Canyon Creek Hatchery
Aerial view of Canyon Creek Hatchery, gila trout broodstock building, and fish stocking at Willow Springs
Canyon Creek Fish Hatchery is owned by U.S. Forest Service (Tonto Forest), and operated by the Department’s Hatchery Program since 1969. A major renovation in 1992 converted the facility to its current use of 12 covered raceways and asphalting of all surface roads.
The infrastructure on the property includes 4 residences, a large hatchery shop/garage that also contains an office space and visitor center, a hatchery building with indoor tanks and a hydro-turbine to generate electricity for the facility, a feed storage shed, a public toilet, and several smaller structures for operational use. The property is staffed by four full-time Hatchery employees who reside on site and are responsible for day-to-day operations and maintenance of the site.
In 2018 Canyon Creek hatchery received shipment of Gila trout eggs from Mora National Fish Hatchery for what was the beginning of the hatcheries bold new idea, a Gila trout broodstock program. Gila trout are one of two threatened trout species historically found in Arizona and as of last year the only place in the United States to house Gila trout broodstock was Mora National Fish Hatchery in New Mexico. Thanks to the collaboration between Arizona Game and Fish and the Mogollon Sporting Association, hatchery staff have finished the conversion of an outdoor storage building into a Gila broodstock building and the idea has become reality. The building consists of six 1,500 gallon circular tanks, automatic feeders, lighting upgrades, and covers. It is the first of its kind program in Arizona and will help to further conserve and protect these threatened fish for future generations. It will also allow the hatchery staff to produce a strain of Gila trout well suited for recreational fishing purposes in Arizona.
Canyon Creek Hatchery produces on average 80,000 lbs. of trout that represents 20% of the total trout stock in Arizona, generating an economic impact of $125.9 million to the state; also the hatchery dedicates around 90% of its trout production to stock the White Mountains which represent 65% of all the trout stocked in the White Mountains.
The hatchery is closed to fishing.
Canyon Creek Hatchery is located approximately 45 miles east of Payson on Highway 260. Turn south off 260 onto Young Road (Forest Service Road 288) and travel south for three miles, then turn east on Forest Service Road 33 (located under the power line) and travel five miles to the facility. The roads are dirt from highway 260 south. The Young Road is a wide and maintained dirt road, and Forest Road (FR) 33 is a narrow dirt road. The last five miles of road to the hatchery are steep and winding which require a great deal of caution, especially during the winter months.
Open daily 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Contact us 928 535-5475.
Where and when fish are stocked – schedule
Wildlife: The unique setting of Canyon Creek Fish Hatchery provides habitat for many wildlife species.
Birds: Some common birds seen in the area are heron, kingfisher, bald eagle, black hawk, and osprey.
Mammals: A few fish-eaters such as raccoons have been known to stop by and try to sample trout at the hatchery. Skunks tend to clean up spilled feed around the outdoor raceways. In the surrounding areas, whitetail deer, mule deer, elk, turkey, bobcat, mountain lion, coyote, and black bear are found.
Management goals of the Canyon Creek Fish Hatchery are to provide for the continued operation of fish culture activities, continue to build and enhance the Gila broodstock program, and to provide public outdoor recreation opportunities and educational interpretation.