The new winter stocking report is now available on our Web site at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/stocking_schedule.shtml. Enjoy.
With temperatures finally becoming more autumn like, my recommendation is to take advantage of all the possible activities and get outdoors. The biggest problem right now may be too many choices. With the nights down to freezing, this is the time for the aspens to start changing colors. Look for the first blush of autumn gold on the more exposed northern slopes in the higher elevations, such as the San Francisco Peaks, Mount Baldy and Escudilla Mountain.
The high country trout fishing is pretty good. Some anglers are reporting impressive catches, but for most of us, just catching a feisty fall trout is impressive. Catching more just adds to the autumn delight.
For the warmwater lakes, the action should really pick up with the cooler, longer nights and the milder days. Water temperatures should be lowering slightly each day. Bass and other sport-fish will respond accordingly.
If you have a strategy that is working, stick with it. If not, try mine. Look for sportfish actively working shad in the coves at first light. You may or may not find boils. Some anglers are doing well with reaction lures, such as buzzbaits and spinnerbaits. Others are effectively using topwater plugs or stick baits. Rig a pole with a flutter-down bait such as a Senko or curly-tail grub for those times when a bass strikes short, or does a hit-and-miss. But keep a subsurface lure handy, such as a soft plastic or hard plastic jerkbait. Once the cove bite peters out, try the main lake points, islands and reefs. Watch for surface action. In fact, carry binoculars. Sometimes the fish-eating birds, such as herons, osprey and gulls, will be your telltale for surface action.
By the way, you might find multiple osprey working any single desert lake — this is the time of year when they are migrating.
So go out and catch some fall memories. Maybe we’ll see you out there.
The only Mogollon Rim creek still being stocked is Canyon Creek, although it is still possible to catch trout in all the creeks. Most creeks should be at their low autumn flows. But when the creekside vegetation changes color, these riparian areas turn even more picturesque.
Beaver Creek: Fishing is poor for trout, but can be decent for smallmouth bass in the deeper pools in the canyon upstream from the bridge. This stream will be stocked the week of Oct. 5. It’s a great place to take the youngsters fishing.
Dead Horse State Park: Catfish were stocked last week for the Verde River Days, the week of the Sept. 21, with 1500 pounds of catfish split between the two lagoons. This should give a boost to the fishing until trout stockings start. Trout stockings are scheduled to resume in November. Bluegills are plentiful. Most of the bluegills are small, but still fun for kids to catch. Try fishing for catfish at night using anchovies or stink bait.
Fossil Creek: Fishing is good for chub at this newly created, seasonal catch-and-release fishery using artificial lures and flies only with single barbless hooks. And the scenery is absolutely spectacular along this rare travertine stream.
Oak Creek: Recently stocked. Fishing should be good for rainbows and fair for browns.
Verde River (throughout Verde Valley): The catfish bite has been pretty good. Look for catfish in eddy areas of large pools. Bass should be biting as well. One angler caught a very large roundtail chub below thousand trails.
West Clear Creek: Scheduled for stocking the week of Oct. 5. This remote creek has not been stocked since last spring, but it’s still possible to catch trout in the deeper holes in the rugged canyon, where you might just see some transplanted Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.
Blue Ridge: Has not been stocked since last spring. Anglers reported catching a few fish on lures and cowbells. I had a report from an angler last week whose party caught 12 trout. There are a large number of logs floating in the lake, so be careful while boating.
Chevelon Lake: Fishing is good. Try lures such as (Mepps, Panther Martin and Rooster Tail), and spoons such as Super Dupers, KastMasters, Z-rays and Rapalas, and flies such as peacock ladies, wooly worms, wooly buggers, and semi-seal leeches (black or brown colors). Anglers are catching 12- to 13- inch trout in the slot on spinners.
The lake is open to artificial lures and flies only. Trout between 10 to 14 inches may not be possessed. The lake is open to electric trolling motors and up to 10 hp gas motors.
This is a steep-sided canyon lake that is not shore angler friendly and is best fished from a float tube, canoe or kayak. This is a hike-in lake with a steep, challenging trail. Brown trout spawn in November, so try fishing at the mouth of Chevelon Creek during October and November. The lake level is about 5 feet below the spillway limits.
Bear Canyon Lake: Fishing is fair to good. One angler has been catching limits on green chartreuse glitter Power Bait. The lake was stocked last week with catchable-size rainbow trout. It is a short but steep hike into the lake. There are some large holdover trout in this deep canyon lake.
Try worms, Power Bait, corn and salmon eggs, lures such as spinners, (Mepps, Rooster Tail and Panther Martin), Super Dupers, Z-rays, KastMasters and Rapalas, and flies such as peacock ladies, wooly worms, wooly buggers, Yeager buggers, semi-seal leeches (black or brown) and small nymphs in black, brown or green colors. The lake is open to electric trolling motors only.
Black Canyon Lake: Fishing is poor to fair for trout. Try worms, salmon eggs, corn and Power Bait, lures such as Z-rays, Super Dupers, KastMasters, Rapalas and spinners (Mepps, Rooster Tail and Panther Martin), and flies such as wooly worms, wooly buggers, Yeager buggers, peacock ladies and small nymphs in black, brown or green colors. The lake is open to electric trolling motors and up to 10 hp gas motors. This lake has easy boat and shore fishing access.
Knoll Lake: Fishing should be good for larger holdover trout, although catch rates may be down some. This lake has not been stocked since August, but because of its remote location, it also does not receive as much angling pressure as most other Rim lakes. This lake is located in prime elk country.
Willow Springs Lake: Fishing is fair for trout. The lake was stocked the end of September with catchable-size rainbow trout, which was the last stocking for the season. Fishing generally improves during the fall as water temperatures cool down. There are no limits on illegally introduced bass. Fish the stickups using 4-inch worms or lizards. Drop-shotted Robo worms can sometimes produce a bonanza of bass and trout.
Try worms, Power Bait, corn and salmon eggs, lures such as Z-rays, Super Dupers, KastMasters, spinners (Mepps, Rooster Tail and Panther Martin), Rapalas and crankbaits, and flies such as wooly worms, wooly buggers, semi-seal leeches (black or brown) and peacock ladies. The lake is open to electric trolling motors and up to 10 hp gas motors. This lake has easy boat and shore fishing access.
Woods Canyon Lake: Fishing is fair to good. This lake is stocked weekly with rainbow trout until the end of September. Fishing generally improves during the fall as water temperatures cool down. Try worms, Power Bait, salmon eggs and corn, lures such as spinners (Mepps, Panther Martin and Rooster Tail), small spoons such as Super Dupers, Z-rays and KastMasters, and Rapalas and flies such as peacock ladies, wooly worms, wooly buggers, Yeager buggers, semi-seal leeches and small nymphs in black, brown or green.