Canyon Creek and Tonto Creek Hatchery Support for Production of Native Fish for Recreational Stocking

    There are two facets of native trout work being done by AZGFD to reestablish these fish and bring them to the attention of fishers and the public. The recovery efforts of both Gila and Apache trout in their historic ranges helps return populations of these important native trout to streams that have been negatively impacted by loss of habitat, forest fires, overfishing, and competition and interbreeding with introduced trout. AZGFD’s efforts are making a difference! In some of these streams, population numbers have grown and stabilized to the point that Catch and Release fishing, outside of their spawning window, is now possible.

    These recovery streams are hard for the general public to access as most are in remote or rugged sections of the state. The work of Canyon Creek Hatchery and Tonto Creek Hatchery here in Rim Country has been critical in the production of Gila and Apache trout that are being raised for recreational fishing in waters within the historic range of these native trout, but in waters that are not being managed as recovery streams, and much easier to access.

    These waters offer anglers an opportunity to catch our two native trout species, appreciate their beauty, and hopefully foster support for both the Department’s recreational fishing and recovery programs program to help Gila and Apache trout.

      Our Members have helped raise over $25,000 to help Canyon Creek and Tonto Creek Hatcheries purchase equipment beyond the limits to the hatchery budgets to increase recreational opportunities to catch native trout.


Tonto Creek Hatchery Apache trout production
            At Tonto Creek Hatchery, donations have helped provide better oxygen delivery to the young Apache Trout being raised on-site. Recently installed ultra-violet light filters have provided protection against bacteriological pathogens in the water which has drastically increased the yield and health of the Apache trout eggs and fry that benefit from this additional filtering system. Donations helped fund the purchase and installation of these filters to protect the young Apache trout.
Recently we donated unique squeegee/brooms and handles to the hatchery to facilitate their cleaning of the raceways.

Canyon Creek

Canyon Creek Hatchery Gila trout Broodstock Propagation Program
            The Canyon Creek Hatchery Gila Trout broodstock propagation program has used these funds to help with the purchase and installation of decking to access their six 1500 gallon circular broodstock tanks, dissolved oxygen systems to help the broodstock adults especially during the stressful breeding season, incubator tray systems that mimic the conditions of eggs being laid in the well oxygenated stream gravel, upwelling jars to gently tumble the eggs as they develop into young fry, and automatic feeders to minimize human contact that frightens the very wild acting Gila trout that otherwise would stop feeding for hours if the feeders were not being utilized.
Recently we donated unique squeegee/brooms and handles to the hatchery to facilitate their cleaning of the raceways.

Silver Creek

Silver Creek, just north of Show Low, is a two hour drive from Payson. This spring-fed creek that maintains 60 degree temperatures all year, is stocked with Apache trout and very large rainbow trout during the Catch and Release season from October 1 – March 31. The rest of the year, the creek is under the normal regulations that allow for the keeping fish to daily bag limits.

            The stream is generally a slow moving current that is fished from the banks where openings in the reed growth allow access to the stream. Last summer, flash flood damage severely impacted the stream and reduced the depth in several sections, and exponentially increased the reed growth along the banks.

            While there is substantial and expensive stream improvement work planned by AZGFD for Silver Creek, there was some recent work that our members volunteered to help with that drastically improved access to about a 1/4 mile of the stream, and increased the depth of the stretch just above the footbridge. 

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Thank You!