White Mountains Online

Spring Fishing Comes Early to Arizona's White Mountains


"We caught a few rainbows and one brookie." "This brown trout went crazy for worms." There is life (and fishing) before trout stocking begins!

Game and Fish spokesperson Sue Trachy advises the enthusiastic angler to begin thinking "trout" earlier than usual this year, due to the mild winter.

"The lakes and roads are open, the fish are hungry, and the popular fishing holes are uncrowded," said Trachy. "You won't be catching newly stocked 10" fish -- our stocking program begins in May -- you'll be catching holdovers from last year, the big ones."

On a sunny Tuesday at Big Lake, a family nearly limits out in an afternoon. They were the only ones there. At the Greer lakes, five to ten cars are parked at each lake, with fishermen hoping to catch a big lunker.

"These fishermen and women are of the type who prefer fishing prior to stocking. They want the big fish from last year, and don't like to fight the smaller fish stocked by the thousands later in the spring," added Trachy.

Trachy recommends using bait such as nightcrawlers (one large brown trout was caught in a Greer lake on a clump of two worms), and a new Powerbait called Power Chow. Power Chow looks like soft dog kibble, and simulates fish hatchery food. Trachy also suggests using flies such as Arizona peacock ladies and other small nymphs in peacock, black, or brown. Adding flash to the nymphs helps.

What if you have the desire to fish, but not the know-how?

The Bob Hirsch Spring Fling kick-off in Greer, offers an opportunity for new fishermen looking for instruction in fly, spinning, and spin-casting techniques.

Greer's Spring Fling also includes a month-long trout derby, with weekly trophies in categories for men, women, teens, and youths. A small entrance fee can be paid at the Circle B market.

Information courtesy Arizona Game & Fish Department, Region 1-Pinetop,AZ