The Arizona Game and Fish Department has some Christmas stocking gifts scheduled, but they aren't necessarily made for hanging on the chimney during the holidays. For the first time during the holidays, the department will be stocking rainbow trout at Saguaro Lake.
"The Saguaro Lake stockings will be in addition to our regular winter trout stockings along the Lower Salt River and Canyon Lake. Consider it an early Christmas present from the department to our anglers," said Jim Warnecke, Mesa regional fisheries program manager.
The Saguaro Lake stocking is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 17 or 18.
Warnecke explained that two years ago during early spring the department had some surplus trout production at its hatcheries, so it tried an experiment stocking trout at Saguaro Lake for the first time. "That trout stocking at Saguaro was so popular with the anglers that last year we did it again. It proved even more popular. This year we decided to get ahead of the curve and will be stocking trout in Saguaro every two weeks from mid-December through February," he said.
The trout will be stocked at the Butcher Jones Beach and at launch ramp No. 2. "There is a popular fishing pier at Butcher Jones and relatively new fishing piers near the launch ramps. The rainbow trout are extremely accessible to shore anglers, which is really the root of why this program is so popular," Warnecke said.
Anglers don't have to wait until mid-December to fish for trout close to home. Last week was the second stocking of rainbow trout in the Lower Salt River below Saguaro Lake. This week will mark the third bi-weekly trout stocking at Canyon Lake.
For winter visitors to the state, there is a four-month nonresident fishing license for just $22 (the license is good for four months from the time of purchase). The four-month license does not require a trout stamp.
The urban lakes are also stocked with rainbow trout. The annual urban fishing license, for residents and nonresidents alike, is $12.