Arizona Game and Fish Department project aims at maximizing angler satisfaction with efficient spending
PHOENIX – Just how many trout should be stocked into each Arizona lake, river or stream?
The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been experimenting with various stocking rates as part of a project to evaluate how the state’s limited trout resources can be utilized most efficiently, especially in streams along the Mogollon Rim.
“One of the Department’s highest measures of success is angler satisfaction,” said AZGFD Chief of Fisheries Chris Cantrell. “We want to find the ‘sweet spot’ in stocking efficiently while still achieving target catch rates and angler satisfaction.”
Due in part to Arizona’s extended drought, Department fish hatcheries that use spring water to raise fish cannot produce enough trout to meet demand. During the past three years, data has suggested that the Department could stock fewer fish in certain areas and still maintain targeted catch rates.
Data now suggests that catch rates have risen at waters where stocking numbers were higher than during previous years, but at waters where stockings were lower than years past, catch rates changed minimally. Statewide, overall stocking numbers remained the same.
Details of the stocking study will be published once the project is complete. The Department is attempting to ensure angler dollars are well-spent by stocking the right quantities of fish to ensure strong catch rates and high angler satisfaction.
Anglers are encouraged to fish at multiple spots and streams to find the best fishing. Mogollon Rim country offers the opportunity for Arizona trout fishing with plenty of organized campground amenities. Anglers should use light lines (4- to 6-pound test), small hooks (Nos. 10-14) with salmon eggs, PowerBait, nightcrawlers, flies or small spinners, fishing undercut banks or the heads of pools at the base of a riffle.
“While you may find a stream with fewer fish today, it’s likely only temporary,” Cantrell said. ”The scientific study of fish stocking conditions helps assure a good supply of catchable fish into Arizona’s future.”
Before heading to Mogollon Rim streams, anglers are encouraged to visit azgfd.gov and sign up for an “I Support Wildlife” membership. Membership includes real-time stocking information for all Arizona streams and lakes.