Fishing Report: White Mountains a frozen region, yet good options remain
Highways 273 and 261 are closed for the winter. Some lakes at the higher elevations, including around Show Low and Pinetop, are ice covered or partially ice covered. Anglers should always check ice conditions before fishing.
Lower elevation lakes such as Concho, Lyman, and Clear Creek Reservoir may or may not have ice. This time of year, the ice frequently goes on and off (and on and off) at the lower and middle elevations (less than 7,500 feet in elevation). All these lakes should be considered unsafe at all times.
At lakes above 7,500 feet in elevation, anglers should check ice conditions before heading out, but should count on not finding open water at this time.
Our Pinetop-region Aquatics Program Manager Mike Lopez reported these conditions from Thursday:
- Show Low Lake: 100% frozen over, unsafe ice;
- Rainbow Lake: 95% frozen over, unsafe ice;
- Scott Reservoir: extremely low level, 100% frozen over, unsafe ice;
- Woodland Lake: extremely low level, 95% frozen over, unsafe ice;
- Show Low Creek Meadows: 95% frozen over, only open water is on some shallow riffles, all pools frozen over;
- Show Low Creek tailwater: 95% frozen over.
Community waters Patterson Ponds and Show Low Creek meadows, which were stocked in November, could have days of good fishing. On Thursday, Show Low Creek meadows was mostly frozen over, but that could change with a day or two of warm weather.
Silver Creek a prime winter option
Fishing should still be good at Silver Creek. This scenic stretch of stream was stocked with super-catchable rainbow trout and catchable Apache trout at the beginning of the catch-and-release season, which began on Oct. 1 and ends March 31. Fishing will be good during the mornings and evenings, and at times when water temperatures are highest and it is overcast. Nymphs and midges drifted through the largest pools can be effective during the day. Small, gold single hook lures will also be effective. Silver Creek is a Game and Fish Commission-owned property; entry is only allowed from 30 minutes after sunrise to 30 minutes before sunset, about 7 am-5 p.m. During catch-and-release season in the fall and winter, both the upper and lower section may be fished. No unauthorized entry is ever allowed in the hatchery grounds.
Here’s an example of a proper catch-and-release method (from Silver Creek):