Now that most of our desert lakes have gone into an early prespawn period, the fish are moving into areas where they are easier to locate. Prespawn fish tend to migrate toward the back of creek channels as they stage themselves for the spawn. When they reach this point, they often hole up in the last deep water that is available in the channel. This means that a significant population of fish can be located in a very small area. Look for small secondary points and flats that extend into the channel to find the key spots in the area.
There are a lot of lures that will work for prespawn bass. If the fish are actively feeding, you can get away with using more active lures like crankbaits, jerkbaits and spinnerbaits. But for most of the time, you'll do better by fishing the slower plastics like worms, lizards and jigs.
For any of your tackle needs, or to go fishing with Clifford Pirch, call (928) 978-3518.
Apache: Fishing is fair to good. In-line spinners, crankbaits and spinnerbaits have been producing lots of quality bass. Early morning and late afternoon has been the best time for action.
Bartlett: Fishing is good. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits have been working well. Jigs and worms are also catching some fish. Most of the fish are small, but the numbers have been good. Most of the lake is off colored to muddy from recent runoff, but it hasn't hurt the fishing much.
Pleasant: Fishing is fair to good. Drop-shotting or Carolina-rigging have been the most productive strategies. Secondary points along creek channels are all holding fish.
Roosevelt: Fishing is fair. Crappie fishing is starting to pick back up after the recent rains. The lake is coming up and fishing should continue to improve.
Saguaro: Fishing is fair to good. Jigs and worms fished along the edges of the channel have been fairly productive for bass. This is the place to catch some quality fish right now.
Note to anglers: Check the weather and road conditions. Expect ice.
Chevelon Canyon: Winter conditions prevail.
Bear Canyon: Winter conditions prevail.
Black Canyon: Winter conditions prevail.
Willow Springs: Winter conditions prevail.
Woods Canyon: Winter conditions prevail.
Green Valley Lake: Fishing has been good to excellent, with most anglers catching limits of feisty trout. 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: winter conditions prevail.
Northern Arizona waters
Note: A return to seasonal temperatures this week may cause the currently open lakes to ice over. Watch out for unsafe ice.
Kaibab: Lake is open.
Cataract: Lake is frozen.
City Reservoir: Closed.
Dogtown: Lake is frozen.
Whitehorse: Lake is drained for renovation.
JD Dam: Lake is frozen.
Santa Fe: Lake is frozen.
Lower Lake Mary: Lake is dry.
Upper Lake Mary: A 20-pound northern pike was reported last week.
Ashurst: A 17-pound northern pike was caught two weeks ago on a lure.
Oak Creek: Fair for rainbows. Fair for browns. Try Power Bait, corn or worms. With lower water temperatures you will find fish slowing. Try size No. 20 midge imitations or blue wing olives size No. 16 to No. 20 and nymph imitations such as pheasant tails or hare's ears size No. 16 to No. 20. Fishing may be tougher, but this is the time of year to catch a nice holdover rainbow or a brown in spawning colors.
Long Lake: Lake is open. Fishing should be great in this little window of opportunity.
Blue Ridge: Lake is frozen.
Knoll: Lake is frozen.
Verde River: Trout are being stocked this week. Expect increased turbidity due to recent runoff. Try fishing upstream of Tuzigoot Bridge using Power Bait and various fly patterns. The stocking truck cannot access the Deadhorse Bridge. The hatchery is stocking half a load as far upstream as possible and the remainder of the load at the "Jacks" site.