Arizona Game & Fish

Department

White Mountains

Becker Lake: Becker Lake can only be fished with artificial flies and lures with a single-point barbless hook, catch-and-release trout only. Water levels are low but Becker is filling thanks to a newly-piped ditch, so expect lake levels to rise. Try fishing crayfish patterns or nymphs under an indicator near the inlet pipe to mimic small prey getting flushed into the lake. Try Wooly Buggers, Simi-Seal leeches, Prince nymphs or Hare’s Ear. There is limited opportunity for shore fishing and wading especially due to low water, but there is a floating fishing pier that is handicapped accessible. Spin fishermen can try Z-rays, small Kastmasters or Panther Martins with the treble replaced with a single point barbless hook. Illegally introduced largemouth bass can also be found in this lake and anglers are encouraged to harvest bass to help the trout populations. Becker Lake may partially or completely ice over throughout the winter; anglers should use caution and check recent weather reports when ice fishing.

Big Lake: During a normal winter, vehicle access to Big Lake is more difficult due to heavy snow and road closures. The U.S. Forest Service normally closes State Route 273 and State Route 261 after the first significant snowfall. Only access from US 191 near Alpine is open, though snow drifts may make vehicle access impossible. Despite summer algae blooms, anglers have been doing well for rainbow trout on bottom and for cutthroat trout in Railroad Cove. Fish until winter weather and road closures inhibit access! Big Lake Store has closed for the season. Big Lake may partially or completely ice over throughout the winter; anglers should use caution and check recent weather reports when ice fishing.

Greer Lakes (Bunch, Tunnel, River): As winter weather comes to the White Mountains, the Greer Lakes are filling again; expect lake levels to rise throughout the winter. When the lakes begin filling, fish near the inflows where the water is freshest. Try insect and crayfish mimic flies and lures and drift them through the flowing fresh water. Rainbow trout were last stocked in June, but few will persist throughout the winter to be caught. Wild brown trout may be found in any of the lakes. Try using streamers like Wooly Buggers, or nymphs under an indicator. Spin fisherman will do well with PowerBait or small gold lures. Illegally introduced yellow perch can be found in River Reservoir; anglers are encouraged to remove any caught to improve trout fishing. The Greer Lakes may partially or completely ice over throughout the winter; anglers should use caution and check recent weather reports when ice fishing.

Carnero Lake: During a normal winter, vehicle access to Carnero Lake is more difficult due to heavy snow and non maintained dirt roads. The U.S. Forest Service does not restrict access, however Forest Road 117 is prone to large, dangerous snow drifts. Despite a summer fish kill, fall fish surveys showed great numbers of rainbow trout and healthy tiger trout.The largest rainbow trout caught was 20 inches long and weighed 3 pounds, though fish averaged 15 inches and 1.5 pounds. Lake levels are low, though winter precipitation will help improve that. However, fishing from the shoreline or using spinners or lures is difficult at this lake because of the weeds. Try using a small boat, canoe or float tube as long as ice conditions allow. Fly fish for rainbow trout and tiger trout with Wooly Buggers, Prince nymphs or light-colored nymphs in open areas. The water is deepest near the islands on the north end of the lake. Carnero Lake may partially or completely ice over throughout the winter; anglers should use caution and check recent weather reports when ice fishing.

Clear Creek Reservoir: As winter weather cools water temperatures, warmwater species like largemouth bass, sunfish, catfish and common carp will be less active. Try fishing during the warmest parts of the day when fish will be most active. Look for areas of shallow water that will be warmest or near cover where prey fish might congregate. Use smaller, shallow-diving crankbaits moved slowly through the water or drop shot near structure. Try small hooks with a worm and bobber near rocks and structure for sunfish. For bullhead and channel catfish, use bait on bottom such as worms and chicken livers, especially at night when catfish are most active. Clear Creek Reservoir may partially or completely ice over throughout the winter, but ice conditions are generally unsafe for ice fishing.

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