Fishing Report: Roosevelt Lake (areas restricted Nov. 15-Feb. 15) & Mogollon Rim
Notice to Roosevelt Lake hunters and anglers, portions of the lake have been marked as no hunting or fishing from November 15 through February 15, 2019. Each year these restrictions are put in place to protect feeding areas for Canada Wild Geese which use the sunny shorelines during the winter months. The off limit for fishing is on two sections at the Tonto end of the lake. One area extends from Rock Island along Goose Flats to Methodist Cove. The other area is from Bumblebee Creek to Rock Creek. Both of these areas are marked with buoys and can be easily seen from the water. Waterfowl hunting off limit buoys are also deployed from Bumblebee Creek across the lake to Salt Gulch.
The locations of the recently submerged Georgia Cube habitat structures into Roosevelt Lake are now updated. The most recent habitat locations now include areas on the Tonto Creek side of the lake. Anglers should note that the coordinates are stated in Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) format, however, most fishing graphs are capable of translating to a GPS format if needed. These artificial habitat structures are contributing to the improved fishing conditions on Roosevelt Lake.
The water level in Roosevelt Lake remains at 39% full, but rising slightly each day. The Salt River and the Tonto Creek are flowing at approximately 100% of their normal rates for this time of year. The Salt river is flowing at 210 CFS while the Tonto Creek is flowing at 19 CFS. The water temperature at Roosevelt Lake is continuing to drop as the ambient temperatures fall. The water temperature is in the mid 60s in the morning increasing to the high 60s during the sunny afternoons. Anglers are reporting excellent fishing conditions. The bass and crappie continue to feed heavily in preparation for the approaching colder water temperatures. As bass prepare for colder temperatures and lower metabolism, they are actively feeding throughout the day and will attack almost any bait representing an injured shad, crawdad or worm. Bass typically join into larger schools at this time of year and work together to attack large schools of bait-fish. The action can be fast and furious during these feeding frenzies.
Crappie fishing is also being reported as excellent. Well known crappie angler and guide, Curt Rambo, is reporting that large schools of crappie can be found isolated in coves or pockets. More than any other time of year, crappie are now found in cover such as brush, submerged trees, rock piles or artificial habitat. Another common factor for successful crappie fishing is an abrupt structure change such as a drop-off where crappie can escape if in danger. Search for crappie in 20 to 40 foot depths during the colder months.
Mogollon Rim trout fishing: good to excellent
Trout fishing on all Rim Lakes is being reported as very good to excellent. Several reports of tiger trout and some large brown and rainbow trout have been noted. Although the Rim lakes trout stocking program has ended for this year, there are many trout in these lakes available for anglers. All three Green Valley Lakes in Payson have received two stockings of trout so far this year and anglers are lining the shore to enjoy the experience of catching stocked trout. The AZGFD is informing anglers that trout produced and stocked by the Arizona Game & Fish Department are significantly below the state standard for mercury based on testing by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. There are no restrictions on the number of these trout that can be consumed.
Have a great week of fishing and I hope to see you on the water.