Arizona’s premier trout lakes in the cool mountains are now accessible and ice-free just in time for the first onslaught of triple-digit temperatures in the deserts, advised Arizona Game and Fish Department officials.

“The sparkling trout lakes along the Mogollon Rim are accessible. Plus all the roads are open into Big Lake in the White Mountains, as well,” said Rory Aikens, the weekly fishing report editor for Game and Fish.

The trout stockings are also well underway in the popular mountain fisheries. For instance, the gurgling streams below the Mogollon Rim, including Christopher Creek, Tonto Creek, Haigler Creek and the East Verde River, are all being stocked this week.

“I talked with the good folks who run the stores at both Woods Canyon Lake and Big Lake. They are both open for business, boat rentals are available, and the fishing is terrific right now. You might even catch some larger hold-over trout,” Aikens said.

There is even something new this year to assist trout anglers – the 2012 Stocking Schedule posted on the Game and Fish website is now interactive. Simply click on the name of the fishery that strikes your fancy and you will not only see a map of the fishery, but where appropriate, the map also will show the exact locations where trout are stocked. The site can even provide you directions to the fishery.

That’s not the only new online information tool for anglers. The Game and Fish website also has an interactive fishing map showing around 300 fishing sites across Arizona.

“This interactive online map is Google based and has all kinds of great information on the lakes, rivers and streams. My advice is get onto the interactive fishing map, explore, and have fun figuring out where to go for family fishing adventures,” Aikens said.

Don’t forget that you can also sign up to have the weekly fishing report sent directly to your computer at www.azgfd.gov/eservices/subscribe.shtml.

In addition, there is a new Arizona Fishing Guide available that was a joint project between Game and Fish and Arizona Highways magazine.

The informative fishing guide is available at all Game and Fish offices, the Arizona Highways store, and has been distributed to Barnes & Noble bookstores, Costco stores, and other book-selling locations. You also may buy it online at www.arizonahighways.com/ or at Amazon.com.

“Besides providing lots of fishing tips, we tried to capture the character of each fishery. You’ll even find some interesting historical anecdotes on many of the waters,” said Aikens, who wrote the fishing guide.

Be sure to get your 2012 fishing license. In fact, you might even become eligible for a rebate from Shakespeare on the purchase of your license.

From now through August, if you buy any two Shakespeare products that total $40 and show proof you have a 2012 fishing license, you may submit proof of those by mail and receive a $10 rebate. The mail-in rebate form can be found at http://shakespeare-fishing.com/coupon.html.

“I think everything is coming together for a fun-packed fishing season in Arizona,” Aikens said. “It’s time to catch some memories with your family.”

photo: Arizona Game and Fish Department

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