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Salt River lakes get a 12,634-bass boost
There were 12,634 largemouth bass were stocked into three Salt River lakes in late November as part of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s ongoing efforts to improve the fisheries at Canyon, Apache and Saguaro lakes.
All three fisheries have been impacted by golden alga blooms the past several years. Biologists have a four-tiered effort aimed at not just improving these fisheries, but simultaneously conducting research to determine if stocking bass is a worthwhile management alternative for the future. The two-year project is estimated to cost $2 million.
The project entails:
1. Stocking the lakes to give sport-fish populations a boost.
2. Conducting fish population, water quality, and angler creel studies to determine the effectiveness of those stockings.
3. Implementing research to better understand golden alga and to assess whether stocking fish will benefit the fishery.
4. Conducting outreach and education.
On Nov. 27, biologists and volunteers used boats to distribute the 6- to 8-inch largemouth bass in the three lakes. The bass were obtained from Arkansas and fitted with tags so they can be identified in the future by creel clerks.
The total numbers of fish stocked are as follows:
Lake Number Stocked
Saguaro Lake 3,208
Canyon Lake 3,080
Apache Lake 6,346
In addition to the stocking efforts, biologists and volunteers are also installing Pisces pyramids (artificial habitat structures) on the exposed lakebed at Canyon Lake while the water level is down for routine dam maintenance. The final work on the project is expected to be accomplished on Dec. 15. Volunteers are still needed. Call Natalie Rob at (480) 324-3541 if you would like to volunteer.
Previously, the department and volunteers stocked smallmouth bass at Apache and Canyon lakes. The smallmouth bass population at Apache was devastated by golden algae.