Fishing Report, March 8, 2017
Posted March 10, 2017
(Updated March 8, Editor Nick Walter, 623-236-7214)
ROOSEVELT LAKE — (2,118 feet, 63-percent full).
The lake level has increased seven feet during the past week. This week last year, the lake was at 51 percent full.
March 9 report from Jim Goughnor of Rim Country Custom Rods:
“Oh Son, git yer fishin rods.” The stable weather has increased the water temperature in Roosevelt Lake to above the magical 60 degree mark and spring bass fishing has officially arrived.
There is still a considerable amount of water flowing into the lake; however, the rates are much more manageable than a few weeks ago. Both the Salt River and the Tonto Creek are flowing at more than 100 percent of normal rates and the lake has risen to the 63-percent full mark. More importantly, the weather has improved and the full moon on March 12 will bring waves of bass onto the spawning flats throughout the lake. As the adage goes, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that male bass can be seen making spawning beds in coves. The bad news is that there is a lot of debris, foam and dust floating in these backwaters which means anglers can’t see the bass.
Many bass are in shallow water staging for the spawn. Pre-spawn bass can be found in 25 foot deep water and less. During this unique time of year, many baits will catch large numbers of bass. Reaction baits such as a Zoom Super Fluke, paddle-tail swimbaits, crankbaits, chatter-baits and spinnerbaits are all very successful springtime baits. Also slower action baits such as a Roboworm, Senko and jigs are being reported as successful options. The clarity of the water is also improving with the favorable weather. The ends of the lake are still stained; however, the mid-lake areas have improved significantly.
Crappie anglers continue to troll along shorelines and submerged points. The crappie spawn is probably still a few weeks away when the water temperature reaches closer to 65 degrees. A few anglers reported fair success on recent trips. The newly submerged brush throughout the lake will provide excellent cover for spawning crappie.
Have a great week of fishing and I hope to see you on the water.
LAKE PLEASANT – (Lake elevation 1,694 feet, 90 % full).
With nights becoming increasingly more comfortable, moon phase consideration becomes important for anglers who want to catch striped bass at night. We have a full moon this weekend, but pay 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.
The Arizona Fishing Guides reported, “Lake Pleasant is fishing a little tougher than normal this time of year. The stripers are there along with the largemouth but seem to be in that transition period of coming out of the deep water and moving into the shallower water. These fish can be caught on long points and channel breaks.”
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 1,797 feet, feet, 99 % full.
Water temperatures on Wednesday, March 8 were 54 degrees and warming to 58 at midday. Bass fishing remains tough but will quickly pick up. On Wednesday morning, the lake was white-capping and the water is still dirty. Shad are spread out and had moved into 5-15 feet of water.
Gary Senft, a Bass Pro at the Mesa Bass Pro Shops, fished from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day and said fishing was difficult but fish were nice-sized and in 3-10 feet of water. Best bets were brush hogs and Texas-rigged lizards.
Look for bass to be following shad, and so the bass have not been in the same location from one day to another. In the morning, fish dropshots, Texas rigs, jigs, spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Once the sun comes up, fish in 20-30 feet of water over points, humps, reefs, etc.
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 — The final scheduled trout stockings of the winter season took place this week. Catfish will return to Community waters the week of March 20. See the latest Community news.
SAGUARO LAKE – The lake is 1,524 feet (86-percent full). . Saguaro Lake levels dropped 12% during the past 5 days. The levels were decreased to accommodate maintenance at Mormon Flat Dam. The dam outage is expected to last until around mid-March.
The largemouth bass spawn was already in full swing by Monday, March 6. Try Texas-rigged lizards. Drifting gizzard shad swimbaits have been some bass.
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 3 weeks ago week. Fishing likely is pretty difficult – but Canyon is the land of lunkers when it comes to bass. For better numbers, try Bartlett or Saguaro. For a wall-hanger, throw your big swimbaits.
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 1,913 feet (98-percent full). There has been a threadfin shad die-off due to golden algae. Golden algae is not harmful to humans and we are monitoring water quality and fish health on all Salt River-chain lakes.
Spinners have been successful with smallmouth bass. Anglers might also consider rip baits.
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 3 weeks 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 2,025 feet (98-percent full).
Water is being let out of Horseshoe Lake as of Thursday (down 1,448 acre feet during the past 24 hours). When the lake is full, there are a lot of spawning fish.
LOWER SALT RIVER – On Wednesday morning the river was flowing at 11 cfs out of Stewart Mountain. Has been stocked with trout. 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 improving as the water gets back to more normal flows. The snow melt lowers the water temperature in the streams which makes the trout even more active.
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.
COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM — Kristi showing off her channel catfish caught below the Davis Dam using night crawlers. The striper bite is increasing in the area with anchovies the best choice for bait.
(Editor Gregg Cummins, updated Feb. 24)
Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.
LAKE MEAD – The current elevation is 1089 feet above msl. The National Park Service has been working to improve conditions at South Cove launch ramp, and latest report is that 4×4 is not needed to launch/retrieve boats. Be sure to check out launch ramp area prior to launching. Be careful boating because of low water level, many new islands and near surface rocks have appeared. The largemouth bass bite is slowing with the cold weather. Night crawlers were the bait for the channel catfish. The striper bite is steady on Lake Mead. Fishing the boils with top water baits is probably your best type of lure. Cut anchovies are still the bait of choice for stripers when anchored at night.
Check the moon phases before you go –the last new moon was January 27th. The next new moon will be February 26th. Dark nights work best when fishing under light. Fishing for stripers in 40 plus feet of water will normally find the larger fish. If they are not taking the anchovies try lures and see if you can get them to bite. If you can locate the shad, the stripers are not far behind. Trolling usually works best in areas where shad are found and best done in the early mornings and evenings.
LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level is currently 643 feet above msl. The fishing dock at Katherine’s Landing can produced some nice fish. The striper bite has returned according to reports. Down deep by the dam and above the power lines are reported as the hottest spots. Lures that mimic trout are working for stripers as well as the old tried and true anchovies. Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Check the moon phases before you go – the last new moon was January 27th. The next new moon will be February 26th. Cut anchovies usually work the best for stripers at night.
Biologists from both Arizona Game and Fish Department and Nevada Division of Wildlife with the help of volunteers, National Park Service, and Bureau of Reclamation personnel have continued to install fish habitat in Carp Cove, Box Cove, Shoshone, Princess and Arrowhead. Prospect Cove (1st cove south of Princess Launch Ramp) is the latest addition on the Arizona side of the lake to get habitat deployed. Fish habitat consists of PVC structures, tamarisk bundles and a new type of habitat we call poly shrubs. The largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill and catfish are really utilizing the new structures. Additional habitat will be added at several locations over the next two years. These structures are fish magnets.
There is a wheelchair accessible fishing pier just south of the main launch ramp at Katherine’s Landing. If you fish Mohave and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
WILLOW BEACH – Try spinner baits along with cut anchovies for stripers. Trout are scheduled to be stocked the first week of February. If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM- Trout stocking has begun and the latest stocking was the week of February 12th. The next stocking is tentatively scheduled for the week of March 1st. The stocking locations are at Davis Camp and Community Park. The best bait is reported to be yellow and orange power bait and of course night crawlers. Try small spinner baits if the power baits are not working. Try swim baits for stripers, especially ones that look like trout. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions http://www.usbr.gov/lc/riverops.html before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com so I can share your successes with others. Many thanks to Rusty from the Riviera Marina for his fishing reports.
TOPOCK GORGE – Use swim baits and pencil poppers if anchovies aren’t working. Stripers are being taken and are ranging between 1-4 pounds.
TOPOCK MARSH – The marsh will be closed until March 6th due to U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service management actions. For more information on the marsh, contact the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge at (760) 326-3853 or go to http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/havasu/index.html.
DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK – Trout were stocked the week of February 6th and are tentatively scheduled for the week of March 6th. Bring a variety of baits just in case the fish aren’t biting. Try small spinners or spoons, Powerbait, night crawlers or any other bait. Bass bite has slowed. If you fish Dead Horse please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – Trout were last stocked the week of February 6th and are tentatively scheduled for the week of February 27th. The smallmouth bass and catfish bite has dropped to poor but the bass that are caught are on the small side and you can keep all you catch. Bring a variety of bait so you can change if the bite is absent.
FAIN LAKE — Park is open and fish were stocked February 13th and are tentatively scheduled for the week of March 6th. Reports are that the fish are biting but bring a variety of bait.
GOLDWATER LAKE — Goldwater was stocked the week of February 6th. The next stocking is tentatively scheduled for the week of March 6th. Try several colors of power bait and power eggs and if you don’t get bites try night crawlers or small spinners. They are a great option if you are not getting bites with other baits. Jonathan reports that he has success using orange and yellow power bait eggs on about a 12 to 18 inch leader. Small spinners work very well also. Michael reports that 1½ inch Crappie Tubes & Acme Castmasters lures work very well on the trout. This is the second time he has reported method in the last couple weeks.
If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
GRANITE BASIN LAKE – Bite has been slow to nonexistent with the cold water and air. If you fish Granite Basin Lake and are having luck, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
LYNX LAKE – The latest rainbow trout stocking was January 30th. Catchable Brown Trout were stocked September 6th and catfish were stocked the week of September 22nd. Change baits if you are not having any luck and move down the shore a few hundred feet. Rob reports that the morning bite is best and limits can be caught in the 20 degree air temps. Later in the morning the trout move to the 14-35 feet in depth. Try yellow colored power bait or power eggs for trout if the spinners don’t work. The gold colored Super Duper is a distant second. Night crawlers are always good bait that can work on most fish.
Lynx also can be an exciting place to fish for carp. Common carp are very strong fighters and will provide excellent table fair. A quick search on the internet will produce tasty recipes for these robust fish. Corn and an assortment of other baits will attract these fish. Lynx can be difficult to fish, if you are not catching anything try moving to a new spot.
MINGUS LAKE – Trout were last stocked the week of October 17th. The best bait is white or pink Powerbait, fished under a bobber or a spinner with a silver blade are doing well. The gate will be locked soon, with an anticipated mid-December locking. The lake is iced over according to reports so be careful if you fish there.
Someone illegally stocked yellow bullhead into Mingus several years ago. These fish compete directly with the trout and keep growth rates very low. If you witness anyone, anywhere, moving fish like bass, bluegill, catfish and stocking them, please report it to our Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-352-0700. Illegal stockings cost YOU money!
WATSON – Trout were stocked January 9th and again on January 30th. Bring night crawlers if your other baits are not working. Michael, using 1.5 inch crappie tubes, reports large rainbow trout that are putting up a great fight.
If you fish Watson and are having luck, please e-mail me at email@example.com so I can share your successes with others.
WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR – No recent reports. If you fish Willow and are having luck, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your successes with others.
(Editor Chuck Benedict 928-214-1244)
The new fish stocking season has begun in the Flagstaff and Williams region. That will include Lower Lake Mary, which has the highest water levels since 2010. Having been partially replenished, this 450-acre lake in Flagstaff is basically a new fishery. Read more.
(Updated March 1; Editor Sally Petre, 928-532-2307)
Recommended Waters to Fish
Fishing is good at Patterson Ponds and Silver Creek. Silver Creek is in the catch and release season, which had a parasite outbreak in October, but fishing is now good. Patterson Ponds in St. Johns were stocked Jan. 25 with catchable rainbow trout! All other lakes have unsafe ice and/or are inaccessible. Use extreme caution.
MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
*Skim ice may be present, use caution. Ice coverage is unpredictable with warm days and cold nights. Forest Road 300 (Rim Road) to Woods Canyon Lake and Bear Canyon Lake is closed for the winter.
BEAR CANYON LAKE – Inaccessible. Forest Road 300 (the Rim Road) is closed for the winter as of 1/5/2017.
BLACK CANYON LAKE – Inaccessible. Lake is covered with thin, unsafe ice.
CHEVELON LAKE – Inaccessible. Forest Road 300 (the Rim Road) is closed for the winter as of 1/5/2017. Road in from the north is snow packed due to 48 inches of snow. Ice is thin and unsafe. Some open water.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is fair for stocked rainbow trout and tiger trout. Temperatures are freezing. Ice is thin and unsafe. Road is snow packed. Gate is closed. Sardine Point is open, but road is snow packed. You can walk in.
WOODS CANYON LAKE – Inaccessible. Forest Road 300 (the Rim Road) is closed for the winter as of 1/5/2017. Ice is thin and unsafe. There is some open water.
PINETOP/SHOW LOW/ST. JOHNS LAKES
*Skim ice may be present, use caution. Ice coverage is unpredictable with warm days and cold nights.
FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair! No ice. Rainbow trout are being caught. The lake is full and spilling. Fishing pier and platforms are accessible! Northern pike should be congregating to spawn this time of year, try throwing Rapala lures or streamers in shallow coves. Northern pike spawn and congregate in weedy shallow coves.
RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is fair. Lake is full and spilling no ice. We are doing northern pike removals, so beware of gill nets during the day. We have caught some bass, many 17 inch catfish, lots of northern pike and even one 16 inch rainbow trout! Northern pike are congregating to spawn to shallow weedy coves. Try your luck, they are a tasty fish!
SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fair. No ice.
SHOW LOW LAKE – No ice. Fishing is fair. Holdover rainbow trout should be fishing well. The 2 fishing piers have been disconnected so that winter ice does not damage them, thus, they are not available for shore fishing. The road over the dam is closed for the winter.
WOODLAND LAKE – No ice. Fishing is fair. 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 just stocked in January 25! The pond daily bag limits in community fishing waters (2 trout; 2 catfish; 5 sunfish) apply.
WHITE MOUNTAIN LAKES
*Skim ice may be present or lakes may be frozen over. The 261 and 273 roads are closed. Forest roads are icy and snowpacked.
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.
BIG LAKE – Inaccessible and ice covered. Ice is still VERY thin and unsafe. During the winter survey on February 16, accessed with snow mobiles, ice was easily broken through just standing on it. Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter. Forest roads from the south are not passable due to deep snow.
CARNERO LAKE – Ice covered with thin, unsafe ice. Use caution, especially with warm days which melt the ice. Winterkill is NOT predicted here as of February 16. Forest roads to the lake have deep snow in spots and are not accessible all the way to the lake by vehicle.
CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor for trout, but fair for sunfish, bullheads, and bass. No ice.
CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake is stocked with trout only in the spring, but catfish were stocked in early summer and could still be biting. Try a night crawler on the bottom.
CRESCENT LAKE – Inaccessible and ice covered. Ice may be unsafe with warm winter days melting the ice. A winterkill is NOT predicted here as of Feb. 16. We look forward to fishing for large rainbow trout and brook trout in the spring! Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.
GREER LAKES (River; Tunnel; Bunch) – All 3 lakes are full or nearly full, and ice covered. The ice is thin and not safe. Greer Fire District will be conducting prescribed burns Feb 22-Mar 10. The burns will be in the area of squirrel spring and the spade ranch areas. The community of Greer will be impacted by the smoke. Contact Greer Fire District staff if you have questions.
HULSEY LAKE – Partially ice covered with unsafe ice. The road is snow packed and impassable.
LEE VALLEY LAKE – Inaccessible and ice covered. Ice is thin and unsafe. Ice may be unsafe. Few fish remain here, although we are not predicting a winterkill. Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.
LUNA LAKE – Fishing is fair. Partially ice covered.
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. Fish may have sores from a parasite called Lernaea, however they are safe to eat.
WHITE MOUNTAIN STREAMS
EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Inaccessible due to snow packed roads.
LITTLE COLORADO RIVER in GREER – Fishing is poor. The stream was last stocked in September. Wild brown trout are also present in the stream. Partially ice covered. Moderate flows.
SHOW LOW CREEK – Fishing is poor. The road over the dam at Show Low Lake is closed for the winter.
SILVER CREEK – Fishing is good. Current regulations are catch and release with artificial flies and lures with single barbless hooks only. 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! This stream is ice free all year round.
SHEEPS CROSSING/LCR – Inaccessible. Highway 273 is closed for the winter. Frozen over and snow covered.
LAKE POWELL AND LEES FERRY
LAKE POWELL —
“You won’t believe this”
February has been an excellent month for great fishing results in the southern lake. We have found great spooning results in early February with a fish count of 75 stripers. Then later in the month we caught 38 stripers while trolling and casting. Spoons did not work on that trip. When we headed uplake to see how conditions had changed this week we were prepared to give the stripers any presentation they wanted. The fish did not disappoint us, in fact, we were amazed at what happened.
LEES FERRY – See the full Dec. 14 fishing report from Lees Ferry Anglers.
ALAMO LAKE – March 1 report from Mark Knapp at Alamo Lake State Park:
This going to very short, but worth reading. The lake is still coming up. When it’s done we should be able to open the main ramp. Cholla ramp is open right now and the Dept. installed an 80-foot boat dock. Way cool. The lake looks like it did in ’05 and is a giant milkshake. Logs jams all over. Fishing is terrible. If you value your boat, stay away from here for now. It’s going to be killer fishing in about a month. We will lift the water ski ban once everything settles down. There’s lots of rattlesnakes in and around the lake. We are dealing with them all over, so be careful. — Mark
(Editor Russ Engel, 928-341-4042)
Please send in your reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.
LAKE HAVASU – Lake level 91.5 percent full, 69+ degrees.
A state record smallmouth bass was caught Thursday, Feb. 23. See the story.
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.
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.