Arizona's Fish Report -- As reported by Arizona Game & Fish Department, July 25, 2013

Arizona Fish Report


by Arizona Game & Fish Department
7-26-2013
Website

Great news from Lees Ferry, one of the top fly-fishing destinations around: The cicada bite is going strong, and there are reports that some of the fatest trout in a long time are being taken. see the photo above.

In fact, Dale Gauthier of Lees Ferry Anglers said he can't remember fish this fat in his 10 years of fishing up river. It's always a good time to fish the Ferry, but now is ideal as high flows are churning up big bugs from the bottom of the river, giving the trout plenty to feast on. Talk about some tasty, fresh fillets waiting to be had.

A bit farther south at Ashurst Lake (and Flagstaff in general), here is an angler's tip worth mentioning. Sounds like there may be more than harsh sun rays, monsoon storms and biting insects to look out for. Nothing that should prevent anyone from fishing these prime mountain fisheries, of course, but for awareness, the angler said he had gear stolen from Ashurst Lake and he suspected an "innocent-acting older couple, scanning the shoreline." Someone got away with this angler's flies, a jacket and fishing gadgets. Always good to keep an eye on your gear, and we hope this doesn't happen to anyone else.

Now, onward with the fishing.

Here's a tip: Show Low Creek sounds like it's a trout hot spot and is being stocked with about 500 trout. Also, if it's not already in your bait repretoire, trying adding some Berkley Power Bait Natural Scent Dough in Cheese. Wad some up on a small treble hook with a couple split shots and see what happens.

Also just having been stocked are Bear Canyon Lake, Show Low Lake, Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, the east and west forks of the Black River, Little Colorado River in Greer, Sheeps Crossing and Silver Creek.

It's a good time for lower-elevation residents to escape the summer heat and head to the high country for high numbers of stockers. But for out-of-town anglers planning trips for late summer, consider that the best trout fishing isn't until October. As water temperatures begin cooling off in September, the fishing tends to pick up again. The fishing peaks in October. Although stockings will have ended and there are less numbers of fish, the existing fish will be more active. Willow Springs and Woods Canyon are popular camping choices.

You could actually fish Woods Canyon, Willow Springs, Christopher Creek, Tonto Creek, Canyon Creek, Haigler Creek and Bear Canyon in the same trip. Come prepared for monsoon rains with a rain jacket.

On a different note, check out this beauty of a bass (Photo #1) landed at Goldwater Lake in Prescott National Forest on Saturday morning, July 21. The angler said he landed the bass from shore using a top-water bait. He said he stopped at the gate house on the way out and had the gentleman verify the measurements: Just shy of nine pounds, approximately 21 inches long. Congrats!

Now onto a great striped bass option. Bait fishing for stripers at Lake Powell has been phenomenal. This lake is a favorite of many anglers with around 1,700 miles of shoreline to explore and dozens of tucked-away canyons that holds smallmouth and largemouth bass, stripers and blister-inducing walleye.

And let's not forget crappie, some of the best eating panfish you'll find. James Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods said fishing for these speckled perch has been steady at Roosevelt Lake. This time of the year, Goughnour reminded us, crappie will be right in the brush or under a ledge. Fishing vertically with an ultra light rod and four-point test line will allow you to feel your way through the brush to get your bait in front of the crappie. Two baits were recommended this week: A Lil' Fishy in the blue pearl color and a 2-inch motor oil and chartreuse tail grub. If you plan to fish at night this week, under the full moon, a live minnow is the only bait to use, Goughnour wrote. (See full details in the full report under Roosevelt Lake.)

It continues to be great catfishing on Lake Pleasant. And not just for potential state-record setting flathead catfish. This man fishing from a bellyboat on Wednesday (Photo #2) caught this estimated 3-pound catfish on a cut anchovy.

Good luck on the water! As usual, you can send your fishing reports, photos and questions to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

And don't forget to check out our Fish&Boat Arizona map before planning your trips. And check out the summer trout stocking schedule.

Here's a recap of reports from anglers sent to BFishing@AZGFD.gov (actual fish stories are under relevant fishery in full report):

Many anglers from July 12-16 at Dogtown Lake were catching crappie with worms a half-foot deep off a bobber. ... Trout from 10-12 inches on July 16 were hitting white Power Bait four inches below a weight from 4:30 to 6 p.m.. ... an angler strongly recommended fishing the lake during the daytime because it's a gem for camping and fishing and weekends tend to be busy.

Show Low Lake was reported to have decent shoreline fishing last weekend. Morning air temperatures were in the low-50s. The best fishing came in 12-15 foot depth of coves with slowly-retrieved, small spinners. One-half nightcrawlers on No. 12 or No. 14 hooks on the bottom with splitshot weights or egg sliders worked well when setting the hook on the second tap. Rainbows and smallmouth bass from 10-12 inches were hutting throughout the day. A 22-inch, four-pound catfish (Photo #3) was caught on a small leather crawfish lure with a No. 6 weedless hook, drifted between large rocks just after an afternoon shower.

Report from Kaibab Lake from July 19-21 indicated lake levels were low, and water was murky, but fishing was decent for trout and bluegill.

According to two angler's reports, Lake Pleasant on July 21 during the morning had a good largemouth (Photo #4) and striped bass bite in the northern coves. Dropshots and Texas-rigged plastics in dark colors worked for largemouths; stipers were hitting Shadraps. Boils were numerous and lasted until 11 a.m. ... A pair of anglers chased a 6 p.m.-midnight nighttime bite along Pipeline Coves in 15 feet of water from in front of a submerged Cottonwood tree. Eight 1-2 pound catfish and striped bass were caught. Catfish were hitting chicken livers fished 40 feet on the bottom; nightcrawlers were not enticing cats.

This from Apache Lake. An angler reported that the nighttime and morning bites were excellent on July 17-18. Largmouth bass shut down during the hottest part of the day. Top-water torpedo baits were effective in the morning. The angler reported catching a 3-pound largemouth off the dock, as well as a bunch of hits, just after 5 p.m. on July 17. Dropshots the next night on rocky banks and docks also worked well.

OK, on to the full report.

CENTRAL WATERS

Updated reports:

Note: If you have a fishing report or good fishing pictures to share (JPEG), send them to our "Been Fishing" site at BFishing@azgfd.gov.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake elevation is 2,099 feet, 46 percent full, water temperature 80-88 degrees). James Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods submitted this week's report: Bass fishing was called good this past week by local anglers. The bass are in a summer pattern and anglers are reporting a good bite in the early morning and after sunset until about midnight. The lake dropped again this past week and currently stands at 46 percent full.

The flow in the Salt River flow increased dramatically this past week due to the monsoon rains. The flow is just less than 300 cubic feet per second, which is over 100 percent of its normal rate for this time of year.

The Tonto Creek is flowing slightly at 3 cubic feet per second. The monsoon rains benefit not only the water level but the water flowing into the lake also brings nutrients which is critical to small fry fish that were born a couple of months ago. A Texas Rig technique and jigs were the most reported successful technique reported this past week; however, a drop shot and Carolina rig were also reported successful.

Most anglers are fishing main lake points or drop-off areas near flats such as Goose Flats or Connor's Ledge. Most bass are in the 15-25 foot depth but some are being caught at 30 feet. So if you're fishing a drop off, let the bait settle on the bottom before lifting it again so it can fall to a deeper depth. If you plan to fish at night, you might try a 10-inch black ribbon tail worm.

The crappie bite stayed steady last week and was called fair to good. Remember that this time of year, crappie will be right in the brush or under a ledge. Fishing vertically with an ultra-light rod and 4-pound test line will allow you to feel your way through the brush to get your bait in front of the crappie. Two baits were recommended this week: A Lil' Fishy in the blue pearl color and a 2-inch motor oil and chartreuse tail grub. If you plan to fish at night this week, under the full moon, a live minnow is the only bait to use.

According to the AZGFD website and lots of anglers I talk with, trout fishing on the rim is the best it has been all year. Lots of trout are being caught at all of the popular rim trout lakes on Power Baits, worms, and flies such as a wooly bugger Check the AZGFD website for the latest stocking information. Early morning and just before dark were reported as active feeding periods for trout.

The monsoons are in full swing in Rim Country this week. We remind all anglers and outdoors enthusiasts to pay attention to the weather conditions and don't risk a serious situation. Monsoon storms typically last 1-2 hours so remember these words of an experienced angler: "when in doubt, wait it out."

Have a great week of fishing next week and I hope see you on the water.

Gary Senft, a Bass Pro at the Bass Pro Shops in Mesa, said it was tough fishing on Saturday, July 20 for many tournament anglers, and this weekend could be similar: anglers will have to keep moving. Fish likely will not be in the same places day after day as they are following bait more than hanging out. He recommends dropshotting Roboworms in reds, browns and greens and Texas-rigged 7-inch Power Worms. Target points and steep, rocky ledges. On Saturday night, bass were bite very softly - Senft was using a carob-light rod, and so he said he had an advantage on many anglers.

SAGUARO LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,526 feet (95 percent full): Mike McFarland of the Hook Up Outfitters said Saguaro has been proving excellent largemouth bass fishing opportunities. Try jigs, crankbaits, and top-water lures early and late.

Previously, Skyler Clark, the Mesa Sportsman's Warehouse fishing manager, said this is a better nighttime fishing spot than at Canyon. As he previously reported, it's been hard this year to get bites anywhere unless you are fishing around some grass. So it's still a good option to try going down a bank, dragging and slowly popping dropshots or Texas-rigged Roboworms through some grass on any deeper flats of 10-20 feet.

Previously, Mike McFarland of Hook-Up Outfitters said getting an early-morning top-water bite followed by midday dropshots in 2-30 feet of water is a reliable pattern.

McFarland said the trick to remember at Saguaro is that the fish are not eating big baits. Use small baits and small dropshots.

LAKE PLEASANT - Anglers are saying that on July 21 during the morning had a good largemouth and striped bass bite in the northern coves. Dropshots and Texas-rigged plastics in dark colors worked for largemouths; stipers were hitting Shad Raps. Boils were numerous and lasted until 11 a.m. ... A pair of anglers chased a 6 p.m.-midnight nighttime bite along Pipeline Coves in 15 feet of water from front of a submerged Cottonwood tree. Eight 1-2 pound catfish and striped bass were caught. Catfish were hitting chicken livers fished 40 feet on the bottom; nightcrawlers were not enticing cats.

Previously, Mike McFarland of Hook Up Outfitters said the deep jerk bait bite has been hot. He recommends starting early in the morning with top-water lures and swim baits. If that's not working, go to deep jerk bait bites. Also, find surface boils and throw deep water baits below the boils for striper, white bass and largemouth bass.

The nighttime striper bite is picking up. Try a cut anchovy at the mouth of coves in 40-60 feet of water. Also try fishing under lights at night with anchovies or live shad in the same areas.

Ideal times are early morning and late for top water.

If you want largemouth bass, you'll need a small drop shot. The smaller the better. Try a tiny shakyhead, or slick shake (whacky style). Worms or curly tail Roboworms of less than 3 inches have been best.

Anglers continue to catch large flathead catfish in large numbers.

Angler's stories:

A prime option for catfishing in the past months, some big cats have been landed in the daytime and at night. The prime bite has been at night near bank with live bluegill or carp fished under a float on circle hooks. Target any type of underwater structure. In the summer, catfish move close to the banks at night (5-15 feet of water in general).

I headed up to Lake Pleasant this past Sunday, July 21, for a morning half day. After some minor technical issues, I was on the water by 5:40 a.m. and targeting largemouth in the northern coves. I had pretty good luck for both largemouth and stripers. Overall, I boated five fish (three largemouth and two stripers) with a few more hookups that I lost. The largemouth were caught using dropshot or Texas-rigged plastics in dark colors and the strippers took Shad Raps. While I was not targeting the stripers I couldn't resist the chance to chase a few boils. They were EVERYWHERE and lasted until 11 a.m. when I headed out. The photo (above-right) is one of the biggest largemouths I've caught out of Pleasant.

CANYON LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,659 feet (97 percent full). Skyler Clark said there continues to be good fishing to be had off vertical walls during the day with dropshots or Senkos. If you're choosing between Canyon and Saguaro for daytime fishing, try Canyon. The same technique is holding true: Fish as close to the wall as possible and look for shade pockets to target. Try dropshots and shaky head worms. Clark is seeing more fish chasing shad at Canyon than at Saguaro. Try Zara Spooks or Ricos. The night fishing is still tough, however.

Reports are that dropshots have produced the best bite and there have been reports of some bass being caught up to 7 pounds.

APACHE LAKE - Lake elevation is 1,906 feet (94 percent full). Has been good for high numbers of bass lately, but Canyon and Saguaro have reportedly been better for size.

Three weeks ago, anglers had reported the largemouth bass more 3 pounds continued to be productive. The dropshot reportedly produced the best bite off rocky banks and points. Westy Worms and to-water lures in the morning also were productive. Try top water lures in the morning and as bass do deeper as the water warms, switch to crankbaits and spinner baits.

Angler's story from July 17: Had the week off so took my son to Apache Lake. We stayed at the Apache Lake Resort. Wasn't the nicest I've been in, but was better than sleeping in the truck. My son being 12 years old gets bored very quickly, so I thought I would take a break from the hit or miss at Pleasant. Wasn't bad: caught a 3-pound largemouth off the dock, and he got a bunch of hits. I think they were bluegill, but didn't have the heart to tell him. He was happy. The next day after it rained all night we did well using dropshots on the rocky banks, and docks. Top water in morning using a torpedo bait was good lots of plow ups. Not a bad trip at all; it was a good father and son trip before they go back to school.

LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) - The flow increased dramatically this past week due to the monsoon rains. The flow is 885 cubic feet per second. Reports indicate the river is excellent for suckers, but not so much for trout. Try night crawlers, small spinners, KastMasters and flies in this unique desert river trout fishery.


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