When the February bass fishing tournaments start on Roosevelt Lake, it means the spawn is not far behind. The Wild West Bass Trail Team Tournament returned to Roosevelt Lake, Saturday, February 24th. This tournament is very popular among local anglers and throughout the State. The take off and weigh-ins were at the Cholla Recreational Site. If you have never seen a bass tournament, it is an exciting event. The teams weigh in their best seven fish and several local anglers were anticipating weights nearing 20 pounds.
One factor that will play a big part in the strategy of the tournament anglers is the upcoming spawn. The water temperature is in the mid to high 50’s and the bass are beginning to stage or prepare for the spawn. Typically, a 60 degree water temperature is the key for the spawn to officially get started. However, some bass are already search the shallow waters in coves for that perfect place to make a bed, while others are in 15-20 foot depths waiting for the water temperature to rise just a few more degrees. The full moon on March 1st will have a large effect on the spawn cycle. Tournament anglers know that when bass are in this “pre-spawn” phase that they feed heavily. Reaction baits, spinner baits, drop-shot technique have all been reported successful recently.
Even if you are not a tournament angler, it’s time to get ready. Excellent bass fishing conditions are only weeks away. Don’t wait to get to the lake for the first time of the season to start your boat and check your rods, reels and tackle. Too many anglers are disappointed when they get to the lake and the boat won’t start or they realize that their rod or reel needed to be repaired. Also check your personal floatation devices (PFD), fire extinguisher, trailer and other safety equipment before you head to your favorite lake.
Roosevelt Lake is currently 58 percent full with the Salt River and Tonto Creek flowing at about 25% of their normal rates for this time of year. The lower than normal flows into the lake allows much of the debris to settle making the water clarity crystal clear. In many parts of the lake, the bottom can be easily seen in depths as deep as 20 feet. If the water remains clear, it will be an advantage to sight fishermen in a couple of weeks. The recent storms and moisture throughout the watershed will ensure the continuation of water flows and nutrients into the lake for the next several weeks.
Fishing at Green Valley Lake in Payson is excellent. Green Valley is stocked every other week during the colder months as part of the AZGFD Community Fishing Program. Successful baits reported recently include Powerbait, small spinner-baits, small crank-baits and flies.
Have a great week of fishing and I hope to see you on the water.