Fishing Report: Roosevelt Lake
Editor’s note: Check out this updated map of G.P.S. points for habitat structures that we have been installing into Roosevelt Lake: https://bit.ly/2yTpkPB
To date, we’ve installed 944 structures that make for 25 sites. By the end of this year, we plan to have more than 1,000 structures installed in this Tonto National Forest impoundment where anglers have been enjoying some of the state’s best largemouth bass fishing!
The water level in Roosevelt Lake rose recently to 39 percent due to the large amount of rain falling onto the watershed. The Salt River is flowing at more than 300 percent of its average rate for this time of year. The Tonto Creek is flowing at 120 CFSP which is far above its normal rate for October.
The first couple of storms didn’t result in much water reaching the lake, but once the ground became saturated, the runoff into the lake increased dramatically. During the winter months, Roosevelt Lake typically fills, and hopefully, this winter will provide lots of moisture. As a result of the recent storms in the valley and the flows into Bartlett Lake and the Verde River, the decision has been made to make a “hard transition” from the Salt River to the Verde River within the next couple of weeks for downstream water needs. Earlier this month it was announced that a “slow transition” would occur this year. This is great news for Roosevelt Lake where most of water releases occur.
The water temperature at Roosevelt Lake is rapidly dropping with the arrival of the cold fronts moving through the State and is now in the low 70s. The bass continue to feed heavily in preparation of the approaching colder water temperatures and lower metabolism. Reaction baits such as jerk-baits, spinner-baits and crankbait are being reported as extremely successful while dropshot and Texas-rigged artificial worms are also catching good numbers of bass.
Crappie anglers are reporting good to excellent crappie conditions in spite of the recent afternoon winds. Crappie schools will nearly always be located near some type of cover or dramatic change in structure. Live minnows rigged either in a drop-shot or jig configuration have been successful. Artificial baits such as a small curly-tail bait or a small minnow imitation bait fished on a jig-head will catch a limit of crappie once a school is located. Look for crappie in 20 to 30 foot depths.
Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods can be reached at 480-495-1351