Rory’s Tips: The full moon is Nov. 2, so it will be almost full for spook night, so don’t expect to go trick-or-treat fishing for crappie or stripers at night using submersible lights or you’ll likely end up haunting an empty bag.
With windy cooler weather visiting the state this week, we may be experiencing the swan song for the great autumn fishing in the warm-water lakes, but it could prompt increased salmonid activity in the high country, especially in lakes with brown trout and brookies. Browns spawn in autumn, and brookies spawn in late autumn, early winter. So at the very least, these two species should be getting more active as they stage for the spawn.
Once the spawns get under way, be sure to put some salmon eggs on the tips of your lures and other offerings. But watch the weather reports: snow was expected Wednesday and Thursday, but the front was expected to clear out by the weekend. We’ll see.
This coming week, we will be stocking the Lower Salt River below Saguaro Lake with trout for the first time, Parker Canyon Lake will get its second stocking of the season, Patagonia will get is first seasonal trout stocking, Dead Horse Ranch State Park will get its first stocking, and Wet Beaver Creek will get its last stocking until March.
So my best tip right now is to strip the fishing line off those reels you have been using all summer and replace the line with the smallest diameter fishing line possible. Old line can lose you some nice fish. A good rule of thumb is change of season, change of line, especially here in Arizona with our summer heat.
This is a great time to try for cool-water fish, such as northern pike and walleye. There are plenty of northerns in Upper Lake Mary, Ashurst and Long Lake. For walleye, the two best are Show Low Lake and Fool Hollow, but Upper Lake Mary also has some.
For the warm-water lakes, right now I would look for action in the lakes with smallmouth bass. Try Roosevelt, especially around the more rocky areas. Apache Lake might well be worth a visit, even though the bronzebacks are still in the comeback mode here (the drive should be terrific). I really like Canyon at these transition times — it’s tough to fish, but hauling in one huge toad will make you smile in remembrance all winter.
But if you really want a treat right now, try Fossil Creek in the Verde Valley for native chub. It’s catch-and-release only, and the chub are numerous but still small. But the eye candy is beyond compare. This travertine stream is definitely an Arizona treasure. We hiked it last week, and were greeted with spectacular scenes one after the other.
During the hike, we discussed what the future may hold for Fossil Creek. While we didn’t have any brilliant bouts of inspiration, one thing is abundantly clear — this travertine stream is an Arizona treasure that should be afforded special treatment and consideration.
So for my last tip this week, grab your ultra light or fly-fishing tackle and take along a camera with plenty of memory for a real October treat — Fossil Creek. When we were there, autumn colors were just starting. The cold, wet weather this week might just turn this area into an autumn color hot spot.
Enjoy, maybe I’ll see you out there.
CHEVELON LAKE: Fishing is fair. 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 trout 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 with Rapalas and black and brown woolly buggers at the mouth of Chevelon Creek.
BEAR CANYON LAKE: Fishing is fair to good. 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 fair. Try worms, salmon eggs, corn and Power Bait.
BLUE RIDGE LAKE: Fishing has been typically slow for rainbow trout, but this is the time of year to latch into a large trout. This is a very steep-sided reservoir that is not shore-angler friendly. It is best fished from a boat, kayak, float tube or canoe.
GREEN VALLEY LAKES: The Green Valley Lakes received the first delivery of rainbow trout on Oct. 20, kicking off an eight-month trout stocking season. Fishing should be excellent for the 11- to 14-inch trout. Best trout baits include Power Bait, small spinners and lures, and worms. Green Valley anglers continue to have success catching bass, bluegill and crappie.
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 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 rubber worms or lizards and bass lures.
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 fishing access.
WOODS CANYON LAKE: Fishing is fair to good. The stocking season has ended.
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.
Trolling with small Rebel crankbaits or with a fly has been productive. 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.
ROOSEVELT LAKE: Lake elevation is 2132 feet (77-percent full). Tonto Creek runoff is 0 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 129 cfs.
A cold front and possible windy conditions this week could drop the lake temperatures below optimum. During the windy days, fish the rocky shorelines using crayfish-like lures for smallmouth bass. It is possible that fish will go deeper if the lake temperatures drop significantly, but it’s a wait-and-see proposition.
A fisherman caught 20 fish mostly on drop shot and a few on crankbait, Rat-L-Trap and Texas-rigged worms. Water temps were in the high 60s and warmed into the low 70s by mid-day. Most fish were caught before 10 a.m.