Come on out to the AZGFD Outdoor Expo March 24-25

PHOENIX – The largest hands-on outdoor recreation expo in Arizona is coming soon! Dates are set for the Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo presented by Shikar Safari Club International. Come out Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25 to the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix. Admission and parking are free.

One big change this year is we’re expanding the size of our amAZing wildlife tent, which has been a huge attraction the past couple of years.

You’ll have the opportunity to see live “ambassador animals” from the department’s Wildlife Center and learn fun facts. As always, there will be plenty of hands-on fun for all ages like kids fishing tanks, target archery and other shooting sports in a safe, supervised, controlled environment on the range.

Get a feel for specialty shooting disciplines like clay target, cowboy action, practical pistol, black powder, and air gun. Check out the many firearms manufacturers, including some new brands this year.

Don’t miss the always popular cowboy mounted shooting competition. See OHV and ATV exhibits. Give kayaking a try at the “Lake Paddlemore” kayaking pond. Hike a field course and learn cool camping tips. Learn about boating and how to stay safe on the water. Talk to experts about Arizona’s wildlife, fishing, hunting and more. Visit with more than 100 exhibitors, including outdoor recreation and conservation groups, government agencies, and commercial vendors of outdoor products and services.

The department will auction off its annual collection of wildlife assets at the Expo. Sets of antlers, hides, skulls and head mounts, as well as wildlife artwork and taxidermy – all seized during law enforcement investigations, obtained from animals killed in vehicle collisions, or acquired through donations – will be put on the auction block both days. Funds generated from the auction are used to purchase equipment and technology used in the investigation of wildlife crimes and to protect the state’s wildlife resources.

Concessionaires will have food and beverages available for purchase, and many accept only cash — ATMs will be on site. There is a nominal charge for ammunition at some of the target shooting venues.

Expo hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 25. The Outdoor Expo is easy to find, located on Carefree Highway, about 1/2 mile west of I-17 in Phoenix.

See more information about the 2018 Expo.

Army Corps of Engineers looking to lower lake level at Alamo Lake

PHOENIX — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District, has a draft Environmental Assessment for the Alamo Dam Flushing Flow Release available for public review and comment. According to a public notice issued by the Corps, it proposes to release water from Alamo Dam outside of the normal non-flood release schedule in order to facilitate required maintenance activities.

According to the public notice, the proposed release would occur as a flood pulse hydrograph designed to mimic a typical rain event in the downstream watershed released with appropriate seasonal timing. While the exact details of the release are subject to variation based on conditions at the time of release, such as water surface elevation and weather, the release will conform to the following general
parameters:
​​​​​​​

  1. Maximum release will not exceed 5,000 cfs.
  2. Total release time, including ascending and descending limbs, would not exceed 20 days.
  3. Ascending limb of the hydrograph will be moderate.
  4. Descending limb of the hydrograph will initially drop steeply, followed by a gradual return to base flow.
  5. The peak of the hydrograph will be completed prior to March 15.

The Corps is soliciting comments from the public; federal, state, and local agencies and officials; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed project and alternatives.

Comments will be accepted through February 10, 2018.

There are two ways to submit comments. Either by mail to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Los Angeles District
ATTN: Pam Kostka, CESPL-RGN-L
915 Wilshire Blvd., 13th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Or, comments can be sent electronically to: pamela.k.kostka@usace.army.mil.

Arizona state fish returns: AZGFD to resume stocking Apache trout

PHOENIX – The Apache trout, one Arizona’s two native trout, are returning to lakes and streams in the White Mountains by May. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is scheduled to stock around 55,000 Apache trout of a catchable size from its Silver Creek Hatchery from May through September.

Stockings could not occur in 2017 due to federal hatcheries having tested positive for Bacteria Kidney Disease (BKD). The state relies on federal hatcheries to supply the eggs necessary to raise Apache trout.

This year, AZGFD is expecting to receive about 200,000 Apache trout eggs. AZGFD has around 100,000 Apache trout eggs (BKD free) at its Tonto Creek Hatchery that came from Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery and are scheduled to be stocked next year.

AZGFD typically stocks Apache trout into Lee Valley Reservoir, East Fork of the Black River, West Fork of the Black River (campground), West Fork of the Little Colorado River at Sheep Crossing (below Mt. Baldy), West Fork of the Little Colorado River in Greer, and Upper Silver Creek.

Subscribe to our fishing reports and stay tuned for more stocking details. Apache trout can be caught by a variety of methods, including wet or dry flies, small lures, or natural baits, in either lakes or streams. Artificial flies produce the best results. Best natural baits tend to be worms or grasshoppers.

See more information about Apache trout.

Double your outdoor fun: Buy a hunt/fish combo license!

PHOENIX — With the approaching elk and pronghorn hunt application deadline, this is a time when many hunters buy their license.

If you’re someone who typically buys only a hunting license (or an angler who only buys a fishing license), you’re missing out on one of the BEST DEALS around. Consider buying a hunt/fish COMBO LICENSE this year and double your outdoor fun!

A combo license costs Arizona residents $57—only $20 more than buying just a hunting or fishing license. It includes all the privileges of a general hunting license as well as fishing privileges for state waters and Community Fishing Program waters, and privileges for trout, two-pole and Colorado River fishing. Nonresidents can buy their Arizona hunt/fish combo license for only $160.

During the next month, there should be some hot fishing for yellow bass and crappie – both are excellent table fare. Hot spots for yellow bass in Arizona are Apache, Saguaro, and Canyon lakes in the Tonto National Forest. Prime waters for crappie are Roosevelt, Bartlett and Alamo lakes.

If you haven’t already purchased your license, you can conveniently buy it online 24/7 or when you are submitting your elk/pronghorn draw application.

So make it a COMBO LICENSE this year and be ready for your upcoming hunting and fishing adventures!

Roosevelt Lake among 2017 U.S. “Waters to Watch”

The National Fish Habitat Partnership has unveiled its list of seven “Waters to Watch” for 2017, a collection of rivers, streams, estuaries, lakes and watershed systems that will benefit from strategic conservation efforts to protect, restore or enhance their current condition.

Roosevelt Lake in the Tonto National Forest was listed for its collaborative partnership that has been formed to address habitat issues.

“We’re honored to have this project recognized by the National Fish Habitat Partnership and it wouldn’t be possible without the cooperation of our outstanding partners,” said AZGFD aquatics branch chief Chris Cantrell. “We hope that within the next 5-10 years anglers can enjoy higher numbers of trophy bass and memories that come out of Roosevelt Lake. This effort should also have a positive economic impact on local communities.”

Read more about this Tonto National Forest Lakes Habitat Improvement Project that is a cooperative effort with numerous anglers, as well as volunteers from organizations such as Gila Basin Angler Roundtable and Midweek Bass Anglers.

Supporting agency partners include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration Program, Tonto National Forest, and the National Fish Habitat Partnership-Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership.

Here’s a fishing license deal ​​​​​​​you’ll want to gobble up


PHOENIX — Happy Thanksgiving from the Arizona Game and Fish family to yours! At AZGFD, we are grateful for many things – especially you. Thank you for making Arizona’s outdoor heritage a part of your life.

To express our appreciation, between now and December 1, 2017, we’re offering a 25% discount on Arizona adult general fishing licenses and community fishing licenses purchased online. And as always, youth licenses (for ages 10-17) are only $5.

This is a great time of year to get outdoors, enjoy Arizona’s spectacular weather and scenery, and spend quality time fishing with family, friends and out-of-town visitors. Invite them to experience their own Arizona outdoor adventure!

Thank you for your loyalty, and may the upcoming holiday season be filled with happiness, BIG fish, and lots of outdoor memories.

FISHING LICENSES
General Fishing: Valid for take of all fish species statewide, including at Community Fishing waters.
Available to Residents and Non-residents Resident $37 Non-Resident $55
Community Fishing: Allows take of all fish species at Community Fishing waters.
Available to Residents and Non-residents Resident $24 Non-Resident $24

COMBINATION HUNTING AND FISHING LICENSES Resident $57 Non-Resident $160
Hunt/Fish Combo: Valid for take of all fish species statewide (including at Community Fishing waters), small game, fur-bearing animals, predatory animals, certain nongame animals, and upland game birds. A valid tag or stamp is required for the take of big game animals and migratory game birds. Using this license to hunt big game requires a permit-tag (obtained through the big game drawing), or a nonpermit-tag (obtained at any Game and Fish office or at a Game and Fish authorized license dealer).

Commission Appointment Recommendation Board to meet November 7

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Commission Appointment Recommendation Board will meet on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, beginning at 9 a.m., to review and select for interview applicants for the 2018 vacancy on the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. The meeting will be held at the Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Quail Room, in Phoenix and is open to the public.

See meeting agenda (PDF).

The board will meet again on Wednesday, Nov. 15, beginning at 9 a.m., to conduct interviews with the candidates who were selected at the Nov. 7 meeting. That meeting is also at 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Quail Room, in Phoenix and is open to the public. The board will select from two to five finalists at the Nov. 15 meeting and forward those names to Gov. Doug Ducey for his consideration.

Members of the Commission Appointment Recommendation Board are William “Jim” Lane (chair), Susan E. Chilton, W. Hays Gilstrap, Charles I. Kelly, and Phillip D. Townsend.

Per Arizona State Statute 17-202, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission Appointment Recommendation Board shall assist the governor by interviewing, evaluating and recommending candidates for appointment to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. The Commission Appointment Recommendation Board shall recommend at least two, but no more than five, candidates to the governor. The governor must select and appoint a commissioner from the list submitted by the board.

For additional information about the Commission Appointment Recommendation Board, contact the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions at (602) 542-2449 or toll free at 1-800-253-0883 or on the web at www.azgovernor.gov.

For more information on the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, visit www.azgfd.gov/commission.

AZGFD makes change to Wild Trout Challenge

PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Department is temporarily suspending the requirement for anglers to catch a Gila trout in order to complete the Wild Trout Challenge.

With the closure of Frye Creek, there is no longer a wild population of Gila trout open to fishing.

The Arizona Trout Challenge, which requires anglers to catch six of the eight total species in Arizona, remains unchanged since the closure to Frye Creek will not affect anglers trying to catch stocked Gila trout in Frye Mesa Reservoir.

In June, the 48,000-acre Frye Fire severely impacted the habitat in Frye Creek and nearby Ash Creek, and both populations of Gila trout, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, were effected by post-fire flood events that moved large amounts of ash, sediment and debris through the creeks.

Survey crews did not find any Gila trout in the creek, said Tracy Stephens, AZGFD’s Native Trout Biologist.

See more information about AZGFD’s trout challenges.

AZGFD closes Frye Creek to fishing

PHOENIX – Fishing trips to scenic Frye Creek, a Gila trout recovery stream located on Mt. Graham in southeast Arizona that offers rare opportunities to hook Gila trout—one of two trout native to Arizona—will have to be put on hold.

AZGF Photo

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has temporarily closed Frye Creek to fishing in order to evaluate and restore a population of Gila trout following widespread habitat damage on Mt. Graham due to this past summer’s Frye Fire and ensuing flooding.

The Department hopes to reopen the stream to fishing once habitat is suitable for stocking of Gila trout and a population is established that can sustain angling pressure.

Good news for anglers: the closure does not include Frye Mesa Reservoir, where Gila trout are stocked for recreational opportunities. However, the area is still under a closure order issued by the Coronado National Forest.

In June, the 48,000-acre Frye Fire severely impacted the habitat in Frye Creek and nearby Ash Creek, and both populations of Gila trout, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, were effected by post-fire flood events that moved large amounts of ash, sediment and debris through the creeks.

Fortunately, just prior to the flooding, AZGFD salvaged 190 Gila trout from Frye and Ash creeks and they were transported in good health to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Mora National Fish Hatchery in New Mexico.

Recently, AZGFD surveyed the creeks and did not find any fish. AZGFD will continue to monitor both streams annually to document habitat changes and recovery.

Also, see the Mt. Graham closure update from the Coronado National Forest.

Green light: Go fish!

AZGFD, ADEQ release “Green Light” list of fish, including all trout, Arizonans can eat without restrictions

PHOENIX – Arizona anglers have a ton of “Green Light” reasons to keep catching and cooking fresh fish.

For the first time, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) have launched an initiative to highlight a “green light” list of fish species from specific waters that may be consumed without limits.

The list includes all trout statewide. Arizona has a total of 220 waters that AZGFD manages for trout, making up approximately 40,000 surface acres of lakes and 1,000 miles of rivers or streams.

These “Green Light Fisheries” also include channel catfish supplied for the AZGFD Community Fishing Program.

See all the green light waters on the ADEQ interactive e-Map, including other waters and fish species classified as “Green Light Fisheries.”