In the high country, as the nights get longer and cooler, the trout start feeding more and more aggressively to put on body fat before winter conditions arrive, providing some of the best fishing opportunities of the year. Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Custom Rods said bull elk were heard bugling in Payson this past week. The rut is getting underway. Good time to hit Woods Canyon or Willow Springs lakes. Fishing is good for trout at Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake, Big Lake, Show Low Creek, and Silver Creek.
MOGOLLON RIM LAKES
BEAR CANYON LAKE – Fishing is fair to good. The lake will be stocked this week with 1,755 rainbow trout.
BLACK CANYON LAKE – Fishing is poor. The lake level is very low, down about 18 feet, and launching boats is extremely difficult.
CHEVELON LAKE – Fishing is fair. Water temperatures are warm, so trout will be deep most of the day. The road to the dam has been improved, but is open only to vehicles 50” wide or less (ATVs). The hike into the lake is strenuous.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake was stocked last week and will be stocked again this week with 2,370 rainbow trout.
WOODS CANYON LAKE – Fishing is good. The lake was stocked last week and will be stocked again this week with 3,060 rainbow trout. Fish early morning or evening when the fish are most active. Otherwise the fish congregate just above the thermocline and will be suspended in a narrow band within the water column somewhere between 15 to 20 feet deep, depending upon where the thermocline is located. Experiment with different depths until you find the fish. The Woods Canyon Lake store is open and boat rentals are available.
ROOSEVELT LAKE – (2.090 feet, 38-percent full).
Bass-fishing was called “good to very good” this past week, with good reports coming from both ends of the lake. What a difference this freshwater entering the lake can make in a short amount of time.
From first light until about noon seems to be the best times reported. Anglers continue to target shad schools in the backs of coves with top-water baits, and as the sun gets higher, they switch to a dropshot technique in 20-25 feet water off main lake points. Darker color 3/8-ounce jigs were also reported successful.
The water level in Roosevelt Lake this week remained constant at 38-percent full.
Both the Salt River and the Tonto Creek continue to bring freshwater into the lake. The amount of monsoon rain flowing into the lake is off-setting the amount taken out for downstream use, which is a very good thing. The rains helped avoid algae blooms, which cause fish kills and kept the level of the lake at a safe level this summer.
The crappie bite was called “fair” this past week by Curt Rambo, a legendary crappie angler and guide. Small schools of crappie are being caught in brush or rock piles in 25-30 feet of water. Hot spots reported include the rocky shore near the dam on the highway side of the lake. A small 2-inch grub tail or the Lil Fishy bait we've been talking about on the 1/16- or 1/8-ounce jighead is an excellent summer time bait for crappie.
Trout stockings by AZGFD for the East Verde River and Haigler Creek have ended effective this week.
Stockings will continue for another couple of weeks for Canyon, Willow Springs and Woods Canyon Lakes and the Tonto Creek. If you're headed to one of the Rim lakes this weekend, PowerBaits, a Panther Martin and a Mepps spinner were all reported successful.