If you can stand the heat, August is a great time to fish Arizona’s lakes and rivers for warm water species. The two most targeted species of fish in these waters would be carp and bass. The warmer water temperatures have these fishes’ metabolism ramped up and they are on the feed. If you get out early in the morning you have the potential to have some great topwater action for bass however it is better to have the sun higher in the sky for better sight fishing when targeting carp.
One of our favorite places to target bass and carp is Bartlett Lake. This 2,800-acre impoundment of the Verde River has a good population of multiple species of bass that can be very willing to eat a fly. Our favorite flies for bass are poppers and wiggle minnows early in the morning and clousers / other streamers later in the day. A craw pattern can also be an effective tactic especially once sun gets up and the fish are tight to the bottom on rocky main lake points.
Carp can be found feeding off the bottom in shallow areas with a sandy / muddy substrate or surface feeding over deeper water. When carp are eating off the surface it is hard to beat an unweighted egg pattern, however they will eat ants and hoppers as well as other insect imitations. Carp tailing on the bottom can be caught using damsel nymphs and small craw patterns.
Bartlett is only one of the lakes that has great fishing in the area. All the Salt River chain lakes can have excellent fishing as well. Do not overlook Roosevelt, Apache, Canyon, and Saguaro when you want to do some warm water fishing.
When fishing these lakes it is ideal to have both a floating and intermediate/sinking line set up to ensure that you can cover the varying zones of the water column. Nine or nine and a half foot rods in the six to eight weight range are ideal for turning over the larger and heavier flies used to catch these fish. Don’t forget to cover up and drink a lot of water as the high temps can really take it out of you.
Stop by the shop for the most current fishing report and fly recommendations!