Keep cool, catch bass: where to find largemouth in higher elevations
The afternoon rain storm crept away, leaving air temperatures in the low-80s, overcast skies barely cracked here and there by slivers of blue, and feeding largemouth bass. This desert dweller couldn’t have been more happy. And then, a largemouth bass gulped a Yamasenko plastic worm at Willow Lake in Prescott.
During August in AZ, some anglers start itching for a good bass bite. In desert regions, fishing early mornings or at night are good options. Or just head north. Or whatever direction is toward the higher elevations. If you’re already there, congratulations.
On Tuesday, I hit this 5,145-foot elevation lake to try and catch some bass.
Here’s a video rundown:
A quick summary: during a day that included some serious rain and thunder — and a dropping barometer that seems to trigger bass to feed, largemouth first were hitting flies (5-weight fly rod, No. 12 olive green woolly buggers, 3X tapered leader). The thunder forced me back into my truck — please be safe during these storms and get off the water if you see lightning.
Here’s the olive-green woolly bugger:
This was to “match the hatch” of what I saw swimming near the boat ramp, most likely baby largemouth bass:
Another rig that caught a couple bass: a 6 1/2-foot spinning rod, 4-inch Yamamoto Yamasekno (rubber worm) in green pumpkin/white with a 1/0 Gamakatsu whacky hook, 15-pound braided line and a 8-pound flurocarbon leader. Rigged wacky style, of course.
Then it was time to head back to the Valley.
Willow Lake is pretty weedy during the summers, so boaters and paddlers beware. April is perhaps the best month to fish this Prescott dandy near Watson Lake.
Below are some other good spots to catch largemouth in 5000-plus feet of elevation.
See our new and updated Fish & Boat map for directions to all.
Fool Hollow Lake. Elevation: 6,255 feet
Show Low Lake. Elevation: 6,540 feet
Show Low offers smallmouth and largemouth bass options. Try fishing nightcrawlers in rocks along the dam.
Dogtown Reservoir. Elevation: 7,070 feet
AZGFD is developing this fishery near Williams to have a sustainable bass population, and so there are special regulations at this lake: two bass at a minimum size of 13 inches.
Other high elevation bass holes
Rainbow Lake, Cataract Lake, Black Canyon Lake, Black River (on the reservation), Kaibab Lake, Watson Lake, Whitehorse Lake.
So get that license online (conserve all species of wildlife while doing so) and get out for some high country bass action.
Managing bass fishing opportunities
Managing for bass fishing opportunities has to mesh with that area’s management goals. Please remember to not transport any live fish from one water to another.