Williams and Flagstaff spring fishing forecast

Ashurst Lake is one of many lakes in northern Arizona offering fishing, camping and more for those wanting to get out and enjoy the outdoors. (Photo/AZGFD)

Ashurst Lake is one of many lakes in northern Arizona offering fishing, camping and more for those wanting to get out and enjoy the outdoors. (Photo/AZGFD)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — March 20 marked the first day of spring, and with spring in the air it’s time to get a strategy for some Arizona fishing. The Arizona Game and Fish Dept. recently shared its outlook for those ready to get out to the lake.

Dogtown Lake

Rating: Good

Fishing at Dogtown is good during the spring for large holdover trout. Access can be difficult in March until the snow drifts on the road melts.

Anglers can catch nice-size holdover rainbow trout on lures such as Rooster Tails, Joe’s Flies and small spoons. Fly anglers should be successful using woolly buggers and bead-head prince nymphs. Folks using flies and lures might also catch a nice brown trout. Fish your lures and flies slowly in cold weather.

For folks using bait, try fishing garlic “flavored” PowerBait in a variety of colors especially in September while the water is still warm. In the cooler months, worms under a bobber should also work.

Kaibab Lake

Rating: Good

Kaibab Lake was full and spilling during early March. Trout stocking began once the lake quit spilling. Once stocking starts the fishing becomes good..

Anglers can catch rainbow trout on lures such as Rooster Tails, Joe’s Flies and small spoons. Fly anglers should be successful using woolly buggers and bead-head prince nymphs. Folks using flies and lures might also catch a nice brown trout. Fish your lures and flies slowly in cold weather.

For folks using bait, try fishing garlic “flavored” PowerBait in a variety of colors especially once the water warms up in May. In the cooler months worms under a bobber should work.

Cataract Lake

Rating: Poor

Fishing at Cataract will be slow until the water warms up in May.

City Reservoir

Rating: Good

City will be stocked with trout starting sometime in April. Once stocking begins, fishing will be good using standard trout methods.

Santa Fe

Rating: Good

Santa Fe will be stocked with trout starting sometime in April. Once stocking begins fishing will be good using standard trout methods.

J.D. Dam

Rating: Fair

JD is full and was restocked last fall. The number of fish in the lake is still low after last summer’s fish kill. More tiger trout are scheduled to be stocked this spring which will help the fishing. Remember regulations on J.D are flies and lures only with single barbless hooks all fish must be immediately released. This lake is managed as a catch-and-release fishery.

Lower Lake Mary

Rating: Poor to fair

Lower Lake went from being dry in the fall to about one half full by early March with runoff still coming in. As of early March it had no fish, but Arizona Game and Fish plans to start stocking by mid-March. When Lower Lake Mary fills, the stocked trout tend to scatter throughout the lake, to eat the numerous earthworms that have been recently flooded out. Having a few thousand fish scattered all over a 600-acre lake makes fish hard to find. Fishing will be slow until the stocked fish are concentrated enough to get caught. The good news is even if you’re not catching fish at the lake, they are always growing bigger.

Upper Lake Mary

Rating: Poor

Since January, the lake has gone from less than 20 percent of capacity to full. Fish will be scattered and hard to find until runoff slows down. Northern pike and big channel catfish are caught in the shallow end of the lake during runoff.

Ashurst Lake Fishing

Rating: Hot

Fishing at Ashurst will be excellent for large holdover trout once the road is opened to allow access through early May.

Again, lures such as Rooster Tails, Joe’s Flies and small spoons are excellent. Fly anglers should be successful using woolly buggers and bead-head Prince nymphs. Folks using flies and lures might also catch a nice brown trout. Fish your lures and flies slowly in cold weather.

For folks using bait, try fishing worms under a bobber until the water temperatures start to warm up. PowerBait fished on the bottom should also work. Garlic PowerBait seems to out-fish unscented bait

Frances Short Pond

Rating: Good

Stocking of rainbow trout in the pond began in March once the pond quits spilling. Some holdover trout are caught by anglers before stocking begins.

Information provided by Arizona Game and Fish Department. Chuck Benedict is an AZGFD Aquatic Wildlife Specialist out of Flagstaff

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