Arizona Fishing Report - Rory's Tips

Arizona Fishing Report - Rory's Tips

Hey, want an opportunity to catch some big trout this weekend? Well, both Woods Canyon Lake and Willow Springs Lake along the Mogollon Rim have been stocked with some bonus-sized trout weighing 5 to 8 pounds in addition to the regular stockers. Better put new fishing line on the reel!

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Arizona Fishing Report - Rory's Tips

We actually have two free fishing days in Arizona, one on Saturday June 2 and the other on Saturday June 9. The way cool thing is that every day in Arizona, kids fish free; no fishing license is needed by youth under age 14.

Plus, Willow Springs has also been providing anglers some larger holdover trout as well. These larger trout are typically more predatory, so lures such as inline spinners, Rapalas, and casting spoons like KastMasters might work well. Also try troller baits, such as cowbells or Ford Fenders.

Keep in mind that the trout fishing at Big Lake is still excellent. Big has really been producing this season so far, so don't miss out on the action. I'm going to try to get up there with my youngest son during our vacation this coming week (I'll still do the fishing report from some Wi-Fi hot spot).

I've also been hearing some great things about Upper Lake Mary near Flagstaff, where some anglers have been getting huge pike up to 10 pounds, and some decent sized walleye as well. The largemouth bass fishing should also be picking up at Mary. This is also one of our few lakes with yellow perch.

Now that triple digits are back in the deserts, it's time to start thinking about cooler summer nights and fishing in the dark. There is a full moon on June 4, which makes using submersible lights less effective for attracting fish. By the way, there is a partial eclipse of the Strawberry Moon on June 4 at 3 a.m. PST. Might look way cool from the deck of a bass boat or along a shoreline.

However, this is prime catfish angling time, either from shore or from a boat. Channel catfish are plentiful in all our desert lakes, and even in some of our high country ones such as Upper Lake Mary. Chicken liver, hot dogs, corn or prepared stink baits are good, generally on treble hooks, heavy line and slip sinkers so you can fish the bottom. Catfishing is fairly simple. Catfish are sometimes more active on moon-bright nights.

Want to catch a monster fish right now? Try for flathead catfish at Bartlett Lake, Roosevelt Lake or the Imperial Division of the Colorado River. There are also some flatheads in Pleasant.

Along the Colorado River, anglers have been hauling in some monster redear sunfish tipping the scales up to five pounds and beyond at Lake Havasu and up into the Topock Gorge. Redear are great eating. Pretty good fighters as well -- just imagine a bluegill on steroids. I caught a three pounder in Topock Gorge on my ultra light and it was quite a battle landing it.

Although we haven't been getting reports this year of large redear from the Parker Strip, more than likely it is full of them as well, but maybe not as large as they are catching upriver at Havasu.

There is apparently a "killer topwater bite" at Alamo Lake right now for largemouth bass. The crappie fishing is worthwhile, but the great summer bite near the dam hadn't started as of last weekend.

The striper bite is a little more sporadic now at Lake Pleasant and with the upcoming full moon, the fishing might be best during the day or at night without the aid of submersible lights. During moon-bright nights, you need to rely more on your fish finders to locate large schools of fish and then chumming to get in on the better striper action.

It's time to go catch some summer memories. With any luck, maybe I'll see you out there.

By Rory Aikens, AZGFD

Note: For the complete stocking schedule (including maps), visit 2012 trout stocking schedule .

For fire restriction information in Arizona and New Mexico: Call Toll Free: 1-877-864-6985. Visit the website:

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