Urban Fishing Bulletin: All 20 waters get catfish this week

All 20 of the Phoenix and Tucson area Urban Fishing Program
lakes are scheduled for catfish stockings the week of April 27 –
May 2.  Water conditions and pH levels are good to excellent at all
lakes and golden alga is currently under control.  Recent fish
loses will be replaced (article below).

FAMILY FUN AT PAYSON WILDLIFE FAIR ON MAY 9

Looking for a fun, cool getaway in the pines?  Mark your
calendars and make family plans to visit Payson’s beautiful Green
Valley Park for the Payson Wildlife Fair and Fishing Festival on
Saturday, May 9.

The lakes will be well stocked with extra rainbow trout offering
excellent fishing opportunities. Fishing clinics will be held and
loaner rods, reels and bait will be provided if you do not bring
your own fishing equipment or supplies.

There will be plenty to do besides fishing, including visiting
booths with birds of prey, live reptiles and other wildlife, booths
with outdoor recreation and wildlife experts, and canoeing and
kayaking lessons.

The fair runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Green Valley Park,
located at the intersection of Main Street and Green Valley Road in
Payson, one mile west of Highway 87.  The fair and fishing festival
is a cooperative effort between the Arizona Game and Fish
Department, Mogollon Sporting Association, USDA Forest Service, and
Payson Parks and Recreation Department.

OVERFED FISH CAUSE OF RECENT CATFISH LOSES

Recently, dozens and dozens of dead catfish have been reported
from each of the 20 Urban Fishing Program waters following an April
17 stocking.  Department biologists immediately launched an
investigation and soon traced the problem to the fish supplier in
Arkansas.  The supplier that provides catfish for our fish hauling
contractor accidentally fed the fish less than two days before the
fish were picked up.

To properly prepare catfish for loading and transportation, fish
farmers must stop feeding the fish at least 4-5 days in advance. 
It is vital that the catfish have empty stomachs before they are
loaded into the small and crowded tanks they will live in for the
next 30-40 hours.  Once our fish transporter discovered the
problem, they made two extra stops to flush the tanks with fresh
well water to help eliminate the urine and waste products stressing
the fish.  Game and Fish has been working closely with each park
manager to determine how many catfish were lost.  Over 10 percent
of the stocked fish died within the first week.  All of these fish
will be replaced at no additional cost in the next couple regular
stockings.

“I apologize to all anglers for our failure to provide a high
quality, live fish product that you expect and paid for.  We are
taking measures to have all lost catfish replaced for free and
ensure that proper procedures are followed to avoid this from
happening again,” explained Eric Swanson, Urban Fishing Program
Manager.

URBAN FISHING REPORT

Fishing is fair to good for channel catfish at Urban waters in
the Phoenix and Tucson areas.  Catfish stockings the week of April
27 – May 2 will include extra fish to make up for a poor stocking
on April 17 (see article above).  The best baits for catfish
continue to be worms, shrimp, and dough/stink baits fished off the
bottom.  An 8-pound albino catfish (white colored) was recently
stocked.  Early evenings and night time periods have been the best
fishing times.

Bluegill and sunfish are biting well at 4-7 foot depths on worms
and mealworms fished along the bottom or under a bobber.  Bass
fishing is picking up again during the pre-summer period.  Try
small plastics presented with split shot or drop shot rigs in the
evenings and early morning.

At Green Valley lakes (Payson) fishing is excellent for trout
and good for crappie, bluegill and bass.  The final spring stocking
of rainbow trout into Green Valley will take place the week of May
4-9 and will include plenty of extra trout.  Best trout baits
include Power Bait, worms, or streamer flies such as Wooly Buggers
and Simi Seal leaches.

STOCKING SCHEDULE

All UFP waters in Phoenix area and Tucson area – Last stocked
catfish April 17. Next stocking, catfish the week of April 27 – May
2.

Green Valley Lakes (Payson) – Last stocked trout April 14. Next
stocking, trout the week of May 4-9.

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