Fishing Report: Roosevelt Lake
There is a lot of concern by anglers, boaters, campers and the AZGFD regarding the low water flows and the water level in Roosevelt Lake. The Salt River is flowing at only 65 cubic feet per second and the Tonto Creek has not been flowing for over two months. The largest concern is the increased saline content of the water entering the lake. Saline contributes to the conditions for algae to grow including the deadly golden alga that has plagued fisheries in several Western states for nearly two decades. Roosevelt Lake has not been impacted as much as the other Salt River chain lakes due to the amount of water in Roosevelt Lake. However, if the drought conditions continue and the Roosevelt Lake watershed receives little moisture from the monsoon and winter snowfalls, the toxins produced by the golden alga could result in large fish kills. The Aquatics Branch of the AZGFD is monitoring the water conditions and alerting the public of the potential danger to our fisheries. For more information on this topic go to the firstname.lastname@example.org. If you see a fish kill of shad or sport-fish the Department asks that you report it immediately to 623-236-7257.
In spite of the low water flows, anglers are reporting very good fishing conditions on Roosevelt Lake. The weights from bass fishing tournaments have been increasing over the past 12-18 months and surveys conducted by the AZGFD confirm that fishing conditions are improving. The water temperatures are reaching into the 80’s and the water clarity is slightly stained. The excellent top-water bite reported recently is still occurring, albeit early in the morning. As the ambient temperature rises, bass move to more comfortable and safer deeper depths of 20 foot and deeper. Main-lake points where bass can ambush and retreat to deeper water is a typical summer pattern for bass. Texas and Carolina rigged artificial baits in a green pumpkin color traditionally are good summertime choices for Roosevelt Lake. A drop-shot technique using a translucent color bait such as a Roboworm Morning Dawn color is an excellent selection for a novice angler.
The water level in Roosevelt Lake currently stands at 48% full. In recent weeks, the lake level has dropped 1% per week. The water level in the lake has dropped over 10 vertical feet over the past three months and AZGFD is expecting it to drop an additional 10 vertical feet by September which would lower the water level to approximately 30’s% full.
Crappie fishing reports are improving as crappie gather into large schools. Crappie are being reported to be near cover in the 20-foot to 25-foot range. Most crappie anglers are using a vertical fishing technique. Crappie anglers are reporting much better success in the morning, with the bite lasting until about 10 AM. Live minnows or small artificial curly-tail grubs are the most popular baits choices for summer crappie fishing.
Trout fishing on the Rim has been reported as good to excellent although most of the Tonto and Coconino Forests remain closed. Lakes on the Rim that continue to be stocked with trout include Woods Canyon, Willow Springs and Bear Canyon Lakes. Big Lake and Sunrise Lake on the reservation are reporting excellent trout fishing.
Have a great week of fishing and I hope to see you on the water.
Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods can be reached at 480-495-1351