New FishAZ Network Offers Events For Anglers Of All Skill Levels
Do you know someone who would like to learn more about fishing in Arizona but doesn’t know where to start? Or are you an angler with some experience who would like to further hone your skills?
The Arizona Game and Fish Department has collaborated with its conservation partners to create the FishAZ Network, where you can find upcoming instructional and educational events, hands-on beginner fishing outings, and other fishing opportunities based on your skill level and interest.
To find out more and to register for the different events, visit https://register-ed.com/programs/arizona/239-fishaz-network.
March Events Ahead
Wednesday, March 2 – Fly Fishers Arizona will be hosting fly-fishing meet-ups each Wednesday, 9-10 a.m., at Roadrunner Park in Phoenix. These are free events – bring the whole family! Come out and practice your casting, get a few casting tips, or just hang out with other anglers and swap stories. Find out more.
Saturday, March 12 – Fish Habitat Project in Mesa. The City of Mesa Parks and Recreation Department will be using recycled materials to make fish habitat structures for Red Mountain Lake to improve fishing conditions. This is a hands-on project and should be a lot of fun. The fish habitat will be installed in the lake at a later date. Find out more.
Saturday, March 19 – Yuma Youth Fishing and Outdoor Clinic. Held at Mittry Lake. Free family-friendly introductory event where kids learn fishing, knot-tying techniques, archery, safe BB gun practices, and use of binoculars. There will be food, prizes and more. Hosted by the Yuma Valley Rod & Gun Club. Find out more.
Heroes Regional Park Lake Opens In Glendale
The City of Glendale celebrated the grand opening of the new Heroes Regional Park Lake in mid January. At 4 acres in size and 13 feet deep, the design includes accommodations for family friendly fishing experiences and will draw residents from throughout the community. Amenities include ramadas, fishing decks, a paved path circling the perimeter, and a waterscape fountain with programmable LED lights.
Contractors began working on the lake in May. AZGFD personnel built and installed about 60 fish habitat structures in mid November using Georgia Cubes (3-foot square cube frame structures made from PVC pipe), wood porcupine cribs, and mossback fish structures, with the intent of giving anglers increased success.
In December, the Glendale City Council approved an agreement with AZGFD to make Heroes Regional Park Lake a part of the agency’s Community Fishing Program, and the city started filling the lake with Salt River Project irrigation water,
AZGFD stocked the lake with trout prior to the grand opening, which was attended by Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, Councilmember Joyce Clark (a long-time advocate for the park), and other Glendale city officials.
AZGFD will stock catchable-size rainbow trout annually in February and December, and channel catfish will be stocked in April, June and October. Sunfish will be stocked once annually. Other approved fish species may be stocked as necessary.
Heroes Park is located near 83rd Ave. and Bethany Home Road near the State Farm Stadium. As with all the Community Fishing waters, anglers will need an Arizona General Fishing license or Combination Hunt/Fish license to fish the lake.
Saguaro Lake Fish Habitat Project
AZGFD staff, volunteers, and Boy Scout Troop #325 from Queen Creek met at Saguaro Lake early in the morning in early Janurary, to create new fish habitat.
About 50 people tied cinder blocks to donated Christmas trees, loaded them onto a boat equipped with underwater sonar, and then submerged the trees into six places on the lake to create new fish habitats. The trees will add structure to the environment for fish species such as largemouth and smallmouth bass, catfish and bluegill, and will also create a refuge for smaller fish and plankton. Altogether, more than 700 trees were placed in the lake.
Some of the trees came from the Mesa Environmental Management and Sustainability Department, which collected trees at drop-off points where owners discarded them after the Christmas holiday.
End-Of-Winter Fishing Forecast
Looking for tips on where to go? Don’t forget to check the end-of-winter fishing forecast
To see the winter 2021-22 fishing forecast for major public water bodies in the respective regions, visit https://www.azgfd.com/fishing/forecast/.
AZGFD Conducts Brown Trout Redd Counts
Department staff went to Canyon Creek in early December to conduct brown trout redd counts. A redd is where a female trout digs a depression in the gravel with her tail, deposits her eggs, and waits for a male trout to fertilize them. She then covers the eggs with loose gravel and the male and female swim away, leaving the eggs sheltered. The redd count survey is a long-term monitoring effort that has been conducted since 2005.
Biologists counted 43 redds along the stream section between 7C and OW Bridge. The highest historical redd count between 7C and the OW Bridge was 106 in 2016, after gravel enhancements in 2013 and 2014. There was a decrease in counts in 2020; however, current redd counts are similar to the 2019 survey and higher than the historical average of 41.
During the survey, biologists saw quite a few trout of multiple sizes throughout the stream. If you’ve never been out to Canyon Creek, it is highly recommended, as the stream is beautiful. There are also some monster wild brown trout just waiting for the right angler to come along!
Rainbow Trout Are Heading Out
Our Bubbling Ponds Hatchery staff recently posted to the FishAZ Facebook Group a video clip of some big, beautiful rainbow trout about to head to Parker Canyon Lake and Apache Lake. They are almost a pound each (1.24 fish per pound). See you on the water!
Check out this article by Jim Strogen in the Payson Roundup titled, “Consider catch-and-release next time you fish.”
At Lake Pleasant, bass fishing is improving as the bass have started to move into shallower water. Some anglers are reporting success with jerkbaits and crankbaits. Others have reported good topwater bite for stripers. Catfish are being caught on nightcrawlers and cut baits. Angler Brian J. reported he caught a few bass in Castle Creek Cove last week. hitting on Megabass 110 jerkbait. “Anyone that fishes back in Castle Creek Cove knows it’s a minefield of hidden trees, and the exposed branches are full of line and lures,” he cautions.
At Roosevelt Lake, bass fishing is decent but should pick up as the weather warms. Anglers have reported success on jigs, crankbaits and chatterbaits. Dropshot rigs and Senkos also are showing some success. Some reports of bass being caught in about 15-25 feet on 5150 worms and Zoom worms. Fish off rocky banks and points.
Fishing is reportedly heating up at Bartlett Lake, with good numbers of bass and crappie being caught. The bass have been found in about 20 feet of water as well as closer to shore. Some anglers are having success with crawfish imitation baits, Senkos and drop shot rigs. Fishing for catfish has also been decent with nightcrawlers, hot dogs or anchovies.
Chris H. reported, “Good fishing in the Phoenix metro canals the last few days. We caught our first bass out of there. I didn’t think bass would live in the canals, but I’m a believer now.” He got one on a jig and a smaller one on a spoon.
North Central Arizona
Kyle H. and several other anglers reported catching some good pan-size trout out of the Verde River last week at Dead Horse Ranch State Park near Cottonwood.
Sam S. had a great outing to Oak Creek two weeks ago and got a trifecta. “I was able to catch Gila, brown, and rainbow trout,” he reported.
Dead Horse Lake was recently stocked with about 3,500 trout. Goldwater Lake and Watson Lake were also stocked with trout.
At Lake Havasu, reports are that stripers are being caught on soft swim baits. Bass are hitting square-bill crankbaits in deeper water.
At Lake Mead, fishing has been good for bass. Anglers are having success on dropshot rigs, wacky-rigged Senkos, crankbaits and spoons. There’s a good topwater bite for stripers if you can locate them. Cut baits are also working for stripers.
Bass fishing at Alamo Lake has been improving as the bass are starting to feed off of baitfish towards the shallows. Try small poppers and spooks, also crankbaits. Anglers are catching crappie on grubs and red worms.
At Roper Lake (report courtesy of Arizona State Parks Ranger Michael DeLeon), bass have been actively feeding early and late in the day in and around the cattails that line the lake. Anglers throwing dark chatterbaits and medium-diving crankbaits along the cattails are enticing quite a few hungry bass to strike. During the middle of the day, Roper Lake bass anglers are doing well drop shotting deeper water.
Crappie have been active as well and anglers are picking up some fish on white or chartreuse jigs. Unstable water quality perimeters have delayed trout stocking in Roper Lake this year. The Arizona Game and Fish Department continues to monitor the situation and will stock trout when the water stabilizes.
At Dankworth Pond, trout fishing has been excellent. Garlic-scented PowerBait fished on a slip sinker rig on the bottom, or nightcrawlers floated under a bobber with about 18 inches of leader seem to be the “hot” setups right now. The sunfish and bluegill at Dankworth are readily biting nightcrawlers as well and are often caught incidentally when targeting trout.
Pena Blanca Lake was stocked with trout in late January.
For each edition of the Fishing Report, we’ll select some photos and reports submitted by members of the angling public either through the Fish AZ Facebook Group or through the firstname.lastname@example.org email address. If you’d like your photo/report considered for publication here, please indicate the species, place, date, name (we only publish first name and last initial), and any other information you’d like to provide. For more photos (including new photos each day), visit the Fish AZ Facebook Group.