The spring catfish stocking season began on March 21 when 8,000 14- to 19-inch fish were stocked throughout the day into Urban Fishing Program waters (see article below). Lakes will continue to be stocked with channel catfishat two-week intervals through June. Best baits for the big cats are worms, stink baits, hot dogs or shrimp fished on the bottom. Catfish actively prowl for food in the evenings and early morning periods, and often move into shallower waters under the cover of darkness.

All Urban Program waters were stocked with feisty, 5- to 8-inch bluegill on March 11-12. Best baits for bluegill are worms and mealworms fished under a small bobber in 3-6 foot depths.

Trout fishing is slowing after the final winter season stocking on March 4. However, at Green Valley lakes (Payson), fishing is good to excellent for trout with another trout stocking taking place this week (March 18-23). Try Power Bait, worms or salmon eggs off the bottom. Trout stockings at this higher elevation Urban lake will continue every two weeks until mid May.

Spring Catfish Stockings Began March 21

The catfish season officially kicked off at all Urban Fishing Program lakes and ponds in the Phoenix and Tucson areas on Thursday, March 21 when all lakes received deliveries of 14- to 19-inch channel catfish. Two large trucks brought 8,000 catfish (13,600 pounds!) to 19 waters throughout the day. Warming spring temperatures signaled the fish stocking changeover from trout to catfish. The Arkansas farm-raised catfish will be delivered and stocked into Urban Fishing Program lakes every two weeks from now through June.

Traditionally, when the Department switches 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, hot dogs 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 (please refer to the Urban Fishing Guidebook or on-site park signage for Lake and Pond designations).

March 23-24 Outdoor Expo Features Free Family Fun and Fishing

Bring your family to the free Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo, a fun environment where the entire family can explore great outdoors activities, workshops and demonstrations that include live wildlife, camping, fishing, archery, shooting sports, hunting, wildlife conservation, off-highway vehicle riding and boating. More than 150 exhibitors, clubs, vendors and agencies will be on hand to share their expertise and guide you to more outdoor fun.

This two-day event will be held this weekend (March 23 and 24) at the Ben Avery Shooting facility, in northwest Phoenix (exit I-17 at Carefree Highway, go west ½ mile and follow the signs). Hours are 9 am to 5 pm Saturday and 9 am to 4 pm Sunday. Two huge kids’ fishing tanks will be full of sunfish ready to bite and release. Key Urban Fishing Program managers will be on hand to help with any fishing questions, so drop by and say hello to Eric and Joann. A casting tank with largemouth bass will be where the experts will demonstrate fishing techniques and tips throughout each day.

There’s something for everyone, and admission and parking are FREE! For more information, call (602) 942-3000 or go

Image courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department

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