Roosevelt Lake Update

Roosevelt Lake - Tonto National Forest, AZ

by Arizona Game & Fish Department

"Are the bass in a pre-spawn phase?" That is the top question Rim Country anglers have been recently asking. The stable weather and warmer temperatures are key indicators that the fish are becoming active in preparation for the upcoming spawn.

Experienced anglers know that when a springtime storm approaches, the bass will move back to deeper, protective water. However, the forecast in Rim Country for the next couple of weeks is stable weather with even warmer days. So if this weather holds, fishing conditions on Roosevelt Lake could improve dramatically over the next several weeks. The water flows into Roosevelt Lake have slowed with the Salt River flowing at just above 100 percent and the Tonto Creek flowing at about twice its normal rate for this time of year. The lake level is 47 percent full but the level continues to increase each week. The clarity of the water is also getting better as the flows decline. Most of the lake is now clear or slightly stained except for the very ends where the water is entering. The water temperature is 51 degrees in the morning, rising into the mid to high 50s in the afternoon. So it’s not hard to understand why anglers are getting excited.

As the weather becomes more stable, more bass will be transitioning into the pre-spawn and spawning stages. To anglers, this translates to the bass feeding more aggressively and better overall fishing conditions. Reaction baits such as spinner baits and crankbaits will become more effective, while traditional techniques such as a Flipping Jig, dropshot and Texas rig will continue to be successful.

Crappie fishing has also improved due to the weather. Anglers reported a good crappie bite that is getting better each day as the sunshine heats the water. Trolling a small curly tail jig in 20 feet of water is the standard technique for crappie.

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

Feb. 12 report from Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods.

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