Pirch-Stocking Photo 2020

Canyon Creek Fish Hatchery supervisor Trevor Nelson holds a Gila trout that was going into the East Verde River on April 9.

April begins the summer trout stocking schedule for most of the high country streams and lakes of Arizona.

The two local hatcheries of Tonto and Canyon Creek will have the stock trucks filled with trout for the seven Rim lakes and the streams of Tonto, Haigler, Christopher, Canyon and the East Verde. Their stocking plan will continue until approximately Labor Day with thousands of trout replenishing the nearby lakes and streams.

Hatchery reared rainbows and tiger trout in the 8-12 inch range are considered catchable and will also be widely distributed from the lakes on Anderson Mesa near Flagstaff all the way to the New Mexico border in the White Mountains. Visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s website for the Summer 2020 Stocking Schedule. This may help you plan a future fishing trip.

The East Verde River will have a major improvement in that the Gila trout will be stocked weekly for much of the spring and early summer. The Gila trout is indigenous to the waters under the Rim and the plan is to reintroduce them into several streams.

This pilot program started a few years ago in a couple of small streams and it appears there is some natural reproduction taking place. The East Verde is a popular fishing destination where most of the Gila trout stocked will be caught by happy anglers admiring the trout’s unique golden hue with a rainbow pattern.

Some natural reproduction could occur on this popular stream in some more remote sections where anglers seldom fish. This is definitely a plus when considering the rainbows were a sterile triploid that could not reproduce. The excitement of fishing for another species should add to the overall interest of fishing in the Rim country.

Just a few years back, the hybrid tiger trout, which is a cross between a brook and German brown was stocked into Woods Canyon and Willow Springs and is a definite success story. Now, other lakes have added this unique game fish and Kinnikinick and Carnero both have healthy numbers. The state record for this popular trout will probably be broken again in 2020.

Arizona trout waters have a variety of species that can be caught by sport fishing anglers such as the rainbow, cutthroat, Apache, German brown, brookie, tiger, and now the Gila. To know where these trout exist, it would be wise to consult the AZGFD web page or purchase an Arizona fishing guide booklet.

The AZGFD fisheries division will reach another milestone in improving the quality of fishing in Arizona with the reintroduction of the Gila trout locally into the East Verde River. This unique species will bring sport anglers from all over the country for the opportunity of catching a golden-colored rainbow marked trout.

Catching fish catches on. This is especially true with the youngster who catches a trout for the first time. Let’s get them hooked on fishing and the outdoors.

The springtime weather is perfect, the streams are healthy and there are trout to be caught. Let’s go fishing in the Arizona high country, God’s creation.

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