For desert dwellers itching to escape the triple-digit heat, there’s a refreshing remedy – head to the cool, pine-scented high country for some of the extra trout that Arizona Game and Fish Department employees and volunteers having been stocking.
As desert temperatures consistently crack 100 degrees in the Valley, visit the mountain regions before the summer heat raises lake temperatures and trout activity patterns slow down. Summer has officially started, yet great spring-like fishing remains – for now.
Due to evacuation of the Tonto Creek Hatchery earlier this month during the Highline Fire, Willow Springs Lake on the Mogollon Rim was stocked extra-heavy with 7,080 catchable rainbow trout and a similar number of tiger trout. Also, nearby Woods Canyon Lake was stocked recently with 7,800 catchable rainbow trout as well as tiger trout.
There are many scenic, family friendly streams in Rim country that are consistently stocked, such as Tonto Creek, Canyon Creek and the East Verde River. In the White Mountains, try the East Fork of the Black River, Little Colorado River in Greer, Show Low Creek or Silver Creek – all are fishing excellent.
In the Flagstaff and Williams region, possible hot spots to try are Ashurst, Kaibab and Dogtown lakes.
Where The Money Comes From
More than half of the money used for the AZGFD hatchery program comes from the Sport Fish Restoration Program. It was created through the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950 (Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act) and the Wallop-Breaux amendments of 1984.
Through a federal excise tax paid by manufacturers on fishing gear and motorboat fuels, it provides grant funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.
And if you don’t have a license, purchase one online, 24/7. A General Fishing License is $37 for residents and $55 for non-residents, Combo Hunt & Fish Licenses are $57 and Youth Combo Hunt and Fish Licenses are $5. All are good for 365 days from the date of purchase and help conserve wildlife.
For more information, sign up for our Weekly Fishing Report or visit azgfd.gov.