If you’re wondering about how the Arizona Game and Fish Department project of stocking Florida-strain largemouth bass into Roosevelt Lake is going, well, it is far too early to make any conclusions.
That said, early indications give a shred of hope for a robust population of catchable (8-10-inch bass) by next fall, and, in 4-5 years, the hope that trophy bass will be available at this rejuvenating fishery. These Florida-strain stockings, coupled with increased rainfall and an upcoming habitat improvement project, has the lake on its way back as a premier bass fishing lake in Arizona.
Time to geek out with some data.
Results from October 2015 Game and Fish surveys at Roosevelt Lake show spikes in populations from two distinct size classes.
Click on the chart to expand:
The two far-left spikes of blue lines represent October 2015 results from 5.7 hours of electrofishing, compared to similar fall surveys in 2013 (red lines) and 2011 (green). All the rows measure frequency, or percent, of the total bass catch as they relate to size in inches.
This first row of blue lines (lengths of 2- to 3 1/2 inches) also indicated a healthy population of 5-6 month old largemouth bass, which possibly were boosted by spring 2015 stockings of
Florida-strain largemouth bass fry.
The next, highest row of spikes (6- to 8-inch bass) represents 1 1/2-year-old bass, possibly aided by stockings of Florida-strain fingerlings from this past spring, and/or the spring 2014 stockings of fry.
Note the green lines representing 2011 surveys and red lines from 2013 surveys showing a significant drop in frequency of young bass.
Again, this was only one survey, and at least two more surveys will be needed to make reliable conclusions.
OK, geek-out session over.
What we mean is: the “Rebound at Rosy” seems to be in progress.
About Florida-strain largemouth bass
The Arizona Game and Fish Department partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) through April of 2014 to stock up to 500,000 fry of Florida-strain largemouth bass, which have been known to eventually attain sizes up to 20 pounds.
This species of bass has the potential to grow to a larger size than the Northern strain that dominate state waters — Florida-strain bass can grow up to 20 pounds.
Florida-strain also have the potential to feed on the lake’s nonnative gizzard shad.
A United States Forest Service Tonto Pass is required to fish Roosevelt Lake.
Cheers to the future of Roosevelt Lake!