Roosevelt Lake water level increased 1% recently and currently stands at 58% full. During the month of January, the lake level rose about 6″ leaving a little over 38 vertical feet from the full water mark. The Salt River is flowing at 45% of its normal rate for January and the Tonto Creek is flowing at 15% of its normal rate. The increase is due to the snowfall within the watershed a few weeks ago. However, that snow has now melted and is making its way down to the lake. Anglers and many others within Rim Country understand the need for winter snow to not only increase lake levels, but to reduce the fire danger we face each year.
The water temperature is slightly above 50 degrees during the day. That temperature is critical since it is widely believed that when the water temperature falls below 50 degrees, the metabolism of bass and other cold blooded species begin to slow dramatically. This results in fish being less active and shorter, less frequent feeding periods. The other significant occurrence when water drops to 50 degrees is that the cooler water (with a higher oxygen content) at the surface begins to sink into and through the thermocline, forcing warmer and less dense water to the surface. This water transfer is commonly called turnover. On a lake the size of Roosevelt, the water will turnover at different locations and at different times throughout the lake depending on the water temperature.
Winter bass fishing on Roosevelt Lake for deep water bass is still the most successful technique being reported. Casting spoons either fished vertically using a jigging technique or casting it a long distance and allowing the spoon to fall on a taut line are the preferred techniques used by experienced anglers. At this time of year, bass can be as deep as 40 feet which is why spoons are so effective. However, some bass seem to always be in shallow water. The colder water temperature will slow down how far a bass will chase a bait, so knowledgeable anglers will use a pitching and flipping technique to target stickups, rocks, docks, etc. where bass will be resting.
Crappie reports continue to be called good on Roosevelt Lake. Many crappie anglers are trolling a small curly tailed grub on a long line using a weights, while others are fishing using braided line and a vertical technique. Quite often crappie angler boats will gather in one area when a school of crappie has been located. Hot spots recently reported were Windy Hill, Salome Cove and near the dam. Look for crappie mostly in 35-45 foot depths.
Green Valley Lake is back on the every other week trout stocking schedule as part of the Community Fishing Program sponsored by the Arizona Game & Fish Department. The lake continues to produce excellent numbers of rainbow trout caught on Powerbait, small spinner-baits, small crank-baits and flies.
Have a great week of fishing and I hope to see you on the water.
By: James Goughnour
Rim Country Custom Rods