Rory’s Autumn Tips:
Breezy conditions made catching trout a little difficult at times, but the autumn colors were in prime time in the White Mountains this past weekend so anglers weren’t complaining any — the scenery was so spectacular that catching lots of fish was secondary.
However, breezy mornings provided a good excuse to put down the fly or spinning rods and go hunt squirrels or waterfowl, or maybe find some elk and wild turkey to play with. Hey folks, there should still be time to get to the high country and experience spectacular autumn colors. Plus this past weekend, the elk were still in the rut. Every morning I woke to the sound of clashing antlers and elk bugles — sounded like the percussion and brass sections of a marching band at times. This type of outdoor experience is fleeting — don’t miss out this year.
There is a new moon this weekend, which should mean the fish and other critters should be more active during the day. But for crappie and striper anglers, fishing under lights at night can still be viable.
It sounds like one of the hot spots right now is Saguaro Lake for a mixed bag of fish, including lots of fesity bass in the 1-pound range and hordes of yellow bass that love gold KastMasters and yellowish spinners. I had an angler send me pictures of desert bighorn sheep that blessed his fishing expedition there.
Try live minnows and mini-jigs. Watch for deer coming down to water at last light.
Heard from some anglers at Roosevelt Lake who did okay on bass and crappie, and then went out and banged a few quail. That’s the way to mix it up and maximize your time in the field.
This past week we stocked both Beaver Creek and West Clear Creek in the Verde Valley. These are interesting places to fish, especially if you want to expend a little boot leather and fish the deeper pools in the two rugged canyons. There are scheduled to be stocked again this coming week.
Don’t forget about Fossil Creek — it’s also spectacular this time of year. The scenery alone is worth the trip down the washboard dirt road, catching-and-release native chub, aka Verde Trout, is just delightful frosting on the cake. If spin angling, try mini-crayfish like lures or 1/8-ounce or 1/16-ounce crappie jigs — wild colors like pink can sometimes work. Be sure to go barbless with single hooks as required for this unique seasonal fishery.
The campgrounds have closed for the lakes in the Williams area, but until snow flies these lakes will still be viable to fish. In fact, the campgrounds closing probably means you will have less competition. Dogtown can be especially good, plus it’s a visual treat as well: you can see the San Francisco Peaks to the east or Bill Williams Mountain to the West.
We routinely stock Oak Creek and the fall colors start in the upper reaches and slowly but surely work their way downstream. Those who miss seeing the maple reds of the Eastern deciduous forest will feel at home in this spectacular canyon slicing into the edge of the Colorado Plateau.
This is the time of year to get out and enjoy the diverse outdoor experiences Arizona has to offer. You only live once, and these are the types of autumn adventures you’ll play across your mind time and again. Don’t let your family and friends suffer from autumn deficit disorder.
As the lake’s surface temps drop the crappie are starting to school up but are still pretty much inactive. The Bob Hirsch Crappie Classic (hosted by the Arizona Crappie Association) was at Roosevelt Lake this past weekend. Out of 13 teams only 10 crappies were caught with the biggest being 1 pound, 7 ounces, a nice fish by any standards, but not a monster. Several teams report big schools of crappie on the Salt River end near Schoolhouse and Wye Cove.
Alamo — I had a report of large schools of Crappie on the south end of the lake. I would try near the dam and across from the main launch ramp. Also, trolling along the steep cliff walls is a good winter pattern.
Bartlett — Still slow, but I did hear of some local guys doing pretty good there last week.
Roosevelt — Water surface temps are in the mid 70s and the Crappie are starting to move out into open water. There should be some great fishing soon.
San Carlos — The lake is at 3 percent and dropping with the deepest water at about 20 feet. I heard that the Crappie are really stacked up around the dam, but launching and navigating are tough. If you go to SC right now be very, very careful. You will need a 4X4 truck to launch on the east side of Soda Canyon point. And on the water I would not go any faster any idle speed.
BLUE RIDGE — Has not been stocked since last spring. Anglers reported catching a few fish on lures and cowbells.
Anglers report catching a few fish on lures and cowebells. One group caught 12 trout in late September on cowbells with 10 of the 12 weighing 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds.
CHEVELON LAKE — Fishing is fair to 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 have been 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.
BEAR CANYON LAKE — Fishing is fair to good. One angler has been catching limits on green chartreuse glitter Power Bait. The lake was stocked two weeks ago 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 — No recent angler reports. 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 to good for trout. The lake was stocked last week with catchable size rainbow trout, which was the last stocking for the season. The stocking season has ended. 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. The stocking season has ended but fishing will remain decent here as trout feed aggressively to put on fat before winter conditions arrive.
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.
The lake is open to electric trolling motors only. Trolling with small Rebel crankbaits or with a fly has been very productive lately. Trolling with cowbells with lures flies or bait is another good technique. The store is open until Thanksgiving (unless early snows close the road), and has boats for rent. This lake is open to electric trolling motors only. This lake has easy boat and shore fishing access.