Arizona Fish Report, July 3, 2013

by Arizona Game & Fish Department

Some top-water fireworks could be in store for surface-pounding anglers this fourth of July weekend.

Although a top-water bite is possible at any time of the day, and without the indication of boils, anglers can generally find a surface bite at coves in the first light, or off major points in lakes. Once the sun comes up, switch to long points, islands and reefs in lakes such as Lake Pleasant. Look for boils or bird activity. Anglers are hoping the top-water bite improves and we creep into August.

A moderate chance of monsoon-generated rain is predicted for some areas this weekend, including Flagstaff. Cooling effects of rain and ensuing fish feeds that tend to occur just before and after storms can mean particularly slow feeding patterns on extremely hot days.

Still, the high country lakes are the place to be. As the barometric pressure drops during the build-up of monsoon clouds, the top-water bite should also take off as insects fly closer to the water surface. And so look for trout to feed more aggressively. Flies of course can be lethal, but it's also a great time to try in-line spinners. Mepps, Rooster Tails or Blue Fox are a good bet. Also try Super Dupers, Crickhoppers and KastMasters. Smart anglers know to mix it up.

If storms aren't building, the best bet for trout is at first and last light in deeper waters with Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or corn on the bottom using slip sinkers, light line and small hooks. High country anglers also have had success trolling cowbells in deeper water.

By the way, Upper Lake Mary has been giving up some nice pike on anchovies and flies.

In the high country lakes, a host of fisheries are being stocked with trout: Bear Canyon Lake, the East Fork of Black River, the Little Colorado in Greer, Sheeps Crossing (Apache trout!), Show Low Lake, Silver Creek, Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake.

Woods Canyon is receiving a particularly large stocking.

The Tonto Creek Hatchery has just stocked Tonto Creek, Haigler Creek, Christopher Creek, East Verde River, Woods Canon Lake and Bear Flats.

In the Flagstaff area, trout fishing was good on Ashurst and Knoll Lake despite the hot weather.

Looking for the best bet at some big bass? Apache Lake has been the hot spot for months.