Category Archives: Fishing

We will talk about fishing including lakes, rivers and streams. We will talk about methods and parctices for all species.

Arizona Fishing Report – March 13th, 2015

Arizona Fishing Report March 13th, 2015

Spring fishing is here in all its bedding-bass, crisp-morning glory.  Striper.jpeg

Yet the vernal equinox, or the first day of spring when the Earth is neither inclined toward, nor away, from the sun, isn’t until Friday, March 20.

And the summer trout stocking schedule just came out. Read all about where trout are being stocked in a lake near you. 

This week’s full moon has coincided with consistent, warm weather. The result? Springtime spawning conditions for largemouth bass have graced the desert impoundments.

So many great options can be at the end of the line. Flathead catfishing is picking up, and Arizona has become a destination for these bruisers. Crappie are a bit more active, stripers are stripping line at Lake Powell and Lake Pleasant, trout stockings will transition into those of catfish (first community waters cat stocking is March 19), and redear sunfish have already reached world-class status at Lake Havasu.

Take a deep breath for a second and appreciate all Arizona has to offer anglers and hunters. From the desert to the mountains, all such sportsmen help conserve our wildlife for future generations because, if you didn’t know, the Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive state tax dollars. We rely heavily on active hunters and anglers who are passionate about our wildlife.

So thank you.

Spring also means Mr. Whiskers returns to the Community Fishing Program lakes – the first stocking is March 19! Get ready for the catfish, too.

Have you heard the good news about trout stockings at Willow Beach? Read C. Douglas Nelson’s Las Vegas Review-Journal article about “rainbows shining again.”

OK, that’s all. Nab a license online (it helps conserve wildlife), and have fun – it’ll be hard not to.

Bill Luke Bass Days March 13-15

OK, we’ve got some pretty big events coming up. The biggest is Bill Luke Bass Days, March 13-15, at Pleasant Harbor Marina. Bill Luke Bass Days is the Southwest’s largest family fishing tournament and festival. Everyone can partake in day and nighttime festivals featuring a Cornhole Tournament, food, vendors, carnival rides, wildlife exhibits and live music. See more information.

Arizona Game and Fish Department Expo is coming in late March

The Department will be hosting its annual Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo Paddlemore_2.jpgpresented by Shikar Safari Club International, Saturday and Sunday, March 28-29.

The event is FREE and will have tons of events for the whole family to enjoy.

Last year’s Expo and Youth Day drew a total of 48,000 attendees, the highest three-day total in the event’s history.

Check out the kids fishing tanks and take home a free photo, a NEW OHV track, see all sorts of live wildlife, learn target archery and try other shooting sports in a safe, supervised, controlled environment on the range.

Get a feel for specialty shooting disciplines like clay target, cowboy action, practical pistol, black powder, and air gun. Check out the many firearms manufacturers, or see our new side-by-side OHV track!

Concessionaires will have food and beverages available for purchase, and many accept only cash — ATMs will be on site.
Expo hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Outdoor Expo is easy to find, located on Carefree Highway, about 1/2 mile west of I-17 in Phoenix.

Also, visit our Fish AZ blog for the latest free public fishing events, as well as timely fishing reports, fish stories and more.

Click Here to read the entire report.

Catfish are back March 19th!

Catfish are Back March 19th!

If you enjoy catching and eating Catfish like I do you will be happy to know that starting March 19th Arizona Game and Fish will begin stocking Catfish in the community lakes in the Phoenix an Tucson areas.

Attention all anglers – mark your calendars! The Cats are coming back. Our first stocking of the season is scheduled forThursday March 19th. We’ll be delivering close to 15,000 pounds of hungry catfish into 21 core waters (see stocking schedule). Get your family, grab a picnic basket, and come on outside because it’s the perfect time of year to hit the lakes.

Click Here to see the Community Fishing Report.


Arizona Fishing Report – February 27th 2015

Arizona Fishing Report – February 27th, 2015

HavasuStriper_1.jpgTwo days ago, this 44-inch, 36-pound striper was caught Wednesday afternoon on an anchovy. This man told John Galbearth of Bass Tackle Masters that he hadn’t caught a striper all winter. Then — Yahtzee.



FLattieHavasu_1.jpgAnother monster from Havasu. This flathead catfish was taken Feb. 22 from the Black Meadow area. It weighed 59.8 pounds.  See one of our videos that has some flathead-catching tips.

On the whole, striper fishing is tough at Havasu since shad have not yet spawned. Surface water temperature at Havasu on Friday was 60 degrees.

Salt River-chain dandy Apache Lake also was the site of some great catches recently. Gary Becko came to our Mesa Regional office with this Gary_Becko_smallmouth_buffalo_1.jpgstate record smallmouth buffalo caught on Friday, Feb. 20. The fish weighed 42.86 pounds and measured 38 inches long.

Becko was using a minnow. Get this: he caught it using 8-pound test line. Keep in mind, the fish is the only of its species that has been submitted for a state record. An impressive catch nonetheless.

Here’s another, again from Apache. Nice to get a picture of a plump yellow bass.   Bruce W. caught this yellow bass on Feb. 3 that weighed 1-pound, 10.24 ounces and qualifies as a Big Fish of the Year leader for its species. Congrats, Bruce!Bruce_williams_Yellow_Bass_BFOY_2015.jpg

This could be the final cold front and last wisp of winter before anglers can prep for some of the best fishing conditions of the year.

We’ve had some early largemouth bass spawning action. Saguaro Lake had some spawning activity last Wednesday — the water temperature hit 62 degrees. The day before, some anglers said they were moving shallow and building nests. (Saguaro must have some hard-working bass.)

Pre-spawning activity had been witnessed at Havasu (a few bass are actually on beds) and Roosevelt as well. With this cold blast, some bass might think twice about moving shallow and building or protecting nests until water temperatures rise and stabilize.

Great time to get one of the above monsters, or get rigged and ready for spring. Need a license? We’ve got ’em!Purchasing a license online also helps conserve wildlife for future generations. (Did you know we receive no state tax dollars?)

Good news about this front is trout are receiving a nice little cool-off. After an unseasonably warm stretch, the bite could pick up, especially in community lakes and ponds. Our last trout stocking for central and southern community waters this season will take place on the week of March 2-7. Catfish stockings will resume after that during the week of March 16-21.  Trout will continue to be stocked into Green Valley Lakes in Payson until early May.

Read the Full Report: Click Here

Don’t Miss the International Sportsmen’s Expo – February 19th-22nd

Be sure to visit the wildlife assets sale and other AZ Game and Fish booths

Click here for the ISE Website

PHOENIX — The 15th annual Arizona International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) will fill the University of Phoenix Stadium and outside areas in Glendale on Feb. 19-22 with an exceptional presence of outdoor product and service exhibitors, attractions, seminars, and the incorporation of the Arizona Boat ShowTM.

Expanded show hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 19-21, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22. Admission is $12 for adults, and free to youth age 15 and under, and active military with military ID. Parking is free.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department will once again have several exhibits. The department will conduct its wildlife assets sale, always a big attraction at ISE. The sale enables the public to legally purchase items such as antlers, head mounts, hides and other wildlife parts that have been seized during law enforcement investigations, obtained from animals killed in vehicle collisions, or acquired through donations. The funds raised through this silent auction-format sale are used to purchase equipment or training to assist Game and Fish officers in more effectively enforcing anti-poaching and other wildlife laws.

Other department booths will include general information on hunting, fishing, wildlife and license sales; information on the California condor program and how using non-lead ammunition when hunting game in condor country can assist in condor recovery; and information on the off-highway vehicle program and the Operation Game Thief program.

This year’s ISE will spotlight 250 companies and organizations, including manufacturers and retailers; local, regional and international destinations; guides and outfitters; travel bureaus; enthusiast clubs and groups; and nonprofit organizations representing a wide range of outdoor interests. The show also presents campers, trailers and a huge selection of off-road vehicles, including UTVs, ATVs, trucks and 4x4s.

In its second year, ISE’s co-located Arizona Boat ShowTM will feature 12 local marine dealers now presenting 45 national sport- and fishing-boat brands, including wakeboard and ski boats, fish/ski boats, family runabouts, party pontoons, deck boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, and stand-up-paddle boards. A giant houseboat will be on hand, too, plus a wide selection of marine accessories.

New for 2015 is the Outdoor Product Showcase, which features new camping, hunting, fishing, boating and off-roading gear from exhibitors and the outdoor industry. Some of the OPS gear is given away daily to show-goers.

The ISE show offers two outdoor-skills and seminar venues: the Adventure Theater and the Aquarium Demonstration Tank.

At the Adventure Theater, special guests include Scottsdale-based outdoor-gear guru Tim Ralston, and another outdoor legend from the area, big-game bowhunter Randy Ulmer. New this year are special javelina field preparation clinics Thursday and Friday afternoon presented by the Arizona Taxidermy Artists Association. Also for the first time, Kenton Clairmont will present seminars on “The Six Pillars of Hunting Fitness.” Clairmont created the Train to Hunt program, which includes a new television show and endurance events throughout the West, including one in Arizona in April. Other presentations will include hunting with an AR-15 and underwater photography when scuba diving. The Arizona Game and Fish Department will give presentations on small game hunting and the Community Fishing Program.

The 40-foot-long aquarium-demonstration tank, hosted by pro bass angler Kent Brown, presents some of Arizona’s top fishing guides and pros, including Phoenix-based legendary angler John Murray.


Another first-year event at the ISE show is the Arizona Taxidermy Artists Association’s Best-of-the-West show and contest. Mounts from throughout Arizona and the West will be displayed in the AZSTA Banquet Room, which is located on the right side of the hall, just before the show entrance.In addition, Eastmans’ Hunting Journals presents a huge display of deer from throughout the West, including one from Arizona.

The show’s 9,000-square-foot, three-dimensional-target archery range hosts a high-energy tournament that draws local and other competitors from Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.

Investing in the future of outdoor sports, ISE’s Youth Fair offers free instruction in catch-and-release fishing. The Airsoft shooting range is hosted by NRA-certified shooting instructor Rob Potter.

Click Here to see more!

Arizona Fishing Report – February 6th, 2015

CrappieCoRiver_3.jpgArizona Fishing Report – February 5th, 2015

It’s still crappie time at Alamo Lake. Mark Knapp from Alamo Lake State Park said several anglers are catching 8-15 crappie a day up around the buoy line. Some are using roadrunners with a minnow trailer while others are just using a split shot and a minnow. The crappie are lurking in in 25-30 feet of water, he said.
Pre-spawn activities have been reported at another early-bird fishery, Lake Havasu, which is also a wide, shallow lake located in a wide, shallow valley rimed with sun reflecting desert mountain ranges. But it does have a couple of elements that Alamo lacks — striped bass and smallmouth bass. Toss in plate-sized redear as well. Havasu is excellent in February and March before the recreational boating hordes from California descend upon this popular desert oasis.

Targeting trout? Check out the trout stocking schedule as well before you heard out.

Sounds like bass have become more active with this warmer weather. At Roosevelt Lake, the water temperature increased three degrees during the past week, from 55 to 58.
At early-bird lakes Alamo, Havasu and Martinez, the water temperatures increase more rapidly. Good time to head to the “West Coast of Arizona.”

Click Here to read the full report!


Wild West Comes to Life!

BA - Shooter

PHOENIX — The largest Western-style encampment in the world will return to the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Feb. 23 – 28.

Winter Range, the Single-Action Shooting Society’s (SASS) National Championship of Cowboy Action Shooting, will draw more than 1,100 competitors from 42 states and six foreign countries. These male and female competitors, ranging from ages 12-80, compete in nearly three dozen categories dictated by age and competitive style.

In addition, this year the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association and the SASS Mounted Shooters have combined to create an incredibly exciting three-day mounted shooting event. The event is expected to draw more than 100 competitors mounted on horses participating in their own arena Feb. 27 – March 1.

BA - GroupCowboy Action Shooting™, the fastest-growing shooting sport in America, requires that contestants compete with firearms typical of those used in the taming of the Old West: single-action revolvers, lever-action rifles, and period shotguns.

Participants must also adopt a shooting alias appropriate to either a character or profession of the late 19th century, a Hollywood western star, or an appropriate character from fiction, and then they costume themselves accordingly. This is a shooting sport that is safe, fun and family friendly, annually drawing multiple generations of the same family to compete in their respective categories.

In addition to the competitive events, Winter Range 2015 will feature displays of period militaria, exhibitions of western skills and crafts, a fast-draw competition, and nearly 100 vendors purveying everything from period clothing, hats and wigs to antiques and reproductions. Entertainment will be readily available in the form of a number of singers, cowboy bands, trick roping, trick horses, and various other forms of cowboy entertainment.

 Also this year, Wyatt Earp, the great grand-nephew of his namesake, will be giving a special stage presentation with his wife as “Mr. and Mrs. Wyatt Earp,” reminiscing about their amazing lives and times at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 28.

A variety of food services are also available, ranging from authentic chuck wagon cooking to hot dogs and ice cream.

The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is a five-star rated shooting facility and Phoenix Point of Pride operated by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. It is located on Carefree Highway in Phoenix, just west of I-17.

 Winter Range is truly an exciting and educational event for the entire family. Admission is free with a small charge for parking that is donated to charity.



Arizona Fishing Report – January 29th, 2015

Arizona Fishing Report – January 29th

Sag.Bass_1.jpegBass fishing in the desert regions could pick up next week, maybe a few days after this cold front has run away and some expected weather with steady high temperatures in the 70s and maybe even low-80s rolls through.

The top early birds for bassin’ that can have rapidly warming water temperatures are Alamo, Havasu, and Martinez.

Another top pick for largemouths will be Saguaro. Although it is a little deeper than Alamo Lake and not quite the solar bowl, Saguaro can heat up as well — in more ways than one.

Trout and yellow bass are options if the largemouth bass are finicky. It’s also the early bird for channel catfish that like to feed on shad. Plus, Saguaro is just downright gorgeous.

Considering Canyon? If you want decent catch rates, avoid it. If you want one or two wall-hangers, you might want to go exercise your swim baits.

Some anglers’ favorite fishing-camping spot is Apache Lake. The smallmouth are still on the comeback, while the largemouth bass and yellow bass populations are superb. You might even catch a delectable walleye or two.

The early walleye bite should be coming up at Lake Powell. Stay tuned for updates.

Winter trout stockings still abound. Check our stocking schedules.

Top picks for crappie are Bartlett and Alamo lakes.

Also, on Saturday is the Big Game Fish Bowl, a fishing event/clinic and prelude to the Super Bowl in our home state. See more information in the free fishing events listing below.

Don’t forget we have the International Sportsmen’s Exposition coming up Feb. 19-22. Game and Fish will once again have a significant presence at this huge outdoor exposition at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Free fishing events

Saturday, Jan. 31 – Big Game Fish Bowl, 8-11 a.m. at Peoria’s Pioneer Park lake at 8755 N. 83rd Ave.

It’s going down the day before the Super Bowl! Wear your favorite team’s jersey and enjoy a variety of activities.

The fishing portion, an Arizona Game and Fish Department fishing clinic, is free. Rainbow trout will have been stocked just prior to the event. Loaner rods and reels will be available, and bait will be provided. No license is required for those who register.

We have lots of upcoming, free fishing clinics and events open to the public in the Phoenix, Tucson and southwest Arizona areas.

See all the details on statewide Public Fishing Events page of the Fish AZ blog.

To read the entire report Click Here.

Arizona Fishing Report – January 22nd 2014

Arizona Fishing Report – January 22nd 2014

It’s a great time to fish Dead Horse Lakes in the Verde Valley.

DeadHorse_1.jpgThis week we’re stocking both Dead Horse Ranch State Park lagoons near Cottonwood, and next week (beginning Jan. 26) we’ll begin stocking the Verde River between Cottonwood and Camp Verde. These two fisheries make a great duo for a family adventure. If you have a loved one with mobility issues, Dead Horse Ranch State Park is a top spot. It has some mini-fishing piers that you can almost drive right up to — keeping in mind that it is first-come, first-served.

As was predicted in last week’s fishing report, Alamo Lake has been a good crappie hole. Keep in mind that Alamo can have an early bass spawn. Anglers also can sight-fish bass beds at Lake Havasu in late February and early March, especially in the man-made channel for the London Bridge. Anglers may be about to catch some plate-sized redear up to two pounds or so at Havasu, and just upriver in the picturesque Topock Gorge.

More on trout stockings. The focus this week is on Tucson. We’re stocking Cluff Pond, Dankworth Pond and Roper Lake.

Ready for a bonus Community waters stocking? Good news — we’re adding a bonus trout stocking the week of Jan 26-31 at our expansion waters: Pacana (Maricopa), Discovery (Gilbert), McQueen (Gilbert), Freestone (Gilbert), Roadrunner (Phoenix), Eldorado (Scottsdale), and Bonsall Glendale).

See the CFP stocking schedule to see if a water near you is being stocked.

Going bassin’? Last week’s report also had some tips and tricks about winter bass tactics.

Be sure to check the Arizona Department of Transportation website for the latest road conditions. Some of the White Mountains lower elevation lakes continue to thaw out with the warm weather and a few more are open and accessible. See more details in the full report.

Free fishing events

Saturday, Jan. 31 – Big Game Fish Bowl, 8-11 a.m. at Peoria’s Pioneer Park lake at 8755 N. 83rd Ave.

It’s going down the day before the Super Bowl! Wear your favorite team’s jersey and enjoy a variety of activities.

The fishing portion, an Arizona Game and Fish Department fishing clinic, is free. Rainbow trout will have been stocked just prior to the event. Loaner rods and reels will be available, and bait will be provided. No license is required for those who register.

We have lots of upcoming, free fishing clinics and events open to the public in the Phoenix, Tucson and southwest Arizona areas.

See all the details on statewide Public Fishing Events page of the Fish AZ blog.

To Read the entire fishing report Click Here!

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