Flagstaff area lakes were recently stocked with 15,000 catchable trout to kick off spring fishing in northern Arizona. So put away the lounge chair, grab the fishing rod and tackle box, and enjoy time exploring Arizona’s high country lakes.
Lower Lake Mary and Frances Short Pond are two local waters that received a huge load of fish from the Page Springs and Canyon Creek fish hatcheries, which are owned and operated by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Frances Short Pond is located just northwest of downtown Flagstaff and is also a great place to walk or ride a bike.
Lower Lake Mary is about 8 miles from Flagstaff on Forest Road 3. There is a gate located at the entrance of the lake that will be opened as soon as the snow melts and allows safe access for visitors. Keep in mind that if the area receives significant snow, the gate may be periodically closed, depending on conditions.
Some tips to remember before heading out to fish:
- Take at look at the 2013 Arizona Fishing Regulations. They have all the information you need to fish in Arizona and can be obtained at fishing license dealers or at Game and Fish offices. They are also online at www.azgfd.gov.
- Some lakes have special restrictions or regulations, such as catch and release only, daily limits, the type of bait allowed, or trout stamps. A trout stamp is required for all waters managed for trout.
- If you like to fish with two poles, a two-pole stamp is required.
- Do not transport live fish or bait. Illegal stocking is a big problem and impacts the department’s efforts to manage the state’s fisheries. In some cases, fish like northern pike and bass have been illegally stocked and have had detrimental impacts to trout fishing and native fish populations.
- Trout fishing in northern Arizona is great from spring until mid-June.
- Summer fishing in Flagstaff and Williams is best for bass, crappie, northern pike and bluegill.
“Following the recent snow storms and time of year, I would guess that fishing for trout on Lower Lake Mary and Frances Short Pond will be good later this week, and the pike and walleye should be hitting again soon at Upper Lake Mary,” says Chuck Benedict, fish biologist for the department’s Flagstaff region. Benedict adds: “People like to visit Flagstaff and Williams in the summer and want to trout fish, but in reality the bass, pike, and crappie fishing are the best during the summer. Now is the ideal time for trout fishing.”
For more fishing information, visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at www.azgfd.gov.
Image courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department