The days are getting longer. The sun is starting to heat things up, the snow is melting, and the creeks are flowing. Animals are stirring, the grass is starting to turn green. The trees sprout new leaves, and everything starts to change colors. Spring is here, and soon spring will melt into summer. It will not be long until everyone is walking around asking each other “is it hot enough for you?”. There are very few saying in the world more annoying than that obvious statement. So do yourself a favor and beat the heat, the crowds, and the annoying questions. Head out to the White Mountain Apache Tribe, and get a line in the water!
Known for its world class hunting, it is easy for the fishing to be overshadowed. After all people simply do not know about the joys hidden within this jewel. With plenty of options to keep the angler happy and engaged. Personally one of the greatest parts of this region is the trout fishing. Typically trout fishing does require being high up in the hills, where the air and the water is cooler. You see trout love colder water, its why they live at higher elevation. So if you can find trout, you can find shade, cool waters, cool breezes, and a chance to get away from that burning orb in the sky.
The trout fishing is spectacular. With species ranging form the Rainbow, Brooke and brow trout. They can get fairly big sized, and while these are not like fly fishing the Blue Ribbon trout streams of Montana but you will not be able to tell the difference or care when you are out slaying these beautifully colored trout. There is also a species of trout only native to this region in Arizona. They are known as the Apache Trout. The Apache Trout is one of only two trout native to Arizona. Designated as Arizona’s State Fish, the Apache trout was historically found only in the headwaters of the White, Black and Little Colorado rivers above 5,900 feet. Once nearing extinction, Apache Trout has been restored to much of their historic range in the White Mountains after decades of cooperative protection and recovery efforts. Apache Trout have an olive-yellow body, with a yellow or golden belly. They can grow up to 20 inches long, but most grow only to 9 inches because of the smaller streams in which they live.
If the trout fishing is not enough for you, or maybe you would enjoy chasing after another predatory game fish. Talented anglers (or lucky ones) can find small mouth bass to hook into. Hurricane lake offers great lake fishing. In fact the state Record for Apache trout was caught on this very lake by a 9 year old with a bobber and a worm. So if you want to kick back, throw a line in, toss back a few cold beverages and beat the heat…you cannot beat lake fishing. There is an abundance of lakes in the White Mountains, and most of the lakes are restricted to what kinds of watercraft may go on them. Most have banned the used of gas powered motors. Only allowing folks with manual powered boats or electric motor boats. So you won’t have to worry about people water-skiing by and making tons of noise, or hearing the constant sound of boat motors. Fishing for most is about peace and quiet, both of which you will find fishing on these wonderful lakes.
The nearby Salt River also has Catfish opportunities. You can ask 10 people and each one of them will tell you a different kind of fish they like to eat and catch, and some folks are just kitty cat fishing crazy. It is hard to blame theme. These feeders of opportunity like the warm water and become the most active just around dark and into night. So having the chances to do some night angling, out of the heat and the sun is a great option. They are great fighters and will put you and your gear to the test. It is well worth it for these tasty fish!
Be sure to look up one of the many local outfitters to ask the right questions. If you are chasing a particular specifies or just want to see and specific area these people will know. Many may offer guide services if doing it yourself is more than you want to deal with. Going with a guide or outfitter generally puts you in the best place to catch what you want, and also ensures that you are within the laws and regulations of the areas. They can be confusing and a good rule to apply to all regulations involving the outdoors, ask. If you do not know, ask. There are phone numbers and plenty of contact information to make sure you are legal. Guides just take out a lot of the headache and guess work.
Clearly there is more than meets the eye going on at the White Mountain Apache Tribe. The fishing is bigger and better than it gets credit for. Just make sure when you that you ensure that you have your ducks in a row. Paperwork, licenses, and fees. Make sure you pay and cover them all. This is a highly regulated area for the betterment of the tribe, the ecosystem, and for future generations to enjoy. Just remember when on the reservation you are a guest, and act accordingly.