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Sun, Sept. 22

Stocked cove ready for fishermen at Great Outdoors event

Joe Baynes, City of Prescott parks and rec director, looks on as Lonell Crowther of Crowther’s Freshwater Trout of Colorado unloads 700 pounds of rainbow trout into Watson Lake for the second annual Great Outdoors event. (Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier)

Joe Baynes, City of Prescott parks and rec director, looks on as Lonell Crowther of Crowther’s Freshwater Trout of Colorado unloads 700 pounds of rainbow trout into Watson Lake for the second annual Great Outdoors event. (Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier)

PRESCOTT -  Hundreds of trout gushed from a hatchery truck into the waters of Watson Lake Friday evening - all in preparation for the stocked fishing cove that will be a centerpiece of this weekend's Great Outdoors event.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday, aspiring fishermen will be able to try their luck in the two-acre netted cove, which extends from the old (north) boat ramp at Prescott's Watson Lake.

Butting up to the scenic Granite Dells that ring the lake, the cove provides plenty of space for fishing. Prescott Special Projects Administrator Eric Smith estimates that the area could accommodate as many as 300 to 400 young fishermen.

Organizers are encouraging fishermen to bring their own gear, but Smith noted that Arizona Game and Fish will have 100 fishing poles available for those who don't have gear. Bait and tackle will also be provided.

The truck from Crowthers Freshwater Trout of La Jara, Colo., supplied about 700 pounds of trout of various sizes. Lonell Crowther said he loaded the fish at about 4 a.m. Friday from his Alamosa, Colo.-area hatchery. He made the 700-mile trip, and arrived just before 6 p.m. Friday.

The stocked rainbow trout measure mostly between 10 inches and 14 inches, but some are considerably larger, at about 24 inches.

Smith said another delivery was expected this morning from the Page Springs Hatchery. With that delivery of 11-to-12-inch trout, the fishing cove will be teeming with about 1,000 fish.

The local Kiwanis organization, which donated $5,000 toward the cost of the fish-stocking, will also provide volunteers at the fishing cove. Smith said volunteers would be available to help with baiting hooks, and removing fish from the hooks.

For those who make a catch, Smith said, "We're providing ice and Zip-lock bags, so they can take the fish home."

The fish will remain in the cove throughout the weekend. Smith said the city plans to remove the nets Monday morning and allow any remaining fish into the rest of the lake.

The fishing cove is just one of many activities that are planned for today and Sunday at Prescott's Watson Lake, located near the corner of Highway 89 and Willow Lake Road.

The event also will include: displays and exhibits by the Arizona Game and Fish Department; live music on the Watson Lake lawn with performances by Mogollon and Big Daddy D & the Dynamites on Saturday, and The Cool Water Band and Ashley Wineland on Sunday; a 300-foot zip line; Live Creatures Sporting Equipment displays; food; rappelling; kayaking; disc golf; camping; workshops by noted outdoor survival skills expert Cody Lundin, and booths and exhibits.

Admission is $5 per day for adults, $3 for ages 7 through 17; and free for six and younger.

Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks.

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