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Community Fishing Program

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Through a cooperative program between Arizona Game and Fish and the Town of Gilbert, community fishing lakes are stocked throughout the year for fishing recreation.


Beginning January1, 2015 Water Ranch Lake was converted to catch-and-release only for bass and sunfish.  All bass and sunfish must be immediately released unharmed.  Anglers are still be able to catch-and-keep trout, catfish and all other species. Also included in the changes is a conversion to using single barbless hooks only at Water Ranch, however bait can still be used.  In addition, new bag limits at Water Ranch are 2 catfish and 2 trout. 

Did you know...

  • McQueen, Discovery and Freestone Parks are now stocked with catch and keep fish. 
  • You can check the stocking schedule at 
  • The Arizona Game and Fish Department makes a minimum of 6 fish stockings per year in each of our 4 lakes.
  • In 2013, urban anglers expended approximately $7 million dollars to go fishing in program waters, helping to spur economic growth in local economies.
  • 72 cents out of each license dollar goes towards the stocking of fish.
  • You can de-barb a hook by pinching down the barb with needle nosed pliers. Make sure you cannot see or feel the barb.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who pays for the Community Fishing Program?

The Community Fishing Program is a cooperative effort between the Town of Gilbert and Arizona Game and Fish. The program is primarily funded by the sale of Fishing Licenses and from the Town parks and recreation department. 

What is the limit at Community Fishing Lakes?
Daily bag and possession limits:

Fish Species

Daily Bag Limits

Minimum Size Limit



Riparian at Water Ranch


Discovery & McQueen













13 inches or more

Sunfish: various species including bluegill, redear, green & hybrid




White Amur (grass carp)



30 inches or more


Statewide limits apply to all other species

Are the fish safe to eat?

Yes, the fish are safe to eat. 

Overseeing the quality and health of the lakes and the fish involves a partnership between the cities, the Game and Fish Department and the Department of Environmental Quality. Lake water quality is monitored to ensure compliance with state standards. The trout, catfish, bass and sunfish stocked into the lakes come from reputable fish farms with strict fish health standards and quality control practices. Most of the stocked fish don't stay in the lakes for long, as 80% of the stocked fish are caught within 30 days. Finally, remember that proper handling and cooking of your catch will ensure a healthy and delicious meal! 

What types of fish are in community fishing locations?

  • Catchable rainbow trout are stocked during the winter (November to March)
  • Channel catfish are stocked during the warmer season in the spring and fall.  
  • Bluegill or Readear sunfish are stocked annually in the spring.

What kind of license do I need to fish the designated Community Fishing Lakes and where can I purchase one?

If you are over 10 years of age or older, one of the following licenses is required:

  • Community Fishing or
  • General Fishing or
  • Youth Combination Hunt and Fish (ages 10-17) or
  • Combination Hunt and Fish (18 and over)
    Licenses can be purchases at any one of 320 convenient sporting goods or retail dealer statewide, any Game and fish office or online at 

Additional Information

  • A Fishing License is required for any person age 10 and older. Children 9 and younger can fish without a license.
  • Attend to your line, that is, stay near your fishing pole at all times.
  • The hook, fly or lure must be used in such a manner that the fish voluntarily attempt to take it in their mouths.
  • It is a violation to fail to keep all edible portions of fish in an edible condition or to leave fish to die. This is wasting game meat.

Fishing Lakes can be found at the following parks

Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch Lake
Hours: 5:30 am to 10:00 pm
Acres: 5 acres.
Depth: Maximum depth 15 feet.
Rules: Swimming, wading, glass containers and littering are prohibited. Boating not allowed. No fishing from bridge. Personal flotation devices are permitted in Water Ranch Lake only. Personal flotation devices are devices designed expressly for fishing, are used without paddles or oars, are propelled by kickfins, and which have a seat, arms and back to support the occupant.  Other rules as posted.

Discovery Park 
Hours: 5:30 am to 10:00 pm
Acres: Upper 1 acre, Lower 2 acres.  
Depth: Maximum depth 12 feet.
Rules: Swimming, wading, glass containers and littering are prohibited. Boating not allowed. Other rules as posted.

McQueen Park
Hours: 5:30 am to 10:00 pm
Acres: 2 acres.  
Depth: Maximum depth 10 feet.
Rules: Swimming, wading, glass containers and littering are prohibited. Boating not allowed. Other rules as posted.

Freestone Park

Hours: 5:30 am to 10:00 pm
Acres: 4 acres.  
Depth: Maximum depth 10 feet.
Rules: Swimming, wading, glass containers and littering are prohibited. Boating not allowed. Other rules as posted.  

2015 Hunting and Fishing License Information
For current stocking updates and fishing reports visit 

Information includes weekly stocking schedules, the current Community Fishing Program Bulletin, and Big Fish-of-the-Year records.