WMLF 2014 Summer Update

Becker Lake Update:

The dog days are upon us, but we have had pretty decent fishing in the White Mountains this spring and summer. I recently fished Becker Lake in the morning and landed 15 on a hopper, with the biggest running 21”-22”.  That being said, the triploids are not growing quite as large as we hoped when we initiated the improvements at Becker. The fishery biologists believe that it is possibly due to the water temperatures getting a bit too high in late summer and stressing the fish, with the largest, trophy trout suffering the most. An alternate theory is that the trout are competing for a limited amount of food. As an experiment, Fish and Game planted fewer fish this spring with the thought that if food availability is an issue, lower population densities should improve things. We will need to wait for the results to come in before a conclusion can be made. Still, a lake that routinely puts out fish larger than 20” is quite the success story.

Crescent Lake Update:

WMLF, with help from Arizona Flycasters, Desert Fly Casters, White Mountain Fly Fishing Club and the Sportsman for Wildlife Conservation funded the purchase of two different aerator units, a phase convertor, and a submersible pump that Arizona Game & Fish Department (AZGFD) evaluated over the winter. We are still waiting for the detailed results, but the verbal conclusion from AZGFD is that either aerator was acceptable in terms of energy usage and efficiency.  For more info on the two aerators purchased check out these links: http://www.varacorp.com/ and http://aireo2.com/. Additionally, the Crescent Lake Project has been approved by the US Forest Service (USFS), who used their own archaeologist to verify that there would be no detrimental impact by the installation of the aerators.  A formal report was submitted to AZGFD earlier this month. The next step is for AZGFD to get an approval from US Fish and Wildlife service (USFWS) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). As you can see there are a lot of moving parts in the equation, but we are confident that we will get all of the approvals needed. Speaking of Crescent—it has been fishing OK this summer, but it is weeding up quickly. There are still some holdovers in the lake, but the catch and keep anglers have thinned them out considerably.

WMLF Membership:

Our membership remains stable, with 62 paid annual members and 30 lifetime members. We appreciate your support, which is vital to our mission to improve the fisheries across Arizona—especially in the White Mountains area. As a “Thank You” to our membership we held our Second Annual “Becker Best Day” in May which featured internationally known stillwater fishing expert, Phil Rowley, a raffle, and a free lunch. Tom Tatro (New WMLF member, but well known to the fly fishing crowd) was the big raffle winner of the Custom Built Winston Rod—custom built by the very talented Dave Weaver.


Most of the WMLF funding comes from membership dues, donations from the state’s fly fishing clubs and other angling/outdoor organizations, and the occasional raffle. As of July 21, we have $11,682 in the bank. The board is unpaid, so every penny that is donated to WMLF is used in the pursuit of our primary mission.

Other News:

WMLF publicly supported the effort of the Town of Gilbert to change the regulations at the Water Ranch to eliminate treble and barbed hooks, and to make fishing for bass and sunfish “catch and release.” We also support the recent proposals to modify the regulations for Horton Creek, and Grant Creek to single barbless hook, artificial fly and lure only and catch and release only for trout, and to modify the regulations for Chevelon Creek to artificial fly and lure only, with reduced bag limits. We are also excited about the possibility of opening a catch and release seasons for Gila trout in Frye Creek and Apache trout in Upper East Fork-Little Colorado River, single barbless hook, artificial fly and lure only. All of these proposals will be presented to the Arizona Game & Fish Commissioners on Sept 5/6 for their consideration. The public is welcome to attend this meeting, which will be held at AZGFD Headquarters Office, Phoenix, 5000 W. Carefree Hwy.

We are also supporting the work of the Luna Lake Project/ Alpine Alliance to improve the fishing at Luna Lake. This lake struggles with excessive algae growth, and low oxygen, so summer/winter aeration might also help this lake.

What’s Next?

We are primarily focusing on Crescent Lake, but we are discussing with AZGFD other fisheries which could be improved. Lee Valley, Carnero and Tunnel are the most likely candidates. Each of these lakes has its own unique problem, and will require some unique solutions. We are also discussing with AZGFD the possibility of improving the habitat on the Lower Colorado River below the X Diamond Ranch. We will need to meet with the land owners and Pioneer Irrigation (who own the water rights) to figure out what is feasible and practical.

In conclusion, I would like to thank everyone again for your continued and unwavering support—working together we can make a difference!


John Rohmer
WMLF President

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John Rohmer Materials Gentry Smith Design When you display the Arizona Sportsmens Wildlife Conservation License Plate, Your are helping Arizona’s Wildlife by supporting the Wildlife Habitat Grant Funds for habitat restoration and Youth Education Programs. Click HERE for more information.

WMLF is a 501c3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible.