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Fishing Report: July 20, 2017

Posted July 20, 2017

See “The Reel Deal” statewide summary

Central Waters

(Updated July 13; Editor Nick Walter, 623-236-7214)

Roosevelt Lake

ROOSEVELT LAKE — (2,120 feet, 65-percent full).

July 20 report from Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods:

The Roosevelt Lake water level has remained at 65 percent full for the past several weeks due to monsoon storms throughout the watershed. Both the Salt River and the Tonto Creek are flowing again with the rates fluctuating dramatically, depending on how much rainfall accumulated on a specific day.

Bass fishing is fair to good on Roosevelt Lake. Water entering the lake is stained and some debris is flowing into the lake. Depending on the amount of flows, this can have a good or bad impact on fishing. The water temperature continues to be in the high 80s, however, the water entering the lake will be much cooler than the lake water temperature.  When conditions are changing, top-water baits, crankbaits, jerk baits and spinnerbaits are all good reaction baits. During the hottest time of the day and when the weather is more stable, a dropshot, Texas rig or Carolina rig technique are more successful.

Main lake points in 25-35 foot depths, with deeper water access close by, are typical summertime bass fishing areas. Vineyard Cove and the Islands area across from the dam were noted hot spots recently.

The recent tragedy at Water-Wheel where Ellison Creek meets the East Verde River, along with several documented Gila County Sherriff’s Office Lake Patrol water rescues, are examples of fast weather conditions that can change during the monsoon season.

The changing weather conditions can also impact the fishing. The barometric falls with an approaching storm and in the case of a monsoon storm, this can happen very quickly. After the storm passes, the pressure will begin to rise. These changes in barometric pressure have a significant impact on the feeding activities of all fish including bass, crappie and trout in Rim Country lakes and streams.

Routinely, during this time of year, anglers report long periods of slow activity with a sharp increase as soon as they feel the ambient temperature drop as a storm approaches. This is even more evident after the storm passes and anglers report an active and sometimes frenzy bite for about an hour as the storm moves off.  Fish are generally considered to be in a more positive feeding phase when the barometric pressure is rising or at a higher level. Cloud cover, time of day and increased flows of streams, creeks and rivers entering the lake, will all contribute to the fishing conditions throughout the day.

LAKE PLEASANT – (Lake elevation 1,668 feet, 64 % full).

Surface water temperature has been in the high-80 degrees. There are still reports that surface boils have been slow as compared to years past. The next new moon is this week and submersible lights at night will be effective at drawing in the plankton-shad-predatory fish chain.

As summer goes along, shore anglers will have a tougher time reaching bass, which move deeper. Best bet right now is fishing at night by the marina, or targeting carp and catfish.

June 28 report from Barry Worman, moderator of the Arizona Striper Fishing Facebook page.

“Night fishing for the stripers is picking up”

The water temperature is getting closer to mid 80s and the striper are becoming more active and more interested to bite. The bite has picked up for night fishing with many anglers reporting an average-to-good results the past 5 days.

Be sure to have a good underwater light in the water and chum to hold the school under the boat.  Anglers are reporting the best results from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. in 30-45 water depth. This is very shallow depth for this time of year, but the lake still has a very high water level right now (82.8 percent) which is very high and not always the case during previous years.

Anglers have reported netting shad using their underwater lights at night, helping catch some nice size fish. Frozen anchovies or earth worms are still the most common method working for a majority of anglers right now.

Anglers are also having luck at sunrise with top-water lures such as Spooks, skitterwalkers and Rico’s.  The other favorite technique is to use a paddletail swimbait that come in 3.5 or 5 inches long. Skinny dippers, Bass Assassin reaction innovations, or Gil Reaper swimbaits all have been extremely successful.  Be sure to use white, money shot, smoking grey, sexy shad or the ASF white/chartreuse colors with fishing swimbaits. The hot air temperatures are here but the huge summer limits (60-100-plus fish a night) that anglers are known to catch have not kicked in yet. The night bite and daylight hour boils will get better the farther we get into summer.

Anglers should also be prepared for a lot of dink-size fish in upcoming months.  I fished one of the northern coves last weekend and there were thousands of 2-3-ounce shad slurping for more than 2 hours eating shad larvae and other tiny baitfish. The striper are thriving and the bait population is thriving as well.  Some bigger striper were around but you will need to use a weighted jighead or weighted crankbait to get the down deep where the bigger fish are lurking under the dinks. Once the lake depth gets shallower in future months, be prepared to fish deeper water ( 75-110 feet deep).

Flathead catfishing also is excellent. Fish shallow during the nighttime with bluegill or carp as bait.


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

BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,795 feet, feet, 96 % full.

Water temperature has been up to 88 degrees. The lake level has risen 6 percent during the past week as water is being released from Horseshoe Dam.

Gary Senft of the Mesa Bass ProShops fished the lake eight times during the past week and a half and said this has produced the most consistent bass fishing in the Phoenix region. Bass have been biting more frequently during bright moons (especially full or half) and cloudless nights. In theory, this would make fishing the daytime this weekend during a new moon an advantage.

Try night fishing throwing Texas rigged or dropshot-rigged plastic worms over points and islands in 4-18 feet of water. Also, jigging crawdad plastics has been effective in 4-5 feet of water. Use dark colors at night — especially during full moons.

Flathead catfishing also is excellent. Fish shallow during the nighttime with bluegill or carp as bait.

Don’t forget the Bartlett Lake Marina is now open. See 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

SAGUARO LAKE – The lake is 1,524 feet (92-percent full).

Bass fishing is hit and miss — golden algae level remain high Angler success has been dependent on if water is released from Canyon Lake into Saguaro. The upper end of Saguaro has been good while water is released. Some anglers are having success with average-to-large largemouth bass using swimbaits (shad patterns) and crankbaits. Crawdad imitations at night also have been effective.

Yellow bass is an option if the largemouth bass are finicky. Try nightcrawlers on dropshot rigs.

CANYON LAKE – Lake level is 1,657 feet (95-percent full.)

Golden algae levels are low. Bass fishing remains above average for this time of the year for Canyon. Some anglers are having luck in the Boulder Creek Recreation area Texas rigging plastic worms. Typical summer pattern is in effect — top-water lure early in the morning, and dropshots and Texas rigged worms as the sun comes up. Richard from Liar’s Corner reported numerous 5- and 6-pound largemouth bass being caught, and verified that bass fishing seem to be exceptionally good.

Swimmers are cautioned that there had been reported of “swimmer’s itch” at Canyon. See some steps to minimize Swimmer’s Itch at desert lakes.

Traditionally, 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.

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

The water quality has improved.

Fishing could be good for yellow bass on jigs and spoons. Gold KastMasters can work especially well. Fish for them around balls of shad in 20-60 feet of water. Cut bait also works well for them.

Majority of bass  are in post spawn, as is the case at all central Arizona lakes. Bring a variety of baits. Spinners have been successful with smallmouth bass. Crankbaits and jigs also have been effective. Keep a top-water lure handy in cast you see bass chasing shad at the surface — it can happen any time of day this time of year.

Try reaction baits in the morning and during afternoons, jigs or dropshots. Not a bad time to drift along and throw crankbaits or spinnerbaits.

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.

COMMUNITY FISHING WATERS —  See the latest Community fishing news. Catfish stockings are on hiatus for the summer. Keep in mind that some parks close at hours designated by their respective city. Be sure to consult the latest CFP  guidebook for closing times at spots such as Steele Indian School Pond, Surprise Lake, Pioneer Lake, Rio Vista Pond, Friendship Pond, Bonsall Pond, and Tempe Town Lake (closes on the marina side).

HORSESHOE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,957 feet (1-percent full).

Water has been released into Bartlett. When the lake is full, there are a lot of spawning fish. No new reports.

LOWER SALT RIVER – On Tuesday afternoon, the river was flowing at 609 cfs out of Stewart Mountain. The final trout stocking of the season was last week.

No new reports of success. Remember that the walk to the shoreline is steep, and don’t wade into the river because of quick-sand spots. Try nightcrawlers, small spinners, Kastmasters and flies in this unique desert river trout fishery. You might be able to catch some bass or sunfish in the deeper holes. Good time for tubing the Salt — take along a fishing rod.

Creeks below the Mogollon Rim

Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods reported:

“Trout fishing on the Rim is excellent. Early morning and late evening are the best times to fish for trout, but if you’re fishing during midday, look for overhangs, logs or large stones that provide shade for the trout. Trout will be facing upstream 99 percent of the time so make your cast ahead of the fish and let it drift back towards the trout. Trout fishing at Woods Canyon Lake and Willow Springs is a great experience for the entire family. You don’t even need a boat to catch a limit and if you’re lucky, you’ll hook into one of the Tiger Trout which were recently stocked into those lakes.”



Mogollon Rim and White Mountains

(Full report updated July 18, Editor Sally Petre 928-532-2307)

Recommended Waters to Fish

This angler caught some big rainbow trout Wednesday off the bottom with blue cowbells and nightcrawlers. Try blue cowbells particularly during sunny mornings.


This time of year if you want to catch trout, try fishing in any of our stocked streams including Silver Creek, East Fork Black River, Little Colorado River in Greer or Show Low Creek, just downstream of Show Low Lake.  Fishing here should be excellent.  Woods Canyon and Willow Springs should also have good fishing.  Try fishing about 10 feet down.  If trout aren’t biting in in-town lakes, try fishing for catfish, bass, bullhead, or sunfish!









*Questions about roads, campgrounds, fire restrictions, and wildfires should be directed to the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.    

BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair.  This lake was stocked last in June.  Try PowerBait and nightcrawlers a few feet down.  The top water is warm.

BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair.  This lake was stocked last in June.  Try PowerBait and nightcrawlers a few feet down.  The top water is warm.  The lake is a few feet down and the new boat ramp is still fully functional.

CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair for rainbows and large wild brown trout. Catchable rainbow trout were stocked in early May.  Chevelon Lake is a hike in lake with a two trout limit.

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is good/fair for rainbow and tiger trout.  The lake will be stocked this week.  Try PowerBait with garlic, worms, or Roostertail spinners for rainbows; and try Kastmasters, small Rapalas, Panther Martin spinners, or flies for tiger trout.  Also, try fishing about 10 feet down for trout — the surface water is getting warm.

WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good/fair for rainbow and tiger trout. The lake will be stocked this week.  Try PowerBait with garlic, worms, or Roostertail spinners for rainbows.  Try Kastmasters, small Rapalas, Panther Martin spinners, or flies for tiger trout.  If the trout aren’t biting, green sunfish are easily caught along the shoreline rocks on worms. Also, try fishing about 10 feet down for trout — the surface water is getting warm.



FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair for stocked (12”+) rainbow trout!  Supercatchable rainbows (12”+) will be stocked this week. Fish about 10-15 feet down for trout.  The lake level is still fairly high.  Fishing pier and platforms are accessible!  Bass and large catfish are also being caught.  Try to catch sunfish 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.

RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor for stocked (12”+) rainbow trout.  Stocking is done here for the year.  The lake level is a few feet down and the weeds are starting to come up in portions of the lake. Trolling in the main channel is still doable, but the weeds are present.  If the trout are not biting, try to catch sunfish 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.  The White Mountain Bass Fishing club recently adopted the lake and cleaned up trash along the public shoreline.  Please don’t leave your trash around!

SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair for stocked rainbow trout. Try for catfish with a worm on the bottom.

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair for stocked (12”+) rainbow trout.  Supercatchable size (12”+) rainbow trout will be stocked this week.  Fish about 10-15 feet down for trout.  The lake level is still fairly good. New facility improvements, including a new fish cleaning station, new restrooms, stairs from the upper parking lot down to the boat launch, and ADA boat trailer parking are now open!  Try to catch sunfish 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.

WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is poor.  Fish were last stocked in late-May. The fishing dock is accessible.  Try to catch sunfish 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.

PATTERSON PONDS – Fishing is good for catfish!  Channel catfish were stocked last month!  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, many fish have been found dead due to improper catch and release methods. If the gills are bleeding, the fish will die.  Cut the line if the hook has been swallowed or is stuck.



BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair.  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. Large rainbow trout are being caught nymph fishing under a strike indicator at 10-12 feet. Tiger trout are also being caught.  Fishing is on and off, however.

BIG LAKE – Fishing is fair for rainbows, but good for cutthroat trout. Rainbow trout were stocked in last month.  Try fly fishing for cutthroat trout in the shallows.  You can use a fly with a casting bubble if you don’t own or know how to use a fly rod.

CARNERO LAKE – Fishing is fair/poor. Spring fish surveys showed large healthy 20” rainbows and 15”+ tigers.  There was an unconfirmed report of an 18” tiger trout caught recently. Fish are biting on black wooly buggers and nymphs.  Also try gold lures.  Smaller fish are being caught since we recently stocked.  Warm is warming up, so fishing has slowed.

CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor for trout, but fair/good for sunfish, bullheads, and bass.  Trout were last stocked in mid-May in the narrow near the county facilities (just downstream of the bridge).

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor.  Trout were last stocked in April.  Try catching catfish.

CRESCENT LAKE – Fishing is poor.  pH levels are high and lake is weedy.  Spring surveys showed good holdover numbers on brook trout and carryover rainbow trout (16in).  The lake was also heavily stocked with more brook trout and rainbow trout.  Fishing pier and boat docks are accessible!  Stop here before you get to Big Lake in the morning, you might be surprised!  We look forward to fall fishing here!

GREER LAKES (River; Tunnel; Bunch) – Fishing is fair at all three lakes.  All three lakes were stocked last month.  Boats are not launchable.

HULSEY LAKE – Fishing is fair/poor for rainbow trout. Fish were last stocked in mid-May. Fish are being caught on flies, no as much on bait.  pH levels are elevated, but fall fishing should be good.

LEE VALLEY LAKE – Fishing is poor.  Few fish remain here and will not be stocked this year.

LUNA LAKE –Fishing is fair. An algae bloom has developed, influencing water quality and the fishing has slowed.

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.

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is good/fair!  The lake has stopped spilling and the lake was stocked heavily last month with 8,500 rainbow trout.  If trout aren’t biting, try for some green sunfish.



EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is excellent!  Rainbow trout will be stocked this week.  Fishing is fair for wild brown trout.

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER in GREER – Fishing is excellent!  Rainbow trout will be stocked this week.

SHOW LOW CREEK – Fishing is good. Rainbow trout were stocked last week. The road over the dam is open, but please do not park on the dam.

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is excellent. Rainbow trout were stocked this week.  Current regulations are catch-and-keep with bait and 6 trout daily limit apply. The upper section is closed to fishing.

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


Central Mountains

Angler Report:

Upper Lake Mary

David M.: Caught two walleye (and one pike) last Saturday trolling a swimbait 10-feet deep.


(New reports July 19; Editor Chuck Benedict, 928-214-1244)

(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

With the warm weather the fishing is starting to slow down but is still good early in the morning and late in the evening on Ashurst Lake, Kaibab Lake and Dogtown Lake.  Folks are catching big trout on Lower Lake Mary early in the morning and late in the evening out of boats and float tubes. 

Dogtown Lake

When we were on Dogtown Monday Morning collecting zooplankton samples trout were jumping all around the lake.  They seemed to be feeding on some small midges floating on the water.  Fishing is still good on Dogtown on PowerBait early in the morning.  I would use garlic PowerBait in any of the colors.

Kaibab Lake 

Folks are still catching a few trout on a variety of colors of PowerBait with the best fishing being early in the morning.  Folks also were catching fish whenever the sky clouded up.  Folks are catching crappie around the fishing dock on yellow or orange mini jigs.

Cataract Lake

Stocked with channel catfish.  Our hatchery has begun stocking small trout into Cataract Lake.  These fish average about 7-8 inches.  Cataract has done a good job of growing trout in the past so we are hoping these fish will be nice sized by fall.

City Reservoir

Has been stocked with channel catfish.  I would try worms under a bobber or hot dogs.

Santa Fe Reservoir

Has been stocked with channel catfish.

Flagstaff-area Lakes

Ashurst Lake 

Folks are still catching trout off of the rocks on the opposite side of the lake from the boat ramp.  I would try PowerBait fished off of the bottom.  Orange was working last week, but the green garlic seems to work everywhere.

Frances Short Pond

I had a report from an angler that he was catching catfish on corn last Tuesday morning when I was conducting a fishing clinic.  The kids at the clinic caught some bluegill on corn.

Lower Lake Mary

One of my coworkers caught some nice trout on  worms fished under a bobber early Saturday morning.  He said that he was catching fish from before dawn until about 8 a.m. Folks fishing from boats or wading past the weeds are still catching some really big trout early in the morning and in the evenings.

Kinnikinick Lake- Folks were catching some of the recently stocked tiger trout on Saturday.  I would try fishing small crayfish imitating crankbaits or small spoons to catch brown trout.  Another possible way to fish is to catch some grasshoppers around the lake and fish them on the surface in the evenings.  Very few fish can resist a big fat grasshopper kicking around on the surface of a lake or stream.   This is also the time of year when catfishing can be good on Kinnikinick.

Blueridge Reservoir (CC Cragin) will not be stocked this year.




Colorado River/Prescott area Waters

(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

(Editor Gregg Cummins, 928-263-8868

Angler Report

Colorado River below Davis Dam

This is a picture of Chris’ 32.6-pound striper caught below Davis Dam.  The fish was 48⅜ inches and was caught fishing from shore on the Nevada side above the Big Bend area. He was using anchovies, which remain the bait of choice for most anglers. He also hooked some of the smaller stripers that run up and down the river. Catfish and stripers are being caught in the shallows while they are hunting for food.


See more lake-specific information

Lake Powell and Lees Ferry


“Slurps Continue and Boils Start”

Striper slurps and boils are now available lakewide.

See a rundown of what to expect in the full July 19 report from Wayne Gustaveson (

LEES FERRY – See the full June 10 fishing report from Lees Ferry Anglers.


Southwestern Waters

ALAMO LAKE – July 10 report from Mark Knapp at Alamo Lake State Park:

Lake level: 1,117 feet.

Well folks, once again it’s been awhile since I had a chance to sit down and write anything.  At least I have some good news for a change.  Let’s start with lake levels and releases. As of today (Monday, July 10) there are no scheduled releases that will have a major impact on the lake or launching.  This is great news for us. Both ramps are open and work great.  The releases are at 50 cfs.

The lake is dropping about a foot a month due to releases and evaporation.  This is normal and to be expected.  No news on CORE vs. bulkhead.

Now fishing.  Things are getting back to normal with bass fishing.  There’s a decent top water bite going from 4:30 a.m. till around 6 a.m.  Then switch to training wheels (crankbaits) or plastics. A friend of mine who hates throwing plastics even gave it thumb’s up.  When I asked what color, he said: “Green with red flakes.” Go figure.

Start throwing in about 2 to 10 foot of water.  Around 10 a.m. the fish are heading down to the 20 foot mark.  They’re in there off the points and bluffs until around 5 p.m., and then head back up to feed.  So, morning = shallow.  Midday = deep.  Evenings = both.

It’s really hard not to catch a couple of catfish on any day.  The lake is infested with them. Hot dogs and nightcrawlers work the best.  Anglers are even catching them on plastics and training wheels.

Crappie fishing is hit and miss in my book.  Word on the street is that some crappie are being caught on the night bite up by the dam.  That’s as far as I dare go with this. So, get some minnows and head up to the cliffs by the dam.  Throw out some crappie lights and watch for baitfish to come up.  Get your minnow down in about 10 foot of water and see what happens.  Please, let me know how you did.

Shore fishing is decent for catfishing and some bass.  This lake is not shoreline friendly.  If you’re determined, you will find a place to fish.  If not, stop by the ranger station and we will try to help you.

Finally I just want to say:  we’re hitting the triple digits out here on a regular basis. Bring lots of water and stay hydrated.  Sunblock is must.

That’s it for now.

LAKE HAVASU – John Galbearth of Bass Tackle Masters reported:  The striper bite is good in the morning hours from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. from the mouth of the river south to Califprnia Bay. Boils have been occurring sporadically during this time. Troll Rat-L-Traps or Pointer 128 minnow plugs in areas  where the Grebes (water birds) are  congregating over schools of shad.

The catfish bite is excellent in the evening hours in bays where grass isn’t too thick. Live bluegills, cut mackerel and anchovies work well now, be sure to throw out extra chum to attract cats from longer distances.

Smallmouth and largemouth bass are hitting poppers, buzzbaits and Super Spooks in the  early a.m. hours. Fish the outside edges  of floating weedmats.

Carolina-rigged plastics like brush hogs, curly tail Powerworms and senkos are working well over submerged weedbeds in 8-15 feet of water — 3/8- to 1/2-ounce weight with 10- or 12-pound test works well.

Send your reports to

PARKER STRIP – No report.

YUMA AREA PONDS – No new reports. Catfish stockings are on hiatus for the summer. See the stocking schedule.

COLORADO RIVER (between Picacho State Park and Imperial Dam, including backwaters and Martinez Lake) –  Our May survey showed healthy populations of flatheads in the Imperial Division.

MARTINEZ LAKE — No report.


Southern Waters

(Editor Don Mitchell, 520-388-4451)

Please send your fishing reports from Southern Arizona to

No new reports.

Angler Report:

Pena Blanca Lake

Justin B.: Had a good day on the lake Saturday. Caught over 15 bass with the average around one pound. Caught this 4.1-pounder  on a brush hog early in the morning. Water was down a few feet and clarity was not good. Can’t complain overall and can’t wait to get back on a lake this weekend.

See more lake-specific information