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AZGFD Fish Report (Dec.) Excerpts

Bartlett Lake Is Great For Winter Crappie, Bass


January 1, 2017

Tip Of The Week

Bartlett Lake in the Tonto National Forest can be a great place for winter crappie and bass. Some of the best crappie fishing can be done in the cold of the morning - then anglers can switch to bass. Consider throwing crankbaits and spinnerbaits with a slow presentation.

Trailers on spinnerbaits, and slow-rolling across the rock stringers, can work well at times. Once you get a feeling for where the bass are holding, switch to the finesse style of drop-shotting.

Did you know the Bartlett Lake Marina and restaurant are open for business? See their Web site for more information.

The Reel Deal

For six months, nights were becoming longer, peaking Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 3:44 a.m. - the first day of winter.

As we cross that peak and daytime gradually lengthens toward spring, it's time to focus on what species and waters are best for winter fishing. First, our Community Fishing Program waters are being stocked with trout. Second, we have some new fishing regulations coming into effect Jan. 1 - see article with the details in this issue.

Also, be sure to check the ADOT Web site for road conditions before traveling this weekend. Ice fishing is not recommended due to unstable conditions of ice. Please be cautious - we consider all ice unsafe.

Nets And Waders: Working For You

(This new section will periodically show what our fisheries biologists have been doing in the field to improve fishing in Arizona.)

We recently conducted our annual electro-fishing survey on the backwaters of the Imperial Division of the Colorado River to gather data on relative abundance, size, growth of fish and to detect any large-scale changes in the fish population.

The largemouth bass population appears to be doing well - the largest sampled was 23.9 inches and 9.5 pounds. More than 20 percent of the largemouth bass captured during the survey were 15 inches or larger. A high number of young-of-the-year largemouth were sampled as well - possibly an indication for a future robust population in this area.

A total of 2,235 fish were sampled at 17 survey stations - including 206 largemouth bass. Other species collected included bluegill and redear sunfish, black crappie, warmouth sunfish, threadfin shad, gizzard shad, blue tilapia, common carp, striped bass, flathead catfish, and channel catfish.

Stocking Report

• Tuesday, Dec. 20 - Cluff Reservoir, Roper Lake, Dankworth Ponds

• Monday, Dec. 19 - Deadhorse Lake, Verde River (middle), Fain Lake, Saguaro Lake, Colorado River • (3 spots from Rotary Park to Davis Camp)

• Thursday, Dec. 15 - Lower Salt River

FINALLY! - Jim E. is shown with the first keeper largemouth bass he's caught at Red Mountain Lake after 15 years of fishing this lake east of Mesa.

• Wednesday, Dec. 14 - "Core" Community fishing waters, Patterson Ponds (St. Johns), Patagonia Lake.

Catch Of The Week

Jim E. with the first keeper largemouth bass he'd caught at Red Mountain lake after 15 years of fishing this lake east of Mesa.

Send your Angler Reports to – one will be featured as "Catch of the Week".

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 funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.


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