Fishing is a thing in Arizona; 500,000 fishermen say it is. I suppose the 40 million in the U.S. say it is too.
All those fishermen need one key thing to make it all worthwhile – fish. The Arizona Game and Fish Department accommodates them by stocking lots of fish – and in our neck of the woods, that means trout.
Have you ever wondered what happens to those thousands of trout? Game and Fish did, so they studied trout in Arizona streams, and here is what they learned.
Researchers confirmed that planning fishing trips along with the stocking schedule is a good strategy. As the number of days pass since the last stocking in your favorite body of water, the odds of you catching a trout drop each day.
Most trout do not survive past one week of being stocked. There are exceptions, of course, but between anglers, osprey, raccoons and other critters that like fish, the fish don’t escape being someone’s dinner for very long.
Trout do not move far from stocking locations. Many trout travel less than 200 yards, but some traveled 10 miles to find a suitable home in a stream.
Anglers spend a lot of time fishing. I know, what else would an angler do? But as far as Arizona streams, depending on the stream, anglers invested between 3,600 hours to 13,800 hours fishing and they basically caught .6 to 1 fish per hour fished.
Game and Fish also learned that stocking more fish really does not affect the catch rate or angler satisfaction. They doubled the stocking in some streams and doing so barely budged the fish catch-rate, so the current stocking levels seem to be on the mark.
But fishing curmudgeons have issues. It seems fishermen more than 50 years old are less satisfied with lower fish catch rates when compared to younger anglers. Maybe the old guys need to take a youngster fishing to improve their perspective.
Also, we learned that multitaskers have too much stuff. The angler who carried spinning gear, fly fishing gear, bait casting gear and tried using them all on a trip were less satisfied than the anglers who stuck with one set of gear. Makes perfect sense to me. Maybe that’s why younger anglers are happier -- they can’t afford all that stuff and use what they like to use or use only what they have.
So go grab a rod and go have some fun. There is a fish waiting for you.