Photo: researcher, Diana Rogers, listens for Bass
PHOENIX — Thousands of anglers who enjoy fishing at Lake
Pleasant may be in for a treat, thanks to an ongoing Arizona Game
and Fish Department study.
Researchers are tagging fish at the lake with sonic transmitters
and monitoring their movements, diets and reproductive rates, to
figure out how best to manage both the striped bass and largemouth
"Over the past decade or so, some anglers have become concerned
that largemouth bass fishing opportunities have declined at Lake
Pleasant," says Arizona Game and Fish Department researcher Bill
Stewart. "We want to make sure anglers have great fishing conditions
for largemouth bass, striped bass, and other popular fish in the
For a long time, striped bass fishing in Arizona was limited to
the Colorado River system. However, when the Central Arizona Project
(CAP) canal system was built in the 1970s through 1990s to provide
more water to central Arizona, striped bass were introduced into
Federal officials had feared the striped bass — or striper — eggs
and larvae would not survive pumping from Lake Havasu through the
CAP canal to the lake. However, it appears a striper population has
become established in Lake Pleasant.
"The striped bass may now compete with largemouth bass for their
primary food source, which is a small fish called the threadfin
shad," says the head researcher on this project Marianne Meding. "We
hope that by learning more about striper migration and behavior in
Lake Pleasant, we can also learn how to better manage both of these
popular bass species."
The researchers are using gill nets and fishing poles to bring in
about 15 striped bass to be fitted with sonic transmitters. Then,
they surgically implant the tags and go out in fishing boats once or
twice a month, in order to track the fish.
The transmitter in the fish is set to a similar frequency on a
receiver, and the researchers move around the lake, following the
In addition to monitoring the migration and movements of the
fish, researchers are taking stomach samples to see what the fish
are eating. They’re looking at the ages of fish and collecting fish
larvae in the spring to find out whether striped bass are
They’re also using hydroacoustics, a high-tech sonic technology,
to help determine the density of fish in Lake Pleasant.
The three-year study won’t end until late next year. However,
when it’s over, researchers may recommend modified daily bag limits
for certain species, along with other measures to better protect
bass fishing opportunities at the lake.
No limits on striped bass are in place right now, but the daily
bag and possession limit for largemouth bass is six.
For the time being, Stewart, who is an angler himself, hopes to
make fishing as enjoyable as possible for people at Lake Pleasant.
"Right now, you can catch stripers at a couple of great locations at
the lake," he says.
"Try Cole’s Bay at dusk and Max’s Point. Of course, if you catch
a fish with a transmitter, please return it to the Arizona Game and
You may reach Arizona Boating and Watersports at:
480/947-6219 or 619/523-3091
If you would like to comment on any stories in AZBW, or tell us your story idea please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like advertising information on either the web site or the print version please contact email@example.com