Arizona Fishing Report: The Reel Deal
Good news: storms and run-off are still saturating the state and increasing flowing into many of our waters. One example: As of Thursday, the releases out of Horseshoe Dam were up to 1,500 cfs. Already muddy Bartlett Lake already has risen to 47-percent full.
Once a sunny and calm stretch of weather comes, warmer water should put warmwater fish such as largemouth bass in a better mood. (Some warmwater species used to be called “spiny-rays” because most of them have rigid fin rays, or spines.)
Until then, remember that trout fishing in desert regions remains a great option. We are stocking Community Fishing Program waters thoroughly with trout (expansion waters are being stocked this week). See the schedule.
The online chatter from some anglers is that fishing’s downright difficult right now. Some are saying this is one of the coldest winters we’ve experienced in about 5 years. Water temperatures at Bartlett this week jumped back down to 51 degrees. So don’t feel bad if you’re not having luck. Fishing will pick up soon.
Now looking forward to spring bass fishing. As experienced anglers know, bass tend to spawn earlier at western Arizona impoundments such as Lake Havasu and Alamo Lake than at the rest of the state because these large, solunar bowls warm up early and quickly. At Havasu, the average water temp has been around 54 degrees. See that report. Look to the March 20 full moon as a time when there might be a major wave of spawning activity.
As always, if you’re considering heading to the high country, check the Arizona Department of Transportation website for the latest road conditions.
Catch of the Week
Send your fishing reports and photos to BFishing@azgfd.gov —
one will be selected for Catch of the Week
Jerry Thoresen, visiting from Bishop, Calif., with a 39.36-pound, 47 3/8-inch striped bass taken from deep water on a hard bait. “This is the heaviest striped bass I have had the pleasure to weigh,” said Rusty of Riviera Marina in Bullhead City. “I was once told that a trophy fish was anything that was over about 12 pounds — give or take a couple pounds either way. This fish is an example of a trophy to be mounted on one’s wall, so to say.”
This week’s scheduled stockings
Rainbow trout: Patagonia Lake, Fain Lake, Watson Lake, Verde River-Middle, Community “expansion” waters,
Upcoming Family Fishing Events
Note: At these free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required for those who register at the AZGFD booth during event hours.
- Just for Kids Fishing Festival, Saturday, Feb. 23, 8 a.m.-noon, Tempe Kiwanis Park, 5500 S. Mill Ave., Tempe.