Sunset in Arizona's White Mountains

Arizona January Fishing Report

Here's the latest Arizona fishing report as fish settle into their winter patterns.

Lee’s Ferry - Hot

As colder weather sets in across the state, now is a great time to fish our premier tailwater. Be on the lookout for the spawning season to begin. Pre-spawn rainbows will start moving into the shallows, offering fun sight fishing opportunities. 


Nymphing will typically produce the most fish at the Ferry. Check out our Oros Strike Indicators for the best drifts!


Best Bets:

#18 Tungsten Zebra Midge

#14 Gray Scud

#14 Gummy Worm

#8 Sculpzilla

#16 Glo-Bug


Rim Creeks - Excellent

Anglers often stumble into their largest Rim fish of the year in January. Recovered from the spawn and enjoying cooler water temps, large brown trout can be found under cut banks and boulders. 


On warmer afternoons, don't be afraid to tie on a dry dropper, especially if the water clarity is decent. When the water is higher and stained, target soft pockets and edges, no matter how small. 


Best Bets:

#16 caddis larva

#16 Tugsten Jig Hares Ear

#14 Bead Head Simi Seal Leech

#16 Green Back Pheasant Tail

#16 Faulkin Caddis


Oak Creek - Good

This time of year, 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. 


When winter storms raise the water levels, target larger fish with streamers. Stripping and swinging through the deeper pools are productive techniques.


Anglers fishing Oak Creek Canyon in the winter will often experience overcast skies and low light conditions. Make sure you've got an excellent pair of polarized glasses. We like the Costa Diego shades, which are made to excel in these conditions. 


Best Bets:

#4 Sculpzilla

#6 Beldar Bugger

#18 Bead Head Hare's Ear

#16 Tungsten Jig Czech Princess


Silver Creek - Good

The catch and release season is still in full swing, but the stocked fish have seen quite a few flies at this point. Drift and twitch double nymph rigs and try to get an early start. If you're not having any luck, try downsizing flies. 


Best Bets:

#18 Stalcup Midge Larva

#16 Chironomid 

#20 Parachute Midge

#12 Gummy Worm


Verde River - Good

Rainbow trout stocking continues on the Verde. Bookmark this page to stay up to date on the AZGFD fish stocking schedule. Target trout by drifting bead head nymphs through riffles and or swinging nymphs and soft hackles through runs.


Bass fishing has slowed a bit in the cooler weather but fish can still be found when stripping leeches and buggers. 


Best Bets:

#10 Bead Head Pop's Bugger

#18 Tungsten Jig Perdigon

#16 Tungsten Jig Baetis

#16 Tungsten Jig Hares Ear


San Juan - Excellent

Another tailwater not susceptible to the whims of winter - The San Juan! Angling pressure is lower over the winter, making this an ideal time to get up to New Mexico.


While the water temperature remains the same year-round, fish move a bit slower this time of year. Look for fish in slower moving water and target them with double nymph rigs fished under an indicator. These flies are very small so make sure you've added enough weight to get them into the strike zone!


This is the perfect long weekend travel destination. Stop in the shop today to get help planning an unforgettable trip on the San Juan. 


Best Bets:

#22 Tungsten Midge

#20 Stalcup Hatching Midge

#18 Cluster Midge

#10 Squirrel Leech

#22 Tungsten Zebra Midge


Salt River - Good

Trout stocking continues. Freshly stocked fish will likely eat any fly as they try to determine what constitutes “food” in their new system. By the time they've been in there for a few weeks, they can be really picky and difficult to catch. Target trout by drifting bead head nymphs through riffles and swinging nymphs and soft hackles through runs.


Sucker and carp seasons are in full swing on the Salt! If you're looking to challenge yourself, find a good vantage point and practice sight fishing to the Sonora Sucker you'll see cruising the river.


The Salt River has a lot of fish activity and has very clear water. Pro tip: observe the fish and water for at least 10 minutes before rigging up and fishing. 


Best Bets:

#12 Bead Head Simi Seal Leech

#16 Tungsten Midge 

#16 Bead Head Hare's Ear

#12 Gummy Worm

#10 Beldar Bugger


Dead Horse Ranch- Average

This state park has great access and is an awesome spot to learn how to fly fish or hone your casting skills. Anglers can enjoy catching multiple species, including rainbow trout, channel catfish, largemouth bass, and bluegill. Slowly stripping wooly buggers and leeches is a great technique to hook up with multiple types of fish. 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 Lakes - Poor

It's cold! Fish still eat throughout the winter, just be prepared for a slower bite. Expect ice to start moving in on many of the White Mountains reservoirs. 


Best Bets:

#14 Glo Bug

#12 Bead Head Simi Seal Leech

#10 Squirrel Leech

#18 Tungsten Midge


Black River - Poor

Roads to the Upper Black River are not maintained over the winter, making access difficult. Expect cold water and slower-moving fish. In the depths of winter, fish often won't eat unless something is directly in front of their face. Nymph seams thoroughly before moving to the next spot.


Best Bets:

#18 Tungsten Midge

#18 Tungsten Jig Pheasant Tail Red Tie

#16 Tungsten Jig Flashback Pheasant Tail


Canals - Hot

What to do when the mountains are covered in snow? Hit the sunny pavement of Phoenix! Fish towards the middle of the day for more active fish and better visibility.  Stealth is key! Keep your line ready to cast and slowly walk while scanning upstream. Pro tip: hop on a bike to explore more water and mark active feeding zones. 


Best Bets:

#10 Glo Bug

#12 Gummy Worm

#8 Carpilicious

Back to blog