May Fishing in Arizona

Arizona May Fishing Report

Fishing across the state is HOT, especially around Phoenix. Read this month's Arizona Fishing Report to see what's working.

Lee’s Ferry - Average

Fish at the Ferry are starting to settle into their summer patterns; look for active fish in the riffles and don't be afraid to target the deeper pools.

The bottom of the canyon will continue heating up this month and as a result, bug activity should be plentiful. BWOs and midges should be active throughout the day and can offer fun dry-fly fishing. The best way to catch fish in this bug buffet is to throw what the fish are feeding on: annelids and midges. Fish double nymph rigs or try prospecting with a dry dropper setup.

If you grow tired of drifting flies, don't be afraid to mix in some streamers. Swinging small streamers through the riffles and the heads of pools can be a productive tactic.

Best Bets:

#18 Tungsten Zebra Midge

#20 Stalcups Midge Larva

#18 Worm Annelid

#8 Sculpzilla

#18 Bead Head Biot Midge Emerger

Rim Creeks - Excellent

Runoff has receded and the rim creeks should be fishing great throughout May. Right now, the water is still slightly colored, giving anglers a bit more opportunity to move without spooking fish.

We've officially hit that time of year when you can reliably break out your dry fly box. BWOs, mayflies, and caddis are all present. Dry dropper rigs are extremely productive.

General nymph patterns like hares ears, pheasant tails, and scuds all work well fished under dry flies. Don't forget your Fly Agra!

Best Bets:

#16 Caddis Larva

#16 Tugsten Jig Hares Ear

#16 Green Back Pheasant Tail

#12 Faulkin Caddis

#14 Stimulator Rubber Legs

Oak CreekGood

Warmer weather continues to trigger more and more surface activity in Oak Creek Canyon. When the sun is out, be on the lookout for plenty of mayflies and caddis.

Like the rim creeks, dry dropper rigs will typically net the most fish.

When fish are being finicky, leech patterns are always a safe bet!

Best Bets:

#18 Bead Head Hare's Ear

#16 Tungsten Jig Czech Princess

#12 Faulkin Caddis

#14 Stimulator Rubber Legs

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 Poor

The Verde is pretty muddy and water temps are continuing to warm as we approach the summer months. AZGFD was wrapped up spring stocking so any rainbows that remain will be holdovers from the winter months. Trout fishing isn't particularly productive in these conditions but the bass bite might be worth chasing.

Try stripping and swinging small streamers across the edges of seams and around structure to find bass.

Bookmark this page to stay up to date on the AZGFD fish stocking schedule.

Best Bets:

#10 Bead Head Pop's Bugger

#16 Tungsten Jig Hares Ear

#8 Clouser Minnow

San Juan - Excellent

While the San Juan always produces some good action, now is a particularly good time to give yourself a weekend on our neighbor tailwater in New Mexico.

Baetis activity is abundant, even by the standards of this bug factory.

While nymph rigs with tiny flies are a proven technique for catching fish on the Juan, don't be afraid to throw big streamers, especially during low-light hours. There are some hungry browns in the system, and now is a great time to catch the trophy of a lifetime.

Best Bets:

#20 WD-40

#20 Stalcup Hatching Midge

#22 Tungsten Zebra Midge

#18 Tungsten Bruised Baetis

#10 Sculpin Mini

#8 Bunny Leech

Salt River - Excellent

Summer flows are here on the Salt, and May is a fantastic time to get out before the Tube Hatch begins next month. Trout are still being stocked and will be moving throughout the system with the high water.

Now is an excellent time to launch a float tube or kayak and spend a day drifting the closest river to the city of Phoenix.

Catch trout by drifting nymphs through riffles and swinging nymphs and soft hackles through runs. Target bass with poppers against the banks and along overhanging brush, especially during the early mornings and evenings.

Best Bets:

#12 Rowley's Balanced Leech

#16 Tungsten Midge

#16 Bead Head Hare's Ear

#10 Beldar Bugger

#12 Bream Popper

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.

Fish activity is increasing rapidly with the warmer weather; largemouth bass are eating some big flies. Poppers during low-light hours and streamers during the day should land some fish.

Best Bets:

#12 Bead Head Mini Bugger

#10 Bead Head Hale Bopp Leech

#16 Glo-Bug

#4 Popper

#8 Wounded Sculpin

White Mountains LakesGood

Most roads are accessible by now and all lakes should be reachable by the end of the month. Fishing has been heating up as we head into late spring.

Midges and leeches fished under an indicator are catching lots of fish. Try slowly stripping leeches and buggers where shallow water gives way to drop-off points. Target shallow bays where the water is the warmest.

Best Bets:

#12 Bead Head Mini Leech

#16 Tungsten Jig Hare's Ear

#20 Bead Head Biot Midge Emerger

Black River - Average

The Black is still running very high and much of the access remains muddy and/or covered in melting snow patches. By the end of the month, access should be much better.

Use heavy flies that can get down in the current and into the strike zone. Nymphs with tungsten beads and meaty streamers are the ticket.

Wading conditions can be a bit treacherous this time of year. If you're determined to fish the Black in May, make sure you've got a reliable pair of boots. We recommend the Simms G3 Guide Boot.

Best Bets:

#18 Tungsten Jig Pheasant Tail Red Tie

#16 Tungsten Jig Flashback Pheasant Tail

#10 Tungsten Stonefly Nymph

#4 Sculpzilla

#4 Crayfish Bunny

Canals - HOT

Now's the time to throw on a sun hoodie and spend a day walking the pavement. Fishing is lights out around the city, and carp are reliably eating a number of different flies.

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.

Pro tip: If you're just starting to explore the canal system, bring a bike to cover more ground and find active fish.

Best Bets:

#10 Glo Bug

#8 Carpilicious

#12 BareTrap's Grassy Mop

That's a wrap on the May Arizona Fishing Report. Stop by the shop to get set up for your next outing!

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