Arivaca Lake – Rating:
As the fishing enters into the summer, expect fish to become less active during the heat of the day. Anglers should concentrate their efforts during the early hours around sunrise and the late evening hours around sunset. Night time can be the most productive during the summer months as fish are more active when the temperatures are cooler. If you do fish midday, look for fish in deeper water during the hottest part of the day. However, preferred oxygen levels only reach down around 10 feet during the summer, so fishing any deeper may not yield much success. A 2019 survey indicated a largemouth bass average length of 12 inches and 1.5 pounds although fish approaching 10 pounds are there. Arivaca can be tough to fish if you’re not accustomed to the aquatic vegetation that grows thick at this lake. Plastics are a good choice this time of year but the top water action early mornings and through the night can be the most productive. Whatever bait you choose, make sure it’s weedless to combat the thick aquatic vegetation. Bass anglers who focus their search along the edges of the weed line and in the various “holes” in the thick vegetation tend to be the most successful. This is an excellent lake to introduce youth to fishing as the sunfish are high in numbers and size (over a pound). A mealworm or nightcrawler on nearly any shoreline will provide fast action.
Cluff Ranch Ponds – Rating:
A good rule of thumb for all fish is having a variety of baits/lures in different sizes and colors, placing it in different depths and retrieving it a different speeds. Continue to change until you find a combination that works. Fishing early in the morning or late in the evening generally will lead to more success.
A survey in 2019 indicated an average largemouth bass length of 15 inches and weight of 2.5 pounds in addition to a few over 20 inches. Largemouth bass can be caught using nightcrawlers or several types of artificial baits and methods. Using lures is a good way to cover a lot of water in a short time, allowing you to locate which depths and locations are holding fish. Try crankbaits, jerkbaits, swimbaits and jigs/hooks tipped with various plastics and methods like drop shot, Carolina or Texas rigs. Colors and lure shapes that look similar to a sunfish may work as that’s what the bass feed on.
Black crappie and sunfish can be caught using pieces of nightcrawler, mealworms or small plastics. If you’re using a bobber, remember to only use one large enough to float your weight and hook. Often too large of bobbers are used and fish feel the resistance of the large bobber and steal your bait without you ever knowing.
Dankworth Pond – Rating:
Summer fishing means hitting the water during early mornings and late evenings. Plan to be out during the coolest times of the day and expect fish to move into deeper water as daytime temperatures rise. A good rule of thumb for all fish is having a variety of baits/lures in different sizes and colors, placing it in different depths and retrieving it at different speeds. Continue to change until you find a combination that works. Fishing early in the morning or late in the evening generally will lead to more success.
Look for largemouth bass and bluegill sunfish close to structure and in the shady spots. Bluegill can be caught using pieces of nightcrawler, mealworms or small plastics. If you’re using a bobber, remember to only use one large enough to float your weight and hook. Often too large of bobbers are used and fish feel the resistance of the large bobber and steal your bait without you ever knowing.
Channel catfish may also be a target and success will pick up as the water warms through the summer season. Night fishing is the absolute best time to catch channel catfish. The standard method is to fish on the bottom using bait. Try using a “slip” sinker instead of one fixed to the line. The “slip” sinker functions like a fixed weight except the line is able to pass through the weight with little resistance, which should equal better success at hooking the fish. To use this method, start with the slip sinker, barrel swivel and a short 1-2’ leader to a hook. Baits vary widely but several nightcrawlers on one hook, chicken liver, prepared baits (dip, dough, etc.), entrails/heads from cleaned fish, and the list can go on.
Frye Mesa Reservoir – Rating:
Frye Mesa Reservoir presents a unique opportunity to catch a native Gila trout. The reservoir receives fish from Mora National Fish Hatchery as well as our Page Springs Hatchery. The reservoir will be stocked with approximately 300 large fish ranging from 12 – 18 inches late in May. Gila trout can be caught with similar methods used for rainbow trout. Fly fishing with nymphs or wet/dry flies is productive. If using a spin casting reel, small spoons and spinners as wells as PowerBait or worms can work. The road to the reservoir is rough and a higher clearance all-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
Parker Canyon Lake – Rating:
As the fishing enters into the spring, anglers can expect water temperatures to begin to rise. Although the higher elevation at Parker Canyon can lead to a delay in the water temperatures warming up, expect that as water temperatures move towards 60 degrees, largemouth bass will become more active in shallow water as they prepare for the spawn.
Sunfish also become more active during this time of the year and Parker Canyon has good populations of both bluegill sunfish and green sunfish. Anglers can also expect to find the occasional redear sunfish as this species is present but not in as high numbers as the other sunfish species. A recent survey showed that bluegill sunfish opportunities peak in May. Sunfish anglers should use live worms and mealworms. Vary the depth you fish at until you find where the fish are hanging out. During the heat of the day plan to fish a little deeper as the fish will be looking for locations of decreased sunlight as temperatures rise.
Channel catfish are still less than active during this time period as water temperatures are still too cool for their liking. However they can still be caught by anglers using prepared catfishing baits, chicken livers and frozen shrimp.
Anglers can also expect the stocked rainbow trout to remain active during this time. The last stockings for the season will occur in March; however, a recent survey showed that anglers were successfully catching trout into May at Parker Canyon Lake. Over 26,000 trout have been stocked this season! Look for schools of trout cruising in the bays and target them using small spinners and spoons. Water temperature is key during this time of year as the upper layer of water begins to warm expect trout to move into deeper water where water temperatures are cooler.
See the file for the remainder of the lakes in the Southeast Arizona region:
North Central Arizona
Editor Chuck Benedict 928 214-1244
Ashurst Lake – Rating:
Fishing at Ashurst will be good for large holdover trout through at least July especially following a cold spring.
Anglers can catch nice-size holdover rainbow trout on lures such as Rooster Tails, Joe’s Flies and small spoons. Fly anglers should be successful using woolly buggers and bead-head prince nymphs. Folks using flies and lures might also catch a nice brown trout.
For anglers using bait, try fishing worms under a bobber until the water temperatures start to warm up. PowerBait fished on the bottom should also work. Garlic PowerBait seems to out-fish unscented bait.
Cataract Lake – Rating:
Fishing at Cataract will be slow until the water warms up in May.
CC Lake Blueridge – Rating: Unknown
The lake is full and has been stocked with rainbow trout.
City Reservoir – Rating:
City is being stocked with trout and catfish. Fishing will be good using standard trout methods.
Dead Horse Lagoons – Rating:
Largemouth bass fishing is great here. Try using plastics in the morning or evening for bass. Target the bass near the submerged vegetation, which is spread all over the lagoons. If you are using a small boat or float tube, fish the edges of the islands. Channel catfish were stocked in May and will be stocked again in June. Catfish can be easily caught on the standard catfish baits, anchovies, hot dog, mackerel, shrimp, etc. This is a great place to take kids to catch small bluegill. They are numerous, but mostly small. There is an entrance fee at Dead Horse Ranch State Park which is currently $7 per vehicle (1-4 adults) and $3 for an individual (walk in/bicycle) and the hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Seasonal hours may apply and will be posted at the entrance.
See the pdf file for the remainder of the lakes in the North Central Arizona region:
Lower lake mary
Upper lake mary