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Community Fishing Program Bulletin

April 14th, 2014 Edition

Report fishing violations - 800 352-0700


New Community Fishing Program Manager

In addition to expanding the Community Fishing Program (CFP) waters in 2014, those who are familiar with the program know that Eric Swanson retired last December. Eric led this nationally recognized fishing program for 20 years. That vacancy was recently filled by Scott Gurtin. Scott has worked for the Department for 17 years in various positions – most recently serving as the State’s Hatchery Program Supervisor for the past six years. “I’ve got big shoes to fill, literally and figuratively speaking” said Scott. Although smaller in scope and size than our Hatchery Program, CFP stocks almost a quarter-million pounds of fish annually (about 62% as much as our six State trout-producing Hatcheries), with plans to expand opportunities where it’s feasible. Scott will be busy visiting all the CFP waters while stocking in the coming weeks.

Summer Catfish Stockings Have Returned

22 CFP waters received the first summer stocking of catfish on March 21, and a second stocking was completed on April 4th. There was some higher mortality associated with the first stocking of the season, which is a normal springtime occurrence. The catfish come from Arkansas, where they (and most of the country) experienced a particularly harsh winter. Some of the largest bluegill we’ve seen were stocked with the first load of catfish this year. It’s prime time to grab the fishing poles, a comfortable chair, and the kids (not necessarily in that order), and hit the CFP lakes. Catfish will be stocked into 33 CFP waters during the next two weeks. Trout stockings will continue in Green Valley Lakes (Payson) until the Payson Wildlife Fair on Saturday, May 10.


Gilbert to Propose Catch-And-Release for Water Ranch

The Town of Gilbert is evaluating a proposal to modify Water Ranch Lake at the Riparian Preserve into a Catch-And-Release lake. As part of the Town’s proposal, new Catch-And-Keep fishing opportunities are being proposed for Freestone and Crossroads parks, in addition to the newly added CFP ponds at McQueen and Discovery parks. Thus far, there have been two public meetings convened on March 19th and March 22nd, and approximately 50 comment cards have been received on both sides of the issue.

You can make sure that your voice is heard on this issue. Tentative date for discussion by the Council is set for May 15, 2014. 50 E Civic Center Dr Gilbert, AZ85296. If the proposal is approved by Town Council, new regulations would need to be approved by The Arizona Game and Fish Department Commission at the September 2014 meeting. Public comments will be solicited during that process as well.

Water Ranch is one of the most frequently visited and heavily fished lakes in the CFP. Under a catch-release strategy, stocking would likely continue, but at reduced frequency and numbers. Use of bait would likely change to mimic that of The Pond at Town Hall, which is artificial fly and lure, barbless hooks only.

Stocking Schedule for March-May

Remember the Web for stocking schedules, the Fish&Boat Arizona webmap, outdoor events calendar, and other great fishing and outdoor information. Also check out the web for Weekly Fishing Reports, to submit your fishing photos or to send us your latest fishing report. Talk with us on our Facebook page or get social with us on Twitter@AZGFD.

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