caddis fly – an aquatic insect of major importance, along with the mayfly and stonefly, for the trout fly-fisherman. A caddis fly is characterized by swept-back wings; also an insect that goes through a complete metamorphosis much like a butterfly. A caddis worm is the larva of a caddis fly.
California rig or California-rigged – A method of deep-water fishing in which a plastic worm is placed at the end of a leader trailing behind a sinker.
cane pole – A pole of natural cane, often made from Calcutta or Tonkin bamboo, used for fishing. No reel is used; the line is tied to the pole. Extremely effective for fishing small, narrow streams or creeks. Those fishing with such a rig are said to be cane-poling.
cartop or cartopper – Refers to a boat small enough to be carried on the top of a car and hand-launched, especially at fisheries with limited or no boat launching facilities.
Carolina rig or Carolina-rigged – A special rig in which an exposed or hidden hook is used with a soft plastic lure placed 2 to 3 feet behind an egg or barrel sinker and swivel. Used primarily for deep fishing with heavier weights than a Texas rig. This rig is most commonly used with a plastic worm or lizard, but can be used with floating crankbaits and other lures.
A variation on this theme is using a lighter, spinning outfit with a split shot placed on the line 12 to 30 inches above the hook, with a small worm or lizard (4 to 6 inches) rigged Texas style. This style can be used in shallow or deep water, and is especially good for use in the clear, Western reservoirs, or when it is appropriate to down-size, such as in winter.
carp – A member of the minnow family, introduced to the United States in the late 1800s. Typically refers to common carp originally from Europe and not grass carp (amur), which are from Asia.
catch-and-release – Refers to catching a fish and immediately releasing it. Many anglers practice catch-and-release as a way to help conserve the resource. In some waters, such as certain small trout streams, the state fishing regulations actually require anglers to catch-and-release.
catfish – A term for any of the many species of catfish, including black, blue, flathead, channel and yellow species. Fishing for catfish can be called catfishing and a person who fishes for catfish is a catfisherman (both one word).
channel – The bed of a stream or river. This can also refer to a submerged stream or river channel in a reservoir.
chugger – Topwater plug with a dished-out, concave or cupped head designed to make a splash when pulled sharply. The act of systematically working the lure across the surface is called “chugging.”
chum – To throw chum (typically cut up pieces of bait fish or other bait) overboard to attract fish. A chum line is the trail of bait or scent in the water that attracts game fish.
clarity – Refers to the depth you are able to see an object, such as your lure, under the water.
clearwater – Describes a lake or stream with good visibility.
cold front – A weather condition accompanied by high, clear skies, and a sudden drop in temperature.
coldwater fishery – Refers to waters typically in the higher elevations that can be predominately trout fisheries.
cosmic clock – The sun’s seasonal effect on water and weather conditions relating to barometric pressure, wind, and cloud cover.
cove – An indentation along a shoreline. A very small indentation a few feet or so across is often referred to as a “pocket cove.”
cover – Natural or manmade objects on the bottom of lakes, rivers, or impoundments, especially those that influence fish behavior. Examples include stick-ups, tree lines, stumps, rocks, logs, pilings, docks, and weed patches.
cowbells – A flashing, multi-bladed lure that resembles a small school of bait fish that is commonly used to troll for trout.
crankbait – Any of a wide number of hard plastic or wooden lures that dive when retrieved (cranked with a reel) through the water. Crank or cranks are slang terms for these baits.
crappie or crappies – Two species, white and black, are popular game fish. In Arizona, white crappies are only found in Lake Pleasant.
crayfish or crawfish – A small crustacean found in freshwater. Crayfish are not native to Arizona. Also called crawdads.
creel limit – The daily number of fish an angler can keep in possession as set by state regulations. Can vary from water to water, so be sure to check the fishing regulations.
Crickhopper – A brand of plastic lure resembling a grasshopper commonly used for trout and sometimes, for smallmouth bass.
culling – A method of removing and releasing lighter-weight fish from a livewell so the heaviest or tournament limit is retained.
Curly Tail – A trademark for a brand of curved-tail soft-plastic lures.
curly-tailed grub – A curved-tail soft plastic bait often fitted on a jighead.
cutthroat trout or cutthroat – A species of salmonid characterized by a red or orange slash under the throat. They are stocked in Big Lake in the White Mountains and are not native to Arizona. Also called “cutts.”