The road should be open this week into Ashurst Lake near Flagstaff, but it is not the place to be if the wind picks up. Try Kaibab Lake or Dogtown Lake near Williams instead if the wind is blasting across Anderson Mesa.
The road is open into Willow Springs Lake above the Mogollon Rim, which is another good option, but dress warmly in case it snows a little. Black Canyon Lake is accessible via the road from Heber-Overgaard.
You can reach Chevelon via the FS 504 road out of Heber (turn left at the Circle K along Highway 260) as well.
Also, the road from Alpine is open in the West and East Forks of Black River, but due to snow melt, both are pretty turbid. However, this is a superb area to see lots of wildlife, from elk to wild turkey, and maybe even some Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep — 4-WD might come in handy.
Goldwater Lake near Prescott is a warmer mid-elevation choice and it has been stocked this week. So is Dead Horse Ranch State Park near Cottonwood.
The Verde River between Cottonwood and Camp Verde is another option. If you are up that way, visit the Tuzigoot Indian Ruins (you can fish right below the bridge leading to the ruins, it’s one of our stocking spots). It creates a well-rounded experience for the kids. Not bad for adults as well.
However, the Lower Salt River near Phoenix is another fun adventure for the family, especially if you don’t want to go far.
Saguaro is the place to take the kids to catch lots of bluegill (kids use meal worms under a bobber while mom and dad cast small spinners for gills and yellows). Maybe even put some corn on the bottom for gills, cats and carp.
The tentative spring-summer trout stocking schedule has been posted on our Web site at www.azgfd.gov. Keep in mind that road conditions, especially snow drifts, may result in some of the waters not being stocked as scheduled, so check the weekly reports.
For the warmwater lakes, it is tough to beat Roosevelt Lake. It is tip-top full, with acres and acres of vegetative habitat being immersed for only the second time ever. The productivity of this lake is just beyond compare right now. Anglers in future decades will be referring to the fishing right now as “the good old days.” To say it is a hot spot is an understatement. Don’t miss out.
But Alamo, Bartlett and Pleasant are all worth a visit. The fishing is picking up at Havasu, Mead and Mohave. Once the latest fronts blast through the state again, Lake Powell will be worthwhile.
This is probably the tail end of the wild rainbow spawn at Lees Ferry. If you haven’t been yet this year, cruise on up there for some quality fishing.
I suspect that the crappie spawn is mostly kaput. It’s probably time to shift to nighttime crappie fishing using submersible crappie lights.
Good luck, maybe I’ll see you out there.
At Green Valley lakes, fishing is excellent for trout and getting better every week for crappie, bluegill and bass. Extra trout were stocked at Green Valley for some recent fishing clinics and the action is hot. Try Power Bait in orange color, worms, or streamer flies such as Wooly Buggers and Simi Seal leaches.
LAKE PLEASANT: Water elevation is 1692 feet, which is 88-percent full. Winds have made fishing a little challenging at times, but between fronts, some anglers are cleaning up on largemouth bass and striped bass.
The northern coves are still producing, but with the weather fronts the bass are moving around if they are not on their beds. A couple of anglers fished shallow (about 4 feet) with a drop shot rig and got into the bass, they changed spots and fished quite a bit deeper still using the drop shot technique and picked up a 6-pounder. Between the two sites they ended up catching 15 to 20 largemouth bass most between 1 and 2.5 pounds.
Bass are spawning in the shallows in the backs of coves throughout the lake. There are also post-spawn bass to be had off major points, islands and reefs throughout the lake, but don’t expect great numbers — yet.
Striped bass and white bass have mostly spawned out and the action for post-spawn stripers is starting to pick up throughout the lake. Some anglers are encountering boils at first light. Use anything white from topwater lures and jerkbaits to crankbaits and spinners. By the way, there is no limit on stripers at Pleasant — catch and keep all you can to help the resource.
A lot of small bass and a few large ones are reported by anglers. Swim baits are enticing the bite and spawning bass are hanging in the northern coves.
One novice angler fished from about 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. and caught two largemouth bass using drop shots.
ROOSEVELT LAKE: Lake elevation is 2,151 feet (100-percent full). Tonto Creek runoff is at 53 cfs while inflow has slowed to 885 cfs. The inflows had subsided significantly, at least for now. Unless a rainstorm causes a rapid melt of the remaining snow, but prime runoff season may be coming to an end soon. The bass spawn is still in full swing, but it is likely the crappie spawn is waning. This should be the leading edge of the flathead catfish season. Carp should be spawning soon (if they haven’t started already).
A couple of anglers fished in the afternoon from about 11 to 4:30 and noticed the water temp was a little lower than the last time they were there, 62ºF instead of 67. The water was a bit turbid. They boated 15 largemouth bass, but were mum on the technique or other details.
Another couple anglers fished the Tonto end and caught nice fighting largemouth bass on drop shot. That was the only technique that worked for them this time. They noticed a drop in activity compared to a couple weeks ago — probably due to the fronts. The fish were all slots between 13 and 16 inches.
A group of anglers fished the Salt end and caught about 15 largemouth bass. Most were caught in the submerged trees. The topwater bite was good at first light and white spinner baits with twin tail trailers enticed the bass pretty good.
Crappie fishermen are doing pretty well. A couple of anglers caught about 24 using live minnows in the Goose Flat area. A few bass took the bait as well.
Another couple of anglers fished in the afternoon and despite the wind they were in bass all day. They caught bass mostly on blades in the main lake and the biggest one they boated was 22 inches, although a much larger bass broke the line at the boat. The big one that got away was caught in a southern cove in the Tonto Arm.
CANYON: Lake elevation is 1659 feet, which is 98-percent full.
An angler fished Canyon and caught three largemouth bass and two were over 3 pounds. All were caught on soft plastics and hit pretty hard. The wind cut the fishing trip short.
The Boulder fishing area is a fantastic place to fish for largemouth, bluegill and yellow bass. Anglers were catching bluegill on worms. One angler caught four largemouth bass on jigs near Boulder Creek and he said they were all about 5 pounds.
An angler caught 12 bluegills in a half-hour using worms on a weightless light line. No indication where he was fishing.
Another couple of anglers caught a lot of slot bass, but didn’t divulge any details on the bait or fishing area.
One angler caught seven bass in an hour using red worms.
SAGUARO: Lake elevation is 1,528 feet at 98-percent full. This is the bluegill hot spot for youngsters. Use meal worms under bobbers. Fishing is also good for yearling bass, but since this is the spawn, please practice catch-and-release to keep as many spawners as possible to help recover this wonderful lake.
BARTLETT: Lake elevation is 1,798 feet, which is 100-percent full. Reservoir release is 100 cfs.
Two anglers fished Bartlett and caught 10 bass that were on their beds in shallow water less than 10 feet deep. The largest was almost 4 pounds and they were all healthy looking.
Other fishermen noticed a lull in the fishing when the fronts were passing through. That’s not to say they weren’t catching fish, but it was a bit slow. One angler caught eight 2- to 2.5-pounders and some more 1-pound bass. All were caught on Senkos, jigs and rattle traps.
The crappie spawn is probably waning. Crappies are taking minnows rigged with a slip bobber.