Spring catfish stockings have begun at urban lakes in Arizona

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Now that spring is here, Mr. Whiskers is returning to an Urban Fishing Program lake near you.

The catfish season officially kicked off at all Urban Fishing Program lakes and ponds in the Phoenix and Tucson areas on Thursday, March 24, when all lakes received deliveries of 15- to 20-inch channel catfish, with some fish weighing up to 3 pounds.

Two large trucks were used to bring 8,000 catfish to 20 waters throughout the day. Warming spring temperatures signal the fish stocking changeover from trout to catfish.

More than 14,000 pounds of Arkansas farm-raised catfish will be delivered and stocked into Urban Fishing Program lakes every two weeks from now through early July.

Traditionally, when the department switches fish suppliers from winter trout to spring catfish deliveries, anglers are given the specific day of stocking. For all other catfish stockings, only the stocking week (Mon.-Sat.) is announced.

The usual baits such as worms, stink baits, hot dogs and shrimp should work well for catching “Mr. Whiskers.” Daily limits are four catfish per person at Urban Lakes or two catfish per person at Urban Ponds (note regulations and park signage for lake and pond designations).

But don’t give up on catching trout – it may still be possible to catch some trout in the urban fishing lakes as well.

Remember, an Urban Fishing License ($18.50 per person) is required for persons 14 and older to fish at the Urban Fishing Program lakes. For more information, visit www.azgfd.gov/urbanfishing.