Arivaca Lake – Rating:
Fishing in the winter can be slow at Arivaca Lake as the fish go deeper and spend less time feeding. Although early mornings and late evenings are still going to be the most productive times, anglers should find fish to be active throughout the day. Arivaca can be tough to fish if you’re not accustomed to the aquatic vegetation that grows thick at this lake. During the winter months slow moving crankbaits fished mid-level are the best approach.
Cluff Ranch Ponds – Rating:
Trout stockings continue through the winter months. 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 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.
Dankworth Pond – Rating:
Rainbow trout stocking will continue through the winter months. 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.
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 and is one of only three places in Arizona to catch this rare species. 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 small reservoir did receive a load of catchable-sized Gila trout recently so there are fish available to be caught. The daily bag limit is 2 trout. The road to the reservoir is rough and a higher clearance all-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
Parker Canyon Lake – Rating:
During the winter months, anglers can expect that fishing for the warmwater species will slow as fish move into deeper water and become less active with the cooler water temperatures. Anglers wanting to catch the rainbow trout can use bait such as earthworms, mealworms, salmon eggs or PowerBait. A good technique is to fish with light tackle and vary the depth, color and type of bait until you find where the fish are hanging out and the bait they prefer. Small lures such as spoons and spinners from Mepps or Rooster Tail are excellent choices. Anglers using small lures should work small areas of the lake in a fan pattern, covering all of the water in front of them and remember to vary the speed of your retrieve. Regardless of your choice of bait and technique, all anglers should keep in mind that as the day progresses, the fish’s preferences can also change. So be prepared to change things up when the fishing slows.
Channel catfish are still active and actively feeding even though water temperature are cooling off. Anglers using prepared catfishing baits, chicken livers and frozen shrimp.
See the pdf 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 is usually good until the lake gets ice cover or the Forest Service closes the road.
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. Fish your lures and flies slowly in cold weather.
For folks using bait, I would try fishing garlic “flavored” PowerBait in a variety of colors, especially in September while the water is still warm. Once water temperatures cool worms under a bobber should also work.
Do not ice fish on Ashurst Lake. The ice is usually not safe.
Cataract Lake – Rating:
Cataract is rarely fished during the winter months. Do not ice fish. The ice is usually not safe.
CC Lake Blueridge – Rating: Closed
C.C. Cragin is closed for the season. Forest Road 751 from Rock Crossing campground to C.C. Cragin (aka Blue Ridge) Reservoir is closed to vehicles beginning Sept. 10 to protect the public from construction traffic. The closure will prevent access to the parking for Rock Crossing Trail as we make improvements to the boat ramp. These projects are providing a safer and more efficient access to the reservoir for recreational boaters. The closure is expected to remain in effect until April. Water levels are very low this fall and the lake was not be stocked this year. For more information please contact the Mogollon Rim Ranger District at 928-477-2255.
City Reservoir – Rating:
We have been stocking rainbow trout in City this year and fishing should be good this fall. In addition to trout, catfish were stocked this summer and I have had reports of folks catching some nice sized crappie.
Dead Horse Lagoons – Rating:
Channel catfish were stocked during August and will be stocked again toward the end of September. They can be easily caught using shrimp, nightcrawlers, hot dog or anchovies. Largemouth bass action should be fair to good using plastic worms and jigs. Small bluegill can also be easily caught. While they are small, this is a great place to take your kids fishing if you just want them to catch something. Trout stocking will resume in November.Look for the fishing to really pick up following any of the stockings.
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 6 a.m. to 7 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