At Silver Creek, Cinda Howard of Fly Fish Arizona said fishing is good but has been getting tougher. Flies of choice have been bunny leeches in tan or black, Glo Bugs, San Juan worms and zebra midges.
There also has been some top-water action, especially when the sun hits the water and generates midge hatches. Water temperatures are in the 40s.
THE REEL DEAL
We call them “incentive” trout for a reason: To get you out on the water and hopefully onto some big fish.
The reports of big trout keep coming in. Ryan L. reported catching this rainbow trout that he said measured 23 inches and weighed 5.5 pounds.
Also congratulations to Harold Heres, who caught a 4.44-pound, 21.75-inch rainbow trout on PowerBait at Red Mountain Lake near Mesa on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 1. The trout was entered in the Big Fish of the Year contest. Go get yours!
We’re getting things off right with incentive trout stockings that have just gone into many of the Community Fishing Program waters. Which ones? The trout have been stocked into all the waters but the Phoenix/Maricopa expansion and custom waters. See the stocking schedule. These fish are all at least 1 pound, which most being 3-5 pounds. (A few are 6-8 pounds.)
This is prime winter trout time.
Typically, it’s also winter crappie time. Might want to stay away from Roosevelt Lake if you want crappie. On the other hand, sounds like Alamo Lake could be a good crappie producer. Anglers were reporting that crappie were trying to turn on at this lake, which is located west of Wickenburg. A recent storm that blew through shut the bite down for a few days, but with high temperatures back into the 70s all we, things should turn on again. Crappie are definitely blue-sky lovers.
Go where the Bill Williams River enters the lake and you will see some ancient cottonwood tops sticking out of the water — that is a huge flat where the crappie like to hold.
The crappie might be in 30 or even 50 feet of water, but the active crappie are usually at around 15 feet deep. Keep in mind that crappie feed upward.
So slow troll and get your bait or jig down to just above 15 feet. For example, 6-pound Fireline and a 1/16-ounce curly tail swimming jig translates into 41.5 feet of line at a trolling speed 1.5 mph to reach 14 feet.
Also consider Bartlett Lake for crappie.
Don’t forget to bring your license! Need one? They can be purchased online. Your purchase helps conserve wildlife for future genrations! (The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive state tax dollars.)
White Mountains updates
Significant access roads closed for the winter on Dec. 30, including Highways 273 and 261, and Forest Road 300 towards Woods Canyon Lake, Bear Canyon Lake, and Chevelon Lake. This has impacted access to a number of waters on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, but the incoming snowstorm would have limited much of that access anyway.
Most of the lakes in the region are entirely frozen over, or mostly frozen. As of Dec. 29, there wasn’t any ice cover that was safe to walk on and thus, ice fishing will have to wait for thicker ice conditions. The late onset of the ice cover will delay the ice fishing season, but will likely mean that no winter kills will occur.
There are only a few waters in the region that are fully accessible (open water or safe ice, open/clear roads), including Lyman Lake, Clear Creek Reservoir, Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, and Silver Creek.
Most waters are still ice covered, and Show Low Lake that was previously ice free now has partial ice that restricts boat launching. Ice cover should still be considered unsafe.
The ice came on very late this year and needs a little more time to build before it is safe.