Rory’s Tips: The possibility of high pressure moving into the state will make good conditions to go fishing, but fish activity levels may slacken a little.
Typically, fish will feed more heavily when storms are visiting the state, and can become less active on those blue-bird stays following such climatic events. However, since the days are getting shorter and the nights are typically getting cooler, this also means fish will be transitioning to fall feeding activities. So even if the bite slows down temporarily, expect it to pick right back up again. Also on the positive side, the expected warmer clear weather should make being outdoors even more pleasant, especially in the high mountains.
My top choices for right now are the lakes with striped bass. Stripers can feed very aggressively at the surface this time of year, making them a ball to fish. But even then, sometimes they can be picky about the lures they will chase. Be prepared to try topwater first, then switch to shad-imitating crankbaits, spoons, jerkbaits or whatever. A good rule of thumb is to try and mimic the size of shad the stripers are chasing. The lakes to try for stripers include Havasu, Pleasant, Mead, Mohave and Powell.
Roosevelt holds lots of potential action right now, but be versatile and keep moving until you find the action. Some anglers are doing well at times with buzzbaits, which can be an absolute ball. Be sure to have a second pole rigged with a flutter-down bait for those bass that strike short of the buzzer.
With a new moon on Sept. 18, fishing at night should still be pretty viable under lights. Also, with less moisture in the air (according to weather predictions), the night sky over our desert and mountain lakes should provide a star-studded spectacular for nighttime anglers. Binoculars on a boat at night can get you up close and personal with the heavenly bodies, in between catching fish that is.
With autumn just around the corner, we are entering one of the best times to fish, and certainly one of the most scenic times of year, especially in the high country.
This past weekend, we heard bull elk just starting to bugle in the mountains at last light — this is the leading edge of the rut. So get away from the sound pollution and listen to the twilight forest sounds.
Don’t forget that the season opener for this year’s newly-created roundtail chub fishery, Fossil Creek, is Oct. 3. Fossil Creek is spectacular — it is one of our two travertine streams in Arizona; the famous Havasu Springs in the Grand Canyon is the other. The history behind this stretch of stream is also amazing, so stay tuned and we’ll tell you more in the coming weeks.
The crappie are slowly starting their transition to fall patterns. However, it could take several more weeks before really large schools are found in open water. For now, night fishing under lights is still the best bet.
ROOSEVELT — I have heard several reports of really good numbers being caught at night. Several anglers have caught between 40 and 100 on the Salt River end. The best baits are minnows under a bobber, Slab Daddy jigs with Yum shad spray and 2” Kalin jigs in black/ blue/chartreuse and John Deere green. Look for the fish at about 10 to 12 feet deep over 25 to 40 feet of water. Remember to fish as light as you can. Light line, rods and baits will help you feel even the slightest bites.
This is typical for this time of the year. I would say that within a month, the crappie will have moved out into open and schooled up. That will make it easy to find them using some basic trolling techniques.
ROOSEVELT LAKE — Lake elevation is 2,136 ft (82-percent full). Tonto Creek runoff is 2 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 136 cfs.
This lake is producing an abundance of fish for knowledgeable and novice anglers alike. Buzzbait and topwater lures are good early morning tactics. Flipping worms in the brush is a good technique as long as you have plenty of patience when you have to extricate your “weedless” presentations.
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). 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.
BEAR CANYON LAKE — Fishing is fair to good. 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 for bass and sun fish. Fishing is poor 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, 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.
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. There are no limits on 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.