Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal
Now’s the time to fish northern Arizona.
Typically by late May or early June, as temperatures warm up and lake levels drop, water quality diminishes and conditions will be unsuitable for stocking fish.
Bass, pike, catfish, and crappie fishing are the best during the summer, but now is the ideal time for trout fishing. Get up there while you can.
Runoff has finally quit and the lakes have stopped spilling. That means that stocking of the lakes has begun. Anglers are catching fish on lures fished slowly on the trout lakes. Top picks are Kaibab, City Reservoir, Dogtown Reservoir, Santa Fe, Upper and Lower Mary, Ashurst Lake, Frances Short Pond and Oak Creek. See the stocking schedule, as well as a full report.
In the desert regions at night, anglers will be fishing during a full moon (pink moon). Expect a major wave of spawning bass and crappie as this moon is coupled with longer periods of daylight and water temperatures in the mid-60s (and rising).
Top picks in the Central region are Community waters (“core” waters were stocked this week with catfish), Lake Pleasant, Bartlett Lake, the Lower Salt River and Roosevelt Lake. At Pleasant, was temperatures have hit 65 degrees, the time when bass fishing starts to take off. See a full report from Pleasant.
For Bartlett and Roosevelt lakes, we recommend crankbaits and spinnerbaits during early mornings, and dropshot, Carolina and Texas rigs after the sun rises. See these details of top 5 baits for these waters this weekend.
The Lower Salt was stocked this week at Blue Point (70 degrees) and Phon D. Sutton (68). Try PowerBait, corn, Panther Martins, Z-rays or night crawlers. Some fish will still be in deep pools or in riffles.
Highlight is that roads to Big Lake are open. See that report.
Colorado River-area waters
Trout and striper fishing continues to be good in the Community Park area. At Lake Mohave, largemouth and smallmouth bass are spawning but we haven’t had any banner reports. Striped bass should be getting close to spawning as well.
At Alamo Lake, crappie and largemouth bass fishing is starting to really pick up. Seasoned anglers are averaging 8-10 crappie daily flipping minnows into bushes or by the buoy line. Crappie are scattered. Both ramps are open. If you’re camping, be sure to make an early reservation. See a full report.
Southeast (Tucson) area
This week, Kennedy, Lakeside, Silverbell and Sahuarita lakes were stocked with catfish. Other top picks are Patagonia Lake (some nice crappie have been caught here), Pena Blanca (activity should be picking up for largemouth bass, and our surveys show that this is the month when bass fishing gets hot). Look for bass in shallow water near the shore and throw primarily soft baits. Bluegill and redear populations here are high as well. Don’t forget Rose Canyon Lake. Although the gate for vehicular access doesn’t open until the third week of April, anglers can still access the lake by walking in.
Catch of the Week
Send your fishing reports and photos to BFishing@azgfd.gov —
one will be selected for Catch of the Week
Black Canyon Lake
Marina G. with her first fish, a rainbow trout taken April 7.
This week’s scheduled stockings
Channel catfish: “Core” Community waters.
Rainbow trout: Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek, Haigler Creek, City Reservoir, Oak Creek, Frances Short Pond, Kaibab Lake, Scott Reservoir, Concho Lake, Hulsey Lake, Lower Salt River (Blue Point and Phon D. Sutton).
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.
Saturday, April 27
Youth Fishing Day, 8 a.m.-noon. Bonsall Pond, 5840 W. Bethany Home Rd., Glendale
Save time, buy online
Grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go “Fish AZ”.