WILLIAMS Ariz. – Freezing temperatures and frozen lakes aren’t enough to keep some anglers away. The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) encourages anglers to practice safe fishing guidelines.
Ice fishing in Arizona is a potentially dangerous activity and should be done at your own risk. If you choose to ice fish, check the quality and thickness of the ice near shore before venturing into deep water. It is not safe to walk on ice or ice fish until it is at least four inches thick for a single person. Due to the wide variability of daily temperatures that occurs in northern Arizona and the unpredictable thickness of the ice, it is advisable to never drive a vehicle or snowmobile on ice. Likewise, ice that may be thick enough to freeze fish in the morning may become thin and unsafe by the afternoon.
The current limit for Williams lakes is two smallmouth bass with a minimum size of 13 inches, four channel catfish and four trout. If a lake is completely covered with ice, the ice must be at least four inches thick (six inches for two anglers) for a single angler with equipment to freeze the fish.
The day use area and boat launch are open year-round, but the campground is closed in the winter. The lake gate is often closed after a big snowstorm, so the lake might be visitable only at that time.
The day use area on the Forest Service side (east side of the lake) and access from the county side (west side of the lake) are open. Only boats with an engine of 10 horsepower or less are allowed on Cataract Lake.
The road to the town reservoir is closed in winter.
Road access to the lake, day use and boat launch are open. The campsite is closed for the winter. Due to the recent snowfall, logging roads at Dogtown Lake can be very difficult to navigate and may be completely impassable at this time. Only electric powered boats are allowed on Dogtown Lake. No gas engines.
Santa Fe Reservoir
Road access to the reservoir is open. Only boats with electric motors are allowed on Sante Fe Reservoir. No gas engines.
Access to the jetty and campgrounds is closed, but foot access is permitted during the winter months. Only boats with electric motors are allowed on Lake Whitehorse. No gas engines. Due to the recent snowfall, the logging roads at Lake Whitehorse can be very difficult to navigate and may be completely impassable at this time.
JD Dam is catch and release for trout only; you can’t contain trout; artificial fly and bait only; Only single point hooks, no barbs. Only electric powered boats are allowed in JD Dam. No gas engines. JD Dam is completely covered in ice this week. Due to the recent snowfall, logging roads at JD Dam can be very difficult to navigate and may be completely impassable at this time.
If it’s too cold to go fishing right now, there are plenty of other fishing-related things you can do, whether it’s sitting in your fly tying pocket and knocking out a bunch of flies to fill your fly. boxes, or clean your fly line, or put new line on your spinning reel. Looking for an opportunity to talk fishing with others? There are fishing clubs throughout the state, as well as chapters of Trout Unlimited.
Information provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Department