A gift of $25,000 was made to Arizona Game and Fish by the Mogollon Sporting Association. Taking part in the presentation were, from left, Trevor Nelson, Canyon Creek Hatchery manager; Geoffrey Rabinovich, state hatchery program manager; Ted Pettet, a founding member of MSA; Jake Swartwood, MSA president; Ashley Hammans, fish culturist II at Canyon Creek Hatchery; Kyle Tulisiak, hatchery manager II, eastern region.

The Mogollon Sporting Association has donated to many projects in Rim Country. They have supported the Payson Unified School District; ranchers seeking to provide water and habitat improvements that benefit wildlife on their land; and a variety of outdoor education efforts.

That support continued this week with a $25,000 donation to the Canyon Creek Hatchery to help bring Gila trout to many of the streams in Rim Country.

Jake Swartwood, MSA president, and Ted Pettet, a founding member of the MSA, presented the check to the Arizona Game and Fish Department Tuesday. They were given a tour of the facility and the work already being done to enhance the presence of Gila trout in Arizona, as well as what the hatchery has planned for the near future.

Why should we care

about Gila trout?Gila trout were once found in many streams in Rim Country, but are now listed as a threatened species. Currently, there

is only one facility in the country that produces Gila trout brood stock.

AZGFD efforts to provide a backup to that facility at Mora National Fish Hatchery in New Mexico is critical to this threatened and valuable fish to Arizona in the event that the Mora population is jeopardized.

Besides continuing to help with the production of Gilas for recovery purposes, AZGFD through Canyon Creek Hatchery, plans to raise enough Gila trout for anglers to enjoy catching

in the future in many of the streams in Rim Country.

Just as hunters sometimes travel great distances for the chance at a trophy elk or deer, anglers often seek trophy catches too. Certainly anglers love to catch big fish. Many fishermen love to catch as many different species as they can. A Gila trout would be a unique catch for most anglers.

With that in mind, the MSA is always looking for ways to extend the power of their donations to support the greater community. They know that money spent on hatcheries that enhance fishing in Rim Country also supports the businesses in our communities. Anglers will come from around the state and across the country to enjoy our great fishing and hopefully catch one of these treasured fish that can only be found within a small geographic location in the world.

The MSA has stepped up to lead the way to upgrade the Canyon Creek Hatchery. Its members would love to see other businesses and organizations that see the value of this investment in fishing, and the economic benefit that fishing brings to the communities throughout Rim Country, join them in this effort.

If you would like to find out more about the Canyon Creek Hatchery project and the plans AZGFD has to upgrade that facility with MSA support, attend one of the monthly MSA meetings on the third Thursday of every month at the PUSD district office at 6 p.m.

Besides learning about this project, you will get a firsthand look at the many projects that the MSA engages in every year. It is always looking for folks to join and take a more active role in supporting outdoor education and wildlife needs in Rim Country.

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