TEMPE, Ariz. - Tempe Town Lake is becoming a puddle as the water continues to drain so the city can install a new dam. Meanwhile, Arizona Game and Fish Department staffers are casting their nets, collecting as many fish as they can from the lake.
The water from the lake is diminishing, revealing the rocky bottom and long lost items on the lake floor, such as rocks, trash, sunglasses and cell phones.
"We have been pulling out large mouth bass, channel catfish, blue gill, sunfish.. quite a few bait fish," said AZGFD's Ron Mixan.
The fish are then transferred into the marina, which will be their temporary home until the lake fills up again.
"We're shooting for 1,100 fish.. total of nine species we're looking for and then 4,000 bait fish as well," said Mixan.
Right now, the deepest part of the lake is eight feet deep. AZGFD officials say they haven't found anything crazy or surprising.
"We haven't really found anything weird like we thought we would.. lots of old shoes, we've seen quite a few purses. We haven't seen any guns, no knives, no drugs or anything like that.. no alligators.. we did not find any piranhas," said Mixan.
The draining process is proving beneficial for several birds, including blue herrings and even pelicans, which are feasting on the easy catches.
AZGFD will continue their unique fishing expedition for the next couple of weeks until all 880 million gallons of water has finally been released.
The City of Tempe expects the lake to be fully dry in less than two weeks and the lake should be filled up again with water and fish by the end of April.