Summer Fishing Forecast: North Central region
Fishing at Ashurst will be good for large holdover trout through at least July especially following a cold spring. Anglers can catch nice-size holdover rainbow trout on lures such as Rooster Tails, Joe’s Flies and small spoons. Fly anglers should be successful using woolly buggers and bead-head prince nymphs. Folks using flies and lures might also catch a nice brown trout.
For anglers using bait, try fishing worms under a bobber until the water temperatures start to warm up. PowerBait fished on the bottom should also work. Garlic PowerBait seems to out-fish unscented bait.
Fishing at Cataract will be slow until the water warms up in May.
C.C. Cragin (Blueridge)
The lake is full and has been stocked with rainbow trout.
City is being stocked with trout and catfish. Fishing will be good using standard trout methods.
Dead Horse Lagoons
Fishing rating: Fair to good
Largemouth bass fishing is great here. Try using plastics in the morning or evening for bass. Target the bass near the submerged vegetation, which is spread all over the lagoons. If you are using a small boat or float tube, fish the edges of the islands. Channel catfish were stocked in May and will be stocked again in June. Catfish can be easily caught on the standard catfish baits, anchovies, hot dog, mackerel, shrimp, etc. This is a great place to take kids to catch small bluegill. They are numerous, but mostly small. There is an entrance fee at Dead Horse Ranch State Park which is currently $7 per vehicle (1-4 adults) and $3 for an individual (walk in/bicycle) and the hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Seasonal hours may apply and will be posted at the entrance.
Fishing at Dogtown is good. During the summer the trout will hit the traditional trout baits Fishing for bass and crappie will pick up as the water warms this summer.
Anglers can catch nice-size holdover rainbow trout on lures such as Rooster Tails, Joe’s Flies and small spoons. Fly anglers should be successful using woolly buggers and bead-head prince nymphs. Folks using flies and lures might also catch a nice brown trout.
For folks using bait I would try fishing garlic “flavored” PowerBait in a variety of colors.
Fishing rating: Fair to good
Trout are stocked all year long with the exception of July and August. Channel catfish are stocked during the summer. During July and August focus on the catfish. There is no fee to enter this Prescott Valley gem.
Frances Short Pond
Frances Short is a great place to take young anglers to catch lots of crappie, bluegill and catfish during the summer. A small piece of worm fished under a bobber will catch the crappie and sunfish while hot dogs work for the catfish.
Rating: Fair to good
Trout are stocked 1-2 times a month during most of the year. There is a $2 daily fee for this City of Prescott lake. Trout fishing should continue to be exciting because of the number of trout stockings. As water temperatures rise for the summer, the trout will go deeper. Try orange or yellow Power Eggs or PowerBait on a 12 to 18 inch leader. The Largemouth Bass fishing should be good this year following last year’s stocking. You can’t go wrong throwing plastics. If you choose to target bass, remember that the limit is one fish 13” or larger. Channel catfish have not been stocked in Goldwater in years, but the fish that are still in it are large. Don’t be afraid to try to catch some of these behemoths.
There is a $5 use fee for Lynx Lake except for Wednesday’s when I is free. Trout fishing can be good well into June. Try fishing PowerBait suspended under a bobber in 10-15 feet of water. Chartreuse and Captain America colors typically work well. Be sure to keep you hook sizes smaller, say #6 to #10 and light lines (4-6 pound test). Largemouth Bass can be a good bet in the middle of the summer. Try fishing in the backs of the shallower coves. Catfish can be caught on cut hot dogs, anchovies and nightcrawlers in about 25 to 30 feet of water. Catfish are stocked the first weekend in June. Look for the bite to really pick up after that. This lake carries many holdover catfish from previous stockings, so your fishing success is not necessarily tied to the stocking date.
Kaibab Lake is full. Kaibab has been stocked with several loads of bigger trout so folks will be catching then this summer.
Anglers can catch rainbow trout on lures such as Rooster Tails, Joe’s Flies and small spoons. Fly anglers should be successful using woolly buggers and bead-head prince nymphs.
For folks using bait I would try fishing garlic “flavored” PowerBait in a variety of colors especially once the water warms up.
Verde River (throughout Verde Valley)
The summer forecast for the Verde is grim. With the warm dry winter, it is possible the National Forest closures due to extreme fire danger may occur and may make it difficult to access the river. Verde River cities like Cottonwood and Camp Verde will likely allow access.
Rating: Fair to good
As water temperatures rise for the summer, the trout will go deeper, but the largemouth will move into shallower water. Try plastic worms or crappie jigs for the Bass and you may get lucky and catch a holdover Trout with type of bait. The $2 parking fee is very reasonable for this beautiful lake.
Trout are stocked through June. The bullhead catfish should be biting as it warms. Try the PowerBait or Power eggs but have spinners or small split-tail grub if the PowerBait doesn’t work.
Rating: Fair to good
This lake has a great largemouth bass population. Early summer you can still fish and do well, but the aquatic vegetation makes fishing this lake in mid to late summer very difficult.
Lower Lake Mary
Lower Lake went from being dry during the fall to about 3/4 full. Fishing will be picking up as the lake shrinks. The good news is even if you’re not catching fish at the lake, they are always growing bigger. With the cooler-than-normal spring, the fish will be more active this summer. We stocked several loads of larger trout this year, so don’t be surprised if you catch some bigger fish. For fly and lure anglers, try leech-pattern flies and spinners. Bait anglers will do well using worms under a bobber early and PowerBait during the day.
Upper Lake Mary
Since January, the lake has went from less than 20% of capacity to full. Anglers have been catching lots of walleye all spring on worms. Expect this to continue.
We have not received reports from Whitehorse. The lake is fishable and there is only crappie, bass and bluegill. Trout will not be stocked in Whitehorse due to water quality.
Santa Fe is being stocked with trout and catfish. Fishing will be good using standard trout methods.
Fly anglers and folks using lures can catch some nice-sized brown trout on Oak Creek with some big browns being caught, especially in the area around Grasshopper Point. Try woolly buggers or spinners. Look for our Oak Creek pamphlet that includes exact, G.P.S. positions of stocking locations available at regional offices.
The stockings of rainbow trout occur weekly. Areas stocked depend on accessibility to the creek and parking availability for the stocking truck. Bait anglers should drift salmon eggs or worms below a bobber with the current. Anglers drifting flies under a bobber can also catch rainbows.
Remember the reach of the creek between Call of the Canyon Crossing (West Fork parking lot) and Junipine Resort is open to catch-and-release fishing only using flies and lures with a single barbless hook.
This reach is not stocked and has some nice brown trout in it.
JD is full and was restocked last fall and this spring with tiger trout. Remember regulations on J.D are flies and lures only with single barbless hooks all fish must be immediately released. This lake is managed as a catch-and-release fishery.
The lake is full and has been stocked with trout. Anglers do well using PowerBait on the bottom.