Fall fishing is really starting to heat up around Arizona. The cooler temperatures have sent the signal for bass to strap on the feedbag. Fast-moving baits and aggressive fishing techniques, which are my favorite, are quickly becoming the best way to target these active fish.
A crankbait is ideal for locating bass this time of year because it covers water quickly and probes a variety of depths. This is key when bass could be roaming anywhere in the depth column in search of food.
Another key technique during the fall is topwater fishing. Topwaters work especially well when you can visually locate fish feeding near the surface.
Don't miss out on these fall fishing opportunities. Some of the best weather and great fishing without all the boat traffic adds up for a fantastic fishing trip.
To go fishing with Clifford Pirch or for any of tackle needs, you can see him at The Tackle Box in Tonto Basin at milepost 261.
Apache: Fishing is good. Topwaters and crankbaits fished on mainlake points are working well. Soft plastics are also catching some bass.
Bartlett: Fishing is fair to good. Topwaters and drop-shot worms are working well on the main lake. Points and submerged reefs seem to be holding lots of fish.
Roosevelt: Fishing is good. Crankbaits and topwaters have been very productive. Early morning hours have seen the best action.
Chevelon Canyon: Fishing is fair for rainbow trout. Use Z-Rays, Panther Martin spinners, Rapalas and flies (wooly worms, woolly buggers and peacock ladies). Anglers are catching rainbow trout on woolly worms.
Bear Canyon: Fishing is fair using worms, Power Bait, lures and flies.
Black Canyon: The boat ramp is accessible. Fishing is fair for rainbow trout using worms, Power Bait, Z-Rays, Panther Martin spinners and Crickhopper lures. Flies such as woolly worms, woolly buggers and peacock ladies are also effective. There is no oxygen in the deeper parts of the lake (below nine feet), so fish shallow. A green algae bloom is still present.
Willow Springs: The boat ramp is accessible and fishing is good. Try worms, Power Bait, lures and flies. The lake has been stocked with catchable-size rainbow trout. This lake also has largemouth bass.
Woods Canyon: The boat ramp is accessible and the fishing is 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. This lake 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: Try worms, Power Bait, lures and flies in the deeper pools.
Kaibab: The campground is open. Trout fishing was good over the weekend on rainbow Power Bait and worms. Fishing for black crappie was good on flies. A few catfish are being caught; use worms or chicken livers. During a recent fish survey, an 18-pound channel catfish was measured and released.
Cataract: The campground is open. Water levels are low and the water quality is not sufficient to stock trout. Catfish fishing was good over the weekend in the evenings (a 7- and a 14-pound catfish were caught recently) and sunfish are being caught during the day.
City Reservoir: Might not be stocked again this year due to low water levels. Fishing has slowed. Try fishing early in the morning for trout and in the evening for catfish.
Dogtown: Closed while the Forest Service renovates the campground and picnic areas.
Whitehorse: The campground is open. Water levels are too low to stock. Use green Power Bait or try small spinners behind a bubble.
Sante Fe: Might not be stocked again this year due to low water levels. Some trout were being caught during the weekend. Try worms or corn early in the morning for trout and in the evening for catfish.
Lower Lake Mary: Try fishing the shallows in the morning and evening.
Upper Lake Mary: Crappie fishing has slowed. This is a good time to fish for walleye during low-light conditions. An angler reported catching a 17-pound northern pike recently and a 20-pounder was caught earlier this year. Catfishing should be good in the evenings. There is a health advisory on this lake: mercury has been detected in the fish. Do not eat the walleye or more then 8 ounces (uncooked weight) of anything else.
Ashurst: Stocked last week. Fishing has been good using pink or rainbow Power Bait.
Kinnikinick: Fishing was best by the dam. Trout fishing was fair over the weekend on corn. Catfish were being caught using worms or chicken liver.
Oak Creek: Fishing is fair for brown trout and good for rainbow trout.
Long: The lake is open. The average depth last week was about 3 feet. Remember that using live fish as bait in Coconino County is illegal. There is a health advisory on this lake; mercury has been detected. Do not eat fish caught here.
Soldiers and Soldiers Annex: Soldiers Lake is full and Soldiers Annex has water. There is a health advisory: do not eat fish from these lakes because mercury has been detected.
Blue Ridge: Stocked; should be plenty of holdovers. The algae bloom that has been present on the lake is gone, so fishing should pick up.
Knoll: Fishing is fair using worms and orange Power Bait. The water level has increased with recent storms.
Big Lake: Fishing is fair. The lake contains rainbow, cutthroat, brook and Apache trout. Try worms and Power Bait and lures such as cowbells, Crickhoppers and Super Dupers. Flies such as peacock ladies, woolly worms and woolly buggers have been effective. The water level is low at all boat ramps so use caution when launching a boat. The south cove boat ramp has some gravel below the concrete ramp. Boat anglers are doing better than shore anglers; rentals are available at the store. Fishing should pick up as water temperatures cool.