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Willow Beach trout anglers taking advantage of weekly stocking

WON Staff Writer
Published: Oct 25, 2017
WILLOW BEACH, Ariz. — Swimbait chuckers on the prowl for big largemouth and striped bass were understandably fired when it was announced that trout stocking would resume in early 2017, but what about trout anglers? While the area is historically known for trophy stripers, there always has been a dedicated trout-fishing community, and they are enjoying the return of rainbows as well.

“YOU KNOW THE trout are good sizedwhen they are almost as big as your catfish!” said Las Vegas angler Carmelo “Pokey” Castro after teaming up with his wife for these quality Willow Beach rainbows. Word is, his wife, Shea Hill, did most of the damage. The catfish ate an anchovy.

Trout from Willow Beach hatchery get stocked at multiple locations near Willow Beach Marina on a weekly basis, and that is slated to continue on a year-round basis as the water in that area stays cool enough to support trout all year. As stockers go, these fish are very respectable at 1 to 3 pounds on average.

Las Vegas angler Carmelo Castro is a Willow Beach regular with a solid resume’ when it comes to pulling big stripers from the area, but on a recent outing, he and his wife Shea Hill ran across some rainbows and couldn’t resist.

“I wasn’t down there for trout, but I never leave the house without my jigs,” said Castro. “We got the trout around the weed lines near the tree line on the Nevada side.”

It was actually Hill who did most of the damage as Castro stuck to swimbaits while she fired away at the rainbows, and their stringer of 7 quality rainbows was topped off by a nice catfish that ate an anchovy.

The Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery lost it’s cold-water intake system in November of 2013 and the operation was shut down for what turned out to be three years. In October 2016, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced trout production was set to get going again after a new cold water intake was installed. The first stocks from the hatchery were trout from the Arizona Fish and Game Department, but in December 2016, 110,000 trout eggs from Montana arrived at the Willow Beach Hatchery, and those were hatched and the trout are being raised for later release.

Overall, striped bass fishing has been fair with a couple 14-plus pounders falling for anchovies and AC Plugs, and much of that activity has been within the first few mile markers south of Willow Beach. Fishing is still good for both stripers and catfish for anglers using cut anchovies or sardines off the Fishing Pier in Willow Beach Marina.

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