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If you want a great place to take the kids to catch trout, try Green Valley Lake in Payson. This sparkling jewel is actually an Urban Fishing Program water.
By all accounts, the autumn color show has waned some in the White Mountains, but the northwest side of the San Francisco Peaks still had a stunning show when we took the chair lift up Agassiz Peak (wear warm, warm clothes).
You should also find some vibrantly colored quaking aspens dispersed through the forest to provide you some eye-popping delights in your back country travels. It won’t be long before the autumn show will descend to mid-elevation locations, such as Oak Creek Canyon or the Apache Trail.
Fishing at the Mogollon Rim lakes should be stupendous – most of the lakes have at least small populations of brown trout. Browns are starting their spawning behavior.
Rainbows are also feeding more aggressively to put on fat before winter conditions make their icy visit.
My top picks right now are Willow Springs Lake (browns, rainbows and bass), Woods Canyon (mostly rainbows, few browns), Bear Canyon (rainbows), Knoll (rainbows), Chevelon (big browns and rainbows) and Blue Ridge (browns and rainbows). All these lacks are also in prime elk country. I've also received some great reports from Big Lake in the White Mountains.
Don’t wait too long –a cold winter storm could blast through the state and shut down the great fall fishing.
Hey, don’t forget that tree squirrel season is underway. Taking a kid fishing for trout and hunting for squirrels will create some lasting memories. If you don’t have such a fun expedition as a family tradition, there is no better time to start. This is a pretty good squirrel year.
By the way, slow-cooking a squirrel in the crock pot (especially with diced green chilies) will result in the meat falling off the bone. Squirrel tacos, burritos and enchiladas are primo. A meal harvested from the woods is much more meaningful (for youth and
It’s also prime-time in the desert impoundments where bass, crappie and catfish fishing are all hitting some superb crescendos. We’ve received good reports out of Roosevelt, Bartlett, Alamo, and Pleasant. Havasu and Mead are also worth a visit. My top pick would be Lake Powell, where the scenery is spectacular and so is the fishing. And this is the off season; suits me.
By the way, trout have been stocked along Casino Row in the Bullhead/Laughlin area. It’s a hoot to finish fishing in the morning and then hit an all-you-can-eat buffet at one of the casinos.
Another good place to try right now is Lees Ferry, especially for spin anglers. This is not the prime season, at least not for fly anglers. Those armed with spinning rods, however, can expect to catch some pretty nice trout in eye-popping scenery while having little competition for the best fishing runs – you do need a boat.
Back trolling has produced more than any other approach. The Rapala has been the magic lure. Try the Rapala Countdown No. 5 or 7 in rainbow or perch colors. Also try working Panther Martens along banks where you find plenty of grass and algae in approximately 5 to 20 feet.
As a side note, AZGFD gave Apache Lake a smallmouth boost at the end of October month, but the fish may have a slight drawl and will often crowd around bass boats playing Willie Nelson music – the bronzebacks are coming from Texas.
Don’t forget that Apache Lake is also being stocked with rainbow trout this winter. Surveys also show that Apache has decent populations of largemouth bass. Bass plus stocked trout often equal good swim bait fishing opportunities.
Another winter fishing opportunity to put into your calendar is the Welcome Back the Trout celebration at Tempe Town Lake on the Tuesday just before Thanksgiving. We time the event for the late afternoon when the kids are out of school. It’s a ball. Come join us.
Go out and catch some memories (you might shoot a few too). Good luck and maybe I’ll see you out there.
Editor’s Note: Visit azbw.com for the remainder of Rory Aikens’ last October fishing report.