Woods Canyon Trout Almost Jump In The Boat

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Tom Brossart/Roundup

Woods Canyon Lake is the place for twilight fishing this September. Last Wednesday (Aug. 26), a solo fisherman reported to Rory Aikens of Arizona Game & Fish he pulled 67 trout (between 11 and 15 inches long) out of the lake — all “beefy and good fighters.” He put 61 back in.

This is the first quarter of a waxing moon, so fishing at night should be viable under lights. But there is also a transition time from summer to fall activity patterns for the fish. Daytime fishing should become more viable as the days get shorter, the nights get longer, and the lakes start to cool down.

This is also a transition time in the high country lakes. Those lakes should be cooling down a little each day, and the trout should start feeding more aggressively. It’s a slow but steady process. As the trout become more active, lures such as spinners and casting spoons can become more effective than bottom fishing with prepared baits. If you have a two-pole stamp, try both techniques to see which one provides the most fish (and fun).

So act like the fish and ease into an autumn state of mind while still catching some summer memories out there.

ROOSEVELT LAKE – Lake elevation is 2,139 feet (85 percent full). Tonto Creek runoff is 0 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 119 cfs.

With a quarter moon, this is still good time to use submersible lights to fish at night for crappie and bass. However, some anglers are starting to transition to daytime fishing again as the nights get longer, the days get shorter, and the water starts to cool.

MOGOLLON RIM LAKES

BEAR CANYON LAKE — Fishing is fair. The lake was stocked last week with catchable size rainbow trout. It is a short but steep hike in. 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, 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. Due to high water temperatures and pHs, Arizona Game and Fish Department does not stock this lake during the summer months.

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, 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.

BLUE RIDGE — The lake has been stocked. Anglers reported catching a few fish on lures and cowbells, but fishing has generally been slow. There are a large number of logs floating in the lake so be careful while boating.

CHEVELON LAKE — Fishing is fair, but could pick up considerably right before monsoon storms. Anglers have been catching rainbow trout on spinners.

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).

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.

KNOLL LAKE — This spring-fed lake can be one of the better summer trout fisheries, but reaching it entails crossing more than 20 miles of dirt road – access is via the Rim Road (FR 300).

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE — Fishing is fair to good for trout and bass. The lake is stocked weekly with catchable size rainbow trout.

The best trout bite has been at first and last light, or when the storm clouds start piling up. Willow Springs also has plenty of smallmouth and largemouth bass. There are no limits on the 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), 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. Woods Canyon is also a great place to load up on delectable crayfish.

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, semi-seal leeches, and small nymphs in black, brown or green. The lake is open to electric trolling motors only.

Trolling cowbells with lures, flies or bait is also productive. If you can get some live cicadas or grasshoppers to use, try fishing them during the early morning hours and the late evening hours.

Direct report on Woods Canyon

“Hi Rory – I fished solo on Aug. 26 on Woods Canyon Lake. This was one of the best days I’ve had on Woods Canyon. I arrived at first light, and launched the boat into the fog rolling across the lake. The air temperature was 50 degrees, and the water temperature in the morning was 62 degrees. I was really surprised how quickly the water temperature is dropping (excellent news). I slow trolled Rebel crankbaits, 1-1/2-inch long (medium to dark in color) and it was on! I boated 67 trout, no, this is not a misprint, 67 trout; 61 were release to be caught again, 5 fish of my bag limit went home with me, and 1 fish from my bag limit was given to a new friend that I met on the lake. All the trout were between 11 and 15 inches long and they were very beefy, and awesome fighters. I had the opportunity to share the lures and the technique with many boats on the lake. One guy said, ‘are you using dynamite?’ I hope this report helps some people! Go catch some awesome trout on the Rim! You will love it! Thanks again Arizona Game and Fish for these awesome lakes!”

— Kevin Thompson

MOGOLLON RIM STREAMS

The recent storms brought some rain to the Rim. The best rig is to use hoppers with dry fly droppers of Copper johns, and pheasant tail nymphs. Early morning and evening is still the best time.

• Haigler Creek – Our sampling didn’t shed light on any dark deep secrets. Basically the same as what the anglers know already.

There were a lot of small pools with mostly rainbows and some browns hanging. The rain helped replenish some of those small pools with some fresh water and added room for more stockers this week.

• Canyon Creek – No recent

• reports. Get there early.

• Tonto Creek – No recent

• reports.

• Christopher Creek –No recent

• reports. Get there early.

• East Verde – No recent

• reports.

• Workman Creek – No recent

• reports.

FLAGSTAFF LAKES

LOWER LAKE MARY — Was stocked last spring, there may be some fish there, but the water is very low and the fishing could be poor to non-existent at times. The water is low and it is very weedy.

UPPER LAKE MARY — The lake is full. Anglers have reported that folks are catching black crappie, yellow perch and northern pike on soft plastic jigs and spoons. In addition they were catching walleye near the boat ramp on night crawlers.

ASHURST LAKE — The lake is full. Fishing was fair on worms or Power Bait fished about 3 feet below a bobber. A 12-pound pike was checked by the creel clerk over the weekend. Scheduled to be stocked this week. Fishing on regular marshmallows was good.

FRANCIS SHORT POND – Anglers were catching catfish using hot dogs for bait early in the morning and in the evening.

KINNIKINICK LAKE — Road open. 2-pound brown trout was caught on a worm recently.

MARSHALL LAKE — Road is open and the lake has been stocked. It is very weedy. Stocking for the year is done.

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