AZ trout fishing report: Community stockings return; high country updates
Thanks to those who took last week’s survey about what species you want us to feature in a report. Rainbow trout won in a landslide with 48 percent of the vote.
Here, then, is that report:
Trout return to Community Fishing Program waters this week. In the high country areas near Greer above 7,000 feet, there is a winter storm warning in effect until Thursday. See details.
If you’re in the mid-elevation or desert regions, please consider not heading to the high country during the next couple days. That said, this storm will likely not put an end to the high country fishing season as the Arizona Department of Transportation tends to plow through these early storms. See ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information.
Trout return to Community waters
Rainbow trout return this week to Community waters — this is Mansel Carter Oasis Lake in Queen Creek being stocked today.
We have a couple changes to the schedules that were posted on signs at Community waters.
Today’s stocking is happening. The Friday stocking is weather-pending as these trout also will be coming from Colorado.
Here’s where we’re stocking:
- Wednesday, Nov. 20: (Tucson) Silverbell, Kennedy, Sahuarita, Lakeside; (Casa Grande) Dave White Pond; (Maricopa) Copper Sky, Pacana Pond; (Chandler) Veterans Oasis; (Queen Creek) Mansel Carter Oasis; (Tempe) Kiwanis; (Scottsdale) Chaparral.
- Friday, Nov. 22 (tentatively): (Payson) Green Valley Lakes; (Phoenix area): Red Mountain, Riverview, Evelyn Hallman, Papago Ponds, Steele Indian School Pond, Encanto, Cortez, Rio Vista, Surprise, Pioneer, Desert West, Alvord, Festival Fields, Friendship Pond, Roadrunner Pond, Bonsall Pond.
Note: The Yuma-area Community waters are scheduled to be stocked next week.
AZ high country trout report
Veronica Corbett, our Lakes Biologist out of Pinetop, and Cinda Howard of Fly Fishing Arizona and Beyond, provided these reports:
White Mountains magic
Becker Lake is a hot spot. Howard said the water temperature this week was around 48 degrees. Expect higher elevation waters such as Big Lake, which likely has water temps in the mid- to upper-30s, to begin freezing over during this storm.
“Fishing is maybe the best I’ve ever seen it on a consistent basis,” Howard said of Becker. “Especially for tiger trout.”
Fly anglers should consider using streamers at Becker.
Her technique includes sinking line and no strike indicator cork. She said: “I’m fishing 100 feet out from the bank throwing and coming back through the weeds about 5-6 feet deep. Try anything in olive — olive woolly buggers, simi seals, anything olive and flashy. Even big rainbows are hitting. ”
Corbett said fish are putting on weight to hold them over through the winter, so at Becker, try wet flies, small spoons or other fish mimic lures. “There isn’t much bug activity this time of year, so I would not use dry flies or emerger patterns,” she said. “Fishing for browns, brooks or tigers should be especially good — those fish will be aggressive and hungry because we’re coming out of spawning season (or ‘wannabe’ spawning season for tigers), so those same wet fly/lure suggestions will work.”
At Silver Creek, which is catch and release only, Howard recommends bunny leeches in black, white or olive, San Juan worms in red, orange or pink, or even Glo Bug Eggs in pink.
At Big Lake, Corbett said Fishing is much improved and anglers are catching nice Bonneville cutthroats and big, thick rainbows.
“Hungry fish tend to want big food! I recommend anglers use caution when fishing streams this time of year,” she said. “We want to be careful not to trample the redds of those fall spawning trout. I recommend anglers head to Big Lake, Becker Lake, River Reservoir and the Little Colorado area for some excellent fall fishing.”
North Central scene
Kaibab Lake near Williams has been a hot spot for big trout the past month. Other top spots have been Dead Horse Ranch State Park and Ashurst Lake. Frances Short Pond is scheduled to be stocked during the next week. As with other high country waters, get to these spots before winter conditions prevail.
Statewide trout stockings being adjusted
A reminder that due to operational issues at Page Springs Fish Hatchery, scheduled trout stockings are being adjusted. Our goal is to have the hatchery back to operating at full capacity by Dec. 1. We have been purchasing fish from out-of-state vendors to ensure most waters scheduled to be stocked do indeed receive trout. More information is soon to come.
For questions or more information, please email BFishing@azgfd.gov
Grab a license online (if you don’t have one … ) and go Fish AZ.