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Arizona Fishing Report

Courtesy of Arizona Fish & Game
Posted November 1, 2017


Editor’s note: The AZGFD fishing report is a free resource meant to inform anglers, and remember that nothing beats spending time on the water to figure out what’s biting. Help us keep these reports fresh for your fellow anglers by sending your reports and photos to BFishing – one will be selected for Catch of the Week.

Finally, reports from guides, tackle shops or angler groups are not endorsements.

OK, on to the  full report.


Central Waters

(Updated Oct. 26; Editor Nick Walter, 623-236-7214)

LAKE PLEASANT – (Lake elevation 1,664 feet, 60 % full).

Carmen from the Hook Up Outfitters said water temperatures have been in the low-70s and largemouth action has been picking up as we head into a fall-time bite. Largemouth have been hitting top-water lures such as Zara Spooks, not only during the first light but from mid-morning until the early afternoon as well. A dropshot rig  and paddletail swimbaits also continue to be effective for largemouth.

Striped bass are primarily in 20-60 feet of water — along with shad — and are mainly suspending on main lake points on drop-offs and can be caught on A-rigs, paddletail swimbaits, as spoons and spin baits.

Shad have usually been in 30 feet of water in main lake areas, although sometimes move outside of the northern coves.

Scotter Griffith from  The Arizona Fishing Guides  said striped and largemouth bass fishing has been on fire during mornings when anglers chase boils and throw Arizona Custom Baits, ringtail swimbaits on a 1/4-ounce jighead in northern coves.

ROOSEVELT LAKE — (2,112 feet, 58-percent full).

Nov. 2 report from Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods:

Fishing overall on Roosevelt and Apache lakes is being called excellent by local anglers. Bass continue to feed heavily on shad and crawfish which are abundant in the lakes right now. Bass are beginning to move to deeper water in some areas of the lake. A few anglers are using Trendsetter jigs and traditional casting spoons to target these deeper water bass. Fishing for these deep water schools of bass is great fun and can be very productive when the conditions are favorable. The two preferred techniques are to make a long cast and let the bait fall on a taunt line in a pendulum motion. The other is to drop the bait vertically and jig it up and down at the proper depth. Many reaction baits are continuing to produce good numbers of bass. These baits include crank-baits, spider-baits, Flukes and chatter-baits. Drop-shot and Texas-rig techniques are also successful for bass in the 20 to 25 foot depth range. The current water temperature and pending colder water temperature are major contributors to making these successful fishing conditions. In addition, some experienced anglers feel that the current full moon phase (Nov. 3rd) enhances fishing conditions during morning and evening low light conditions.

Roosevelt Lake level is at 58% full and has been at that level for the past several weeks. The water temperature is in the high 60’s in the mornings increasing to the low 70’s during the warmest time of the day. The Salt River is flowing at about 50% of the normal rate for this time of year, however, the Tonto Creek is not flowing.  Many anglers are hoping for a wet winter which will benefit Roosevelt Lake with a higher water level next spring.

Local crappie anglers are reporting fair to good fishing conditions. Curt Rambo of Tonto Basin, credits the stable weather and the water level for the recent success of crappie anglers. Crappie are in larger schools this time of year and when a school is located, several can be caught in a short period of time. A vertical fishing technique is producing good numbers of crappie in depths from 20 to 30 feet. On a recent trip, three crappie anglers reported catching  limits after fishing for just a couple hours using a Lil’ Fishy bait on a small, weighted jig-head hook.


SAGUARO LAKE – The lake is 1,525 feet (94-percent full).

Gary Senft, a Bass Pro at the Mesa Bass Pro Shops, has had success catching big largemouth bass near the river, or up the river, where there is more current and fresher water coming to, or from, Canyon Lake. He used Texas-rigged baby brush hogs in watermelon candy. See a how-to video, “Return to the land of giant bass,” of Senft fishing the lake during a recent weekend.

Other anglers in the same areas reported having success fishing frogs  again the tules, buzzbaits over grass or 10-foot diving crankbaits. Most anglers have success using dropshot-rigged Roboworms.

Scooter Griffith from The Arizona Fishing Guides reported Thursday, Sept. 14 that the largemouth bass bite during the day is still pretty good — it’s been a consistent bite around shallow, grass areas. Continue throwing frogs, and deep-diving crankbaits as the sun gets higher.

Yellow bass is an option if the largemouth bass are finicky. Try nightcrawlers on dropshot rigs.


Flathead catfishing also is excellent. Fish shallow during the nighttime with bluegill or carp as bait. This is the time the flatheads fatten up for the winter.


Note: The Arizona Catfish Conservation Association, a 501c3 non-profit club based in Arizona, is asking anyone who catches a tagged flathead or channel catfish at Lake Pleasant or Bartlett Lake to note the number of the tag, along with any other information such as weight, length or girth, GPS coordinates (if available) and then visit

BARTLETT LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,782 feet, feet, 78 % full.

The water level has dropped 3 feet during the past week. Gary Senft, Bass Pro at the the Mesa Bass Pro Shops, fished the lake Saturday, Nov. 21. Water temperature was 72-73 degrees. Successful baits during the morning for largemouth bass were Texas rigged brush hogs in watermelon and green pumpkin in 4-16 feet of water, as well as square-bill crankbaits and smaller, 4- to 6-foot divers.  Another successful bait has been a 4 1/2-inch watermelon flick shake plastic worm in watermelon red.

Scooter Griffith of The Arizona Fishing Guides said Thursday, Oct. 12 the lake is great for high numbers of largemouth bass with a few big fish being caught. The top-water bite is good all day long in the main lake as well as the dropshot rig off main lake points.

Flathead catfishing also can be excellent. Fish shallow during the nighttime with bluegill or carp as bait.

Don’t forget the Bartlett Lake Marina is now open. See or contact 480-221-0503 for more information.

Note: The Arizona Catfish Conservation Association, a 501c3 non-profit club based in Arizona, is asking anyone who catches a tagged flathead or channel catfish at Lake Pleasant or Bartlett Lake to note the number of the tag, along with any other information such as weight, length or girth, GPS coordinates (if available) and then visit

CANYON LAKE – Lake level is 1,656 feet (94-percent full.)

Some anglers are having success casting crankbaits to the shore in 15-20 feet of water. Scooter Griffith from The Arizona Fishing Guides said Thursday, Sept. 14 that largemouth bass fishing has been great at night in the shallow grass and during the day a little deeper around 15 feet  on grass lines with a drposhot or moving baits, such as crankbaits.

A fishing pier is now open to the public as of Aug. 21 at the Boulder recreation site of Canyon Lake.

Located in the Tonto National Forest’s Canyon Lake, the Boulder recreation site is 15 miles northeast of Apache Junction on State Route 88.

The pier is the culmination of a joint effort between the U.S. Forest Service, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Canyon Lake Marina to remove the original, 20-plus-year-old pier damaged by storms during the summer of 2015 and replace it with a modern pier.

Funding for the pier came from Forest Service fees collected at developed recreation sites, such as picnic areas, campgrounds and boat launch areas.

APACHE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,906 feet (92-percent full).

Gary Senft reported that crankbaits and reaction baits have been slow for him, with the best bite for bass coming on plastics on a dropshot or Texas rig, as well as Texas-rigged Yamoto jigs.

Apache is also full of some really nice yellow bass. Fish deep with gold KastMasters or yellow/gold Rooster Tails.

COMMUNITY FISHING WATERS — Trout return to Phoenix and Tucson area waters the week of Nov. 16! The final catfish stocking is this week into “core” waters — that includes new water Greenfield Pond in Mesa, where on Saturday there is scheduled a grand opening event.

See the latest Community fishing news. There won’t be stockings at Rio Vista Pond in Peoria or Steele Indian School in Scottsdale. The program has added two new waters — Show Low Creek and Greenfield Pond.

HORSESHOE LAKE – Lake elevation is 1,971 feet (8-percent full).

When the lake is full, there are a lot of spawning fish. No new reports.

LOWER SALT RIVER – On Tuesday afternoon, the river was flowing at 10 cfs out of Stewart Mountain. The river is scheduled to be stocked with rainbow trout the week of Oct. 30. Try nightcrawlers, small spinners, Kastmasters and flies in this unique desert river trout fishery. You might be able to catch some bass or sunfish in the deeper holes.


Creeks below the Mogollon Rim

Angler Report:

East Verde River

Max: Fished both the headwaters and the main stem near second crossing this morning (oct. 26). Fishing was slow, but the two non-fingerlings I did catch were excellent. Most my bites were on a copper john. A couple of pictures are attached.

Stream trout stockings have ended but trout fishing on the Rim streams remains good. On the right day, anglers can have a stream all to themselves. Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods reported that stream anglers are reporting having the streams to themselves or sharing a stretch of water with only one other angler. A Copper John fly in a mayfly nymph pattern, Rooster-tails and PowerBait were all reported successful.

Arizona fishing report: The Reel Deal

The transition to fall fishing is here as nighttime air temperatures  are forecast to drop into the high-50s in desert regions and mid-30s in high elevation areas such as Pinetop by next week.

Top picks for the weekend are trout-stocked waters such as Goldwater Lake in Prescott. Water temperatures at mid-elevation lakes such as Goldwater and Lynx are down to the mid-60s and falling — great for trout fishing.
We’ve also recently stocked Rose Canyon Lake (56-degree water temp) and Parker Canyon Lake (67) in the Tucson area, Green Valley lakes in Payson,  Lynx  Lake in the Prescott area, Oak Creek and the Lower Salt River.

In the White Mountains region
, consider fishing the Show Low Creek meadows at the Show Low Bluff trailhead and Patterson Ponds in St Johns, which were both stocked with rainbow trout two weeks ago and will be excellent after both are stocked again this week.

Brown trout are still active
at the Greer Lakes, Chevelon Lake, and the East Fork Black River.


Bass fishing is picking up, and at Bartlett Lake in the Tonto National Forest, this is the time of year your favorite bass rig could do some damage (try top-water lures, crankbaits, Texas-rigged brush hogs or dropshot-rigged Roboworms). Water temperatures are in the low-70s.  Take a kid and go.

Battle of the Alamo

Alamo Lake is up 30-plus feet from last year and the fish seem to be fat and healthy. Water temperatures are in the low 70s and the largemouth bass and black crappie are biting pretty good. Read a full angler report.

Greenfield Pond in Mesa to open Saturday

Located just north of Water Ranch Lake in Gilbert, Greenfield will be stocked with catfish prior to its opening on Saturday.

A Greenfield Pond Grand Opening event will be held 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the park on  4105 E. Diamond Ave. in Mesa. The event includes a free fishing clinic (no license required for those who register; bait and loaner rods provided).

Catch of the Week

Send your fishing reports and photos to —
one will be selected as Catch of the Week.

Woods Canyon Lake


Scott S. III with his first rainbow trout caught in early October.

See previous Angler Reports

Fishing license reminder

Need a license? Or did it expire? Get one online, 24/7

Stocking reports

By  Sunday, we’re scheduled to have stocked the following this week (sign up for I Support Wildlife for up-to-date and confirmed stocking reports):


Show Low Creek (above average), Oak Creek, Patterson Ponds (St. Johns).


“Core” Community waters.

Wet Beaver Creek, West Clear Creek, Goldwater Lake, Lower Salt River.

Previous stockings

Rainbow trout

Oct. 27 — Mingus Lake, Fain Lake.  Oct. 24 — Rose Canyon Lake, Parker Canyon Lake.

See all the stocking schedules


Family fishing events

At these free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required for those who register during event hours.


Chandler Safety Days Youth and Family Fishing. 8 a.m. – noon. Veterans Oasis Park 4050 E Chandler Heights Rd. Chandler.

Greenfield Pond Grand Opening event, Mesa, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m.,  4105 E. Diamond Ave., Mesa.

See a full events schedule.

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