White Mountains Online



In Arizona's White Mountains we've got bass too! Angler's both young and old enjoy year around fishing in the White Mountains. Bass are just one of the many species of fish available to the avid fisherman! In Arizona, anglers may take fish by one line with hooks or artificial lures. Purchase of a "two pole"stamp on Arizona's fishing license allows anglers to fish simultaneously with two poles.

Fishing in Arizona is governed by Arizona State Law. A valid fishing license is required. Licenses may be obtained from the Arizona Game & Fish Department or any authorized vendor.

Largemouth Bass
(Micropterus salmoides)

World Record: 22 lbs. 4 oz.

Arizona Record: 15 lbs. 13 oz. at Canyon Lake in 1991

Description: Non-native to Arizona, Largemouth bass were introduced to Arizona in 1897. The fish has a very large mouth with the upper jaw of the adult extending beyond the rear margin of the eye. Skin is dark olive-green on the back with green sides shading to a white belly. There is a dark horizontal band on each side, a deep notch in dorsal fin, and the soft dorsal fin usually has 12 to 13 rays. Length: 10-28 inches. Weight: 8 ounces to over 15 pounds.

Location & Habitat: Largemouth bass are found in the Colorado, Gila, lower Salt and lower Verde Rivers and their associated reservoirs. A warm water fish that prefers clear water with structure and cover. Generally, bass move to deep water during day and return to the shallows to feed at night. Bass spawn from March through June.

Food: Bass are carnivorous, eating anything that moves. Their main diet is fish, such as, sunfish and shad. They will also take crayfish and aquatic insects when other foods are hard to find.

Angling: Largemouth bass are caught on a variety of baits, both natural and artificial. Depending on the time of year, bass can be caught in shallow water with a surface lure or deep with jigs or rubber worms. An angler should think structure when bass fishing. Bass concentrate around submerged trees, aquatic vegetation and underwater drop-offs.

Table Quality: The meat is mild tasting, white, flaky, firm and low in oil content.

Smallmouth Bass
(Micropterus dolomieui)

World Record: 11 lbs. 15 oz.

Arizona Record: 7 lbs. 1 oz. at Roosevelt Lake in 1988

Description: Non-native to Arizona, Smallmouth bass were introduced to Arizona in 1921. The smallmouth bass most often are bronze to brownish green in color, with dark vertical bars on the sides. In contrast to the Largemouth bass, the upper jaw does not extend beyond the rear margin of the eye. The eye of the Smallmouth bass is reddish in color. There is a shallow notch in the dorsal fin; the soft dorsal fin has 13 to 15 rays. Length: 12-22 inches. Weight 8 ounces to 7 pounds.

Location & Habitat: Smallmouth bass are abundant in the Verde River, Black River, Apache Lake and to some degree in Roosevelt Reservoir and Lake Powell. They prefer rocky habitats in streams and lakes with clear waters.

Food: Shad and crayfish are consumed in lakes; and crayfish and minnows in streams. In streams, smallmouth can be very aggressive when hellgrammites and terrestrial insects are available.

Angling: Effective lures for small mouth, are those that resemble minnows, plastic worms and streamer flies. Live baits include minnows, hellgrammites and crayfish. One of the best smallmouth fisheries in the State is the Black River.

Table Quality: The meat is similar to largemouth bass, mild tasting, white, flaky and low in oil content.

Information & photo's courtesy Arizona Game & Fish Department