Outdoor sportsmen have a chance to enter the digital age this year, as the Arizona Game and Fish Department releases the results of what may be the first survey of its kind.
Game and Fish, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, are using modern technology to improve public lands, and to advertise some choice hunting and fishing spots throughout the state.
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Samantha L. submitted this photo of a bass caught in Lake Havasu.
Marlin Butt, 66, submitted this photo of a massive flathead he caught while fishing from a boat near Windsor Beach.
Butt lives in Wisconsin nine months out of the year and stays in Havasu from January through March. This was his fourth time out in the water fishing this season, he said. Butt said he fishes year-round, and is usually fishing once or twice a week in Wisconsin. He didn’t say how much the catfish weighed, but he said it’s the heaviest fish he’s ever caught.
“It was a 40-minute battle,” he said. “The pole was erratic — an 8-foot pole that bent a lot. It was a horseshoe — not the kind of rod I’d use when trying to get a fish that big.”
Dan and Terri Vincent submitted this photo of a spiny softshell turtle they caught while fishing for stripers in the lake. They were using anchovies near Mesquite Bay.
James Poff, of Apple Valley, Calif, held the lead in the FLW Costa professional series on Friday. At the weigh-in, his catches measured a collective 12 pounds.
Jonathan Fotino submitted this photo of a 29.02-pound, 39-inch flathead catfish he caught Monday in the Channel. He said he used a 6-inch live bluegill for bait. Fotino said it took roughly 6 minutes to reel in this monster, using 30-pound braided line, and a 25-pound monofilament leader.
Send your big fish photos to email@example.com. Be sure to include information about the type of bait you used and the location where you landed your catch.
Paul Tassie, and his son, Devon Tassie, caught this 8-pound largemouth bass on April 21. Paul Tassie says it's the largest bass he's landed. He caught it on a dropshot rig with a Roboworm, and it was released after the photo was taken.
Fran Bohl is shown with a 3-pound, 11-ounce, 14 3/4-inch bluegill she caught at Lake Havasu on Tuesday. The fish was caught on a chartreuse Blakemore Roadrunner while fishing for black bass near Steamboat Cove.
Teri Vincent caught this 7-pound, 11-ounce striper last Thursday at the mouth of the river in Lake Havasu on cut anchovies.
Greg Parker holds a largemouth bass that he caught on Lake Havasu. The lunker weighed 5.02 pounds and was big fish of the Kingman Bass Club Tournament on Lake Havasu.
Brendan Taylor, 7, of Torrance, California, caught this large bluegill Sunday with the help of his dad, Dustin. The two were fishing at Site Six while
vacationing at Lake Havasu.
Matt Clark shows off a bass he caught after a recent Lake Havasu fishing trip.
It was a trophy day for Jonathan Fotino and his buddies after a recent excursion on Lake Havasu. Here, he shows off one of the large bass they pulled from the lake.
Dom Caruso caught this bass on a recent fishing trip in Lake Havasu.
This 15-pound striper was caught by John Tramantano of New York State in Windsor Bay on Dec. 16. He caught it on a Lucky Craft Pointer 128.
Jonathan Fotino and Kevin Bomengen, shown here, caught three largemouth bass each, and "tons" of bluegill, on a recent fishing trip.
Jonathan Fotino and Kevin Bomengen caught three largemouth bass each, and "tons" of bluegill, on a recent fishing trip. Bomengen, shown here, caught a 6.2-pound largemouth using live bluegill.
Jonathan Fotino and Kevin Bomengen caught three largemouth bass each, and "tons" of bluegill, on a recent fishing trip.
Roger Porter of Lake Havasu City caught this 33-pound bass on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2015, using an Alabama rig at the north end of the main basin near Mesquite Bay.
Gary Dickey of Lake Havasu City caught this 15-pound striper over New Years' Day weekend near Windsor Beach. He says he used a 3/4-ounce jig head tipped with a bass assassin, casting in about 10 feet of water. Conditions were windy and cool.
Shaun Bailey and Mike Williams broke the Lake Havasu five-bass record Saturday with a limit weighing 30.01 pounds. Their biggest bass weighed 9.34 pounds. They were fishing the National Bass West Team tourney on Lake Havasu Dec. 5.
Shaun Bailey of Lake Havasu City pulls a bass out of his bag during the final weigh-in on Saturday afternoon. Bailey finished at No. 4 nabbing five fish on Saturday weighing 15 pounds 8 ounces. Bailey won $10,000
Timothy “TJ” Swan, of Vegreville, Alberta, handles a nine-pound striped bass on Sunday. The fish was caught at the fisherman’s pier at Site Six in Havasu.
First place winners Clint Goodwin and John Galbraith
Hector Brito, from Lake Havasu City, holds a 5.8 pound redear sunfish, Sunday, Feb. 16, on Lake Havasu. According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Brito broke a state record. It is yet to be determined whether or not Brito also broke an International Game Fish Association (IGFA) record. However, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, it is likely that Brito also broke the IGFA record.
Submitted photo. John Galbraith, of BassTackleMaster.com, holds up a 44-inch Flathead Catfish — coming in over 40-pounds — he caught on Lake Havasu, March 15. Galbreath pulled in the monster using a five-eighths ounce Spinnerbait.
Submitted photo courtesy of John Galbraith. Danny Locatis, of Lake Havasu City, shows off the largemouth bass he caught on Lake Havasu, Dec. 15. The 24-inch long, 19-inch in girth fish came in at 10.05-pounds, eight ounces shy of the lake record. He pulled it in using a 6-inch swimbait.
Submitted photo courtesy of John Galbraith. Lake Havasu City resident and professional angler Justin Kerr shows off his Colorado River record setting smallmouth bass; caught Nov. 8. The fish came in at 5.63 pounds, 21.25 inches long and a girth of 15.5 inches. Kerr’s catch beat the old record by eight ounces.
Submitted photo, courtesy of Edd Devoe. Eileen Devoe shows off the catch from her first fishing trip, an 11-pound cat caught in Lake Havasu.
Submitted photo, courtesy of John Galbraith of BassTackleMaster.com. George Lloyd of Lake Havasu City proudly shows off his catch, a 42-inch Striped bass weighing 34 pounds. Lloyd landed the fish with a Luckycraft Pointer 128 lure, at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
David Bell/News-Herald Photo. Tim Blanchard, left, of Bass Tackle Masters of Lake Havasu City, and Steven Wolken show off their catch following the weigh-in at Windsor Launch Ramps at Lake Havasu State Park during the 31st Lake Havasu Pro-Am Charity Bass Tournament last weekend.
Submitted photo. Dominic “Tater” Keirns, 6, shows off the 1.5 pound, 18-inch bluegill he caught near Pilot Rock July 31 with his grandfather. He caught the fish on nightcrawlers.
Submitted Photo courtesy of John Galbraith. David J. Smith, of Torrance, Calif., shows off his Colorado River record Redear Sunfish. Smith caught the 4.14 pound, 17. 25 inch fish Feb. 16 on a Dropshot worm on 8 pound test line at the Metropolitan Water District intake at the south end of Lake Havasu.
David Bell/News-Herald Photo. Havasu’s Mike Goodwin holds up his two biggest fish, catches that earned him the second sport in the standings of the FLW Series National Guard Western Division tournament on Lake Havasu Wednesday. Goodwin is one of five Lake Havasu City professionals in the Top 20 after Day 1 of fishing.
Photo courtesy of Tom Quigley. Russell Baron, of Lake Havasu City, shows off the smallmouth bass caught during a fishing expedition in the Bridgewater Channel Tuesday.
The Game and Fish Department sent postcards to a random sampling of 7,500 sportsmen who purchased hunting and fishing licenses last fall. Recipients were given online instructions and asked to participate in a survey. Through a Game and Fish departmental website, participants had the ability to highlight favorite spots throughout the state for hunting and fishing.
While the majority of “treasured” public lands were located in the areas of Maricopa and Pima Counties, the Lake Havasu Area was marked as an important site for anglers and hunters of mule deer, cold and warm water fish, quail, doves and bighorn sheep.
The process is called “Hunt and Fish Value Mapping,” and TRCP has been doing it since 2007. They started in other states, creating paper maps to convey information about favored hunting and fishing grounds, which would later be transferred to a digital medium. When TRCP approached Game and Fish with its proposal to map these areas in Arizona, the department suggested giving the survey and data a digital, online format.
Richard Lawrence is the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Program Director for Game and Fish, and has been working with TRCP since late 2014. After responses were received from the 2015 survey, the department examined data throughout late 2015 and compiled a study that, according to Lawrence, may be the first of its kind.
“I think we may be the only game and fish department to have a survey like this,” Lawrence said. “Other states have done value-mapping, but I believe we’re the only ones who have one to this extent.”
The data collected will ensure that Arizonans’ valued hunting and fishing locations in Arizona will be protected and maintained, and will show land managers and lawmakers the locations of hunting and fishing lands so that opportunities for outdoor sportsmen can be better protected.
“I think this information is invaluable,” Lawrence said. “As I talk with park managers, they tell me that they always suspected the value of some places for hunting and fishing, or suspected that they were popular, but it was all supposition. Now there is a scientifically-built data set. This is essential for giving hunters and fishermen their voice about lands that have the most value to them. We’ve asked, ‘what do our customers think is valuable?’ Up until now we never had a map for these specific locations.”
The survey included questions about why sportsmen identified an area as being important, and determined trends based on family tradition, distance from the participant’s home or abundance of game. The Game and Fish Department says that these answers demonstrate the importance of maintaining fish and wildlife habitats in Arizona, and to provide readily-available public access for hunting and angling.
“Some of the most valued public hunting and fishing areas in Arizona are at risk because of deteriorating habitat conditions, limited access and increased development pressures,” said TRCP field representative John Hammill. “With the help of sportsmen, we’ve been able to pinpoint lands that are cherished for their hunting and fishing values, so that land managers can prioritize habitat conservation and enhancement of public access in these areas.”