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Plan to have stout fishing line on your poles when visiting the Urban Program Lakes this fall season – the channel catfish are expected to average 2-plus pounds when the stockings recommence on the week of Sept. 21-26.
“Those looking to hook some larger fish this fall will want to visit the urban lakes for the channel catfish action,” said Eric Swanson, the Urban Fisheries program manager. “But be sure to have fresh line on your reels – hard-fighting 2-plus-pound catfish can put your equipment to the test and bust your old line.”
Swanson explained that catfish stockings cease during the summer months because of increased water temperatures at the urban lakes and the increased stress associated with transporting fish all the way from Arkansas in the summer.
“Despite the challenging economy, or maybe because of it, we are experiencing increased angler participation this year in Arizona’s Urban Fishing Program,” Swanson said.
Swanson added that this participation trend certainly makes sense. “Lots of people have recognized the excellent value of this high quality and affordable outdoor fishing experience close to home. That fits right in with our urban program motto; if people can’t get to the fish, we bring the fish to the people.”
There are 21 city park lakes in 11 cities across the state currently participating in the urban fishing program. Each lake is surrounded by distinctive signage that identifies the water as part of this active fish stocking program.
The every-other-week catfish stockings will continue through mid-November, which is when the urban program will switch over to winter stockings of rainbow trout.
Don’t forget that if you have friends or family visiting from out of state, especially during winter, the price for an annual urban fishing license is the same as it is for resident anglers – the Class U (urban) fishing license is just $18.50. “That is just about the cost of a single fish dinner at a nice restaurant,” Swanson pointed out.
Youth under age 14 fish for free – they do not need a fishing license.