AZGFD to temporarily close Page Springs, Bubbling Ponds fish hatcheries
Posted August 11, 2022
PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) suspended fish stockings from Page Springs Hatchery in June due to a bacterial outbreak of Lactococcus garvieae in fish at the facility.
AZGFD does not stock diseased fish, therefore the stockings scheduled for June and July from Page Springs were replaced with fish from the Tonto Creek and Canyon Creek hatcheries.
It is important to note there will be no interruptions in stockings, and anglers will be able to continue to enjoy fishing for trout that are stocked throughout the state.
AZGFD also has been working to identify the source and extent of the outbreak, as well as treat the infected fish with medication. The fish did not respond sufficiently to treatment, however, and the department will begin to implement a multi-pronged approach to address the bacterial outbreak and future production at the facility, including:
● The depopulation of fish and disinfection of the Page Springs Hatchery and two ponds at Bubbling Ponds Hatchery.
● The use of two different vaccines (immersion and injection) at the affected hatcheries once fish are brought back on station. The vaccines have shown recent success at controlling Lactococcus outbreaks at a private hatchery in California.
● The use of trout from other department hatcheries and contracts with external vendors to provide catchable rainbow trout in waters that are typically stocked with fish from Page Springs until the hatchery is back in full production.
Both facilities will be closed to the public during the depopulation and disinfection processes. Page Springs will be closed Aug. 15 through Oct. 17. Bubbling Ponds will be closed Aug. 15 through Aug. 29.
Lactococcus garvieae is a naturally occurring bacteria that has been reported in freshwater and saltwater aquaculture facilities, as well as cattle and poultry farms around the world. The detection of Lactococcus at Page Springs in June was the first known occurrence of the bacteria in Arizona. Similar outbreaks have occurred since 2020 at several hatcheries in California.
The fish-to-human transmission of this bacterium is rare and extremely unlikely. As always, anglers should follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations to cook fish to an internal temperature of 145° F. When a
food thermometer is not available or appropriate, cook fish until it’s opaque (milky white) and flakes with a fork.
Page Springs and Bubbling Ponds hatcheries are located near Cornville, Ariz., about 100 miles north of Phoenix.