Spring Brings Fishing To The Fore
Spring is officially here. This is the leading edge for some of the best fishing in 25 years or so. Just pick a lake, river, or stream and go, that is, unless it is still not accessible due to snowpack or ice cover, or both.
But if I were to pick a single spot right now, it would be Lees Ferry. The big, wild rainbow trout can be in full spawning regalia with spectacular crimson sides, and thanks to the recent experimental flow event, they have been feeding voraciously. This is some world-class fishing folks; don’t miss out.
Bass are staging for the spawn, and if wind and water color aren’t an issue, you should be able to see bass on beds in the backs of the more sheltered coves where the water is warmer. If you can’t find spawners, target pre-spawn bass on the major points just outside the coves, the secondary points inside coves, along submerged creek channels or gullies inside coves, along the edges of huge flats, or the edges of huge swaths of recently-submerged vegetation (like at Roosevelt).
There will also be fish still in winter patterns. Use drop-shots, Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, jigs and spoons in 15 to 30 feet of water, especially on the major points, any humps (inside or outside coves), islands and reefs, or along any submerged creek or river channel (fish super highways).
Bartlett, Pleasant, Roosevelt and Alamo are all taking off. Saguaro has been very good for a mixed-bag of fish.
If you consider fishing at night or at least into the evening and before sunrise use darker-colored lures or live bait. Once the sun comes up, you might just find bass chasing shad, especially in the middle or backs of coves, but don’t be surprised if you see some action along extended main lake points outside larger coves.
At Lake Pleasant, you can also expect to find striped bass and white bass hitting at just before or just after first light. Use frozen anchovies, or anything white or even silver: white spinners, white crankbaits, white curly-tail grubs or white topwater lures.
Now if you run into turbid water, don’t despair. Think lots of vibration and smell.
Slow-rolled spinnerbaits with trailers (scented ones) can work well. Rattling pigs-n-jigs might be the ticket. Flutter-down baits like Senkos can sometimes work.
I also like buzzbaits for locating bass, but not necessarily catching them. When a bass slaps at the buzzbait, have a flutter-down bait ready to toss at the swirl.
If you are a catfish angler, this is also a good time to get out at two early-bird lakes for cats – Saguaro and Alamo. Channel catfish at these two lakes are often full of shad and anglers using crankbaits can sometimes find channel surprises on the end of the line.
Good luck. Maybe I’ll see you out there. For more information, call Rory Aikens: (623) 236-7214. Or, for information on a specific Arizona region, names and contacts of regional editors follow: