Fishing Report: Roosevelt Lake & Mogollon Rim
We are fortunate in Arizona that our mild climate affords anglers year-round fishing adventures. During January, when lakes in other states are frozen and fishing tackle and boats are stored away for a few more months, Arizona anglers are already thinking about the upcoming spawn.
No doubt that some of the Florida-strain bass which have been stocked over the past few years into Roosevelt Lake spawned last spring and even more will spawn this coming spring. An exciting new chapter is beginning for Roosevelt Lake as a result of these stockings.
When a female Florida bass and a male northern bass spawn, the result is a hybrid fish biologists refer to as a F1 hybrid. Anglers sometimes refer to a F1 as a “tiger bass.” This is because F1 bass have some of the best qualities of both strains. F1 bass have the predator instinct of the northern bass and the fast growth, larger size and aggressiveness of the Florida bass. It’s hard to visually distinguish the difference between northern, Florida and F1 hybrid bass. Even a trained biologist is required to count the number of scales along the lateral line to determine the species. However, the one certain trait is the Florida bass and F1 Hybrid grow larger in size and weight than Northern bass and that is exciting new for all Roosevelt Lake anglers.
The lake remains at 40-percent full; however, over a foot of snow fell onto the Rim which will contribute to water flowing into Roosevelt Lake for the next few months. One foot of snow is not a great amount but it’s a good start. The amount of water coming into the lake from the Salt River slowed slightly and is now at 54% of the normal flow rate for this time of year. The Tonto Creek has slowed recently and is flowing at about 35% of its normal flow rate. The lake water is clear throughout the lake.
The water temperature at Roosevelt Lake is in the low 50s on most days. Anglers continue to target deeper fish with jigs, worms and spoons.
The recent storms are causing large swings in the barometric pressure. Volatility in barometric pressure will significantly impact bass and crappie fishing. Experienced anglers watch the pressure daily and even hourly on fishing days. A low pressure reading, which is typical prior to a cold front, will increase fish activity; however, a high pressure reading typically after a storm, will dramatically slow fishing conditions. The barometric pressure is a key factor to consider during winter fishing conditions.
Bass are actively pursuing shad and some success is being reported on deeper running crankbaits in open water. On warm windless days, the shallow waters in the backs of coves will provide a good environment for bass to gorge themselves before the cooler temperatures return.
The crappie scoop
Crappie fishing on Roosevelt was called sporadic recently by experienced anglers. Crappie anglers reported catching a couple of crappie from several locations rather than sitting on one to two locations. One experienced crappie angler reported some success fishing vertically at the 40 foot depth. A small grub-tail fished in a drop-shot configuration was reported successful. Cover in the way of a rock piles, trees, brush or artificial habitat structures are the best places to locate schools of crappie.
Green Valley Lakes trout stockings
The Community Fishing Program provides trout stockings to Green Valley Lakes every other week during the winter months. These rainbow trout are healthy and very good to eat. Hatchery raised trout are typically fed in the mornings so some anglers suggest that fishing in the morning on the day after the trout are stocked is the best time to fish. However, trout quickly adapt to the new environment and feeding habits will dramatically change once released into a lake.
Rim Country talk
The talk among Rim Country anglers is the recently announced retirement of Pete Aleshire as the Payson Roundup Editor. Pete has been an advocate for many outdoor groups in Rim Country but none larger than his support of the angling community. Mr. Aleshire contributed to successfully bringing national level bass fishing tournaments to Roosevelt Lake. His articles regarding Rim Country streams has resulted in anglers from across the country coming here to enjoy our mountains and great fishing experiences. I get calls at least once per month from out-of-state anglers who have read an article in the Payson Roundup.
Mr. Aleshire, we anglers collectively tip our hats to you and thank you for your contributions which have improved Rim Country 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