EDITOR’S NOTE: Like to fish in the Prescott area and want to add to this report? Send your information to Gregg Cummins by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 928-263-8868.
LYNX LAKE – From Monday, Dec. 18, No .20 AZGFD creel survey, of the 37 people interviewed, 12 people have caught fish, 26 trout and three nice catfish. PowerBait worked for the trout and worms for the catfish. Small spinners are a must just in case the trout aren’t interested in the PowerBait.
On Tuesday, Dec. 19, Ashurst Lake was about 3/4 frozen at 10:30 a.m. with a big opening by the boat ramp. Lower Lake Mary was completely frozen and Upper Lake Mary was more than half frozen. Kaibab Lake was almost completely frozen. We consider all ice unsafe. With cooling temperatures, the region might be completely frozen by Christmas.
PINETOP/SHOW LOW LAKES
FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair for stocked (12”+) rainbow trout. Supercatchable rainbows (12”+) were last stocked in late August and there are still a few around. Water temperatures are good for trout activity throughout the lake. The fishing piers and platforms are accessible.
RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake level is still very low and the weeds are thick in the shallow areas. The fishing pier is not very useful, since it is very shallow off the end of the pier.
SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor. The lake level is extremely low and turbid due to irrigation releases. Can’t launch boats from the boat ramp. Try fishing from the shore with chicken livers on the bottom for catfish.
SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair for stocked (12”+) rainbow trout. Supercatchable size (12”+) rainbow trout were last stocked in late August and there are still a few around. Water temperatures are good for trout activity throughout the lake.
WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is poor. Fish were last stocked in late-May and there are likely few left. The lake is low and weedy.
PATTERSON PONDS – Fishing is good for trout. Rainbow trout were stocked last week in the upper pond. A regular fishing license or a community fishing license is required to fish here. The pond daily bag limits in community fishing waters (2 trout; 2 catfish; 5 sunfish) apply. Please use good catch and release methods if you are releasing fish.
WHITE MOUNTAIN STREAMS
EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is fair. Roads are still open.
LITTLE COLORADO RIVER in GREER – Fishing is fair. There may be some skim ice on pools in the mornings.
SHOW LOW CREEK TAILWATER – The pools below Show Low Lake dam are ice covered.
SHOW LOW CREEK MEADOWS – Fishing is good at this new Community Fishing Water located at the Show Low Bluff trailhead in Show Low. It was stocked last week with rainbow trout in the Show Low meadow from the Bluff trail upstream to the Hampton Inn. Bait can be used, but daily bag limits are two trout, two catfish, one bass (minimum size 13”) and five sunfish.
SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair to good. Seasonal Catch-and-Release regulations (with artificial lure and fly only with single barbless hooks) are in effect and will continue through March 31. All trout must be released immediately and please use proper catch-and-release techniques to ensure the trout survive after swimming away. The upper section is now open.
SHEEPS CROSSING/West Fork LCR – Fishing is poor. The road is open but most pools are ice covered.
ROOSEVELT LAKE — (2,111 feet, 57-percent full). Dec. 21 report from Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods: Bass fishing on Roosevelt Lake is being reported as slow. The water temperature is in the mid to high 50’s on most days which is forcing the majority of bait fish and the bass to move to deeper water. In addition the cold fonts moving through Rim Country cause the lake conditions to change almost daily. If a technique works one day, there is no guarantee that it will work the next day. Anglers reported using slow presentation techniques such as a dark colored sparkle jig, curly tail grub or a casting spoon. Crappie activity has slowed greatly was well. The crappie have also moved to deeper water in pursuit of baitfish. Crappie staging in deeper water will dictate a change to anglers from a vertical fishing technique to a trolling technique which allows the bait to be fished at deeper depths.
APACHE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,909 feet (95-percent full). The lake was scheduled to be stocked with rainbow trout this week. Fishing has been somewhat slow during the past few weeks for bass as water levels had increased. The ticket is jigging spoons deep for bass. This is an excellent winter tactic here and at Saguaro Lake, especially for yellow bass.
CANYON LAKE – Lake level is 1,658 feet (92-percent full.)
The lake was stocked with rainbow trout the first week of November and is scheduled to be stocked again next week. Scooter Griffith from The Arizona Fishing Guides said Nov. 22 that the lake is still putting out numbers of big fish. Most of them have been coming out in the deep grass using a drop shot or a shaky head technique. A fishing pier is now open to the public at the Boulder recreation site of Canyon Lake. Trout are stocked in this area. Located in the Tonto National Forest’s Canyon Lake, the Boulder recreation site is 15 miles northeast of Apache Junction on State Route 88.
SAGUARO LAKE – The lake is 1,524 feet (92-percent full). The lake was stocked with rainbow trout the week of Nov. 13 and will be stocked again the week of Dec. 18. Scooter Griffith from The Arizona Fishing Guides said the lake is putting out numbers of big fish. Most of them have been coming out in the deep grass using a drop shot or a shaky head technique. Other successful baits reported were walking baits and Ricos and dropshot-rigged Roboworms in 15 feet of water. Yellow bass is an option if the largemouth bass are finicky — jigging spoons deep is an excellent winter tactic here and at Apache lake. Also try nightcrawlers on dropshot rigs. Flathead catfishing also can be excellent. Fish shallow during the nighttime with bluegill or carp as bait. This is the time the flatheads fatten up for the winter.
BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,768 feet, feet, 60 percent full. Water temperature has been around 56 degrees and falling. Best bet is throwing crankbaits during mornings and smaller plastic baits (Roboworms or baby brush hogs) on Texas rigs or dropshots in 15-25 feet of water. There has not been much of a morning top-water bite. Jigging spoons haa become a more effective technique as well.
LAKE PLEASANT – (Lake elevation 1,678 feet, 74 percent full). The lake has risen 2 feet during the past week. Water temperatures have dropped to 54-58 degrees. Angler Jim N. reported largemouth bass (above) hitting spinners, jerkbaits, Slug-Gos and Senkos. Try spooning deep for striped bass or throwing deep-running crankbaits or swim baits in shad colors. There may still be a decent anchovy bite. Top-water bite likely is tailing off.
COMMUNITY FISHING WATERS — See the Community fishing news. Incentive trout stockings are coming in January and this week we are scheduled to stock the “core” Community waters.
HORSESHOE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,970 feet (8-percent full). When the lake is full, there are a lot of spawning fish. No new reports.
LOWER SALT RIVER – On Friday afternoon, the river was flowing at 8 cfs out of Stewart Mountain. The river was stocked last week and is scheduled to be stocked again with trout next week. Water levels are too low at Blue Point Bridge to stock — fish Phon D. Sutton or Granite Reef. Anglers can try fly fishing with copper johns, prince nymphs, and egg patterns can work well for sub-surface flies, and for dry fly anglers can try stimulators and elk hair caddis. If you are spin fishing try small Rooster Tails with a gold blade in the slower moving water. You might be able to catch some bass or sunfish in the deeper holes.
CREEKS BELOW MOGOLLON RIM
Stream trout stockings have ended but trout fishing on the Rim streams remains good. On the right day, anglers can have a stream all to themselves. Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods reported that stream anglers are reporting having the streams to themselves or sharing a stretch of water with only one other angler. A Copper John fly in a mayfly nymph pattern, Rooster-tails and PowerBait were all reported successful.
MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair. Roads are still open but the lake is likely starting to ice over.
BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair. The lake was stocked last in June. The lake is 7 feet below spill and the new boat ramp is still fully functional.
CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair for stocked rainbows and wild brown trout. The brown trout should still be active and can be caught with Z-rays, Kastmasters, or black streamers. Chevelon Lake is a hike-in lake with a two trout limit and artificial fly/lure only regulations.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is fair for rainbow trout and tiger trout. Roads are still open but the lake is likely starting to ice over.
WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good for rainbow trout and fair for tiger trout. Roads are open but the lake is likely starting to ice over.
ALAMO LAKE – (Elevation 1,111.41 feet – 1,078 this time last year.) Wade from the Arizona Crappie Association reported last week: “Water temps are running from the upper 50s early climbing to the mid 60s by afternoon. Bass fishing has been steady with a lot of smaller fish being caught and some nice ones for those who are patient and put in the work. Crappie are biting consistently all over the upper end of the lake. Many big fish are being caught with plenty in the 2.5 lb range. Most productive lure is a Roadrunner with John Deer grub tipped with a minnow. Fish are being caught from 5 to 15 feet down mostly in a water depth of 25 to 35 feet of water. The black crappie fishing should be excellent because very few were caught/harvested last year due to rising and very stained water. Those fished should have survived until this year, meaning they should be bigger and more plentiful than the previous years and will hopefully provide some amazing fishing.
LAKE HAVASU — (Elevation: 446 feet.) From our recent survey, the bass population looks excellent as always. Good numbers of small, medium, and big ones. Based on this year’s survey we can see nothing to suggest it will not continue to be ranked as a top-25 bass lake in the U.S. The redear sunfish action should continue to be world class. We got a ton of redear in our surveys, including several that were 3+ pounds. We fully expect a few of those huge redear to come out this spring again.
The striper fishing should continue to be excellent. Based on our creel survey of the lake, and through talking with anglers, we have found that it seems to be hard to not catch stripers right now in Havasu. They are not big by any means (ave 10 – 12 inches), but if you just want to catch fish and bring home some fish for tacos, Havasu should be excellent. When it was a bit warmer, channel catfish fishing was good off of a few of the docks around the lake using live bluegills.
PARKER STRIP – This may be the as good a bass fishing spot as anywhere. Our survey was unbelievable this year because we averaged around 80 bass/ 15 minute electrofishing site. Though most were very small young-of-year and “age 1” fish, we did get a ton of 2- to 4-pound largemouth and smallmouth bass. We also got a decent number of redear sunfish in our surveys — 17 percent of them were over 11 inches long with the biggest being over 3 pounds. While a world record is now likely to be in the Parker Strip, the average size is really good and is probably very competitive with Havasu.