Residents, Visitors Urged To Fish Arizona!

Photo by Arizona Fish and Game Department

PHOENIX — "From high country trout streams to warm-water lakes, Arizona is an amazing place for fishing," says Larry Riley, the department’s "big fish" when it comes to creating opportunities for the sport.

Though heading the Fisheries Branch keeps him as busy as a worm salesman at a catfish derby, Riley especially enjoys going out fishing with kids.

The Game and Fish Department is in the midst of conducting a year-long campaign to introduce Arizonans and visitors to the joys of fishing—and to remind experienced anglers that this year is special.

"Lakes and streams that [were] parched by years of drought [have] again [been] brimming," Riley says. "For our higher elevation trout lakes, that means more trout and more trout fishing for more months.

"For our large desert reservoirs, it means exciting and challenging fishing this year, with lots of fish food to grow bigger fish. The potential [of the] incredible spawns this spring and summer [has meant] good fishing for seasons to come."

In addition to its usual fishing reports, urban fishing bulletins, angling classes, and free fishing day each June, the department is inviting all 500 staff members to get the word out about fishing in new and creative ways.

The department is also looking for partners in the effort.

"Let’s face it," says Bob Miles, information branch chief. "As a state agency, we don’t have big bucks for glitzy ad campaigns, so we are looking to team up with Arizona businesses to get the word out about fishing opportunities throughout the year.

"Businesses involved in tourism and sporting goods are natural partners, of course, but if America West Airlines wanted to paint a 747 to look like a trout, I wouldn’t object."

The Arizona Game and Fish Department says fishing is good for the economy. Total fishing expenditures in Arizona in a given year are about $831.5 million, a figure derived from 5.3 million angler days a year along with estimated trip-related expenses and equipment expenditures.