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fter 49-year wait, rainbows return to Watson Lake
Game and Fish receives clearance to stock trout
KINGMAN, Ariz. -- The last time rainbow trout were stocked at Watson Lake, John F. Kennedy was still president and landing on the moon was still seven years in the future.
That is going to change the week of Jan. 9 as the Arizona Game and Fish Department has received clearances from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stock rainbow trout into the lake owned by the City of Prescott. The clearances received in November paved the way for stocking trout for the first time since 1962.
“We’re thrilled to finally have a chance to provide this opportunity to anglers of Arizona,” said Andy Clark, fisheries program manager for the Game and Fish region 3 office in Kingman. “Rainbows are a popular sport fish. We have wanted to stock rainbow trout and warm water fish in Watson since 2000.”
However, there were concerns regarding threatened and endangered fish in the Verde River and these concerns had to be addressed. The concerns involved whether or not these sport fish might make it to, and impact, the native fishery in the river system.
“It’s unlikely these sport fish will have an impact in the Verde River,” Clark said. “So, after a long wait, we are cleared to provide this popular sport fish to anglers.”
Some of the trout were raised for the lake in state hatcheries, but over 2,000 will be diverted from Fain Lake in Prescott Valley. The fish average nine inches in length. The stockings will take place only in the winter months and will be based on availability of trout. The trout are not expected to survive the summer water temperatures.
The stockings will be at the old launch ramp unless conditions allow for stockings at both ramps, depending on water levels. The stocking will begin on Jan. 13 with another planned for February.
When going after the trout, Clark suggests using spinners, marshmallows, or soft, manufactured floating baits, such as Power Bait.
Zen Mocarski, public information officer for the Kingman office, said fishing remains one of the best deals in regards to daily entertainment. A one-year in-state license runs $23.50 and $15.75 for a trout stamp. Those interested can find the fishing license that best suits their needs on the Game and Fish website at www.azgfd.gov/eservices/licenses.shtml.
For a statewide fishing report, log on to the Game and Fish Department's website at www.azgfd.gov. Licenses are available at the Kingman office as well as licensed dealers throughout the state.
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