The thrashing rainbow was so large it almost filled the large stocking net as Payson Mayor Kenny Evans released the first trout of the season Oct. 17 to welcome back the trout to the Green Valley Park lakes.
Mayor Evans, who has fished around the world and held various line-class records for large bill fish using a fly rod, tucked the tie into his shirt and expertly dipped the net into the clear lake water to release the feisty 4-pound rainbow trout.
The Green Valley Lakes on West Main Street are operated by the Town of Payson but are also part of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Urban Fishing Program. To fish at the park, you will need a special urban fishing license (you can visit www.azgfd.gov/fishing for license information and an interactive map of the location).
The Urban Fishing Program is self-supporting and the revenue generated from urban fishing license sales is used to defray the costs of the fish stockings and other program costs. Limits on trout are four per day for licensed anglers and two trout for unlicensed youth under age 14.
Game and Fish stocked more than 700 rainbow trout in the readily accessible, kid-friendly 13 acres of this urban fishery last week, and will stock the three inter-connected lakes bi-weekly throughout the winter-spring fishing season.
If you visit soon, you will also be treated to the changing colors of the deciduous trees mixed with the tall pines of Arizona’s Rim Country.
“Fall is a wonderful time to visit the Rim Country, see the colors, and relax and fish for trout along the grassy shorelines of this popular urban fishery,” said Eric Swanson, who heads up the Urban Fishing Program.
Swanson explained that the fish program at Green Valley is different from all other Urban Fishing Program waters. “Rainbow trout are the only species stocked here by the Game and Fish Department during an eight-month season that starts in mid-October and continues every other week through early May.”
One of the attractions of Green Valley Lake is the fact that it does not ice up like most of the high country trout lakes during winter. “So your urban fishing license is really a passport to some fun trout fishing in the pine-scented air of Payson this winter,” Swanson said.
Swanson added that winter trout stockings will commence at other urban program lakes in the Valley of the Sun and the Tucson area during the second week of November.
“For those looking to economize, yet still enjoy the great outdoors, the urban lakes are made to order,” Swanson said, adding, “Get the family out to experience the excitement of catching a colorful rainbow trout close to home.”
Don’t forget, if you don’t already have a 2008 urban fishing license, they go on sale for half price starting Nov. 1. It’s a fun bargain you’ll want to catch.