VERDE VALLEY - Fishing is about to bust wide-open as winter stockings of trout begin in local waterways Monday, according to the Arizona Department Game and Fish Department (AZDGF).
Wet Beaver Creek, Mingus Lake, and West Clear Creek are scheduled to be stocked with trout beginning Monday, Oct. 3, with Oak Creek receiving a stocking one week later. On Oct. 31, the Verde River will be stocked in the stretch flowing from Clarkdale to Camp Verde.
Prescott-bound anglers will find fresh fish in Lynx Lake beginning Monday, with Goldwater Lake scheduled one week later.
Goldwater Lake was stocked this summer with retired brood-stock Gila trout from Mora National Fish Hatchery in New Mexico, including some potential world-record holders (which stands at 3 pounds, 7 ounces). Two Gila trout weighing about 2.5 pounds were reported as caught here Sept. 14 using crappie tubes as bait. The Gila trout is one of two trout native to Arizona waters, with the other being the Apache trout.
Mogollon Rim anglers continue to find Woods Canyon Lake producing the most active bites in the area, with brown, rainbow and recently-stocked tiger trout eager to take the hook. Tiger trout can be distinguished by their worm-like or blotchy pattern. No further stocking of trout is planned for the Rim due to the impending winter freeze-up.
Anglers heading north would best be advised to try their luck at Kinnikinick Lake. Last week, fish and game stocked about 49,000 rainbow trout and 10,000 brown trout into the lake.
Even though Dead Horse Lake State Park is not scheduled for trout stocking until Oct. 31, the lagoons were recently stocked with catfish. Also, a 6.5 pound largemouth bass was caught Sept. 24 by an angler using Power Worms and weightless, weed-less Senkosk, according to AZDGF.
Trout stockings begin in the fall around the Verde Valley due to the requirement for a cool water habitat. According to AZDGF, freshly-stocked trout are easier to catch than fish already adapted to their environment. This makes it an ideal time to introduce youngsters to fishing.
Recommended baits include spinners (such as Roostertails), small spoons (such as Kastmasters), flies (such as Royal Coachman) and the ever-popular corn, nightcrawlers and/or Power Bait
Fishing enthusiasts are asked to share their success with AZDGF by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.