Outdoors: Arizona’s top-rated urban fishing program offers great deals - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Outdoors: Arizona’s top-rated urban fishing program offers great deals

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Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2007 11:15 pm | Updated: 7:56 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Arizona Urban Fishing Program is recognized by many other states as one of the best urban fishing programs in the United States.

A special Urban Fishing Symposium in San Francisco last September featured a number of presentations on the Arizona program. Other states looking to start their own urban fishing programs frequently contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s staff for guidance and ideas.

With 20 bodies of waters, 163 total lake-acres, more than $500,000 in fish contracts to deliver fish and more than 50,000 anglers of all ages participating in the program, it is clearly one of the largest and best-run programs in the nation.

For the past 20 years, anglers have had only one annual fishing license option when fishing designated Urban Fishing Program lakes and ponds — the Urban Fishing (Class U) license. Priced at $18.50, the Urban Fishing license is a great value for resident and nonresident anglers age 14 and older. However, many urban anglers also fish throughout Arizona and wanted one license that would cover all their fishing needs across the state.

Enter the new Super Conservation Fishing (Class L) license, a combination fishing license that includes the state fishing license, trout stamp and urban fishing license for $53 ($63 for nonresidents). By packaging all these licenses together, anglers that would traditionally buy all three items can now save $5.

Also new in 2007 is Urban Fishing licenses at 50 percent off when purchased at the end of the calendar year in the months of November and December only. So, if you recently moved here or haven’t gotten around to buying your urban license yet, this half-price special is a good deal.

All of these licenses can be purchased at the nearest license dealer or Arizona Game and Fish Department office.

The fall catfish stockings are now complete in urban lakes in the Phoenix and Tucson areas. A total of four catfish stockings were made at two-week intervals. Fish stockings will switch over to rainbow trout later this month. Catfish can still be caught, especially from the larger lakes, with bluegill, bass and carp still providing some fun for persistent anglers.

Anglers fishing for bluegill are using small pieces of worm, mealworms or dough balls. Use a small hook a couple of feet under a pencil bobber and use light leader or line in the 2- to 4-pound-test range.

Check out the department’s Web site at www.azgfd.gov for more information on the Urban Fishing Program, weekly fishing reports, a copy of the Urban Fishing Bulletin, updated stocking schedules and fishing clinics. Anglers can also submit an e-mail address to receive the department’s biweekly e-mail notices.

Fishing hot spot

Willow Beach: If you are looking for a fishing adventure, take a trip to Willow Beach (below Hoover Dam) for stocked trout, huge stripers and maybe some bighorn sheep-watching as well. This is the leading edge of the bighorn lambing season, so you might see some wobbly legged baby bighorns sticking close to water. For the huge stripers (40 and 50 pounds), use some trout-like swimbaits on 20- to 30-pound-test line. Many anglers use saltwater rigs for these monster, line-breaking stripers. Also, there have some decent reports of stripers chasing shad on the surface at both lakes Mohave and Mead. For a complete fishing report, visit www.evtrib.com.

CONTACT WRITER: P.O. Box 859, Mesa, AZ 85211 or aztriboutdoors@hotmail.com

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