Arivaca Lake – Rating:
As the fishing enters into the fall time anglers can expect water temperatures to begin to cool and fish to become more active throughout the day. While early mornings and late evenings are still going to be the most productive times anglers should find fish active throughout the day. Continue to focus on the top 10 – 12 feet of water until the lake turns over approximately in October. After that, the entire lake from top to bottom may be holding fish. Arivaca can be tough to fish if you’re not accustomed to the aquatic vegetation that grows thick at this lake. Plastics continue to be a good choice this time of year. Whatever bait you choose make sure it’s weedless to combat the thick aquatic vegetation. Bass anglers that focus their search along the edges of the weedline 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 – Closed to the public
Draining of Cluff Ranch Pond 3 occurred this winter to replace the dam valve. Some anglers caught some very large sized Largemouth Bass before it went dry. Unfortunately, a high number of Common Carp were observed also; please do not move fish from other waterbodies! It’s not good for you as an angler for several reasons.
Cluff Pond 3 had a larger than expected amount of accumulated sediment that still needs to be dredged. This portion of the project has been delayed and we hope it will occur in September. Afterwards, large cottonwood and mesquite trees will be placed in the bottom of the pond as fish habitat prior to refilling.
Once the pond is refilled and water quality is acceptable, Largemouth Bass and sunfish species will be stocked and a catch and release regulation will be in place until January 1, 2023 to allow the fish to establish a self-sustaining population.
Dankworth Pond – Rating:
Rainbow trout stocking will begin in November. Various baits and lures will catch trout, such as: Powerbait, salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, mealworms, and corn. Lures proven to work include: small spinners (size 0-1), spoons and even small jigs tipped with various plastics imitating worms, minnows or creatures. 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.
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.
Largemouth Bass can be caught using 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 since that’s what the bass feed on.
Frye Mesa Reservoir – Rating:
Frye Mesa Reservoir presents a unique opportunity to catch a native Gila Trout. The reservoir receives retired broodstock (larger size older fish) from Mora National Fish Hatchery as well as smaller fish from our Page Springs state hatchery. A stocking of sub-catchable fish (4-5 inch) fish should occur this fall. While they won’t provide immediate action they will grow to catchable size and provide opportunity through the winter and spring. 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 well 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 fall anglers can expect water temperatures to begin to cool but the action can still be hot. Focus on the top 15 – 20 feet of water until the lake turns over approximately in October. After that, the entire lake from top to bottom may be holding fish. Trout stockings will begin again in late October or early November. Various baits and lures will catch trout, such as: Powerbait, salmon eggs, night crawlers, mealworms, and corn. Lures proven to work include: small spinners (size 0-1), spoons and even small jigs tipped with various plastics imitating worms, minnows or creatures. Look for schools of trout cruising just under the surface in the bays. 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.
Sunfish will continue to be active much of September but expect that fishing will slow as cooler water temperatures drive fish into deeper water. Live worms and meal worms fished with light tackle are an angler’s best option. Vary the depth you fish at until you find where the fish are hanging out.
Channel Catfish are still active and actively feeding even though water temperature is cooling off. Anglers using prepared catfishing baits, chicken livers and frozen shrimp should find success off the edge of the weedline. 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, attach a barrel swivel and then a short 1-2’ leader to a hook.
Fall can be an excellent time to land very big largemouth bass that are hungry in preparation for the upcoming winter. Target the edge of weedlines with 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 since that’s what the bass feed on.
See the file for the remainder of the lakes in the Southeast Arizona region:
North Central Arizona
Ashurst Lake – Rating:
As the weather cools the trout fishing on Ashurst Lake should be good to excellent. Over 35,000 catchable Rainbow Trout have been stocked so far this year with more to be stocked. In addition catchable Brown Trout are scheduled to be stocked this fall. I have been hearing reports of Rainbows over 20 inches being caught in August. I would use Powerbait on the bottom until it cools off then also try worms under a bobber. Folks using small lures and flies will also catch fish.
Cataract Lake – Rating:
Summer rains have almost filled the lake. Sampling this year showed that Cataract has some nice sized Bluegill, Channel Catfish, and Largemouth Bass. Tiger Trout were stocked in the spring and 6,500 Rainbow Trout were stocked during the forest closure in June..Channel Catfish were also stocked in June. I would use worms under a bobber for the Bluegill and lures and flies for the trout and bass.
Dead Horse Lagoons
See the pdf file for the remainder of the lakes in the North Central Arizona region:
Lower Lake Mary
Upper Lake Mary