The Arizona Game and Fish Commission has approved a multi-thrust, multi-year plan by department biologists to improve fishing quality at the Salt River lakes of Saguaro, Canyon and Apache, which have been affected by golden alga blooms during the last several years.
The adaptive-management plan, which could total approximately $1.8 million the next two years, includes fish stocking, biological research, additional habitat enhancement, and increased monitoring. The plan emphasizes utilizing partnerships and outside funding whenever possible.
Fishing quality has suffered significantly, especially at Saguaro and Apache lakes. Saguaro Lake has again had recent shad die-offs due to golden alga.
Although Canyon Lake has suffered some shad die-offs, for reasons still unknown to scientists, it has had less impact than at Saguaro and Apache.
Apache was the first lake to experience what biologists believe was a golden alga fish die-off. However, its outlook is now more promising than it has been. Recent fish surveys show that Apache is showing signs of recovery for certain species, especially largemouth bass and walleye, although the devastated smallmouth bass fishery is still in jeopardy. The survey also shows a robust population of yellow bass at Apache.
This last winter, biologists and volunteers installed artificial fish habitat on the exposed lake bed of Apache Lake when water levels decreased for dam work.
The department, with the help of the Southwest Walleye Anglers, recently stocked the lake with 3.5 million walleye sac-fry.
At the top of the Salt River chain, Roosevelt Lake has not been affected by golden alga so far, but the plan calls for monitoring this tremendous warm water fishery as well, just in case.
MEETINGS & BANQUET
• The Arizona Flycasters Club meets at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Sunnyslope Community Center, 802 E. Vogel, Phoenix. Federation of Fly Fishing president and CEO Peter “Van” Gytenbeek will report on federation activities. The public is welcome. For more information, visit www.azflycasters.org or call Craig Mernitz at (602) 739-2385.
• The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Red Mountain Chapter, is holding its Annual Big Game Banquet on Saturday at the Mesa Hilton Pavilion. A limited number of tickets are available. For information, call Sharon at (480) 988-4262.
• The Southwest Walleye Anglers, Phoenix chapter, meets at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the American Legion Post No 75, 10625 N. Cave Creek Road.
• Arizona Hunter & Angler magazine senior writer Margie Anderson will discuss crappie fishing in Arizona. The Mesa chapter meets at 7:30 p.m. on May 17 at the AGFD Region VI office, 7200 E. University Drive.
Guide Joe Owens will discuss fishing in the central Arizona lakes. For more information, visit http://swwalleye.com.istemp.com.
Fishing Hot Spot
Green Valley Lake: The high country is absolutely spectacular right now. Catching success ranges from fair for some to great for others, but all anglers said catching fish just made a great experience even better. If you want some family fun, go to the Payson Wildlife Fair on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is stocking extra fish in Green Valley Lake, plus there will be fishing and shooting simulators, birds of prey from the Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center and lots of other interesting booths. Just turn onto Main Street from State Route 87 in Payson and go one mile to Green Valley Road.
P.O. Box 859, Mesa, AZ 85211