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The long-awaited early spring trout fishing is busting loose in the high country, but some of the higher elevation lakes, such as Big Lake, Crescent, Woods Canyon, Knoll and Bear Canyon are still not accessible due to deep snow drifts.
However, Ashurst, Long Lake, Chevelon (via Winslow or the FS 504 Road from Heber), Blue Ridge, Willow Springs, Dogtown, Kaibab, Luna, Nelson and a host of others are accessible and you should be able to catch nice hold-over trout. The Greer Lakes (all full) should be stocked this coming week.
It’s also stream time in the Mogollon Rim country. Beaver Creek, East Clear Creek, Canyon Creek, Haigler Creek, Christopher Creek, Tonto Creek and the East Verde have all been stocked. So has Oak Creek. If you want a treat, get a cane pole and a can of worms. The flows are a little high yet, so catching might be a little challenging. Try worms and a cane pole.
We have stocked 28,000 trout into Lower Lake Mary. Some anglers have reported slow fishing while others have been catching plenty, especially on small spinners and KastMasters. If you don’t catch trout here, try Ashurst. If you are worried about gas prices, read the next paragraph.
For the first time this season, we stocked the Lower Salt River with trout at the Water Users Area just below Stewart Mountain Dam and at the Blue Point Bridge. This is a nice 11-mile trout fishing bonus a few weeks early. Get out there and enjoy this unique fishing while it last this season. We’ll quit stocking in late spring when the water temperatures (and dissolved oxygen levels) get too low in this desert river along the edge of the Superstition Wilderness.
If you have been waiting for the great April striper bite at the Arizona portion of Lake Powell near the dam and the power plant intakes, it’s started. Check out the Powell report below, then grab some frozen anchovies and go catch a livewell full of these hard-fighting fish. Be sure to catch and keep all you can to help the resource!
For you warmwater anglers, this weekend there we will see the quarter moon, making it a good time to fish at night under submersible lights for crappie and bass, or for striped bass at lakes that have them (Pleasant, Mead, Mohave, Havasu).
Once the waxing moon gets past the quarter stage, it becomes more and more difficult to out compete the moon glow to attract plankton/shad/predatory fish, in that order.
Right now should be prime time for largemouth bass spawn. Keep in mind that while there will be bass actively on beds, there will also be bass staging for the spawn, and bass still holding in deeper water in more of a winter-like activity pattern. Plus, some bass have already spawned out, so you can expect some post-spawn bass as well.
For the angler, this means that if you are not successful for spawning bass in the shallows, try for staging bass along secondary points inside coves, along submerged creek channels (underwater roadways) inside coves, along the edges of large flats, possibly across the mouths of coves, or along those long points just outside the coves.
For bass still in the winter mode, try at the 25 to 35 foot level off the major points, atop submerged humps in the main lake, and along deep submerged creek channels or other well-defined drainages (fish highways).
For post-spawn bass (can act like they have lockjaw), try points, islands and reefs in the main lake, with an emphasis on the latter two. Until these fish recover from the spawn, they can be tough to catch. Once they recover, they will feed much more aggressively. The cadre if post-spawn bass will keep growing the next several weeks until they become the predominant bass to fish for at the lakes. Stay tuned.
We haven’t received reports of spawning crappie yet, but if it isn’t happening, it will soon – possibly by the time you read this. Crappie love to spawn in recently submerged grass, cockleburs or other vegetation along large, shallow flats or in the backs of shallow coves. When crappies are staging for the spawn, expect to find them off the mouths of coves or the edges of major flats, especially if there is good woody hiding cover (like all the recently submerged vegetation at Roosevelt).
The crappie spawn isn’t spread out like the largemouth bass one –it can take place in a relative hurry in comparison.
Places to go: Roosevelt, Bartlett and Alamo are the top crappie and bass fishing locations. Lake Pleasant is good for bass, but a dark horse for crappie.
I have heard some nice angler reports out of San Carlos, but we don’t get routine information on fishing at that lake so it isn’t included in this fishing report each week.
We are experiencing some of the best fishing conditions we have seen in two decades or more, so don’t miss out. Go catch some memories. Maybe I’ll see you out there.
URBAN LAKES – Angler report nice stringers of catfish, aggressive bluegill and hybrid sunfish along with some nice bass, plus some remaining trout. Fish were stocked three weeks in a row, with channel catfish stockings starting March 21, followed by hybrid sunfish March 27-28 and more catfish coming the week of March 31-April 5. Largemouth, bluegill, and redear sunfish are in spring spawning mode and moving close to shore, so it’s only going to get better. Stocking of 1-3 pound catfish will continue every 2 weeks though June.
Use shrimp, hot dogs or worms fished on the bottom for channel cats. Hybrid sunfish (cross between bluegill and green sunfish) will take meal worms, worms and small jigs fished under a bobber.
Trout stocking will continue until mid May at Green Valley Lakes in Payson. Try Power Bait, worms or salmon eggs to catch trout. Largemouth bass and bluegill are actively biting while entering their spawning period. It would be appreciated if you practice catch and release during this critical spawning period.
Technique:drop shot using worms
Comments:Between 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. me my wife and kids where able to catch 19 channel catfish from 13 inches to 20 inches; very good day all catch-and-release
Where:Green Valley Lake
Technique:worm – cast from shore
Comments:2lb 19-inch caught by my son Kohl Montana age 9 we have a picture of fish and froze it whole – it was so big it broke his reel!
Where:red mountain park
Caught:2 rainbow trout, 8 bluegill
Technique:worm’s under a bobber,a bright green rooster tail and a silver/orange panther martin both with no weght
trout were 10in and 6in
Where:Alvord lake-Caesar Chavez parkWhen:04/01/08
Caught:3 L.M. bass 7 channel cats? bluegill
Technique:Using a Mister Twister split tail grub on a small wire spinner for bass and kept catching bluegills in between the 3 bass all over 14 inches and 1 was 17 inches. Channel cats on homemade dip/stink bait.
Comments:These where all caught between 5:30a.m. and 9:30 a.m. behind the library. Skip the boat dock, it’s overfished.
Where:Papago Park Pond 2
Caught:14 catfish up to 3 plus pounds
Technique:Shrimp on a circle hook 6 inches above the sinker
Comments:the action was slow from sunrise to about 9:30 then for the next 1:30 we caught them some times two at a time. My son Johnny was on fire using 4 pound test on a light spinning setup. Also bass are on the beds and are hitting grubs and tubes
Name:mike de vito
Where:red mountain park
Caught:large mouth bass 2.6
Technique:My technique was a drop-shot rig I used a rocket lures 7-inch double tail
Comments:IT WAS 2.6 AND ANOTHER CAUGHT THE SAME WAY BUT WAS ONLY 1.4
Where:river view park in mesaWhen:
Caught:3 cats, 2 perch and 1 bass
Technique:My girlfriend Kourtney fished a small piece of night crawler 2 feet under a bobber for 2 decent perch and an 11-inch bass. I fished a whole night crawler on the bottom with a slide weight for 3 cats.
Comments:All 3 cats were over 2 pounds, the biggest was 4 1/2 pounds. The bass was almost a pound and all were released for someone else to enjoy.
TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Fishing is okay for largemouth bass and catfish, but we are not hearing much about sunfish angling – yet. Largemouth bass should be in the spawning mode.
Where:Tempe Town Lake
Caught:7 catfish 2 carp
Technique:Chummed with corn and fished with hot dogs on the bottom. Hint…we dipped our baits in something so smelly the stuff could drive a hog wild…
Comments:Fished the south side east of Mill Ave Bridge. It was one-stop-shopping for my 15-year-old son and I. We were there about three hours in the morning. Four of the cats were over three pounds. The carp were caught on corn baits and were about two pounds
Name:Joe and Mark Pettinato