The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been busily stocking Rim Country streams and lakes in preparation for this weekend’s traditional kickoff to the summer travel season.
The Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery stocked half a dozen streams flowing off the Mogollon Rim, including Tonto Creek, the East Verde River, Christopher Creek and Haigler Creek.
The lakes atop the Rim also received a bumper crop of stocked trout, especially Willow Springs, Bear Canyon and Woods Canyon lakes.
The following summary of Rim Country fishing conditions comes from the fishing report compiled by Rory Aikens with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. For more details and maps of stocking locations, go to the Game and Fish Web site and click on the fishing report.
Fishing Report on Rim Country Lakes
Green Valley Lakes in Payson received extra stocking, with many trout in excess of a pound. Fishing reported good to excellent for trout. Try yellow or red Power Bait on the bottom, or fish with a bobber using half a worm and a salmon egg. Lure and fly anglers are having some success on Super Dupers, Trout Magnets or wooly boogers.
Bear Canyon Lake: Fishing is good for stocked trout. Lake was stocked last week with 1,823 rainbow trout. The lake is full.
Black Canyon Lake: Fishing is good. The lake has been stocked with rainbow trout in the last several weeks. The water level is very low. Launching a boat will be difficult.
Blue Ridge (CC Cragin): Fishing is good for rainbow trout, mostly stockers but some holdovers. This is a steep-sided reservoir that is not shore-angler friendly, but it is a good lake for float tubes, canoes and kayaks. Diversions from CC Cragin Reservoir began May 3. The lake filled to just 65 percent of capacity this spring due to a light snow pack.
Chevelon Lake: Fishing is good. All Forest Roads are open to Chevelon Lake. The lake is full, but no longer spilling. Recent fish population surveys found good numbers of rainbow trout from 11 to 14 inches, and a few brown trout ranging from 12 to 29 inches.
Knoll Lake: Fishing is excellent. This remote lake has been stocked, and anglers have been doing very well here for both stockers and holdover trout. It sounds like inline spinners have been more effective than prepared baits or night crawlers, but experiment. The bite can be changeable. One angler report posted on the Game and Fish Web site reported a group of fishermen who didn’t get a nibble for 90 minutes on Power Bait and salmon eggs. So they switched to spinners and small trolling spoons and caught 21 fish in the next 90 minutes.
Willow Springs Lake: Fishing is good to excellent. Willow Springs Lake was stocked heavily two weeks ago and will be stocked heavily again this week with 4,624 rainbow trout. The lake is full. The boat dock was damaged by ice over the winter and is not accessible, but it is still OK to launch boats.
Woods Canyon Lake: Fishing is excellent. The lake was stocked heavily two weeks ago and will be stocked heavily again this week with 7,452 rainbow trout. Some large rainbow trout, up to five pounds, have also been stocked. The lake is full. The store is open and boat rentals are available. Try night crawlers, Power Bait, inline spinners such as Mepps or Rooster Tails, or trolling lures such as Super Dupers and cowbells. It’s always a good bet to ask the folks at the store about what the trout are biting on. One angler reported catching — and releasing — 40 rainbow trout with a fly rod, using a parachute adams and a copper john trailer. That included one four-pound monster.