United States
33° 41' 13.956" N, 111° 7' 16.3776" W
Average: 3 (1 vote)
Weather: Sunny Air Temperature: 61-70 F

The extreme heat during the day on many Arizona lakes has anglers modifying their fishing strategy. Even local tournaments are forced to acknowledge this change. The move is to night time bass fishing. When ambient temperatures exceed 105 degrees and the water temperature is in the mid 80s, the fishing conditions during the daytime can be limited to just a few hours after sunrise.

As the temperatures rise, the anglers concentration is distracted and in some cases it can become dangerous if food intake and fluid levels are not properly maintained. So it's not hard to understand why summer nighttime bass fishing is so popular among local anglers. In addition to the cooler night time temperatures, the full moon which is rising at sunset and lasting until about 2:30 a.m., will make for some great memories for those enjoying the fishing in the dark.  However, there is an entirely different set of rules for night time fishing, so if you've never fished at night, use extreme caution. Everything from launching the boat to landing a fish is different at night. The exciting news is that the fish become more active and the full moon is a plus for the fish and the angler.
Bass fishing on Roosevelt Lake is being called “good” by experienced local anglers. A dropshot and Texas-rig techniques using Roboworms, a Senko and a jig were reported the most successful baits recently. Major lake points in 15-25 feet depths is where most fish are being caught. The water clarity is extremely clear which is typical for this time of year. The Tonto Creek has stopped flowing and the Salt River is flowing at 60% of its normal flow for this time of year.  The lake stands at 47% full and the daily trend of the water level is down.

Crappie anglers continue to report a good to excellent morning and evening bite. Crappie anglers are fishing in 20-25 foot depths near submerged rocks and trees. Crappie schools are getting larger but it's still a good technique to rotate between 2-3 locations holding crappie schools.  Experienced crappie anglers are reporting 25 crappie caught in a few hours of fishing. 

Average: 3 (1 vote)
Weather: Sunny Air Temperature: 61-70 F

Bass fishing on Roosevelt Lake is being called excellent by local experienced anglers.
Most bass are staging right now just outside of spawning areas waiting for perfect conditions to move shallow. We just passed a new moon and the next full moon will occur later this month. The brighter moon and warmer nighttime water temperatures will bring even more fish to spawn. Many bass are already spawning and can be seen in two to five feet deep water in the backs of coves.
The water temperature, which is a major indicator of spawning conditions, is now measuring over 60 degrees during the day. The lake level continues to increase and currently stands at 52 percent full with lots of shoreline vegetation recently covered by the rising water level. Newly submerged vegetation is a great food source and enhances the overall fishery.  The flows into the lake slowed considerably recently and as a result, the water clarity is improving. For sight anglers, this is good news especially with the bass fishing tournaments scheduled for this month.   

Most bass continue in the pre-stage phase and are in 10 to 15 feet of water preparing to move shallow.  These bass are actively feeding in preparation for the spawn. Reports suggest that any type of reaction bait is catching fish. Fish are feeding so aggressively that things like color, size and speed seem not to matter. Two baits mentioned more than others are the Pirch Outdoors Spider-bait and a Reaction Innovation paddle tail swim-bait.  A dropshot technique, Texas rig and a jig are also excellent springtime baits for Roosevelt Lake. Hot spots reported are any points with nearby shallow coves used as spawning areas.    

Crappie fishing is also improving. During the spawn, the male crappie color changes to a gloss black with emerald green markings. The male crappie are moving into shallow water to prepare for their spawn. This process is just beginning but look for crappie conditions to continue to improve especially during the full moon phase in a couple of weeks. Crappie will spawn under logs, rocks, docks and even on the tires at the marina. If you're fishing one of these types of cover, always look for the darker shady areas, that is where crappie prefer to spawn.

The Rim Lakes are not part of the winter trout stocking program due to ice and road conditions however, I'll keep you posted when the summer stockings schedules are released by the AZGFD. In the meantime, the Community Fishing Program provides great local fishing opportunities for all ages and experience levels. Green Valley Lake in Payson is stocked every other week with hundreds of healthy 12" rainbow trout. You can check the stocking schedule for your favorite Community Fishing lake at AZGFD.gov website

Two upcoming exciting  bass fishing tournaments are planned for this month.  First, the Wild West Bass Trail will conducting its second tournament of the year on Roosevelt Lake. This tournament which is a Pro-Am format, will be held on March  19 and 20. You can register and read all of the details at www.wildwestbasstrail.com or you can contact the Tournament Director, Mr. Paul Alpers directly at 573.280.8020.
Also, mark your calendars for the Bill Luke Bass Days, March 18th through the 20th on Lake Pleasant. This is the tournament that pays for the top 10 largest fish weighed in each hour. $10,000 will be paid for the biggest bass overall and $2,000 for the daily biggest bass. In addition to fishing, there are many family related activities during Bass Days, check them all out and register at www.billlukebassdays.com    

Have a great week of fishing and I hope to see you on the water.

Average: 3 (1 vote)
Weather: Sunny Air Temperature: 61-70 F

Are the bass in a pre-spawn phase?" That is the top question Rim Country anglers have been recently asking. The stable weather and warmer temperatures are key indicators that the fish are becoming active in preparation for the upcoming spawn.

Experienced anglers know that when a springtime storm approaches, the bass will move back to deeper, protective water. However, the forecast in Rim Country for the next couple of  weeks is stable weather with even warmer days. So if this weather holds, fishing conditions on Roosevelt Lake could improve dramatically over the next several weeks. The water flows into Roosevelt Lake have slowed with the Salt River flowing at just above 100 percent and the Tonto Creek flowing at about twice its normal rate for this time of year. The lake level is 47 percent full but the level continues to increase each week. The clarity of the water is also getting better as the flows decline. Most of the lake is now clear or slightly stained except for the very ends where the water is entering.  The water temperature is 51 degrees in the morning, rising into the mid to high 50s in the afternoon. So it’s not hard to understand why anglers are getting excited.

As the weather becomes more stable, more bass will be transitioning into the pre-spawn and spawning stages. To anglers, this translates to the bass feeding more aggressively and better overall fishing conditions. Reaction baits such as spinner baits and crankbaits will become more effective, while traditional techniques such as a Flipping Jig, dropshot and Texas rig will continue to be successful.
Crappie fishing has also improved due to the weather. Anglers reported a good crappie bite that is getting better each day as the sunshine heats the water. Trolling a small curly tail jig in 20 feet of water is the standard technique for crappie.

The Community Fishing Program sponsored by AZGFD stocked Green Valley Lake recently with more than a thousand rainbow trout. The recent storms kept many anglers away, but the anglers have definitely returned in recent days. Salmon eggs and Power-Bait are the two most common baits reported from Green Valley.

The Gila County Roundtable members will be meeting with Arizona Game & Fish representatives on Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. in Tonto Basin at the Chamber of Commerce Building. Game & Fish will be discussing progress related to the Florida Strain Bass that were stocked last spring. They will also update the community on the habitat structures that are planned to be deployed later this year. This meeting is open to the public and you are encouraged to attend. Recent survey data is indicating early signs of success and this project demonstrates the results of the community and Game and Fish working together for a better fishery.

Have a great week of fishing and I hope see you on the water.