New AZ fishing regulations to take effect Jan. 1

*** UPDATE: The 2017-18 fishing regulation are online ***

Some new fishing regulations will take effect beginning Jan 1. Be sure to look for the full 2017-18 Arizona Game and Fish Department fishing regulations online around the first of the year. Also, the new fishing regulations booklet will be available at all AZGFD offices and license dealers in early January.

Here are the changes:

  • Reduce the daily trout bag limit to five at the Colorado River from Lake Mead to California-Nevada boundary (including Lake Mohave and Willow Beach).
  • Reduce the daily bag limits to two bass, minimum size 13 inches; and four catfish in any combination at Whitehorse Lake.
  • Change the season and daily bag limit from Glen Canyon Dam to the Paria Riffle to two rainbow trout; artificial fly and lure only; barbless hooks only.
  • Close the Kino Environmental Restoration Project to fishing. The Kino Environmental Restoration Project is in Tucson (Pima County).
  • Change the daily trout bag limit to two, any species combination at Frye Mesa Reservoir.
  • Allow the use of fathead minnows caught on site to be used as bait at Riggs Flat Lake.
  • Create a year-round bow-and-arrow season for catfish at Apache, Canyon and Saguaro lakes, with a special regulation daily bag limit of five catfish in any combination.
  • Catch and release regulations for largemouth bass at Pena Blanca Lake and Dankworth Pond will have sunset and will no longer be in effect. The statewide limit of six bass will apply.

For more fishing information, visit our AZGFD fishing page.

6 thoughts on “New AZ fishing regulations to take effect Jan. 1”

  1. I fail to understand why there isn’t a true slot limit on LMB in this state. 13 inches or larger? What’s the point of that? To get all the breeding size fish in to more frying pans? Not only that, but I have watched people catch and keep bedding bass on many occasions. What about a season too?

    But, alas, it is all meaningless due to the fact that there is near zero enforcement in this state. I have been watching people walk away from Peña Blanca with stringers of bass since it was refilled.

    1. Fisheries “Management” by our AZGFD is only as good as the enforcement of the regulations and sadly that is not the case in Arizona. The two fish limit for Lees Ferry is long overdue. All of the large trout are gone from the river since AZGFD begin the catch and release program solely to please the commercial guiding companies that operate on the river . The tremendous food base of freshwater shrimp is gone thanks to the scouring effect of the high flood water releases. Sadly just the opposite of flooding exists along the lower Salt River below Stewart Mountain dam. The river has slowly become a shallow, muddy, ditch clogged by invasive Tamarisk and reeds. Since the heightening of Roosevelt Dam the occasional flooding that naturally cleaned and cleansed the watercourse no longer takes place. What we have now is a precious resource once teeming with fish reduced to a level never before seen. eagles,herons and osprey have pretty much disappeared from the river and coyotes,bobcat and racoon that used to feed on the river suckers during the winter dry-up are also mostly gone.

  2. The only time I’ve been asked for a license is at Tempe Town Lake. I understand that there are probably no funds to have folks enforcing these regulations. I really do get that. I do however, disagree with the 13 in size limit. We really need a system that will teach people good stewardship. A slot system is better set up for AZ. Someone pulled out that lunker bass from Kennedy Lake that I was C & R for years. It’s messed up. That thing was huge and it was a female. At Silver Lake there is a 5lb female that I also C & R. That one is still there, but for how long? Until some fool, who doesn’t understand stewardship, or selective harvest, decodes their going to take it home one day. Ya’ll set the parameters for what is OK and what is not in terms of angling culture. If the State is saying, “Release fish over 22 inches” or something like that then the culture changes. That gives me power to call someone out at a lake. I’ve made people release bedding bass at Pena Blanca. It was all good until I realized they were going to keep it. I got in their face about it. Now, their going to keep that bass and it’ll be legal. A harvest slot limit of 16-24 inches, with a strict release only policy during bedding season, is perfect for AZ. It’ll make our fisheries stronger. You could take your kids out and actually catch some bass. You’ll release more than you keep and everyone will learn how to properly selectively harvest fish.

    Again, I get that there are probably no funds to enforce these regulations. That doesn’t mean that the regulations don’t matter. It definitely sets a tone and empowers us on the ground to call people out. Most of the time people just don’t know. Their not avid anglers, or outdoors men, and outdoors women. Their just trying to have some fun and they got lucky with a worm. That’s great, but ya’ll have a major role to play in establishing a responsible angling culture. We all do really, it’s just that the regulations set the parameters, and their too loose right now for bass. If we’re stocking bass on a regular basis then that changes everything, but we’re not. We got to create a sustainable angling culture that takes care of the bass at these lakes, so they can make a home there. In Europe they have freaking funerals for monster carp. They got respect for their lunkers.

    1. I totally agree with what the Grower says here….although I believe the slot should be tighter, like 16″ to 20″. Everything else goes back.

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