AZGFD Fish Report Excerpts
Heavy Run-Off Fills Many Arizona Lakes
March 1, 2017
Tip Of The Week
Three years ago, the world record redear sunfish was taken out of Lake Havasu. Hector Brito caught a 5.80-pound redear sunfish on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014.
Redear sunfish have grown to trophy size in Lake Havasu. Many are in the 2-pound range and larger are regularly caught at this 19,300-acre impoundment on the Colorado River, formed by Parker Dam.
Bluegill and redear can be caught around structure such as docks, vegetation, or artificial structure using mealworms, nightcrawlers, or small crappie jigs.
The Reel Deal
The big news recently has been heavy run-off and high water levels that have resulted in refilled lakes such as Kaibab Lake near Williams, which has filled for the first time in two years. Ashurst Lake, pictured, is full.
Fishing likely will be unpredictable with changing conditions. Fish react to conditions and anglers must react to the fish. Anchor up to this rule: Find the bait, find the fish.
Water has been being let out of Horseshoe Lake, and Bartlett Lake is now full (or more).
With some stable weather, the time could be prime for great striper fishing at lakes such as Pleasant, Mead and Mohave. Finally, at Pena Blanca Lake, the lake is full and water quality problems have improved - trout stockings have finally been underway. It was scheduled to be stocked the week of Feb. 27.
In early February, these lakes were stocked: Saguaro Lake, Canyon Lake, Fortuna Pond, La Paz County Park Lagoon, and Pond, Cluff Res. #3, Roper Lake, Dankworth Ponds, - Goldwater (upper), Dead Horse Lake, andVerde River (middle).
More recently, the stocking schedule included the Dead Horse lakes, Goldwater Lake, Saguaro Lake, Red Mountain Lake, Cluff Pond, Dankworth Pond, Parker Canyon Lake, and Roper Lake.
Filling And Spilling: Flagstaff Area Lakes Highest In Years
A recent influx of snow and subsequent run-off is giving many Flagstaff area lakes a refill. During the past two years, water levels at Kaibab Lake near Williams had been far too low to stock fish. Thanks to recent heavy rains, the lake (pictured) is full and spilling.
All lakes in the Flagstaff region are ice free. The Arizona Game and Fish Department will not be stocking all lakes, and the ones that will be stocked will not get fish until after March 1.
Some Other Updates From This Region
Dogtown Lake, near Kaibab on the south side of I-40, should be full. Anglers who can get into Dogtown might catch some of the holdover rainbows and browns since spring fishing can be pretty good. The lake has probably picked up 10 to 11 feet of depth since December and so the fishing might be a little slow, but the trout should be feeding.
Ashurst Lake is full. The road to Ashurst Lake remains closed and is very muddy and there are some heavy snow drifts.
Upper Lake Mary is about 1 foot from spilling (up 6 inches since Tuesday) and Lower Lake Mary is about 1/3 to 1/2 full. If more moisture comes this weekend, Upper Lake Mary will probably spill into Lower Lake Mary - and so it might fill this year.
Frances Short Pond will be stocked with the normal weekly stockings starting in March. Anglers should be able to catch fish at Frances Short right now since they were catching them before it iced over (and since it was full at that time, the fish-to-water ratio is the same.)
For all of the other lakes, until we can stock, the fishing will probably be somewhat poor.