Despite Reports, Woods Canyon A Hot Spot

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Someone didn't tell Valley angler Matt Harding that fishing was rated just fair to good last week at Woods Canyon Lake.

According to Arizona Game and Fish officer Rory Aikens, a veteran angler, Harding caught 30 rainbow trout in about two hours by fishing worms at night.

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Although fishing reports for Woods Canyon Lake have not been glowing, anglers are taking good numbers of fish and the lake is being stocked about every two weeks. This boat load of anglers tied up on a stump rather than choosing to troll.

"It was awesome fishing. Kept two that swallowed the hooks for breakfast, released the rest," Harding said.

For those who would like some of the same angling excitement that Harding enjoyed, August might be a primo month for an outing to the Mogollon Rim lake.

According to game and fish schedules, Woods Canyon was stocked yesterday and will be stocked again Aug. 22 and 29.

For the fishing purist, those stocking trucks could contain some lunkers.

"A parade of big rainbow trout have been finding their way to mountain lakes via game and fish stocking trucks," Aikens said. "This past week we received reports of a 4-pound trout being caught from Woods Canyon, a 5-pound trout from Black Canyon Lake, and 6-pound trout from Willow Springs."

Successful anglers have told game and fish officers that worms, Power Bait (green, yellow, orange, and rainbow colored), lures such as Z-Rays, spinners (Panther Martins, Rooster Tail, and Mepps), crayfish crankbaits and yellow-brown crickhopper lures and landing trout.

Also effective are flies such as woolly buggers, wooly worms, brown or black semi-seal leeches, peacock ladies, Prince nymphs, and zug bugs.

Of course the best way to find out what bait is working on any given day is to check out the white board at the rear of the Woods Canyon Lake store.

The board is updated daily with each big catch.

Also available in the store is a free game and fish booklet that contains all the game and fish rules and regulations.

Anglers can purchase fishing and hunting licenses at the store. A resident general fishing license is $18. A resident trout stamp is $10.50, but those who purchase a hunting/fishing combination license for $44 do not need a trout stamp.

Many visitors to Woods Canyon opt to cough up $45 to rent a motor boat for four hours. The money is probably well spent because it allows anglers to troll fish and sightsee all parts of the lake rather than just fish from the shoreline.

Electric motor boats -- gasoline motors are forbidden -- can also be rented all day for $80. Row boats are $25 for four hours, or $35 all day. Deposits are required.

A word of caution, the trolling speed on the electric motors is "No. 1."

Those who choose to go faster, especially into the wind, run the risk of using up the battery charge. A dead battery could mean having to row back to the dock.

Woods Canyon is a man-made, 52-acre lake located 36 miles east of Payson off Highway 260.

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