Community Fishing Program Bulletin
Report fishing violations - 800 352-0700
Sept 21, 2016
First catfish stocking of the season this week
The summer heat has finally subsided slightly, so that means stocking into our Community Fishing Waters has started once again. This week we’ve got 15,450 pounds of feisty catfish destined for our core waters. Catfish stocking will continue every 2 weeks until the first week of November. Trout stocking begins in mid-November. Our Expansion Waters, including those waters in Yuma and St. Johns will get their first catfish during the 2nd week of October.
Spring catfish issues - Hamburger Gill
Last spring we received a number of reports about mostly small catfish die-offs in a number of lakes. After doing a bit of investigating, we discovered the culprit. Proliferative Gill Disease, otherwise known as Hamburger Gill was the cause. Proliferative gill disease occurs most often in the spring, but it can occur in the fall at water temperatures between 59° and 72° F. The disease is caused by a microscopic parasite that burrows into the gill cartilage and tissue causing damage and irritation, often resulting in swollen gills that look like mashed hamburger. The damaged areas can become infected with bacteria and lead to fish kills. The infected fish do not pose any health risk to humans; however, do not attempt to consume any fish that were found dead.
Testing Lake Water Quality Parameters
For people that see us out stocking fish, you’ve likely noticed that before we stock, we stick a small probe into the water to run some basic water quality tests. We often get asked what we are testing. There are several things that we measure or evaluate prior to stocking, but there are three parameters that are most important: Temperature, Dissolved Oxygen, and pH.
For catfish, we generally consider temperatures under 90° to be acceptable. Anything above that and we risk losing fish to stress, so temperatures from 91-94 we do a “conditional” stocking, which means no more than 50% of the scheduled load will be stocked. Any temperatures above 94° results in a cancelled stocking.
Dissolved oxygen is the amount of oxygen in the water. Algae and aquatic plants produce oxygen during daylight hours, but at night, the reverse occurs and plants will respire and consume oxygen. Aeration systems and fountains help mix the water and keep oxygen levels sufficient for fish. Oxygen is measured in milligrams per liter (mg/l), and generally oxygen greater than 5.5 mg/l is considered acceptable.
Remember the Web… for stocking schedules, the Fish&Boat Arizona webmap, outdoor events calendar, and other great fishing and outdoor information. Also check out the web for Weekly Fishing Reports, to submit your fishing photos or to send us your latest fishing report. Talk with us on our Facebook page or get social with us on Twitter@AZGFD.