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SPRING CATFISH STOCKINGS BEGIN MARCH 21
The catfish season officially kicks off at all Urban Fishing Program lakes and ponds in the Phoenix and Tucson areas on Friday, March 21 when all lakes will receive deliveries of 15-20 inch channel catfish. Two large trucks will be used to bring over 7,500 catfish to 19 waters throughout the day. Warming spring temperatures signal the stocking changeover from trout to catfish. Nearly 14,000 pounds of Arkansas farm raised catfish will be delivered and stocked into Urban Fishing Program lakes every two weeks from now through the end of June. Traditionally, as we change fish suppliers from winter trout to spring catfish deliveries, anglers are given the specific day of stocking. For all other catfish stockings, only the stocking week (Mon.-Sat.) is announced.
The usual baits such as worms, stink baits, and shrimp should work well for catching “Mr. Whiskers.” Daily limits are four catfish per person at Urban Lakes or two catfish per person at Urban Ponds (note regulations and park signage for Lake and Pond designations). Urban anglers have a good reputation as sportsmen that respect the laws and limits and encourage others to do the same. Any observed fishing violations or overlimits should be phoned in immediately to Operation Game Thief at 1-800-352-0700.
OUTDOOR EXPO FEATURES FAMILY FUN
Sponsored by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the March 29-30 (Saturday to Sunday) Outdoor Expo is full of fun activities and exhibits about the great outdoors. Located at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in northwest Phoenix (Carefree Highway, ½ mile west of I-17 to Long Shot Lane) the Expo hours are 9:00am to 6:00pm Saturday and 9:00am to 4:00pm on Sunday. Bring your family and friends along to find out how to get started in new outdoor activities or improve your skills in sports you already enjoy. Throughout each day there will be activities, demonstrations and exhibits in the areas of fishing, hunting, recreational shooting, archery, off-highway vehicles and watercraft recreation, conservation and wildlife education, camping and more. A kids fishing tank will be full of sunfish ready to bite. Admission and parking are free. For more information, call (623) 236-7241 or go to http://www.azgfd.gov/expo.
TROUT STOCKINGS CONTINUE AT GREEN VALLEY LAKES
If you are a die-hard trout angler and are sad to see the winter trout stockings end in the Phoenix and Tucson area Urban lakes, do not be dismayed. The beautiful 13-acre Green Valley Lakes in Payson are unique within the Urban Fishing Program because they continue to receive stockings of rainbow trout all the way through early May. Surrounded by oaks, junipers and pine trees at a nearly mile-high elevation, Green Valley Lakes remain cool enough to support cold water fish like trout. While only trout are stocked here, there are at least four other popular sport fish commonly caught: crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish.
BLUEGILL STOCKINGS PLANNED MARCH 24-29
Twice each year, the Department stocks 5-8 inch bluegill into all Urban Fishing Program waters to replenish this popular sport fish and offer some great fishing for young anglers. A stocking of bluegill is scheduled the week of March 24-29.
URBAN FISHING REPORT
Fishing for trout is fair to good with the final trout stocking of the winter season on March 6, but some wily trout still remain, particularly in the larger lakes. The spring channel catfish stocking season begins on March 21 when 7,500 fish are stocked throughout the day into Urban waters. Best baits for the big cats are worms, stink baits and shrimp fished on the bottom. Bluegill will be stocked in all Phoenix and Tucson area waters the week of March 24-29. Best baits for the feisty, 5-8 inch bluegill are worms and mealworms fished under a small bobber. At Green Valley lakes (Payson) fishing is good to excellent for trout with trout stockings scheduled to continue at this higher elevation lake until mid May.