Learning To Gauge Fish Behavior

FISH & TIPS

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Throughout any given day, a number of conditions can exist that play a role in fish behavior. As angles of the sun change or cloud cover moves through, conditions change. If wind directions shift or water discharge is turned on or off, conditions change.

Responding quickly to changing conditions is what can make or break a good day of fishing.

At Lake Pleasant last weekend, I found a pattern where fish were holding tight to wood cover and could be tricked by a lure that made contact with that cover. The sun was bright and still fairly high in the sky.

When the tournament started at 6 p.m., an hour or so later, a few small clouds had shaded the sun. I went back to the same area and even though I noticed the clouds, I continued to work tight to cover.

Unfortunately, the shade allowed the fish to venture out of the cover and disperse roaming the area.

It would have been smart for me to scrap the cover pattern and start covering water quickly to locate the school. But, stubbornly I stuck with the pattern because I thought it was the best chance to catch two or three big fish. Sometimes a gamble pays off, but this time it was the wrong choice.

By the time I gave up, it was getting dark and I was in for a long night of slow fishing.

Lake reports

Apache: Fishing is good. Fishing for smallmouth bass is your best bet for action. Small crawdad cranks and tube lures are a good choice. Catfishing has been good with live bait for flatheads in the 10- to 20-pound range. Look for banks that hold lots of bluegills.

Canyon: Fishing is fair. Topwater lures have been the best trick to catching stubborn bass. Some anglers have also had success with crankbaits in the morning hours.

Pleasant: Fishing is slow. Texas-rigged six-inch straight tail worms are your best bet for bass. Catfishing is the best thing going. Many flathead and channel catfish have been roaming shallow water after dark.

Roosevelt: Fishing is good. Look for fish to be feeding on shad near the surface during the early morning hours. Topwaters and crankbaits have been working well. Fishing with 7-inch straight tail worms has also been a good standby. Target water less than 15 feet for the best action.

Cliff's Tip of the Week

When you're faced with low light conditions, choose a lure that covers lots of water in search of roaming fish.

To go fishing with Clifford Pirch, or for any of your tackle needs, call (928) 978-3518. You can also e-mail any questions or comments to bassfishingaz@yahoo.com.

Other fishing spots

Mogollon Rim lakes

Chevelon Canyon: Fishing is fair to good. Anglers should try small lures such as Z-Rays, Panther Martin spinners, and rainbow-trout colored Rapalas. Small flies such as wooly worms, wooly buggers, and peacock ladies should work. Trout between 10 to 14 inches may not be possessed.

Bear Canyon: Fishing is fair to good. Anglers should try worms, Power Bait, salmon eggs, small lures and flies.

Black Canyon: Closed due to fire closures. The lake is full of sediment and ash. No trout survived after the fire.

Willow Springs: Has been stocked with catchable-sized rainbow trout. Try Power Bait, worms or salmon eggs. Lures such as Z-Rays and Panther Martin spinners and flies such as wooly worms and wooly buggers are also effective. Fish early in the morning and late in the evening. This lake also has largemouth bass and there have been some reports of smallmouth bass being caught. Try using artificial worms in the afternoon around the stickups.

Woods Canyon: Has been stocked with catchable-sized rainbow trout. Try Power Bait, worms or salmon eggs. Lures such as Z-Rays and Panther Martin spinners and flies such as wooly worms and wooly buggers are also effective. Fish early in the morning and late in the evening. A concession store is located at the lake.

Chevelon Creek: Anglers should try bait (worms, Power Bait or salmon eggs), small lures and flies in the deeper pools of the creek.

Green Valley Lake: This fishery is part of the urban fishing program and requires an urban fishing license. The lake contains rainbow trout, bluegills and catfish. Power Bait, salmon eggs and worms are effective. Try Crappie jigs, small Rapalas, crankbaits and small spoons.

Williams lakes

Kaibab: Trout fishing is slow. Catfishing is fair. Campground and lake are open.

Cataract: Campground and lake are open.

Dogtown: Water level is extremely low. Has not been stocked this year.

Whitehorse: Water level is extremely low. Has not been stocked this year.

Flagstaff lakes

Lower Lake Mary: Lake is dry.

Upper Lake Mary: Catfishing is good.

Ashurst: Stocked recently. Fishing is good. Try worms, corn or Power Bait.

Kinnikinick: Stocked recently. Try worms, corn or Power Bait.

Oak Creek: Good for rainbows. Fair for browns. Try Power Bait, corn or worms.

Long: Trout fishing is fair. Catfishing is good. Try chicken liver or worms.

Soldiers and Soldiers Annex: No report.

Beaver Creek: No report.

West Clear Creek: No report.

Stoneman Creek: The lake is dry.

Blue Ridge: Trout fishing is excellent. Power Bait in any color is popular. Knoll Lake: Fishing is excellent. Try corn, Power Bait or worms. Launching a boat is difficult from a boat trailer. The ramp is approximately 30 feet out of the water.

Lynx: Lynx Lake has been re-opened. Lake levels are still very low. Trout stocking is still suspended due to high water temperatures. Water quality will continue to be evaluated.

Fain: Fishing remains slow. Trout stocking remains suspended. The water quality is being monitored to see when stockings can resume.

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