This Arizona fishing report focuses on the waters managed by Arizona State Parks and Trails. Typically, tactics discussed here can be used by anglers throughout the state to enjoy an elevated fishing experience in a variety of Arizona waters. The specific fishing information found here will change seasonally to help state park visitors enjoy more success while fishing during their visit. If you would like to share your fishing success or information about your tactics, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on social @azstateparks.
Most of this this fishing report was compiled by Arizona fishing pro Tai Au. Tai manages Az Anglers, an active Facebook community of Arizona anglers that love to help others and tell their stories in the process. Tai is committed to helping others enjoy success while fishing and devotes a majority of his energy recruiting new anglers by sharing what he has learned throughout his fishing career.
While boat owners in other parts of the country are winterizing their boats, we get to enjoy boating/fishing year-round in the Grand Canyon State! Whether you prefer to fish for cold or warm water species, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from in Arizona’s state parks!
Check out the stocking schedule HERE
The best fishing usually occurs about a day after the stockings after the fish have settled down from the stress of their move. These delicious, hatchery raised rainbow trout can be caught using a variety of baits like Powerbait, corn, earth worms as well as artificial lures like inline spinners. If you have kids, give them small (pea size) rocks and them to throw the rocks in the water. Sounds crazy…But believe it or not, it might help you catch more fish by triggering their urge to feed. When they’re fed at the hatchery, they hear their food pellets hitting the water and it’s time to eat. This association has fooled more than a few trout into biting…It’s a trick I learned as a little kid and it’s such a super cool tactic!
The old saying, “find the bait, find the fish” is very valid this time of year so use your electronics, if you have them, to find the schools of shad! Bait like shad usually move out deep or up into the creek arms this year of year. Even the bluegills are schooled up out deep. Chances are, you guessed it, the schools of bass are out deep as well!
A few of my favorite lures for winter time fishing are as follows.
A valid Arizona fishing license is required for anglers 10 years and older. Arizona fishing licenses are available on the Arizona Game and Fish website, and a variety of authorized license dealers throughout the state. Before your trip, take a look at the current AZGFD fishing report.
Roper Lake largemouth bass are still keeping anglers pretty busy! Most fish are being caught on plastic worms dropshotted near the cattails or chatterbaits fished near shore. Some trout are still being caught although stockings have ceased for the year. Successful anglers are using inline spinners, spoons or worms and marshmallows. Sunfish and bluegill are being caught off the floating piers with nightcrawlers.
At Dankworth Pond, a few trout are still being picked up with PowerBait but most anglers have already switched their focus to bass and sunfish. Bass in the 1-3-pound range have been biting crankbaits, dropshotted worms, and one angler reported decent success on Dankworth bass with nightcrawlers. Bluegill and sunfish are being caught here with small jigs and nightcrawlers.
Lake Level 448.10 and average Daytime water temp 65 degrees
Lake Havasu stripers are currently in pre-spawn mode and will spawn mid-April thru most of May. Target main channel areas either in the main lake, or north in the area from Gorilla hole to Devil’s Elbow. Right now, stripers are hitting shallow running lures and topwater baits like the Pointer 128,158s, Super Spooks and Pencil Poppers in the morning during the first hour of light or so. Shad spawn is active first thing in the morning. Find stripers over shallow flats as they corral spawning shad against the bank. Later in the day switch off to cut anchovies fished on the bottom in 28 to 35ft of water from the main Winsor Basin north to the mouth of the river.
The redear sunfish bite is good! Large redears are still deep in the main lake (6-20ft), or you can find them in shallow areas like backwaters off the river current to the south of Blankenship Bend. Nightcrawlers fished under a split shot and slip bobber work best because you can adjust the depth from 1ft to 30ft.
Largemouth bass are becoming more aggressive and starting to hit topwater poppers, frogs and Senkos fished near cattails.
On clear sunny days, anglers are finding smallmouth with dropshotted Roboworms in desert craw and bold bluegill rigged on 8lb test with a 3/16oz dropshot weight. Heavier line and more weight will reduce the number of bites you get so keep it light and catch more fish!
Bass fishing is pretty hot right now at Roper Lake! Anglers are catching bass in the 3-5-pound range from boats and from the shore. If you like fishing with live bait, nightcrawlers are working well near shore. Dropshot presentations are still very productive for anglers who prefer using lures.
Please practice catch and release this time of year on medium to large sized bass. During the spring spawn they are tending eggs and guarding them from attacks by predators. If bass are released gently they will find their way back to their nests and continue to raise your future memories!
Trout from previous stockings are still being caught on garlic scented Power Bait and small Mepps or Rooster Tail type spinners at both Roper and Dankworth ponds. The larger fish are still coming from Dankworth.
Bluegill fishing is hot right now and anglers are catching quite a few of these delicious panfish at both Roper and Dankworth. Nightcrawlers fished under a bobber or small jigs seem to be the ticket at both locations.
No reports of catfish at either location but the action for these bottom-dwellers will heat up soon! Summer night fishing typically produces some decent fish for patient anglers using a variety of baits like liver, shrimp, or prepared dough baits.
Average daytime water temp 62 degrees
Smallmouth are on beds spawning now. Smallmouth bass typically spawn a little deeper than their largemouth cousins, but sight fishing (with polarized sunglasses) is still possible in clear water areas on days with little to no wind. Use small craw jigs, Gitzits and and short leader dropshot rigs when bed fishing smallmouth at Lake Havasu.
Lake Havasu largemouth are biting on dropshotted worms in oxblood or Junebug with a chartreuse tip. The spinnerbait bite is good upriver on points where cattails turn into backwater channels.
The striper bite will be picking up very soon at south end of the lake as the shad spawn. Early morning topwater presentations close to the bank will be your best bet. Shad spawn at night against the bank, then disperse as the sun comes up. Stripers move in on them at first light to corral the shad against the shore for an easy meal. For midday fishing, try cut anchovies on bottom in areas where the water color is clear or greenish, but avoid bays where water is stained or dirty.
A few 2lb redear sunfish being caught deep (10 to 20ft) on live nightcrawlers around artificial habitats. Lake Havasu is home to some very large sunfish and these hard fighters are also excellent table fare!
Trout Fishing has been exceptional and many anglers have been limiting out on a regular basis. Garlic scented Power Bait and small spinners have accounted for a majority of the fish.
Bass fishing is picking up and anglers have been catching bass in the 2-3-pound range by dropshotting in 6-10-feet of water. We anticipate the bass fishing to heat up consistently as they prepare for their annual spawn when water temps reach 60-62 degrees.
Nightcrawlers and meal worms fished under a bobber are being used by anglers targeting sunfish and bluegill near shore. Some trout are also being picked up with these baits as well.
Trout fishing isn’t quite as hot here as it is at Roper, but anglers are picking up some trout with garlic scented Power Bait or nightcrawlers. According to the trout delivery personnel, there were fewer trout stocked in Dankworth, but the average size is larger compared to the trout delivered to Roper.
Bass are becoming more active at Dankworth, and the sunfish are hitting with regularity. Watch lake temps to hit the bass spawn here just right when the water temps are 60-62 degrees.
Trout fishing has been pretty good at Roper Lake and Dankworth pond. Garlic scented Power Bait fished on the bottom or nightcrawlers under a bobber are your best bets in the mornings and mid-late afternoons. A few albino rainbow trout are still showing up at Dankworth but standard rainbows comprise most of the catch at both locations.
Bass fishing is still a little slow but will pick up drastically in the next several weeks as the water temp rises and the fish begin to spawn. One angler reported that the Roper Lake largemouth bass are currently schooling at 15-feet. When water temps reach 60-62 degrees, look for bass in shallow water guarding their nests. Pro tip: Polarized sunglasses really help see through the glare! Please practice catch and release during the spawn to ensure this fishery continues to produce big, healthy bass for the foreseeable future.
Fishing for sunfish, bluegill, and catfish is still a little slow but some fish are being picked up by persistent anglers.
Average daytime water temp has been running about 54-56 degrees.
The daytime Striper bite is still a little tough unless anglers are focusing their effort on twilight hours. The best times to fish from shore have been 6am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm. Evenings or mornings with foul weather and/or windy conditions have been best. A vast majority of stripers have been coming from mouth of the river and south to Black Rock cove. Green tailed Bass Assassins, pointer 100,128s and live shad have accounted for most of these fish. Pro tip: Artificial scent is important when the fishing is tough…Sometimes the fish need a little extra incentive to draw an aggressive strike.
The smallmouth bass bite has been fair to good during late morning through afternoon hours. Try using 8-15-ft diving crankbaits, dead-sticking dropshotted Roboworms or Lv500 and Rat-L-Trap style lipless cranks. Focus around primary and secondary points where schooling smallies move up to chase shad or feed on crawdads. Smallmouth bass move frequently and you may have to cover several miles of shoreline to find them plus the spawn is coming up quick and really good times are just ahead! There is a great population of smallmouth in Havasu so don't give up, keep casting, and have fun.
Trout fishing is still considered good and very few anglers are leaving Roper or Dankworth Ponds without catching fish. The albino trout have been a nice addition and visitors seem to really like catching them. Garlic scented prepared dough baits like Berkley Power Bait and nightcrawler seem to be working well. Small spinners like Rooster Tails and Panther Martins have also been responsible for recent angling success.
Bass fishing has been slow but keep in mind this relatively small lake warms up quickly in the spring and they should spawn sooner than larger lakes in Arizona. Great bass fishing is just around the corner.
Average daytime water temp 56 degrees
Striper fishing remains good near schools of shad. Recently large schools of shad have been congregating at the south end of the lake near Havasu Springs and Site 6. The most productive striper lures have been Bass Assassin or Keitech swimbaits rigged on a lead jighead, or Alabama Rigs with TWO hooks (AZGFD Regulation). Troll or cast near shad schools during early morning hours. Fishing with live shad as bait is still producing quality sized stripers from 2.5 to 12-pounds. Use a 4' throw net (the largest legal size) or a snag hook to catch shad to use as live bait.
Anglers using shad or red colored swimbaits and crankbaits have been successful with Havasu’s smallmouth bass.
Redear sunfish are schooling in deeper water in 25 to 40ft of water off main lake points.
Bass aren’t as easy to catch in the winter, but anglers can usually coax a few Alamo Lake largemouths into biting any time of year. Dropshotting shad imitations off main lake points might be your best bet over the next month or so. Right now, the bass schooled up deep and anglers have had some success with spoons, deep diving cranks, Yamamoto hula grub on a 3/4 oz head, and Alabama rigs.
Crappie fishing is HOT right now! If you’re willing to join the large groups of boats exploiting giant schools of slabs, crappie jigs in white, chartreuse, and pink or minnows should put some tasty white fillets in your boat!
Lake Level 447.31
Average daytime water temp 58 degrees
Striper fishing remains good near schools of shad if you can find them. The largest shad schools have been at the entrance to the Bill Williams refuge and Site 6. Productive striper lures are currently the bass assassin or Keitech swimbait rigged on a lead jighead. Try trolling or casting Pointer jerkbaits size (100, 128 and 158) near schools of shad during early morning hours. If you’re into live bait fishing for stripers, live shad are producing quality sized stripers from 3 to 10lbs! Use a 4' throw net (the largest legal size) or a snag hook to catch shad and cast near active schools.
Smallmouth bass are hitting Shad colored jerkbaits like the Staysee 90, or white/shad pattern Rat-L-Traps. The redear sunfish bite is slow unless you can locate the deep winter schools with sonar in 25 to 40ft of water off main lake points.
Rainbow trout fishing at Roper Lake has been excellent! Night Crawlers fished under a bobber and bottom rigged Power Bait have both been producing limits of delicious rainbow trout. Anglers that like using artificial baits have been successful with in-line spinners like Rooster tails and Panther Martins and Kastmasters. Bass fishing is still pretty slow but the monster fish are out there hunting fresh, hatchery raised rainbow trout. Try life-size rainbow trout swimbaits fished along the reeds for monster bass ready to ambush their next meal. Very few reports of success from catfish anglers since most have switched to rainbow trout.
The Dankworth pond fishing report is pretty much identical to the Roper Lake report above with the added benefit of an active sunfish bite. Sunfish are being caught regularly with bobber-rigged worms near the floating pier.
All too often, folks ask what's working at a certain lake, although from experience I’ve learned what works today, may not work tomorrow. By paying attention to current conditions it will be much easier to understand the seasonal changes that result in hook ups. For example, if the wind was blowing yesterday and a spinnerbait was working, but it's calm today…a spinnerbait might not work.
Right now, we're heading into fall and during the next several months bass will feed heavily on shad. In the back of coves, you may also see them feeding on dragonflies or bluegills. On rocky banks, you may have a few looking for crawfish to eat. They can be both deep or shallow, using rocks or wood for cover, cruising open water, or hanging out in submerged grass. Take your pick on how you want to catch them.
Upon arriving at the lake, assess the conditions to determine what you should throw in a particular situation. Start by selecting a lure you can fish efficiently with. For instance, if a certain lure gets snagged too much, you probably should throw something else. If you’re spending too much time freeing up snags, you aren’t fishing effectively.
If you find an area with shad, try throwing shad imitating lures. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, GFunk Rig, rip baits, spinnerbaits, chatterbait, spook, popper, etc. Current wind conditions may limit your lure selection. I don't typically like throwing reaction baits in super clear water with no wind. Sure, it'll get a few bites but, in my experience, it's not ideal.
My intent is to have you start thinking about current conditions and situations and assess them before throwing random lures. Over time, you’ll learn what lures to pick and how to fish in different conditions, and then adapt with the seasonal changes. Have fun learning how to catch them using new techniques and don’t be afraid to try new things. Looking back, that was one of the most exciting things when I was learning about bass fishing. Have fun and good luck out there!
Lake Level 448.54
Average daytime water temp 68 degrees
Stripers have been chasing shad around the north Windsor basin in the early morning and late afternoon hours. Look for seagulls diving on the schools of shad coming to the surface. Other good locations this week are the Chalk cliffs, Mesquite Bay 2, and the mouth of the river.
Largemouth bass are hitting white or chartreuse colored spinnerbaits and shad colored rattle traps on breezy days. Smallmouth anglers have been successful using deep diving shad colored crankbaits around rocks in 8-15 feet of water or gravel/rock shorelines where the smallmouth are chasing baitfish.
Lake Level 448.10
Average daytime water temp 63 degrees
Striper fishing continues to be good if you can locate the shad. Latest shad reports are coming in from around the Bill Williams buoy line, Chalk Cliffs, and the mouth of the river. 1-2oz spoons, Pointer 100s & 128/158s in Chartreuse Shad, and 1oz white Ratl Traps have been producing quality fish. Troll or cast near shad schools during morning or later afternoon hours, although mornings have been best. Live shad are producing stripers over 3lbs. Use a 4' throw net (the largest legal size) or a snag hook to catch shad to use as live bait.
Largemouth bass are hitting on shad colored deep diving cranks and 2 hook Alabama rigs.
Crawdad colored crankbaits and jerkbaits are working well around rocks or gravel/rock shorelines where smallmouth are hunting crawdads.
Lake Level 448.05
Average daytime water temp 68 degrees
Striper fishing is currently good if you can locate the schools of shad. Schools of shad and the striped bass hunting them have recently been reported around Bill Williams/Havasu Springs, North Winsor and Chalk Cliffs. A variety of lures are putting Lake Havasu stripers in the boat, try Green tailed Shad assassins, Pointer 128, 158s in Chartreuse Shad or a 1oz Ratl trap in “Silverado.” Currently anglers are finding quality fish by trolling or casting near shad schools during early AM and PM hours. Live shad as bait are producing plenty of quality sized stripers over 3lbs. Use a 4' throw net (the largest legal size) or a snag hook to catch shad to use as live bait.
Largemouth bass are providing plenty of action on small white or shad colored jerkbaits like the Pointer 78 or 100.
For smallmouth bass, try deep diving brown or red crawdad colored crankbaits (8-15ft) around rocks or gravel/rock shorelines where smallmouth are actively hunting crawdads.
Trout fishing has been very good here and many anglers are catching their six fish limits. Garlic flavored dough baits fished on the bottom and small inline spinners are both currently working well for the hungry rainbows.
Bass fishing has been slow but this is the time of year outsized fish are typically caught on trout imitation baits. Some of the big Roper Lake largemouths are actively feeding on stocked rainbow trout. Try working an imitation lure parallel to the tules to draw a big fish from its ambush spot.
Bluegills and sunfish are still being caught on nightcrawlers fished under a bobber. Catfishing has been slow.
The topwater bite is HOT right now for hungry bass exploiting large populations of shad up on the flats towards the river end. Anglers are currently having a field day with Pop-R and walking baits. Shad imitation cranks like RatlTraps are also working well to get a reaction from feeding bass.
In the main lake area, bass can be found from shallow to deep water as they transition into a fall pattern. Large numbers of bass are staging off of secondary points corralling shad into backs of coves. Keitech soft baits and other soft shad imitation lures are working well on these main lake bass. Some anglers are reporting great days on weightless Senkos in a variety of colors like Natural Shad, Baby Bass, and Green Pumpkin. If you’re into jigs, try a Hula Grub in the colors mentioned above in trees and off points. Bass have recently been seen feeding on dragonflies in the backs of coves.
Catfish and Carp
Shore anglers are picking up quite a few catfish on Carolina rigs with hot dogs or fresh shrimp fished between 10 and 20 feet deep. Hard-fighting carp are being caught on the standard offerings like corn and dough balls.
Largemouth bass anglers should still be focusing on cover. The lake still has grass available and these areas are great for locating fish hanging out in the cover. Throw hollow frog imitation baits, buzz baits, or flukes near cover.
Smallmouth are hanging out off of main lake points in areas of sand or gravel substrate. Anglers are having success fishing Neko rigs with a 4” Senko. If you haven’t tried a Neko rig yet, you really should! Bass love the falling action of this essentially weighted version of the wacky rig.
Southern Arizona’s fishing hotspot Roper Lake has started to slow down a bit as the water temps continue to drop. Bass anglers have had some luck recently on 1-3-pound fish with brighter colored worms and grubs fished along the reeds. Shad imitation lures have also been producing a few fish. Sunfish are still very active and available for anglers fishing with meal worms or nightcrawlers by the floating piers. Some big carp in the 10-pound range have been caught recently on corn and homemade dough bait fished on the bottom.
At Dankworth Lake, diving crankbaits and plastic worms fished slow are picking up a few bass. The increased underwater vegetation might be frustrating for anglers, but those that stick with it end up with some nice Dankworth bass; especially flipping into the cattails lining the shore. Per usual, the sunfish are cooperative here with the standard offerings and catfishing has slowed to a near halt.
Rainbow trout will be stocked in November and will give Roper/Dankworth Lake anglers another option during their visit. PowerBait fished on the bottom, salmon eggs undr a bobber, and a variety of in-line spinners usually work pretty well for fish in these gorgeous southern Arizona lakes.
Striped Bass action is decent and observant anglers can find boils of stripers chasing shad in the morning and late afternoon. Trolling super spooks, sassy shads and white or Chrome/blue Rattle Traps is currently your best bet. Search for boils from Black Rock & Calif. Bay north to the river entrance.
The channel catfish bite is excellent right now and numerous cats are being caught on cut mackerel or squid off deeper points and coves in 15 to 35 ft of water.
Smallmouth bass are keeping anglers busy! Try throwing Smoke Sparkle or Green Pumpkin Hula grubs rigged on a 3/8oz football jig fished around rocky points and gravel shorelines in 6 to 15ft of water. The topwater bite is on too! Poppers, Sammys, and Buzzbaits are working well for both smallmouth and largemouth over gravel flats and submerged weedbeds in the morning and late afternoon.
Patagonia Elite Series tournament anglers did well on some solid fish during a recent contest at Patagonia Lake. The biggest fish was a 5.69-pound largemouth, although several in the four-pound range were also caught. Successful anglers used a variety of methods to bring fish to the boat including flipping into the tules and dropshotting Robo Worms. A number of fish were also caught with different types of topwater baits!
The Patagonia Elite Anglers tournament this month was met with hot weather and killer bass fishing. Most teams weighed in a limit of fish and the average fish caught was 2.36 pounds. Successful anglers were using a variety of lures including worms on dropshot rigs, spinnerbaits, and Texas rigged creature was baits.
Bluegill fishing is hot right now! The fish are still on their beds and displaying spawning behavior. The water is currently clear so you should be able to see them in the shallow water near shore. Try using mealworms or earthworms fished without a weight for best results. An angler recently reported catching and releasing nearly 100 bluegills during an early June trip…This is a great time of year to get kids hooked on fishing! Plan a trip to Patagonia, and start building new outdoor memories!
Bass fishing at Patagonia has been tough. The spawn is over and the fish are currently transitioning from their spring to summer patterns. Successful anglers are reporting the best times to fish are earl in the morning, and late in the evening. Flipping Texas-rigged creature baits into the tule pockets, dropshotting worms near the bank, and throwing wacky-rigged Senkos seem to be the go-to methods right now.
Alamo Lake is a great place to escape the crowds that can be experienced at other lakes. Bass fishing was recently on fire, but has subsided a bit. Fishing for bass is still considered fair. The bass are congregating off of points in the main lake area, and near submerged trees that provide shade. Flukes, Texas-rigged creature baits are working the best for Alamo bass right now. Reports of both quality and quantity have been coming in from anglers focusing on topwater presentations while using lures like hollow belly frogs and walking baits. Rattletraps have also been working well while searching for fish.
Even though the bass and crappie get most the glory at this Sonoran Desert lake, Alamo has a great catfish population as well! Try worms, fresh shrimp, or hot dogs rigged weightless (or a small weight when windy) for best results. You really don’t have to cast far from shore to get in on some great catfish action at Alamo!
The lower Colorado River accessed from Buckskin Mountain and River Island State Parks offers some of the BEST smallmouth bass fishing in Arizona! Try small swimbaits like the Keitech Fat Impact rigged on a ball head jig, a weightless 4-inch Senko, or dropshot worms near shore. The smallmouth bass here don’t get a ton of pressure and there are some really nice sized fish currently being caught.
Bass fishing at both Roper Lake and Dankworth Pond has been phenomenal recently. Anglers have regularly reported catching largemouth in the 5-7-pound range from boat and shore. Bait anglers are doing well with nightcrawlers. Artificial lures like soft plastics, floating jerkbaits, and bluegill imitation baits are accounting for a large majority of Roper bass. An angler reported using a green plastic worm wacky rigged to catch a really nice 7lb bass off the floating pier by the boat launch!
Carp anglers are reporting success with corn in the evenings.
Sunfish are still active and most success has come with worms or small plastic jigs close to shore.
Catfishing has been slow.
At Roper Lake, Bluegill and other sunfish have been active early in the day. Anglers are doing well with worms and small jigs. Bass fishing has been slow from shore but boat anglers are doing well by fishing crankbaits slowly along the cattails.
Dankworth pond just down the road from Roper is experiencing some HOT topwater action for bass. Poppers and frog imitation baits are triggering strikes for anglers. Bluegills are biting near the piers with worms or meal worms fished below a bobber.
Catfishing has been slow at both parks.
Catfish were stocked last week and there's still plenty of eager fish available to anglers! Standard catfish offerings like hot dogs, nightcrawlers, uncooked shrimp, and prepared dough baits are working well fished on the bottom. Try using a swivel and barrel sinker so the fish don't feel resistance when they pick up the bait. This gives them a chance to position the hook correctly for a good hook set!
Bass fishing has been slow, but a few anglers are picking up fish with small crankbaits fished near structure. Bluegills are biting on meal worms and earthworms fished about 18"-24" under a bobber.