Arizona Fishing Report – January 7th, 2015
We call them “incentive” trout for a reason: To get you out on the water and hopefully onto some big fish.
The reports of big trout keep coming in. Ryan L. reported catching this rainbow trout that he said measured 23 inches and weighed 5.5 pounds.
Also congratulations to Harold Heres, who caught a 4.44-pound, 21.75-inch rainbow trout on PowerBait at Red Mountain Lake near Mesa on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 1. The trout was entered in the Big Fish of the Year contest. Go get yours!
We’re getting things off right with incentive trout stockings that have just gone into many of the Community Fishing Program waters. Which ones? The trout have been stocked into all the waters but the Phoenix/Maricopa expansion and custom waters. See the stocking schedule. These fish are all at least 1 pound, which most being 3-5 pounds. (A few are 6-8 pounds.)
This is prime winter trout time.
Typically, it’s also winter crappie time. Might want to stay away from Roosevelt Lake if you want crappie. On the other hand, sounds like Alamo Lake could be a good crappie producer. Anglers were reporting that crappie were trying to turn on at this lake, which is located west of Wickenburg. A recent storm that blew through shut the bite down for a few days, but with high temperatures back into the 70s all we, things should turn on again. Crappie are definitely blue-sky lovers.
Go where the Bill Williams River enters the lake and you will see some ancient cottonwood tops sticking out of the water — that is a huge flat where the crappie like to hold.
The crappie might be in 30 or even 50 feet of water, but the active crappie are usually at around 15 feet deep. Keep in mind that crappie feed upward.
So slow troll and get your bait or jig down to just above 15 feet. For example, 6-pound Fireline and a 1/16-ounce curly tail swimming jig translates into 41.5 feet of line at a trolling speed 1.5 mph to reach 14 feet.
Also consider Bartlett Lake for crappie.
Don’t forget to bring your license! Need one? They can be purchased online. Your purchase helps conserve wildlife for future genrations! (The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive state tax dollars.)
White Mountains updates
Significant access roads closed for the winter on Dec. 30, including Highways 273 and 261, and Forest Road 300 towards Woods Canyon Lake, Bear Canyon Lake, and Chevelon Lake. This has impacted access to a number of waters on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, but the incoming snowstorm would have limited much of that access anyway.
Most of the lakes in the region are entirely frozen over, or mostly frozen. As of Dec. 29, there wasn’t any ice cover that was safe to walk on and thus, ice fishing will have to wait for thicker ice conditions. The late onset of the ice cover will delay the ice fishing season, but will likely mean that no winter kills will occur.
There are only a few waters in the region that are fully accessible (open water or safe ice, open/clear roads), including Lyman Lake, Clear Creek Reservoir, Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, and Silver Creek.
At Silver Creek, Cinda Howard of Fly Fish Arizona said fishing is good but has been getting tougher. Flies of choice have been bunny leeches in tan or black, Glo Bugs, San Juan worms and zebra midges. There also has been some top-water action, especially when the sun hits the water and generates midge hatches. Water temperatures are in the 40s.
Most waters are still ice covered, and Show Low Lake that was previously ice free now has partial ice that restricts boat launching. Ice cover should still be considered unsafe.
The ice came on very late this year and needs a little more time to build before it is safe.
Upcoming fishing events
Saturday, Jan. 17 – Get some new rods and reels for the holidays? Break in your new fishing equipment at our free seminar seminar on Saturday, Jan. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hirsch Conservation Education Area (Biscuit Tank). The area is located in the Ben Avery Shooting Facility on 4044 W. Black Canyon Blvd. in Phoenix.
See more details from the Fish AZ blog.
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.
For a $5 entry fee, the event also includes giveaways, gift cards, an event T-shirt, prizes, food and more while supplies last.
For more information, call 623-773-7137 or to pre-register, visit www.peoriaaz.gov/specialevents.
Saturday, Feb. 21 – Free fishing clinic at Silverbell Lake in Tucson, 8 a.m. – noon
See our Fish&Boat Arizona map for directions to our state’s primary fisheries.
See the full report for more details, and please share your fishing memories and pictures with us atBFishing@AZGFD.gov.
Parker Canyon Lake
Dennis D.: Howdy, my fishing partners and I hit Parker Lake on Dec. 20 and 27 for some early morning trout fishing. We hit our limit on the 20th in under 2 hours and the 27th took a bit longer as it appears the trout were spooked by the cold front that hit this past week. We did limit out on the 27th as well (18 trout) with the average size being 14 inches and weighing about a pound or so.
Fishermen should try salmon peach PowerBait with a small treble hook, or Berkley mice tails on a small snell hook along rock walls and as deep as you can get from the bank. The fish are there and they are hungry once you figure out what it is they want to eat.
Phil C.: The windiest day of 2014. Limited out in 4 hours.
Brian S.: Went up to Lee’s Ferry during Christmas break. Fished two full days at the walk-in section. If you are going up dress warm. Very cold in the morning. Low 20’s and by wading in the cold water makes for a very cold day. The flows were about 9000 CFS in the AM and peaked around 15500 CFS in late afternoon. We fished from the Paria bar all the way up to the boat launch. The fishing was poor. My friend and I have been hitting Lee’s Ferry for about a decade and fish the walk in section every few months. We know every hole and where fish hold. This is the worst we have ever done. We both only managed to catch about 12 fish each over two days. I primarily fly fish and my friend spin fishes.
I caught a few on black zebra midges size # 18 and red San Juan worms. I also had some luck with streamer patterns when the water was up. My friend was using Vibrex spinners and Pistol Pete’s. Some of the fish we caught look malnourished. Large head, big eyes and long skinny bodies. The biggest one we caught was only 14 inches. We talked to several other anglers. Mostly fly fisherman. The story was much the same. In fact several anglers got skunked.
Skunked at the Ferry? At this point I would rate the spin and fly fishing at the walk in section a 1 out of 10. I have to say this place has gone downhill. Either all of a sudden we have become bad fisherman or something is going on. We have had many of 100 fish days in years prior. The last two years there is a noticeable decline in the size of fish and quantity.
Pioneer Lake (Peoria)
Pete J.: Caught this big one at Pioneer Park today (Jan. 3) in Peoria.
Kevin M.: Slow day on the water, fished from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for crappie between the dam area and windy hill. Fished with jigs tipped with minnows, and minnows on bait hooks on dropshot rigs, at varying drift speeds and depths with only a few bass to show for our efforts. Only one vehicle in the parking lot when we launched and only saw three boats on the water while we were out, lowest amount I have seen out there in the near 20 years I have fished the lake. Sad state of affairs at this lake right now crappie fishing wise — hope it comes back at some point.
McQueen Pond (Gilbert)
Seow L.: Our family went to Gilbert community pond on the cold and cloudy New Year’s Day. My son left his fishing rod on the ground and was pulled by a fish into the water. His quick reaction, by reaching into the water and grabbing the rod, was to save the fishing rod and reel in this 2.25 pounder, the largest trout we have ever caught. 2015 fishing is off to a good start!
Everybody reports about good fishing and where to fish. I am going to report on where not to go. I know how to fish for trout — I have been doing it for 40 years . I was lucky enough to have some time off over Christmas and was able to give Roadrunner Park a try.
I wish I would have picked a different lake because Roadrunner was terrible. I tried everything — power bait, corn, spinners, Z-rays, worms and even old school salmon eggs and nothing worked. Nobody was having any luck and the lake seemed dead and lacking any aquatic life at all.
I was there at first light and there wasn’t even the occasion jumping of bait fish or boils on the surface that most lakes and ponds have from time to time . If you’re fishing time is short you might pass on selecting roadrunner.
Thank you, anglers!
Arizona fishing opportunities wouldn’t be possible without the Sport Fish Restoration Program. It was created through the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950 (Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act) and the Wallop-Breaux amendments of 1984.
Through a federal excise tax paid by manufacturers on fishing gear and motorboat fuels, it provides grant funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.
ROOSEVELT LAKE – (2,093 feet, 42-percent full). Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods with a Jan. 6 report:
Good morning, Rim Country anglers,
The talk among Rim Country anglers this week is the weather. Snow is a key to successfully adding water at Roosevelt. As the snow melts, it saturates the ground and then begins draining into streams that feed the lake. The nutrients this water brings is extremely valuable to the fish. So even though we may have been impacted by the snow, overall it’s a great thing for our community.
Local anglers called fishing “good” this past week due mostly to the calm days before the storms. The water level of the lake remained at 41 percent full with surface temperatures in the low to mid 50s. Successful techniques reported this past week include a jig, dropshot, deep-running crankbaits and jigging spoons.
The crappie fishing continued to be called poor on Roosevelt. Crappie are schooling this time of year and some anglers are now trolling for crappie. However, even very experienced crappie anglers are reporting limited success.
Have a great week of fishing and I hope see you on the water.
LAKE PLEASANT – (1,678 feet, 74-percent full):
From Derrick Franks of the Striper Snatcher Guide Service: “The water temperature is 58 degrees with the water level at 75 percent. Striped bass, largemouth bass and white bass have been hanging out in high numbers along the transition areas in the 15-25 foot mark in the northern creek arms. These fish are not going far to chase a bait — a popular bait for me is a chrome with blue back spoon.”
Anglers are hitting the water by 6 a.m. to catch stripers and leave by 11:30 a.m. They are hitting the northern coves such as Humbug where shad have been holding. Overnight, the shad hide in the brush, and the stripers wait for the shad once they come out. The biggest challenge may be finding the shad, which are ahead of spawning time and so will eventually move into running water.
COMMUNITY FISHING WATERS – We just stocked incentive rainbow trout into most of the CFP waters! See all the details in a Fish AZ blog article.
This year also marks the 30th Anniversary of the Community Fishing Program!
What started as a comparatively small program in 1985 has blossomed into a program now spanning 15 communities and 35 waters across the state, with plans to grow even more. We would love to see more families with children in more cities getting engaged in fishing. Spread the word to someone you know and take them fishing. This is your Community Fishing Program, serving your community.
You may see a few more Department staff working the waters and asking questions of anglers. We will be conducting a program-wide creel survey of all CFP waters starting in January and ending in December 2015. If you are contacted by one of our staff, please consider answering a few questions as this is what we use to determine catch-rates, satisfaction, and many other important pieces of information.
We’re still working with our vendors to ring in the new year in our newest waters with a bonus stocking of trout in January (26-31.). This would be an off-cycle stocking, but we intend to make it a memorable one. Stay tuned for further information!!
Jim Goughnour from Rim Country Custom Rods said trout fishing at Green Valley Lake, which is now part of the Community Fishing Program, was called excellent this week. The AZGFD stocking program is continuing and several nice trout have been caught on salmon eggs, small spinners and PowerBait.
If you’re a novice angler or if you’re one of our younger listeners, take a trip down to Green Valley Lake and either just watch or talk to one of those more experienced trout anglers sitting in a chair at the lake. You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn about trout fishing from talking and watching those guys.
Read the whole report!
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