BARTLETT LAKE: Lake elevation is 1,780 feet, 76 % full. The lake elevation has increased 15 feet in a week and 23 fdeet during the past 2 weeks. Salt River Project began releasing water from Horseshoe Lake on Tuesday, March 3.
Water flow in the Verde River between Horseshoe and Bartlett may reach 3,000 cubic feet per second, and water levels in Bartlett Lake will rise quickly.
Campers are advised to camp at least 20-30 feet above the shoreline.
Gary Senft, Bass Pro at the Mesa Bass Pro Shops, said he fished the weekend of Feb. 14 and fishing was good during the morning primarily on shallow-running crankbaits and lipless crankbaits. Dropshots and half-ounce Yamamoto jigs also were effective. Top-water action was slow.
Derrick Franks of Striper Snatcher Guide service fished the lake recently as well and reported the following:
Largemouth bass are most active in the morning. Crankbaits thrown in 5-15 feet of water is a good beginner-friendly tactic and is a good method to covering a lot of water. In the afternoon, the finesse bite with a dropshot rig also produced some largemouth bass.
To minimize water, focus on wind-blown banks with transition areas on the bank that feature rock and sand. The bass are actively feeding on crawfish and the transition areas are good ambush areas for a bass to stage. There is an abundant amount of shad in the river channel in the 50-foot depth mark.
To catch a bigger bass, focus on structure that is near the river channel with a slowly-retrieved bait that imitates a 3-inch threadfin shad. For me personally I like a Big Hammer paddle tail on a 1.5-ounce head drifted across schools of shad.