Spring fishing in Arizona

Arizona April Fishing Report

Here's the latest Arizona fishing report for the spring season.

Lee’s Ferry - Excellent

If you want to avoid spring mountain runoff, try fishing Arizona's best tailwater this April. Rainbows in this section of the Colorado River feast on a steady diet of midges and scuds.

As the weather warms up, be on the lookout for plentiful spring hatches. BWOs and midges should be active throughout the day and can offer fun dry-fly fishing. Try targeting riffles and faster moving water. In the early morning, focus on nymphing the deeper runs. San Juan worms and egg patterns will catch plenty of fish.

Best Bets:

#18 Tungsten Zebra Midge

#14 Gray Scud

#14 Gummy Worm

#8 Sculpzilla

#16 Glo-Bug

#18 Bead Head Biot Midge Emerger

Rim Creeks - Excellent

April is a great month to get up into Rim country. Consistent sunny days and warm weather should trigger the start of dry fly season on many of these creeks.

As the runoff recedes, stealth and presentation become imperative. Take your time to assess each pool and make your first cast count! As the water clarity increases and levels drop, fish will cling tight to structure like cut banks and rocks.

Dry droppers are a Rim favorite this time of year. Try prospecting with a general dry pattern like an elk hair caddis or stimulator. Towards the later part of April, try tying on a terrestrial or two.

Best Bets:

#16 caddis larva

#16 Tugsten Jig Hares Ear

#14 Bead Head Simi Seal Leech

#16 Green Back Pheasant Tail

#16 Faulkin Caddis

#14 Stimulator Rubber Legs

Oak CreekGood

Arizona Game and Fish has resumed its rainbow stocking schedule on Oak Creek, which will continue through the summer. There are still plenty of wild browns prowling the pools and runs as well.

Similar to the Rim creeks, Oak Creek flows should drop in April and dry droppers will be effective. Keep an eye out for midges and BWOs coming off the water.

When fishing the runs, smaller bead head nymphs will produce fish on Oak Creek. If fish are being picky, try adding a leech or an egg to your rig.

Best Bets:

#4 Sculpzilla

#6 Beldar Bugger

#18 Bead Head Hare's Ear

#16 Tungsten Jig Czech Princess

Silver Creek Average

The winter catch-and-release season on Silver Creek has closed as of March 31. The creek is now open to barbed hooks and bait fishing.

Best Bets:

#18 Stalcup Midge Larva

#16 Chironomid

#20 Parachute Midge

#12 Gummy Worm

Verde River Good

Fish activity should increase as the weather warms in April. Target trout by drifting bead head nymphs through riffles and or swinging nymphs and soft hackles through runs. Bass can be caught by stripping leeches and buggers.

Winter rainbow stocking on the Verde ended in March. Any trout remaining in the river will be holdovers from the winter months. Bookmark this page to stay up to date on the AZGFD fish stocking schedule.

Best Bets:

#10 Bead Head Pop's Bugger

#18 Tungsten Jig Perdigon

#16 Tungsten Jig Baetis

#16 Tungsten Jig Hares Ear

San Juan - Excellent

Only a half-day drive from Phoenix, the San Juan is one of the country's best tailwaters and is an excellent choice for a long weekend fishing destination.

In April, fish will continue eating small baetis and midge imitations fished on double nymph rigs. These flies are very small so make sure you've added enough weight to get them into the strike zone! If you get tired of tying small flies with frozen hands, remember that streamers can still be productive here as well.

Best Bets:

#20 WD-40

#20 Stalcup Hatching Midge

#18 Cluster Midge

#10 Squirrel Leech

#22 Tungsten Zebra Midge

Salt River - Good

Catch trout by drifting nymphs through riffles and swinging nymphs and soft hackles through runs. When the bridge area gets crowded, don't be afraid to move up or down stream. Stocking takes place at multiple locations and the fish have moved through much of the system. AZGFD will continue to stock trout through April this year.

SRP should start increasing flows to their summer level as we get into April. Higher water takes away many of the easy sight-fishing opportunities for suckers and carp. These fish are still in the river and eating! They may just be harder to target.

Best Bets:

#12 Rowley's Balanced Leech

#16 Tungsten Midge

#16 Bead Head Hare's Ear

#12 Gummy Worm

#10 Beldar Bugger

Dead Horse RanchGood

This state park has great access and is an awesome spot to learn how to fly fish or hone your casting skills. Catch a variety of species, from rainbow trout to channel catfish and largemouth bass. Slowly stripping wooly buggers and leeches is a great technique to hook up with multiple types of fish. Put these flies under an indicator; after a short strip, let them rest. Bites will usually come in between strips. Colorful egg patterns and mop flies will catch fish as well.

Best Bets:

#12 Bead Head Mini Bugger

#10 Bead Head Hale Bopp Leech

#16 Glo-Bug

White Mountains LakesGood

The arrival of spring means the White mountains are getting more accessible by the day! Target fish in the shallow, warmer water as they become more active.

Try slowly stripping leeches and buggers where shallow water gives way to drop-off points.

Best Bets:

#12 Bead Head Mini Leech

#16 Tungsten Jig Hare's Ear

#14 Chironomid

Black River - Average

Expect muddy roads and high runoff if planning a trip to the Black River in April.

When the water is high, it's extremely important to get flies deep, especially when fishing the pocket water and pools of the Black. Use nymphs with tungsten beads and try stripping streamers on a sinking line.

Best Bets:

#18 Tungsten Midge

#18 Tungsten Jig Pheasant Tail Red Tie

#16 Tungsten Jig Flashback Pheasant Tail

#10 Tungsten stonefly nymph

Canals - Excellent

Like the rest of the fish in Arizona, carp will become more active as the weather warms up. In April, this means fishing can be hot throughout the day, from morning through the evening.

As always, be stealthy when stalking fish. It helps to keep a handful of line pre-stripped off the reel so you can quickly cast without having to strip a bunch of line and spook the fish.

Best Bets:

#10 Glo Bug

#12 Gummy Worm

#8 Carpilicious

That's a wrap on the April Arizona Fishing Report. 

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