Hello, anglers!

One month ago, the record for the heaviest recorded fish in state history went, timber. This week, another record nearly dropped.

If you were to walk through the front door to the home of Joshua Blackson, youd see a striped bass, mounted and shining. On May 10, Arizona Game & Fish Department officials verified Blackson, 41, of Glendale, had caught a 28-pound, 15.68-ounce striper from Lake Pleasant.

Nearly another inland waters, hook-and-line state record. Bob Liddington of Phoenix holds the record with his 29-pound, 13.76-ounce striper from Lake Pleasant in 2010.

Blackson said his striper weighed just more than 30 pounds on a hand-held scale before he brought it to Game and Fish headquarters.

Its strange to catch a 30-pound striper in Arizona, Blackson said. Its unique because were not known for stripers in inland lakes, anyway. I never expected a 30-pound striper.

This after a record-setter in April. Eddie Flathead Ed Wilcoxson boated a 76.52-pound flathead catfish, which became the heaviest recorded fish of any species in state history.

Blacksons was special, especially considering it was a windy, cruddy fishing morning and he was using 6-pound test line. Blackson was about to end his fishing day and head back to the dock on his 18-foot Bass Tracker when something gulped his live shad. The striper bolted from 50 feet of water into the channel, nearly yanking all the line from the spool. He was peeling drag, Blackson said, I actually put my hand on the spool to turn him. When I turned him, he was pooped out.

Surely this was a catfish, Blackson thought. The fish came to the side of the boat monster striper.

During the 20-minute fight at the Agua Fria end of the lake, Blacksons 73-year-old father, Gene Blackson, cut four lines that were in the water. To end the fray, Gene netted the fish. I couldnt have done it without him, Joshua Blackson said of his dad.

In many desert lakes such as Lake Pleasant, shad are spawning. Anglers can grab a four-foot throw net and snatch shad that tend to race along the shoreline. One accurate netting can scoop up enough bait for the day.

Overall, water temperatures in desert lakes such as Lake Pleasant range from 70-77 degrees, depending on water depth. This is about six weeks behind the seasonal average, changing the relied upon fishing patterns. For example, carp already are in a heavy spawn, and stripers reportedly have yet to spawn.

With air temperatures in desert lakes consistency hitting, or near, 100 degrees, the pine country is the place to be. Crescent Lake reportedly is a hot spot, as are Chevelon, Woods Canyon, and Willow Springs lakes. Last week, Tonto Creek Hatchery stocked Tonto Creek, Haigler Creek, Christopher Creek, the East Verde River, Lower Salt River and Crescent Lake. See more details in the full report.

You might need your summer stocking schedule.

Also, catfish are being stocked at all Urban Fishing Program lakes and ponds through May 18. Bluegill and other sunfish species are spawning.

And dont forget to send your fishing stories and photos to BFishing@AZGFD.gov.   back...
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