The rainbow trout stocking of Tempe Town Lake will be delayed once again, even though water quality values appear good, based on a recent survey conducted by the water quality firm Aquatic Consultants.
Although dissolved oxygen, pH and temperature are all in the good range, turbidity (suspended sediment) remains high due to the influx of river water into the lake.
The primary reason for the stocking delay is the continuing inflow of the Salt River into Town Lake over the deflated east dam and outflow over the west dam, reports Jim Warnecke, Region VI fisheries program manager. As a stream dwelling species, trout can navigate well in flowing waters, especially in search of food. Presently they can move out of the lake by spilling over the downstream dam, but more likely moving upstream out of the lake and into the river flowing into the eastern end, thus escaping from the lake and anglers.
The second concern is the high turbidity readings that decrease the trout’s ability to see and successfully forage for prey, explains Warnecke. Although not at lethal levels, turbidity will also sharply decrease angler success for trout.
Some 5,500 rainbow trout that were destined for Tempe Town Lake are being held at the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Page Springs Hatchery. Another 5,000 remain to be stocked if the Salt River subsides before mid-March — the end of the winter trout stocking season.
Other resident species of the lake such as largemouth bass, crappie and sunfish should remain in the lake because they are lake-dwelling species. Although water is still flowing through the lake, the western dam continues to impound the lake even as water spills over the top. As water temperatures increase, these warm-water fish will become more active and angling success should improve.
The Desert Flycasters meeting is today at 7 p.m. at the American Legion Post No. 2, 2125 S. Industrial Park Ave. in Tempe. Dave Foster of Marble Canyon Guides will discuss current fishing conditions and techniques for Lee’s Ferry.
Bill Edrington, author of "Fly-Fishing Colorado’s Arkansas River," will speak at the Arizona Flycasters meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Sunnyslope Community Center, 802 E. Vogel Ave. in Phoenix. Both meetings are open to the public.
The Arizona Predator Callers will host a javelina hunting seminar Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 9, 1450 E. Main St. in Mesa. There is a $5 fee for non-members. Contact Mike Burris at (480) 654-1411.
FISHING HOT SPOT
Lake Pleasant: Anglers have reported catches of 50 to 100 white bass a day using spoons, shad crankbaits, live shad, cut shad and live minnows. Striped bass are being caught trolling shad imitations in open water around the marina, Castle Creek, Jackass Cove and the entrance to the Agua Fria River. Look for the whites and some stripers to start entering the Agua Fria arm to spawn around the end of the month. The eagle closure is still in effect. Fishing for largemouth bass has been tough. Best bets are drop-shot worms, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Generally, anywhere from 10-30 feet off ledges are good places to try.