PHOENIX -- Trout anglers are getting an 11-mile trout fishing bonus on the Lower Salt River close to the Valley of the Sun early this spring, thanks to abundant snowpack and excellent runoff for a change this year.
On Friday, April 4 the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Page Springs Hatchery started stocking rainbow trout in the upper reaches of the Lower Salt at the Water Users Recreation Area and the Blue Point Bridge.
This stocking for the entire Lower Salt River is weeks early.
During winter, Salt River Project (SRP) typically relies on flows from the Verde River side of the watershed to meet irrigation and municipal needs. The well-above-normal snowpack and exceptional runoff this season means SRP is doing an early switch this spring and releasing approximately 300 cfs from Stewart Mountain Dam.
These unexpected early flows mean the Game and Fish Department is able to stock the entire reach of the Lower Salt early.
"The Lower Salt is a unique fishing area in North America. We have a desert river lined with saguaros that is stocked with trout, plus, it is just a short drive from Mesa and Tempe," said Rory Aikens, for Game and Fish.
Having this trout fishing opportunity available close to Phoenix is especially important in these days of burgeoning gasoline costs. "The Lower Salt is an affordable, high-quality trout fishing experience close to home. It's tough to beat," Aikens said.
For information and fishing tips on the Salt River or other waters, visit the Game and Fish Department's Web site at www.azgfd.gov and click on the Weekly Fishing Report. Driving directions: From Payson, take Beeline Highway (Highway 87) south to the Bush Highway (Saguaro Lake) turnoff -- head east (turn left). Follow Bush Highway until it makes a 90-degree bend just past Saguaro Lake and to either the Water Users Recreation area or the Blue Point Bridge.