November 2007

Winter Rainbows Coming To Apache Lake

There is great news for anglers who enjoy adventures along the Apache Trail – rainbow trout will be regularly stocked this winter at Apache Lake, thanks to the drawdown at nearby Canyon Lake.

Starting on Sept. 29, Salt River Project began gradually lowering Canyon Lake 50 feet for scheduled maintenance work at Mormon Flat and Horse Mesa dams.

Typically, Canyon Lake is stocked each winter with trout. That is not feasible this winter due to the maintenance drawdown.

“This is a real opportunity to give Apache Lake a fishing boost by shifting the winter trout stockings there from Canyon Lake,” said Jim Warnecke, a fisheries biologist with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

As part of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s extensive winter trout stocking program, Apache Lake is scheduled to be stocked with 4,000 rainbow trout starting the week of Nov. 19. Apache will be stocked each month through March. You can view the entire winter trout stocking schedule at

Apache Lake had been Arizona’s premier smallmouth bass fishery prior to being impacted by golden algae the last several years.

“For some reason scientists don’t truly understand yet, golden algae is really tough on smallmouth bass. The smallmouth fishery at Apache was devastated by this invasive alga,” Warnecke said.

There are plans to start re-stocking Apache with smallmouth bass this winter, probably from smallies obtained in Texas.

“Although it will take some time for the smallmouth fishery to recover, stocking this picturesque lake with trout this winter will provide anglers another fun reason to experience an Apache Lake fishing adventure,” Warnecke said.

Recent fish surveys by Game and Fish Department biologists also show a robust population of yellow bass and a good population of largemouth bass at this classic fishery along the Salt River chain of lakes.

Warnecke pointed out that many of the lures and methods used to catch rainbow trout can also catch yellow bass as well. “Small spinners and spoons will work very well for trout and bass.”

Apache Lake is located 65 miles from downtown Phoenix along the famed Apache Trail between Canyon and Roosevelt lakes. This 17-mile long, 2,500-surface-acre reservoir is tucked between the Superstition Wilderness and the Three Bar Wildlife Area.