Arizona’s anglers will soon have their first chance in 20 years to fish in a no-slot limit formatted tournament at Roosevelt Lake.
The opportunity occurs Aug. 21 during a recently organized All-Star Tournament that has as a prize a free entry into the FLW National Guard Western Series Tournament to be held Sept. 22 to Sept. 25 at Roosevelt.
Roosevelt’s slot limit, which had been in place since 1990, was removed last week at a meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.
The slot limit, which required anglers to throw back into the lake any bass that measured 13 to 16 inches in length, will officially end today, Aug. 17.
Since the inception of the slot limit, there were those anglers who argued that the size limit was unnecessary and dampened chance of a successful catch.
Tonto Basin business owners contended the slot hurt their sales by driving away consumers and anglers to other lakes without restrictions.
Over the years — even though opinions varied on the slot — Roosevelt experienced tremendous productivity and is now considered one of the finest bass fisheries in the western United States.
The commission removed the slot partly because biologists determined during a recent two-year study that the bass population in the lake was healthy, reproduction was good and that size classes were well balanced.
Also leading to the removal of the slot was that anglers now practice catch-and release more than they did in past years.
The biologists’ study showed that less that 7 percent of today’s anglers catch and keep their bass.
The AG&F Commission acted on removal of the slot months earlier than other fishing regulation changes for 2011 to accommodate a request from Payson town officials to lift it in time for the FLW tournament.
Tune up for FLW
Those who enter the upcoming All-Star Tournament can use it as practice for possibly entering the FLW extravaganza.
The All-Star shoot-out begins at safe light, about 5 a.m., and continues to 1 p.m.
Tournament director John Sneed, who is also the owner of The Tackle Box in Tonto Basin, predicts tournament anglers should enjoy plenty of success.
“Fishing is pretty darn good,” he said.
Anglers may register for the tournament from 4 to 6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 20 at the Cholla Recreation Site and 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. the morning of the tournament.
The site is located five miles northwest of Roosevelt Dam on Highway 188. The entry fee is $120 per boat.
“For every 20 boats that enter, we’ll add another entry into the FLW Tournament,” Sneed said.
For more details, call (928) 581-6299.