Now that we are in mid-January, if you haven’t already, it’s time to renew that fishing license for the 2009 year. Springtime is still a couple of months away, but Arizona has many lakes that will produce bass, crappies and trout in the winter months.
One of the best deals for anglers is the purchase of the Super Fishing License that includes a general license, trout stamp and urban fishing opportunities for the price of $53. which is a savings of $5. During tough economic times, any savings we can make, especially for recreation, can make a difference.
When you go, make sure you are aware of the changes in the regulations for the new year. Bass fishermen on Roosevelt Lake may now keep one fish in the slot of 13 to 16 inches of a six-fish limit. The lake has had an excellent spawn the past two years which created a bumper crop of healthy bass.
Another significant change is that the other Salt River lakes of Apache, Canyon and Saguaro will also have the slot limit enforced where only one fish in the 13- to 16-inch category can be kept.
The final major change impacting local anglers is that the bag limits of six bass will be eliminated on all the Rim lakes. Willow Springs Lake has a rapidly expanding largemouth and smallmouth bass population which is having a negative impact on the trout fisheries.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department hopes this will help to reduce the number of bass in these trout lakes. These fish were illegally stocked by fishermen who transported them from the warm-water, desert lakes.
The smallmouth bass fishing at Willow Springs can be nothing short of spectacular in mid-April through the month of May. Remember, target the shallow rocky points and you will have some great bass fishing. These fish are tasty tablefare and you will be assisting the fisheries department by returning Willow Springs to a high-mountain trout lake.
Take advantage of year-round fishing opportunities in Arizona by purchasing that fishing license and take a friend fishing. This weekend, enjoy the Rim Country — God’s creation.