Fishing Report: North Central region – fishing excellent at Lower Lake Mary, Kinnikinick, Kaibab

Photo Credit: Courtesy of AZFG

by Arizona Game & Fish Department

Fall trout stocking on Frances Short Pond has begun. Brown trout have been stocked in Kinnikinick. Trout fishing is improving with the cooler temperatures. Fall is one of the best times to catch trout in northern Arizona.


KAIBAB LAKE — With the cooler weather, trout fishing is picking up on Kaibab Lake. Fish with PowerBait on the bottom. Was stocked with 2,500 large (14 inch) rainbow trout last Monday. Stocked with another load of big rainbows Wednesday. The campground is closed.

CATARACT LAKE — I haven’t had any recent reports from Cataract Lake. We caught a quite a few nice bass, bluegill and channel catfish when we sampled the lake in August. The catfish were mostly on the road-side of the lake while the bluegill were along the dam. We also caught a 4 pound brown trout on the north side of the lake. It was caught around a bunch of small bass so a bass colored lure might work.

CITY RESERVOIR — Fishing should be good using PowerBait on the bottom.

DOGTOWN LAKE — We caught a quite a few nice bass, and crappie when we sampled the lake. Most of the bigger bass were caught near the dam. Trout fishing should be picking up as the lake cools with the cooler weather. The campground is closed.

SANTA FE — The lake is full. Folks were catching trout on PowerBait during the weekend.

WHITEHORSE LAKE — We caught a quite a few nice bass, crappie and bluegill when we sampled the lake. Most of the bigger fish were caught along the dam, but we caught one really nice sized bluegill in the cove by the camping sites. The campground is closed.


LOWER LAKE MARY — A couple of folks from the office fished Lower Lake Mary on Monday afternoon. One was fly fishing using a green leech pattern and the other was fishing with spinners. The fly angler waded through the weeds to the channel and caught and released 21 trout in 2 hours. The biggest was more than 20 inches. The lure angler was fishing from his kayak and caught 17 trout from 12-16 inches on a spinner fished slowly. He also reported that an angler fishing with PowerBait in the basin by the dam was catching fish on green PowerBait on the bottom. Overall the fishing was excellent for everyone there.

UPPER LAKE MARY — No new reports.

ASHURST LAKE — Fishing is picking up with the cooler weather. Folks are catching trout in the shallows on the south west side of the lake on PowerBait. Calm days are much better than windy days.

FRANCES SHORT POND – Frances Short was stocked with 500 rainbow trout on Monday. If you have kids and you want to catch fish, Frances Short is the place to go.

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Stocked with brown trout. I had a report from an angler that he caught and released twenty one 12-14 inch brown trout last week on lures. He also lost 17 fish with some of the ones lost being larger fish. This is the time to fish Kinnikinick.

OAK CREEK — Stocked last week.

BEAVER CREEK – No report.


BLUE RIDGE — No report.

KNOLL LAKE — No report.


Lake Powell Fish Report –

October 9, 2019

Lake Elevation: 3615

Water temperature: 69-72 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson or

Every September we fire up the electrofishing equipment and sample young fish along the shoreline of Lake Powell. We sample at night when the fish move into shallow water. The fish are stunned, measured, counted and returned to the lake. This survey helps us understand how the 2019 crop of fish compares to those sampled every year since 1975. We survey different sites to get an overview of fish abundance lakewide. Then we compare the results from each site with the same site from previous years. The most common fish species caught each year in shallow water are bluegill and green sunfish. They were in high abundance in each survey.

The 2019 sample is perhaps the most unusual since the survey began. Shad numbers are overwhelming. Young sport fish are in high abundance. Here is a brief summary of our fish collections.

Wahweap – Small threadfin shad were the most abundant fish captured. These small forage fish are ideal forage for all sport fish species. The more we have the better growth and abundance of sport fish. Shad schools are on display all over the lower lake but the prime spot is in the Castle Rock Cut. These small schools are feeding on the surface in the Cut and visible just about every time a boat passes through. Look for the small fish schools dimpling the surface while idling through the shortcut. Young smallmouth bass and largemouth bass, were ranked in larger numbers than in previous surveys.

Good Hope Bay – Gizzard shad were overwhelming in numbers. A normal catch is 25-50 fish per sampling run. In the back of the sampling canyon, 1000 gizzards were caught in 15 minutes. Sport fishing in the northern lake has been much slower than usual. It is obvious that the amount of forage has taken the drive out of striped bass population. When it is time to eat they just open their mouth and grab a shad from the giant wall of shad residing in the backs of canyons. We were able to catch a few stripers in 40-80 feet on jigging spoons. The catch was much less than normal. All sport fish species were shocked in great numbers. Largemouth bass and crappie are making a comeback due to the high water, which has covered the shoreline vegetation.

Rincon – Water clarity at the Rincon was over 10 feet compared to 3 feet at Good Hope, 8 feet at Wahweap and 6 feet at the San Juan. High clarity reduces the catch rate, but we stunned good numbers of bass, sunfish, gizzard and threadfin shad. Rincon results were better than previous years. We also tried bass fishing in my favorite cove and caught only 2 smallmouth. Fishing is slow over then length of the lake. Hopefully, water temperatures dropping to the low 60s will encourage bass to feed more actively.

San Juan – We caught shad of both species in great numbers along with largemouth, smallmouth, small catfish and sunfish. This station had fish abundance similar to the other sampling sites. Sport fishing was slow while waiting for the sun to go down so we could start electrofishing sampling. Our journey all the way up the Great Bend is usually action packed with striper boils and bass along the shore. This time we almost struck out with only a few smallmouth bass caught in open water. These bass act like stripers busting through an open-water shad school. A splash is either an adult gizzard shad jumping for joy, or a smallmouth feeding on shad in open water. Those of you looking for smallmouth along the rocky shoreline need to turn around and look in open water for surface disturbances. One fish splashing is now the new definition of a “Striper or Bass Boil.” Look for that one fish and you may be surprised how many fish will end up in the cooler.

Summary – Catching fish is not as easy as normal. That is not bad, it just means the catch rate is now like other lakes. Warm weather and amazing forage conditions have made the sport fish fat, large and not as hungry as usual. Stripers caught in 70 feet of water on spoons are in the best shape possible. Smallmouth bass caught in 30 feet of open water are robust. Remember, look for one fish jumping instead of a whole school of bass or stripers. There are more threadfin shad in the southern lake. Stripers really like threadfin. It may be possible to catch more topwater fish in the southern lake than in the north or central lake where more gizzard shad reside in huge bait walls.

Largemouth bass spawned in big numbers and schools of young bass often swim along the shoreline right under your boat. As I write this report, a cold weather front is forecast. The water temperature will drop and fishing conditions will change once more. A bit of slow fishing will be forgotten next spring when the size of all sport fish will be enhanced due to the amount of forage now available.

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