Editor’s Note: The Fishing Report is compiled and provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Rory Aikens.
RORY’S TIPS: The hot spot in the state is Lake Powell where stripers are spawning. In addition, it is possible to catch stripers, smallmouth, largemouth, bluegill and catfish if you hit the right area – it’s a fishing smorgasbord.
In the upper lake (Hall’s Crossing to Hite), it is also possible to catch lots of delectable walleye. The lake is rising, so launching problems should disappear shortly.
In the high country, trout fishing should be reaching its spring crescendo – this is a great time to go when desert temperatures are popping into the triple digits and double-digit trout are hitting.
Big Lake is providing terrific action for wild rainbows, cutthroat and brook trout. Crescent is great for recently stocked rainbows and brookies (20,500 trout have been stocked).
All the cold mountain lakes along the Mogollon Rim are providing decent trout action, including Woods Canyon, Black Canyon, Bear Canyon, Blue Ridge, Chevelon and Knoll.
In the desert lakes, Bartlett has been taking top honors for one- to two-pound bass, but Roosevelt and Alamo are also top contenders. Despite a recent shad die off, Saguaro is still lunker city and Canyon is still THE place to stick the hawgs if you don’t mind slow catch rates.
With a new moon this week, it is time to start transitioning from the day bite to the night bass bite. For crappie, fishing under lights is the absolute best way to go.
Catfish anglers can still expect to catch cats during the day, but should also be transitioning to fishing at night.
Catfishing is a shore-angling special. Go to any desert lake, take along some hot dogs, corn, and beef or chicken liver, and fish them along the bottom with a slip sinker.
Remember, chumming is legal in Arizona. You might also consider putting on two baits per pole, and getting a two-pole stamp.
North Central Region
Angler Note: Catchable channel catfish have been stocked in Lower Lake Mary, Sante Fe and City Reservoirs. Remember: the catfish limit on these lakes was changed to four fish.
KAIBAB LAKE — Water level is low. Some holdover trout were being caught on lures and flies. Fishing is fair. Some catfish were caught in the evenings.
CATARACT LAKE — Gates are open. Scheduled to be stocked this week.
CITY RESERVOIR — Gate is open. Scheduled to be stocked with catfish this week. Recently stocked with catfish and trout. The catfish limit here is four fish. Trout fishing was good last week.
DOGTOWN LAKE — Very low water. We will be stocking it prior to holiday.
WHITEHORSE LAKE — Scheduled to be stocked. Small trout (8 inches or less) are being caught on Power Bait. These trout were stocked last fall as 5-inch fish and are growing well. The fish being caught are full of insects.
JD DAM — Some fish are being caught on wooly worms and bead headed midges.
SANTA FE — Open water. Some small trout are being caught. Scheduled to be stocked with channel catfish this week. Remember, the catfish limit is four on this lake.
LOWER LAKE MARY — Trout stocking was cancelled due to poor water quality, but catfish were stocked on May 17. Fishing was good to excellent for trout on corn, green, red, or rainbow Power Bait. Some catfish are being caught in the evenings.
UPPER LAKE MARY — Open water. This is the time of year to catch big pike. Fish the areas where the water is running for walleye and yellow bass. There is a health advisory here. Mercury has been detected in the fish.
ASHURST LAKE — Trout fishing was good. Stocked last week. This is the time of year to catch big pike: A 24.56-pound pike was caught on a marshmallow by a trout angler April 5.
KINNIKINICK LAKE —Stocked last week. One angler reported that he caught both trout and channel catfish close to shore last week drifting a worm about 4 feet under a bobber. Large numbers of channel catfish were caught during sampling.
OAK CREEK — Stocked last week. No reports from anglers
LONG LAKE — Open water. Remember that using live fish as bait here is illegal. There is a health advisory on this lake; mercury has been detected. Do not eat fish caught here.
SOLDIERS & SOLDIERS ANNEX — Open water. Soldiers Lake is full and Soldiers Annex has water. There is a health advisory: do not eat fish from these lakes because mercury has been detected.
BEAVER CREEK — Stocked last week.
WEST CLEAR CREEK — Stocked last week.
STONEMAN LAKE — Water level is too low for stocking.
BLUE RIDGE — Scheduled to be stocked this week.
KNOLL LAKE — Scheduled to be stocked this week. Three anglers report catching limits May 1 using orange Power eggs with an egg sinker fished 5 feet off the bottom during the day and Super Dupers in a rainbow pattern during the late afternoon and early evening. There was also a 22-inch brown trout caught by an angler.
MINGUS LAKE — Mingus is being stocked but is restricted to walk in access only. Mingus is due to be stocked this week.
DEAD HORSE STATE PARK — No reports this week.
LYNX LAKE — Due to be stocked early this week with rainbow trout. Around 11,000 brown trout have been stocked here in April and anglers are really starting to catch them.
FAIN LAKE — Fain is scheduled to be stocked early this week. Anglers have been reporting fair success on Power Bait. The lake is open for fishing from 7 to 10 p.m. daily.
VERDE RIVER — No new reports. Trout stockings have ended for the season. One stocking of 500 trout went in at the White Bridge in Camp Verde on April 2. The upper Verde River area might be okay for smallmouth bass.
GOLDWATER LAKE — Due to be stocked the week of May 24. Fishing remained good over the weekend. Night crawlers fished under a bobber, Pistol Pete lures and Power Bait were all working well.
A potential state record bluegill was caught two weeks ago. The fish was around 15.75 inches long and weighed 3.98 pounds.