How Apache Trout, Fish in AZ & Species of Lake Trout Endangered in Arizona, Bolsters Ecosystem
The Apache Trout
The Apache trout, also known as the Arizona trout, is designated as Arizona's state fish. Compared to rainbow trout, I think the Apache has more spots. To me, it has an exotic look. Its golden-yellow coloring with white on the tips of its fins give it a unique color appearance for a trout, and it has a very interesting eye. A freshwater fish, the Apache trout has a pronounced black pupil with a black band extending from both sides of that pupil. It almost looks like a mask in the center of the eye.
In the nineteenth century, Apache trout reproduced vigorously and large numbers inhabited the streams and lakes of the White Mountains. At the end of the nineteenth century, early settlers overfished the area. In the beginning of the twentieth century government agencies decided to introduce non-native trout. This was thought to be an alleviation of the detrimental effects of overfishing. But the non-native species were able to out compete the Apache trout for food. This endangered the native Apache trout even more.
In 1969, the Apache trout found itself on the list of endangered species. Attempts were made to modify the gravel stream beds such that the Apache trout would be isolated allowing them to come back. Areas where genetically pure Apache trout still lived were protected. This species of trout is still listed as threatened, but its populations continue to increase.
While upstream native habitats are preserved, many lakes and streams that were not Apache trout's ancestral homes have had the fish introduced. In an attempt to enrich sport-fishing in Arizona, many fisheries are rearing this kind of trout from eggs. When stocked in colder waters, the Apache trout adds to the variety of angling experience present in Arizona.
In the literature, the word "hybridization" is frequently used. This means that the Apache trout can easily breed with other species of trout such as rainbows and browns. In this instance, an Apache/rainbow hybrid occurs. This is the biggest threat to the Apache trout populations. Efforts to keep its original habitats uncontaminated are ensuring the continued viability of Apache trout. The Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery maintains a pure breeding stock.
If you want to fish Arizona, the area designated by the map above should be enjoyed. Especially of interest to avid anglers, located here is an excerpt from the web page of the Arizona Game and Fish Department at http://www.azgfd.gov/ It is hard to beat this listing on method of fishing!
As with angling for any trout, bringing them in is a sporty experience. In addition to flipping and flopping on the surface as they are reeled in, the Apache trout shows off a golden belly and a yellow-gold coloring on its sides. The back is dark green in color. It has many black spots on its sides, tail fin, and dorsal fin.
Just about everyone knows that Arizona is one big scenic state! But if you are an angler, it is a place rich with Ponderosa Pine and fishing lakes. In this area near McNary, Arizona there is: Christmas Tree Lake, Cyclone Lake, Hawley Lake, Earl Park Lake, Sunrise Lake, Rainbow Lake, Show Low Lake, and A-1 Lake. It is a land of great biodiversity.There is no shortage of things to see in Arizona!
One of only two species of trout native to Arizona (the other is the Gila trout), the Apache trout is a unique part of the Eastern Arizona ecosystem. This Arizona fish species is getting some help. Thanks to the efforts of Arizona fish and game authorities and the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, the future is brighter for the Apache trout. Full recovery is now a possibility.
2016 Apache Trout Update
November 13, 2015
Sheeps Crossing – Fishing is fair for Apache trout. Lee Valley Lake - A timely survey found a good stock of grayling, 8-9 inch, but no Apache trout.
Copyright 2011 by John Wilsdon
Fishing for Az Apache-Rainbow Hybrid Trout
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John Wilsdon - Sixty-three year old interested in photography, books, treasure hunting, and fishing. - I am retired. I fish, prospect for gold, garden, read, and hunt for rocks for jewelry making. - Superior, Arizona - My biggest passion is gold pros
© 2011 John R Wilsdon