The Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery provides outstanding opportunities for learning adventures & family outings such as picnics, hiking & wildlife viewing.

  • Fishing
  • Wildlife Viewing

Tonto Creek Hatchery and the surrounding wetland area provide outstanding opportunities for learning adventures and family outings such as picnics, hiking and watching wildlife. Recreational opportunities include visiting the hatchery to learn about hatchery fish production and viewing wildlife. Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery produces and stocks about 165,000 catchable rainbow trout and 400,000 brook and cutthroat trout each year, plus about 150,000 of Arizona’s state fish, the Apache trout.



Head east out of Payson on Route 260 to Kohl’s Ranch. Then turn north onto Tonto Creek Road and follow signs, about four miles, to the hatchery.


Hatchery grounds include the hatchery operation itself, as well as surrounding wetlands and streams. These habitats are essential to the survival of many types of wildlife in Arizona, so they provide opportunities for viewing many species, especially birds.


Common birds in the area include osprey, several species of heron, and belted kingfishers. In general, the hatchery and surrounding area offer excellent birding habitat.


Common mammals in the area include elk, whitetail deer, raccoons, and American black bears.


Apache and brown trout can be found in the area.


The Tonto Creek property has been operated by AZGFD as an aquaculture facility since 1938. The property was only two acres at that time. The property was expanded in 1954 and again in 1987 and now comprises 50 acres.

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Volunteer your time, or donate to help us with conserving and protecting our wildlife. When you purchase a hunting or fishing license online, resources go back into wildlife conservation.

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