Small Lures Your Best Bet



This week I received a fall fishing question by John Powers from Payson High School. John asks, "What presentation and lure would produce the most fish during the fall, a large flashy lure or a small lifelike one?"

Great question John! It's hard to make solid rules for bass fishing, but in general my lure selection is going to be smaller because most of the shad that I'm trying to imitate are small during the fall. The shad are only a few months old, so most of them will be shorter than 2 inches in length. Small topwater lures, spoons and spinnerbaits with small willow blades are all good fall choices.

The only time I may go to a bigger lure is if it is windy and the water has been churned up a little. It may take more flash or splash to get their attention with all the commotion from the waves. Thanks for the great question, John. Let me know if this helps your fishing this fall.

For any of your tackle needs or to go fishing with Clifford, call (928) 978-3518. Or, you can e-mail questions or comments to

Lake reports

Apache: Fishing is good. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass have been hitting topwater lures. There have been several reports of catches in the 6- to 8-pound range this week.

Bartlett: Fishing is good. Topwater fishing with Ricos has been good early in the day. Many anglers have had good success with 4" and 6" worms on the bottom.

Pleasant: Fishing is fair. For the best action, look for fish feeding on shad in 35-45 ft. Jigging spoons or drop shot rigs seem to be the easiest way to target these fish. There have also been some reports of topwater action early and again during the middle of the day. However, the deeper patterns have been more stable than the shallow patterns with recent heavy fishing pressure.

Roosevelt: Fishing is good. The spoon bite continues to produce big numbers of fish. Crankbaits and topwaters are also still working well. Mid-day boils have been providing most of the action.

Saguaro: Fishing is fair. Yellow bass are still the best bet for action. Try fishing small spoons and tailspinners. Some largemouth have been caught on Texas rigged worms in red, brown or purple. For walleye, try firetiger crankbaits in the late evening.

Mogollon Rim lakes

Chevelon Canyon: Fishing is fair. Anglers should try small lures such as Z-Rays, Panther Martin spinners, and Rapalas. Small flies such as wooly worms, wooly buggers and peacock ladies should work. Trout 10-14 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: The road to the lake is open but no trout survived after the fire. The lake is very low and contains ash and sediment from summer rains.

Willow Springs: Fishing is fair to good. 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. This lake also has largemouth bass and there have been some reports of smallmouth bass being caught.

Woods Canyon: Fishing is fair to good. 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.

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.

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

Northeastern Arizona

Becker: Fishing is fair. The lake's fishing regulations change to lures and flies only on October 1, 2002. Anglers should try small spinners and Z-Rays. Flies such as peacock ladies, wooly worms and wooly buggers are also effective.

Big Lake: Fishing is fair. Popular baits include worms, Power Bait, lures such as Z-Rays, Rapalas, and Panther Martin spinners. Also try flies such as wooly worms and peacock ladies. Boat anglers are having some success trolling lures, flies or bait behind cowbells.

Concho: Bag limits on rainbow trout are removed due to deteriorating water quality conditions. Fishing is poor to fair for trout. Baits such as worms and Power Bait are effective. Wooly worms in black, or brown colors are effective when fished with a casting bubble. Some parts of the lake are weedy, so fish near open water. The lake is very low.

Crescent: Fishing is fair. Bag limits on trout are removed due to deteriorating water quality. Anglers should try worms and Power Bait. A small boat or float tube should be effective for anglers fishing the open water areas of the lake.

Fool Hollow: Trout fishing is fair. Try Power Bait and worms. Use prepared baits for channel catfish. Boat anglers should cast or troll lures such as crankbaits, jigs and Rapalas near rocky areas such as the dam and the northeast area of the lake. This lake also has smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and walleye.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.