July 22, 2017
THE MONSOON IMPACT
The Roosevelt Lake water level has remained at 65% full for the past several weeks due to monsoon storms throughout the watershed. Both the Salt River and the Tonto Creek are flowing again with the rates fluctuating dramatically, depending on how much rainfall accumulated on a specific day. The recent tragedy at Water-Wheel where Ellison Creek meets the East Verde River, along with several documented Gila County Sherriff’s Office Lake Patrol water rescues, are examples of fast weather conditions that can change during the monsoon season.
The changing weather conditions can also impact the fishing. The barometric falls with an approaching storm and in the case of a monsoon storm, this can happen very quickly. After the storm passes, the pressure will begin to rise. These changes in barometric pressure have a significant impact on the feeding activities of all fish including bass, crappie and trout in Rim Country lakes and streams. Routinely, during this time of year, anglers report long periods of slow activity with a sharp increase as soon as they feel the ambient temperature drop as a storm approaches. This is even more evident after the storm passes and anglers report an active and sometimes frenzy bite for about an hour as the storm moves off. Fish are generally considered to be in a more positive feeding phase when the barometric pressure is rising or at a higher level. Cloud cover, time of day and increased flows of streams, creeks and rivers entering the lake, will all contribute to the fishing conditions throughout the day.
Bass fishing is fair to good on Roosevelt Lake. Water entering the lake is stained and some debris is flowing into the lake. Depending on the amount of flows, this can have a good or bad impact on fishing. The water temperature continues to be in the high 80’s, however, the water entering the lake will be much cooler than the lake water temperature. When conditions are changing, top water baits, crank-baits, jerk-baits and spinner-baits are all good reaction baits. During the hottest time of the day and when the weather is more stable, a drop-shot, Texas-rig or Carolina-rig technique are more successful. Main lake points in 25-35 foot depths, with deeper water access close by, are typical summertime bass fishing areas. Vineyard Cove and the Islands area across from the dam were noted hot-spots recently.
Trout fishing conditions on the Rim Country streams has slowed recently due to the stained and in some cases chocolate-colored water. Experienced trout anglers know that trout will take refuge in deep pools, behind boulders and any locations where the water is less stained. Smaller sized and darker colored baits and flies are a must when faced with these water conditions. Trout fishing on Rim Country lakes remains excellent due to the AZGFD summer stocking program. Powerbait, salmon eggs, Z-Rays, and small crank-baits have all been reported as successful.
Have a great week of fishing and I hope to see you on the water.