Fishing Report For Jan. 9 Through Jan. 15

Advertisement

Arizona Game and Fish’s Rory Aiken’s first tip of 2012 is to get a new annual fishing license, or a new combo license.

Youth especially get a smoking deal — even those youngsters from out of state. The youth combo license is only $26.50 and includes trout fishing privileges for both resident and nonresident youth.

There is also the family fishing license some of you folks might want to check out. A fishing license is your key to a lot of fun and adventure in the healthy outdoors for the family.

Here’s some great fishing news — Salt River Project is taking water from Stewart Mountain Dam to keep the Bartlett Lake level up. This means a 10-mile, mid-winter trout fishing bonus for all of us. This coming week, Arizona Game and Fish will stock feisty winter rainbow trout at the Water Users area just below Stewart Mountain Dam and at the Blue Point Bridge along the Lower Salt River.

Also, another piece of great news — Now you can get the new Arizona Fishing Guide book from any of the Arizona Game and Fish offices across the state.

In the high country, things were a little different. We actually had decent snow pack for the winter before this one, with good corresponding levels at most trout lakes in the pine country. Then came the horrendous fire season. Some lakes were not accessible. Others were, but didn’t get a lot of fishing pressure. But here’s the kicker — we kept growing trout at the hatcheries and ultimately, those trout went into the lakes.

So let’s see: we had low fishing pressure, yet the same amount of trout stockings, which left lots of fish uncaught at the end of last year’s season. Can you say HOLDOVER trout? That alone means the high country trout season is shaping up pretty good. Now we wait and see on what type of snow pack we get to find out if we have a very good year, or hopefully a great fishing year in the mountains.

Keep in mind that the annual incentive trout stocking in the Urban Fishing Program Lakes (includes larger fish) is scheduled this week (Jan. 9-14). So if you don’t already have a fishing license, get a Super Conservation one and you can fish both the urban waters, state waters and also have trout fishing privileges in the state waters.

Here’s another tip — look for late afternoon shade lines, such as the one adjacent to the bluffs along Humbug Creek at Lake Pleasant, or the upper end of Bartlett just before the no-wake zone. Largemouth bass like to loaf in the shadows (great blue herons and bald eagles can’t see them easily) and wait in ambush for any meal swimming or floating by. Don’t expect great numbers or even a large percentage of the bass population. What you will most likely find is an occasional bass in the shallows. On the plus side, those can often be the larger bass that need to support their body mass.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake Elevation is 2,121 feet (66 percent full). Tonto Creek runoff is 53 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 198 cfs.  Water temp as reported by anglers ranged between 53 and 56 degrees Fahrenheit. 

A couple anglers caught over 5 largemouth bass in the 16-inch range using cranks and spinners. The largest largemouth bass fell for spinner bait. It was 23 inches long and over 6 pounds.

Dropshot and worms attached to jigs worked pretty good. A new rig known as Darter worms enticed a bite. You can look the rig up on the web but basically it is where the rounded head of a worm is nipped off and fits snuggly against the jig head. You can also buy a Darter Head jig if you wish. The point is to eliminate the space between the jig head and worm so it looks like one smooth unit. They are supposed to work well in clear water. 

An angler spent the day fishing and caught 11 largemouth bass with the largest a quarter pound shy of 3 pounds. Dropshot proved to be the most productive ticket for this angler in the 30 to 60 foot range. Jerkbait and spoons in around the marina worked pretty well. With the water a bit chilly, a slow retrieve is a good idea and use your fish finders to locate them as they don’t like to expend a lot of energy chasing their dinner right now.  

This is the time of year when crappie congregate into large schools. In the past, you could typically find them in open water in both the Tonto and Salt River ends of the lake, and might do so again this year since the lake level is down. But crappie also like wooded cover. Roosevelt has lots of deep, wooded cover for them. So if you don’t find them in the open water, go looking in deep water with cover. Good sonar might depict them as looking almost like Christmas tree ornaments in the tops of trees. Keep in mind that crappie feed upwater, so place your jigs and minnows accordingly.

APACHE - Lake elevation is 1,908 ft. (94 percent full). It’s a bit chilly out there, but anglers are finding the bite using live worms, spoons on the ledges and dropshot near the drop-offs. On these sunny and warm winter days, look for yellow bass to be holding just inside the mouths of coves or along the deeper secondary points inside coves at 15 to 35 feet deep. While jigs can work, night crawlers or mealworms might prove almost irresistable.

CANYON - Lake elevation is 1,658 ft, which is 96 percent full. Water temp as measured by anglers ranged from 54 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Anglers are doing quite well with the relatively new A-Rig. A group of anglers caught around 30 fish with the largest largemouth bass at 4 pounds. The A-Rig entices an exuberant bite so the hook can be lodged pretty deep in the mouth. This new presentation certainly has the attention of the fish. Don’t forget you can only “arm” two of the lures, so take the remaining hooks off. Play with the positioning and you will find the best spots to place the armed lures.

Live bait is still a good bet for those who want a nice, relaxing time on the water.

On these sunny and warm winter days, look for yellow bass to be holding just inside the mouths of coves or along the deeper secondary points inside coves at 15 to 35 feet deep. While jigs can work, night crawlers or mealworms might prove almost irresistable.

SAGUARO - Lake elevation 1,525 feet at 93 percent full. Water temps taken by anglers ranged between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Salt River Project is now taking water from Stewart Mountain Dam, which creates a current-like situation that can result in a better winter bite.

Anglers are hammering bass with A-Rigs, especially in the main channel. Yellow bass are slurping up the shad and are susceptible to spoons and live bait. Largemouth bass are also going after spoons, but it’s a slow retrieve or slowly bouncing it off the bottom toward your boat.

On these sunny and warm winter days, look for yellow bass to be holding just inside the mouths of coves or along the deeper secondary points inside coves at 15 to 35 feet deep. While jigs can work, night crawlers or mealworms might prove almost irresistable.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.