The Rim Country Fishing Report
May 18 – by James Goughnour

The talk among Rim Country anglers is the huge success of the Wild West Bass Trail (WWBT) Team Championship. The gizzard shad mitigation solution that the Aquatics Branch of the AZGFD took five years ago is paying huge dividends for anglers today. The winning team weighed in over 70 pounds for 21 fish caught over a three day tournament. Second place was over 67 pounds and third place was over 60 pounds. The number of bass caught, the increased size and the overall great health of the bass were all commented on by the anglers. The final day weigh-in at Payson Green Valley Park was a great event with hundreds of spectators. The public wanted to know what happens to the fish after the event. The WWBT explained that all of the fish will be returned to Roosevelt Lake immediately following the weigh-in. The following day, I was happy to announce to our local media contacts that 100% of all fish that arrived at the ramp alive were transported to Payson, weighed and returned to Roosevelt Lake alive and well. WWBT has an excellent process for transporting fish and skilled fish handlers who know how to care for fish. Overall, WWBT hit a grand slam home run and everyone in Payson is looking forward to their return during the 2019 season.

The water level in Roosevelt Lake continues to fall and currently the water level stands at 54% full. The flow into the lake from the Salt River is at 15% of the normal rate for this time of year.  This equates to a 84 CFPS flow into the lake. The Tonto Creek stopped flowing several weeks ago and is still not flowing. With ambient temperatures at the lake now over 100 degrees, these conditions could develop into a serious situation for the fishery. Both Apache and Canyon Lakes are experiencing algae issue which is probably golden algae.

Bass fishing reports continues to be very good. Reports from anglers who fished the WWBT event discussed to distinct patterns. One was a shallow pattern and even some spawning bass were seen. However, the shallow bass seemed to be in the two pound range which was not enough to make the cut after two days. Anglers fished reaction baits such as Spider-rigs, spinner-baits, chatter-baits and Roboworm on a drop-shot rig. The more successful pattern was on deeper cover and structure where larger fish were caught on jigs, artificial worms on a Carolina-rig and Texas-rig. Both of these patterns demonstrate a post-spawn pattern with bass moving to deeper and more secure summer patterns. Anglers reported catching large numbers of bass on the Tonto and Salt ends of the lake.

Crappie fishing reports continue to be good. Anglers are reporting crappie are orienting to cover such as trees and brush or structure including ledge overhangs and drop off areas. Look for schools of crappie in the 20-foot to 25-foot range. A small jig or a Lil’ Fishy bait were reported successful. Crappie anglers are beginning to fish from dusk until around midnight as the new moon phase approaches.

Excellent feedback from trout anglers throughout Rim Country this week. Stockings include Woods Canyon, Willow Springs and Bear Canyon, Canyon, Christopher, Haigler, Tonto creeks, the East Verde River and more. The AZGFD summer trout stocking program provides trout fishing at easy access locations and quality fish for the entire family to enjoy. Powerbait, spinners and small nymphs are good choices for spinning rod applications. For fly fishing enthusiasts, terrestrials, nymphs and at some elevations, cicada imitations are catching quality native and stocked trout.

Rim Country Custom Rods

James Goughnour

James Goughnour is available for speaking seminars and/or demonstrations related to building or repairing custom fishing rods. Rim Country Custom Rods sells rod building equipment and supplies, contact us for your rod building needs.  Contact RCCR

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