Earlier this year, they acquired several hundred Florida strain largemouth bass for the sole purpose of developing Arizona’s own bass stocking program, these fish are being raised at the Bubbling Ponds Hatchery located in Page Springs, AZ. Though it will likely be a few years before these bass grow into breeders and begin reproducing, the process has begun. There were a variety of challenges in creating a satisfactory environment in which to breed bass, but the department has developed key relationships with both Florida and Texas, two states with premier bass stocking programs, and is using this shared information and experience to help get the program off to a solid start. The Midweek Bass Angler’s partnership through financial contributions has played a key role in getting this program started.
As with anything important in life, proper planning is always the key to success, and creating great fisheries is no different. Andy shared the department’s efforts in developing a strategic plan for each of our warm water lakes, lakes that are home to largemouth bass. These plans are broad in scope, but also specific in regard to execution. The formation of these plans will make it easier to get the additional funding necessary to implement the actions and improve the quality of warm water fishing in Arizona. As a part of this plan, the department has hired key personnel to oversee specific areas that includes both a bass biologist and a habitat expert. In addition, the department is in the process of purchasing a large barge that is capable of transporting and placing the hundreds of large cement reef ball habitats that have been made over this past year.
Andy shared the AZGFD’s tremendous appreciation for the support by the Midweek Bass Anglers contributions and commitment. Though it will likely be years before the fruits of these efforts will be truly realized, the Midweek Bass Anglers have played a vital role in this conservation project that will be enjoyed for generations to come.