ARIZONA REPORTER




Arizona News - 16/03

Biologists Document Best Fishing at Lees Ferry in 10 Years


The sun is about to cross the celestial equator so get ready -- the Vernal Equinox, or the first day of spring, is March 21. The great spring fishing is well underway. Keep in mind that the new moon is March 22 and the next full moon is April 6.


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Arizona Fishing Report - Rory's Tip

Even with a weather front coming, this might be a good time to hit the Prescott area lakes; we are stocking rainbow trout in Lynx Lake, Goldwater Lake and Fain Lake this week. Or maybe you'll want to head to the Verde Valley. We stocked the Verde River between Camp Verde and Cottonwood last week with 2,400 trout and the water temperature was an invigorating 54 F. This week we are stocking the lagoons at Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

Also in the Verde Valley, we stocked both Wet Beaver Creek and West Clear Creek with trout last week. These two streams are fun to fish. Wet Beaver Creek is especially kid-friendly. To find it, get off I-17 at the Sedona exit, but instead of turning left and heading west, turn right and head east about five miles. There is a small campground where the road crosses the creek. Pretty picturesque old bridge too. The stream flows are a little low this year, but the fishing should still be decent.

If we get a nice dusting of snow on Sunday, Oak Creek can be absolutely beautiful to fish.

We have also stocked rainbow trout twice into Kaibab Lake near Williams. It might be one of the better trout fishing lakes right now. I am also getting some pretty good reports from Becker Lake near Springerville where they are catching some trophy-sized trout.

The beautiful Rim Lakes we are love are still frozen over, but I recevied a nice angler report and a picture (see on the left) of Willow Springs from Mark Reabold. This time of year, the ice will be unstable, so please wait for ice-out. It should be soon.

The National Weather Service predicts snow on Sunday though. Let's hope they are right -- we need the moisture!

Don't forget that we stocked the Lower Salt River with 3,000 rainbows last week. It might be worth a try, especially at first and last light. Had an angler call and say he couldn't catch a fish there, but he didn't get there until around 9 a.m. This time of year, the best bite might be over within an hour or so after sunrise.

For the warmwater lakes, the bass spawn is well underway at most waters, but the crappie don't seem to be getting with it yet. Maybe during the next full moon. Veteran crappie anglers have always told me that a full moon is the key to our speckled beauties getting into a romantic mood.

Top picks right now at Roosevelt, Saguaro and Pleasant for largemouth bass. Our wildlife manager at Havasu said the water is still a little chilly there for largemouth bass to get going big time, but anglers seem to be doing well for redear and bluegill using meal worms.

Alamo is going great guns for bass on beds, and the channel catfish angling is excellent. In fact, Alamo probably has the best catfishing in the state right now. But the crappie haven't really taken off yet. Maybe by the next full moon -- we'll have to wait and see.

Don't forget that our Arizona Game and Fish Department Expo is March 31 and April 1. Last year we drew around 43,000 people. Once again this year, we'll have two kids fishing tanks set up, plus the casting demonstration tank. I'll be at the demo tank both days. We'll be selling our new fishing guide at the Game and Fish Information Booth. Arizona Highways Magazine will also have a booth and will be selling the fishing guide. Drop by, say howdy, and I'll be glad to autograph a fishing book for you.

Here's another deal for you. Buy any two Shakespeare products (such as the Ugly Stick) that total $40 and a 2012 Arizona Fishing License (or show proof that you have one), submit the documentation by mail, and get $10 back by mail. For more information visit the Recreation and Boating and Fishing Foundation at www.rbff.org.

Go catch some memories. Maybe I'll see you out there.

By Rory Aikens, AZGFD


Biologists document best fishing at Lees Ferry in 10 years

Looking for a hot fishing spot? Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists said Lees Ferry in northern Arizona is currently providing its best fishing in more than a decade.

Biologists said the catch rates at Lees Ferry in 2011 were as high this past year as they were back during the good ole days, and the fishing is even better this year.

"Anglers are catching wild rainbows at two-fish per hour on average and some anglers have experienced 70-fish days or more," said Aaron Bunch, a fisheries biologist with Game and Fish.

Bunch pointed out that he finds it amazing that despite the great fishing at Lees Ferry, angling pressure at Lees Ferry is low right now.

Plus, this is the tail end of the trout spawn, so these wild rainbows are in their spawning regalia.

Anglers have the option to fish from shore, bring their own boat, or hire a guide. Remember to check regulations before going out.

"The incredible rainbow trout fishing and unrivaled scenery has established this fishery as one of the best in the nation. This is a great time to enjoy Lees Ferry. Be careful, and as always - keep your lines tight!" Bunch said.

(Photos - Lees Ferry)

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