Arizona Fishing Is Hot and
Arizona fishing is hot... and cold. You get to do both.
Arizona fishing waters offer huge contrasts. Warm water desert lakes and cold high
country waters are less than two hours apart. You can easily catch trout at
Ashurst Lake all morning, and then drop down to Roosevelt Lake. There you can do
some bass and crappie fishing in the afternoon and evening.
The photo above shows the fog
drifting off Upper Lake Mary on a cool spring morning. Here we fished for pike. Later that day we were catching
smallmouth bass at Apache Lake. I've also fished for stripers at Lake Pleasant on a hot desert
night, and stopped by Ashurst Lake for a little morning trout fishing on the way
Our desert lakes offer great warm water angling. And our beautiful high
country lakes and streams provide great cold water angling.
Fishing in the state's central and western desert
year-around sport, even in the very hot summer months.
Speaking of hot... when it gets too hot for day fishing,
desert anglers often switch to nights
and the early morning hours.
You can find more Arizona
fishing information here.
Arizona fishing in the desert lakes offers lots of action and
excitement. Healthy bass, catfish, and crappie populations are the rule.
But you often need a boat and proper gear to fish the more remote parts of
our larger lakes.
Compare that with the smaller and very accessible cold water trout lakes and streams
South of Flagstaff.
Arizona fishing in our high country
restful to your eyes and spirit. Although the lakes are smaller, they
are rarely crowded.
Arizona fishing is better in the spring and fall seasons,
but that's usually true all
around the West. In our case it's true for both warm and cold waters.
March, April, October, and November, while most anglers are looking to the desert lakes, a few
are in the high country enjoying great trout fishing action.
Arizona Fishing South of Flagstaff also offers some huge northern pike... and beautiful scenery, with lots of color.
The photo above was shot at Ashurst Lake before sunrise.
Looking north, the snow-crowned San Francisco Peaks shine in the early morning
light. The photo below was also shot at Ashurst... as the sun began to make it's
Arizona fishing for trout and northern pike attract a lot of anglers. Cold water fishing South of Flagstaff offers you a choice of
several lakes and streams, including:
- Ashurst Lake
- Coconino Reservoir
- Kinnikinick Lake
- Upper Lake Mary
- Lower Lake Mary
- Oak Creek
- West Fork (of Oak Creek)
The Arizona Fishin' Holes publication (available at all Arizona
Game and Fish Department offices) is full of the information every
Arizona angler needs.
Arizona’s Official Fishing Guide arrives in time for the New Year
Arizona’s Official Fishing Guide is hot off the presses and ready for
purchase online from Arizona Highways Magazine or at Costco stores.
This “official” fishing guide for Arizona was a joint project between
Arizona Highways and the Arizona Game and Fish Department. It was the first
major collaboration between Arizona’s iconic magazine and the state’s
renowned wildlife management agency. The book should be available soon at all
Arizona Game and Fish Department offices as well.
Highways website offers several publications that anglers will
find informative, interesting... and beautiful.
With two exceptions, all of the waters listed above are accessed from Lake
Mary Road. This road runs south from Flagstaff to Clints Well, where it meets
Oak Creek and the West Fork. Highway 89A follows Oak Creek north of Sedona,
through Oak Creek Canyon..
Ashurst Lake (pictured above) is a popular lake, for
camping as well as fishing.
Coconino Reservoir is a small lake reached by a very rough
road south from Ashurst Lake.
Lower Lake Mary often suffers from a lack of water, but
can produce fast action for stocked trout in the early spring. The lake is full, and
good fishing is happening now.
Arizona fishing in our local waters offer you a variety of fish, including rainbow trout, brown trout, northern and walleye pike, and even a few bass and crappie.
The links below provides more information.
These waters also offer a huge bonus. Most of them boast nearby campgrounds or day use areas that offer shade and cool breezes.
Fishing in the high country lakes
South of Flagstaff offers a wonderful summer retreat to the cool mountains.
One weekend per month is great medicine for desert dwellers.
Arizona Fishing News and Information
December 4, 2013
public meeting scheduled on fisheries management in
PHOENIX -- The Arizona Game and Fish Department will
host another meeting to discuss the current and proposed
management of sport fisheries on Haigler Creek and receive
public comment, this time from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec.
18 at the Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters in
The meeting will be held in the Quail Room (adjacent to
the main entrance). The department headquarters are
located at 5000 West Carefree Highway (1.5 miles west of
The department manages portions of Haigler Creek,
located in the Tonto National Forest east of Payson, as a
wild rainbow trout and brown trout fishery, as well as a
put-and-take rainbow trout fishery. The proposal calls for
the department to reintroduce native Gila trout into Upper
Haigler Creek with the goal of developing a
catch-and-release fishery for this unique trout species.
Game and Fish held public meetings on this subject last
month in Payson and Young.
2014 Fishing and Combo licenses offer
bundled privileges for better value
|One of the
biggest changes coming to Arizona's new hunting and
fishing license structure in 2014 will be the
bundling of privileges for Fishing licenses and
Combination Hunt/Fish licenses.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the new General
Fishing license will include not only the privileges
of the current Class A fishing license, but also
privileges for trout, two-pole fishing, and
Community Fishing Program waters (formerly known as
Urban Fishing Program waters). The license may also
include fishing privileges for Colorado River waters
that Arizona shares with Nevada and California
(currently $3 for the stamp for each state),
depending on whether negotiations AZGFD is having
with those states are successful.
The price of the new General Fishing license will
be $37 for residents. By comparison, if
residents separately bought the above-listed
privileges under the current license structure,
those privileges would cost $69.75 ($23.50 for the
Class A license, $15.75 for the trout stamp, $6 for
the two-pole stamp, $18.50 for the Urban license,
and $3 each for the Colorado River stamps for shared
waters with California and Nevada). The new General
Fishing license will also be less expensive and
include more privileges than the current Super
Fishing license, which costs $53 for residents. The
Super Fishing license will be discontinued in 2014.
The nonresident price for the new General Fishing
license will be $55. Those privileges, if
purchased separately under the current license
structure, would cost nonresidents $75 ($63 for the
nonresident Super Fishing license, $6 for the
two-pole stamp, and $3 each for the CA and NV
Colorado River stamps).
The price of the new Combination Hunt/Fish
License will be $57 for residents. That price is
only $3 more than the price of the current Class F
Combo license, and the new
license will now include all of the added
privileges of the new General Fishing License
(trout, two-pole, Community fishing, and possibly
the CA and NV Colorado River stamps). The price
for the new Combination Hunt/Fish license for
nonresidents will be $160.
The new hunting and fishing license structure is
simpler than the current structure, with more than
40 license and stamp options being condensed down to
just six license options and a single state
migratory bird stamp.
Another change is that the new licenses will be
valid for one year from the date of purchase rather
than just for the calendar year.
The new license structure and pricing becomes
effective Jan. 1, 2014. Make 2014 a great year by
getting outside and enjoying the outdoors!
· View the new
license structure and pricing.
For more information, visit www.azgfd.gov/licensesimplification.
A survey may be coming your way
Participants have chance to win
free lifetime fishing license
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is conducting a
random survey of anglers to gather information that can
help us improve fishing programs and opportunities.
Starting over the next few days, randomly selected anglers
will receive a postcard in the mail requesting that they
go to a website to answer questions relating to their
fishing experience. The information collected from the
survey will help the department:
· Better understand fishing participation
· Meet anglers' desires for fishing opportunities
· Evaluate fishing programs
· Show how important fishing recreation is to
Your responses are important, so those who receive the
postcard are encouraged to participate. Answering online
saves hunting and fishing dollars, but other options for
responding to the survey may be available.
Survey participants will be entered into a drawing for a
lifetime fishing license.
If you have any questions, contact Loren Chase at email@example.com.
recommends 3 candidates to governor for Game
and Fish Commission appointment
PHOENIX -- The Arizona Game and Fish Commission
Appointment Recommendation Board has forwarded the names
of three candidates to Gov. Jan Brewer for her
consideration in making her 2014 appointment to the
Arizona Game and Fish Commission.
James R. Ammons, George Z. Taylor and William
"Don" Martin were selected from five candidates
who were interviewed by the board at its public meeting on
Nov. 8 at the Arizona Game and Fish Department
headquarters in Phoenix. The five who were interviewed
were chosen from an initial slate of 21 applicants
previously considered by the Appointment Recommendation
Board at its Oct. 29 public meeting. View the board's
letter at www.azgfd.gov/board.
Per Arizona State Statute 17-202 (which became effective
in July 2010), the Arizona Game and Fish Commission
Appointment Recommendation Board shall assist the governor
by interviewing, evaluating and recommending candidates
for appointment to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.
The Commission Appointment Recommendation Board shall
recommend at least two, but no more than five, candidates
to the governor. The governor must select and appoint a
commissioner from the list submitted by the board.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission is the oversight
board for the Arizona Game and Fish Department and makes
rules and regulations for managing, conserving, and
protecting wildlife and fisheries resources, and safe and
regulated watercraft and off-highway vehicle operations
for the benefit of the citizens of Arizona. For more
information on the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, visit
For additional information about the Commission
Appointment Recommendation Board, contact the Governor's
Office of Boards and Commissions at (602) 542-2449, toll
free at 1-800-253-0883, or on the web at www.azgovernor.gov.
November 3, 2013
PHOENIX - Reclamation is proposing construction of a
fish barrier in Spring Creek, Yavapai County, Arizona. The
proposed project would be located within the Coconino
National Forest north of the town of Cornville. Following
construction, federally-endangered spikedace and Gila
topminnow would be stocked in Spring Creek, upstream of
the fish barrier, with consideration given to stocking
other federally listed fish, amphibians and semi-aquatic
Reclamation is seeking public input to aid in the
identification of key issues and possible alternatives
related to the proposed project that should be considered
in an upcoming environmental assessment.
Details of the proposed project can be found in a
Public Scoping Notice, which can be obtained by calling
Reclamation’s Environmental Resource Management Division
at 623-773-6251, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org,
or by downloading it from the Phoenix Area Office website
Comments should be mailed to John McGlothlen at the
Bureau of Reclamation, Phoenix Area Office, PXAO-1500,
6150 West Thunderbird Rd., Glendale, Ariz. 85306-4001or
faxed to (623) 773-6481, no later than November 22,
Questions may be directed to Mr. McGlothlen at (623)
becoming destination for monster flathead catfish
PHOENIX -- The way some anglers look at Arizona as a fishing
destination has begun to change since April when “Flathead” Ed
Wilcoxson landed the heaviest recorded fish in the state’s history.
Word is getting out that The Grand Canyon State is home to many
gargantuan flathead catfish.
Wilcoxson, after photos of his 76.54-pound flathead catfish taken out
of Bartlett Lake were shared on fishing forums and media outlets
across the World Wide Web, has received phone calls from interested
anglers as far away as Africa, England and Australia. He said
producers from the hit show “Duck Dynasty” on A&E requested
Wilcoxson send them a short video of him fishing.
With Labor Day weekend just ahead, anglers can escape the heat and
fish the night for this square-tailed catfish that may attain weights
up to 100 pounds.
“I believe there’s bigger ones than (my record) out there,”
Wilcoxson said. “I hooked two last year that absolutely broke me
off. Even fishing as much as I do, it took me by surprise.”
Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon, Ariz. – National Park Service (NPS)
biologists found spawning translocated endangered humpback chub (Gila cypha)
in Havasu Creek during a recent fisheries monitoring trip that occurred between
May 6 and May 15. This is the first time evidence of humpback chub reproduction
has been found in Havasu Creek and marks an important milestone in the
long-term effort to improve the species’ odds of survival through the
establishment of a second spawning population outside of the Little Colorado
River within Grand Canyon.
Prior to the most recent monitoring trip, 543 juvenile
humpback chub had been released in Havasu Creek between 2011 and 2012. During
the 6 days prior to the 2013 translocation of 300 humpback chub to Havasu Creek
on May 14th, NPS and U.S. Geological Survey – Grand Canyon
Monitoring and Research Center (USGS-GCMRC) staff monitored the growth,
survival, abundance, and spawning condition of previously translocated humpback
chub. Ultrasound imaging equipment was also tested by USGS-GCMRC to determine
if biologists could assess the spawning condition of these fish by examining
female humpback chub for the presence of internally developing eggs, without
sacrificing and dissecting the fish.
A high number of humpback chub were captured during monitoring
efforts, including several males and at least two female humpback chub in
spawning condition. Ultrasound images of the body
cavity of several females appeared to show fully developed eggs, suggesting the
fish were almost ready to spawn. Although further testing in needed, these
results are promising and demonstrate the potential utility of ultrasonic
imaging as a non-invasive method of evaluating spawning condition of this
endangered species. Two juvenile humpback chub without identification tags
(indicating they were not translocated previously) were also captured. The
small size of these two un-tagged fish suggests they were hatched in Havasu
Creek during the spring of 2012. Finally, a larval (newly hatched) fish
tentatively identified as a humpback chub was captured. Confirmation of this
species identification is awaiting evaluation in a laboratory setting.
Together, these findings suggest that Havasu Creek humpback chub translocations
have, at least to some extent, resulted in a spawning aggregation of humpback
chub, but future monitoring is necessary to determine whether spawning leads to
the survival of juveniles to maturity.
Fisheries biologists will continue to monitor the growth,
survival, and reproduction of translocated humpback chub in Havasu Creek twice
a year. Grand Canyon National Park Fisheries Program Manager Brian Healy said
“We are all really encouraged by these results, although based on the high
growth rates and retention of translocated fish we’ve seen during past
monitoring trips, the detection of spawning fish this year wasn’t totally
unexpected. It will be really interesting to see whether spawning by
these adult fish continues, and whether it leads to a larger number of
juveniles and their survival to maturity.”
Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent David Uberuaga said,
“I’m excited about the humpback chub translocations. It is an important
part of the park’s efforts to protect its native fish species and the
monitoring results will inform our park-wide fish management efforts.”
Since 2009, the NPS and its cooperators (U. S. Bureau of
Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Arizona Game and Fish
Department, and USGS-GCMRC, among others) have been translocating juvenile
humpback chub from the Little Colorado River, which supports the largest
remaining population, to other tributaries to the Colorado River within Grand
Canyon National Park.
The humpback chub is an endangered fish species found only in
the Colorado River basin. Although the humpback chub once flourished in the
natural conditions of the Colorado River amid its warm turbid waters and
seasonally fluctuating flows, it now faces serious declines associated with
changes in habitat like the construction and operation of dams and the
introduction of non-native fish species.
There are no closures at Havasu Creek related to translocation
activities. Anglers should be familiar with the identifying characteristics of
humpback chub to avoid any accidental capture of these endangered fish. Young
humpback chub are silver, have small eyes and large fins, but have not yet
developed the pronounced hump behind their head. If any humpback chub are
incidentally caught, they must be immediately released unharmed.
For more information, please contact
Brian Healy, Fisheries Program Manager at 928-638-7453 or Maureen Oltrogge,
Public Affairs Officer, at 928-638-7779. Additional information on humpback
chub translocations and Grand Canyon National Park’s fisheries program is
available online at http://www.nps.gov/grca/naturescience/fish.htm.
Canyon National Park
Translocation of Endangered Humpback Chub to Tributaries of Colorado River in Grand Canyon
- The National Park Service, in cooperation
with the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service, the USGS-Grand Canyon
Monitoring and Research Center, and the Arizona
Game and Fish Department will translocate
endangered humpback chub (Gila
to two tributaries of the Colorado River
within Grand Canyon National Park. The first
translocation will occur on May 14th,
when 300 juvenile humpback chub will be released
in Havasu Creek. The second translocation is
scheduled to occur on June 15th, when
an additional 200 juvenile humpback chub will be
translocated to Shinumo Creek.
humpback chub, is an endangered fish species
found only in the Colorado River basin. Although
the humpback chub once flourished in the natural
conditions of the Colorado River amid its warm
turbid waters and seasonally fluctuating flows,
it now faces serious declines in its populations
associated with changes in habitat like the
construction and operation of dams and the
introduction of non-native fish species.
translocation of juvenile humpback chub to
Colorado River tributaries is part of a
multifaceted approach to native fish
conservation within Grand Canyon National Park.
may lead to the establishment of additional
spawning populations of humpback chub, thereby
increasing the species' odds of survival.
Tributaries also provide rearing habitat for
young chub. Fish that are larger when they leave
a tributary for the colder Colorado River have a
greater chance of survival due to their
increased size, thus improving their likelihood
of adding to the existing Grand Canyon humpback
translocations in Grand Canyon National Park
began in 2009 with the initial translocation of
302 young humpback chub to Shinumo Creek. The
translocation program was expanded in 2011 to
include Havasu Creek when 243 fish were
released. To date, 902 humpback chub have been
translocated to Shinumo Creek during three
different events (2009, 2010, and 2011), and 543
have been translocated to Havasu Creek during
two events (2011 and 2012).
humpback chub scheduled for release in these
tributaries were captured as young-of-year fish
in 2012 from the Little Colorado River. The fish
were transported to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service Southwest Native Aquatic Resources and
Recovery Center in New Mexico, where they are
treated to remove any parasites that may be
present, kept overwinter, and then implanted
with a passive-integrated-transponder (PIT) tag
to uniquely identify individual fish.
fish have been translocated, fisheries
biologists will monitor their movement, growth,
reproduction, and survival several times
throughout the year. Grand Canyon National Park
Fisheries Program Manager Brian Healy said
“Previous translocations have gone really
large percentage of the translocated chub in
both tributaries have been recaptured during
monitoring efforts, and preliminary data
indicate that the fish have extremely high
Canyon National Park Superintendent David
Uberuaga said, “I’m excited about the
humpback chub translocations. It is an important
part of the park’s efforts to protect its
native fish species and the monitoring results
will inform our park-wide fish management
are no closures at Havasu Creek or Shinumo Creek
related to translocation activities. Anglers
should be familiar with the identifying
characteristics of humpback chub to avoid any
accidental capture of these endangered fish.
Young humpback chub are silver, have small eyes
and large fins, but have not yet developed the
pronounced hump behind their head. If any
humpback chub are incidentally caught, they must
be immediately released unharmed.
more information, please contact Brian Healy,
Fisheries Program Manager at 928-638-7453 or
Maureen Oltrogge, Public Affairs Officer, at
928-638-7779. Additional information on
tributary translocation of humpback chub
translocation is available online at
History made: Angler reels in state’s
heaviest recorded fish
Eddie "Flathead Ed" Wilcoxson holds his state
record 76.52-pound flathead catfish
PHOENIX – Eddie “Flathead Ed” Wilcoxson was asleep on the
fold-out cot of his 24-foot pontoon boat on Friday, April 12, when
what would become a state record flathead catfish began taking
drag at Bartlett Lake.
About 35 minutes later, at 2:37 a.m., Wilcoxson, 56, boated
what Arizona Game and Fish Department officials verified is a
76.52-pound flathead catfish. It measured 53.5 inches in total
length with a 34.75-inch girth.
It also became the heaviest recorded fish of any species in
state history, topping the 74-pound flathead catfish caught in
1988 out of the Colorado River by Walter Wilson of Bard, Calif.
In addition, Wilcoxson’s flathead beat the previous inland
waters state record held by Adrian Manzanedo of Florence, who in
2003 caught a 71-pound, 10.24-ounce flathead at San Carlos Lake.
“Everybody’s got the same chance I do,” Wilcoxson said.
“You just have to get out and do it.”
Wilcoxson, of Surprise, was in the yellow cliffs area of
Bartlett fishing in 35-38 feet of water over a rock pile. He
caught the flathead using an Ugly Stik fishing rod, Okuma 45D
reel, 60-pound braided line, an 18-inch steel leader with a SPRO
Power Swivel and, as bait, a live 2-pound carp.
“I sleep out on the water 3-4 days sometimes,” Wilcoxson
said. “Sometimes during Thanksgiving I’ll spend three weeks
straight out there. Also, I fished 39 weekends last year.”
Bill Stewart, also of Surprise, was on the boat as well.
Wilcoxson owns the “AZ Fishing 4 Flathead Cat” fishing
guide service. He said he received his new guide license April 1.
“But I’ve been fishing Arizona my whole life,” he said.
He said he’d never caught one this big, although he did land
one that weighed about 65 pounds.
“When it came close to the boat, I saw there was only one
treble hook in the corner of his mouth,” Wilcoxson said, “so I
backed off on the drag. If not, it would have ripped right out of
Wilcoxson said he and Stewart brought the behemoth in the boat
with the help of a heavy-duty lip grabber.
In addition to flathead catfish, the 2,015-acre Bartlett Lake,
located in the Tonto National Forest northwest of Phoenix, holds
largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie, channel catfish, carp and
Bartlett Lake also produced the state record carp that weighed
37 pounds, measured 40 inches, and was caught in 1987 by Jonathan
Gardner of Phoenix.
A USFS Tonto Pass is required to access Bartlett Lake.
COTTONWOOD, Ariz. - The Arizona Game and Fish Department has
begun creating a watershed-based fisheries management plan for the
Verde River and is accepting public input on the development
The plan, when ultimately finished, will provide the
department’s fisheries personnel with a practical tool to help
guide decisions regarding both sport fish and native fish
“This is the first time Game and Fish will be using the
Watershed-based Fish Management Process (WFMP),” said Matt Chmiel,
fisheries program manager at the Game and Fish Region 3 office in
Kingman. “The process was developed through the efforts of the
multi-agency Statewide Fish Management Team, which examined best
fisheries management practices to balance the dual mandates for
sport fish opportunities and native fish conservation.”
The team’s mission now is to apply that process to the Verde
The public is invited to view the Watershed-based Fish Management
Process at www.azgfd.gov/verdeWatershed
and provide comment to VerdeWatershed@azgfd.gov.
Comments will be accepted through May 9, 2013.
Comments may also be submitted by U.S. mail to Arizona Game and
Fish Department, Verde Watershed Fish Management Process, Attn: Matt
Chmiel, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road, Kingman, AZ 86409.
“It can be a complicated process, but we believe the benefits
of having this plan in place to use as a guide when making decisions
will be worth it,” Chmiel said. “This will be a good thing for
the Verde River watershed.”
January 16, 2013
Lake Havasu Fishing
Lake Havasu is renowned as a Western US
warm water fishing lake. Bass fishing is the
most popular angling pursuit here... super-sized
largemouth, small mouth, and stripers! Other
warm water fish, such as catfish (channel and
sunfish, and some crappie are also present.
Lake Havasu is a relatively large reservoir,
about 19,000 surface acres and 25 miles in
length, with 100 miles of shoreline. It is
formed by Parker Dam on the Colorado River,
south of Lakes Mead and Mohave. The Bill
Williams River and Sacramento Wash are
Lake Havasu is located on the Arizona -
California border, and on the Colorado River. It
is south of Lakes Mead and Mohave. A state
fishing license (AZ or CA) and a Colorado
River stamp are required for anglers 14 years
Lake Havasu is known for its London Bridge
and warm sunshine. It is also a popular boating
lake... and a spring break party lake, because
of the great weather. Thankfully, the lake is
large enough that fishing-in-peace is always
Lake Havasu City offers very comfortable
hotel/motel accommodations and amenities,
restaurants, and services. Public and commercial
RV camping, tent camping are available, as is a state
October 18, 2012
Razorback Sucker Fish Discovered In Grand Canyon
Researchers in Grand Canyon National Park have discovered a sucker fish
thought to be extinct in this part of the lower Colorado River.
The fish, known as the razorback sucker, is the first of its species to be
caught in the Grand Canyon in more than 20 years. The fish is characterized by
a long, high sharp-edged hump behind its head. The creature was snagged by
Arizona wildlife researchers in the Colorado River last week, in the lower part
of the canyon system.
June 14, 2012
Finding the right fishing hole is a click
PHOENIX -- Are you looking for a great place
to take your dad fishing to celebrate Father's
Day? If so, then the Arizona Game and Fish
Department has some great news for you.
department’s new web-based interactive
fishing map has been upgraded to include
easier navigation features, Google-based travel
directions, and links to stocking schedules.
Finding out where to fish and lots of other
great information is just a mouse click away at gis.azgfd.gov/fishandboat,
where you will discover 150 of Arizona’s best
fishing lakes, streams and urban ponds.
“The Fish&Boat site has been a real hit
with anglers since its first release in March.
We are pleased to bring new improvements to the
fishing map making it even more helpful and fun
for anglers to use,” says Eric Swanson, the
urban fishing program manager who spearheaded
creating the new site.
Besides showing how to get to each fishing
spot, the interactive fishing map also provides
information on the type of fish species there,
the available facilities and concessions, and
even special fishing regulations that might
You can also sign up at www.azgfd.gov
to have the weekly fishing report sent directly
to your computer, smart phone or other
Internet-friendly device. This week's fishing
report has some great tips on where to take dad
National task force approves Arizona’s aquatic
invasive species management plan
PHOENIX – Arizona’s Aquatic Invasive
Species Management Plan has been approved by
the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF),
making it eligible for federal funding
to assist with future implementation
efforts concerning invasive plants and
animals in our state's waterways.
The plan was developed by multiple
stakeholders as part of the efforts of the
Arizona Invasive Species Advisory Council,
which is under the joint leadership of the
Arizona Game and Fish Department and the
Arizona Department of Agriculture. Gov. Jan
Brewer signed this comprehensive
strategic plan in October 2011. The plan was then
forwarded to the Task Force in November
for eventual federal program approval.
Arizona’s plan describes detection and
monitoring efforts of recognized aquatic invasive
species (such as quagga mussels, pictured at
right adhered to a chair that had been
submerged), current prevention efforts to
stop their introduction and spread, and
control efforts to reduce their overall
impacts to Arizona's environment and
economy and any harm to human health.
Approval by the Task Force makes
Arizona’s plan eligible for federal grant funding
that would help finance implementation of
various provisions of the plan. Funding
is procured through a grant process
administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Aquatic invasive species are of great
concern because of their potential to
negatively impact our state’s ecosystems,
industry and economy. Once established, many
invasive species prove exceptionally difficult
to manage, eradicate, or control.
Main pathways for introduction of invasive
species into Arizona waters include reservoir/canal
connections, watercraft movement, and other
human-related, water-based recreational
For more information on the Arizona
Game and Fish Department's aquatic invasive
species program and to view Arizona’s
plan, visit www.azgfd.gov/ais.
May 6, 2011
Arizona Game and
caught at Lake Havasu could be world record
Robert Lawler of Lake Havasu on May 2 landed a huge 5.55 pound,
16.75-inch redear sunfish out of Lake Havasu.
You read that correctly – sunfish.
The behemoth panfish had a 19-inch girth. Lawler used a Texas-rigged 7-inch
Power Worm. There’s no doubt it is a contender for a world record.
Right now, it's a semi-official Arizona state record for the Colorado River.
Oddly enough, these relatively small species feed on invasive quagga mussels.
This guy must have been getting his fill.
The existing state record redear was caught Feb. 16, 2010 at Lake Havasu by a
California angler and it weighed 4 pounds 2.24 ounces and was 15.5 inches long.
John Galbraith of BassTackleMaster.com
provided the photo.
To learn more about big fish records in Arizona waters, fishing tips and more,
March 2, 2011
Arizona Game and
state record Gila trout caught at Frye Mesa Reservoir
PHOENIX – The historic first-ever Gila trout record in
Arizona was caught on Feb. 28 from Frye Mesa Reservoir following the stocking
of these colorful native salmonids into the reservoir near Safford on
Robert Woods of Flagstaff caught a 19¼-inch, 3.35-pound Gila
trout at Frye Mesa Reservoir on Feb. 28 and brought it
into the department’s Flagstaff regional office for
It’s not only the standing state record right now, it is also
the first-ever record for this native fish.
“Angling history is seemingly being made each time we turn
around. These are exciting times for anglers in Arizona,” said Fisheries
Chief Kirk Young.
Here’s what’s been happening.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission on Feb. 4 created the
first-ever season on native Gila trout at Frye Mesa Reservoir on the Pinaleño
Mountains in southern Arizona. It’s a 1-fish limit though for these trout –
catch more and you can be cited (some already have been).
“Arizona has never had an open season on Gila trout. They
were thought to have been extirpated from the state before we had regulated
fishing seasons,” explained Young.
This has all been possible because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mora
National Fish Hatchery in New Mexico had larger surplus Gila trout available
that were not conducive for stocking in small recovery streams. Those larger
Gila trout were stocked into Frye Mesa Reservoir last week on Feb. 27.
That’s not the only unique angling aspect to the proposal.
Mt. Graham is now the only mountain on the planet where you can
fish for native Gila trout, native Apache trout, plus rainbow trout, brown
trout and brook trout. It’s now the Mt. Graham Grand Slam.
Remember, when it comes to Gila trout, it’s only one-fish per
customer. Eight anglers have already been warned about exceeding this bag limit
at Frye Mesa Reservoir.
“Basically it means you may have one fish in your possession,
not one at home and one on your stringer. The reason we allowed for the harvest
of one was so that anglers could turn in a state record or keep a unique trophy
fish,” said Jason Kline, a fisheries biologist in the Tucson region.
Game and Fish officials are also encouraging anglers to
practice catch-and-release on these natives – there are only so many to go
around. "This is an incredible opportunity to catch a native trout. Please
consider releasing these colorful native trout so that others can experience
these remarkable angling memories."
However, Arizona is not the first state to have a season on Gila trout. New
Mexico has had a limited season on Gila trout in specific waters. http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/recreation/fishing/documents/GilaTroutFishingMaps.htm.
November 4, 2010
EPA Denies Petition that Sought a Ban on Lead in Fishing
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) has denied a petition calling for a ban on the
manufacture, use and processing of lead in fishing gear.
In a letter to the petitioners, EPA indicated
that the petitioners have not demonstrated that the requested rule is necessary
to protect against an unreasonable risk of injury to health or to the environment,
as required by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The letter further
indicates that the increasing number of limitations on the use of lead fishing
gear on some federal and state lands, as well as various education and outreach
activities, call into question whether a national ban on lead in fishing gear
would be the least burdensome, adequately protective approach to address the
concern, as called for under TSCA. EPA's letter also notes that the prevalence
of non-lead alternatives in the marketplace continues to increase.
On August 3, 2010, the American Bird
Conservancy and a number of other groups petitioned EPA under Section 21 of the
Toxic Substances Control Act to "prohibit the manufacture, processing, and
distribution in commerce of lead for shot, bullets, and fishing sinkers."
On August 27, 2010, EPA denied the portion of the petition relating to lead in
ammunition because the agency does not have the legal authority to regulate
this type of product under TSCA.
View the EPA letter and additional
December 9, 2009
Arizona Game and
state record striper caught during major winter storm
reels in a fishing bonanza at Lake Pleasant
PHOENIX – While most people were huddled indoors out of the
torrential rain on Dec. 7 while a major winter storm pummeled the
state, John Davis was enjoying a fishing bonanza at Lake Pleasant,
including landing a new inland state record striped bass.
never experienced anything quite like it, they were hitting topwater
all day long in the rain. It was really something,” Davis said.
Arizona Game and Fish Department officials say John’s monster
striper weighed in at 28.58 pounds and measured 45.7 inches long. He
caught the behemoth on a Zara Super Spook, which is a topwater lure.
What’s more, he was the only angler out there braving the storm, and
reaping the benefits.
John said the behemoth striper actually hit the lure twice without
being hooked, but came back a third time. John was amazed he could
even land the fish – it ran like a runaway freight train, tearing
off line and it took him some time to subdue the giant.
Davis would like to have the striper mounted, or at least have a
replica of it created.
Davis, a Phoenix resident, routinely fishes Lake Pleasant, but said he
has never seen such phenomenal topwater action before. “The stripers
were in a feeding frenzy in Humbug Cove. I was getting multiple hits
on my topwater lures, all day long. It was amazing.”
John said the sometimes it rained very hard, but the wind didn’t
blow, so it wasn’t too bad out there. “Actually, it was kind of
It’s always nice when you hit the jackpot. John caught and mostly
released around 50 stripers during his rain-soaked, day-long fishing
Game and Fish biologists said research studies at Lake Pleasant have
shown that the majority of striped bass congregate in the northern
coves during winter, especially over submerged creek and river
“The striper fishing at Lake Pleasant has really taken off the past
several years. In fact, the striper bite last winter was pretty
remarkable – anglers were routinely catching dozens of fish. It
looks like we are off to a good start again this winter,” said
Fisheries Chief Kirk Young.
Lake Pleasant has not always had stripers, but it is the only lake in
the state with white bass. However, when the Waddell Dam was raised in
the early nineties, Central Arizona Project water from the Colorado
River began being pumped into this popular desert reservoir on the
Agua Fria River. Eventually, striped bass from the Colorado River got
into the lake.
Arizona fishing comes as a surprise to some visitors. They envision all of
Arizona to resemble the scenes in western movies such as John Wayne's She
Wore A Yellow Ribbon.
A Google search using a keyword phrase such as arizona fishing secrets
can help you find interesting information.
Arizona fishing can be successful and satisfying without being hot. Get out and
catch a few.
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