Seven tons of smiles are heading to the Urban Program lakes in the Phoenix and Tucson areas the week of Sept. 17-22.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department once again will be stocking the Urban Program Lakes every other week this fall with a total of 7 tons of channel catfish that weigh around 1 to 2 pounds each.

“Anglers have been anxiously awaiting the resumption of our catfish stockings following the summer lull when it’s too hot to make fish deliveries,” said Eric Swanson, Urban Fishing Program manager.

The urban catfish stocking has become an autumn harbinger. “We are able to stock these lakes in the fall because the nights are longer and cooler, which means the urban lakes are cooling down into prime conditions for fish,” Swanson said.

Catfish will be delivered by the same fish contractor that has been successfully transporting healthy, safe-to-eat catfish from Arkansas fish farms during the past seven years. “Game and Fish biologists will accompany each lake delivery to ensure that all stocking operations run smoothly and successfully, and that all fish pass our high inspection standards,” Swanson said.

Best baits for catfish? Think smell – catfish are bottom feeders and locate their food by their olfactory senses. Try using prepared stink baits or chicken liver. Hot dogs, worms, or shrimp will also work. Try size 4-6 hooks and ¼-ounce slip sinkers.

Don’t forget that catfish get a little shy and lazy during the warm afternoons when the sun is high in the sky – they typically bite best at first and last light when there is less sunlight penetrating the water.

Anglers age 14 and over will need an Urban Fishing license or Super Conservation Fishing license to fish at any of the 21 designated Urban Fishing Program lakes.

Logo courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department

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