By Arizona Game And Fish Department

Fall/winter trout stockings are  underway. This week, two prime winter waters received their first rainbow trout loads of the season: the Lower Salt River, and Goldwater Lake.One angler at the Lower Salt recently had good luck fishing for largemouth bass using weightless, whacky-rigged worms. Releases out of Stewart Mountain Dam on Friday, Oct. 18 was 8 cfs.  As a guideline, trout are primarily stocked at Phon D. Sutton and Granite Reef recreation sites during the winter Anglers can also catch catfish, carp and sunfish.

This is a great weekend to hit the high country to catch some fall colors, net some trout, and with the exception of some fairly windy conditions, enjoy what looks to be some nice high country weather.

We received a good report from Willow Springs Lake of rainbow and tiger trout hitting trolled mini craws. Late October and early November, before winter conditions prevail, can be a good time to target tiger trout. The tigers this time of year seem to hang around rocky shorelines and prefer dry flies.  Those wanting to just catch trout to eat can head to Willow Springs or Woods Canyon Lake and fish PowerBait off the bottom. Catch-and-release anglers can try Silver Creek for bigger trout (see the  fishing regulations — it’s catch-and-release only with artificial lures and flies only with single-pointed barbless hooks).

At Tonto Creek (pictured above) anglers have been catching some of the “supercatchable” trout we’ve been stocking. There should still be some hanging around. One fly angler found success with zebra midges under a strike indicator and unweighted purple woolly buggers. In the Flagstaff and Williams region, good spots remain Kinnikinick Lake for brown trout, and Lower Lake Mary and Kaibab Lake for big rainbows.

Desert dwellings

Down in the desert, we stocked Community Fishing Program waters this week with channel catfish.

At Bartlett Lake, Bass Pro Gary Senft reported that fish are moving into 4-6 feet of water during the early morning hours and can be caught on swim baits, white spinner baits, and small Ricos. After the sun rises, the fish move a bit deeper, and can be hooked with plastics on Texas rigs and dropshots. Water temperatures have peaked in the low-to-mid 70s at most desert impoundments. Crappie fishing should also be good at Roosevelt Lake.

At Alamo Lake largemouth bass fishing has been decent. The water temperature has been in the low-70s. It seems that with increased water levels this year, there was a superb shad spawn, and largemouth bass have been caught with bellies full of food. A downside is this could, at times, make the satisfied bass a bit more reluctant to chase down artificial baits. Crappie fishing should be good as this week there were smaller flotillas of boats apparently searching for schools of crappie mid-lake.

Our Fall Fishing Forecast is still the most comprehensive source of fishing report information for major water bodies statewide.

What’s been stocked this week
(“Catchable” sizes only; water temp in parenthesis if available)

Rainbow trout:

  • Wet Beaver Creek (60)
  • West Clear Creek (61-62)
  • Goldwater Lake (60)
  • Lower Salt River (76)
Channel catfish: