Payson area trout anglers should be even more successful this week.
From mid-October to mid-May, as part of the Community Fishing Program, the Green Valley lakes get approximately 350 pounds of trout every two weeks. Assuming that the water chemistry and temperature of the three lakes is good, that generally means about 225 pounds in the big lake, 75 pounds in Lake 1, and 50 pounds in Lake 2.
On Wednesday, Nov. 25, all three lakes got a large supplemental stocking of trout from the Canyon Creek Hatchery with 350 pounds of rainbow trout and 350 pounds of albino rainbow trout.
The rainbows average about 11 to 12 inches, while many of the albinos are in the 14-inch range. Albino rainbow trout are being stocked to provide anglers with a rare opportunity to catch an unusual fish. In nature, albinos would be easily spotted by predators, so they occur rarely in the wild. However, they grow well in the hatchery, and are fun for anglers to catch and show off in photos.
Normally, the trout we get in the Green Valley lakes come to us from an out-of-state supplier. This winter, Canyon Creek Hatchery will also provide trout to some Community Fishing Program lakes in the Phoenix metro area and Tucson as well.
The lack of snowpack on the Rim has caused both Tonto Creek and Canyon Creek hatcheries to have reduced flow from their source springs than in past years. While the lower flows have not impacted the operations at Tonto Creek Hatchery yet, it has been a challenge at Canyon Creek Hatchery to maintain sufficient dissolved oxygen in the water due to such low flows coming through to the hatchery to support the large number of fish in their raceways.
Canyon Creek Hatchery will take part in the winter stockings as part of the Community Fishing Program to help alleviate their numbers, and make certain that all fish have enough water to grow and thrive. This will not affect their normal spring and summer stocking numbers, as the money generally spent for out-of-state contractors for the winter Community Fishing Program will now be used to help the hatchery maintain its normal schedule of production this summer.
From my perspective, this is another example of the Arizona Game and Fish Department providing outstanding service through effective management and adapting to unforeseen conditions. The hatcheries do a phenomenal job of raising fish for anglers to enjoy catching each year.
I hope we get a good snowfall this winter and a decent monsoon next summer, but if not, this might be the plan for next year as well.
Please remember that the daily limit at the Green Valley lakes is four fish.
I’ve never caught an albino trout, so I will be out there this week too. Thank you AZGFD for this bonus fishing opportunity for Rim Country anglers.