AZGFD Offers Fish Tips, 'New News'
'Catch a tiger by the tail' takes on new meaning for Arizona anglers.
February 1, 2016
Alamo Lake can be a crappie hot spot this time of the year. Heavy rains might delay the great winter crappie bite, but it bodes well for the lake's productivity.
Catfishing can still be excellent. These voracious channel catfish at Alamo routinely feed on shad. Try live minnows on the bottom or drop-shot style just off the bottom.
The Reel Deal
Water temperatures across the state have dropped to their winter standards, and rain and snow has slowed or stalled driving in the high country. Be sure to check the Arizona Department of Transportation Web site for the latest road conditions.
Also, boaters must use caution when fishing some of our high-inflow lakes such as Roosevelt Lake, where some boating hazards, including some full-size trees, had been knocked into the lake.
Okay, ready for some winter fishing? First, anglers can pick a species to target, then figure out where you'll go and how you'll fish 'em. Here are some updates on a few popular species to target:
It's a great time to take on our Arizona Trout Challenge and explore some new waters. Also, we've recently stocked larger-than-usual fish into Community Fishing Program lakes and ponds: 13-16 inches in length, and averaging 1 pound or greater
Also, our expansion waters last week received bonus trout. These waters were Friendship Pond, Avondale; Bonsall Pond, Glendale; Roadrunner Pond, Phoenix; McQueen Pond, Gilbert; Freestone Ponds, Gilbert; Discovery Ponds, Gilbert; Dave White Park Pond, Casa Grande, and Pacana Park Pond, Maricopa.
It's not an easy time to catch bass, so know your winter tactics. With typical wintertime water temperatures (surface temperature in the desert lakes are in the low-50s) a largemouth bass becomes lethargic and may feed once at first light and be satisfied for a couple days.
This isn't to say avoid bass fishing. Just be prepared. Consider that about 10 percent of largemouth bass in our lakes will be staying shallow, or within the first 10 feet of the bank, throughout the day. As the sun comes up, many will travel deep where they might settle into a comfortable 66 degrees (say, 25 feet down.)
This also is where the shad have been. In fact, as has been pointed out by Gary Senft, Bass Pro at the Mesa Bass Pro Shops, the deeper the water, the more plentiful the bait.
Target points, humps, reefs and islands. And fish slowly. For example, creep a dropshot-rigged Roboworm (bass may be eating a lot of orange and red colors, such as Salt River craw) along the bottom. Wait for a possible, subtle bite as the bait is falling.
This is where bite-feeling techniques such as holding or thumbing your line as the bait is falling can be critical to catching a bass. Also, this is when having better gear such as fluorocarbon line and sensitive rod tips can make a big difference. Check online about the advantages of having tungsten weights.
Recent storms haven't helped crappie fishing. Crappie prefer stable weather and clear water. Expect crappie fishing to pick back up at crappie hot spots Roosevelt Lake and Alamo Lake in the next weeks. (Apache Lake was a crappie hot spot this time last year.)
Your Fishing License
Although this is the time many anglers renew their licenses, our licenses are valid for 365 years from the date of purchase. Buy your license online and fish our great state for a year (and help conserve all species of wildlife while doing so).
Latest From The Fish AZ Blog
"Rebounding fishery at Roosevelt: October survey shows spikes in juvenile bass" is good, no great news.
Early indications give a shred of hope for a robust population of catchable (8-10-inch bass) by next fall, and, in four to five years, the hope that trophy bass will be available at this rejuvenating fishery. These Florida-strain stockings, coupled with increased rainfall and an upcoming habitat-improvement project, has the lake on its way back as a premier bass fishing lake in Arizona.
Tiger Trout Are Coming To Town (from Nick Walter)
Wondering where to catch some unique trout species? Try Arizona. Tiger trout are being raised at the Tonto Creek Hatchery near Payson, Ariz., and are scheduled to be stocked into select Arizona high country waters this spring.
Soon, rising to the surface at the end of some Arizona anglers' lines, will be trout with wild and wavy patterns - almost like a tiger. For the first time in Arizona, the Arizona Game and Fish Department will be stocking tiger trout, adding an additional opportunity to your Arizona trout fishing menu.
Scheduled to be stocked in late April or early May, the tiger trout is a brown-brook trout hybrid, and as a result of this forced hybrid cross, will be unable to reproduce. Typically as tiger trout grow - by spring these stockers will average about 10 inches in total length - their wormy patterns become more pronounced.
But don't wait until then - this is still an ideal time of the year to trout fish in Arizona, especially at our Community Fishing Program waters. So, grab a fishing license online if you need one and entice some trout to bite.
Where Arizona Trout Anglers Can Tame The Tigers
The Department acquired around 18,000 tiger trout fingerlings at no cost (besides gas costs used to pick them up) from Utah Division of WIldlife Resources this past July. The trout are being reared at the Tonto Creek Hatchery. The Department plans on stocking the trout into the following Mogollon Rim/White Mountains lakes: Becker, Carnero, Willow Springs and Woods Canyon.
Woods Canyon Lake near Payson, Ariz., will be one lake to receive tiger trout beginning in late spring or early May. Special regulations apply at Becker and Carnero: artificial lure and fly (single barbless hooks) only and, at Carnero, a two-trout daily bag limit. It is catch-and-release only at Becker.
At Woods and Willow Springs, where higher numbers of tiger trout are expected to be stocked, the standard six-trout aggregate bag limit applies. (Bait is allowed.)
How To Catch Tiger Trout
Eye of the tiger – "From what I've read, people typically fly fish for tiger trout and they're pretty aggressive," said Mike Lopez, the Department's Pinetop region Fish Program manager. "They're probably more like a brown, so lures and flies should work well – something imitating a small fish."
In other words, when it comes to angling action, "They're grrrrreat." (Just had to do that.)
Public fishing events are a great way to learn how to fish with your family and friends, or compete in a local tournament and show off your skills.
Often during Arizona Game and Fish Department free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required to those who register. Unplug kids and get them hooked on fishing!
For more information on the following events, please contact the Sport Fishing Education Program at (623) 236-7240.
What: "Just for Kids" Fishing Festival
When: Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, 8 AM to noon
Where: Kiwanis Lake, 5500 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, 85283
Comments: This family event is co-sponsored by Arizona Game and Fish and Anglers United. Instructors will be on hand to provide loaner rods, as well as bait and fishing information. Come on out and bring the whole family. Fishing licenses are not required for those who register with AZGFD staff during the planned event. See you there!
What: Melrose on 7th Ave. Street Fair
When: Saturday, March 5, 2016, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Phoenix - Melrose District on 7th Avenue at Indian School north to Campbell
Comments: Join us in the Melrose District at the 7th Avenue Street Fair! The Arizona Game and Fish Department will have our kids fishing tank out for a day of fun! Game and Fish volunteers, as well as Phoenix Sportsman's Warehouse staff, will be on hand to assist anglers. Equipment and bait will be provided for this "catch-and-release only" activity. The entire event is free of charge!
Contact: For more information please contact the Sport Fishing Education Program at (623) 236-7240 or visit http://m7streetfair.com/
SOUTHWEST REGION (Yuma, Somerton)
What: Take-A-Kid Fishing Day
When: Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, 10 a..m. – 1:30 p.m.
Where: La Paz County Park , 7350 Riverside Dr., Parker, 85344
Comments: Please join the Arizona Game and Fish Department for the annual Take a Kid Fishing Day at La Paz County Park. Arizona Game and Fish Department will have loaner rods and reels available for use, and bait will be provided. During the clinic hours, individuals may fish without a license once they register with AZGFD. Volunteers will be available to provide assistance to novice anglers.