Rory’s Tips: The full moon is Nov. 2, so it will be almost full for spook night, so don’t expect to go trick-or-treat fishing for crappie or stripers at night using submersible lights or you’ll likely end up haunting an empty bag.
With windy cooler weather visiting the state this week, we may be experiencing the swan song for the great autumn fishing in the warm-water lakes, but it could prompt increased salmonid activity in the high country, especially in lakes with brown trout and brookies. Browns spawn in autumn, and brookies spawn in late autumn, early winter. So at the very least, these two species should be getting more active as they stage for the spawn.
Once the spawns get under way, be sure to put some salmon eggs on the tips of your lures and other offerings. But watch the weather reports: snow was expected Wednesday and Thursday, but the front was expected to clear out by the weekend. We’ll see.
This coming week, we will be stocking the Lower Salt River below Saguaro Lake with trout for the first time, Parker Canyon Lake will get its second stocking of the season, Patagonia will get is first seasonal trout stocking, Dead Horse Ranch State Park will get its first stocking, and Wet Beaver Creek will get its last stocking until March.
So my best tip right now is to strip the fishing line off those reels you have been using all summer and replace the line with the smallest diameter fishing line possible. Old line can lose you some nice fish. A good rule of thumb is change of season, change of line, especially here in Arizona with our summer heat.
This is a great time to try for cool-water fish, such as northern pike and walleye. There are plenty of northerns in Upper Lake Mary, Ashurst and Long Lake. For walleye, the two best are Show Low Lake and Fool Hollow, but Upper Lake Mary also has some.
For the warm-water lakes, right now I would look for action in the lakes with smallmouth bass. Try Roosevelt, especially around the more rocky areas. Apache Lake might well be worth a visit, even though the bronzebacks are still in the comeback mode here (the drive should be terrific). I really like Canyon at these transition times — it’s tough to fish, but hauling in one huge toad will make you smile in remembrance all winter.
But if you really want a treat right now, try Fossil Creek in the Verde Valley for native chub. It’s catch-and-release only, and the chub are numerous but still small. But the eye candy is beyond compare. This travertine stream is definitely an Arizona treasure. We hiked it last week, and were greeted with spectacular scenes one after the other.
During the hike, we discussed what the future may hold for Fossil Creek. While we didn’t have any brilliant bouts of inspiration, one thing is abundantly clear — this travertine stream is an Arizona treasure that should be afforded special treatment and consideration.
So for my last tip this week, grab your ultra light or fly-fishing tackle and take along a camera with plenty of memory for a real October treat — Fossil Creek. When we were there, autumn colors were just starting. The cold, wet weather this week might just turn this area into an autumn color hot spot.
Enjoy, maybe I’ll see you out there.