Late spring on Arizona's desert lakes is one of my favorite times of the year to catch fish. Not only do I get to feel the fish take the bait, I get to watch the explosion of a fish breaking the surface to grab the bait. Even the wariest of fish can be fooled by a bait twitched on the surface of the water.
Most fish have made the transition from spawn to post-spawn. After a short recovery period the fish will begin to feed heavily on shad (threadfin shad are the predominant baitfish in our local lakes) to replenish the energy lost during the spawn. A dramatic shift in feeding behavior occurs this time of year. It can result in huge feeding frenzies near the surface. This is why topwater lures and jerkbaits begin to work so well in clear water. Be sure to choose colors like white and chrome to mimic the shad. If the water is stained or muddy, try a bright colored spinnerbait or crankbait.
To narrow the chase a little more, there are some good locations to target this time of year. Try near the backs of coves on secondary points and brushlines. Mainlake flats can also be good places to look.
Alamo Fishing is fair. Spinnerbaits are working well during low light hours. Flipping jigs and worms in heavy cover will produce during the day. Some crappie action has been reported.
Apache Fishing is sporadic. Cruise flats with topwaters and jerkbaits to locate a pack of active smallmouth for the best action at this lake.
Bartlett Fishing is fair. Try jerkbaits in submerged brush and artificial structure. Some crappie are being caught. Nighttime fishing is best.
Lake Pleasant Fishing is good. Soft jerkbaits and topwaters are working well. Also try small plastics on a split-shot rig. Follow schools of shad and you could find some tough-fighting white bass.
Roosevelt Fishing is good. Topwaters and jerkbaits are working well in clear water. Spinner baits should produce in stained areas of the lake. Crappie fishing is fair. Look for salt cedars in five to ten feet of water.
Saguaro Fishing is sporadic. Try fishing rough water with a big Rogue or Pointer 100.
San Carlos not available
Cliff's fishing tip of the week
As a bass fisherman, I'm almost always wearing polarized sunglasses when I'm on the water. This enables me to see through the glare on the surface of the water. One thing that I notice is bass often follow a jerkbait all the way back to the boat. It can be difficult to get these fish to bite before they see you, so most people have a tendency to stop the bait. Stopping the action of the bait rarely results in a hookup. If you spot a fish following, try adding some extra animation to the bait to make it appear to be getting away from the fish. Short quick snaps with the tip of your rod should provide the movement required. This draws their attention closer to the lure and away from the boat. The urgency often provokes a fish into striking the bait. It can also create a competition between several bass that might be following. When one fish makes a move the others surge in on the bait. Sometimes this trick is just what it takes to put these fish in the boat.
Clifford Pirch is the owner of Copper State Guide Services. He can be reached at (520) 978-3518.