Winter fishing  in Arizona

Arizona March Fishing Report

Here's the latest Arizona fishing report as winter gives way to spring.

Lee’s Ferry - Excellent

Flows are staying steady around 13,000 CFS with a crisp water temperature in the upper 40s. Our pristine year-round tailwater remains a great place to fish this March. You can expect rainbows to continue spawning in the shallows.

When fishing the deeper pools, focus on getting drag free drifts using worms and scuds.

Be on the lookout for spring hatches, especially blue winged olives and midges. If you're seeing surface activity, try fishing a dry dropper through riffles.

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

Fishing the Rim in March is usually marked by high, stained water as late season precipitation melts in the high country.

Subsurface fishing can be great in these conditions. Try drifting leeches, scuds, and stoneflies under indicators. If the current is strong, drift as close as possible to soft pockets behind boulders and structure like cut banks. Throw small streamers in those same locations.

If the water clears up a bit and the sun pokes out, don't be afraid to prospect with a dry fly.

Crossing swollen Rim creeks can be no joke when the water gets high. Check out the Simms G4Z Stocking Foot Wader for the best in wading technology. 

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 CreekGood

High water in Oak Creek means it's a great time to target the larger browns in the system. Like the Rim creeks, you can expect Oak Creek to be high and stained for much of March. This is a great time of year to strip and swing streamers in the larger pools along the canyon.

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 Good

March is the final month of the catch-and-release season on Silver Creek. The fish have seen quite a few flies at this point in the season, so be patient and move/cast gently.

Best Bets:

#18 Stalcup Midge Larva

#16 Chironomid

#20 Parachute Midge

#12 Gummy Worm

Verde River Average

Look for the fish to be a bit more active in March. 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.

Rainbow trout stocking will continue through March on the Verde. 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

Fishing the San Juan can be chilly this time of year. With air and water temps in the 40s, it's essential to dress warm -- especially when wading. But if you're able to stand the cold, you'll have one of the West's best tailwaters mostly to yourself compared to warmer times of the year.

Like February, continue using 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:

#22 Tungsten Midge

#20 Stalcup Hatching Midge

#18 Cluster Midge

#10 Squirrel Leech

#22 Tungsten Zebra Midge

Salt River - Hot

Trout stocking will continue on the Salt throughout March. As we get more and more daylight, the fish on the lower Salt are starting to get more active.

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. Everything upstream of the confluence with the Verde at Phon D Sutton is fishing well.

Sucker and carp seasons are in full swing on the Salt! These fish offer a fun alternative to trout fishing and are primarily caught while sight fishing. Use a tall rock or steep bank to spot cruising suckers and carp. Tip: Using colorful fly patterns will help tremendously when sight fishing.

March in Arizona usually means one thing: the return of intense sun. Check out our selection of lightweight sun hoodies that are comfy even on hot days. 

Best Bets:

#12 Rowley's Balanced Leech

#16 Tungsten Midge

#16 Bead Head Hare's Ear

#12 Gummy Worm

#10 Beldar Bugger

Dead Horse RanchAverage

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 LakesPoor

White Mountain lakes usually remain fairly iced-in throughout March but look for thawing towards the end of the month.

Best Bets:


Black RiverPoor

Roads to the Upper Black River are not maintained over the winter, making access difficult. Expect cold water and slower-moving fish. Runoff will likely start to pick up towards the end of the month. Nymph seams thoroughly before moving to the next spot. If you do make it to the water, try throwing weighted stonefly nymphs on deeper rigs.

Best Bets:

#18 Tungsten Midge

#18 Tungsten Jig Pheasant Tail Red Tie

#16 Tungsten Jig Flashback Pheasant Tail

Canals - Good

SRP canal dry-ups should be just about finished for the winter. As the weather begins to warm, expect the fish to become more active during the morning and 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 March Arizona Fishing Report. 

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