The leading edge of a cold front had finished coming through, dumping about 1/2 inch of rain on the area and dropping daytime highs to 50° F and lows to 40°. December 28, 2019.
Paul and I had our lines in the water at 2PM, from the fishing pier at Rattlesnake Cove Day Use Area. The rain and sleet had just stopped but the pier had a covered area if needed. We offered the fish two kinds of bait. The first was what I used last about 45 years ago and I’ll call Oklahoma: a dough made from simmering water, flour, cornmeal, strawberry jello (3 oz), vanilla flavoring, and sugar. The second bait I’ll call Captain Carp’s: Panco, sweet corn from a can, and strawberry jello (6 0z).
Captain Carp is actually Luke Nichols, a criminal defense lawyer. At the start of his videos he often gives his website, CatsAndCarps.com. I watch most videos at 1.25 times normal speed, so Cats and Carps sounds like Captain Carp.
I got definite nibbles on Oklahoma in about 10 feet of water, but no great bites or landed fish. On Captain Carp’s bait in ~ 20 feet water, we caught four carp ranging from 2 to 4.5 lb. The linked video above explains how to use Captain Carp’s “pack bait” method. A “slip sinker” rig is also probably important. CC explains his rigs in much more detail in other YouTube videos.
Five total hours of fishing, and nearly all the landed fish were from the same spot over 30 minutes, about 45-60 minutes before sunset at 5:30 PM. It was around 37° F when we quit at 7 PM. Fortunately there wasn’t much wind. We’re not used to that cold.
From that same recreation area you can easily walk along the shore northwards for perhaps half a mile, casting lures for bass and other fish. Not sure if walk would be that easy when lake level is higher. I’m guessing it’s about 15 feet below max now. There are man-made fish habitats along that route. One of these days….
Another half-mile north of that is Bartlett Flats, where the Verde River’s flood plain is indeed flatter and wider, and often under water depending on lake level. Perhaps best to have a pick-up truck or sturdy car to explore here. Lot’s of room to walk along the bank casting lures, or stay in one spot.
The next lake on the Verde River not much further north is Horseshoe Lake. When full, it’s a large lake. But its primary purpose seems to be holding excess river water until it’s needed further downstream. I guess for Phoenix metro area residents or agriculture. So it’s not managed as a fisheries habitat. It’s often drained close to dry during summer. Probably not a great place to fish.
I filleted the largest fish right there on the banks of lake and we’ll cook it up tomorrow. The smaller ones we released and we’ll come back and catch them in Spring when they’re bigger!
Steve Parker, M.D.
PS: Carp are not one of the Mediterranean diet cold-water fatty fish loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids.