Winter Fishing Better Than Expected

OUTDOORS UNDER THE RIM

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Winter fishing is better than expected all over Arizona, with the above normal temperatures and sunny skies. Good reports are coming in from our local waters on the Rim, Green Valley Lake and, of course, Roosevelt.

But, for fishing in the future, an arid state like Arizona needs a winter snow pack along the Mogollon Rim and in the White Mountains. To date, there is no significant snow pack and the long-range prediction is for below normal moisture for the Southwest.

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With Green Valley Park's recent stocking by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the lakes are expected to be a hot spot for those interested in urban angling. Winter fishing is projected to be good throughout the Rim Country.

The Rim lakes are still accessible, and fishing is good for rainbow trout at Woods Canyon, Willow Springs and Bear Canyon. Black Canyon Lake is showing the strain of the drought, with water levels markedly dropping.

If you do venture to the Rim lakes, dress for winter temperatures above 7,000 feet elevation. Ice will be present early in the mornings along the shoreline, so it would be wise to go a little later in the day after the winter sun has warmed the air. Wintertime trout fishing also increases your chances of catching a lunker rainbow or German brown trout. Keep in mind, big fish are attracted by bigger baits.

Green Valley Lake has good trout fishing, with many four-trout limits being caught. The best bet to catch those trout is to use power bait in various colors and, if you go early, throw spinners. My preference is a panther martin.

If you have been fishing Green Valley Lake, you have probably heard the story of the 8-pound rainbow caught by Eric Smith last week. Well, more good news! Green Valley Lake was stocked with catchable rainbows this past Monday, and a significant number of 16- to 20-inch fish were placed in the lake for some lucky fishermen to catch. Don't forget an urban fishing license is required.

Roosevelt Lake has had increased fishing activity the past two weeks, as the warm, dry weather continues and the fishing continues to improve. Most crappie anglers are near the mouth of Tonto Creek, slow trolling grubs and minnows with a 1/16- or 1/8-ounce jig head. The color combinations working best are John Deere, black and blue chartreuse, and acid rain.

Bass fishing has varied from average to good, depending on the day and the location on the lake. The fishermen who are catching fish are dropshotting robo worms, throwing spinnerbaits, or using lipless crankbaits or rattletraps. The successful bass fishermen are covering quite a bit of water until they locate fish, then they work the area. The past two weeks have produced a number of very large, 16-inch-plus, bass being caught, and they are extremely healthy. The bass fishery is in excellent shape on Roosevelt, and the lake is currently at 79 percent of capacity. The only way to improve the fishery is having some spring runoff from a couple of good winter snowstorms.

This weekend, get out and enjoy fishing in the warmer winter temperatures, and enjoy God's creation.

A hunting footnote:

Congratulations to longtime resident and public school teacher Norm Langeliers for finally shooting a trophy mule deer buck. Rumor has it he rattled it in with the bipod of his gun. Way to go, Norm!

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