by Blake Herzog
Fishing has legions of fans spanning generations for its special combination of meditative calm, bursts of splashy action, connection with nature, camaraderie with fellow anglers and, with the right combination of smarts and luck, healthy fresh food.
It’s a healthy multigenerational activity that can be shared with family and friends anytime of year but was basically invented for long, lazy summer days.
If you’ve never tried it or haven’t done it in Greater Prescott, fishing here will get you hooked on this most wholesome of outdoor pastimes. Lakes come in many sizes and shapes, with beautiful settings and a variety of habitats and environments to choose from.
Arizona Game and Fish’s Community Fishing Program stocks Fain Lake and the Yavapai Lakes in Prescott Valley, and the agency also stocks most of the water bodies in Prescott National Forest and the City of Prescott.
You’re most likely to encounter trout, bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill and sunfish in these waters, with others surfacing when you least expect them — some of these might need to be released into the water they came from because they are threatened or endangered.
One fish whose protected status has been in dispute, the roundtail chub, must be immediately released if caught. Gila trout is a threatened species but can be fished out of certain Arizona lakes including Lynx, Goldwater and Watson.
Everyone age 10 and older is required to have a fishing license for any publicly accessible waters in Arizona. A one-year fishing license costs $37 for adult Arizona residents and $55 for nonresidents. All youth licenses for ages 10 to 17 are $5. Annual combination hunting and fishing licenses are available for adults and youth, as well as short-term combo licenses paid by the day.
For more information visit
www.azgfd.com or see the web-based app at fishandboataz.azgfd.com, a good source of information specific to each lake as well as educational videos and info on state regulations.
Boating regulations vary and are listed below next to each Prescott area lake:
• Watson Lake, 3101 Watson Lake Rd. — All watercraft motor sizes are permitted but restricted to speeds which do not create a wake, and not over 5 mph in any case.
• Willow Lake, 1497 Heritage Park Rd. — Only boats with single electric motors allowed.
• Fain Lake, 2200 N. 5th St. — No boats permitted.
• Yavapai Lakes, 8700 Lakeshore Dr. — Boating permitted from sunrise to sunset; gas motors are prohibited.
Prescott National Forest
• Goldwater Lake, 2900 S. Goldwater Lake Rd. — Boating permitted, electric motors only.
• Lynx Lake, on Walker Road about 2 miles south of Costco — Boats with 10 horsepower or less single electric motors only.
• Granite Basin Lake, on Granite Basin Road about 3.5 miles north of Iron Springs Road — Single electric motors only.
• Mingus Lake, 2 miles east of AZ-89A on Forest Route 104 (dirt road) — Single electric motors only.