Fishing Tips And Upcoming Events
Stockings, Bait, Tackle: All Are Geared To Reel You In
December 1, 2023
Now that the weather is cooler, the fishing is starting to heat up! It's that time of year when cold water fishing really starts to take off, so make sure you have your gear in order. Whether you are new to fishing or are a seasoned angler, here are a few tips to make sure your gear is ready for the fall.
If you are new to fishing and are looking for a rod and reel for cold water fishing, I would recommend a 7-foot, medium-power, fast-action spinning rod with a 2500-size spinning reel. This rod is the jack of all trades and will be able to do just about any kind of fishing you can find here in Arizona. Some of my favorite baits for trout are salmon eggs, corn, and PowerBait with a few split-shots 18 inches up the line. If artificial lures are more your thing, targeting trout this time of year can be very effective with ¼ oz. Kastmasters, 3-1⁄8'' Rapala X Rap, and ⅛-ounce Marabou Jigs. For trout and other cold water species, you should use a 6- to 8-pound fluorocarbon or monofilament line.
Speaking of line, line weakens and deteriorates over time and the last thing you want is to hook up on a fish and the line breaks. You should change out your line at least once a year to ensure that the line has not weakened. There is a good tutorial HERE if you haven't changed your line out before.
For all the fly fishers out there, fly line also deteriorates over time and it may be time to replace that old line on your rod and reel. Fly line does tend to last longer than normal fishing line if it is taken care of and maintained; however, changing line every two to three years is typically a good Idea. Visit your local fly shop and they will be happy to help you in selecting the correct line and spooling it on your reel. Some of my favorite flies for the colder months are Thin Mints in a size 8-10, Simi-Seal leeches in a size 8-10, and Jujubee midges in sizes 18-22.
The FishAZ Network is filled with events for all skill levels by a variety of great partners. For an up-to-date list of events, visit https://register-ed.com/programs/arizona/239-fishaz-network.
A Good Example -
Saturday, Dec. 2, 9-11 a.m. - Salt River Saturdays River Cleanup, Trout Unlimited Zane Grey Chapter, Blue Point Recreation Area on the Salt River, Fort McDowell. The Zane Grey Chapter of Trout Unlimited is joining with the Arizona FishAZ Network and presenting "Salt River Saturdays." We are continuing our conservation efforts by asking everyone to collect a net full of trash (#cleanmywater). What to bring: rod, waders, net and flies (Green Weenie's, small black Zebra Midges, Pheasant Tails, green, black and yellow Wooly Worms and Wooly Bggers). Make sure you have a Tonto National Forest Pass, as well as a valid Arizona fishing license. You can get an Arizona fishing license at http://www.azgfd.gov. To register, visit https://www.register-ed.com/events/view/205391. Other cleanup dates will be Jan. 6, Jan. 20, Feb. 3, Feb. 17, March 2, March 16, and April 6.
Rose Canyon Lake Restrictions Extended For Two More Years
Lake remains open for fishing but not swimming and boating.
The Coronado National Forest has extended the existing prohibition on swimming and boating at Rose Canyon Lake for two more years to protect public health and safety and the environmental quality of Rose Canyon Lake, which serves as a fishery. The lake is still open to fishing from shore, walking around the lake, or camping in the nearby campground. The prohibition on swimming and boating is in effect through Oct. 22, 2025.
Volunteers Sought For Upcoming Lake Habitat Improvement Projects
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is seeking volunteers for two upcoming aquatic habitat projects in January.
Roosevelt Lake – Jan. 20
AZGFD will be installing donated Christmas Trees into Roosevelt Lake on Saturday, Jan. 20 starting at 9 a.m. Meeting location may be the boat ramp or TBD (will be updated on the volunteer event posting). We will be tying trees to cinderblocks and loading them up on department pontoons to distribute around the lake. Volunteers will be able to help build and deploy trees. AZGFD will provide gloves for those that need them, along with the habitat supplies to get the trees ready to deploy. Volunteers should bring their own water, food, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, and should wear closed-toed shoes and clothes appropriate for January weather. The project is anticipated to be finished around 2-3 p.m. If you have questions, please email Lacey Schmitt at LSchmitt@azgfd.gov or Nathan Bailey at NBailey@azgfd.gov. To register, visit https://volunteer.azgfd.gov/need/detail/?need_id=873421.
Apache Lake – Jan. 26 and 27
AZGFD will be placing Mossback Safe Haven and Georgia Cube fish habitat structures into Apache Lake on Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27. Work one or both days (separate registrations below). Plan on meeting at 9 a.m. at Burnt Corral Boat Ramp. Each day we will work most of the day, hopefully finishing by 2 or 3 p.m. Volunteers will be constructing habitat and assisting with loading it onto department boats for installation. This activity will include the use of some power tools such as drills, so small children will likely not be able to participate in this event. However, we welcome ages 10+ to come help out and see what we do. Volunteers should bring their own water, food, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, and will want to wear closed toed shoes and clothes appropriate for January weather. If you have any questions, please email Lacey Schmitt at LSchmitt@azgfd.gov or Nathan Bailey at NBailey@azgfd.gov. To register for the Friday, Jan. 26 work day, visit
https://volunteer.azgfd.gov/need/detail/?need_id=873889. To register for the Saturday, Jan. 27 work day, visit
Head Out To Woods Canyon And Willow Springs Lakes To Fish
Good article by Jim Strogen in the Payson Roundup titled "Head out to Woods Canyon and Willow Springs lakes this fall to fish." As the water in these lakes cools in the later stages of fall, the trout move to shallower water and become fun to catch with a fly, sometimes little more than a rod's distance from the bank. "I usually start to head up to both lakes in mid October, but the fishing gets even better into mid and late November, all the way until ice-up," he says.
Stockings, Bait, Tackle: All Are Geared To Reel You In
As the weather cools, fishing warms up.
Community Fishing Program Update
The Community Fishing Program (CFP) finished catfish stockings for the season the week of Nov. 7. Trout will be returning to CFP waters in Phoenix, Tucson and Safford the week of Dec. 4-8. AZGFD will be stocking various CFP waters each week through the end of February. Visit the CFP stocking schedule for details.
Renovations at Roadrunner Pond in Phoenix should be finishing up and refilling is expected to occur sometime in January. Eldorado Pond in Scottsdale is still undergoing renovations with no specific completion date. Trout stocking has been underway since mid October for CFP waters in Prescott Valley, Payson, Show Low, and St. Johns.
Frances Short Pond Refilled And Stocked For First Time Since 2022 Pipeline Fire
Francis Short Pond in Flagstaff has been refilled and stocked with trout. The pond was drained in summer 2022 after monsoonal rains following the Pipeline Fire flushed thousands of cubic yards of ash, debris and sediment into the pond, resulting in a complete fish kill due to low dissolved oxygen.
The City of Flagstaff worked tirelessly to remove over 5,000 cubic yards of debris during the summer of 2023. It repaired and installed a new aeration system that not only runs on solar power, but is also hooked up to main electrical power. The new aeration system has the capacity to provide dissolved oxygen to the pond 24 hours a day, particularly overnight when it is the most critical time for fish survival.
The pond was refilled with Class A reclaimed water by the City of Flagstaff in early October 2023, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Page Springs Hatchery stocked 500 rainbow trout on Nov. 8 and again on Nov. 20.
Fishing has been good using flies (#12 Prince Nymphs and #10 Simi-seal leeches) and lures (1/8-ounce Panther Martins and Kastmasters). The limit is 2 bass minimum size 13 inches, the limit is 4 channel catfish, the limit is 5 sunfish, the limit is 4 trout. Surface temperature was 46.5 F, pH 7.75, D.O. 7.2, Secchi Depth 1 meter (3.28 feet) on 11/6/2023.