What’s Biting And Where?

By Arizona Game And Fish Department

Tip of the week

Campers: The USDA Forest Service, Tonto National Forest, Payson Ranger District have announced overnight camping restrictions along six stretches of streams and rivers located near Payson. Implementation of these restrictions will help allow grass and plants to grow along the stream banks. 


It’s time to get ready for Arizona’s Free Fishing Day. You can fish Arizona waters for free on Saturday, June 1, making this an ideal time to take the family out for some fun and relaxing outdoor recreation.

This day will be celebrated as part of National Fishing and Boating Week. On that Saturday, no fishing licenses are required for persons fishing any public waters in Arizona.

Some top options with weekend are channel catfish in “core” Community waters — they were stocked this week. See our top 5 baits for Community cats.

Wondering about the above photo? That’s Roosevelt Lake in the Tonto National Forest this week, where on Tuesday and Wednesday our Aquatic Habitat Program installed 160 Georgia cubes. Thank you to all volunteers who came out to help build these structures.

In the high country, trout stockings are in full swing. At Big Lake, we stocked a bunch of “supercatchable” (larger than average) rainbow trout. If you’ve never been to Big Lake, you’re missing out: it’s arguably the state’s top summertime camping and fishing spot. Water temperature Wednesday was 56 degrees.

Looking to catch our state fish, the native Apache trout? This week we stocked the West Fork-Little Colorado River-Greer and West Fork-Little Colorado River-Greer. Apache trout can be caught by a variety of methods, including wet or dry flies, small lures, or natural baits, in either lakes or streams. However, artificial flies produce the best results.

At Lower Lake Mary in Flagstaff, we are scheduled to get a load of big rainbow trout that should be here for the weekend.

This week’s scheduled stockings

Rainbow trout:
Silver Creek (58-degree water temperature), Oak Creek, Goldwater Lake (63), Frances Short Pond (60), Lower Salt River, Ashurst Lake, Lower Lake Mary, Kaibab Lake, Fain Lake, Mingus Lake, Big Lake (56), Bunch Reservoir (60), Tunnel Reservoir (60), River Reservoir (60).

Brook trout:
Crescent Lake.

Apache trout:
West Fork-Little Colorado River-Greer, West Fork-Little Colorado River-Greer.

Channel catfish:
“Core” Community waters, Frances Short Pond, City Reservoir, Dead Horse Ranch State Park lagoons.

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, June 1 
(Arizona’s Free Fishing Day)
Free Fishing Day,
8 a.m.-noon

Saturday, June 1 
Goldwater Lake, Prescott.
Verde Valley Fishing Fun Day,
Dead Horse Ranch State Park
8 a.m.-noon.
Channel catfish will have been stocked just prior to the event. Entrance fees to the state park will be waived for participating fishermen (check in at the front gate).

Saturday, June 1 
Kaibab Lake
Free Fishing Day
9 a.m.-noon
Williams, meet near group ramada.