Ahhh.. reminds me of home

Volunteers catch smallmouth bass for Apache Lake despite snowstorms
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor blowing snow deterred dedicated anglers trying to catch smallmouth bass at Roosevelt Lake on the weekend of Jan. 20-21 for transfer to Apache Lake to help this struggling but popular fishery.

“Our smallmouth bass transfer project was held last weekend in spite of the inclement weather. We had a total of eight volunteer anglers and contributions from two tournaments—Saguaro Saguaro Bassmasters and American Bass Association—to catch fish for our transfer effort,” said Jim Warnecke, the Mesa regional fisheries program manager.

There were seven smallmouth bass over 16 inches and two less than 13 inches caught, for a total of nine bronzebacks that found new homes in Apache Lake on Sunday during a snowstorm.

The fishery at Apache Lake was severely crippled by golden alga blooms the past several years. Biologists said that for some unknown reason, golden alga takes a toll on smallmouth bass populations. Apache Lake has long been considered Arizona’s premier smallmouth bass fishery.

“The Game and Fish Department will continue to explore acquisition of fingerling smallmouth bass to stock into Apache Lake, although initial costs of over $3 each for 50,000 fish needed for the lake seems cost prohibitive,” Warnecke said.

Exploration continues for spawning our own fish, he said, but space in the hatchery and getting enough brood stock to carry off the effort continue to be of concern.

“We’ll continue to keep the angling public in the loop as we progress. Scuba surveys are set for the end of March to look at fish use (all species) in our newly constructed habitat at Apache Lake,” Warnecke said.