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Apache Lake is definitely on the comeback trail — I talked with a number of anglers who did well fishing for smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, yellow bass and walleye (9 to 10 inchers). It is well worth a visit right now, but don’t forget there is a slot limit at Apache (the same as Roosevelt, Canyon and Saguaro).
In fact, if you catch a smallmouth bass at Apache, Canyon or Saguaro, it’s a good idea to practice catch-and-release as these fisheries continue to recover.
With a high pressure dome building over Arizona and temperatures soaring once again, I was delightfully suprised at the angling success at Apache on Sunday.
We worked with the United Arizona Anglers Foundation and other interested anglers to stock bass at Apache, Canyon and Saguaro lakes last Friday and Sunday to help those invaluable fisheries along the comeback trail. We even stocked some Florida strain largemouth bass. These lakes were severely impacted from golden algae years ago.
About 7,000 4 to 6-inch smallmouth bass were stocked at Apache Lake and about 3,000 smallmouth bass were stocked at Canyon Lake. Apache also received about 2,600 4- to 6-inch Florida strain largemouth bass, Canyon Lake received about 2,100 and Saguaro received just over 500.
The department has been conducting a four-pronged approach to helping these lakes:
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.
Being on Apach Lake again was like visiting an old, dear friend. Lots of memories there. Apache is always an adventure — in fact, just getting there over Fish Creek Hill can keep life interesting.
We have one more stocking pf 12,000 largemouth bass coming up soon for these lakes around Veterans Day. If you have a boat and would like to help distribute fish, contact United Arizona Anglers Foundation, which is coordinating the volunteer effort.
Salt River Project plans to lower the lake level at Bartlett Lake to work on the dam there. SRP is projecting (but it’s not a perfect estimate) that work will begin in mid-November and continue into mid to late December. Bartlett is going to continue dropping at about 1 foot per day until it reaches 1,749 feet, and then hold at that elevation (figure about Nov. 10). Right now, one of the launch ramps is out of the water and the others will be on dry land soon.
However, in the past anglers have been able to launch from the dirt. Not sure what will happen at this lake level. I’ll keep you updated as I find out more.
For all you trout enthusiasts, we are stocking the Lower Salt River near Phoenix with rainbow trout on Wednesday (usually takes them until noon or so to get here after loading up the stocking truck at our Page Springs Hatchery).
Also this week, we are stocking Dead Horse Ranch State Park near Cottonwood, Fain and Lynx lakes near Prescott, Wet Beaver Creek, Parker Canyon and Patagonia lakes. On the following week, we will be stocking Francis Short Pond in Flagstaff, Oak Creek, the Verde River (Cottonwood to Camp Verde), Saguaro Lake, and Cluff Pond near Safford.
On the week of Nov. 16, we will stock rainbows in Canyon Lake and Tempe Town Lake. Be sure to mark Nov. 24 on the calendar for the annual “Welcome Back the Trout” celebration at Tempe Town Lake (the Tuesday before Thanksgiving). As usual, we will conduct a fishing clinic at the lake starting at 3 p.m. so kids can come fish after school. This has become an annual holiday-season kick-off in Arizona, so come catch some holiday spirit.
The Urban Program lakes are scheduled for trout stockings the week of Nov. 16, so you’ll be able to catch rainbows for dinner close to home very soon.
This week we released rare Gila trout into Frye Creek near Safford. There are already hybrid Apache trout on Mt. Graham. In the future, that will mean anglers will be able to fish for two wild native trout on the same mountain. Or put another way, fish for five species of trout on the same mountain. Such a unique fishing opportunity in the future should be an eco-tourism drawing card for this area.