Double Play at the Park to celebrate baseball, fishing, and the rebirth of Riverview Park

MESA, Ariz. – Come celebrate the grand opening of Cubs Park and Riverview Park by enjoying the free event “Double Play at the Park” from 2-6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25.


In addition to self-guided and trolley tours of Mesa’s new signature park and the Cubs training complex located at 2100 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., there will be free fishing – the Arizona Game and Fish Department will offer 100 loaner rods, and bait, to those wanting to fish Riverview Lake. No license is required for those who register. The Department will have stocked the lake with rainbow trout from Jan. 20-25.


Kids will also enjoy the exciting new playground equipment, including a giant climbing tower and bouldering wall. Take advantage throughout of the food, live music, inflatables, zip line, tethered hot air balloon rides, baseball-themed activities and baseball card show.


The celebration will end with a special grand opening program at 5:45 p.m. at the lake. Fireworks are scheduled to go off around 6 p.m.


Riverview Park has been closed to construction for about two years. On Nov. 2, 2010, City of Mesa voters approved and authorized to expend funding to design and construct a city-owned baseball stadium, training and practice facility for the Chicago Cubs. The project also reconfigured Riverview Park. Double Play at the Park celebrates the achievement of community coming together and “Building a Better Mesa.”

Check out more information on the event,
including maps and parking, or get more details on Riverview Park and Cubs Park.


As of Jan. 1, the Urban Fishing Program was renamed the Community Fishing Program. Fifteen new waters are being rolled out! See more information.

DJ’s Patient Dad

Have a fond memory? An exciting experience? A funny situation? Or, just a special day on the water with family and friends enjoying Arizona’s amazing outdoors?

Email your story to bfishing@azgfd.gov, and we may share it with others online, in print, or on television.

In the second video segment of “Fish Stories,” longtime angler D.J. Rothans says he learned to fish with his very patient Dad. See this story from the Game and Fish Youtube site!

Stay tuned for future additions of “Fish Stories,” which will frequently appear here in print, online or on television.

Hi!

I absolutely love fishing.  I fish often, but have only caught a handful of fish in my lifetime.  We went today and I caught my FIRST EVER rainbow trout at Pioneer Park!  I wish I had been able to get a picture of it.  My wife dropped the fish when she was helping me get the hook out.  It was a good sized fish too!

Anyway, just wanted to drop a line of thanks for restructuring the fishing licenses.  Not only is it more affordable to the average person, it seems to really encourage folks to get out and spend some quality time with their kids.  As a disabled veteran going through the process to be designated “total and permanent” I appreciate the addition of the three year complimentary license while that is resolved.  Fishing has greatly improved my quality of life here in Arizona; thank you for being a part of that.

Best Wishes,

Cathie Z.

The Reel Deal

Hello, anglers,


Get ready for more winter trout stockings for a week beginning Monday, Jan. 13 in the Verde River (Clarkdale to Camp Verde), Fain Lake, the Lower Salt River, Saguaro Lake, Patagonia Lake, Pena Blanca Lake, Fortuna Pond and Redondo Pond.

See our nifty Fish&Boat Arizona map for finding the state’s best fishing and boating spots.


In addition to an incredible turnout for the kickoff fishing clinic and trout stocking at Pioneer Lake in Peoria, we received some great anglers reports and questions this week from those who emailed their stories to BFishing@AZGFD.gov. Keep ’em coming!

Oh, in case you missed it, see the full details of the new license structure. The new General Fishing licenses include bundled privileges: trout, two-pole fishing, Community Fishing privileges, and privileges for fishing Arizona’s shared Colorado River waters with California and Nevada are now included in the price of the license (no need to buy separate stamps for those privileges). Plus, licenses are now good for 365 days from the date of purchase instead of for just the calendar year. Buy a license online.


So let’s get right to the good stuff.

Q & A

  • I have a question. I want to take my grandson fishing with me at Lake Pleasant but we don’t have a boat. Where are the best chances of catching something from the shore? Thanks. David S.

David – A good bet is the shoreline by the 10-lane boat ramp. Anglers have been known to have success catching stripers there. Kyle from Pleasant Harbor Marina said that just two weeks ago, a man caught a 20-pound striper from one of the banks near the ramp on anchovies. Try chumming with anchovies and following the chum by baiting with a cut anchovy (free-line it). Thanks for the question, and good luck! — Nick

  • Hello I am looking a visit to your state and am interested in the Prescott area. Can you recommend a river or two that one might trout fish on in this area? Can you suggest an area in your state that has your best river fishing of trout as well? It’s darn cold up here in Wisconsin. I need a break. Mike T.

Hi, Mike. Great question. And glad you’re coming to Arizona to get warm — and fish! There isn’t a wild trout fishery in the Prescott area (if that’s what you’re looking for), but if you’re coming during the spring, the weather is perfect to target the roundtail chub (above-right), which are better fighters than rainbow trout and often give an even better tug than smallmouth bass. Plus, it is native to Arizona. Try the Upper Verde River Wildlife Area for some roundtail chubs. It’s near Paulden, about 30-40 minutes north of Prescott. See information on this area, including a map. Although it’s now catch-and-release-only, this can be some great fishing using spinners, crappie jigs or flies.


If you just want to catch trout, we stock rainbows during the winter. See the stocking schedule.


Finally, if you’re feeling ambitious and are willing to drive a few hours, Lees Ferry in northern Arizona is one of the best clear-running tailwater fisheries in the country for catching wild rainbow trout. It’s a can’t-miss fishing destination that has some of the best red-rock canyon wall formations you’ll ever see. See what I mean. Don’t miss out.


And thanks for the question! — Nick


ANGLER REPORTS



Alex M. pulled out two trout in Green Valley Park in Payson. The weather was a little cold in the morning. The bait was Power Bait and he used 10-pound line.


Alex just got his $5 license (he’s 11). He definitely earned that license fee! We were really excited that he could have taken home more than two trout, but we called it quits early since we had a really good day! Thanks!

This fish was caught at the new Pioneer Park in Peoria AZ on Jan 7. It was accidentally caught on my fly rod. Accidentally meaning she was trying to untangle some line when the fish hit. About a pound, maybe a little more. Her biggest fish to date. Fish were on the fly about every cast. Fish was released unharmed. Have fun out there….

Charles S. with a Colorado River report from Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam: Water surface temps have been averaging around 52.4 degrees and fishing has been slow. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot catch a decent largemouth here and there. Peggy and I went out one day and threw chrome/blue/orange Rat-L-Traps all day, and while we only bagged only three fish that particular day, one weighed at 3.9 pounds and made it all worth it. The fish in the picture wasn’t anymore photogenic than I look in the picture, but after cranking miles of shoreline that was all I could muster. But I assure you that I was happy inside. Water levels had been low to OK for the last 10 days, with a noticeable rise in water levels after the first of the year.




Community Fishing Program kickoff event

at Pioneer Lake draws hundreds




PEORIA, Ariz. — The scout den leader of Cub Scout pack 618, rod in hand on Saturday, Jan. 4 during the first rainbow trout stocking and fishing clinic at Peoria’s Pioneer Lake, turned to a cluster of eager young anglers, then swayed into a back-cast.


“The main rule,” Cal Carlson said, “is look and see who’s behind you.”


Of the estimated three hundred anglers who encircled the shoreline at the recently opened Pioneer Community Park, this group of scouts had perhaps the most success catching the rainbow trout that the Arizona Game and Fish Department had stocked the night prior. From Jan. 6-11, the lake that is marked by its spewing fountain is being stocked with incentive trout. The lake will be stocked every other week.


The Department-hosted event included a fishing clinic, loaner rods and bait, and kicked off the first of 15 new waters that are being added to the Community Fishing Program.


See an www.azcentral.com video from the event.


Carlson cast a chunk of Power Bait and handed the rod to six-year-old Caden Chantel. For minutes, the boy was fixed on the red-and-white bobber some 15 feet away, hardly flinching in his tiny fold-out seat. Then he caught a trout of about 12 inches, one of eight the group of scouts had caught by 10 a.m. – just one hour into the event.


The 81-acre park on 8755 No. 83rd Ave. opened in September with a particularly posh playground area that includes swing sets and a splash ground. The park also boasts four multipurpose ball fields, a dog park, picnic ramadas with grills, and a Heritage Garden for small events.


“This area needed a lake like this, big time,” said Al Schmidt of Surprise. “Because the closest one was in Surprise and Rio Vista is a pond, which means the limit is two trout (and catfish).”


Daily bag limits at Pioneer Lake are four catfish, four trout, two bass (13-inch minimum), 10 sunfish and one white amur (30-inch minimum). Statewide limits apply to other species.


For more information on the park, call (623) 773-7137 or visit the park’s page on the city of Peoria’s website.


For more information on the CFP, including maps, fish stocking schedules, regulations and fishing tips, pick up a new and expanded 2014 Community Fishing Guidebook that is available at more than 300 license dealer locations and Game and Fish offices. The guidebooks are free.



FISH STORIES


Have a fond memory? An exciting experience? A funny situation? Or, just a special day on the water with family and friends enjoying Arizona’s amazing outdoors? Email your story to bfishing@azgfd.gov, and we may share it with others online, in print, or on television.


In the first video segment of “Fish Stories,” we bring you “Rylee’s First Fish.” Shot at Show Low Lake, she described her first fish – see this heart-warming, and hilarious, video.


Stay tuned for future additions of “Fish Stories,” which will frequently appear here in print, online or on television.

Tip of the Week

This is winter crappie fishing time. The weather is right, the time of year is right, so the conditions should come together for the speckled beauties to fill your live well, and hopefully your frying pan.

Sounds like Apache Lake has been one of the hot spots for crappie. Bartlett Lake is a decent bet, and anglers are saying fishing for the specks at Roosevelt has been poor to fair.

Community Fishing Program waters to be unveiled beginning Jan. 1

PHOENIX — The motto of the program is, “If people can’t get to the fish, we’ll bring fish to the people.” Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, even more fish will be brought to the people — the Arizona Game and Fish Department will introduce 15 waters to the newly renamed Community Fishing Program (CFP).


These waters will come in addition to the current 21 waters. This means these new waters will begin receiving their first catchable stockings under the CFP name.


The new waters are:

Two newly built lakes, Pioneer Lake in Peoria, and Copper Sky Lake in Maricopa

On Jan. 4, from 9 a.m. to noon, there will be a kickoff event for Pioneer Lake in Peoria, which will be stocked with trout in advance. The event will include a free fishing clinic with loaner rods and bait. The grand opening for Copper Sky Lake in Maricopa will be March 15.

Eight existing park ponds of 2-6 acres in the greater Phoenix area

They are: Bonsall Pond in Glendale, Granada Ponds and Roadrunner Pond in Phoenix, Eldorado Pond and McKellips Pond in Scottsdale, Discovery Ponds and McQueen Pond in Gilbert, and Pacana Pond in Maricopa. These waters will all be stocked on a day to be named in mid-February.

Tempe Town Lake.

Monthly trout stockings from November through March will continue.

Four Yuma-area waters: They are: West Wetlands Pond, Council Avenue Pond (in Somerton), Fortuna Lake and Redondo Lake

These ponds will continue to receive winter trout stockings, but will now receive catfish stockings in April, June (including bluegill), and October.

Riverview Lake in Mesa.

The newly rebuilt and enlarged Riverview Lake will rejoin the CFP after taking two years off and will again be stocked every two weeks. On Jan. 25 from 2-6 p.m., there will be a grand opening for the park and Cubs Park spring training site called “Double Play at the Park – Cubs Park and Riverview Park.” The event will include kids and family activities, shuttle rides around the complex, entertainment, tours of the stadium and more. Arizona Game and Fish will provide loaner rods and bait to fish for stocked trout in the lake.



All of these locations will be marked by new signage in the next few months. Meanwhile, 20 of the original urban fishing waters will continue to be managed and stocked annually with fish in the same amounts, every two weeks from September to June.


For more information on the CFP, including maps, fish stocking schedules, regulations and fishing tips, pick up a new and expanded 2014 Community Fishing Guidebook that will be available at more than 300 license dealer locations and Game and Fish offices by Friday, Dec. 20. The guidebooks are free.


In addition, thanks to a simplified license structure that will take effect Jan. 1, all of the following licenses will work for the CFP lakes and ponds – Community Fishing, General Fishing, Youth Combination Hunt and Fish (ages 10-17 and is only $5) and Combination Hunt and Fish (18 and over).


To fish any of the 36 Community Fishing waters, kids under age 10 fish for free. Youth ages 10-17 may fish with the $5 Youth Combo Hunt/Fish license. For adults 18 and over, choices include the Community Fishing license for $24 (good at the 36 CFP locations), the General Fishing license ($37 for residents, $55 for nonresidents, and good for state waters or CFP locations), or the Combo Hunt/Fish license ($57 for residents, $160 for nonresidents, and good for state waters or CFP locations).


The opening of the CFP is just part of some big changes beginning Jan. 1, including the new hunting and fishing license and fee structure.  See more information.

Rylee’s First Fish

Have a fond memory? An exciting experience? A funny situation? Or, just a special day on the water with family and friends enjoying Arizona’s amazing outdoors? Email your story to bfishing@azgfd.gov, and we may share it with others online, in print, or on television.

*In the first video segment of “Fish Stories,” we bring you “Rylee’s First Fish.” Shot at Show Low Lake, she described her first fish.

Stay tuned for future additions of “Fish Stories,” which will frequently appear here in print, online or on television.

See more about Arizona Game & Fish Department videos.

The Reel Deal

Happy new year, anglers!


Fishing opportunities in Arizona abound this new year — and they start with the rolling out of our Community Fishing Program expansion. Get ready for 15 new waters! The lakes are perfect for anglers of any level to relax and catch fish in their community. They’re close, safe, and some of the best places for parents to teach their kids how to fish.


With the crisp weather, and kids on Christmas break, the time of the year is ripe to introduce children to this heritage-rich tradition.


Speaking of kids, those under age 10 fish for free. Under the new license structure that took effect on Jan. 1, youth ages 10-17 fish for $5 annually with the Youth Combo Hunt/Fish license. See the full details of the new license structure. The new General Fishing licenses include bundled privileges: trout, two-pole fishing, Community Fishing privileges, and privileges for fishing Arizona’s shared Colorado River waters with California and Nevada are now included in the price of the license (no need to buy separate stamps for those privileges). Plus, licenses are now good for 365 days from the date of purchase instead of for just the calendar year. Buy a license online.


The Department is introducing 15 waters to the CFP. See more information. On Saturday, Jan. 4, the fun begins at Pioneer Lake in Peoria’s Pioneer Community Park located at 8755 N. 83rd Ave. Come on out for the fishing clinic from 9 a.m. to noon. The clinic includes 100 loaner fishing rods, as well as bait. No fishing license is required to those who register. Want to learn how to tie a knot? Cast? Choose the right bait? Bill Larson, our contracted sport fish instructor, will be on hand to answer fishing-related questions.


Even better, the lake will begin to be stocked with catchable fish – we’re dumping about 500 pounds of rainbow trout (10-13 inches on average) into the lake prior to the event. Here’s the full scoop. Should be a blast for anglers who have waited a long time for this kind of fishery near their backyard.

By the way, there is a new moon this week, with very cold nights and some partially cloudy days. This creates great conditions for trout fishing, especially in our winter stocking waters.


In case you missed it, there are new fishing regulations that went into effect Jan. 1. The changes include doubling the statewide possession limit in all statewide and special regulation seasons and reducing the crappie daily bag limit from unlimited to 15 per day at Bartlett Lake and Roosevelt Lake.


Just like that, winter has progressed into a deep freeze. Most of the higher elevation lakes are ice-covered – state highways 261 and 273 have been closed by ADOT for the winter.


Finally, as a little present to kick off the new year, we’re presenting our first video segment of “Fish Stories.” See more details under “Fish Stories” below, or just watch the video of “Rylee’s First Fish” put together by Game and Fish Video Producer David Majure. You’re sure to laugh and, if your memory is a steel trap, reminisce about your first fish.

Anglers Reports

Good morning. Just got back from Lake Pleasant and thought I would share my fishing report and video. The striper, white, and largemouth bass action was consistent first thing in the morning.

The bite is good in the coves around the lake and the fish are suspended around 23-32 feet eating shad. Some fishermen were also catching fish nearshore in 10-15 feet of water but it was a little slower. The key was using spoons that were silver or gold and jigging them slowly up and down where the fish were.

The key is being on the water before sunrise and finding the birds that are feeding on the shad. The action only lasted about an hour but it was fun.

I normally send a photo, but I didn’t have my camera this trip. Just my GoPro. See the video.

SagBassKidDana Y. with his Saguaro Lake mess of channel catfish (and his grandson’s catfish on the right): It is possible to catch some really decent size channel cats during the day at Saguaro. We caught five, 3-5-pound cats on nightcrawlers a few Saturdays ago. They are deep off the drops. Last weekend I caught one with a grandson handicap. I let him real it in — he thought it was great.
Derrick Franks a.k.a “Striper Snatcher” has been fishing the cold and windy nights on Lake Pleasant with moderate success rate: The water temp at night is in the mid-50s with strong north winds. Our underwater video footage still shows thousands of striper attracted to the boat in the 30-foot mark.
I think the colder water temps has flushed them out of deeper water and are now on the shallow side of the structure I fish, which are mainly points on the north and south side of the lake.
I still see the most fish, including baitfish, in the Humbug Creek arm — they are concentrated there all year. That area has a really sandy bottom with trees displaced about every 50 square feet.

CrappieCraving crappie? An angler sent in this picture of a speckled sensation he said was caught trolling a minnow at the yellow cliffs in Bartlett Lake.

8-year-old Mesa boy boats 3.8-pound largemouth bass

The cramps and spasms exploded in the 8 year old’s hands and arms. Mark McGrew, Jr. had hooked into a roughly 4-pound, 20-inch largemouth bass on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Saguaro Lake (Razorback Point).

The third fish of his life turned out to be a trophy for the kid from Mesa. Jigging a silver spoon on 6-pound test line, with an ultralight rod, McGrew tugged the bolting bass from 65 feet of water depth – hence, the piercing cramps.


The technique: McGrew, Jr. would drop the spoon to the bottom, let it sit, then jig it back in.


“The whole way in,” said McGrew Sr., “the pole was bent and I thought it was going to snap at any moment.”


The fish was caught at 2:30 p.m. “We had read the fishing report about yellow bass at Saguaro Lake and Mark Jr. started out fishing over Butcher Jones with no success,” McGrew Sr. said. “We then headed toward Shiprock and decided to stop and try Razorback Point.”


Fifteen minutes later, McGrew Jr. had a fishing moment he’ll likely replay his entire life. “He’s wanting to go again now – that’s for sure,” McGrew Sr. said.


Persistence is key when fishing with kids. McGrew Jr. had caught only a bluegill in his the first three fishing trips of his life. But the fourth yielded bass of 3.8 and 1.7 pounds that McGrew Sr. said were weighed on a Berkley digital hand scale.


“We just got a boat two months ago,” McGrew Sr. said, “and have been out fishing three other times with no success. Perseverance paid off.”

FishAZblog

All fishing, all the time

Wawang Lake Resort

FISH: Walleye, Northern Pike, Perch, White Fish

The Fisheries Blog

Five fish scientists discuss fun and interesting topics about fish.