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    No Catch and Release For Gilbert Lake - Desert Rat - The Premier Hunting and Fishing Blog of the Southwest!

    No Catch and Release For Gilbert Lake

    Gilbert panel kills catch and release program

    Gilbert panel kills catch and release program

    Blake Herzog, Tribune

    The idea of a catch and release program at Water Ranch Lake is dead, killed off by chronic infestation of the 5-acre lake with golden algae. The Gilbert Parks and Recreation Advisory Board decided last week not to pursue the catch and release policy proposed earlier this year, convinced by a report from the ranger for the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch that the lake can’t sustain a fish population on its own.

    “From a purely biological standpoint, I believe that without extraordinary effort on the part of the town the (Water Ranch Lake) is unsustainable as a permanent fishing resource,” park ranger Scott Cleaves wrote in the report. “In my opinion, the bi-weekly stocking program currently provided in cooperation with the (Arizona Game and Fish Department) remains the best biological option for the lake.”

    Game and Fish’s Urban Fishing Program stocks the lake every other week with catfish in the winter and trout in the summer. These are full-grown fish that have a better chance of surviving in the lake - where the bottom of the food chain has been wiped out by the algicide used to control the golden algae - until they are caught.

    Cleaves said during the parks board’s Tuesday meeting the persistence of the golden algae problems at Water Ranch Lake mean “it’s literally like fishing in a barrel, and it’s not going to get any better.”

    Golden algae was most recently detected in the lake in early May, which is against the norm because it usually dies off in hotter weather, Cleaves said. But the algae in general thrives in water with high conductivity, or ability to transmit electrical current through dissolved solids, and Water Ranch has the highest conductivity of any urban lake in the Valley.

    Read the full Tribune article at the link above.

    I’m not sure why they weren’t happy with the program they have currently. I hope this isn’t a drive towards the perception that catch & release is more “PC”.

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