Black River Arizona - East - West - North Forks

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  • This page is an introduction to the Black River in Arizona. This page includes information on the west and east fork. You can launch our interactive map of the Black River below to see each section of the river.
    Fishing
    For the off-road enthusiast who knows were to go, those areas are also home to some of the most secluded experiences to be found in the entire Southwest. Arizona's Black River runs all the way from near the New Mexico boarder, to central Arizona, where it finally joins the White River, tuning into the Salt River. -G.J Sagi, from the travel handbook Fishing Arizona

    Anyone who has made the trip to the Black River will agree that it is an Arizona gem when it comes to ruggedness, fishing quality, and adventure. Known by many as "The Best Smallmouth Fishery in the State," the Black River will continuously keep your lines tight with the amazing aggressiveness and number of fish that inhabit it. Many people have their "secret spots," or favorite parts of the river where they return year after year, while others choose to explore and experience all parts of the river. - Ted Standage, from the the book The Lower Black River: An Outdoor Guide

    Upper east and west forks and Lower Black River
    Much of the Black Rivers remote regions wind through both the White Mountain and San Carlos Apache Indian reservations. The Lower Black River or main flow is considered from the beginning where it the main flow starts near the New Mexico border in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest just southwest of Alpine. The Upper Black River consist of the east or sometimes called "north fork" and west fork. The east and west forks of the Black River are smaller in size compared to the Lower Black River where the eventually drain into.

    Fish of the Black River
    Trout are the main attraction at the west and east forks. You can expect to catch the native Apache Trout, Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout on the norm.
    Smallmouth Bass are the main attraction of the Lower Black River although there are Channel Catfish, sunfish and some trout at higher elevations to the east.

    Black River West Fork
    The west fork of the Black River is less visited but holds great trout if you know were to go. It's more popular with fly fisherman. The west fork runs along the eastern side of Mount Baldy. The west fork of the Black River lies on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest which is not reservation land so you don't need a White Mountains, or San Carlos Apache Permit.

    Creeks and Tributaries of the West Fork Black River
    The west fork of the Black River is popular for fly fishing. I have a hatch chart on the way for the west Black River. The same tactics that work for rainbow trout work for Apache trout. Be sure and check the posted signs for "artificial fly and lure only"

    Black River East North Fork
    The east fork of the Black River runs from above Crescent Lake. The stretch northeast of Crescent Lake is often called the North Fork of the Black River . There are Rainbow Trout, Apache Trout and Brown Trout in the east fork of the Black River, so of which are stocked. The east fork of the Black River lies on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest which is not reservation land so you don't need a White Mountains, or San Carlos Apache Permit.

    Creeks and Tributaries of the East North Fork Black River
    The Black River is popular for fly fishing. I have a hatch chart on the way for the Black River. The same tactics that work for rainbow trout work for Apache trout. Woolly Buglers are popular for browns depending on the time of year. Be sure and check the posted signs for "artificial fly and lure only"

Recent User Reports and Reviews

  1. HookedAZ
    3/5,
    ""
    EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Fishing is fair. The stream was last stocked in September. Wild brown trout are also present in the stream. No ice, but is running high and off color.

User Comments

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  1. AGFD bio
    The North Fork is not exactly the same as the East Fork. The North Fork is a headwater tributary to the East Fork. The East Fork is formed where the North Fork, Boneyard Creek, and an unnamed tributary come together at Three Forks.

    Regarding the West Fork, the very headwaters are on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation and is closed to all entry. That is in a very remote area, so not a problem to worry about for most folks that are driving around on Forest Service roads. Most of the West Fork is on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. There is an artificial fly and lure, catch-and-release only area that extends from the confluence with Hay Creek upstream to the reservation boundary. Below that is statewide regulations (bait and 6 fish daily bag limit). Horse Creek is usually dry and has no fish.

    The East Fork and West Fork are stocked with hatchery trout regularly near the campgrounds from May to September. There are also wild trout in these streams.

    For camping, there are several campgrounds along Forest Road 276 on the East Fork. These get fairly crowded from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but fairly low use in the spring and fall. The single campground on the West Fork has been closed since the Wallow Fire of 2011, but there is talk of it opening sometime soon. On the Black River, there is only 1 vehicle access on Forest Road 25, where a couple vehicles can camp. But mostly the Black River mainstem on the National Forest is remote and hike-in only. There are a few tiny roads that end at the top of the canyon where you could camp, but then would require a serious climb down into the deep canyon (and back out) Backpacking on the Black River mainstem on the National Forest is awesome.
  2. Alex Dowell
    I will be taking my family camping the weekend of june 6th. I would like to get my kids excited about fishing. Is there any suggestions as to where exactly on the black river is ideal for seclusion and good fishing? We have a 4 wheel drive but will b pulling a small trailer. Any tips or suggestions wuld be appreciated [​IMG]
    1. brend@
      #Alex Dowell Are you still heading to this area? This was also our family plan. The area is great for kids learning to fish all campgrounds are great. What do you know about the fire in the area would we be ok?
      brend@, Oct 25, 2016