White Mountains Online

Where else can you catch five kinds of TROUT?

Apache (Arizona Native Trout), Brook, Brown, Cutthroat, or Rainbow Trout. Arizona's White Mountains has 'em all!

Angler's both young and old enjoy year around fishing in the White Mountains. Trout are just one of the many species available to the avid fisherman! In Arizona, anglers may take fish by one line with hooks or artificial lures. Purchase of a "two pole"stamp on Arizona's fishing license allows anglers to fish simultaneously with two poles.

Fishing in Arizona is governed by Arizona State Law. A valid fishing license is required. A trout stamp is required for the taking of trout in public waters. Licenses may be obtained from the Arizona Game & Fish Department or any authorized vendor.


World Record: 5 lbs. 3 oz.

Arizona Record: 5 lbs. 3 oz. at Christmas Tree Lake in 1991

The more widespread of Arizona's two native trout, this species is now restricted to a few drainages in the east central portion of the state. The Apache trout was once so abundant that early pioneers caught and salted great quantities of them each fall to provide a winter source of meat. The Apache trout is Arizona's state fish. Like other trout, it feeds on invertebrates and smaller fishes. The status of the Apache Trout in the State of Arizona is Threatened. The Federal status of this species is also listed as Threatened. On public lands, many of the White Mountain lakes allow "catch and release only" of this species. On Indian Lands, there are provisions for an angler to possess a limited number of Apache Trout.



World Record: 14 lbs. 8 oz.

Arizona Record: 5 lbs 4 oz. caught at Lee's Ferry in 1982.

Non-native to Arizona, Brook trout were transplanted to many waters of the state in 1903. Brook trout are found in colder streams and lakes in the White Mountains. They reproduce in streams but are most often found in lakes stocked by the Game & Fish Department.

Like brown trout, brook trout are fall spawners and are easily caught near the shore during fall spawning runs. They feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects. Larger brook trout will eat small fish if they are available. Angler's find brook trout easy to catch, especially in the early spring or late fall when cold water temperatures keep the fish very active. They are caught on wet flies, small spinning lures, and worms. The table quality of brook trout is delicious, with white flaky meat.



World Record: 35 lbs. 15 oz.

Arizona Record: 17 lbs. caught at Lake Powell in 1971.

Introduced to Arizona in 1931, the Brown Trout is an exotic species imported from Europe. Brown trout are found in streams and in some lakes in the White Mountains or on the Mogollon Rim Country. They reproduce naturally in streams and are often associated with deep under cut banks or pools choked with woody debris.

Brown trout feed on aquatic and terrestial insects and fish. Adult brown trout are voracious and eat larger food items such as crayfish and small fish, especially other trout. They may be caught on the same tackle and baits as rainbow trout, but are often more difficult to catch. The best time to catch large adult brown trout is in fall during spawning. The meat of the brown trout has a pinkish or yellowish color and is very good tasting.



World Record: 41 lbs.

Arizona Record: 9 lbs. 8 oz. caught at Bullhead City in 1979.

Introduced to Arizona in 1900, the Cutthroat trout is also a non-native species. The body shape of the Cutthroat is similar to the rainbow trout. However, the back and sides are lightly spotted; Dorsal, adipose, and tail fins are heavily spotted. Red or reddish-orange slash is observed on the throat.

Cutthroat trout are rarely found in Arizona's streams, but widely occur in the White Mountain lakes which are stocked by the Arizona Game & Fish Department. They prefer the same habitat as rainbow trout and are found in similar areas. They feed on aquatic and terrestial insects and fish.

Anglers should use the same techniques to catch Cutthroat trout as they would for rainbow trout. The fish may be caught on a variety of flies and artificial lures, but a live nightcrawler is hard to beat! Use light line and small hooks. The table quality of the Cutthroat depends primarily on the fishes diet. The meat can be white to orange-red in color. The meat is firm, flaky and is considered excellent eating!


World Record: 42 lbs. 2 oz.

Arizona Record: 21 lbs. 5 oz.

Introduced to Arizona in 1898, the Rainbow trout is non-native to Arizona. Color ranges from olive to bluish on the back, silvery sides, and a pink band on the sides from head to tail. Many small black spots appear on back, sides, adipose, and dorsal fins.

Rainbow trout in Arizona are stocked in most lakes and streams where water temperatures do not exceed 68 degrees Fahrenheit. They are common in the White Mountains area.

Rainbow's feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects along with small fish. For anglers, the most effective baits are worms, salmon eggs, Powerbait, corn, cheese, marshmallows, or artificial lures and flies. The number one key to successful trout fishing is to use light line (4-6 pound test), small hooks, and small sinkers. Depending on the fishes diet, the meat can be white to orange-red in color. The meat is firm, flaky, and is considered excellent eating.

What ever your fishing passion - when it comes to trout - Arizona's White Mountains can provide you with the opportunity to enjoy clean mountain air, pristine lakes and streams, and that lucrative lunker on the end of your line! Fly fishing, bait fishing, vacationing, relaxing! Enjoy your angling experience in Arizona's White Mountains.

All photographs and information courtesy Arizona Game & Fish Department.