Bass spawning activity varies across the state, although most bass seem to be in post-spawn. At Roosevelt Lake, however, the spawn is in full swing, and many spawning fish can be seen in shallow water.
This is one of the heaviest stocking weeks of the year in terms of numbers of fisheries. Here’s a rundown of the waters we’ll be stocking the week of May 5 in the Payson-Mogollon Rim area: Black Canyon Lake, Canyon Creek, Christopher Creek, East Verde River, Haigler Creek, Long Tom Tank, Tonto Creek, Tonto Creek Bear Flats, Willow Springs Lake, Woods Canyon Lake.
MOGOLLON RIM LAKES RUNDOWN:
Note: All roads to the Rim Lakes are now open. Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in effect on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, State Trust lands, and Arizona Game and Fish Department Wildlife Areas.
BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. All Forest roads are now open.
BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake level is down about 10 feet and launching boats is difficult. All Forest roads are open.
CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good for carry-over trout. All Forest roads are now open.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is fair. Anglers have been catching a few hold-over trout during the late afternoon hours and the lake has been stocked recently with rainbow trout. All Forest roads are now open.
WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake was stocked last week and will be stocked again this week with 1,590 rainbow trout. The Woods Canyon Lake store is open and boat rentals are available. All Forest roads are open.
James Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods send the following Rim update: The stocking of Rim lakes has started and will increase over the next month. I'm still getting reports that hold-over trout are being caught. Hold-over trout are those that made it through the winter and are now close to 2 years old.
Z-Rays, Roadrunners, spinners, small crankbaits and power bait were reported successful this past week.
Good morning rim country anglers – If you’re reading this report you should drop what you’re doing, drive to Roosevelt Lake and go fishing. The spawn that we have been talking about for over a month is still in full swing and many spawning fish can be seen in shallow water.
In addition, the top-water bite that we have been reporting the past couple of weeks exploded this past week and excellent reports were received. Experienced tournament anglers are telling me that they were fishing top-water baits from safe light until mid-morning.
Now this storm moving through Rim Country this weekend may push the fish a little deeper for a couple of days but as soon as the weather stabilizes, the bass will be right back to a normal pattern. Two top water baits reported successful are a Rio Rico in a white pearl color and a Zara Spook in a chrome with black stripe color.
The mid-morning timeframe reported is significant because that is about the time the wind has been picking up at the lake with gusts up to 20 mph. Experienced anglers are then moving to deeper water and fishing reaction type baits. These include crank baits, soft plastic paddle tail baits and the spider bait.
Anglers also reported success using lizards, worms and crawdad imitation baits on a Texas rig, Carolina rig or a dropshot technique. A local tournament on Roosevelt this past week produced a bass over 6 pounds, one more than 5 pounds and several more than the 4-pound mark.
The lake remained at 50-percent full this past week with a water temperature in the mid-60s to low-70s, depending on the day. The water clarity improved last week with reports of being able to see down past 10 feet being reported.
The crappie fishing was called fair to poor this past week. Some anglers reported better crappie fishing at night near the marina using live minnows. Crappie lights are effective right now as we move to a new moon next week. Salome Cove and around Windy Hill were reported hot spots for crappie this past week. A 1/16 or 1/8-ounce jig hook with a 2-inch pumpkin/chartreuse or black/blue color grub tail were reported successful.
The crappie are still spawning too, so be on the lookout for those dark spots lurking in shady spots around a submerged log or brush. A good rule of thumb is, if you think you see a crappie, he is probably there so make the pitch into that dark spot.
Remember that an ultralight power rod with an extra fast action is a must if you're crappie fishing. Also your line weight must be a 6-pound test or less.
The stocking of trout by the AZGFD is in full swing and the rim lakes and streams are all open now. Several trout anglers reported catching limits this past week in just a couple of hours. PowerBait, salmon eggs and small size 0 spinners were working this past week. You can see the complete list of Rim Country trout stocking schedules at AZGFD.org