Periodic reports about conditions and fishing news at Alamo Lake State Park.
January 18, 2011
Well folks, I'm very happy to report that the temperature has warmed up enough for me to come out of hibernation for a couple of days. According to my neck bone were going to be in the 70s for a few days and no storms coming in until next week. This time last year it was raining and the town of Wenden flooded this same week. The lake level put Cholla ramp out of operation and did some major damage that were still trying to deal with to this day. That lead into one of the strangest years of fishing that I have seen out here in the last 9 years. Lousy nighttime crappie bite. No boils. The news for parks was pretty much gloom and doom and about to biff it in July. The best thing that happened all year was the way every body kickedin, had a major fund raiser in Wickenburg, and literally saved us. There is not a day that goes by that the staff is not grateful for all that you have done for us. I know, some of you are wondering what this has to do with fishing.
For the first time in a long time I'm not on the go and have a minute to write. I will get fishing out of the way and then I have some current events to share with you. Working our way down the food chain. (I have not been able to get out so this is all second hand information and you can pick and choose fact from fiction.) An angler reported catching 96 bass, most going over 6 pounds, throwing a Carolina rigged 9 inch bright orange chicken! Well, this is obviously fiction, but you gotta admit, it sounds kinda cool. An angler reported to us this morning that he caught around 35 to 40 bass two days ago throwing training wheels ( crank baits) and was also using a jig with a crawdad imitation body. Fact. If you pay attention to the what and wheres of the first couple of fish you catch, you can set a pattern and do very well. Besides that another angler reported pretty much the same thing the day before. I have some friends out here that are holding there own (10 to 15) a day throwing plastics in about 10 foot of water. That was also the depth of the crank bait bite. Crappie fishing is starting to turn on again. Nothing great yet, but anglers are starting to average 5 to 10 a day. It's the same ol story. Road runners with a minnow trailer, upper end of the lake, past second bouy line. I would start trolling very slow in about 25 foot of water. If nothing else look for the floating circus up there and try to blend in.
Remember, everyone has about 30 foot of line out behind them so don't cut them off. If you do be ready for some verbal abuse and one fingered waves. No reports on cat fishing. No reports on shore fishing. Duck season ended with a bang on Sunday. There was some hard core hunters that were blasting away until dark. If every gun shot hit a duck then it would be safe to say there's not allot of ducks left in Arizona right now. I went out quad riding with some friends yesterday and feel compelled to go over a few things. First, stay on the trails. Second, stay out of posted areas. It's either marked for seasonal closure of wild life or a wilderness area. Third, take a cell phone with yah. It's kinda weird but you can get cell phone service if you have a view of the mountains South of the park. There's a cell phone tower on top of Smiths peak. This is very important to me so when you call I can figure out where your at and can come help you. On a final note, slow down and enjoy the ride. Just last week we air vac-ed a kid out that was hauling butt, lost control, and rolled his dune buggy. He said he was only doing about 40 miles an hour. When we went out and did the accident investigation, we measured his last skid marks that left the dirt road, hit a berm, cleared a tree and Bob wire fence, at 156 feet. The passenger seat was darn near through the windshield. I share some of these details with you because I have dealt with so many of these that end in tragedy, and just want everyone to be careful.
We have covered alot but I still got some time so lets talk about current events. Our Wickenburg friends group met with us this last week and would like to donate some solar powered street lights to put up in the parking lots of Cholla and the main ramp. Way cool. There working on some final details and are hoping to break ground sometime in March. Also, the dept is working on installing courtesy docks for both ramps. There hoping to have them in by spring. Wow, it feels pretty good to have a minute to write and also have some good new to share with yah. The annual lake clean up is coming up soon. It's the first weekend in March. For those of you that participate, we appreciate it. For those of you that would like to get out of the city and do something fun, come on out. Bring the kids. We waive the camping fee in the group use area and you get fed. It's like a package deal. You get to camp. Go for a boat ride. See the stars at night. Hear, maybe see, coyote's and wild burrows. See some really cool waterfowl. We have eagles, ospreys, pelicans, grebes, ducks, and some, "you tell me what they are birds". And the best part. You get to go back and tell every one that you helped clean up a lake. I will beat on this more as it gets closer.
In closing the lake level is at 1118ish with releases of 25 cfs. Both ramps are in operation at this time. Some time in March Cholla ramp will will be hit and miss for a couple of days while we tear out the turn around and do some repair work. You will know in advance when it's going to happen. Tell everyone you know to tell there friends that we are open. The media was quick to point out we were going under, but is not to quick to help us say were still here. This year I don't think your going to hear the word closed as much as your fixing to hear the word privatization. All I know at this point that it's going to be another long bumpy ride for state parks. I will let you know more as I know more. Please start getting in the habit of putting your stuff away. We have it posted all over. Our camp host makes a point to tell every one. I'm out at all hours of the night. The rest is up to you. That's all I got. —Mark Knapp
December 12, 2010
Well folks, after spending last week up at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park just North of Payson, and darn near freezing to death, I'm very happy to be home. We have training we have to do every year so I make everyone come out here in the summer, and I have to go there in the winter. It's pretty, but you can keep it. I like my desert and 115 degree days. Let's start with my favorite (bass) and work our way down the food chain.
Monterey Bass had a tournament out here on Saturday. I heard the winning weight was 11.56 pounds, and big fish was 4.35 pounds. As usual I got called off for something before I could watch all the weigh-in. My hat goes off to Paul. He does a nice job with the weigh-ins, and the staff and I enjoy working with him. I heard that training wheels (crank baits) were the hot ticket for picking up nice sized bass. I'm sure drop shotting and senco's played a big part in it to.
OK crappie fans, the bite is on. Karen from Hemit Cal weighed one in yesterday that went 3.1 pounds. We got some pictures but it will be next week before I can get them out to you. Karen and her husband Al were fishing with Pam and Ward Peterson from Cottonwood. Once again they had there best luck trolling crank-baits (deep diving shad raps) in the upper end of the lake in about 20 foot of water. They were telling me yesterday was a slow day for them and only caught 8 crappie but all went over 2 pounds, and the 3 pound toad. We got a report from another angler that caught 25 on Friday. He used a different tactic. He started right at the second bouy line and went deep with a road runner jig with a minnow trailer. He also tied a bear hook a couple of feet above the jig and put a minnow on it. He said he caught more fish hitting the minnow than the jig/minnow combo. Catfish are still very active. Catfish are stil being caught on crank baits and plastic worms so you know some good ol stink bait or hot dog will work just fine. The lake level is at 1118ish with releases of 25 cfs. Although both ramps are in operation at this time Cholla ramp will be closed all day Tuesday for some filming Ford Motor company wants to do. So if your out on the lake and see a giant truck plowing through Browns crossing with a helicopter on his butt, shooting off rockets, you might want to get the hell out of there cause it has nothing to do with what there filming at Cholla. I will be able to explain a little more next week when there done. That blast across the lake first thing in the morning is a real bummer so be sure to bring plenty of warm clothes. That's all I got. —Mark Knapp
November 30, 2010
Well folks, I hope you had a happy turkey day. I'm happy to say that I survived another year without being caught and cooked. Man has it been cold and windy here for the last few days. You're not missing much this week. If the wind dies down then there's a really good crappie bite going on at the upper end of the lake. Anglers are using road runner jigs with a minnow trailer and are averaging 10 to 15 nice sized fish. I hear trolling with deep diving shad raps is also working well. Usually the wind does not pick up till around noon so you can get in a few hours of decent fishing. This week the lake has been capping before 8 am Needless to say I have not been out in awhile. Which brings us on to bass fishing. Anglers are saying drop shotting is the way to go right now. There catching alot of dinks in about 20 foot of water. I'm going to try and get out later this week and see what's up. I have a feeling that I can pull out something out in the river channel area either flipping or with a spinner bait. One things for sure bring warm clothes out with you. The lows have been in the low 30s and the highs in the low 60s. I'm ready to go into hibernation for the winter. Cat fishing's still fair. Night crawlers and stink bait have been working well for bait. No reports on shore fishing. I'm not sure what the lake level is this week but I do know the releases are down to 25cfs for the winter. Both ramps are in operation at this time. I know this a short one but really you'er just not missing alot out here until the winds blow through. That's all I got. —Mark Knapp
October 24, 2010
Well folks, for those of you that want it short and sweet. Bass fishing is good. Crappie fishing is crap-pee. Yes, I know it sounds corny but yah gotta open with something!
Okay, this is hot off the press. Dakota McMains from Prescott stopped by the Ranger Station and informed me that he caught his first bass! The proud young man went on to say he caught 4 more after that. I'm very happy to report that he did this drop shotting in 15 feet of water. Teach a kid to fish with plastics first, then can always throw training wheels (crank baits) later. Kinda like learning to drive with a stick shift and going to an automatic later. Although Dakota did good, it's only fair to report that his brother CY McMains whammed him with 19 bass dropshotting, sinko's and crankbaits. From what I'm told it got a little heated between the two them in the boat trying shake each others fish off. I love it. Good job guys I'm proud of you both. I don't have any pictures of them, but check these out.
Mike Krantz from California sent me these very cool pictures. He took these in April, while here at the lake. He said it was cool to share these with all of you. I don't know about you but it's a first for me to see a bobcat eat a rattlesnake. Mike also stated that he was here this weekend and caught over 75 slots on wacky worms, crank baits, and drop shotting. Thanks Mike!
There's still a good top water bite going when you see the bass jumping after dragon flies. I've also been hearing good reports of anglers throwing shad colored training wheels (crank baits) in the back of coves. Still no good reports on the crappie. Catfishing is okay. Try using stink baits up by the bouy lines. angler reported catching 7 a few minutes ago. No reports on shore fishing.
The only thing I have not touched up on is to remind everyone that were having our 4th Annual Night Under the Stars party on Nov. 6th. It will be held at the group use area. It starts a dark and if the weather is good you will get to see some cool planets and other stuff.
The lake level is at 1120ish still with releases of 40 cfs. Both ramps are in operation at this time. Sounds like were having 5 bass tournaments at the same time on Nov 13th. Hmmm. Maybe I'll quit smoking around the 11th. I'm sure there would be a story or two to be told about that weekend. Well, that's all I got. —Mark Knapp
October 10, 2010
Well folks, sorry to say this is going to be a short one one. I'm trying to crank this out from home this evening before hitting the road at 4 am to Havasu, Yuma, and somewhere else I'm forgetting this week.
Although I did not have a chance to get out this last week I did keep my ears open to all that came thought the ranger station this weekend. 98% of the people said they were catching catching bass. They were using everything from training wheels (crank baits) to plastics. I heard alot of people saying they were catching bass going over 3 to 4 pounds and missing some bigger fish. It's on and should stay on for the next couple of weeks. The bass are after the dragonflies and if nothing else you will get to see some toads jumping out of the water.
Still no good reports on crappie fishing. I have no clue as to what's up with that. My guess is that is after they get taken out of here by the thousands for a couple of years straight they need a year or two to regroup and repopulate, but hey, I just live here and watch all this year after year so what do I know. The lake level is at 1120ish with releases of 40 cfs. Both ramps are in operation at this time. One nice thing is that the lake is up about 5 feet more than normal this time of year and I'm not looking down at the end of the ramp praying for rain. Although it really bums me out to say the temps have dropped into the 90s and I have had to put on a jacket the last couple of mornings, but the rest of you will be happy to hear that.
Another couple of degrees and I will going into hibernation and writing this from my cave. Anyway fishing is good, come on out. Help us spread the word that we are open. I'm working on getting Rory out here for a day on the lake, and between the two of us we should have some fun and good stories for y'all. That's all I got. —Mark Knapp
October 5, 2010
Well folks, all in all fishing is picking up! I'm talking bass. For you crappie fishermen on a scale of 1 to 10 I will give it a 2. Pam and Ward Peterson from Cottonwood caught 13 crappie a few days ago trolling deep diving crank baits up by the buoys lines. That is the only good crappie report I have heard.
Now bass fishing is different story. I had a ranger buddy (Wayne) fish with me for two days last week and we did very well. You might remember me writing about a guy a few years ago that quit smoking, got mad, threw his pole out of the boat and I threatened to grab him by his ankles and hold him under water until we got the pole back. That did end well. We got the pole back, caught a lot of fish, and he has not smoked a cigarette to this day.
Anyway, we were on the water by 7 am. By 7:05 I had managed to pour a hot cup of coffee in my lap. By 7:10 we were up in the river channel when I hit a sandbar. With a few choice words I reminded him this was why I did not go out fishing first thing in the mornings. I figured we scared about everything in the upper end of the river and decided to start over and work the points and coves on the north east of the lake. As I made my first cast of the day my bait landed with in an inch of the tree stump I was aiming at. I made a comment saying I may not be able to drink coffee and drive a boat at the same time but that was an award winning cast if I ever threw one. As soon as the Texas rigged 4 inch watermelon colored lizard hit the water I felt a light tap. I set the hook and pulled in a pretty good sized lunker.
Now Wayne and I take our fishing pretty seriously. I spend most of the day catching fish, and spend the rest of the day trying to go back and get him untangled out what ever mess he can manage to get hung up in. That's everything from tree branches, shoreline rocks, me, and some unknowns. Anyway by the 4th fish I smiled at him and told him I had it dialed in and we were in for a good day of fishing. From 7ish in the morning till around 9ish every stick up in the lake is holding bass. Throwing top water like zarra spooks, and frogs work well. Once the top water bite is over head to the coves and start fishing the weed beds along the shore line. I was tossing plastics right up on the shore line and dragging the bait slowly over the weed bed and let it drop off the edge. That was the hot ticket for the day. If you did not get a hit on the fall then slowly work your bait back to he boat and 9 times out of 10 you got a hit while reeling in.
Around 2 in the afternoon Wayne managed to catch lunker number 2. We tried a lot of different baits but had our best luck on plastics followed by top water, followed by shad colored training wheels (=crank baits). On the last cast of the day, right at dark, I pulled out lunker number three.
We pretty much used the same strategy on day two but Wayne decided to try a whole new approach. On his first cast of the morning his brand new Fluger reel came apart and ended up in the lake. I told him we have three choices. One, I had a mask and fins in the boat and he could swim down and try to find it. I told him we were only in 6 to 7 foot of water but he insisted on seeing the graph and when it showed 24.3 feet he gave me the one finger wave and said nice try. I cracked up laughing and said the second choice was to head back to my house and I could through the box of reels and parts I have acquired over the last 20 years and I could build him a bait caster in about 30 minutes. He is one of those right handed retrieval guys and all my stuff is left handed. I told him the only other choice we had was to try and use one of my rods and reel. He went with option number three and decided to use my stuff. With a big sigh I handed him a shamano rod and reel. He could tell by the look in my eyes when I handed this to him that if lost, broke, or messed it up in in way I would throw him out of the boat, run him over, and use what's left of him for bait. I also mentioned that he was holding alot of money in his hand. He did better with my stuff than he does with his own.
By the end of the day we totaled up our score and he was pleased to tell me he beat me with his 64 bass to my 63. So there you have it. If you want to beat your partner then throw your stuff in the lake and use his. Just remember: Top water mornings, plastics all day long and training wheels through out the day. I heard from other anglers they did excellent towards dark throwing shad colored crank baits. Cat fishing is still fair. Night crawlers, anchovies and shrimp are all good baits. The lake level is at 1120ish with releases of 40 cfs. Both ramps are in operation at this time. The temps are dropping into the high 90s so remember to bring a jacket!
The one thing we really need your help on is getting the word out that were open. Store hours are 8 am to 5 pm. We have everything you need but fluger reel parts. That's all I got. —Mark Knapp
- Alamo Lake
- Buckskin Mountain
- Cattail Cove
- Lake Havasu
- River Island
- Yuma Quartermaster Depot
- Yuma Territorial Prison
- Dead Horse Ranch
- Fort Verde
- Red Rock
- Riordan Mansion
- Slide Rock
- Verde River Greenway
- Boyce Thompson Arboretum
- Fool Hollow Lake
- Lost Dutchman
- Lyman Lake
- Tonto Natural Bridge