Chandler lake finally stocked with catfish - East Valley Tribune: News

Chandler lake finally stocked with catfish

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Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2008 9:17 pm | Updated: 9:05 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

George Guerrero hasn't been able to use a fishing pole he bought especially for Chandler's newest lake because a leak has kept the city from stocking it.

VIDEO: Watch the lake at Veterans Oasis Park get stocked with fish

George Guerrero hasn't been able to use a fishing pole he bought especially for Chandler's newest lake because a leak has kept the city from stocking it.

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That changed Thursday as a yellow truck bearing "Mr. Fish" on the door and hauling a massive tank pulled into Veterans Oasis Park at Lindsay and Chandler Heights roads to dump 500 pounds of flailing catfish into the water.

"I seen this lake and I bought a fishing pole," said Guerrero, who lives about a mile from the lake and rode his bicycle over to watch the noontime stocking.

"It's a pretty exciting day," said Sandy Munoz-Weingarten, a naturalist with the city. "We're getting our first stocking here."

The 5-acre lake, which is part of a 113-acre recreation area, has been leaking since it opened in March.

Engineers had to drain the lake to find the leak, repair it and then monitor the water level, which delayed the stocking of the fish.

Dave McDowell, assistant community services director, said the contractor - not the city - paid for the repairs.

The contractor signed off on the repairs on Aug. 7, according to city documents.

"I'm going to be doing some fishing," Guerrero said as he watched the fish being dumped into the lake.

The Valley's 15 other urban lakes were also stocked Thursday and will be every two weeks until next summer, according to Eric Swanson of the Arizona Game and Fish Department and program manager for the Urban Fishing Program. The lakes don't get stocked for 2½ months in the summer, Swanson said.

The park, which cost $22 million and includes biking and hiking trails, a wetlands habitat that doubles as storage for reclaimed water and an Environmental Education Center, has been quiet since it opened. Munoz-Weingarten said the lack of fishing, the excessive heat and street construction on Chandler Heights Road that hindered visitors, has kept people away. Mostly a few joggers, hikers and birdwatchers could be seen in the mornings.

At times fisherman would visit and leave disappointed to learn there was nothing to catch.

One man with his two sons just shrugged and left his pole in the water when he was informed there were no fish, Munoz-Weingarten said.

"I expect we'll get a lot of people out here this weekend trying to hook the big one," she said.

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