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Thread: Arizona Lately

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Mesa, AZ
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    Default Arizona Lately

    I haven't been around lately but I wanted to come back and share a little information and pictures for everything I've taken from this great forum over the years. Not that there was much to read, but I skimmed through the threads on page one and thought a general "Arizona Lately," all in my humble opinion of course, would be of interest to the board.

    There are absolutely anglers that have their waters down better than others, but Arizona's lakes have been hit and miss for some time. A lot of folks have asked about Roosevelt, arguably Arizona top crappie water, so let's get the worst news out of the way.

    Roosevelt Lake has not been producing the numbers of crappie we all wish it has, or that many of you fondly remember. There may be some other issues at the trophic level, but an introduced invasion of gizzard shad are likely the culprit as they spawn and compete for resources at the same time as largemouth and especially, black crappie. As our Arizona Game and Fish Department's creel surveys had reducing numbers of bass and crappie, electrofishing (which don't represent pelagic species well at all) and trap net surveys showed the gizzard shad rapidly increasing. Many of us hoped the population would boom, bust and level off with rebounding crappie numbers, but it is slow going. To help combat the gizzard shad numbers, the AZGFD and many of our local bass angler groups worked diligently to introduce Florida-strain largemouth, under the belief that they may reach a large enough size to eat the gizzard population into check. Again a slow process, but this could lead to some amazing bass fishing down the road and I have had numerous reports of good crappie bags at Roosevelt this spring. Hopefully it will return back to what it once was.

    Here is my first crappie of 2018 at Roosevelt and a gizzard shad (different lake but on topic) that is very seldom taken by hook and line.

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    Bartlett Lake is situated in the watershed due west of Roosevelt, and has been a great lake to many Arizona crappie fishermen. In most of the recent years, the water elevation has been unstable due to dam maintenance-related reservoir operations and the crappie have not been able to spawn to any bit of their potential. The bass here are numerous but small, the crappie don't even have the luxury of being numerous (lately). Another lake that will hopefully rebound, but it doesn't look good for the next couple years at least.

    Alamo Lake is a wonderful place to catch crappie and has certainly been the best overall producer in the last several years. Unfortunately, it has its issues as well. On top of the older retirees and other non-residents that call this place home for months at a time and/or take more than a fair share of the crappie from the lake, Alamo lake just recently had a significant "drawdown" where the Army Corps of Engineers are dropping the lake 10 vertical feet over a 2 week span. From what I experienced and recorded from others, when the drawdown began March 12th, male crappie were on beds in the shallows and I personally was catching plump females full of eggs that were actively feeding on threadfin shad in 60+ FOW. We sure hope the lake stabilizes in time to still get a decent spawn off this year, but optimism and opinions here vary, greatly.

    Here are some of the whoppers from Alamo on March 11th.

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    Including my friend's first "double" on his first day of crappie fishing.

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    With a decent bag after some fending off 3/4 day of vehicle trouble.

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    Finally, when everywhere else was subject to poor fishing, I made my way to San Carlos Lake as a first timer last week. It is known for its swinging lack and surplus of water in the reservoir and is located on the San Carlos Indian Reservation that requires additional permit costs that I had never wanted to pay. After my first day's catch, I will be going back. We ran out of minnows and were fighting white caps and heavy winds before we had to call it quits. We landed 60-75 fish including a dozen largemouth bass, 2 channel cats, 1 gizzard shad pictured before (hopefully the population doesn't explode), 1 white crappie (my first in Arizona) and 40 black crappie that varied greatly in size and progress along the spawn. We kept 23, all females, 6 had spawned out completely and most had bloody egg sacs that were ready to go.

    We battled size more than we do in other likes but we kept some great fish as well.

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    Tight Lines.
    Last edited by sfmeyer; 03-21-2018 at 04:35 PM.
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  2. #2
    Boa3's Avatar
    Boa3 is offline 1K Star General * Supporter
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    Great report. I can remember when Roosevelt was a crappie destination for all the country. I drove the Apache trail from Roosevelt to Serro {sp}. For those who have never done that lets just say you see the most beautiful country in Arizona but what a ride.
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  3. #3
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    Mesa, AZ
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    Default The bite continues.

    Got my buddy and his 2 boys out on Saturday for their first crappie fishing experience. The kids loved the minnow bucket and netting the crappie the most, but by the end of the morning each had caught and netted each other's fish without any help!

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    Had another buddy come out and bring his son on Sunday. First crappie trip, first crappie, and another fisherman for life! With my wife and I expecting our first, I'm taking all the advice and experience I can get!

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  4. #4
    micorps is offline 1K Star General * Supporter
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    Geat report, i guess it wont be bad if my last assignment is in arizona, maybe i will bring the boat and get a few crappie, will know for sure this summer.

  5. #5
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    Oct 2008
    Western MA
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    WOW! Amazingly huge black crappie you're catching there. Especially like the picture with the boy. That's awesome. Wish we had crappie of that caliber up here.
    "A voyage in search of knowledge need never abandon the spirit of adventure."

  6. #6
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    Mar 2018
    Mesa, AZ
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    Funny how you have reports of game and fish about everything except they posted at the beginning of the year not to eat crappie from lake Alamo and Bartlett due to the extreme high mercury levels. People please read up on this. It's in the game and fish fishing guide. I also posted it in concern on what people are taking home. It's sad to see that no one cares about the mercury poisoning in our Waters. And yet everyone still eat the fish. But to each their own I guess. Tight lines.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Fishing mobile app

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    Aug 2007
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