Urban Fishing Report
Fishing for catfish is good to excellent for anglers using worms, stink baits, hot dogs or shrimp fished on the bottom. The next catfish stocking will take place the week of May 13-18. Catfish are biting throughout the day, but are most active when the sun goes down. For bobber fishing, rig up a slip bobber and set the depth so your bait is a foot off the bottom. Bluegill and other sunfish species are beginning to spawn at all urban waters, meaning they become more aggressive and active. Best baits for the feisty, 5-8 inch bluegill are worms or mealworms fished under a small bobber, or fish on the bottom using a small split shot. Action for largemouth bass is fair with the best baits finesse plastics fished in the early morning hours. Please exercise catch and release for largemouth bass and remember the minimum keepable size for bass is 13 inches. At Green Valley Lakes (Payson) fishing is good to excellent for trout, with good fishing expected to last through the Memorial Day weekend. The May 10 trout stocking was a big one and included many trout over a pound including a special load of 15-20 inch trout from the Tonto Hatchery. Try yellow or white Power Bait on the bottom, or fish with a bobber using half a worm and a salmon egg. Lure and fly anglers are having success on Super Dupers, Trout Magnets, or wooly boogers.
Game and Fish Officers Nab Urban Fishing Violators
Game and Fish officers recently conducted law enforcement sweeps at six east valley and five west valley Urban Fishing lakes resulting in 18 citations. On May 3, the same day as catfish stockings, two Wildlife Manager teams checked licenses and bag limits of more than 200 anglers. Violation rates at the eleven lakes ranged from 0% to over 35%. Tickets were written for fishing without a license, exceeding the bag limit (4 catfish), fishing with two poles without a two pole stamp, and giving false information to a police officer. A patient and persistent officer monitored fishermen at Kiwanis Lake and nabbed an angler taking an overlimit of catfish and hiding extra fish in a vehicle. Court fines will be determined in the weeks ahead, but generally run $80 for fishing without a license and at least $60 and up for overlimit violations, depending on the number of excess fish. If you observe ongoing fishing violations, please call Operation Game Thief (OGT) 24/7 at 1-800-352-0700. The phone number is printed on all hunting and fishing licenses. Dispatchers will notify local Wildlife Managers to respond to the situation. Reward money is available and callers can remain anonymous.
Trout Stocking Season Ends On High Note at Green Valley Lakes
The May 10 final trout stocking of the season at Payson’s Green Valley Lakes included a double load of 11-20 inch rainbow trout. The Mogollon Sporting Association together with the Game and Fish Department’s Urban Fishing Program kicked in the extra funds to provide 800 pounds of beautiful trout for the annual Payson Wildlife Fair held May 11. Fishing is good to excellent for trout and is expected to last through the Memorial Day weekend. Worms, coupled with salmon eggs or Powerbait, are a great combination fished on the bottom or 3-4 feet under a bobber. Anglers fishing with 2 or 4 pound test line will get many more bites than anglers using heavier lines. With rising lake temperatures and pH levels, there will be no further stockings of trout over the summer. However, anglers are starting to enjoy good fishing for the abundant largemouth bass, crappie and sunfish found in all three Green Valley Lakes. Action for these warm water species will be good all summer long. Try worms, tube jigs or curly tail grubs.