Prime Time For Night Fishing

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First things first: no, Lake Powell is not closed, there are launch ramps and it is a fishing hot spot for stripers, smallmouth and walleye.

The dark of the moon means it's time for night fishing under lights. The lights attract plankton. The plankton attracts threadfin shad. The shad attract predatory fish, such as largemouth bass or crappies. It's a food chain effect and anglers can be at the top of the food chain for a night.

Straight lining often works well, especially with live bait such as live minnows of netted shad. You can have two baits for each line, and if you have a two-pole stamp, that's four baits in the water per person.

When shad are circling your light, expect to find crappies feeding upward from below but largemouth bass can often be lateral feeders: cast dark-colored crankbaits past the edge of the circle of light and retrieve them.

Larger bass can be on the bottom, waiting for meals to float down to them: try spoons (tip the spoon with a shad or minnow, and that can get you big fish).

This is a wonderful time to be in the high piney country to experience rain showers and rising trout: even at night. My top choices this time of year are the deeper lakes, such as Big Lake, Willow Springs, Blue Ridge and Chevelon. Fishing from boats or float tubes can pay trout dividends. Crappie lights used on dark mountain night for trout can produce some pretty dramatic results.

Float tubers might consider putting a lantern on a kid's inner tube and then casting Woolly Buggers and the like into the circle of light that attracts insects. These tactics can change your whole perspective on summer fishing in mountain lakes.

Lake reports

Roosevelt: The lake is 31-percent full at elevation 2,079 feet and dropping. The Salt River was flowing at 223 cfs Monday morning. Bass fishing is slow. Topwater plugs and crankbaits are working at times. Use topwater baits in and around baitfish boils (shad). Drop shotting is still catching the majority of bass. Spinnerbaits with a white skirt are also working occasionally. Fishing is better at night. Many fish under the slot are being caught in the 10-13 inch range. Smallmouth bass are also biting; try using in-line spinners and crayfish imitations especially off rocky points and cliff walls. Windy days can be good for smallmouth as the waves stir up the rocky bottom. Carp fishing is excellent, use corn or dough bait. Please harvest largemouth bass under the 13-inch slot. Catfishing is good. Reports of large flathead being caught in the Salt Arm of the lake.

Mogollon Rim

Chevelon Canyon: Fishing is fair. Try lures such as Z-Rays, Rapalas, Roster Tails and Panther Martin spinners or flies such as Woolly Worms and Woolly Buggers and large streamers.

Bear Canyon: Fishing is fair to good. Try worms, Power Bait (orange and green), lures, and flies. The lake is scheduled to be stocked with catchable-size rainbow trout during the week of Aug. 9.

Black Canyon: Fishing is fair to good. Try worms, Power Bait (orange and green), salmon eggs, lures and flies. The lake is producing some rainbow trout up to 16 inches. The boat ramp is accessible.

Willow Springs: Fishing is fair to good. Try worms, Power Bait (green, orange or rainbow colored), lures such as Z-Rays, Panther Martin spinners, and KastMasters, and flies such as Woolly Worms and Woolly Buggers. The lake has been stocked with catchable-size rainbow trout and will be stocked weekly through September as long as water quality conditions allow. The boat ramp is accessible.

Woods Canyon: Fishing is fair to good. Try worms, Power Bait (green, orange, rainbow colored), lures, and flies. The boat ramp is accessible. The lake has been stocked with catchable-size rainbow trout and will be stocked weekly through September as long as water quality conditions allow.

Green Valley Lake: Fishing is fair to good. This lake is part of the urban fishing program and requires an urban fishing license and contains rainbow trout, bluegill and catfish. Power Bait, salmon eggs and worms are effective.

By Rory Aikens
Arizona Game and Fish Department

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