I am pretty sure I will never see one of those in the wild. . Natural fish barriers prevented Gila trout from entering the upper Tonto Creek drainage (AZ). I’ve added your link to my blog list. “The one stream in Arizona with Gila trout is closed to fishing, due to fires,” he said. Thanks Simon. What streamers did you guys use! Wish I had time to order some of your Frye Creek Special streamers. Arizona Gila Trout The yellow Gila trout tucked away from humanity in a tiny trickle of water greedily ate our flies and made us forget about the thorns and brush that tore at our clothing. Arizona Ecological Services Field Office < October 2006 : 15 Kb : Federal Register Notice: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reclassification of the Gila trout (Oncorhynchus gilae) From Endangered to Threatened; Special Rule for Gila Trout in New Mexico and Arizona: U.S. That is a trout I hope to pursue someday. It’s crazy to see it on the internet like that. Though Gila trout are limited to just a few mountain streams in New Mexico and Arizona, they can be found scribbled on the “life lists” of many hopeful fly fishermen. Small, profuse spots cover the upper half of the body and a faint, salmon-pink band is present on adults, particularly during spawning season. and it was a bit surreal to hold a fish that has been on the brink of extinction for so long. One-thousand are scheduled to be stocked into the West Fork of Oak Creek in late October. The Gila trout has been listed as endangered since 1967.Gila trout were originally native to the upper Verde, Agua Fria and San Francisco river drainages in Arizona. Sorry man, no trekking pole was found. Graham area. Glad you made it out there. Historically, this fish was native to the San Francisco, Verde, Gila, and Agua Fria River drainages. A major step was taken Monday when AZGFD, U.S. Body color is iridescent gold on the sides that blend to a darker shade of copper on the gill plates. Thanks, Ben– after years of people saying “you should have a blog,” reading yours was what inspired me to go for it. As I researched Gila trout, online sources seemed contradictory and discouraging. Fishing areas like that is a great time. Gila trout are capable of hybridizing with rainbow trout which has greatly reduced the range of pure populations of Gila trout and continues to be one of the largest threats to Gila trout. The Gila trout is one of Arizona’s two threatened native trout species and is also found in New Mexico. I used a small simi seal bugger variation that I tied up specifically for the trip. The Gila River is home to what now is the protected Gila Trout. The Gila Trout requirement for the Wild Trout Challenge is currently suspended. Take care. Excellent report and fish Ben! You could get into some serious back country adventures along that creek! Gila Trout are also native to Arizona and listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Thanks Pete. The Gila trout was first described as a species in 1950 (Miller 1950) and were native to the upper Gila and Verde watersheds of Arizona and New Mexico, but have declined significantly since the 1800s. The native trout of Arizona have had a rough history with both the Gila and Apache originally listed as endangered, but since have been downlisted due to successful culturing in captivity, greater knowledge of existing populations, and active management and conservation. Spots on the body are small and profuse, generally occurring above the lateral line and extending onto the head, dorsal fin, and caudal fin. OUR VISION AND GOALS … Altogether, the Gila traces a path that begins in the Black Range of New Mexico and flows across the breadth of Arizona before joining the Colorado River near Yuma. The Verde River population may have represented an intermediate between the Gila and Apache trout, however this population went extinct by the 1950’s (Miller 1950) and little is known about the original native trout (Behnke 2002). However, by the 1950s none were left in Arizona. "Some great strides have been made in Gila trout recovery so far," says Eric Gardner, head of the Arizona … Most beautiful gila I’ve ever seen! Also, thanks for caring so much about their habitat. Streams in this watershed harbor one of five known relict genetic lineages of Gila trout, which live only in New Mexico and Arizona. Glad to know it is an attainable goal. By the time the species was formerly described in 1950 its distribution had been dramatically reduced to as few as 20 stream miles [1]. It is some serious country for sure. There are also opportunities in New Mexico to catch Gila trout during a limited angling season with catch-and-release only regulations. Stay up to date on new fishing regulations and future habitat work. Lol. We fell on the slippery rocks and bushwhacked through the dense undergrowth to cast our lines for this rare Southwestern trout. Baldy, the Little Colorado River is characterized by very cold, fast moving waters with interspersed deep … I let the organization keep the bid as a donation but canceled the trip. A real treasure and so much to be thankful for. We fell on the slippery rocks and bushwhacked through the dense undergrowth to cast our lines for this rare Southwestern trout. Biologists have spent decades trying to bring them back. Great photos. Gila trout are also stocked into the East Verde River, Frye Mesa Reservoir, Watson Lake, Lynx Lake, and Goldwater Lake for non-recovery purposes to maintain sport fisheries. Beautiful fish… I’ve spent a lot of time in that canyon. Currently, all Gila trout recovery streams in Arizona are closed to angling. Gila trout have been described as “taking their colors from the New Mexican sunset”, an apt description. However, Gila trout in the East Verde River, Frye Mesa Reservoir, Watson Lake, Lynx Lake, and Goldwater Lake can be angled. Photo by Christ Hunt, Trout Unlimited Although one does not usually associate trout with the Sonoran Desert environment of Arizona and New Mexico, the Gila trout—as well as its close relative, the Apache trout—has survived in. I have a bunch of your mini hoppers to try out. A faint, salmon-pink band is present on adults, particularly during spawning season when the normally white belly may be streaked with yellow or reddish orange. Hoping to cross the Gila off the list. Sign up to receive email updates from Arizona Wanderings, Tags: Arizona Fishing Blog, Arizona Fly Fishing, Arizona fly Fishing Blog, Arizona Gila Trout, Arizona Wanderings, AZ Wanderings, AZWanderings, Fly Fishing Arizona, Gila Trout, Small Stream. Spots on the body are small and profuse, generally occurring above the lateral line and extending onto the head, dorsal fin, and caudal fin. It's possible to catch Gila trout and their eastern Arizona cousins, the Apache trout, in two or three days of fishing. Love that species of trout. Drought, overfishing, overgrazing, wildfires, and the undertow of history have taken their toll on Gila trout. Fly-fishers can catch Gila trout without consulting hatch charts and without technical rigs or special flies. Gila trout, one of two trout species native to Arizona, are being restored to the Mt. I look forward to following along. Here are some of the common fish found in the Gila River, Largemouth bass, Sunfishes, Channel catfish, Flathead catfish, Gila trout. Great work, Ben! See you on the trail! Native trout, because they've been pushed into the recesses of their former ranges, are special creatures in a world where better is often measured by bigger. Native to the Gila River drainage in Arizona and New Mexico, Gila Trout (Oncorhynchus gilae) are one of Arizona’s two native trout species. Their iridescent gold sides blend to a darker shade of copper on the gill covers. Angling is currently closed in all recovery streams occupied by Gila trout. The Gila trout is one of the toughest "life list" trout species to find. Thanks Max. Gila trout are found in moderate to high gradient perennial mountain streams above 5,400 ft elevation with stream temperatures below 77°F. Altogether, such efforts have helped to fortify five remnant, genetically distinct lineages of Gila trout populations in 17 streams in New Mexico and five in Arizona; these lineages have evolved to accumulate variations in their genomes that, collectively, help the species as a whole. This was a spur of the moment decision to go. So, I am grateful for you sharing your experience. I am planning on making my first trip down there this weekend. The Gila trout is one of Arizona’s two threatened native trout species and is also found in New Mexico. The Department maintains an active Gila trout recovery and management program to increase their existence in Arizona within their historical range. The Gila trout (Oncorhynchus gilae gilae) had an historic range that included the headwaters of the Gila River drainage in New Mexico, the Gila River, and possibly the San Francisco Drainage, and the Verde and Agua Fria drainages of Arizona [1]. The extent of the historical distribution of the Gila Trout is not known with certainty. Gila trout are found only in Arizona and New Mexico. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. WELCOME TO THE HOME PAGE OF GILA TROUT CHAPTER # 530 OF TROUT UNLIMITED, LOCATED IN PAYSON, ARIZONA. Gila trout typically spawn in early spring, when water temperature is rising and runoff flows are declining. WE ARE LOCATED AT ABOUT 5000 FOOT ELEVATION IN NORTH EAST ARIZONA, WITH LOCAL ACCESS TO ABOUT 15 TROUT STREAMS IN OUR IMMEDIATE AREA. Thanks Benjamin. Those look like a great option for getting down in those plunge pools. Nonindigenous Occurrences: Gila Trout have been reported in the Lower Colorado, Upper Gila-San Carlos Reservoir, Willcox Playa, Middle Little Colorado, Lower Colorado-Marble Canyon, Tonto, Lower San Pedro, Little Colorado, and Upper Little Colorado drainages in Arizona. The Gila trout is one of only two native trout species in Arizona. It just feels good to know they are there, healthy, and that you were there to make the connection. Great looking blog by the way. Awesome fish and pictures. The Gila trout took well to the area, and in February 2011 the first-ever open season of Gila trout in Arizona was approved for the Frye Mesa Reservoir. One major cause of Gila Trout population decline was (and still … The International Game Fish Association All-Tackle World Record Gila trout stands at 3 pounds, 7 ounces and was caught by Bo Nelson in 2011 from Arizona’s Frye Mesa Reservoir. One of the first North American fish to be actively conserved, there is no doubt that the Gila trout is immensely important to the world of fishing. That last one is hands down the best gila trout I have ever seen. Under a new proposal, the fish would be upgraded to "threatened" on the federal government’s list. But, I don’t think that I want to try to get into those areas to fish for it! Dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins have a white to yellowish tip that may extend along the leading edge of the pelvic fins. Wow, Ben, thanks for the great pictures of those beautiful trout. The Gila trout is native to tributaries of the Gila River in Arizona and New Mexico. Thanks for the comment. Beautiful trout and of an amazing size. After five months of working closely with Mora National Fish Hatchery staff and learning how to raise Gila Trout, Sterling Springs Hatchery has three raceways of happy, healthy, native Gila Trout that will be stocked into Arizona waters. . Next time you’re out this way let me know and we’ll get out. Wow. While Gila trout in Frye Creek was strictly catch-and-release, the limit for taking the trout out of Frye Mesa Reservoir was one fish per angler. Fish and Wildlife Service: July 18, 2006 : 125 Kb After many setbacks--one being a major car accident that had shutdown the freeway, causing. Fish and Wildlife Service and volunteers from Trout Unlimited and the University of Arizona backpacked 250 Gila trout into Frye Creek. If you look carefully you’ll see a couple of your quail hats floating around in there…. It is known to be native to higher elevation streams in portions of the Gila River drainage in New Mexico, San Francisco River drainage in Arizona and New Mexico, and tributaries to the Gila River in Arizona. Thanks, Ben! Thanks Emily. Gilas are one of two Arizona native trout species. Right on Max. Native trout, because they’ve been pushed into the recesses of their former ranges, are special creatures in a world where better is often measured by bigger. A Gila Trout caught at Goldwater Lake by a young angler in Prescott Arizona. Couldn’t agree more Phil. Introducing Gila trout to the East Verde River is a real treat for anglers thanks to a great deal of work by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) and local conservation organizations. Body color is iridescent gold on the sides that blend to a darker shade of copper on the gill plates. It was fun to cross them off the list but a pretty tight stream to fish. As Gila trout recovery streams are established and meet necessary population criteria to withstand limited angling use, they may be opened to angling for the public in the future. Conservation efforts started in the 1990’s to bring this native species from endangered to threatened. The yellow Gila trout tucked away from humanity in a tiny trickle of water greedily ate our flies and made us forget about the thorns and brush that tore at our clothing. Great fish Ben! What stream? The Gila Trout is one of Arizona’s two native trout species. It’s so easy to feel like your the only one who goes there. By the way, you didn’t happen to find a trekking pole up there did you? Written by: Tyler Coleman Wild Gila trout are among the rarest trout in the U.S., found only in Arizona and New Mexico. The best part about fishing for Gila trout is that they aren't too difficult to catch. Starting in 1999, Gila trout were reintroduced into Dude Creek in the Verde River drainag… The New Mexico state record Gila trout is 4 pounds, 8 ounces. The Gila trout is found historically in the Verde and Agua Fria drainages in Arizona. Just now saw this, gorgeous fish! . and it was a bit surreal to hold a fish that has been on the brink of extinction for so long. Fish and Wildlife Service 1993).. Of course, Worsham’s fish is heavier than both. Like the Apache trout, some Gila trout may display “bandit” like horizontal bars across their irises. In the mean time, thanks for sharing you trip! Fed by springs and snowfall from Mt. Unfortunately, no populations are currently open to angling. Gila trout are being restored to Frye Creek in southeast Arizona. Gila trout have persisted in five streams within the Gila National Forest, New Mexico, including: Iron, McKenna, and Spruce creeks in the Gila Wilderness Area, along with Main and South Diamond creeks in the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Area. Gila trout are generally sexually mature by age 3 and their life expectancy may range between 4-6 years. Thanks to the work of Trout Unlimited and the Arizona Game and Fish Department, there is now a wild fishable population of Gila trout back in Arizona, and efforts continue to be made to stock Gila trout back in their native drainage. The Gila Trout looks similar to an Apache Trout with smaller spots and a more brown that yellow base color. The Gila trout was historically found in the Gila River of Arizona and New Mexico, and the Verde and Aqua Fria drainages. Simi’s? Looks like you and DJ knocked it out of the park! They require clean gravel substrates for spawning, adequate stream flow to maintain water depth and cool temperatures, and sufficient pool density and habitat that provides refuge during periods of drought or warm temperatures. The same techniques used to catch rainbow trout work very well for Gila trout. One of these days I hope to make to that creek to check it out. In Arizona, Gila trout are found in six recovery streams spread across the Agua Fria River, Blue River, lower Gila River, and Verde River drainages. Good luck if you head down there. They are easily caught fishing nymphs, wet or dry flies, and they will also take small spoons and spinners. I found the fish to not be that picky though. Looks awesome! Parr marks are commonly retained by adults, although they may be faint or absent. Almost as rare as a Gila Trout are the streams of that size that hold trout (of any species) of the dimensions pictured. Historically, Apache Trout occupied streams and rivers in the upper White, Black, and Little Colorado River drainages in the White Mountains of east-central Arizona. The habitat didn’t allow for much in the way of casting, but bow-and-arrow casting small streamers seemed to do the trick. (U.S. “This release is a large step forward in conserving Gila trout,” said Andy Dean, lead Gila trout biologist with the service’s New Mexico Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office in … Just a few more years and the rest of the Pinalenos have recovered well enough to be reopened too. They are opportunistic feeders, mainly feeding on aquatic and terrestrial insects and invertebrates. That’s certainly true in much of the Gila, where smallmouth bass and opportunistic browns now dominate the main stem of the Gila River. Photos by Tyler Coleman Here are a few pictures from our trip spent chasing native wild trout in a remote creek in Arizona. 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