The overloading of catfish into fish tanks caused undue crowding stress to the Arkansas-based fish that led to fish die-offs at nine Urban Fishing Program lakes. More than 30 percent of the catfish stocked on Sept. 21 died within 24 hours at Encanto Lake, and the number was closer to 50 percent at Water Ranch Lake. Parks personnel and Game and Fish biologists removed all stressed fish. The catfish contractor has pledged to replace all lost fish with the next stocking. Urban lakes suffering 6-11 percent mortalities of stocked catfish include: Alvord, Cortez and Kiwanis. Lakes with loss rates from 2-5 percent are: Red Mountain, Riverview and Chaparral. No other fish species were affected. Fishing success was very good at lakes that received fish from uncrowded hauling tanks. Adjustments to the fish loading process, weigh outs and hauling procedures will be made to ensure all catfish arrive in good health and condition for the next stocking. The extra catfish will be delivered with the regular stocking load the week of Oct. 3-8.
“I feel badly that we let our urban anglers down by not giving them the strong, healthy fish they have been accustomed to getting. We have been in constant contact with our catfish vendor to ensure future loads of fish are in strong condition and that all lost fish are replaced on the next fish delivery,” explained Eric Swanson, urban fishing program manager. Many anglers used the phone numbers listed on the Urban Fishing Bulletin or utilized the Send Comments link on the Game and Fish website to report the loss of catfish to the department.
Trout stockings to begin at Green Valley Lakes on Oct. 20
Payson residents and visitors can welcome back the trout to beautiful Green Valley Park on Thursday, Oct. 20. More than 700 Colorado-grown rainbow trout will be delivered to kick off the trout stocking season that features 11- to 14-inch rainbow trout delivered every two weeks. Fall is a wonderful time to visit the rim country, see the colors, and relax and fish along the grassy shorelines of this popular urban fishery just a mile west of Highway 87 on Main Street. The fish stocking program at Green Valley is different from all other Urban Fishing Program waters. Rainbow trout are the only species stocked by the department during an eight-month season that starts in mid October and continues through early May. No other fish species are stocked at Green Valley, however good populations of bass, crappie, sunfish and even catfish can be found in this highly productive lake system.
Urban Fishing Report
Fishing for catfish is fair to excellent now that the fall stockings have resumed. Mornings and evenings are the best times as catfish prefer to feed under dim or dark conditions. While the majority of stocked catfish are caught in the first five days of stocking, anglers are still catching cats one to two weeks later at a slower rate. Top baits for catfish have been stink baits, shrimp and worms fished on the bottom in the deeper lake sections. Use smaller sinkers and 6-8 pound test line to get more hookups. Fishing for bluegill is good along the shorelines in 4-8 feet of water. Try mealworms under a small, thin bobber for great action. As lake temperatures fall below 78 degrees, expect better action for largemouth bass, especially in the early morning periods. Try finesse plastics rigged drop shot or Texas style for the bass and mix it up with small crankbaits, soft jerkbaits or spinnerbaits. At Green Valley Lakes (Payson), fishing for bass, bluegill and crappie is good. Stockings of rainbow trout will resume at Green Valley Lakes on Thursday, Oct. 20 (see above).
Sept. 21, catfish (first of four fall stockings), all Phoenix and Tucson area Urban Fishing Program waters
Week of Oct. 3-8, catfish, all Phoenix and Tucson area Urban Fishing Program waters
Oct. 20, trout, in Green Valley Lakes (Payson)
Urban Fishing Program Manager: Eric Swanson (623) 236-7263
Urban Fishing Program Specialist: Joann Hill (623) 236-7268
Call 1-800-352-0700 to report fishing violations.