The Apache is one of Arizona’s two native trout species and is the Arizona state fish. Found only in White Mountain lakes and streams on forest and reservation lands.
Apache Trout: (Oncorhynchus gilae apache)
The Apache is one of Arizona’s two native trout species and is the Arizona state fish. Body color is yellowish-gold at the top of the head and the back is a dark olive. Dorsal, anal and pelvic fins are white tipped with dark, bold spots on dorsal and tail fin. An orange to red cutthroat mark is usually present under lower jaw. Spotting on the body is sparse and irregular and may extend below lateral line. Two small black spots on either side of pupil give appearance of black stripe through eye. Length: 6 to 24 inches. Weight: 6 ounces to almost 6 pounds.
Location and Habitat
Found only in White Mountain lakes and streams on forest and reservation lands. The Department is increasing their efforts in stocking Apache trout in Arizona and has an active recovery and management plan in place. The Apache trout is stocked from Silver Creek Hatchery in the summer months into the Little Colorado River near Greer, the Black River and Lee Valley Lake.
Apache trout typically spawn in early spring. Females excavate redds (nests) in the gravel, after fertilization the eggs are covered with gravel. Generally sexually mature by age 3. Apache trout are capable of hybridizing with rainbow trout which has greatly reduced the range of pure strain Apaches.
They feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects and invertebrates.
They are easily caught fishing nymphs, wet or dry flies, worms or salmon eggs. Will also take small spoons and spinners. The same techniques used to catch rainbow trout work very well on Apache trout. Artificial fly and lure only regulations may be in effect on some waters, so check the state regulations.
The meat is firm, flaky and is considered fine eating. Removal of fine bones is difficult if fish is overcooked.