One of the toughest fishing decisions I've had to make lately is whether to target bass that are involved in the spawn or those that are outside the spawn.
In past spring fishing I've had some unbelievable days targeting big fish in the spawn. This spring, however, I've blown more than a couple tournaments by fishing for spawning fish. This has been due in part by ignoring the current weather conditions and sticking to my game plan.
Sometimes conditions change so drastically that you have to completely throw away your plan and just fish the conditions.
For any of your tackle needs or to go fishing with Clifford Pirch call (928) 978-3518.
Cliff's Tip of the Week
If your spring pattern gets turned over by a dramatic weather change you can still catch fish if you adjust properly. Look for fish to retreat to the nearest depth change that provides cover adjacent to spawning flats.
Apache: Fishing is fair to good. Jerkbaits, Senkos and split shot rigged worms are working well. Also look for the topwater action to heat up. Post spawn bass should be keying on shallow schools of shad to regain their energy.
Bartlett: Fishing is fair. Jerkbaits and split shot rigged plastics have been producing some bass. Most of the fish are less than a pound.
Pleasant: Fishing is fair to good. Soft jerkbaits and split shot rigs have been producing some bass. There has also been some occasional topwater action. Fishing for white bass has been good in shallow cuts along main channels.
Roosevelt: Fishing is good. Fishing for crappies continues to be excellent. Most of the success has come from trolling chartreuse grubs. The bass fishing is still a little weak for this time of year.
Saguaro: Fishing is good. Jerkbaits and Senkos are working really well around shallow cover. Split shot or Carolina rigged worms are also catching a lot of post spawn bass on points. Yellow bass have been hitting spoons with some regularity.
Note to anglers: The U.S. Forest Service says all roads to the Rim lakes are open, including Forest Road (FR) 300, which is also known as the Rim Road.
Chevelon Canyon: Forest Road (FR) 300/169 to the Chevelon has some snowdrifts. The north end of FR 169 is open to the lake. You can also come in via the FR 504 from Heber. Fishing is fair to good. Try worms, Power Bait, lures (Z-Rays and Panther Martin spinners), and flies (wooly worms, wooly buggers, and peacock ladies)
Bear Canyon Lake: Forest Road 300/75 is open. Fishing is fair to good. Try worms, Power Bait, lures and flies.
Black Canyon Lake: The lake is open and full. The boat ramp is accessible. Catchable size rainbow trout have been stocked. Try using worms and Power Bait off the bottom 20 to 30 feet from shore. Try Z-Rays and Panther Martin spinners and flies.
Willow Springs Lake: The road and gate are both open. The boat ramp is accessible. Fishing is fair to good. Try worms, Power Bait, lures and flies. The lake has been stocked with catchable size rainbow trout.
Woods Canyon Lake: The FR 300 is open. The boat ramp is accessible. The fishing is fair to good. The lake has been stocked with catchable rainbow trout. Try worms, Power Bait, lures, and flies.
Green Valley Lake: Fishing is fair to good 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: The roads near Chevelon Crossing are open. The creek is high from spring runoff. Try worms, Power Bait, lures, and flies.
North Central Region
Note to anglers: Many lakes may have muddy water due to runoff, which may make angling difficult. Windy and cold weather over the past week lowered angler use.
Kaibab Lake: Lake is open. Stocked last week. Fishing was fair to good.
Cataract Lake: Lake is open. Water quality at the lake is not currently sufficient to stock trout.
City Reservoir: Is being stocked next week.
Dogtown Lake: The Lake is closed to all users including anglers this year to allow the Forest Service to renovate the campground and picnic areas.
Whitehorse Lake: Scheduled to be stocked this week. Fishing is poor.
JD Dam: Has been stocked.
Santa Fe: Stocked with brown trout last week.
Lower Lake Mary: Scheduled for stocking this week. Prior to the cold, windy weather last week anglers were catching trout on Power Bait.
Upper Lake Mary: Lake is filling. A 20-pound northern pike has been caught this year.
Ashurst Lake: Scheduled to be stocked this week. A 17-pound northern pike was caught in January on a lure.
Kinnikinick Lake: Stocked last week. Received bonus stockings of trout last season and may have holdovers.
Oak Creek: Flows have reduced. Fishing is fair for brown trout good for rainbow trout.
Long Lake: Lake is open. Northern pike fishing has slowed but anglers using bait are still catching one- to two-pike per hour. Remember using live fish as bait in Coconino County is ILLEGAL. The trout should start getting active.
Blue Ridge: Lake has spilled. Not scheduled for stocking until May. Should be plenty of holdovers. Boat anglers are catching fish. A few fish are being caught from shore on red Power Bait.
Knoll Lake: Road is open. Not scheduled for stocking until May.
Verde River: Fishing has been slow but a few trout were still being caught around the Tuzigoot Bridge and Bignotti. Trout were stocked at the White Bridge in Camp Verde last weekend for a fishing workshop. Anglers were having great luck on these fish using Power Bait, corn, worms and spinners. Stockings have concluded for the season because water temperatures rise quickly this time of year.
Lynx Lake: Brown trout stockings have concluded. More than 10,000 were stocked in April. Fishing has been good. Folks were catching their limits on the south shore. Anglers were seeing brown trout grouped up near the surface. Brown's will take spinners, flies, worms and small minnow lures. Brown trout do not bite on Power Bait as readily as rainbow trout. Rainbow trout will be stocked next week.
Fain Lake: Trout were stocked last week. Rainbow-colored Power Bait and worms were both working well last weekend.
Deadhorse State Park Lagoon: Trout fishing was still pretty slow last week. Trout stockings have concluded for the season. Catfishing was picking up over the weekend using dip baits and chicken liver.