July 2008

Try Night Fishing Under The Stars

By Rory Aikens

Arizona Game & Fish Department

This is a superb time for night fishing under the stars. Triple-digit, thermometer-throbbing daytime temperatures also make night fishing in the desert lakes much more attractive for many.

We are still getting reports of anglers doing well at Lake Pleasant for striped bass using frozen anchovies as bait. This technique also works well at Havasu, Mead and Mohave this time of year. Anchovies are also catching lots of huge pike at Upper Lake Mary near Flagstaff. One angler reported catching a 10-pound channel catfish on anchovies in Lake Mary as well.

We have not been getting reports from night crappie anglers at Roosevelt and Bartlett yet. However, it looks like the night crappie bite is on at Alamo Lake. Be sure to try the topwater bite for largemouth bass at last and first light as well.

Wherever you go for crappies, try submersible crappie lights, live minnows and small jigs. This technique can also work for bass as well. Alamo is a good bet for the Fourth – no recreational boaters (no gas available).

From great winter rains, the mosquito and gnat reproduction has been tremendous. This is great news for insectivorous critters from trout to bats, but somewhat of a nuisance for anglers.

Here is something to share from Fermin Camacho, Jr., an angler at Big Lake:

There were five children camping with us who had never caught a trout. They were learning to fish and starting to see that fishing starts with patience.

When I was catching the fish, I set the hook, and I allowed one of the children to come over and land the trout. I explained how to be patient and reel the fish in. That day I set five hooks, so all five children landed a trout.

Normally, I would keep a couple and release the rest. I wanted to educate the children further, so we released one trout and took four back to camp. The children helped me clean them thoroughly, and filet the trout.

I sprinkled a little salt and pepper, squeezed a little lime, and topped them with a little bit of sliced almonds. We took them over to the grill and grilled them until the texture was white and fluffy looking.

Being careful not to eat the bones, each child tasted the trout, and my dad — who introduced me to fishing when I was a child — enjoyed the rest of the trout. All but one child enjoyed the taste.

Pictures cannot capture the experience. You have to just go and experience it for yourself. Have fun!

Hey folks, as we continue getting into the warming summer season, the best trout fishing will be at first and last light, especially from shore. During the day, the best fishing will typically be from a boat, canoe, float tube, kayak or other floating device.

There are boat rentals at Woods Canyon, Big Lake, Reservation Lake, Luna Lake and Hawley Lake. For those fishing at night, take lots of bug spray.

For trout close to home, we have had the last trout stocking of the season for the Lower Salt River. First light is best — enjoy it while you have it. It likely won’t be stocked again until some time in October.

Further north at Lake Powell, the Castle Creek Cut finally got water last month and became passable — for the first time in five years. Hey, it was just in time to save some high boat gas dollars, or lots of time and muscle power paddling those 12 miles around Antelope Island.

By the way, the lake level in Warm Creek is way into the brush again – might be largemouth heaven.

Speaking of bugs, the cicada bite at Lees Ferry should commence any time now  — great place for a Fourth of July fishing trip away from the crowds. Don’t worry about the heat — most of Marble Canyon Gorge is usually in deep shadow in the morning, plus the water is typically 40 degrees or more colder than the air temperature – natural thermo-cooling devices for anglers. You might even experience the thrill of a chill!

Maybe the best thermo-cooling technique in summer is heading for the high lonesome to fish. I got a great report from an angler at Reservation Lake on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. Big Lake is another of those 9,000-foot fishing havens. So is Hawley Lake.

Here is an nice angler report from Reservation Lake (White Mountain Apache Reservation):

We went fishing at Reservation Lake from just past mid-June and between seven guys, caught about 100 fish. All the fish were just small stockers, 10 inchers or so.

The rainbows were the most acrobatic fish I have ever seen when they were caught, jumping out of the water with back flips and all. That part was a lot of fun.

We did see a brown trout eat a baby duck that was a shocker and then later had a local tell us that an entire flock of baby mallards were eaten the week before. So, there are still some monster brown trout in the lake.

Just need to figure out what they will hit on; we tried everything:  large Rapalas, large spoons, huge spinners and yet the small rainbows were hitting large lures. 

Take care – Dale

Go out and catch some memories. Maybe I’ll see you out there.