PHOENIX — Did you know that the feisty rainbow trout dancing on the end of your fishing line was most likely hatchery raised?
Each year, the Arizona Game and Fish Department stocks more than 3 million fish for anglers to catch in approximately 160 of Arizona’s lakes, rivers and streams — mostly rainbow, Apache, brook and cutthroat trout, but some warmwater species such as largemouth bass and channel catfish as well.
The stocking program is supported with federal funds through the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program, along with state funds from the sale of licenses and trout stamps.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department are seeking public comments on issues associated with all the sport-fish stockings in the state as part of a draft environmental assessment process that is required to continue using federal funding for stocking activities in Arizona.
Public input is being sought to determine the extent and variety of issues that should be addressed by the draft environmental assessment. The comment period continues through 5 p.m. on Dec. 19. Once the comment period ends, the wildlife agencies will prepare a draft environmental assessment to evaluate the social, economic and environmental effects of stockings related to continue funding for the program through the Sport Fish Restoration Program.
As part of the scoping process, the following three public open houses are being held to answer questions and gather public input on the stocking program issues:
• Pinetop, 6:30 p.m., Nov. 17, Arizona Game and Fish Department Region 1 office, 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd.
• Tucson, 6:30 p.m., Nov. 24, Arizona Game and Fish Department Region 5 office, 555 N. Greasewood Road.
• Phoenix, 6:30 p.m., Nov. 25, at Arizona Game and Fish Department Headquarters, 5000 W. Carefree Highway.
All comments must be submitted in writing no later than 5 p.m. on Dec. 19.