Times Spent Outdoors: Priceless!

AZGFD Report Excerpts - As Weather Cools, Some Good Catches Reported

Anglers give special thanks to the regional report editors.

Tip Of The Week

At Apache Lake, anglers have been catching a high number of largemouth bass in the 1-2-pound range on Lucky Craft rip baits.

The Reel Deal

Some reported hot spots have been Bartlett Lake for largemouth bass, Lake Pleasant for flathead catfish, and Kinnikinick Lake for brown and rainbow trout.

Kudos to Rich Griner of Queen Creek, who caught this 26-inch, 8.6-pound rainbow trout from Canyon Creek on a worm in mid-November.

Griner said his fish was caught upstream of the hatchery bridge within the stocked section. Canyon Creek has a catch-and-release, fly/lure single barbless-only section from the OW Bridge downstream.

But, Griner said he was not fishing this section. The fish is a new Big Fish of the Year catch-and-keep leader in the trout category.

Don't forget to check the Arizona Game & Fish's winter trout-stocking schedule before planning a trout excursion.

Check The Roads Before You Go

Of course, winter weather can be detrimental to travel. Motorists traveling in Arizona's high country need to be aware of some annual closings. Be sure to check the Arizona Department of Transporation Web site for the latest road closures.

Crappies Worth A Shot

In the desert impoundments, consider targeting sporting crappie populations at Alamo, Bartlett and Roosevelt. Doesn't sound like banner crappie-fishing conditions yet - but it's worth a shot.

As the water temperatures lower, the crappie will congregate into large schools in open water that can be up to 50 feet deep or so. The crappie formations, or schools, look like inverted pyramids (or Christmas trees if you like), with the most active fish at the top, around 15 or 20 feet deep. Catch a window of stable weather for crappie fishing.

The two primary strategies for catching these crappie are to use your fish finder, locate a school, sit over it, and slowly jig a 1/16- or even a 1/32-ounce jighead with curly tail or other small grub, Roadrunner or maybe a marabou jig.

The other is slow trolling (1.5 mph) crappie jigs or even small crankbaits. Or combine the two - trolling until you get a bite, then vertically jig.

At The Salt River-Chain Lakes

At the Salt River-chain lakes (as in this Canyon Lake photowhere an angler on braves a cold, windy day in mid-November), there's a shot at catching a lunker largemuth bass on a rainbow-trout swimbait.

Respect The Bald Eagles

Finally, outdoor recreationists are reminded to avoid bald-eagle closure areas during breeding season.

Each year as part of its highly successful program to manage and conserve bald eagles in the state, the Arizona Game and Fish Department asks outdoor recreationists and aircraft pilots to help protect important eagle breeding areas by honoring the closure of 23 areas across the state.

Various land and wildlife management agencies close the breeding areas for part of the year to protect the state's 55 breeding pairs of bald eagles. Some of the closure areas are located near popular recreation sites, or in the airspace above.

In December, Arizona bald eagles begin rebuilding nests in preparation for laying eggs. Bald eagles nest, forage and roost at the rivers and lakes that have become some of Arizona's most popular recreation spots, and this time of year can be challenging for the birds. Leaving the nest for only a short time can render the eggs not viable.

More On Arizona Fishing

See our Fish&Boat Arizona map for directions to our state's primary fisheries. See the full report for more details, and please share your fishing memories and pictures with us at BFishing@AZGFD.gov.

Don't forget that buying a license online helps support the Department's mission to conserve wildlife for future generations. We do not receive Arizona tax dollars, so in order to make sure wildlife is available long term, we need to spread the word that our funding comes from a user-pay, public-benefit model, primarily from license sales, excise taxes, boat/OHV registrations and decals, and a few other sources such as the Heritage Fund.

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.

Thank you, anglers!

Behind The Scenes

All of us who look forward to the weekly fishing reports from Arizona Game & Fish are grateful to the following report editors, who process and convey the news from our favorite fishing venues. Contact any of these editors when you have questions or information for their respective areas of our state.

Thank you to Nick Walter, (623) 236-7214; Mike Lopez, Pinetop Region, (928) 532-3692; Chuck Benedict, Flagstaff Region, (928) 774-5045; Gregg Cummins, Kingman Region, (928) 692-7700; Russ Engel, Yuma Region, (928) 342-0091; Don Mitchell, (520) 388-4451, and Bryant Dickens, Mesa Region, (480) 324-3544.


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