What’s Biting And Where?

By Arizona Game And Fish Department

TIP OF THE WEEK

Families can head to Show Low to Fool Hollow Lake and Show Low Lake and creek for sunfish and crayfish — both are great for keeping kids busy. See how.

In general for bluegill, backs of coves are usually best, especially if it is rocky or you can find submerged boulder piles. Patagonia Lake can be a good sunfish spot, as well as Bartlett Lake at times. 

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Here’s quick rundown of what’s going on statewide: The final channel catfish stocking of the summer season took place this week. But good news: catfish stockings return during the fall.

Trout stockings are enticing anglers to head to the high country. Some featured species stocked this week include Apache trout into the East and West Forks of the Black River and tiger trout into Kinnikinick Lake.

Hot spots in the Flagstaff/Williams area have included Kaibab Lake and Lake Mary. Anglers at Upper Mary have been doing well on dropshot-rigged nightcrawlers for walleye. Kaibab is full, and anglers are having luck on PowerBait, small lures and flies for trout. Some anglers, like Doug pictured above with a 3-pound rainbow trout, have been doing well at Ashurst Lake southeast of Flagstaff on Kastmasters.

Look for the night bite on bass in desert regions to improve in the coming weeks as triple-digit high temperatures remain consistent. It is also bluegill time.

Reminder to 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.

Woods Canyon Lake update: boat ramp open

Asphalt surfacing is completed and the boat ramp should be open to use from now on. There is still some asphalt work in progress in the Rocky Point day use area, but that won’t affect the boat ramp or other access to the lake.

This week’s scheduled stockings

Rainbow trout: West Fork Little Colorado River-Greer; West Fork Little Colorado River-Sheeps Crossing; Ashurst Lake, Oak Creek, Silver Creek, Woods Canyon Lake, Bunch Reservoir, River Reservoir, Tunnel Reservoir. Apache trout: East and West Forks of the Black River. Tiger trout: Kinnikinick Lake. Channel catfish: Dead Horse Lakes.

Canyon Lake – Rating: Fair

Lake temperatures are warming up from mid 50s in March to low 70s in May. Typically largemouth bass spawning is cued when temperatures reach 60 to 70 degrees. Water levels this spring should be relatively stable with minimal fluctuation.

Despite increased winter precipitation over last year, golden algae could still become a problem unless there is sudden precipitation.

Fish tend to most active during the 90-minute windows surrounding the sun and moon rise and fall.  When the moon is at full or new moon stage the effect is stronger. There are many apps that you can use that display this information for you. As fishermen know severe weather changes have an impact on the way fish feed. If a cold front is approaching the fish tend to move deeper into the water and lay low.  Barometric pressure is a good indicator.  If it changes quickly the fish tend to be less likely to show interest in your bait.  If the change is gradual the fish will respond favorably.

Largemouth bass are present in all sizes and fishing is expected to be good throughout the spring as they move into shallower water. Canyon is known for its large bass; however, it’s a little harder to catch fish here if you aren’t familiar with the lake. As the weather warms, shift from slowly working plastics in deeper water to crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and top-water lures for bass. Try using spoons such as Kastmasters and Super Dupers along the ledges close to drop offs, drop them in then bounce it along the bottom.

Yellow bass are abundant throughout the lake and fishing should be great. During the last fish survey in 2014 we caught a few yellow bass larger than the current state record of 1 pounds, 15.8 ounces. There are likely some record-breakers in this lake. Try using jigs, spoons, spinners, small crankbaits, minnows and worms. 

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