1st Lower Salt Trout Stocking Becoming a Ritual

November 10 , 2005

PHOENIX – It's a yearly ritual that brings out some of the most enthusiastic anglers. This year, Dan Murtaugh of Mesa had the honor of catching the first trout of the season on the Lower Salt River near Phoenix.

“The prize is just knowing that you did it,” he said while casting his homemade dough bait near some feeding trout.

The Lower Salt River was stocked with rainbow trout for the first time this season on Nov. 1 at the Water Users Area on Bush Highway just below Saguaro Lake. The word got out beforehand, and anglers were waiting when the Arizona Game and Fish Department's stocking truck arrived.

“This is my first time here,” said Jim Peifer, a fly-angler who moved here from Carmel, California, almost two years ago. “I will definitely be back. It's close to town. A guy can spend a few hours here and really enjoy himself. It's amazing how much good fishing there is close to Phoenix.”

Ken Klingersmith of Tempe smiled while working a fly into the flowing river just past a rising trout. “Just look around you,” he said while pointing to the saguaro-studded hillside and towering rock formations where desert bighorn sheep can be found. “This is absolutely beautiful, and it's only 20 minutes from home. I even get e-mails from Game and Fish telling me when the stockings are. You can't beat it.”

The winter trout fishing season is underway. Don't miss out. The Lower Salt River will be stocked with trout every two weeks from now through early spring. Here are some other dates to jot down:

  • On the week of Nov. 14, both Canyon and Saguaro lakes will be stocked with trout for the first time this season.
  • On Nov. 15, the urban program lakes will be stocked with trout for the first time this season. Don't forget you need the special urban fishing license to fish these waters.
  • On Nov. 22, Tempe Town Lake will be stocked with trout just before the Thanksgiving holiday. This stocking has turned into an annual celebration. This is not an urban program lake: to fish it, you need a regular state fishing license.

In addition, a host of other waters are stocked with trout for the winter season, such as Lynx Lake and Goldwater Lake near Prescott, Oak Creek near Sedona, the Verde River between Cottonwood and Camp Verde, Deadhorse Ranch State Park lagoons near Cottonwood, and Parker Canyon Lake in southern Arizona. For a list of all the winter trout stockings, click here .

If you forgot to get your fishing license so far this year, don't worry. The Arizona Game and Fish Department has a special deal for you. The 2005 Class A general fishing licenses went on sale for half-price starting Nov. 1.

If you are visiting Arizona, there is also a good deal for you. A four-month, nonresident fishing license is $37.50, and you don't need a trout stamp. The four-month license is good for four months from time of purchase, even if crosses into a new calendar year.

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