice on the pools in early morning.

SHOW LOW CREEK TAILWATER – Fishing is poor.  The creek just below the Show Low Lake dam was last stocked just before Labor Day weekend and most of the fish are likely caught out.

SHOW LOW CREEK MEADOWS (COMMUNITY FISHING WATER) – Fishing is good at this new Community Fishing Water located at the Show Low Bluff trailhead in Show Low.  It will be stocked this week with rainbow trout in the Show Low meadow from the Bluff trail upstream to the Hampton Inn. Bait can be used, but daily bag limits are 2 trout, 2 catfish, 1 bass (minimum size 13”) and 5 sunfish.

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair to good.  Seasonal Catch-and-Release regulations (with artificial lure and fly only with single barbless hooks) are in effect and will continue through March 31.  All trout must be released immediately and please use proper catch-and-release techniques to ensure the trout survive after swimming away.  The upper section is now open.

SHEEPS CROSSING/West Fork LCR – Fishing is poor and this stream was not stocked this year.

 


Central Mountains

Angler Reports:

(New reports; Editor Chuck Benedict, 928-214-1244)

(These are recommended fishing waters. Those not listed either are considered poor or there have been no reports. Send your reports to BFishing@azgfd.gov.)

Ashurst Lake

One of our Wildlife Specialists fished Ashurst Friday.  He was using Joe’s Flies fishing from a boat and caught 10 rainbows and one brown in about 2 hours.

All of the fish were 14-16 inches long and fat. The Coconino National Forest will probably close the gates soon — but for now it’s the place to go in the Flagstaff region.

Frances Short Pond

Michael W.:

Incredible Day Of Fishing At Francis Short Pond! This was our first time fishing here.  I caught & released 19 beautiful Rainbow Trout… Ranging from 14 to 23 inches.  My friend caught & released 12 Rainbow Trout… Ranging from 13 to 15 inches.  All fish caught on Crappie Tubes, Split-Tail Grubs and Super Duper lures. As I was trying to lift the 23 inch Rainbow Trout out of the water after measuring it, the trout thrashed around and broke the line, then swam off (no picture).  A long handle net is a must in order to bring in the larger fish up from the steep rocky bank!  Here is a picture of one of my 17″ trout.  Weather Conditions: Cool & cloudy. Water Conditions: Muddy

See more fishing spots


Colorado River/Prescott area Waters

Editor Gregg Cummins, 928-263-8868

(These are recommended fishing waters. Those not listed either are considered poor or there have been no reports.)

Been fishing? Please sense your reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.)

New reports:

Colorado River (below Davis Dam)

Trout are being stocked weekly and meal worms, nigh crawlers and power baits are working near the stocking sites. Spinner baits are also producing results, especially spinners with red spots. Striped bass and channel catfish are being caught with anchovies and the best lures for stripers include the Long A Bomber or the Savage Gear Glide Swimmer.

Lynx Lake

From a Monday, No .20 AZGFD creel survey, of the 37 people interviewed, 12 people have caught fish —  26 trout and three nice catfish.

PowerBait worked for the trout and worms for the catfish.  Small spinners are a must just in case the trout aren’t interested in the PowerBait.

Angler Report:

Fain Lake (Cottonwood), Nov. 27

Fishing Remains HOT At Fain Lake!  In 2 hours 20 minutes, I caught & released 50 Rainbow Trout… Ranging from 8 to 12 inches.  All fish caught on Crappie Tubes next to dam.  Smaller fish caught a depth of 2 to 6 feet while, larger fish caught at a depth of 12 to 16 feet.  Weather Conditions: Cloudy and Windy.  Water Conditions:  Stained

 

See more lake-specific information


Lake Powell and Lees Ferry

LAKE POWELL —

“Seems like October”

Warm calm weather continues into December with no freezing air temperatures yet over Lake Powell.  Water temperature did hit 60 degrees again yesterday in the warmest part of the afternoon. It was 57-58 degrees yesterday morning. This means that Lake Powell fish still think it is autumn rather than winter and are responding accordingly. Largemouth bass and crappie are still in submerged trees in 12-25 feet of water. Smallmouth bass are holding on rocky points but only respond to anglers as the water warms during mid day and afternoon.  Smallmouth bass are near their shut down temperature of 54 degrees.

See the details in the full Dec. 1 report from Wayne Gustaveson (www.wayneswords.com).

LEES FERRY – Latest report:

 

See the full report from Lees Ferry Anglers.


Southwestern Waters

Send your reports to BFishing@azgfd.gov.

New reports:

ALAMO LAKE – (Elevation 1,111.41 feet – 1,078 this time last year.)

Fishing should be excellent as Alamo is a great winter fishing hole. Our recent surveys showed tons of largemouths! We caught the second most bass ever since we began surveying. Most that we found in our surveys were less than 10 inches, but from talking to some anglers the bigger ones were in deeper water than we could effectively sample them with electrofishing so we were just missing them. If you wanted to teach a kid to bass fish there’s hardly a better place because basically any method will work.

The black crappie fishing should be excellent because very few were caught/harvested last year due to rising and very stained water. Those fished should have survived until this year, meaning they should be bigger and more plentiful than the previous years and will hopefully provide some amazing fishing.

See more Angler Reports

LAKE HAVASU — (Elevation: 446 feet.)

From our recent survey, the bass population looks excellent as always.  Good numbers of small, medium, and big ones.  Based on this year’s survey we can see nothing to suggest it will not continue to be ranked as a top-25 bass lake in the U.S.

The redear sunfish action should continue to be world class.  We got a ton of redear in our surveys, including several that were 3+ pounds. We fully expect a few of those huge redear to come out this spring again.

The striper fishing should continue to be excellent.  Based on our creel survey of the lake, and through talking with anglers, we have found that it seems to be hard to not catch stripers right now in Havasu.  They are not big by any means (ave 10 – 12 inches), but if you just want to catch fish and bring home some fish for tacos, Havasu should be excellent.

When it was a bit warmer, channel catfish fishing was good off of a few of the docks around the lake using live bluegills.

PARKER STRIP – This may be the as good a bass fishing spot as anywhere. Our survey was unbelievable this year because we averaged around 80 bass/ 15 minute electrofishing site.  Though most were very small young-of-year and “age 1” fish, we did get a ton of 2- to 4-pound largemouth and smallmouth bass.  We also got a decent number of redear sunfish in our surveys — 17 percent of them were over 11 inches long with the biggest being over 3 pounds.  While a world record is now likely to be in the Parker Strip, the average size is really good and is probably very competitive with Havasu.

 

YUMA AREA PONDS – Trout stockings returned Nov. 16! See the stocking schedule.

COLORADO RIVER (between Picacho State Park and Imperial Dam, including backwaters and Martinez Lake) –  No reports.

MARTINEZ LAKE — No report.


Southern Waters

Angler Reports:

(These are recommended fishing waters. Those not listed either are considered poor or there have been no reports. Send your reports to BFishing@azgfd.gov. Please send your fishing reports from Southern Arizona to bfishing@azgfd.gov.)

Parker Canyon Lake

Matt from the Parker Canyon Lake Marina reported that some anglers have caught limits of rainbow trout from shore throwing spinners such as small Rapalas or Kastmaters as well as PowerBait. Bass  anglers also have had some luck dropshotting right off the banks into vegetation. The colder it gets, the better the trout fishing seems to get.

 

 

See more lake-specific information

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