Fishing Report: May 4, 2017
Posted May 4, 2017
(Updated May 5; Editor Nick Walter, 623-236-7214)
ROOSEVELT LAKE — (2,125 feet, 70-percent full). Water temperatures high-60s to low-70s during afternoons.
May 5 report from Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods:
The crappie spawn continues on Roosevelt Lake, however, the water conditions have changed. With the sudden higher ambient temperatures, algae blooms are present in a lot of areas of the lake, especially in the shallow waters where crappie are spawning. This is frustrating some crappie anglers, however if it enhances the success of the spawn, crappie anglers will be very happy in a year or two.
David M.: Caught some nice crappie and a few yellows April 22 night fishing with minnows.
LAKE PLEASANT – (Lake elevation 1,697 feet, 95 % full).
May 5 report from Barry Worman, moderator of the Arizona Striper Fishing Facebook page.
“Escaping the heat early and fill the cooler with striper”
Well I know this triple-digit weather can take the wind out of an anglers’ sails but there are still some great opportunities in this late spring season. The striper are in the process of spawning or post spawn — finally — which means they will be more intrigued and aggressive to eat.
With the air temperatures really heating up there is a small window of time to enjoy catching striper. Anglers want to be on the water 30 minutes before sunrise until about 9 a.m. or from 5 p.m. to 30 minutes after sunset. During these times of day the shad will be found in shallower water still and the gamefish will be out to gorge on them. There have been reports of some top water activity with some anglers catching striper using white color spooks.
Me and some friends had great success using paddletail ASF swimbaits in 18-35 feet of water in the back of the northern coves. Live shad are still producing great results for anglers, but they more difficult to find since they are beginning to move deeper. Try covering lots of water and be sure to watch that fish-finder. If you located a school, drop a live shad or anchovies on a dropshot rig and it should produce some fish.
The schools are constantly moving and searching for food so you need to cover water, and take advantage of the moment when you find them. Watch for blue herons, and other bird activity when it comes to feeding on bait fish. This will tell you if you’re in an area that as signs of possible baitfish.
Great colors for swimbaits right now are white, sexy shad, money shot, and Bone white. Chartreuse green tail with the red eye has been on fire! Night fishing has not taken off yet with anglers reporting below-average catches. Once the water temperature warms up and the fish adjust to the transition, the action should pick up in about 4-6 weeks. Once we get to June, the night fishing will be the ticket and the best method fill the boat with fish.
Dick K.: Took a long time friend, Jerry Corell to Lake Pleasant yesterday (May 12). Jerry had never fished for stipers before so we had high hopes the fish would co-operate which they did. We couldn’t find and schooling fish within the first couple hours so we started off trolling live threadfin shad below Off-Shore OR 12 planer boards. Jerry had me at about 8-3 when I passed over a huge school of stripers. Quickly we switched to dropshot rigs and for a couple hours we could hardly keep up! Had a great day with around 35 Stripers. Great introduction to striper fishing, Jerry!
BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,797 feet, feet, 99 % full.
Water temperature has been 67-70 degrees. Majority of bass are in post-spawn. The top-water bite had been poor last weekend, but with calm, warm weather this week, top-water action could pick up. Try fishing shallow early in the morning (2-5 feet) with crankbaits, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits and switching to dropshots and Texa rigs. Gary Senft, the Bass Pro at the Mesa Bass ProShops, said Texas-rigged baby brush hogs in watermelon red and watermelon gold, as well as morning dawn Roboworms, have been effective.
Senft said the trick is to keep moving and cover a lot of water, fishing shoreline points, islands and REEF buoys.
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 —
Angler Report from Desert Breeze Lake in Chandler:
“Bill P.: Caught this guy (catfish) this morning at Desert Breeze on a nightcrawler. My wife’s kitchen scale said 10 pounds, 1 ounce.”
Angler Report from Riverview Lake in Mesa:
“April 23, evening, 10.65 pound (channel catfish) on cut shad at Riverview Park.
Also the recently stocked crappie have dispersed through the lake and are doing well. (I have caught a few at multiple locations, when cast-netting for shad. I have been fortunate to have a few 6-inch shad swim under the net. What I find interesting is I have yet to have a bass take a free-swimming shad under a float (day break or evening). I know the bass are there because they show up in my net. Just makes me think there is a lot of food. To pass up such a live offering ?
Last, I let a young boy (under 10) struggle to land a 4-pound cat while his dad captured the moment with his phone. The best being when it finally surfaced.
Thank you for all the work you do, and then taking the time to put out the fishing report.”
Largemouth bass and sunfish have been stocked. See the latest Community fishing news.
Also, see the stocking schedule through the summer.
SAGUARO LAKE – The lake is 1,525 feet (92-percent full).
Many bass are in a post-spawn mode. Fishing should pick up with this stretch of warm, calm weather and top-water action should pick up once again. Try frogs, Pop-R’s, and Ricos. Crappie fishing has slowed.
As the sun rises, try Texas-rigged lizards. Drifting gizzard shad swimbaits had been hooking 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 bass bite is on! I love encouraging others to get outdoors. I caught these four bass off my kayak in a little over a week … drop-shotting plastics.
Many bass are in a post-spawn mode and with some windy weather this weekend, fishing could be tough (like at many Salt River-chain lakes). Top-water action had been picking up with a spell of warmer weather and some anglers were having success with frogs, Pop-r, and Ricos. With a string of predicted 90-degrees temperatures next week, th ssurface action should pick up again. Crappie fishing has slowed.”
Majority of bass are in post spawn, as is the case at all central Arizona lakes.
Swimmers are cautioned that there have been reported of “swimmer’s itch” at Canyon. See some steps to minimize Swimmer’s Itch at desert lakes.
Some anglers are having luck with Texas-rigged baby brush hogs, as well as assorted jerkbaits, top-water lures and jigs, Try fishing in 2-15 feet of water.
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 1,913 feet (96-percent full).
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.
Try reaction baits in the morning and during afternoons, jigs or dropshots. Not a bad time to drift along and throw crankbaits or spiinnerbaits.
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 2,003 feet (52-percent full).
When the lake is full, there are a lot of spawning fish. No new reports.
LOWER SALT RIVER – On Thursday afternoon, the river was flowing at 8 cfs out of Stewart Mountain. Was being stocked with trout last week. No new reports of success.
Creeks below the Mogollon Rim
Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods reported Trout fishing in Rim Country streams is excellent. Nearly all Rim Country trout streams being stocked weekly near easy access parking and pull-off areas along the streams. Experienced fly anglers are recommending Christopher Creek, Canyon Creek, East Verde, Haigler and Tonto Creeks. Power-bait using a small trebled hook can almost guarantee a limit of trout.
Mogollon Rim and White Mountains
- My daughter Aubrey who is 6 years old April 22 caught an 18-inch cutthroat trout. Was fishing on the bottom with a worm. I thought she got stuck on a rock until I saw the tip of her fishing pole wiggling. Her first big fish.
(Updated April 25, Editor Sally Petre 928-532-2307)
Recommended Waters to Fish
Spring fishing is here! Willow Springs, Woods Canyon, Black Canyon, Hulsey, Show Low, Woodland, the Greer Lakes and Patterson Ponds are all being stocked this week with rainbow trout! Fishing is good at Becker Lake, Carnero Lake, Crescent, and River Reservoir, Woods Canyon and Willow Springs lakes. Woods Canyon Lake and Willow Springs will be stocked with tiger trout for the first time this year! All roads to Big Lake are open!
Questions about road closures and camping should be directed toward the Forest Service.
MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
*All roads should be open. Questions about roads and campground opening should be directed towards the Forest Service.
BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good. Fish were stocked last week. Roads are open.
BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake will be stocked this week with trout. The lake is full and has a new boat ramp. Accessible on Forest Road 86. Try PowerBait for rainbow trout. Recent survey found 16-inch holdover rainbow trout and many large >3 lb largemouth bass. Use flashy lures for largemouth bass.
CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair for large wild brown trout. Recent survey showed few rainbow trout, but some large brown trout. Catchable rainbow trout were stocked last week. All roads are open. Remember Chevelon Lake is a hike-in lake.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is good/fair for carryover rainbow trout and tiger trout as well as freshly stocked rainbow trout. Try green PowerBait with garlic, worms, or roostertails. Tiger trout will be stocked this week for the first time this year. Try using lures.
WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is excellent/good. Store and boat rentals are open! Campgrounds won’t open until May. A recent survey found lots of rainbow and tiger trout winter carryover averaging around 11-12 inches. Rainbow trout will be stocked this week on top of these. We saw full stringers before it was even stocked! Fish are hungry and biting hooks! Try roostertails with green or copper Kastmasters. Tiger Trout will be stocked this week for the first time this year.
PINETOP/SHOW LOW/ST. JOHNS LAKES
FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is good for stocked (12”+) rainbow trout and bass! This was stocked last week. Carryover rainbow trout are being caught. The lake is full for the first time in several years. Fishing pier and platforms are accessible! Large catfish were found in the shallow southern portion during a recent fish population survey.
RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is good for stocked (12”+) rainbow trout and bass! This lake was stocked last week. Lake is full. Try your luck for largemouth bass with lures. Or try hanging a worm in the rocks for green sunfish or on the bottom for bullhead or catfish!
SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is good for stocked rainbow trout! This lake was stocked earlier this month! The lake is full.
SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is good for stocked (12”+) rainbow trout and bass! The lake will be stocked this week! An almost 7lb smallmouth bass (almost state record) was recently caught! The lake is nearly full. 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 good. Fish will be stocked this week! The lake is full. Fishing dock is inaccessible. Please be patient while the town of Pinetop-Lakeside fixes this.
PATTERSON PONDS – Fishing is good! 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 good, they will be stocked this week!. 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 OPEN. All lakes are open and accessible. Contact the Forest Service with questions about road closures and camping.
BECKER LAKE – Fishing is excellent/good. 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 nymph fishing under a strike indicator at 8-10 feet. 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. Our Becker Lake hosts are back, be sure to ask them what is biting and welcome them back!
BIG LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake is ice free. Highways 261 and 273 are OPEN. Try worms.
CARNERO LAKE – Fishing is excellent/good. The lake is ice free. The route to the lake by way of Forest Road 117 is open. 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! Fish are biting on black woolly buggers and nymphs.
CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair for trout, but fair for sunfish, bullheads, and bass. Try fishing near the dam for trout, they were stocked at that boat ramp. Stocking in May will be at the upper end.
CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake was stocked in early March with trout and again last week!
CRESCENT LAKE – The lake is ice free and accessible. Highways 261 and 273 are OPEN. 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, however, fish population survey show good holdover numbers on brook trout and nice healthy rainbow trout (16in). We have stocked this lake heavily this year with more brook trout and rainbow trout. Go try out your luck before you even hit Big Lake!
GREER LAKES (River; Tunnel; Bunch) – Fishing is excellent/good at all three lakes. They will be stocked this week! Large holdover brown trout and rainbow trout are being caught in River and Tunnel.
HULSEY LAKE – Fishing is good for holdover and stocked rainbow trout. Fish will be stocked this week. A recent fish survey found holdover rainbows up to 18 inches. Fish are being caught on any kind of PowerBait.
LEE VALLEY LAKE – Fishing is poor. Few fish remain here, although we are not predicting a winterkill, since it was not stocked last year. Highways 261 and 273 are OPEN.
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. Fishing is not fast, but large rainbow trout are consistently being caught on worms. The Friends of Luna Lake Tournament big fish was just less than 20 inches!
LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is open. Fishing is fair for bass, walleye, carp and catfish. Use corn or nightcrawlers for carp and catfish.
NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is good. The lake is full and spilling. Holdover rainbow trout are being caught on PowerBait. 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.
Michael W.: Thursday, April 27 report:
In 3 hours of fishing in difficult weather conditions, my fellow fisherman & I caught and released (1) 2-pound brown trout, (3) 12 to 14 inch rainbow trout, (1) 9-inch white crappie, and had (1) 3-pound brown trout and (1) 2-pound rainbow trout that we were unable to land, before the hook popped out of their mouths! All fish caught on 2-inch Crappie Minnow Tubes. Weather Conditions: Winds 18 to 21 mph, with gust as high as 31 mph Water Conditions: Muddy.
(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 BFishing@AZGFD.gov.)
Folks were catching fish PowerBait on Sunday when my coworker was there fishing. He was catching fish from his boat fishing flies. He was moving them really slowly. He caught a 13” browns trout and 10 Rainbow Trout. Most of the fish were over 13” but he did catch some fresh stockers. Stocked this week.
About 8,600 rainbow trout have been stocked this year. I haven’t heard any reports from anglers about anyone catching fish. Stocked this week
There was a report posted on a fishing blog of an angler catching some trout on Cataract. Looking at the pictures posted it looks like some of the smaller fish that were stocked last fall to make room at the hatcheries have survived and grown big enough for folks to catch. It appeared the fish were caught on a spinner. No new reports
Santa Fe and City Reservoirs
No reports but both of these lakes were stocked at the same time last fall as Cataract with the smaller Rainbow Trout so you may be able to catch trout on these lakes.
Flagstaff Area Lakes
Ashurst is full!! The road is open and we have stocked about 12,000 rainbow trout in the lake along with about 5,000 smaller brown trout. 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. Stocked last week
Frances Short Pond
Frances Short pond was stocked last week and will be stocked this week. Folks were catching fish on Garlic rainbow PowerBait when I was out checking the Pond on Monday afternoon. Folks were also catching fish on worms, and salmon eggs. I also talked to some folks who were catching fish on pistol petes, and white roostertails. Stocked last week, scheduled to be stocked this week.
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 12,000 smaller (6-8 inch) rainbow trout. The stockings of rainbow trout contained some really nice trout with one being measured at about 18 inches. Fishing is starting to pick up a little bit with some fish being caught on PowerBait. I had a report from a fly angler who was catching some nice size trout on leach patterns. Stocked last week.
The road is open. I’ve had some reports of folks catching rainbow trout, brown trout and channel catfish.
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. We have had some recent reports of Northern Pike being caught
Blueridge Reservoir (CC Cragin) will not be stocked this year. We will be stocking Knoll Lake.
Colorado River 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 BFishing@AZGFD.gov.)
COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM — Cade and his grandpa Don show off their stringer of rainbow trout caught using night crawlers at Rotary Park. Cade was visiting from California and was able to spend some quality time with grandpa. Further down river by Needles Steve caught his stripers, in the 2 pound range, from shore using anchovies. ”
LYNX LAKE — Michael is enjoying the recently stocked Brown trout at Lynx Lake. He caught all his trout on 1.5-inch crappie tubes on the Southern shore of the lake. He said they were great fighters for their size and he was averaging 4-6 hits on every cast!
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 — Water temperature 68 degrees. One angler from the Arizona Striper Fishing Facebook page reported, ” fishing the Overton Arm north of Stewart’s Point. Water was stained a heavy green but not brown. Water temp was 68 degrees and we anchored in 60′ of water. Caught 8 stripers between 16-18″ all fat and healthy. We lost two at the boat side (kids) and released a dink and a catfish.
We deployed our 48″ Alumiglo light and I am pretty sure that planes overhead were trying to figure out what that green glow was in the lake. No shad were drawn into the light but it sure is bright. I think it is still too early for the shad to come in to the light.
We used a drop shot setup on two rods. We rigged the other two with 1/4 oz or 1/8 oz slide sinkers then a #10 crane swivel. Below the swivel we used a 3-4′ floroclear leader with a 1/0 octopus hook. We used 1/3 of an anchovie for bait and found that the heads stay on best. We tried to match the depth of schools as they travelled through on the sonar.
We found that the drop shot rigs were not as effective as the other setup so we changed them over after a couple hours. I suspect this is because we were not fishing the bottom. All in all a great family evening.”
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 —
“Walleye season has begun”
Our walleye tagging trip was challenged by cool windy weather. The water in lower Good Hope Bay was murky but fishable. The visibility was about 3 feet which is fine for walleye but may inhibit bass and stripers from finding our baits. Bass catch was slow, with stripers uncommon as we used bottom bouncing techniques to target walleye that are abundant in the northern lake. Water temperature ranged from 57-62 during the day which proved to be a bit cool for these walleye.
LEES FERRY – See the full March 21 fishing report from Lees Ferry Anglers.
ALAMO LAKE –
- Jamie Goodman and Don Martin caught five channel cats and lost three more on Sunday morning (April 30) while fishing at Alamo Lake. The cats were caught on nightcrawlers in 6 feet of water.
LAKE HAVASU – A 5-pound redear sunfish was just caught. Typically anglers can catch big redear with nightcrawlers on dropshot rigs.
Angler Nick S. reported: “Last week (week of April 1) 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 – Council Avenue (Somerton), Yuma West Wetlands, Fortuna Pond, and Redondo Pond were all stocked with channel catfish and bluegill Wednesday, April 26. See the stocking:
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.
ROSE CANYON LAKE – Rose Canyon will be stocked 2 weeks before Memorial Day weekend with trout.
Andrew A. Fished sunrise to 11 a.m. before the lake closed due to the fire on Mt. Lemmon. Caught trout steadily the whole morning with trout-colored rooster tails. A friend and I took our limit. The lake is closed to vehicle access for the winter. Anglers can still access the lake by foot.
Rod’s April 10 Angler Report from Sahurita Lake:
Good Evening, all,
I figured if I only had a few hours in the afternoon with the anticipated breeze I would go and visit Sahuarita Lake and do some casting and catching. Hey the walking exercise was beneficial to me too. Lots of other anglers and families out there enjoying the wonderful AZ spring weather. The temperature was mild and the slight breeze sometimes worked in getting the light lures out there.
I managed to catch four largemouth bass within the first hour of casting. Bass number one was a welcome surprise after switching from casting a grub to a short 3-inch worm. Bass number two was quite the gift. After resetting the worm back on the hook from bass one, I tossed the bait back into the water and set the pole down while I put my pliers back into my backpack. I happen to notice the rod tip was bouncing, so I set the backpack down and tended to bass number two. A dead stick bass, a theme that worked most of the day. Low and slow along the bottom was the ticket.
The attached photos are of bass number four. This was quite the surprise as it hit shortly after making a long cast out towards mid-cove. After the bait settled on the ground I only got one short drag before there was a thump on the line with rapidly growing tension. As this was happening there was a family walking by with a young one that stepped near me to watch what was going on. Oh gee, watch the where you sweep set! This is not an issue when I’m on the water but on shore there are pedestrians about. OH MY GOODNESS, the sweep set was met with a heavy load on the 4 lb mono and the drag slipping under the load. Then things really got interesting as the fish was not happy with me. Line peeled with the drag changing to a higher pitch based on the strength of the surge. The family was joined by another and soon I had more than a dozen folks cheering me on. The sound of the drag peeling was getting everyone excited to see just what was on the other end.
“Bring it in! Oh that is a BIG ONE! Don’t loose it!” — all comments from the well wishers watching me working the large bass closer to shore. As we all got a good look at it, there were two large remaining surges. Fortunately for me, Sahaurita Lake is a manmade lake with groomed edges and very few snags. The hard part is there is more than 1.5 feet down to the water level so it is a big stoop to reach down for the large fish as I’m not going to try and host it on the light line.
The fish had another large gauge hook in the gullet, but it was too far in to do anything about so it broke someone else off before having a go at my small 3-inch imitation worm. My small gauge hook was nicely positioned near the front roof of the mouth and lifted out easily as I crimped the barb to make things easier to deal with. A couple of quick photos and the fish returned nicely to the deep dark water.
I apologize for the quality of the selfie but I was motivated to return the fish as soon as possible to the water so there was no real opportunity to setup a proper photo session.
The rest of the day was spent strolling about the lake perimeter picking up small bass here and there. I did manage to tie into another large bass that appeared more than 2 pounds. At least that was the impression I got as the fish cleared the water just before I could get a hold of it. Hey, short distance release works too! Less slime on the finger. A great spring afternoon of casting and catching. It is a great time to get out there and enjoy.
(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.