PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) stocked “core” Community waters this week with channel catfish for the final time this season. Water temperatures in these waters are in the low-to-mid 70s.
In the desert impoundments, sunfish-like bluegill will spawn during June, and both channel catfish and flathead catfish spawn into July. Water temperatures in the desert impoundments are still unseasonably low, but the water temps are increasing, seemingly along with the bite. The water temperature at Bartlett Lake on Thursday topped out around 75 degrees.
Striper fishing under the lights should be a prime option in desert lakes such as Lake Pleasant this weekend. Monday is the new moon; daytime temperatures are starting to peak out around 100 degrees in desert regions, so at night, look for shad to be congregated around your lights as soon as you drop them. These increased water temperatures could finally help produce a good top-water bite during the next one to two weeks.
This is the time to start planning for high country trout fishing. Trout stockings are abundant. Kaibab Lake near Williams has been a hotspot for rainbow trout, along with Lower Lake Mary in Flagstaff. The AZGFD also just stocked some bonus channel catfish into the lagoons at Dead Horse Ranch State Park and City Reservoir.
Don’t forget the Mogollon Rim and White Mountains streams. These can provide some of the best chances to escape big crowds. PowerBaits, worms and salmon eggs have been successful, as well as ultra-light rod action with Panther Martins, Super Dupers and Mepps. Also this time of the year, anglers can get some good luck with Crick Hoppers.
Another reminder to campers: The USDA Forest Service, Tonto National Forest, Payson Ranger District have announced overnight camping restrictions along six stretches of streams and rivers located near Payson. Implementation of these restrictions will help allow grass and plants to grow along the stream banks.