Spring Fishing Forecast: North Central region
Fishing Rating: Hot
Fishing at Ashurst is will be excellent for large holdover trout once the road is opened to allow access through early May.
Anglers can catch nice-size holdover rainbow trout on lures such as Rooster Tails, Joe’s Flies and small spoons. Fly anglers should be successful using woolly buggers and bead-head Prince nymphs. Folks using flies and lures might also catch a nice brown trout. Fish your lures and flies slowly in cold weather.
For folks using bait, try fishing worms under a bobber until the water temperatures start to warm up. PowerBait fished on the bottom should also work. Garlic PowerBait seems to out-fish unscented bait
Fishing at Cataract will be slow until the water warms up in May.
CC Cragin (Blueridge)
The lake is full and spilling. It will be stocked with Rainbow Trout starting in late May
Dead Horse Lakes
The last trout stocking before the warmer spring/summer season usually occurs the first week of March. Trout can be caught through the spring (March, April, and May) but the bite continues to dwindle as the water warms up. When the water temperature goes up the warmwater species really start to get active. The largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, and bluegill bite increases with the warming. Largemouth bass can start to spawn when the water temperature reaches 60 degrees, which can be late February through May depending on the weather patterns. The nests can be easily seen just walking the shoreline. Target the bass near the submerged vegetation, which is spread all over the lagoons, or the nests in the shallow water. If you are using a small boat or float tube, fish the edges of the islands. The water inflow areas are an excellent spot to fish. With as mild as this winter has been, look for the overall bite for these species to occur earlier than usual. There is an entrance fee at Dead Horse Ranch State Park which is currently $7 per vehicle (1-4 adults) and $3 for an individual (walk in/bicycle) and the hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Seasonal hours may apply and will be posted at the entrance.
Lower Lake Mary
Rating: Poor to fair
Lower Lake went from being dry in the fall to about ½ full by early March with runoff still coming in. As of early March it had no fish, but we planned to start stocking by mid-March. When Lower Lake Mary fills, the stocked trout tend to scatter throughout the lake.to eat the numerous earthworms that have been recently flooded out. Having a few thousand fish scattered all over a 600-acre lake makes fish hard to find. Fishing will be slow until the stocked fish are concentrated enough to get caught. The good news is even if you’re not catching fish at the lake, they are always growing bigger.
Fishing at Dogtown is good during the Spring for large holdover trout. Access can be difficult in March until the snow drift on the road melts.
Anglers can catch nice-size holdover rainbow trout on lures such as Rooster Tails, Joe’s Flies and small spoons. Fly anglers should be successful using woolly buggers and bead-head prince nymphs. Folks using flies and lures might also catch a nice brown trout. Fish your lures and flies slowly in cold weather.
For folks using bait, try fishing garlic “flavored” PowerBait in a variety of colors especially in September while the water is still warm. In the cooler months worms under a bobber should also work.
Frances Short Pond
Stocking of rainbow trout in the pond will begin in March once the pond quits spilling. Some holdover trout are caught by anglers before stocking begins.
Anglers often have success during the early spring using lures such as Joe’s Flies, Rooster Tails, small spoons, and jigs also do well. Fly anglers catch fish on bead headed nymphs, with the favorite being bead head prince nymphs, along with woolly buggers. Once stocking begins, anglers have success using PowerBait or worms under a bobber.
Kaibab Lake was full and spilling during early March. Trout stocking began once the lake quit spilling. Once stocking starts the fishing becomes good..
Anglers can catch rainbow trout on lures such as Rooster Tails, Joe’s Flies and small spoons. Fly anglers should be successful using woolly buggers and bead-head prince nymphs. Folks using flies and lures might also catch a nice brown trout. Fish your lures and flies slowly in cold weather.
For folks using bait, I would try fishing garlic “flavored” PowerBait in a variety of colors especially once the water warms up in May. In the cooler months worms under a bobber should work.
Upper Lake Mary
Since January, the lake has went from less than 20 percent of capacity to full. Fish will be scattered and hard to find until runoff slows down. Northern pike and big channel catfish are caught in the shallow end of the lake during runoff.
No forecast yet for Whitehorse.
City will be stocked with trout starting sometime in April. Once stocking begins, fishing will be good using standard trout methods.
Santa Fe will be stocked with trout starting sometime in April. Once stocking begins fishing will be good using standard trout methods.
Perkins is usually not accessible.
Fly anglers and folks using lures can catch some nice sized brown trout on Oak Creek during in the spring once runoff slows down with some big browns being caught, especially in the area around Grasshopper Point. Try woolly buggers or spinners.
Anglers also can check our nearby Slide Rock State Park.
The stockings of rainbow trout will resume once spring runoff slows down. Areas stocked depend on accessibility to the creek and parking availability for the stocking truck. Bait anglers should drift salmon eggs or worms below a bobber with the current. Anglers drifting flies under a bobber can also catch rainbows.
Remember the reach of the creek between Call of the Canyon Crossing (West Fork parking lot) and Junipine Resort is open to catch-and-release fishing only using flies and lures with a single barbless hook. This reach is not stocked and has some nice brown trout in it.
JD is full and was restocked last fall. The number of fish in the lake is still low after last summer’s fish kill. More tiger trout are scheduled to be stocked this spring which will help the fishing. Remember regulations on J.D are flies and lures only with single barbless hooks all fish must be immediately released. This lake is managed as a catch-and-release fishery.
The lake was full and spilling during mid-March. It was scheduled to be stocked with rainbow trout starting in late May
Trout are stocked all year long with the exception of July and August. Channel catfish are stocked during the summer so there is a possibility of catching catfish throughout the year. Fly fishing at Fain Lake can be extremely successful even if the traditional baits are not working. During days with warmer temperatures, try fishing a little deeper near the waterfall or near the aerators. There is no fee to enter this Prescott Valley gem.
Trout are stocked twice a month during most of the year. There is a $2 daily fee for this City of Prescott lake. The March-April-May is a favorite time of the year because of the mild weather and beautiful scenery. Trout fishing should continue to be exciting because of the number of trout stockings. Try orange or yellow Power Eggs or PowerBait on a 12 to 18 inch leader. Small spinners or try 1½ inch Crappie tubes for trout. The largemouth bass are expected to be getting active this spring. The bass can be difficult to catch because of the abundance of food, but plastic creature baits or split-tail grubs worked from deeper water towards the shore.
Rating: Fair to good
There is a $5 use fee for Lynx Lake except for it is FREE every Wednesday. From March-May, trout are being stocked once per month. Try fishing PowerBait suspended under a bobber in 10-15 feet of water. Chartreuse and Captain America colors typically work well. Be sure to keep hook sizes smaller, say #6 to #10, and light lines (4-6 pound test). Largemouth bass will start to move more shallow looking to nest in the backs of the shallower coves. This will not happen until May typically when water temperatures get into the mid to high 60s. Catfish can be caught on cut hot dogs, anchovies and nightcrawlers in about 25 to 30 feet of water.
Verde River (throughout Verde Valley)
Fishing rating: Good to Fair
The final trout stocking until the fall is during March. Trout may be difficult to locate but catfish (channel and flathead) and smallmouth or largemouth bass are abundant and in feeding mode. Use plastic worms or creature baits for the bass and even nightcrawlers. Chicken liver or commercial catfish bait could help land some nice catfish. Fish the deep pools for the cats and fish the undercut banks for the Bass.
Fishing rating: Fair
Trout will remain over summer at Watson Lake and catching one of these older fish will make an angler’s week. Look for the trout swimming the shoreline after a stocking and go deeper after they have been in the lake for a while and when the temperatures increase. Use small spinners or nightcrawlers if the PowerBait doesn’t work. Fish off the boulders that you can reach especially if there is some submerged trees they can hide under. Try plastic worms or crappie tubes for the bass and you may get lucky and catch a holdover trout with type of bait. The $2 parking fee is very reasonable for this beautiful lake.
Fishing rating: Hot
Stocking resumes in April so the fishing will be hot all spring. The bullhead catfish should be biting as it warms. Try the PowerBait or Power Eggs but have spinners or small split-tail grub if the PowerBait doesn’t work.
Fishing rating: Fair
This spring should see an increase in largemouth bass fishing. During the spring, the aquatic vegetation is not as abundant compared with the summer months. Try plastic worms working through the weeds near shore. Top-water poppers should work as it warms. Fishing off the dock at the launch ramp is a good place to get your baits parallel to the shore. The $2 parking fee is very reasonable for this beautiful lake.