The six-month dry spell that is causing lakes around the state to shrivel and pucker may be a blessing in disguise for fishermen on the Rim.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department began stocking the Rim lakes, which are primarily deep, drought-resistant lakes, in early April, a month earlier than normal.
Department officials were able to stock the lakes early because the last snow of the season melted early, clearing the rough mountain roads.
"The Rim lakes are in good shape," said Jim Novee, fisheries regional manager for the Game and Fish Department. "They're real deep canyon lakes, so they probably won't be affected much by the dry weather. We'll continue to stock most of them throughout the summer.
"The only problem may be Black Canyon Lake. It will probably be OK until Memorial Day, but after that, people may have trouble launching their boats. It's a small lake and it's probably down 12 to 15 feet this spring."
Black Canyon will be stocked with catchable-size trout once a month, as normal, Novee said.
Willow Springs and Woods Canyon lakes will be stocked heavier than normal, he said, to take advantage of the state's booming trout inventory. Those lakes are normally stocked with catchable-size trout once a week.
State hatcheries produced an unusually high number of trout this year because the dry weather kept runoff from silting up the streams and interfering with fish production, he said.
Later this summer, as streams and lakes around the state continue to shrink, the department will divert more fish to lakes with healthy water levels such as Willow Springs and Woods Canyon, he said.
"The hatcheries are doing so well, and later this summer, other areas may not be stockable," he said, "so the Rim lakes will probably be the beneficiaries of extra fish this year. The Rim lakes will probably be one of the state's bright spots."