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AZGFD Report

It's Trout Time In The High Country


November 15, 2014

Tip Of The Week

For rainbow trout in the high country, PowerBait and worms are still the best baits, but trout are also more willing to chase down a lure in these cooler water temperatures than they would during the warm summer months. You can cover a lot of ground by casting a Panther Martin spinner or Kastmaster.

Some anglers choose to fish bait on one rod while casting a lure with a second rod to find what the fish are hitting. The new license structure allows the use of two rods with any fishing or combo license.

The Reel Deal

Trout time, it is.

Rainbow trout were just stocked into Beaver Creek, Verde River, Deadhorse lakes, Lynx Lake, Goldwater Lake, Fain Lake, Patagonia Lake, Pena Blanca Lake, Cluff Ranch, Dankworth Pond, Roper Lake and Graham County Fairgrounds Pond.

Also, trout were stocked into Apache Lake, Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake. Many anglers like to throw big rainbow trout imitation swimbaits for a chance at lunker largemouth bass.

Goughnour Tips

Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods offered the following tips. Trout fishing around piers and docks on these lakes can be lots of fun for a family fishing day. For bass anglers, it means there are a few weeks of exciting fishing before the water turns too cold for bass to chase these trout. In the meantime, imitation trout swimbaits can catch giant-sized bass if conditions are right.

From a bass perspective, one trout can equal a thousand shad, so it's not hard to figure out why bass pursue them. The water temperatures on these lakes right now is in the low 70s and as soon as the temperature drops to 50 degrees, the bass metabolism slows to where they can no longer chase trout effectively.

Canyon Lake can be an excellent spot to kayak-fish and sneak up on bass. It's also time for a last fall fishing excursion to the White Mountains and Mogollon Rim Lakes.

Lopez Report

Mike Lopez, our Fish Program Manager out of Pinetop, had the following details to report.

Water temperatures are in the 50s in most of the lakes in the White Mountains and Rim Lakes as the days get shorter and nights get colder, with the higher elevation lakes in the low 50s and the lower elevation lakes in the high 50s.

This is the ideal temperature range for trout and they should be very active trying to put on weight before winter sets in.

Trout fishing has picked up dramatically at a number of lakes, including Big Lake, Nelson Reservoir, Woods Canyon Lake, Luna Lake, Chevelon Lake, and River Reservoir. Very large trout were found at several lakes surveyed in October, including Carnero Lake, Becker Lake, Crescent Lake, and even Lee Valley Lake.

Water temperatures are cooler because the air temperatures are dropping, but there is little difference between the water temperature at the surface and the water temperature in deep water, so trout can be found at any depth this time of year.

Thermoclines in deeper lakes have also broken down, so the deep water that had no oxygen during the summer now has as good of water quality as that at the surface. Trout will be where the food is located now that they aren't limited by water quality (oxygen, temperature, pH).

If they are feeding on zooplankton, they will be in the upper layers of a lake where the sunlight penetrates well. Or, they will be at the surface if feeding on hatching insects. Or, they will be on the bottom if feeding on crayfish, scuds, or midge larvae. Or, they will be along the shoreline if feeding on minnows. Fish at different depths and locations until you catch a fish, then keep fishing that depth to catch more.

Brown Trout Spawning Season

This is also the season of spawning brown trout. Wild brown trout can be found in Chevelon Canyon Lake and River Reservoir because they are able to spawn in the rivers that enter those lakes. You can usually find brown trout anywhere in the lake, but near the incoming river is obviously a good place to start this time of year. Large brown trout prefer fish and crayfish to eat, so using lures and large streamers that imitate fish and crayfish are usually productive. Brown trout are usually more active as it gets dark as well, thus staying that extra hour at the end of the fishing day could really pay off. But make sure you are prepared, as the air temperatures drop quickly as the sun sets.

Thank You, Anglers!

Arizona fishing opportunities wouldn't be possible without the Sport Fish Restoration Program. It was created through the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950 (Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act) and the Wallop-Breaux amendments of 1984.

Through a federal excise tax paid by manufacturers on fishing gear and motorboat fuels, it provides grant funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.

Catch A License

Good luck fishing, and remember that buying a license online helps conserve wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations. Help yourself and your loved ones.


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