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Salmo22 01-04-2009 08:34 AM

Trophy Trout Lake Potential?
In your opinion, what lake in the White Mountain region (that is not on tribal land) has the greatest potential to become a trophy stillwater fishery? Remember, I'm talking potential - not what is producing the best at this particular time. For the purposes of this discussion, I don't want to consider tribal stillwaters - I'll explain why later.

Like several members of this forum, I'm a life member of the Henry's Lake Foundation (a non-profit) that works to preserve and enhance this stillwater as a trophy trout fishery I'm convinced that without the foundation's efforts Henry's Lake would not be what it is today. I absolutely love Henry's Lake and wonder why we can't have something similar in Arizona. Specifically, why can't we form a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation and start working with the AZ Game & Fish to develop a trophy stillwater fishery like Henry's. It would take some political assistance to get the G&F to take this seriously; however, I believe it can be done. The reason I don't think the same is possible on tribal land is specifically because we can't bring the same political pressure to bear that we could on the G&F.

So back to my original question. If you were going to choose a single stillwater in AZ that you believe has the potential (if managed correctly) to become a world class stillwater trophy fishery - which one would it be? BTW, I'm not thinking exotic species for such a lake. I'm of the opinion it should be Rainbows and Brookies (maybe Browns).

I would choose Crescent Lake. Other than size, Crescent has many of the atributes (like Henry's Lake) that I believe give it the potential to become something very special. What do you think? More importantly, would you become active in a "? Lake Foundation"? I have several acquaintences currently serving in the AZ legislature and believe they would help. Heck, we could get Dub appointed to the G&F Commission :D

Am I nuts or is this possible?

I would not consider Big Lake simply because I don't think any amount of political pressure will change if from the "put & take" fishery it has historically been. Big lake is just too darn popular with the bait crowd.

CHIEF 01-04-2009 09:56 AM

Big, Crescent, Becker, Lee Valley, and Luna are the only choices but if I were to choose one it would be Becker even though the scenery is not much for being in the alpine area but it's big enough so crowds won't be that bad.
There is plenty of food, different drop offs, nice weeds beds, gravel beds, and most of all has in the past produced BIG fish. So this is the one I would pick.
The White Mountain Fly Fishing Club has introduce some changes with Becker and it has done well with getting bigger and better fish. I applaud this group for doing some thing to this lake where as in the past the lake was being fished out.


aztightlines 01-04-2009 10:32 AM

I will put in two cents and say I agree, Crescent is the best choice.

Big Lake should and will remain the most popular destination (I love fishing that lake, with all the barking dogs, yelling kids, tourists), but I think Cresent has the best chance of becoming a trophy fishery.

Alpinefly 01-04-2009 02:01 PM

Many possibilities !!!
Good possibilities. Crescent has all the pluses for trout to grow big (love fishing Damsel nymphs in this place & fond memories of large Brookies). One big problem is over growth of weed that needs to be controlled, shallow, & Winter Kill. Big Lake can be a trophy factory (the trout like to munch on these lobster size craw fish whole & that adds to good trout growth, along with other great food for the trout). The lake is deep and large with nice structure & places for trout to hide. The negative is high fishing pressure that it receives along with the put & take ethic (instead of catch & release). Too many bait boys showing up.
Becker is indeed a trophy factory, but again the fishing pressure it will receive can turn into a negative. Luna has had fish kill in the drought times, and hopefully will come back in a positive matter. Lee Valley, I would even like to see full return of Grayling in this lake as well. It has many possibilities.
In all it comes to fishery management, and I believe we all can have a big say so in how such management is handled !!!!;)

Mr.Smith 01-04-2009 02:12 PM

What about Carnero? Slightly off the beaten path, known to produce good fish and it is quite a bit bigger than Lee Valley. I think the biggest problem with the lakes already suggested is that they are too easily accessed. Easy access = easy stocking and easy promotion for the put and take crowd. Carnero would be an easier sell to get special management as "we" (C&R artificial lures/flies guys) pretty much already "own" it.

Dub 01-04-2009 02:54 PM're reading my mind
Hey Jeff....You are reading my mind. I was going to bring it up on this forum about forming a White Mtn Lake foundation but wanted to run it by AZG&F when I meet with them this month concerning Crescent. Then I got to thinking if we go WMLF then guys from the rim would want to know why they weren't included, then the Flagstaff guys, etc. so I was going to mull it around awhile before I said anything.
I am a member of the HLF as well and see what can be done when a concerned group of anglers get together to bring about better fishing. It is because of the last few years fishing HL and then some of the lakes in Utah and Idaho that got me going on the petitions.
AZG&F has already done some research on possible better solutions to some of our lakes. I don't know if I should say much because if things don't happen then I don't want to hear any negative feedback later. I was told I would have an audience with one of the local AZG&F guys down here along with several of the reps in the White Mtn's. When this will happen depends on their scheduling but I know Crescent is one of the lakes at the top of thier list along with Becker.
I personally think Crescent is the best choice to start with, but Carnero, Luna, Lee Valley all have potential. The shallow weedy basin lakes are the richest and ones that need help sustaining water. They grow fish the fastest but are the first to suffer summer and winter kills.
I will keep everyone posted as soon as I hear anything. Lets' think hard about forming some sort of foundation that can help AZG&F and the Tribe as well. Money talks and when you have some money to back up your ideas they tend to listen a little bit more. I learned this being a member of the UAAF. We raised a lot of money to plant bass is the Salt River chain lakes and AZG&F was all over it. Let's do it.


Alpinefly 01-04-2009 03:49 PM

Agree !!!!!
Beautiful idea...I'm all for it !!!!!:cheers:

Salmo22 01-04-2009 04:11 PM

Dub for AZG&F Commission
Knowing about your petitions (I think I may have signed twice) and all the discussions you've had with the AZG&F, WMAT, and others; I figured you were already headed in this direction.

Like you, I don't think we would be as effective to try and cover too much ground in the beginning. That is why I mentioned picking one lake. By focusing our efforts and money on a single project would have the best chance to succeed. You are right about raising some money to get AZG&F's attention. Once we had one home run we could then analyze changing scope.

One of the reasons I picked Crescent was its proximity to Big Lake. Sometimes when you create a trohpy fishery in an area that does not offer alternatives for the put-n-take and bait folks, you end up fighting a losing battle with poaching and regulation enforcement. Look at all the problems with Canyon Creek. With Big Lake nearby, people would have alternative choices. My wife was raised in Alpine and my father-in-law tells me there are several springs that could be developed next to Crescent. As an amateur fisheries biologist ;), I think developing a couple of springs to feed Crescent year round and AZG&F conducting a fall weed cutting would help with winter and summer kills. I also think because Crescent is slightly closer to the valley than Becker or Luna, we could get more people involved in a foundation. Becker and Luna are both great lakes; however, they are a long way from the valley.

At the end of the day, I don't particularly care what lake we choose (Luna is my personal favorite because of my wife living in Alpine). I simply think creating a foundation to raise money to support enhancement projects and establish partnerships with various County, State and Federal agencies would result in real success.

Tell me how I/we can help you. I truly do have some friends on the Legislature and would be happy to ask for their assistance if you think it would be helpful. I really believe we could have a world class trophy trout stillwater in the White Mountains that would rival any in Idaho, Utah, Montana, etc.

You da man!

Dub 01-04-2009 07:41 PM

Jeff.....Try and figure out the best way to go about getting this thing off the ground. I have already talked with TU and a chapter of FFF and they have indicated they would get behind it.
I was just going to take it easy and see what AZG&F had to say about it before I started anything but since you have jumped on it...let's get it rolling.
I beleive once AZG&F sees how much use a good trophy fishery would get there would be many more opportunities come up for future projects. One step at a time, though.


Lucky 01-04-2009 09:14 PM

In order to do everything legal for a non profit it will be at least $1,000 to get non profit status from the IRS. If you want to be a not for profit corporation that is much less costly. The not for profit can't accept or offer charitable contributions.

These costs are assuming someone will set up the corporation and fill out the 1045 application for free. There are quite a few other items that would need to be done.

You will need articles, by-laws, a policy for non discrimination and provide any flyers or hand outs as part of the application process.

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