Fishing at Roosevelt Lake was either good or slow depending on the fisherman you talked with

Roosevelt Lake - Tonto National Forest, AZ

by Arizona Game & Fish Department

Lake elevation is 2,097 feet, 44-percent full, water temperature 80-87 degrees).

Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods submitted this Aug. 17 report: Good morning, Rim Country anglers. The water level in Roosevelt Lake remained constant this past week and is currently at 45 percent full.

The Salt River is flowing at about 400 CFPS which is the average rate for this time of year and the Tonto Creek is slightly flowing. However this is not enough to offset the amount of water being taken for downstream usage and I expect to see the level fall again this week unless we get more monsoon rains. The water temperature in the lake is in the mid-80's in the morning increasing to the high-80's in the afternoon.

Fishing reports were mixed this past week. Some anglers reported a reaction bite with lots of action while other reported success on small-sized baits and fishing very slowly. If you prefer the reaction bite, the best bait reported was a Reaction Innovation paddle tail swim bait. This bait works great for feeding bass particularly near the surface. Another bait reported was a lipless crank bait for fish in 20-30 feet deep water off major points. For the more methodical angler a dropshot 6-inch Roboworm in a camo color and a purple color 4-inch worm were reported.

The crappie bite was called fair this past week. There is still a better nighttime bite but some anglers reported success on a minnow imitation bait called a Lil' Fishy. At night, crappie fishing usually requires a live minnow bait. As the water temperature begins to fall over the next couple of months, crappie will begin to school in larger groups and fishing for them hopefully, will be a little more enjoyable and not so much work.

Finally, an update on our Payson bass fishing pro Clifford Pirch who finished in fourth place at the Bassmaster Elite Series on the St. Lawrence River last weekend. With his second consecutive top 10 Bassmaster finish, he has nearly solidified a spot in the Bassmaster Classic and he again has the lead in the Bassmaster Rookie of the Year race. Two other Arizona anglers, John Murray and Josh Bertrand also finished in the top 12 of this Elite Series tournament. Congratulations to these extremely skilled Arizona anglers.

Have a great rodeo weekend -- go Devils! And I hope see you on the water.

Previously, Gary Senft, a Bass Pro at Bass Pro Shops, fished the lake one weekend in early Aug. Dropshots and Texas rigs produced the best bites. The top-water action was slow at times, as was jig fishing. Each day, Senft fished beginning at 6 p.m. and fish were hitting dropshots of 4.5- and 6-inch morning dawn Roboworms. Powerworms of 7 inches in dark colors also produced at night.

The key to fishing here is finding the shad. If anglers found shad in 15-20 feet of water, bass were within 10-15 feet away. If anglers didn't locate shad, fishing was quite slow. Curly tail worms worked better than straight tail worms.

Shad have not just been holding on points and islands. They also stuck to regular, rocky banks.

In general, fish were in 15-35 feet of water, with the best bites on largemouth bass being 15-20 feet.

If you want top-water action, try fishing the first hour of daylightg with Ricos.