We are already one month into the fall season and as the daylight hours shorten, the water temperatures are backing off from their summer highs. To the fisherman, this is good news, because the fish are getting more active, whether in the trout impoundments at the 7,000-foot elevation or the desert lakes of Roosevelt and Apache.
The Rim lakes are still receiving significant weekend pressure from the many Valley residents getting in those last camping trips of the year, and the trout are biting. I would rate fishing good at Woods Canyon, Bear Canyon, Knoll, Blue Ridge, Chevlon, and Willow Springs. There are plenty of 10- to 12-inch rainbows being caught and the early season stockers are now approximately 13 or 14 inches. All of these lakes have a number of large rainbows and browns that will be cruising the shoreline in their spawning colors.
A lucky fisherman who might be throwing the right bait can catch them. If you want to catch one of those big trout, try various crankbaits in crawdad or shad colors. For the person who wants more action on pan-size fish, go with spinners, wet flies, or power baits. It won't be long before the snow flies at 7,000 feet, so make that short trip to the Rim lakes.
For you trout fishermen who prefer not to travel, we have our own Green Valley Lake, which is currently being stocked every two weeks with catchable rainbows. The fishing is fair and will improve later into the winter months as more fish are stocked and the water temperatures cool. Remember, an Urban Fishing License is required to fish here. This can be purchased at Wal-Mart and entitles the license holder to a four-fish limit. Children under 14 may fish without a license and are entitled to a one-half limit of two trout in their possession. Parents, Green Valley Lake is a great place for a family outing and to introduce your children to fishing.
The hot topic among bass fishermen at the state level is Roosevelt Lake. The "unders," which are fish in the less than 13-inch range, are very healthy and can weigh up to a pound and three-quarters. There are many slot fish being caught (14-16 inches), but they are to be returned to the lake.
The smallmouth bite has really improved over the last two weeks and a 6.75-pound fish was caught recently. A good bet would be to try the visible rocky points or look for submerged humps or structures by paying close attention to your graph.
What baits should you be throwing to get this bass action? There is still a top water bite and that is an exciting way to catch a bass by watching it attack a Rico or Luckycraft Gunfish 95. If that doesn't produce, go to a jerkbait or lipless crankbait, like a rattletrap, for a change of pace.
The old reliable techniques on Roosevelt Lake are dropshotting Robo worms and that can usually make them bite. The most popular baits that fishermen are using vary from Folkstead Specials, New Ayu, Bold Bluegill, and Morning Dawn. Over the last week the bite has varied with weather conditions, so be prepared with a varied approach in catching those bass.
Crappie fishing has improved daily and the word has circulated quickly among the Tonto Basin residents. It appears that you can catch them on the entire lake in 15 to 25 feet of water. Some of the places to try are Salome, Windy Hill or Indian Point and I am sure other locations also have fish. The hot baits are the Little Fishy, Power Grubs, Kalins, and of course the old reliable live minnow. The fish are very good size, from a pound to two pounds. The Tackle Box pro staff weighed a 2.25-pound crappie for the current contest, which is a real lunker.
There is a lot of fishing action going on in central Arizona, so make a trip to one of your favorite spots and enjoy God's Creation.