Updated Fishing Report March 10, 2011

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Here’s an stocking update from the Page Springs Hatchery as of 3/11

Region 2:
Oak Creek (1,050) 36-48*F
Frances Short (300) 40*F pH 7.0

Region 3:
Dead Horse (2,956) 52*F pH 8.5
Lynx Lake (2,376) 47*F pH 8.0
Verde River (2,400)
Watson Lake (2,332) 44*F pH 8.0

Region 5:
Patagonia Lake (1,782) 58*F pH 8.25
Pena Blanca Lake (1782) 55*F pH 8.5

Region 6:
Lower Salt River (1,320) 56-63*F

Next week tentative stocking schedule:

Region 2: Oak Creek (924), Frances Short (264)

Region 3: Goldwater Lake (1,188)

Region 5: Parker Canyon Lake (3,564)




Rory’s tips

The long winter wait is over — the spring equinox may not be until March 20, but the spring fishing is already here; the leading edge of the largemouth bass spawn is underway at most desert impoundments.

So pretty much, pick your favorite lake and go.

Here are some tips for where and how to fish right now. The bass staging for the spawn can initially be found moving out of deeper, colder water up onto the shallow water of major lake points outside coves. You might find them in a few feet of water up to about 35 feet of water.

Staging bass will also move to the edge of major flats, especially adjacent to deeper water, and to the secondary points inside coves. Also check submerged creek channels or other natural pathways (submerged arroyos) in the more shallow coves. Bass will follows these routes into the spawning beds.

During the leading edge of the spawn, bass will move into the backs of the shallow sheltered coves, with the work “sheltered” being the key. They like to spawn next to structure, where a submerged bush, boulder or rock outcropping. But lacking those, they will be in the spots where the water can be the warmest. Use your powers of observation and deductive reasoning.

There are those who like to work the bedding bass. Keep in mind the male bass guards the nest once the cavorting with the female is over. But once you find a bedded bass, the female may still be lurking just out of sight. A good strategy is to look over the area, determine likely ingress and egress routes for the female to follow to the bed, then work those with your lures. Often times, the female will be much larger than the male.

For working the male bass on the bed, use a highly visible soft plastic bait — I prefer a creature bait in bright chartreuse, red, or orange. That is so you can see it to visually work the lure. Cast past the nest, and work your lure back across it. The male will not necessarily try to eat the lure, but to remove it as a threat. Often times, the bass will gingerly pick up the lure and simple take it a few feet away and drop it. So set the hook. You may have to do this several times before getting a hook up.

If you do hook up, be sure to immediately release the bass to go about creating the next generation of bass to catch, or baby bass for all the predators in the aquatic ecosystem to eat.

Hopefully, that gets you going.

Also, the high country is starting to come alive. Some lakes have already experienced ice out even though they may not be all that accessible due to snow or mud on forest roads. I have been out of the office with bronchitis, but once back in the office I will check around to see what roads to what lakes are open.

Check out the crappie report below.

Anglers are going well for Gila trout at Frye Mesa Reservoir since the historic stocking and opening of the first-ever Gila trout season here recently.

The pictures in my report this week came from Richard Scott and his wife. Thanks for sharing Richard. It’s pretty neat to catch a piece of history.

This week was also the last stocking of trout along Casino Row in the Colorado River until this coming October. Throughout the winter, they have been catching some nice trout up to and sometimes beyond 20 inches long.

They have sometimes been catching big trout as well downriver in Topock Gorge, which also has some really nice smallmouth bass and plate-sized redear.

Hopefully you don’t find too many glitches in the fishing report this week. I have been updating it from home while I fight a bout of bronchitis. I view writing about fishing as part of my therapy.

Just received the recent fishing report from Lees Ferry — fishing “is off the charts!” If you want to catch wild rainbow trout in one of the most spectacular settings in North America, this is the prime time.

Send you fishing reports to raikens [at] azgfd [dot] gov so I can share them with others. JPG pics are always appreciated.

So go catch some memories. Maybe I’ll see you out there.