What’s Biting And Where?

By Arizona Game And Fish Department

Tip of the week

Mark Saturday, June 1 on your calendar — it’s our state’s Free Fishing Day. During that day, which is part of National Fishing and Boating Week, anglers won’t need a fishing license to fish any of our state’s public waters. Stay tuned for a list of free fishing events that day.

Typically, water temperatures in May can reach close to optimum levels for trout. May and October can be the top trout producing months for our high country lakes. This week, we’ve stocked tiger trout into Carnero Lake (55 degrees), and Apache trout into the east and west forks of the Black River.

At Goldwater Lake in Prescott (pictured above) our creel surveys Sunday showed anglers were catching lots of rainbow trout.

Water temperatures in most desert impoundments statewide are reaching the low-70s during afternoons, also near the optimum range for largemouth bass. This is still a couple weeks behind schedule for water temperatures for this time of the year, and most waters remain pretty stained.

There has been a fair, first-light top-water bite at some impoundments such as Roosevelt and Pleasant. As water temperatures warm and full spring conditions commence, shad will move in shallow, predatory fish will follow, and the first-light top-water action will take off.

Top bass spots include Roosevelt Lake, Alamo Lake, Lake Havasu, Lake Powell, Bartlett Lake, and even Lake Pleasant. Most bass are in a post-spawn mode and after the sun rises can generally be found around secondary points and structures (around 8-25 feet of water). According to many anglers, largemouth bass action has been slowly improving during the past couple years at Pleasant.

See our Facebook live event from Wednesday at Pleasant with local Bass Pro Gary Senft.

Note that this is a new moon weekend, so fishing with submersible lights at night will be effective, particularly for striped bass and crappie. Top picks for striper action are Lake Pleasant, Mead, Mohave, Powell, Havasu and the Colorado River below Davis Dam.

This is also one of the best times of the year for flathead catfish action. Try Pleasant, Bartlett or the Colorado River Imperial Dam area.

Tonto, Canyon hatcheries to close
during select days

The Arizona Game and Fish Department will close the Canyon Creek and Tonto Creek fish hatcheries, located in the Payson area of the Tonto National Forest, to the public during select dates for pavement repairs. Closure dates are as follows:

  • Canyon Creek Hatchery: May 6-9, May 28-30.
  • Tonto Creek Hatchery:  May 10, May 31, June 1.

These closures are necessary for public safety and to allow for proper curing of the slurry seal. For more information, contact the Tonto Creek Hatchery at 928-478-4200 and the Canyon Creek Hatchery at 928-535-5475.

Largemouth bass fry stocked into Apache, Canyon and Saguaro

We stocked more than 1 million Florida-strain largemouth bass this past weekend into Apache, Canyon and Saguaro lakes! We expect a survival rate of around 2 percent, or 20,000 fish, that could survive into adulthood.

See video of a stocking at Apache Lake, and more about why this was the ideal time to stock these fish!

This week’s scheduled stockings

Rainbow trout: Canyon Creek, Black Canyon Lake, Silver Creek, Carnero Lake,

Tiger trout: Carnero Lake.

Apache trout: East-Fork Black River, West Fork-Black River.

Channel catfish: Community “core” waters.