Do you know the trout species in Arizona?
There are eight species of trout in Arizona. Can you name them all? I’ll give you a hint: two are native to Arizona and one of the native trout is even the state fish!
Let’s go through these trout in Arizona and learn a little bit about each of them:
Let’s start with the most common trout species and one we frequently stock throughout the state, rainbow trout. These trout came to Arizona back in 1898. In fact, people still love fishing for Rainbow Trout and the Department stocks more than 1 million rainbow trout a year! Here’s an interesting fact: rainbow trout have been introduced to every continent except Antarctica. The state record for rainbow trout hook-and-line is 15 pounds. 9.12 ounces from Willow Springs Lake.
Moving on to our state fish and one of the two native trout to Arizona, the Apache trout. Apache trout are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and they are only found in Arizona. The White Mountain Apache Tribe, Fish and Wildlife, Forest Service, and Game and Fish are working together to restore Apache Trout. Check out the fishing regulations to find open locations. Also you can learn how the Department manages Apache Trout.
This next trout is native to Europe, the brown trout. These species came to the U.S. in the 1880s and were introduced to Arizona in 1931. The Department has completed several stream habitat restoration projects to improve wild populations. Check out the video of brown trout on making redds in Canyon Creek. Interesting fact: brown trout can live up to 38 years! The state record in Arizona for brown trout hook-and-line is 22 pounds, 14.5 ounces from Reservation Lake.
This trout came to Arizona around the same time as rainbow trout in 1898 — cutthroat trout. There are many subspecies of cutthroat trout including Yellowstone, Westslope, Rio Grande, Paiute, Lahontan, Bonneville, Coastal, Colorado River, Greenback, and Snake River. You can find cutthroat trout in some of Arizona’s White Mountain Lakes like Big Lake and Luna Lake.
The next fish is in the family Salmonidae and is native to Siberia, Canada, and some areas in North America including Alaska and Montana, the Arctic grayling. Traveling to Arizona in the 1940s, this trout can now be found in places like Ackre Lake, Lee Valley Reservoir, and Perkins Tank. Grayling differ from trout and salmon primarily by their smaller mouths and large dorsal fin. The state record for Arctic Grayling is 1 pounds and 9.76 ounces.
The second trout native to Arizona is the Gila trout. One of the rarest trout species, Gila trout are only found in Arizona and New Mexico. They are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Conservation efforts are underway in several Arizona streams to give anglers multiple opportunities to fish for Gila trout. Learn about the Departments effort to conserve Gila trout!
The newest trout species to Arizona is the tiger trout. Last year was the first stocking of tiger trout in Arizona. These species are sterile hybrids between brown and brook trout. Some of the first records of tiger trout were back in 1944. Tiger trout are stocked into Woods Canyon, Willow Springs, Carnero, and Becker Lakes. Learn more about how the Department manages tiger trout!
Our last trout is more closely related to a char that an trout, brook trout. Brook trout were introduced to Arizona in 1903. They are smaller than true trout. They are also different from other trout by the absence of teeth in the roof of their mouth. Brook trout can reproduce in streams, however in Arizona, you can find them more often in lakes we stock. The state record for brook trout hook-and-line is 4 pounds, 15.2 ounces.
If not, test your fishing skills by taking on the Arizona’s Trout Challenge!